Unique Bikes & Auction: Boxer Gen R

By: Guy Allen

What's happening in the world of two wheels

Unique Bikes & Auction: Boxer Gen R
BMW's R 1250 R Triple Black breathes life into a traditional format

With its centenary celebrations limbering up as you read this, BMW has a massive motorcycle history to draw inspiration from.

None exemplifies the motorrad end of the brand better than the boxer twin engine layout. The company started producing them from 1923, with the R32, a 494cc side-valve claiming as modest 8.5 horses.

Of course the boxer engine has since come a very long way, despite there being talk of phasing them out in the early to mid-1980s. 

In the form you see it here, it’s now 1254cc, claiming 136hp (100kW) and is shared across several models, including adventure tourers.

There's plenty of life left in the Boxer twin

For many folk, however, it’s this naked bike, aka the R, which holds the greatest appeal as a street motorcycle. 

Relatively low and light, it appeals to the minimalist. Described as a roadster, it offers reasonably sharp steering, decent brakes, good suspension and plenty of power.


As a ride, it’s very different to the GS adventure tourer series which easily dominates sales for the brand. While the GS is a very capable distance mount, it’s also physically much bigger than the roadster. 

With the R platform you get something that feels a little less intimidating and kind of convinces you to go looking for some nice twisty roads.

While the intention is minimalist, you get all the electronic safety nets, including ABS, plus comforts such as cruise control and heated handgrips.


BMW makes a variety of options for the R line-up. Ours came as a Triple Black that offered lots of cosmetic upgrades, including engine covers, panels and levers, plus a  sports muffler. All up, it amounted to $32,000 on the road. A lot of money, but then again there was a lot included in the package.

If you were in the market for an up-spec naked bike that runs pretty bullet-proof engineeering, with a little character thrown in, it’s well worth a look.


A recent classics auction by Silverstone in the UK had some interesting highs and lows. One of the hero results was for this 1998 Ducati 916 Carl Fogarty replica 996, number 1 of 202.


Showing just three miles on the odo, it sold for $119,000.

Hinting at an overall softening of the UK market was (among many other lots) this 1973 Kawasaki Z1. A nicely restored example with a set of owner books, it passed in at auction and is now for sale at $30,600.


That’s still substantial money, but well below the highs we were seeing a year ago.

More at AllMoto.com.

From Unique Cars #482, August 2023

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