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1945-ish Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, meet 2023 BMW 1250 RS.
1945-ish Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, meet 2023 BMW 1250 RS. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Really or Rather Sporty?

BMW’s RS concept has existed for more than 40 years. Beginning with Hans Muth’s legendary RS100 RS of 1976, the RS has been shorthand for boxer-powered sport touring, as opposed to the more refined RT (Reise Touring) concept. The RS certainly didn’t invent a new riding genre, but it was a groundbreaking improvement for the nascent sport-touring community. Muth’s beautiful (and effective) fairing was fixed to frame with a 980cc boxer helping push both envelope and airspace.

Editor’s note: we test rode the ‘20 version during the 2020 BMW R 1250 RS MC Commute Review article and video.

Joining the 1975 Honda Gold Wing, the RS pushed the envelope of luxurious and sporty touring. Currently, the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS and H2 SX SE, Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+, Yamaha FJR1300ES and Tracer 9, and the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT are all valid alternatives. But arguably, they exist because of BMW’s Sport Touring concept from way back when. The RS is the OG, so to speak.

The R 1250 RS, sandwiched between an R 50/5 and R 80/7. Note the glaring lack of similarities.
The R 1250 RS, sandwiched between an R 50/5 and R 80/7. Note the glaring lack of similarities. (Anders T. Carlson/)
The 6.5-inch TFT, minus integrated Navigator GPS mount.
The 6.5-inch TFT, minus integrated Navigator GPS mount. (BMW/)

German grammar rules aside, BMW’s site plainly states that the R 1250 RS is a “Sport Tourer,” or “Reise Sport.” Travel Touring motorcycles are in the “Tour” section, but the RS gets a spot in the “Sport” section, alongside the S 1000 RR. The only boxer among BMW’s stable of sporting 1,000cc inline-fours, the RS runs with fast company. Is it legit or just a marathoner sneaking into the sprints? Look past the fairings and you’ll see a humanely tall handlebar, sensibly placed winglets, and an adjustable windshield that make for pleasurable 400-mile days. Slimmer fairings, an extra 1.6 inches in the wheelbase, and 79 fewer pounds turn the RT into an RS.

But does it do all the “sporting” well? That’s a really dumb question. It’s obviously one of the best ways to employ triple digits in service of two-wheeled vacationing. But Motorcyclist earned the only North American test ride for the 2023 R 1250 RS. So we smartly said yes to answering a stupid question over two weeks and 700 miles of Wisconsin countryside.

The Milwaukee Art Museum and BMW R 1250 RS offering a visual clinic on visual synergy.
The Milwaukee Art Museum and BMW R 1250 RS offering a visual clinic on visual synergy. (Anders T. Carlson/)

Specs and Specifics

The oil-and-liquid-cooled 1,254cc opposed-twin motor is the spiritual heir to the beloved air-cooled /5 and /6 twins of the 1970s. “Spiritual” is shorthand for little shared DNA. But hit the starter, and you get that tractorlike wobble that defines boxer love. The counterbalance shaft means you get approximately 1,500 rpm’s worth of idling nostalgia before ShiftCam variable intake camshaft control ensures silky-smooth torque all the way up to 6,000 rpm and beyond.

The example kindly provided has the 29.9-inch low seat, which works great for riders 5 feet, 8 inches and shorter. Not so much for those of us with 5-foot-10 frames. This made for very cramped touring. It also turned various reproductive organs into load-bearing stressed members. But using imagination and creative writing, we’ll simulate a ride review with the standard 32.3-inch seat. While we’re at it, we’ll fake-review the 33.0-inch sport seat and optional tubular handlebars, which are wider and a tad higher. They’re also way easier to attach farkles to.

The view aboard the BMW R 1250 RS.Read More


By: Anders T. Carlson
Title: 2023 BMW R 1250 RS Review
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Published Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023 10:00:00 +0000

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Rolls-Royce ‘Models of the Marque’: the 1910s

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 04

Of all the famous nameplates borne by Rolls-Royce motor cars since 1904, few are as celebrated, significant, evocative and enduring as the ‘Silver Ghost’. Formally launched in 1906 as the 40/50 H.P., it was the first model to be awarded the soubriquet of ‘the best car in the world’ that Rolls-Royce retains to this day, setting unmatchable standards for performance and reliability, proven in the era’s toughest road trials. It was also a stupendous commercial success, with almost 8,000 examples built in the UK and US over an 18-year period – an unimaginable product lifespan in the modern age. That so many Silver Ghosts still survive in full working order – and, indeed, regularly perform the same feats they achieved more than a century ago – is a lasting monument to Henry Royce’s engineering genius.

Early beginnings

By 1906, just three years after its foundation, Rolls-Royce was already something of a victim of its own success. Demand for its motor cars was such that its line-up had quickly expanded from the original twin-cylinder 10 H.P. to include three-cylinder 15 H.P., four-cylinder 20 H.P. and six-cylinder 30 H.P. models. Henry Royce had even produced the first ever V8 passenger motor car, known as the ‘Lega limit’ since the 3.5-litre engine was governed to keep it below the 20mph speed limit then in force in Britain – only three of these were ever made, and it remains the only Rolls-Royce model of which no examples survive. This proliferation of models reflected a trend across the luxury automotive sector, as competing manufacturers chased an ever more finely segmented client base.

However, for Rolls-Royce, it caused major manufacturing headaches, since many parts were not interchangeable between models. The problem was compounded by Henry Royce’s entirely laudable policy of continuous improvement; his constant adjustments and refinements went all the way down to the smallest components. This created variations between – and even within – production series, to the extent that often only a handful of individual motor cars would be entirely identical.

Simplify Production

As with almost any manufacturing process, more complexity and variability meant increased costs. This was anathema to the highly astute, commercially driven Managing Director, Claude Johnson. Having decided radical change was needed, he proposed the marque should focus all its energies on producing just one model. Charles Rolls enthusiastically agreed, but insisted it should be positioned at the top end of the market, where Rolls-Royce was already gaining a reputation as the very best motor car available. Though a ruthless perfectionist and tireless innovator, Royce was also a pragmatist. He saw the logic of his colleagues’ single-model approach and duly produced a completely new motor car, the 40/50 H.P.

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By: Rex McAfee
Title: Rolls-Royce ‘Models of the Marque’: the 1910s
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Published Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2024 23:23:29 +0000

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Select “Dare to Dream” Auction results

Dare to Dream Auction 03


The recently held “Dare to Dream” auction in Toronto, Canada, represented a wide variety of automotive milestones, specifically for European Sportscars. Aptly described on Sotheby’s website, “They represent what could be—what will be in our eyes, the greatest.”

Collector Miles Nadal

It’s always inciteful to know a little about the face behind the collection and what his/her thoughts are on the business of acquiring automobiles. According to Nadal, he has always been a collector of types. Somewhat tangentially related to cars, his first collection was of hand tools he never used and had no intention of using, admitting he was not mechanical in any way. But he appreciated what they stood for Perfection. Engineering. Function. Those three pillars play a heavy part in his future collections, too. The tools were always pristine and presented in order. The same was applied to his following collection of keys, and then of model cars. The model cars were just a placeholder for the real cars Nadal truly desired to own someday.

After working as a sports photographer in his teen years, further exposed to the world of professional sports and the players that made the difference… the influencers… the icons, he figured out the direction of the collection he would someday start. Automotive icons. And so, we take a quick look at some of the sports car icons that were sold from the collection.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti

$3,305,000 USD | Sold

There is perhaps no better archetype of a Ferrari model than the 275 GTB/4. As one of the last Prancing Horses manufactured in the vintage era, preceding the wholesale shift to mid-rear engine placement, the GTB/4 was the product of all the lessons learned since the company’s 1947 inception. Like the greatest Ferraris that preceded it, the model was defined as a grand touring berlinetta: a closed-body dual-use GT car that could be driven to the track and raced before being gently driven back home.

Introduced in 1964, the original 275 GTB was the first roadgoing Ferrari to be equipped with four-wheel independent suspension, and the first to employ a weight-saving transaxle, which also improved weight distribution. When the GTB/4 iteration arrived two years later, it boasted dual-cam valve actuation for each cylinder bank, making it the first four-cam road car from Maranello’s stable. This prodigy of mechanical performance was clothed in coachwork designed by Pininfarina and built by racing car carrozzeria Scaglietti, featuring a long hood and fastback rear end that were obviously developed from the legendary 250 GTO.

1959 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1600 GS ‘Sunroof’ Coupe by Reutter

$637,500 USD | Sold

The most potent mechanical variation of the 356 was the Carrera model, which was powered by the slightly detuned, Fuhrmann-designed four-camshaft, 1,600-cubic-centimeter racing engine. Available in both “GT” race specification and “GS” touring specification, Porsche made sure that their new engine could be marketed on a platform to individuals who were looking to spend time on the track, as well as to those who were looking to drive down the Autobahn in style.

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By: Rex McAfee
Title: Select “Dare to Dream” Auction results
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Published Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2024 07:04:29 +0000

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Powerbrick trims down the Harley Pan America for urban adventures

harley pan america powerbrick 745x497 1

Custom Harley Pan America by Powerbrick
Big-bore adventure bikes like the Harley Pan America have to tick a lot of boxes, which is why they end up looking like two-wheeled spaceships. But the custom scene has shown us a new side to the Pan America. If you can strip away enough of its adventure-focused accouterments, there’s a pretty gnarly street bike lurking under there.

This custom Harley Pan America from Powerbrick offers proof. The Dutch parts specialist and custom workshop has shown time and time again that they’re adept at building radical machines that buck convention. And although they made their bones creating edgy BMW K-series customs, this Pan America suggests that they can apply their signature aesthetic to just about any type of motorcycle.

Custom Harley Pan America by Powerbrick

According to Powerbrick head honcho Tim Somers, the Pan America mission had two objectives; create “the streetfighter that Harley never released,” and develop a range of bolt-on parts under Powerbrick’s sub-brand, CNCPT Moto. To that end, Tim got major financial support from Harley-Davidson Rotterdam and Amsterdam, who also supplied the bike.

“We’ve designed everything to make it look OEM so that people would think that the bike is supposed to look like this,” Tim adds. “Harley-Davidson has a strong heritage, we’re just trying to give it a little shake-up to make it appeal to a new generation.”

harley pan america powerbrick 9 745x497 1 Read More


By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Powerbrick trims down the Harley Pan America for urban adventures
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Published Date: Sat, 15 Jun 2024 20:15:39 +0000

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