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BMW R 1200 RT

BMW R 1200 RT

4.4 from 16 reviews

Does it all, tours all day and handles well for its weight

Bought this 2011 RT last year and now sharing my thoughts after a year.
Easy and comfortable to ride but handles surprisingly well for its size and weight. You can tour all day or throw it around twisties but the bike is solid and predictable with very responsive counter steering allowing you to easily change its line mid corner if required with no drama. I have been averaging 520 kms on a tank full.
It pulls well from low rpm and never feels stressed. Excellent engine braking dowhill and before bends. Brakes are excellent and semi linked bringing the bike to a swift stop. Abs works well. Lights are simply great and very bright. I use long life halogens. This bike is very visible adding to safety on the road. You wont find an RT in a mishap on YouTube.
Easy to service. I change all the fluids every 8000 kms. Just rock solid with no issues. Love the quality and the ride. Superior fairing and asjustable screen allows visor up riding even on motorways and this allows you to hear the radio / mobile device music clearly on longer trips.
Cruise control is a must when touring and the one on the RT works great.
Heated seats, front and back, heated grips and adjustable suspension on the fly complete this great package on 2 wheels.
Just pay attention to tyre pressures based on load and road surface.
Hard panniers and rear top box are one of the best desings that remove and mount in seconds.
Drinks 98 Octane fuel but will run on 95 with reduced torque.
Now at 123,000 kms and just run in...these boxer engines will run over 300,000 with good servicing.
The bonus with these air / oil cooled engines is you dont feel any heat. The new LC engines emit noticable heat from radiators...
To conclude, an excellent buy that i really enjoy and just keep on riding. Get a Haynes manual, buy the right oils and fluids and it will give you a long service life.
Highly recommeded and addictive ! You've been warned ! ; )

Date PurchasedJan 2018

R 1200 RT the supreme tourer

If you love going places, doing the miles , this is the bike for you. The Taj Mahal the Rolls Royce the starship enterprise of motorcycles. Its solid reliable comfortable powerful, gutsy confident machine. well built , has everything you need . Plenty of techno and features. No struggles riding this bike its like sitting in your lounge chair to the point were you don't want to get off. I never thought I would do so much and go so far, but capable of me doing 1000 + kms a day on this , and never intended too. Love it and enjoy so much. Your riding will venture into a whole new facet of motorcycling when you get one. You cannot be disappointed.

Date PurchasedOct 2015

The guardian angel of bikes

It's been a year today since I rolled my RT out of the showroom and time for a review. As background, I live in Canberra and don't own a car. When we think about which bike to buy we often have in our mind's eye a deserted road on a summer dawn or springtime in the mountains. That's part of motorcycling but so is being caught in a cataclysmic storm outside Narromine (like being hit with a firehose), slushy snow and black ice on a dark night at Marulan, coming into a corner on the hot side and finding a huge pothole right on your line and long tail backs on a baking hot afternoon. Your bike has to handle these as well.
In some ways, the RT still has the soul of the old R90S, a bike you greatly admire but not love. One you buy with your head and not your heart. But with a year of experiences mostly wonderful but sometimes terrible I see it now as trusted companion whose tremendous competence is always there when you need it.
Good points, reasonable weather protection in a relatively light weight package. The light weight makes it very flickable but more importantly, it will do a major change of line at speed without fuss as per the aforementioned pothole. It also makes it less a handful in heavy traffic. The engine is an improvement from the previous oil head. Power all over the range, 0-100 in four seconds or so and numbers with a two in front of them appear in the time it takes me to write this. It's no ZX 1400 but its fast enough for most of us most of the time.
Handling is excellent (I'm a fan of Telelevers), braking likewise and it rides well with plenty of on the go suspension adjustment. The quick shift is also great particularly when going down through the gears while setting up for a corner. Instrumentation is comprehensive and easy to use and the pannier system is likewise excellent. I can only confirm other reviewers' opinion when they say it is the world's best touring bike. So seamless is the fit of rider and machine you are often not consciously aware you are riding it. The bike just goes where it is supposed to go and hundreds of k's go by.
Bad points. There are some areas of poor design. The short fender lets tar and road grime from the front wheel spray all over a hot engine where it is very difficult to remove. Likewise, a gap behind the swing arm pivot allows stuff from the rear wheel to spray onto the pillion's boots and trousers. I know these are solvable problems and almost all European and Japanese bikes have these features but that doesn't make it less dumb.
Other issues are that a short top lip on the mirrors mean they get wet in the rain and are useless just when you most need them, the standard screen is too small if you're over 5'10" and the gearbox thunks into first gear (apparently fixed on the 2017 models).
If something happened to the RT would I buy another one? In a heartbeat. There are many wonderful bikes out there that you could love, the very beautiful Moto Guzzi Californina, the charismatic and superbly built Rocket 3T to name just a couple. Would I look on them after a year and think I how lucky I am to be paired with a bike that seems always on the look out for me as a trusted companion is? Probably not.

Date PurchasedSep 2016

Fabulous high tech road bike

I bought the new R100RT that came out in 2015 and am delighted with it. I have now done 15,000 k with no issues. It has all one needs on a road bike (except perhaps not much weather protecion).
It is nimble once on the move and the power is tractable. Brakes are wonderful and ABS works beautifully. The clutchless gear change is clunky from 1st to 2nd but easy thereafter. The real benefit of this is downshifting which can be done more quickly that using the clutch as one comes into a tight corner. The good tech bits like tire pressure monitoring and engine monitoring, cruise control are all great.
It is not a tourer like an RT1200RT but for quick day trips into the hills it is perfect.

Date PurchasedSep 2015

The perfect Tourer

Just moved over from a Blackbird and have had the RT for over a month now.A Big wide bike whose weight disappears on the move when it becomes very nimble.A huge torquey motor with the power available down low.The sportshift is a pleasure once mastered though should be avoided in the lower 3 gears up and down to avoid a clunky shift.The huge swath of electronics and the ease with which they can be accessed is wonderful and intuitive.A completely different ride to the Bird but one which I am definitely enjoying as the seat is armchair comfortable and the reach to the bars does not cause wrist strain in the least.The introduction of liquid cooling and a wet clutch on the current model have been movements in the right direction .I will definitely be doing a few long road trips on the RT.


Not for me...

I bought my 1200 RT after having had an 1150 GS and later a 1200 GS Adventure. The Adventure was a fantastic bike, but was too tall and top-heavy for me, especially two up. Started looking for a Honda CB1300, but my wife got me to try the RT. So I did, for a couple of hours, liked the ride, and figured, what the heck, I'm 62, time to tune down a bit. So I bought a good second-hand RT.

Now, one year on, I decided it has to go. The thing gets on my nerves. First of all, it bores me to death. I ride with the windscreen in the low position all the time, just to remind me that I'm riding a bike. I just can't get any pleasure from riding it. All the electronic doodahs just get in the way. I've learned to live with ABS (at least, on my 1150 GS I could turn it off), but all the rest is just technical showing off. Electronic suspension setting is nice, but I haven't had any for 40 years, and never worried about it. A radio on a bike? Come on, get real. Heated seats? Not really pleasant. The rear-view mirrors are poorly positioned (having to look under my arms is against nature, as far as I'm concerned), and I had to add after market ones on the handle bars to see correctly. The tire pressure indicator doesn't work correctly half of the time, I still haven't figured out when exactly the on-board computer will tell me that all is OK with the oil. The whole thing has taken away all the fun of riding bikes from me.

And there's two things I just can't get my head around: checking the oil level involves getting flat on your stomach with a penlight. And checking the tires is a royal pain in the butt. In at least half of the service stations, I can't get to the valves with the compressor nozzle.

I'm sure it's a fantastic bike. Everybody says so. But it's not for me.

But I could have lived with it. Until last week.

Twelve months to the day after I bought the RT, the service reminder came up. Time for an oil change, which I always do myself. So I go to the dealer where I bought the machine, and ask them to reset the service flag. They flatly refused.

I didn't argue. just told them I was selling the bike, and that was the last they would see of me. No more BMW for me. I want a bike, not some flying carpet. Might just as well buy a Goldwing. Or a car!


Massive step up from Previous RT's

I have recently Purchased one of these so I will offer my initial impressions rather than a long term ride & Review.
This Bike benefits greatly from the increases in Power and the reductions in weight over the Previous RT's. I previously had a R1100RT. The 5 speed transmission on that model was a major issue in my view. The 6 speed on the R1200RT make Highway Mile Munching easier.(R1150RT) also had 6 speed box.
Overall the Newer Bike is better and more satisfying in almost every way. Throttle Response, Wind protection etc etc.
I understand that the long term issues with the motortronic fuel injection and the tuning of throttle bodies have been rectified from the earlier models. I have brought a Second Hand Ex Police R1200RT-P and with a Dual Seat conversion and a few Mods it in my view an outstanding second hand buy for a Sport Touring Bike. Hopefully I get the Reliability from this purchase that I received from the previous RT I owned. It's Reliability was outstanding.
Just a point on the BMW's in General, they are in my experience Very Reliable but are most unforgiving of omissions in the Maint Schedule. In other words if you cant afford to maintain the Bike Properly your ownership experience will be fraught with issues. If you want a bike that you never have to put a spanner on get a Honda. The BMW is something of a thoroughbred that rewards the owner with razor sharp handling, Engineering Originality and in my view outstanding Manufacturer communication and back-up. As a total Package its the Machine for my requirements.

1 comment
Ok Further comments to this review. I've just completed 2600 KMS in 3 days and my assessment of this bike stands. Its a phenomenal touring machine which rewards rider input. This bike is in its element on the open road gobbling miles. If this is the intended usage of the bike, you will be pleased.

Great bike although...

Excellent for 12k until after an official BM service it has llost the initial urge to accelerate when the throttle is opened during down shifting! BM are mystified. Apart from this the bike can handle 500+ miles a day comfortably.


This is a awesome ride

I always favour sport bikes .....But since i took my BMW R1200RT fore a ride i was amaized. Low down toque ... more than enough!!!! Smooth like silk in gear changing. A Bit heavy but managable.


Loving it

After 25 years without a bike (previous CBX750F) I can say it was a dream to ride. Even two up. And this is a 2007 model. Very pleased. Rode it from qld to Vic straight away. All faults with the nut holding the handgrips.


Simply an excellent comfortable cruiser but at a price.

After two years of use and having researched other motorcycles in its class, I say unreservedly, this bike is excellent. Comfortable, including for the pillion driver, large panniers, quiet and very smooth to drive. It simply works and flawlessly.
My only criticism is that parts are expensive, absurdly so sometimes.
It is lighter than most bikes of its class. Quiet, excellent gears, powerful and smooth. Electric windshield is great.
EXPENSIVE parts.

3 comments
Just completed another 7 000 km in under three weeks cruising at up to 140kph (NT) and it just hummed faultlessly. Last day did 1200km and came home relaxed.This is a cruiser for the open road with steering simply by leaning one way or the other. Fuel consumption varies from 4.7 to 5.4 l/100 depending on speed and wind direction (standard ie 91 octane fuel is disastrous to consumption). No oil consumption to speak of, silent, comfortable, simply indefatigable.I forgot to say that this bike can handle standard grade (91 octane) fuel but power is down and fuel consumption goes up it really needs 98 octane and that adds 10 per cent to fuel costs over standard grade (call it 0.5l/100 penalty equivalent). I have now done close to 30 000km and its superb even in strong cross winds and strong rain. Just dont take it off road as it handles badly (imho), at least with the standard road tyres. I actually find that the extra cost of purchasing 98 grade in my Saab car is paid back in the extra fuel economy. It also means a cleaner burn and less maintenance - hence less cost eg spark plug replacement.

Comfy for the long haul but not designed for the city commute

Nice bike for touring on and for putting away many kilometres. Easy to sit on all day long and will smoothly get you from A to B. Running Pirelli Angels and these are very positive. The mirrors are set low and don't afford very good visibility, unless you are interested in seeing the knuckles of your gloves. Plenty of creature comforts to make the long haul easier and more enjoyable, my favourites being the adjustable screen which I use to help modulate airflow over my body to keep cool and the stereo. It is certainly squarely aimed at touring and/or long rides and is not an all round bike. It does what it is designed to do well and is boringly nice.
Comfortable seat and riding position, speakers, adjustable screen, good torque for smooth riding, manouverable for its size, economical fuel consumption, cruise control
Poor visibility in rear view mirrors and location of them, sluggish from standing start, pannier space is hard to utilise well, clunky gearbox - first is difficult to engage from neutral and keeps hitting neutral on the upshift from first

1 comment
I have been using mine for 5 years, riding every single day rain or shine, commuting 25km in Brisbane traffic and doing the occasional long weekend rides. I found the bike good in traffic thanks to the low center of gravity. Regarding the rear view mirror, they are just perfect for me, it might be my height (186cm) and the fact that I ride with the seat in its high position. My gearbox isn't clunky at all and finding first is no problem so I don't know what the problem is here.

Excellent

I've owned this bike for 6 months now (20,000kms)and commute 200kms every day to and from work and I have yet to fault it. It is a bike that can be (and is happy to be) ridden all day. My average fuel consumption is a miserly 4.5l/100kms giving the bike better than average range. The riding position is perfect for me (6'1"). It is a fantastic tourer offering plenty of luggage capacity if you purchase the cavernous (large) top box to complement the panniers. Pillion comfort is good (particularly with the top box doubling as a back rest) - the missus hasn't complained yet (and she's a picky one!).
Just about everything. Excellent ride comfort and ergonomics. Beaut motor - all the torque you need from real low down in the rev range and this is a boxer motor that is really happy to rev. No vibrations thanks to advanced engine balance technology. Build quality and finish set this bike apart from any competitor.
Apart form its hefty price tag, I struggled to find any cons on this bike. My only frustration is that it doesn't come standard with an MP3 connection/port.


Excellent

A magnificent highway machine, did a lap of Australia in 3 weeks on it and could still walk even after a week of 1200km days from Carins to Kalgoorlie. Has just the right amount of power, smoothness and fairing for all seasons country riding (much better than the 4 cylinder alternates for my money as its a much simpler design) Sips fuel at a under 5l per 100km unless you are doing over 120km/hr. Had some issues with tyres but now use dual compound tyres that fixed this problem. Not quite so good in city, as it is a wide heavy bike to park...and the gearbox is not the best on my model. Brakes are fantastic, but go for a later model without the servo if you can afford it as the servo requires the ignition key on to work, which is a pain in the arse in the workshop (have to start it to move it safely). Paint and finish is durable (mine has now done 60,000km and still looks great). Put a staintune pipe on it if you want to hear it when its running! A great bike for covering big distances in the country on your own or with a special friend. If I was to trade this one in, it would be for the new model with the new trip computer and Ipod connection (2010).
Great fairing, screen, comfortable ride position, passenger seat perfect, with no wind buffeting at speed, less than 5l per 100km, great power down low, and more than enough for carrying a load at speed, looks good too! Best bike to be on on a cold wet windy winters day...especially if you have 1000km to get through.
Trip computer/fuel guage 50km pessimistic, cruse control creeps if you leave your hand on the handle bar and go around a few bends (needs to lock the throttle when engaged, but as the car software so accelerates when the twist grip is turned accidently even in cruise mode). Minor vibration in handle bars, particulary close to service time. Gearbox is clunky around town and sometimes drops out of 2nd under hard acceleration from 1st on my bike which BWM refused to look at. Gearbox generally not as good at Motoguzzi's latest 6speed. Suspension is a tad on the soft side, but it only wollows once and then resumes its course, even fully loaded and cranked over. Too many people stop to chat about it. Wish that the panniers were square enough (or a little bigger) so that you could fit the laptop or an A4 folder in one...spoils it as an executive commuter by about 1cm. Big top box has pleany of room if you can afford it.


Good

Typical excellent BMW quality. I like it a lot with the exception of the suspension issue, that might be able to be adjusted out. Great on long trips as it is kind to my old bones. Didn't realise just how comfortable it was until I rode a Jap sports tourer for 350km last weekend. The Beemer is certainly sreets ahead on the long distance touring stakes.
Comfortable, ample power, great brakes, good improvement on previous model, R1150RT. Good tourer. Can even get the front wheel up on this big bike.
Suspension is a bit soft and wallowly when pushed. The suspension is not as good as R1150RT this bike replaced. But then again its not intended to be a sports bike.


Excellent

overall its one nice awesome bike and i recomend it to everyone and they should buy at least 1 XD
its really really fast and very reliable also does need much attention as its very ergonomical
cost alot to run and also because its new and if parts need chaning then the parts are going to cost alot

1 comment
I agree, great tourer, expensive to buy but should do big K's

Questions & Answers

Hi Guys. Thanks for all the answers about what to look for when buying a used R1200RT. Another question.......... Is there some place to register on BMW so they can email me if there is a recall on either the bike or a parts that needs to be replaced? I stumbled across a web side that mention about the rear brake disc that needs replacing. It turned out mine was one of them. I hope my nearest BMW dealer will be kind enough to let me know. But in the mean time its all wondering and searching. Thanks Battle axe
2 answers
Funny enough just this morning I received a letter from the BMW Group Australia with reference to my chassis number to get me to replace the rear wheel flange for being faulty. Sadly mine had failed earlier and I replaced it at my expense. So to answer your question, having the bike serviced with an authorised repairer ensure you're in the information loop.You will not believe this... This morning i received a letter from BMW Group (customer relations manager) I was automatically registered on their website when i purchased the bike. I appreciate the service, and i think me and BMW are going to become good friends. Happy days and hours of fun on my BMW. Thanks REMCO. Battle axe

I am about to buy a R1200RT it is a 2009 model. This bike was a old police bike with 44 000 on the clock. It looks very neat, But what questions do i need to ask? And what do i need to look out for? Thanks Battleaxe
4 answers
Ask the owner if it was used for daily commuting in the city to work or used for touring. City riding is hard on the bike compared to the open road. The reason I mention that is that these bikes have a clutch at the rear of the engine that are expensive to repair...quite a job to get to it and replace the clutch assembly. Something with that many kms on it in city traffic may be due for a new clutch down the track. Of course you can gauge clutch wear by how far you have to release the clutch lever before the bike starts to move off from stationary. If the lever is a long way out - IE 3/4 of it's travel or more it is a clear indication that the clutch plate is worn. If there is a shudder as you release the pedal that is also a sign of a uneven wear in the clutch.The engine's rear main oil seal can go and cause oil to get onto the clutch plate hence creating poor clutch performance. If there is any sign of oil under the rear of the engine (even weeping slightly) that is a good indicator of a leaking rear seal. Also check the drive shaft for any leaks or excessive movement in the outer housing. All in all they are a great bike and very reliable.. I am giving you a mechanical point of view to just check it out so you don't get hit with expensive repairs down the track. Hope this helps!Thanks guys this is very helpfull. Hope you have a great day. Battleaxe.

I am thinking of trading my RT 2006. It only has 33000ks on it but it is getting a bit outdated I feel. I ride mainly with Adventure type bikes and I feel like a bit of a Dinosaur. Would the 1200R be a better bike?
1 answer
A "dinosaur"? Hmmm I just rode from Townsville to Perth, 7 000km on the RT in ten days. It purrs at 130kph (in the NT :) ) and steers itself by leaning into the curve of the road. It's quiet, easy to maintain (no coolant for example), a low centre of gravity, light with high power to weight ratio and comfortable to sit on for a 12 hour day doing 1200 km Newman to Perth in one day (and I'm 65 btw). I can see reason for moving to a lighter bike eg the Honda NC700 or whatever), but not a stripped down version of the RT. I can see reason for the cost and availability of parts to change, but this aint a dinosaur. I have two RTs btw.

Details

R 1200 RT
Release dateMay 2007
Visit official website

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