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bmadson
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   Posted 9/19/2005 8:49 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
We've been promising it for a long time, and now here it is: Our bike test of the BMW R1200RT. Go ahead and take a gander, and then tell us what you think about the Beemer.
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Jay Mack
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   Posted 9/19/2005 9:58 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Well, it's about time.  I've been waiting for this review because I've had a few BMWs, swore off of them, and have been wishing I hadn't since reports and visions of the R1200 series began to arrive.
 
If BMW does everything right, they make a great motorcycle.  Between the Telelever and Paralever and the linked brakes they don't dive at all.  They just hunker down, squat and stop on a dime.  THey handle superbly. I don't think you can get a lighter weight tourer.  Usually there are fatal flaws, but I don't see one here.  THe power brakes probably come closest.  I had them on my R1150RS and they were first generation and very finicky.  THey were too abrupt and made noise all the time because a servo is continuously being activated by the computer.  You can't hear the noise with a helmut on, though.  But they are overkill, in my opinion. 
 
I'll accept the ABS.  It didn't use to appeal to me but it will have it's place, that one time.  I almost met that one time a week or so ago, so I know what I'm talking about.
 
Keep the radio.  Motorcycle radios do not have sub-woofers -unless you custom one - and you don't get the right sound anyway.  Real motorcyclists ride and listen to Andrea Boccelli at home. So not only do you fiddle more and distract yourself, but on my K1100LT the weight of the headunit added significantly to the top heaviness of the bike.  There is no report from MCUSA as to the nature of this system, maybe it's no heavier than just a chip and top heaviness isn't a factor.
 
Do you PROMISE that this one doesn't surge?  
 
THe rest of the BMW goodness seems to be intact and now I can't get the 825 lb. Kawasaki Vulcan@2000 Classic LT like I wanted because for a few dollars more I can get this light weight, sporting goodie! 


Post Edited (Jay Mack) : 9/19/2005 8:28:59 PM GMT

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Desmolicious
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   Posted 9/19/2005 11:04 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Nice review. I test rode both the new RT and ST at a BMW open house. I found the gear boxes waaaay improved over the old stuff, but the vibes still shook the bikes like crazy at idle. These vibes disappeared once underway, but resurfaced on both bike above 4-4500rpms (if I remember correctly). So the bikes were smooth until about 80 mph in top gear.
I thought the suspension was great on both bikes, handling was really nice and neutral but the fly in the ointment was the low speed driveline lash and the slow revving motors. I prefered the ST over the RT because (and I traded a Wing 1800 for this reason) I just like having less bike in front of me! With the ST I felt more part of the bike, the view forward was better (less bodywork and windshield to look around/through/over) and I prefered the sportier riding position.
Thing is, the RT is actually a better value. While the ST on first blush is cheaper, after you equip it the same way as an RT (adding ABS, heated grips, hard luggage) the price point is about the same. But the RT provides that nifty electrically adjustable shield and a couple other doo-dads.


Børk! Børk! Børk!

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Redd Dawgg
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   Posted 9/19/2005 11:53 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Everything about this bike is great except that it is sooo ugly.
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Kevin Duke
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   Posted 9/19/2005 1:05 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yep, Jay, you picked the wrong time to swear off Beemers. Each new Boxer it releases is lighter and faster and better than the models they replace. And, we promise, the newer Boxers (with two-plug heads) don't surge.
 
Desmolicious, I agree the ST is more fun to ride, especially on a short one. But I assure everyone that the amount of advantage of sporting potential it has is not nearly as great as the comfort and versatility advantage offered by the RT. And, as you noted, it offers a lot of features for the modest difference in price.


-KD, MCUSA Editor

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Jay Mack
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   Posted 9/19/2005 1:27 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Kevin - What's with the big difference in rated torque, 85 lb-ft, and your measured torque, 74.4 lb-ft at its 6400-rpm peak? Isn't that a big loss?


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Kevin Duke
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   Posted 9/19/2005 1:40 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Jay, with all your experience, I'm a bit surprised that you haven't noticed the power figures supplied by manufacturers are always less than a rear-wheel dyno. That's because manus never measure at the rear wheel, either taking it from the crankshaft or transmission. It takes extra energy to spin a rear tire, especially so with a shaft drive arrangement like the BMW's. For more on this topic, check out August's Cafe LTTE and the "Dyno Might" section.



-KD, MCUSA Editor

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OhioSteve
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   Posted Yesterday 4:00 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The Goldwing and the K1200LT are fine touring bikes, but they are not available to everyone. In Ohio, it is a felony for anyone to purchase those bikes unless they join AARP. And to join AARP, you must be old and feeble. Your typical Goldwing rider learned to ride during the Kennedy administration.

In contrast, this bike is available to everyone. You don't have to be old to ride it. It is MUCH lighter than a 'Wing, and no more expensive. It even has the signature Boxer engine that defined the marque. Considering all of that, I'd say it is a great bike.


I am the foremost expert on my opinion.

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Cimer
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   Posted Today 8:02 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for the great article and photos.  My new RT is my 10th BMW and 9th R bike.  I have put 5000 miles this month on it and have found it to be very satisfying.  I traded a 2002 LT which was nice but at 5'-8" a handful at slower speeds.  The new RT is every bit as comfortable to ride and far more fun.  The short seat really works for those of us with short inseams.  It is however not particularily comfortable for the first couple of thousand miles.  But it seems to be getting there.  Unfortunately if I do not find a better rear seat I will be divorced.  It is awful. Even my sport bike riding son says it is bad.
 
The saddlebags and large rear trunck provide great dry space.  I added the rear setbacks on the bars to reduce the stretch and now I can ride 750 miles in a day quite easily.  Chicago to Muskogee Ok. works in a day.
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Kevin Duke
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   Posted 9/22/2005 1:40 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Glad to hear about your pleasant time on your RT, Cimer, and welcome to the board. Get rid of the power brakes and a bit of driveline lash, and the RT might be the best way to pile on miles with touring bike.


-KD, MCUSA Editor

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shyguy344
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   Posted 9/22/2005 4:53 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks to all of you for such informative chat concerning a bike that I am very seriously considering owning within the next year. Cimer, please keep us all posted on your quest for the better rear seat. That is an important issue to me.
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Jerry P
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   Posted 9/28/2005 5:45 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I have a R1200RT that was delivered in July. With about 3,000 miles on the bike I can say I love it. I have a 1974 BMW R90/6 that I really like, but the R1200RT is a bike to love. Drive lash at low speed is the only negative. And for those who don't like the looks, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and over time I bet you will begin to like the styling.
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Cimer
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   Posted 9/28/2005 6:25 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
In my couple of months and 5000 miles on my new RT the looks have brought almost exclusively positive comments.  But after owned and ridden nearly a dozen BMWs since the late 60s I have found that the uniqueness brings many conversations at the gas stations, restaurants and hotels.  But the bottom line is does it do what it is supposed to do.  My experience is that the new RT is better at getting down the road then anything I have ever owned.  Have fun riding it.
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sdflyer
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   Posted 1/12/2006 2:45 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Thanks for all of the great information. I test rode a R1200RT yesterday and that's all it took. I'm picking up the bike on Saturday! I used to have a 2002 LT and had the same problem as Cimer. At 5'9" I never really felt comfortable manuvering the bike in tight places like crowded gas stations. I then got a K1200RS and got tired of always leaning forward. I feel the R1200RT is a nice compromise! As far as the looks of the bike, I really didn't care for it much at first but it has really grown on me. I'll keep you all posted on my new ownership experiences and look forward to reading yours as well!

Cheers

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Smitty
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   Posted 1/12/2006 3:15 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

To late to catch the link up to the ride/test-run on said BMW.

Bar one thing I would probably have at least one BMW in my garage rather then three sportbikes.  To ride from my town to Vancouver, through the worst trafffic in B.C., would be a one day trip there, latch onto a motel to sleep that evenin before I go home, the next day, & prior time looking at & discussing the BMW line. So there goes two days & a bit of cost.

Okay so let us say I do order one & put down 50 to 75% of the money so they bring in the bike.  Okay it is have someone drive me there, only being such a loner it would be $110.00 (as of a few months ago) for a bus trip, again said motel as I do all the money stuff, registeration, LP,insurance, along with this & that.  Mind you riding home will be on NEW bike in said worst traffic in B.C. Actually this could be my third trip to Vancouver as 2nd might have been some discussion on the bike & good chance they do not have the very model I wanted.

Finally home & using the bike & getting to like it only something goes wrong with the bike---a warantee situation & not a personal accident.  Now comes the toll of lining up a firm that will truck it back to the dealer & that will be probably close to the cost of of the bus trip for AGAIN I will have to use the Bus along with a motel ONLY to find out the bike cannot be touched for a day or two. Had it been an accident then the trips would have been extended & time for parts & work on the bike would be even longer spaced.

Like we have not even got the bike back yet & more costs before I do.  I guess that is the reason I do not have a BMW but three Jpn bikes YET I did own a BMW 500cc way back in '53 only moved to Banff, Alberta to set up a sportshop & no need of street irons so back to dirt bikes in those yrs. Obviously the BMW dealers are way to far away for me, but not the Jpn dealers even if none are in my town or closest city.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 1/12/2006 10:19:15 PM GMT

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Dmenace
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   Posted 1/13/2006 4:51 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I currently ride a 12RT purchased in April, now with 8k on it. As for the vibration mentioned in an earlier post....the engine gets smoother with each mile, particularly after the 600 mile service (valve lash adjustment). Mine was a bit rough for the first few hundred miles but is now butter smooth both at idle and in that high 4000 to 5000 rpm range mentioned. I also put synthetic in the gearbox (mobil) and the transmission is silk. I literally chuckle out loud each time I ride this machine.
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Wolfgate
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   Posted 1/13/2006 7:38 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I, for one, loved the styling the first time I saw it. Heck, I like the ST as well.

However, I am a newbie, so clearly not ready for one of these yet. In a few years, perhaps I will own one.
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sdflyer
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   Posted 1/14/2006 3:56 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just got back from picking up my 06 R1200RT in San Diego. Decided to take the long way home through the local mountains and put on 120 miles. What a bike! Great handling on the highway as well as the curvies. The heated grips and seat were a welcome feature as I got into the higher elevations. Great feedback on the vibration issue Demenace. I did notice a little bit of it but it's not that bad. Especially if you say that it gets better over time.
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marks360
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   Posted 2/5/2006 4:00 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thank you for the info. on the RT.  I've only owned Harleys and a Buell so the vibration issue on the RT is basically a non-issue with me.  I personally like the looks of it, it's edgy and unique.  I test rode one this past summer and loved it.  I was considering the new K1200GT but the seating position may be too "sporty" for me.  I just want something to take me on some long trips without sacrificing comfort.  Thanks.
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sdflyer
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   Posted 2/12/2006 2:19 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Mark, I know what you mean. I had a Road King, Dyna Low Rider and Sportster, so maybe that's why the vibration doesn't bother me!

I now have close to 600 miles on the RT and just can't believe how nice of a bike it is! I can't wait to take it on some longer trips after the initial service. I really like how easy it is to configure the bike for the type of ride your taking...leave the bags on or very easily take them off.

Take care!

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Desmolicious
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   Posted 2/12/2006 6:30 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
You new RT owners, I'm starting to feel jealous... I'd like to try a R1200Rt that has, say, 10000miles on it to see the difference in vibes. I love my Duc for solo riding and touring but the Rt with the tail trunk/back rest would be better for 2-up riding. So I want one to keep the Duc company in my garage... I had a Wing for this but don't want that much bike anymore as I missed the cornering clearance.
Did I mention I also want a Guzzi Cali Vintage, a Triumph Scrambler, a Kawi ZX10R, a Vespa Et4....


Børk! Børk! Børk!

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tz250
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   Posted 7/19/2006 6:29 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Jay Mack said...
THey handle superbly. I don't think you can get a lighter weight tourer.


I believe that Ducati's ST4s, ST3 and ST3s are all much lighter than the R1200RT.
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tz250
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   Posted 7/19/2006 6:32 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Redd Dawgg said...
Everything about this bike is great except that it is sooo ugly.


I have to agree with you here. Purely subjective but I think that the front end looks like two big nostrils and the side panels look like wings. Aside from not likeing the looks, I do not like the feel of those electric assisted brakes.
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cement head
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   Posted 10/2/2008 1:06 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
 
 
  I am considering buying an R1200RT.  I have been riding an 1800 Goldwing for 7 years and would like to try something different.  However I don't want to sacrifice speed and/or power.  How do the two bikes compare, both off the line and at speed?
 
  Can anyone comment?  Thanks
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GAJ
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   Posted 10/2/2008 1:15 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
2005 R1200RT: 97 rear wheel hp/76 lb-ft of torque/625lbs wet/42mpg/137mph top sprrd/4.1 0-60/9.6 0-100/12.0 qtr mile/112mph at qtr mile/119ft to brake from 60mph.

2001 Goldwing: 101 hp/108 lb-ft/881 lbs/40 mpg/123 top speed/3.8 0-60/10.6 0-100/12.1 qtr mile at 106mph/126ft braking from 60.

Source: January issue of Motorcycle Consumer News summary of all moto tests.

Never ridden one, others will pipe in, both very well respected machines.
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