​​​BamaRider
​​​The 2018 BMW 1200 RT
  Background-  I began lusting for the new RT in 2014.  I knew then oneday I would probably own one.  In 2014 the RT was a total reset, and soon after it's debut the praise starting heaping in.  

I have the FJR, I love riding it, but I wanted more to compliment it.  I have the CB 1100 that in the last 9 months has become my favorite bike for just riding.  The FJR is the best metric sport tourer in my book and the RT well, its just the best period, no matter country of origin.  

Last August, I took my 2005 RT on a long ride to Utah, covering 5000 miles in 2 weeks.  I'd not had the bike out on a long tour in several years, as the FJR became the bike of choice for such duty since 2014.  In that time I had missed riding the RT on long rides, yes, I still rode it several days a weeks, with a few weekend rides for good measure, but it had been awhile since I called upon it to really take somewhere, as the newness was still fresh on the FJR.  

The dealer prepped the RT for me in July and in August it was once again taking me across America and back, and it was on that ride I came to appreciate just how good that bike was, even if it was long in the tooth.  It was comfortable, reliable, and a joy to ride in the curves.  It did everything well, so does the FJR, but the Yamaha is not near as comfortable doing it.  And everyone told me the new Wethead RT was all that and more.

I was in the market for a new sport tourer, and my choice came down to two, the new redesigned Honda GL Gold Wing or the RT.  I sought a dealer that had BOTH bikes in the showroom so I could do a side by side, real world look and comparison.   The money was going to be the same, so it came down to the function.  I was allowed a test ride on each (they were short, but that was ok).  I didn't need long rides because I'm familar with both Honda and BMW bikes.  I knew what to expect, a Honda is a Honda it is going to feel and ride the way it does, same with the BMW, the character of each brand will always come out.  I kept that in mind.

In the end I chose the RT, but I went in the process leaning that way.  I just needed to confirm my inclination.  I just felt the GL was too big, too over engineered, and too complicated.  No doubt it will be reliable and fit and finish are perfect, it is a outstanding bike, but it will never lean like a RT, or be as easy in the parking lot and garage.  I have a Honda bias, but the GL is a SIX cylinder motorcycle, I think that to be too many, and I just liked the looks of the RT much better.  It was a time tested design, tweaked and refined for almost 20 years, this new GL was new from the ground up.  A whole new suspension system and frame, and the 6 motor was also new.  You can tell the GL was designed by millienals, and depending which side of the spectrum you are on, can be a good or a bad thing.

Besides I have the FJR, it will give me what I need when I want to ride a, multi cylinder, metric bike.  I can't see the GL being 2x better than a FJR.  The Yamaha is a great machine in its own right, and I'm proud to own it. (paid off 2 months ago!).  

If I'm going to own TWO first line sport touring bikes, let them be nothing alike.  Yes, they do the same thing, but in vastly different ways.  The ST was not a factor in this decesion, I still ride it, and often, but it is retired from long riding.  Showing 110,000 miles it still runs flawlessly, and looks new, I keep it in perfect condition, it is not neglected, so when I want to ride a HONDA, I have that also.

So the 2005 was sold, and the new RT came home with me.


Prelude-  I'll begin by saying the RT is the fineset all around bike I've ever rode or owned, and I have experience with all the major players.  It is all day comfortable right off the showroom, I didn't have to add or adjust a thing.  It is light, well balanced, nimble and fast, and will have all the touring extras a Long Rider needs or wants.

Here's how good it is- if I had been called by BMW to create a bike for long riding, this is it.  I'll get into more details later, but just keep that in mind.  There are a few nit picks, but so minor hardly worth mentioning.
The Motor-  The motor is the tried and true boxer twin, only this time it is water cooled, and that is a big plus for the RT.  Water cooling has allowed BMW to do so much more with the motor.   Once off idle the bike is a smooth as any bike I own/owned, you'd never know it was a boxer twin.  Performance wise I can't tell any difference with the ST.  It pulls very well in the first 4 gears. 

Unlike the ST and FJR it is does not toast your legs in the summer.  Heat is not a issue for the RT.  The bike has all the speed and power you'll ever need on a sport touring bike.

From the RT website-

​"The RT is powered by an air/water-cooled BMW boxer engine which provides powerful forward thrust with substantial torque and an output of 125 hp. Thanks to standard Automatic Stability Control (ASC) this machine provides optimum traction to account for a variety of road surfaces and conditions. "Rain" and "Road" modes can be activated at the press of a button to adapt the motorcycle to weather and road conditions. The on-board computer Pro with multi-controller, power adjustable windshield, and heated grips complete the range of basic equipment features."


 Here you see the RT minus the side bags.  Unlike other sport tourers the RT without the bags does not look something is missing.  Unless on a trip, I ride the RT without the bags.
​​Handling-  Ok so the bike is fast, what else can it do?  Well it can handle, and leans like no bike I have ever seen or been around.   The refined and improved telever and paralever do really well.  The BMW just seems to tilt over into a lean and just hold it rock steady.  Plenty of ground clearence.

The second generation ESA can be fine tuned exactly to the feel you need/want.  I don't believe another sport touring bike comes close.  Perhaps the Italians with their chain drive offerings, but I wouldn't call them super sport bikes.  The RT will handle as well as most bikes out of this class.  Now I'm not saying the RT can match a good rider on a GSXR, because the instant power of a sport bike, and the high revs just too much to overcome, but it will lean every bit as well, if not better.

Handling is improved by the cornering adjustable ABS pro.  How it does that I don't know, I'm not the most technical guy, I just know it works.

Inputs by the rider to bike are seamless, as if the bike can read your mind.  It begs you to find a twisty road.  A nice neutral steer in the handlebars allows the RT to be a very docile motorcycle in the the everyday world.

I'll put this here because a part of handling is the everyday in and outs for a guy like me.   The bike is tall, I use my toes but slight lean left gives me a flat foot.  I'm mindful I'm vulnerable to a parking lot mishap because of my inability to hold the bike on a slant.  I avoid stopping on slanted roads or parking areas.  It makes taking pictures along the way more difficult.   I have the same problem on the Yamaha.   Have been times I had to skip the picture because no good place to park the bike, so I skip and  live to ride another day.  That's what I always recommend, if the area doesn't look good to drop a stand, just let it go and find somewhere else.

From Motorrad website-

​"The semi-active BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA chassis provides optimal riding dynamics in all situations: for the highest level of riding safety, performance and comfort. The suspension is adjusted automatically, adapting to both the terrain and the riding maneuvers. A significant additional gain in safety of the Dynamic ESA is that when braking and accelerating, the riding position remains virtually unchanged: for even more directional stability."


Transmission-  Gone are the days of the infamous clunk style transmission and shifting on the RT.  My 2005 was an improvement over the 1100 series, but still not as quick and slick as a Honda or Yamaha.  The new RT has closed that gap to the point the it is the equal in most every scenario.  I can't find any faults with it.

Brakes- All supersport tourers must have outstanding brakes, and the RT fullfills that need nicely.  The brembo brakes haul the RT down quickly without fade.  All my bikes have outstanding brakes.   Of course the BMW are ABS and linked.

 
The unique headlight  of the BMW RT.  Notice how narrow and sleek the fairing,which contributes to the great aerodynamics of the RT.
Comfort-  This section will include the cockpit, seating position, and seat.

Like the 2005, the 2018 carries on the tradition of the one of kind BMW cockpit.   I don't think any bike comes close.  No forward lean to bars, nice all day riding position.  The seat is the best of any stock bike I've experienced.  I often wondered why a plain old John Deere tractor seat, with minimum padding, if any,  was so all day comfortable.   A farmer can ride it 12 hours a day, with no problem.  BMW also asked that question, and went back to drawing board and designed a seat like it for a sport touring bike.  It looks a tractor seat, but man it rides well.  I've been as far as 300 miles nonstop, and.  Yes, my butt was a little stiff but NOT sore.  I could not even think about doing that on the FJR.

I have the shorter, and narrower sport windscreen on my RT.  Most come with the higher and wider touring screen option.  I didn't think I would like it but I do.  The low screen offers a great view of the immediate highway in front, but still offers great wind protection and quiet.  So that sport screen is not going anywhere.

The RT has less turbulence and noise with the sport screen low, than the FJR has with a touring screen high.

Great audio system equipped with sattelite opitions.  I have no problem hearing it at highway speeds.

There's just too many things to list here the bike has to enhance comfort level.  Cruise control, bright lights, luggage that is easy to remove and bring back.  The list of touring amenties are long to so I provided a link to BMW Motorrad.    Go here    if you wish to read about all the options on the BMW Motorrad URL.  My bike has every option and  I can say they all work well.


The BMW RT  cockpit, anything you need to know about the bike's status is available.
Other Stuff-  Currently the bike is delivering about 46-48 mpg.  Down  3-4 from my 2005.   

Valve adjustments called for at 1200 miles.

The Nav VI is everything a long rider needs in a GPS.  Costs big money, but it will work with everything (including the wheel), and provides 3 bike specific menus where a rider can find engine temp, lean angles etc.  It is a Garmin product and that was helpful for me, as all prior GPS on my other bikes have been Garmin so didn't have to learn anything.  I know the menu and how to work Basecamp software.

Fit and finish are excellent.  Deep rich paint job, everything fits seamlessly, and first class materials are the standard.

Stuff I really like-  TFT display

-handling

-cockpit

-feedback and data from all of the bike to a central place


Stuff I don't like-  This list will be short.

-the sidestand is too far forward.  To deploy it your foot has to grab it in front of the footpeg!

-The screen drops to full low when the key is turned off.  This is annoying when cleaning the windshield.  It returns to last position when you boot the bike up.

-no good place for bungee cords to grab.

-the storage compartments on the fairing don't hold much, not even my Iphone.
​RT Walkaround!
Not shown are the BMW fog lamps.  The units are going to be installed on the break in service.  I'll come back and give the report.  I also plan a head to head write up with the FJR soon.   I still need to ride more miles on the RT to learn all the nuances.  Be sure to check back soon for that report.