2005 2014     R1200RT
by Jeff Dean
The 2014 R1200RTs are out and they can now be ordered from your BMW dealer. For thumbnails of lots of photos click here.
The photo below shows me (middle) taking delivery of my new 2014 R1200RT on February 6, 2014. John Cartwright, owner of Iron Horse Motorcycles, Tucson, is on the left, and Jim Richardson, my salesman, is on the right.
My new R1200RT (2014) with San Xavier del Bac (1783), 10 miles south of Tucson, in the background.
Below, the new and the old an Ebony black 2014 RT is on the left and a Biarritz blue 2007 RT is on the right.
The aftermarket is starting to catch up to the needs of the 2014 R1200RT. On the left below is Cee Baileys's tall windshield (other sizes are available) and headlight guard for this bike. On the right below is the medium sheepskin butt pad from Alaska Leather.
Below: A 2007 R1200RT near Tucson, Arizona. It is a fully equipped Biarritz blue 2007 BMW R1200RT with color-matched top case, BMW tank bag (not Shown), Rick Mayer saddles, Cee Bailey windshield, a set of BMR Driving Light Mounts with PIAA halogen driving lights, Motolight driving lights, and Cee Bailey saddle bag liners. The engine protection bars are made by Wunderlich
Model year 2007 was the first year the R1200RT came out without servo-assisted (power) brakes. That is why I have a 2007 model. Only the 2005 and 2006 models have the discontinued servo brakes.
The BMW R1200RT is a touring motorcycle that was introduced in 2005 by BMW Motorrad to replace the R1150RT model. It features a 1,170 cc (71 cu in) flat-twin engine producing 110 bhp at 7500 rpm and 85 foot-pounds of torque at 6000 rpm and a six-speed gearbox and shaft drive. Cruise control, heated hand grips, and Paralever and Telelever suspensions were standard. The standard electrically operated windscreen can be adjusted across a large range of heights. Standard ABS brakes, servo-powered on the 2005 and 2006 models but deleted in 2007 and later, were partially integrated such that the rear brake pedal only applies the rear brake while the front brake lever applies both brakes.
BMW announced the arrival of the 2010 R1200RT in November 2009. Torque and RPMs were increased; horsepower was unchanged. Cylinders came with double overhead cams. There were modest changes in styling. For 2013 the R1200RT is unchanged from 2010 to 2012. The only colors available for 2014 are two shades of gray and "ebony metallic."
Click here to see BMW's web page on the new 2014 model .
Below, I am putting my 2007 R1200RT through its paces in March 2011 during the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Advanced Rider Course in Tucson, Arizona.
The R1200RT was the next iteration of BMW's renowned RT series of sport-touring motorcycles, dating back to the 1978 R100RT (photo below, left), which was replaced in 1987 by a slightly revised R100RT (photo below, right). The RT designation stands for Reisetourer, German for travel tourer.
Late in 1995, BMW placed its eight-valve oilhead engine, which had been introduced two years earlier in the R1100RS, into the RT model to replace the earlier air-cooled models, and increased horsepower (from 70 to 90) and torque (from 56 to 70 ft.-lbs.) significantly. Key improvements included ABS brakes, four-valve heads, an electrically adjustable windshield, and revolutionary suspensions front (Telelever) and rear (Paralever).
The four photos above show the evolution of the RT series since 1995. The R1100RT series of model years 1996 to 2001 established the standard for high quality, medium weight touring motorcycles. For the 2002 model year, with the R1150RT, displacement and power were increased. Power-assisted, integrated ABS brakes were included and the headlight area was expanded to include better lighting and two fog lights. For the 2004 model year dual spark plugs were added to each cylinder to improve mileage and eliminate surging problems some owners experienced with its predecessor.
Right above: With the R1100RS in 1993, BMW introduced on its boxer twins the Telelever fork, a variant of the earlier British Saxon-Motodd design (above, left), wherein an additional swingarm that mounts to the frame and supports the spring. This causes the trail and castor angle (rake) to increase during braking instead of decreasing as with traditional telescopic forks, reducing substantially front end dive when braking. The two fork sliders have no damping, as a central coilover hydraulic damper, supported by an A-frame connected to the engine crankcase, handles that. The Telelever has been used on the all BMW RT models since 1995, including R1200RT.
The 2007 R1200RT (above, right) offers significant improvements over certain aspects of the 2004 R1150RT (above, left). Notably:
Horsepower is increased 14% from 95 to 110 @ 7,500 RPMs.
Torque is increased 13% from 72 to 85 foot-pounds @ 6,000 RPMs.
Engine displacement increases 4% from 1,130 to 1,170 cc.
Weight claimed, wet, is down 7% from 614 to 571 pounds.
Fuel capacity increases 7% from 6.6 to 7.1 gallons.
Alternator output increases 3% from 700 to 720 watts.
EVO ABS brakes changed from fully to partially integrated.
Starting in 2007, new partially integrated ABS brakes are used without power assist.
Cruise control is available on U.S. models! Did not exist on earlier RTs.
Starting in 2007, electronic tire-pressure monitoring (TPM) is available.
Electronically adjustable suspension (ESA) is available on U.S. models.
U.S. prices increased with many options available.
Below, left: In August 2005, Cycle World magazine named the R1200RT the year's Best Touring Bike. Below, right: In September 2005, Motorcyclist magazine also named the R1200RT the Best Touring Bike of 2005 and again of 2006, and named the R1200GS the Best Adventure Bike. To read the R1200RT articles, click here.
In May 2013, Rider magazine published an R1200RT page Mr. Traditional.
I bought a Piedmont red model from BMW Motorcycles of Milwaukee in June 2005. It is ESA equipped with the alarm system, tank bag, top case, additional power socket, supplemental tool kit, valve cover protectors, on board computer, oil-level warning, and clear signal lenses. No radio and no heated seat. I added a Cee Bailey 27.5" (70 cm) tall windshield, which is 3" (7.6 cm) over stock (photo below left). In warm weather, I install Cee Bailey's short windshield (photo below right). I am also using Cee Bailey's saddle bag liners, which are similar to others but are relatively inexpensive. I traded a red R1200RT for a Biarritz blue 2007 R1200RT at Iron Horse Motorcycles, Tucson.
The photo above, left, is a 2007 model R1200RT in Biarritz blue color. The colors changed for the 2007 model year, and a new generation of ABS brakes without power assist also arrived.
BMW has produced a really cool 1:10 R1200RT scale model (photo below, right), BMW part number 80 43 0 393 420.
For years, actually decades, BMW motorcycle saddles have been uncomfortable. The only stock BMW saddle I have ever found to be comfortable for long periods was that on the K1200LT. I have often wondered why BMW could not produce comfortable saddles for its motorcycles. A good friend once asked a BMW employee about this and was told that, surely, BMW could make comfortable saddles, but it could not sell bikes with them because of the way they look. In other words, BMW's theory is the reverse of Architect Louis Sullivan's famous dictum, form follows function. That is, BMW believes that when it comes to saddles, at least, form follows style. The lack of comfort of the R1200RT's stock saddle became apparent the first time I rode it from the dealer to my home. Therefore, on my full-size R1200RT I have installed a Rick Mayer leather saddle (photo below, left) to cure the serious comfort shortcomings of the stock saddle. Aftermarket saddle makers may well be happy with BMW's saddle design concept.
There are two BMW top cases available for the R1200RT. The smaller case has a capacity of 28 liters (1 ft.³ or 7.4 gallons); the larger case has a capacity of 49 liters (1.7 ft.³ or 12.9 gallons) and comes only in light gray. The small case is perfect for daily use. The large case, which will swallow two full-face helmets, is great for packing for long trips. You can definitely feel the impact of the large case on handling when you are loaded for touring. I am often asked, Are they available color matched to the motorcycles? The answer is no. Because it presents a large hunk of light gray lid, it surely would be nice if the large case, especially, was available from BMW color matched. For $100, I had my top lid painted to match the bike, as can be seen below. The pre-2014 top cases, both large and small, fit perfectly on the 2014 R1200RT. The large case is about half the cost of a 2014 top case and is lighter.
I added an RCU Shelf to my R1200RT to hold a variety of electronic gadgets. I had to cut the trailing edge of the RCU shelf back 1½ inches (3.8 cm), however, so I could see the highest indicator lights.
On this shelf I installed a California Sport Touring clock/voltmeter/thermometer (below, right) on the shelf. While not waterproof (and needs to be wrapped in rain) it provides good information.
I installed another electrical socket on the right side of the fairing (photo below, left), wired with an in-line fuse directly to the battery.
I have added Motolight driving lights (see lower lights in the photo below).
In 2012 I installed a set of BMR Driving Light Mounts (below left) and PIAA halogen driving lights (upper lights below). I wanted to have a pair of lights higher than the Motolights for improved visibility for me and to motorists.
Below left: the Machine Art "Moto Avant" front fender 5½-inch extension to the fender keeps the engine clean. Installation is very easy and no holes in the fender are needed to install it. Below right: BMW's valve cover protectors.
Below: Some owners have seen their windshield arms break. It happened to me on an R1150RT in Vermont. Now there is a solution for R1200RT owners, the West Tool windshield support arms, which I installed on my R1200RT in January 2013. The instructions state, 15 minute job. Perhaps this is true if you do not count collecting all the needed tools and you have done it a dozen or so times before. Otherwise, allow an hour.
Below, left: I installed Hyper-Lites' turn signals to increase my conspicuity when I signal turns or lane changes.
Below, right: Hyper-Lites can also provide its famous flashing LED brake lights for the single-filament brake light on the R1200RT. I installed the dual function version with 16 LEDs per side. It shows steady tail LEDs (shown below) and flashing brake LEDs.
Below, left: I added a rotating, adjustable blind spot mirrors up where your views otherwise tend to be of your hands on the hand grips.
Below, center: BMW's rear fender extender (part #71607694184) slides up and down to adjust amount of projection below the stock fender.
Below, right: The door to the glove/radio box has a neat flashlight clip that holds perfectly an AA Mini Maglite® color matched, of course.
|Because of the new single-wire electrical system on the R1200RT, a normal battery charger cannot be used unless it is connected directly to the battery. Therefore, BMW produced a special charger (photo right) for this motorcycle, and the R1200GS, which can plug directly into the stock accessory socket and charge the battery. Once charged, the motorcycle's electrical system shuts down and the charger turns off. This is fine for a single charge to the battery, but it will not maintain a charge over a long period because it is off. Therefore, to maintain a long charge, even with this special charger, it must be connected directly to the battery.|
To solve this problem I installed an accessory socket that is wired directly to the battery. I plug a Battery Tender Gel charger into this socket.
The Incredible Fading Horn
The 2005 and early 2006 R1200RT motorcycles came with loud, two-tone horns that were very effective. Midway during the production of the 2006 models, however, BMW replaced the two-tone horns with a single beep that is minimal and, to me, completely unacceptable. I have no idea why this was done, other than to save precious few dollars. The replacement horn is ineffective in warding off drivers drifting their cars into your lane. When I traded my 2005 in on a new 2007, I had the dealer swap the horns so my new bike still has the two-tone version. I recommend that owners of R1200RTs with single-tone horns replace their one horn with two-tone horns as soon as possible. Either secure original 2005 BMW horns or get aftermarket horns from an auto supply store.
Just in case the reason BMW replaced two horns with one was because additional electrical load caused problems with its sensitive electronics, I took the precaution of wiring the two horns directly to the battery and connecting them to the R1200RT's wiring harness's positive horn wire through a relay. I had done this with my 2005 R1200GS using an inexpensive auto relay (part no. 275-226) from Radio Shack. Having installed a relay, I have had zero problems with dual horns on my R1200RT.
The R1200RT-P Authority Motorcycle
In 2006, BMW began manufacturing the "Authority" version of the R1200RT, known as the R1200RT-P (photos below). It is the successor to the acclaimed R1150RT-P. BMW has the largest number of police motorcycles in service worldwide over 80,000 and its motorcycles are gaining wide acceptance in the United States because of their superior power, handling, brakes, and life-cycle costs. Click here to read a report (PDF file) done in 2006, Law Enforcement Motorcycle Test and Evaluation Program, from the Los Angeles County Sherff's Department.
R1200RT Specifications (through 2013)|
(Converted into pounds, inches, U.S. gallons, etc.)
- Model years 2005-2009 Air/oil-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke Boxer engine, one camshaft and four valves per cylinder, central compensation shaft
- Model years 2010-2013 Air/oil-cooled flat twin ('Boxer') 4-stroke engine, two camshafts and four radially aligned valves per cylinder, central balancer shaft
- Bore / stroke 101 mm x 73 mm
- Engine displacement 1,170 ccm
- Rated output 110 bhp at 7500 rpm
Maximum torque 85 foot-pounds at 6000 rpm
Compression ratio 12.0:1
Mixture control / engine management Electronic intake pipe injection/digital engine management: BMW engine management, BMS-K with overrun fuel cut-off, dual ignition
Emission control Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter
Performance / fuel consumption
Maximum speed Greater than 125 mph
Fuel consumption over 62 mile course at a constant 56 mph 65 mpg
Fuel consumption over 62 mile course at a constant 75 mph 49 mpg
Fuel type Unleaded premium, octane rumber 98 (RON) with automatic knock control
Alternator 720 Watts / 60 Amperes three-phase alternator
Battery 12 Volts / 12 Ah
Clutch Single-disc dry clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gearing
Drive Shaft drive
Chassis / brakes
Frame Three-section frame consisting of front and rear section, load bearing engine-gearbox unit
Front wheel location / suspension BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 35 mm, central spring strut, rebound damping electronically adjustable with standard ESA
Rear wheel location / suspension Die-cast aluminium single-sided swinging arm with BMW Motorrad EVO-Paralever; spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable to continuously variable levels by means of electronically adjustable ESA, rebound damping with standard ESA
Travel front/rear 4.72 inches / 5.31 inches
Wheelbase (in normal position) 58.3 inches
Castor (in normal position) 4.3 inches
Steering head angle (in normal position) 63.4Ý
Die-cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front 3.50 x 17
Rim, rear 5.50 x 17
Tire, front 120/70 ZR 17
Tire, rear 180/55 ZR 17
Brake, front EVO brake system with dual disc, floating brake discs, 320 mm diameter, four-piston fixed caliper
Brake, rear Single disc brake, diameter 265 mm, double-piston floating caliper
ABS BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral) as standard
Dimensions / Weight
Length 87.8 inches
Width (including mirrors) 35.6 inches
Height (not including mirrors) 56.3 inches
Seat height, unladen weight 32 / 33 inches (special equipment low seat bench: 30.7 / 31.5 inches)
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled 571 pounds
Dry weight 505 pounds
Permitted total weight 1,091 pounds
Payload (with standard equipment) 520 pounds
Usable fuel tank volume 7.1 gallons U.S.
Fuel reserve Approximately 1 gallon
2014 R1200RT Specifications|
Type Air/liquid-cooled 4-stroke flat twin engine, double overhead camshaft, one balance shaft
Bore x stroke 101 mm x 73 mm
Capacity 1,170 cc
Rated output 125 hp (92 kW) at 7,750 rpm
Max. torque 92 lb/ft (125 Nm) at 6,500 rpm
Compression ratio 12.5 : 1
Mixture control / engine management Electronic intake pipe injection / BMS-K+ digital engine management with electromotive throttle actuator
Emission control Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Performance / fuel consumption
Maximum speed 125 mph
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 90 km/h 60 mg at a constant 56 mph (3.9 l)
Fuel type Premium Unleaded
Alternator three-phase alternator 540 W
Battery 12 V / 16 Ah, maintenance-free
Clutch oil lubricated clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gear teeth
Drive Shaft drive
Chassis / brakes
Frame Two-section frame consisting of front and rear sections, load-bearing engine-gearbox unit
Front wheel suspension BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 37 mm, central spring strut
Rear wheel suspension Cast aluminium single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable
Suspension travel front / rear 4.7 in / 5.4 in (120 mm / 136 mm)
Wheelbase 58.5 in (1,485 mm)
Castor 4.6 in (116 mm)
Steering head angle 63.6°
Wheels Cast aluminium wheels
Rim, front 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear 5,50 x 17"
Tires, front 120/70 ZR 17
Tires, rear 180/55 ZR 17
Brake, front Dual disc brake, floating brake discs, diameter 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers
Brake, rear Single disc brake, diameter 276 mm, double-piston floating caliper
ABS BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral)
Dimensions / weights
Length 87.5 in (2,222 mm)
Width (incl. mirrors) 38.7 in (983 mm) / 38.8 in (985 mm) incl. panniers
Height (excl. mirrors) 55.7 in (1,416 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight 31.7 / 32.5 in (high: 32.7 / 33.5 in; low: 29.9 / 30.7 in)
Inner leg curve, unladen weight 71.3 / 72.8 in (high: 73.8 / 75.4 in; low: 68.5 / 70.1 in)
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fuelled 1) 604 lbs (274 kg)
Permitted total weight 1,091 lbs (495 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment) 487 lbs (221 kg)
Usable tank volume 6.6 gal
Reserve approx. 1 gal
Usable fuel tank volume 7.1 gallons U.S.
Fuel reserve Approximately 1 gallon
Wikipedia's entry on the R1200RT
2010-2011 BMW R1200RT specs are here (PDF)
BMW Motorrad USA has posted 2014 R1200RT information here.