2005 2013 R1200RT
Click here for the 2014-2018 BMW R1200RTby Jeff Dean
Model year 2007 was the first year the R1200RT came out without servo-assisted (power) brakes. That is why I once owned a 2007 model. Only the 2005 and 2006 models have the discontinued servo brakes.
Below is my friend Norm, who now owns this motorcycle, outside the Saguaro National Park west of Tucson, Arizona.
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.
Below is Norm's 2007 R1200RT seen in 2018. It now has Clearwater's Erica Lights on E5 under-mirror mounts. Slip-on protective covers with clear and yellow lenses are an option.
Below, I was putting this 2007 R1200RT through its paces in March 2011 during the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Advanced Rider Course in Tucson, Arizona.
Below, a beautiful day, a 2005 R1200RT, and a wonderful curving road in southwestern Wisconsin. Life was good.
For 2005 and 2006 BMW offered a lovely Piedmont red R1200RT (below and above). It was the last red RT BMW would offer for the next twelve years.
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.
The 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.
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 traded the red R1200RT for a Biarritz blue 2007 R1200RT at Iron Horse Motorcycles, an exclusive BMW dealership, Tucson. The photo above, right, is that bike. This color was introduced for the 2007 model year, and a new generation of ABS brakes without servo assist also arrived. The latter was key to my decision to acquire the newer model, which I no longer own.
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 had 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 had installed a Rick Mayer leather saddle (photo below) to cure the serious comfort shortcomings of the stock saddle (Rick Mayer is no longer in business). 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 was 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 the top lid painted, by Tucson's own Ed Carlson, to match the bike, as can be seen below.
BMW has produced a really cool 1:10 R1200RT scale model (photo above, right), BMW part number 80 43 0 393 420.
I added an RCU Shelf to the 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 digital clock/voltmeter/thermometer (below, right). While not waterproof (and needs to be wrapped in rain) it provides good information. This and similar devices can be found on Amazon.
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 had added Motolight driving lights (see lower lights in the photo below).
In 2012 I installed a set of BMR Driving Light Mounts (below) 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: 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, below, which I installed on the 2007 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: Hyper-Lites' turn signals increase conspicuity when signalling 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: Rotating, adjustable blind spot mirrors are 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.
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. Below left is an R1200RT-P of the Arizona DPS Highway Patrol.
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.
Wikipedia's entry on the R1200RT
2010-2011 BMW R1200RT specs are here (PDF)
BMW Motorrad USA has posted 2014 R1200RT information here.