BMW 1200RT test
For once here at Party Cycle we decided to test ride a very bourgeois motorbike. Its name : the 1200 RT, a revised version of the BMW GT. In the Grand Touring segment, BMW wanted to come up with something unique in introducing at the start of the new year a new version of its best seller the RT. So, the 1200RT will succeed the 1150. More than an evolution it is a complete innovation.
Aesthetically speaking, the RT has been given a thorough make over. The designers have done away with the curvish lines of its predecessor. This 1200 is edgier, larger and resolutely more futuristic. With or without the standard bags, the RT has been slimmed down. 259 kilos fully loaded, this new model is lighter to the tune of 20 kilograms. Under the plastic bodywork, technological evolutions from its counterpart the 1200GS, which came on to the motorbike scene last year, can be found. From the GS, the RT has taken the Telelever front fork, which prevents the bike from plunging under breaking, and the rear Paralever suspension, which is a fixed to the traditional BMW universal joint.
From the GS, the RT also has the same flat twin-cylinder engine, except that this one is 50ccs larger and breaths much better. This flat BMW has 110 horsepower from 6500 rpm in its full power version. But more than the additional power it is the torque which surprises, 115 Newton metres at 6000 rpm is an 18% gain compared to the 1150 model. The performance level is more than respectable. The 1200RT will cover naught to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and will need just a tick more than 22 seconds to cover a kilometre from a standing start. Above 2000 rpm, re-acceleration is quite healthy, and when surpassing 5000 rpm the twin-cylinder really begins to show its power. And some may quickly find their own limitations on a bike easily capable of producing speeds of more than 200 km/h. On the roads out side of Marseille, we were able to take full advantage of the six-speed gearbox. We especially liked the relatively long second and third gears, which allowed for some good fun from one corner to the next.
On the road: ON THE ROAD
Despite its large size, the 1200 RT shows to be fairly agile, very easy to place in a corner and incredibly smooth when
pitched on an angle. This bike wont catch out an experienced rider.
Its tame demeanour is further confirmed in town, explaining why the vast majority of the RT customers are city dwellers.
Attention though must be paid when riding amongst four-wheel traffic. The width of the side bags will quickly remind to
take the greatest of care.
At BMW the signs are not misleading : the philosophy of the Bavarian constructor is to bring together its two business
sectors. And that is no better illustrated than the dashboard, which looks like it came straight from a seven series road
car. But the complex functions are not always easily accessible from the handlebars. Amongst other features is the
cruise control for long motorway ventures, the radio as well as the ESA are add on options. There is also a three-position
electronic suspension adjustment for Normal, Comfort or Sport riding.
The average RT owner is a frequent rider, putting in 20 000 kms per year. So, BMW has put an emphasis on comfort.
The riding position is very straight as is the passengers, who can hold on to the two large handles. The seat is
comfortable and as a small bonus it comes heated.
As for the safety gear, its very effective. However, for the smaller riders under 1metre 80, BMW proposes an alternative
in the form of an optional lower seat.
The break system is another area of comfort with an integrated sport ABS package on offer. An evolution requested by
loyalist who privilege riding comfort.
The 120 RT is not a thirsty machine. With a fuel economy of 4.8 litres at an average speed of 120km/h, you will be able
to ride on the motorway for 500kms before having to stop for petrol.
True to BMW tradition, and sometime a tad too much, there is a full list of options and accessories, for example this
alarm warning for 10 Euros. You will have the choice between several colour combinations.
In conclusion, the 1200 RT charms with its road handling and is positioned as a new leader in this domain. Sold in the
UK for 10 710 Pounds, the 1200 RT is set to take on the Yamaha FJR and Honda Pan European. With this new
machine, BMW is firmly entrenched in the market for motorbikes built for nice long rides...so long as you have the
budget to buy one.