Staff bikes: BMW R1200RT - racking up the mileage

By Andy Downes -

First rides & tests

 23 July 2010 12:09

Daily use of the BMW R1200RT has seen the mileage cresting 8000 with familiarity allowing me to love the bike and the way it can apparently do almost anything.

People look at the RT and think it’s a big beast. I’ll admit it does look imposing but this bulk evaporates the moment the wheels start rolling.

Switch the suspension over to Sport and everything tightens up and the RT can really be chucked down a back road.    

The new twin-cam engine only puts out 110bhp but its enough for decent cruising and acceleration even loaded up and with a pillion.

Even though the BMW R1200RT comes with massive hard panniers as standard, using the bike everyday showed the need for a tankbag.

I’ve always found tank bags to be the best bet when it comes to using a bike everyday – almost no matter what type of bike you have they are generally worthwhile as they are small enough to not get in the way, big enough to take a change of clothes and shoes for work yet still easy to get to.

BMW offer a specially shaped tankbag for the RT with a hard base plate. It has two prongs that lock onto the fuel tank and then snaps shut at the front. No need for straps, magnets or any danger of it coming loose.

The BMW tankbag comes with two expansion zips to increase capacity from 13 to 19 litres, it’s completely waterproof thanks to a clever liner, has a roll-shut map pocket and a zipped inside document pocket. I can vouch for the waterproofing after a torrential downpour on a recent long trip. The only downsides are the outer material took two days to dry off and the map pocket was steaming up for days afterwards - and the price of £183 which is a lot of money for a tankbag.

The RT has now done more than 8000 miles with the big bike performing exactly as it should. It’s comfortable, economical at 49.5mpg, has a brilliant tank range of more than 250 miles at a go, handles and stops far better than it’s size would suggest and seems built to last.

The only minor gripes are the location of the rear tyre valve (solved with a screw on adaptor), rain blowing under and over the windscreen, the LCD information screen not being bright enough to read in the day, the fuel cap doesn’t stay open and it likes a drink of oil. I still love the bike though and looking forward to sticking another 8000 miles on it as quickly.

Further reading:
Staff bike blogs | R1200RT blog

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