BMW R1200RT (2005-2009) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Not just a great tourer, a great motorcycle, period"

BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding

"Not just a great tourer, a great motorcycle, period"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

All-new successor to able but bland BMW R1150RT was one of the surprise highlights of BMW’s 2005 motorcycle range. It was not only faster and lighter, the ergonomics and handling package is excellent too. Not just a great tourer, a great motorcycle, period.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Along with more power – came much reduced weight with the BMW R1200RT. A full 20kg has been slashed which transforms handling. Steering is sharp, it’s a much more flickable motorcycle than before and yet stability is as good as ever. The BMW R1200RT is great to hustle. It’s also great to cruise thanks to BMW’s plush Telelever/Paralever suspension set-up.

Engine 4 out of 5

New 1200 version of the BMW R1150RT, as debuted on the BMW R1200GS the year before, delivered 110bhp, 15% up on the old 1150 engine. And you notice it, too. The BMW R1200RT is vigorous and lively, yet with the same reliability and flexibility as ever – still no missile, though. If you want that, get a BMW K1200GT.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

BMW R1200RT are good, although sometimes not quite as good as the reputation suggests… There have been no BMW R1200RT scare stories yet and metal and paint finishes are as good as any motorcycle, but you still need to fight off salt corrosion in winter.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The thick end of £10K is a lot of money for a 110bhp twin cylinder touring motorcycle, especially when heated grips, stereo etc cost extra. But the BMW R1200RT is a stonking motorcycle that’ll go on forever and maintain its value. If you buy a BMW R1200RT, you won’t regret it. Find a BMW R1200RT for sale.

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It’s a BMW motorcycle tourer, so there’s the best of everything on the BMW R1200RT… if you pay the extra. In stock trim, however, the BMW R1200RT is still very comfortable thanks to comprehensive instrumentation, effective screen and mirrors and, best of all, the sumptious and usefully height adjustable seat. Every motorcycle should have one. Compare and buy parts for the R1200RT in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

19 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200RT (2005-2009) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW R1200RT (2005-2009)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.8 out of 5
Equipment 4.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great tourer.

29 August 2017 by nanookofthenorth

Expensive to repair. Clutch worn out by previous owner riding in London. Over a grand to replace, and that's not by a BMW dealer. When fixed, it became the bike I wish I'd always had - quick beyond its appearance, comfy, great handling and with a good road presence, especially with additional LED spots added. Luggage as good as it gets. Easy to add mods such as 12v power socket (not one of the silly BMW DIN ones). I love it.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Comfy on long trips despite my ageing hips. With all the toys (except audio) it makes long trips easy, the electronically adjustable suspension definitely makes a difference to me and the traction control has (probably) saved my bacon a couple of times when accelerating across wet drain covers.
Engine
5 out of 5
Nothing but torque, torque, torque.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
But when something does go wrong, expect to empty your bank account.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Servicing by independent BMW specialist quite reasonable. Normally get 55mpg and I don't hold back on the throttle. 60+ easily achievable. Considering that there are no chain/sprockets to replace, it's not bad.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Bought privately knowing there were one or two issues. Unfortunately the worn clutch wasn't worn enough to slip when I test-rode it; that started about a thousand miles later. Check service history, check for oil leak around sight-glass. Check rear wheel bearings. If you get the chance to test ride, open the throttle wide in 4th or 5th at low revs - if the clutch slips, walk away or consider the £1000+ possible repair bill.

4 out of 5

A Cracking Touring Machine

31 August 2016 by Noodles

Spectacular comfort and weather protection, with oodles of heating to keep the cold a bay. On first impressions the R1200RT is an enormous machine, edging on the side of intimidating; coming to BMW after years of Japanese bikes was a tough choice, but a good one none the less. If you have the inclination to ride quickly and show little fear for fast cornering, the bike is an engineering master piece, the electronic suspension is unbelievable at dealing with damping and rebound and offers the rider a very impressive cornering experience, far better then you would think was possible.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Braking is uneventful powerful and easily controlled, however you do need to remember this is a heavy bike, and at speed all the Electronic suspension and ABS aids aren't going to help if the distance you need to stop in is too short, fully loaded two up your getting close to 400+KG, Tank range is getting close to 300 miles and you can do this in comfort in one sitting.
Engine
5 out of 5
On start up the boxer engine is a little agricultural and rocks, thrums and chugs but once on you way its a dream, i guess you could say it has character, something those inline 4's just don't offer. The engine comes with bags of torque and pulls pretty much in any gear, use the gears and the full rev range effectively a BMW R1200RT picks up speed at a staggering linear pace, it lacks the sports surge of insanity of the 1000cc's and up the in line 4's have.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
BMW Build quality is excellent and their attention to detail is second to none, the luggage fitment on the top box, panniers and tank bag is so simple. The gizmo's are just brilliant and make a world of difference to the riding experience: The heated grips, heated seats front and rear are very effective, the adjustable screen keeps the worst of the weather off and offers up excellent weather protection all round, cruise control (my first on a bike) is a little odd and takes some time getting use to, but my god what a brilliant idea, you really need to try it to appreciate it.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
I'm lucky as I self service, have the tools and knowledge so the Dealer price of up to £425 is reduced to sub £200 keeping it inline with what i consider to be affordable.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Purchasing a BMW R1200RT should pretty much comes ready to tour, inner bags are a must to simplify the transition between bike and accommodation, The top box if not fitted is worth the money, it offers your pillion a comfortable back rest and a lock up for two helmets, tyre's I run Michelin Pilot road 4 GT's offering excellent mileage and good grip.
Buying experience

I purchased my R1200RT privately for £5000 with 18000 miles on the ODO

5 out of 5

A great Touring bike that is great fun on windy Welsh roads.

24 June 2016 by Tony

Handling once rolling is very good even at low speed but choose your parking spot well otherwise hauling approximately a quarter of a ton around is hard work on a slope!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Lovely ride quality for long journeys whether solo or two up. Excellent handling on the twisty roads too.
Engine
5 out of 5
If you like a low revving, high torque engine, this is the one. Fuel consumption is excellent with consistent high 50s on tour.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Good solid build quality, I have always garaged mine and washed it down after a ride, particularly in the winter.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Servicing is as much as a car but when you look at the spec of the bike, it's only missing two more wheels and a roof and it would be a car.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Good level of equipment. Electric screen adjustment is a definitely an advantage in poor weather or if there are a lot of flies. Cruise control is excellent on European roads but I would be very careful using it on our crowded motorways.
Buying experience

Bought from Southport Superbikes, sadly no more. We negotiated a part-ex which we were both happy with. I don't recall figures now.

4 out of 5

Great all rounder, low fuel consumption helps paying regular repair-bills

23 September 2015 by Rob van Elst

Looks like a big comfy tourer, but is, above all, a very good fun all-rounder; even more so than the GS. Unlike most modern tourers, the engine has quite a bit of quirky character too without making it less usable.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Surprisingly good all-rounder, easier to flick through packed traffic than GS for example. Comfy on long distances, even though seat leaves little options for moving around / changing position.
Engine
5 out of 5
It's quite a lot slower than say a Pan, a VFR1200 or FJR1300 but there is always enough power when you need it. In that respect it's perfect. Tyres last forever compared to my VFR1200 as a bonus.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Quality and general finish are "inconsistent" at best (for example good paint on plastics but loads of corrosion on forks, sub-frame, screws and engine; finish on shaft housing looks uneven and cheap); plenty of recurring issues with electrics (relays and other components, ignition coils) and drive (clutch, gearbox, end-drive) leading to regular (very) high repair bills. Modern BMWs seem mainly reliable in reputation, not half as good as my Honda VFR1200 for example.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Quite long intervals but needs BMW specialist really for proper servicing given the electronics/servo brakes. Prices seem unreasonably high for a bike with a relatively simple engine with easily accessible heads for valve clearance checks etc, BMW hourly rates are high. Great fuel consumption (60 mpg is quite well possible when spending lots of time on the motorway at legal(ish) speeds). Unlike other RTs, mine hardly uses any oil in between services.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I thought I'd never use it but the cruise control is great on long trips. Otherwise has all gadgets you need, panniers are great. Headlight is great too, which seems a rarity on modern bikes.
Buying experience

I bought this 2nd hand from a (non-BMW) bike dealer with warranty, 40.000 miles 3 years ago, for £6000. It then had 30k on the clock.

5 out of 5

08 August 2015 by Randall Walger

I do recommend it and friend got one.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
With the ABS I can hit the brakes as hard as I want..
Engine
4 out of 5
Could do with a little more.. The water cooled version is ace.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
The overly fancy abs box failed. Expensive fix at 2 grand.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Mostly tyres and routine maintenance.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Dealer. Traded in CBR1100 and got very good trade in. Got free top box 50 L color coded to main paint. I added hated seat, electronic suspension.

5 out of 5

Great bike to go out on a long ride....very long ride

31 May 2013 by DutchDiver

After 9 years I upgraded from my R1150R to a 2005 R1200RT. What a difference! The seat is more comfortable, the riding position has more feel, the engine is more responsive, the handling is better, brakes are better, the fuel range is much more and on top the screen is excellent when cruising! It's just a massive improvement across the board! Took the bike across Spain and Portugal and I actually didn't want to get off on any of the days. This bike will not disappoint and it loves being thrown into corners and eats them all up.... I already feel this is going to be my bike for he next 9 years

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Bikes now for pleasure only

10 March 2010 by Gordon1952

On my second RT1200 - truely fantastic bike. Perfect for cruising at 90+mph all day fully loaded 2 up. Also perfect for a weeks holiday in the worst rain imaginable in Scotland. Never got very wet. Perfect roadholding in the wet thanks to traction control. Never thought cruise control was right on a bike until I bought my LE version - cruise is perfect for 400 miles in a day continental touring - great to rest the right hand even for 5 minutes.Very frugal in fuel economy. In 4 years of owning RT1200's I have travelled 30000 miles without any mechanical problems. only downside is the awkward way of measuring oil level although the on board computer does register when the level becomes very low. Can't wait to get my next RT in 2011.Off to Italy for 3 weeks in August for some serious riding in the mountains.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Bikes now for pleasure only

10 March 2010 by Gordon1952

On my second RT1200 - truely fantastic bike. Perfect for cruising at 90+mph all day fully loaded 2 up. Also perfect for a weeks holiday in the worst rain imaginable in Scotland. Never got very wet. Perfect roadholding in the wet thanks to traction control. Never thought cruise control was right on a bike until I bought my LE version - cruise is perfect for 400 miles in a day continental touring - great to rest the right hand even for 5 minutes.Very frugal in fuel economy. In 4 years of owning RT1200's I have travelled 30000 miles without any mechanical problems. only downside is the awkward way of measuring oil level although the on board computer does register when the level becomes very low. Can't wait to get my next RT in 2011.Off to Italy for 3 weeks in August for some serious riding in the mountains.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Back to bikes at 50

23 February 2010 by JonathanRisley

I bought the 1200 RT after test riding it and a Honda Pan European and loved it from the start. I am 6 foot 3 and weight 16 stone so the only thing I needed to change was the screen. I found a bigger one at Nippy Normans. I have now done over 12000 miles with 3 trips to Spain including a non-stop Barcelona to home. I love the bike and feel relaxed and comfortable at all times.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

An excellent all rounder

21 February 2010 by Oliebloke

First off I'm 6ft 4 and 15 stone (I think these figures are important with bike reviews). The bike is a '59 LE (fully loading end of line). Ive had the bike since Oct 09 and have covered the best part of 2000miles on it so far. Its one of the best handling bikes I have ever ridden and the engine is fantastic for everything from cruising around country lanes to having a blast along A'roads and along tight n twisty B roads. Comfort is exceptional for both me and my lady, weather protection is fantastic. The screen does allow a little wind onto the helmet however it also can work to clear the rain I have found and there are aftermarket larger screens if it really annoys you. The only down side so far has been the reliability hasnt been fantastic with a knackered ABS Sensor and stuck indicator cancel switch however they were all sorted quickly and efficiently. I personally love this bike. If you are after a bike that can do abit of everything on road and still have quite abit of fun as well this is the bike for you.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

So far so good

10 October 2009 by Cobby

Had the RT for a month now, great equipment, love the ride, surprisingly quick. I even use the cruise control, which I didn't see the need for.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
2 out of 5

NEW 2009

29 September 2009 by sportsboyuk

TEST RODE ONE IT BROKE DOWN SO THE DEALER GOT ME ANOTHER TO TEST AND YES IT BROKE DOWN AGAIN SO FOLLOWING WEEKEND HE SAID HERE TAKE THIS FOR THE DAY YES YES YES IT WENT MAJORLY WRONG, FAILED PANNIER, ELECTRICAL FAILIURE, AND WORST OF ALL THE FRONT PADS WENT IT HAD 480 MILES ON THE CLOCK SO I DIDNT BUY ONE I LEFT VERY DISSAPOINTED PS ENGINE POWER IS OOR TOO ODD BIKE BMW HAVE LOST THERE BUILD QAULITY AND THEY ARE EXPENSIVE NOT IMPRESSED

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
1 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
1 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
1 out of 5

R1200RT Quality problems

14 June 2009 by LesK

Bought an R1200RT new in 2005, since done 31k miles. ESA failed after 4 days, took BMW more than 2 years to make it work properly.Throttle jammed due to incorrect assembly. Horn bracket fractured. Starter motor failed. RHS indicator switch failed. OIl leaks. Front engine cover and rear wheel replaced due to corrosion problems. Fuel pump elelectronics failed. Wiring harness to ignition switch fractured. Needle roller on final drive failed. Blew 8 headlamp bulbs. BMW washed their hands of it after 2 years. Conclusion, lovely bike with totally unacceptable quality, good luck to prospective buyers, goodbye to BMW.....

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
1 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Wind Blast

01 February 2009 by all624

Got an RT SE last year for something different, bike is great, except..... the standard screen: The wind either hit me directly in the mouth at low3 setting, or at full tilt on the top of my helmet making it really unpleasant and I am only 6 foot tall. Put a Cee Bailey screen on with the largest size option and this has helped a lot but has killed fuel consumption and not so good in a side wind, which I can appreciate. When I tested one I thought that the screen was a bit low but thought that with a bit of fiddling I could sort it out, but no. The new screen also allows you to look through it rather than having the top edge of the standard screen vibrating in your line of sight.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

R1200RT

09 April 2008 by fambone

Had bike for over a year. Done some serious long milage around South Africa in December - super comfy, great power and wind protection for long trips. Also competent commuter but prefer its open road capabilities.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

R1200RT

09 April 2008 by fambone

Had bike for over a year. Done some serious long milage around South Africa in December - super comfy, great power and wind protection for long trips. Also competent commuter but prefer its open road capabilities.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

R1200RT

02 September 2007 by simon1hep

Done 15k miles on my 2nd hand Dec '05 1200RT from Vines (Guildford) without ANY reliability problems. Originally wanted a K1200S, but the pillion comfort was not much better than my Firestorm, so got the R1200RT old mans tourer! Can't say anything bad about it, but can't say much good about it? Terrific all rounder, but primarily designed as a one or two up long distance tourer. I use it daily throughout the year for work and the panniers and grip heaters are brilliant. Some quality issues, but items replaced under warranty, watch out for corrosion on footpeg support plate, engine front plate and fork stanchion legs. Bridgestone 020's better then the Conti Road Attack's, will try the B021's at next change. Have kept my sports bike for more spirited rides, but will always go on the BM when distance/luggage/rain are involved. Wind protection very good with the height adjustable screen, cruising at 80+ you can read a newspaper behind the screen! Given the choice purchase choice again, I would still go for the K1200S, but it is not as good as the RT for everyday and touring use. Handling surprisingly good once you get used to the bouncy suspension (in comparison to a sports bike) and very stable at all speeds. Main niggle at the moment is how to turn off the indicator auto-cancel 'feature', which is a pain in the a**e. Dealer says that they will have a look at cancelling it through the diagnostics at next service. If you want a comfy, quick (but not fast), ultra tourer, then give one a test ride. Bear in mind, if you haven't ridden a beemer, then it can take at least 500 miles to acclimatise to them (that's just the indicator switches), so don't expect miracles during a test ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
2 out of 5

Had my R1200ST 1st year service and was loaned an RT for the day...

13 April 2006 by wwdph02

First impression on the ride home -  it seems to suffer more from sidewinds. Sat behind a large screen, tillers for handlebars and mirrors underneath. Played with the electric screen to find a spot where the wind noise and turbulance disappeared and rode home 30 miles. Collected my wife, her first opinion was that the seat was comfy but she felt unsafe, missed the grab handles from the ST and the RT's felt too low and under her legs which was uncomfortable. It didn't get much better I'm afraid as I found the brake/clutch span adjusters would not get as close to the bars as the ST and felt I was trying to steer a barge and Sally described it as sittng on a sofa. We had intended to have a full day out but just took it back to the dealership. Never been so glad to get my own bike back and even more grateful to see that after a year I am still happier with the ST! It felt far more responsive, under my control and has killed of any thoughts of ever buying a true tourer again. Strengths: Build quality and load carrying ability for continental trips, brakes, engine and proven reliability. Weaknesses: Too large and not much fun once you get to you destination and remove the panniers unlike other sport tourer type machines.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

I have riden a Harley Dyna Glide for the last 5 years but needed a touring bike.

06 January 2006 by phillw

I have never liked the BMW RT range. Being short of leg they have always seemed far to big and cumbersome for me to ride safetly. Problem I had was I wanted to tour two up and the wife could not get comfortable on the Harley. Enter the 1200 RT. The dealer suggested lower suspension plus the low seat option, had a ride on one and was totaly won over. So easy to ride especially at low speed and brilliant at motorway speeds. Spoke to Ohlins (Harris Performance) and they supplied the front/rear shocks 1.5 ins shorter than stock in one week, realy impresive service. Bought the bike and away I go. Strengths: Brakes are fabulous, I can not belive how well it handles for such a big bike. After the Harley this is a revelation. Weaknesses: Havent found any yet.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2005
Year discontinued 2009
Original price £11,045
Used price £4,400 to £6,900
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £340
Performance
Max power 110 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Tank range 190 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type 8v boxer twin, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tubular type
Fuel capacity 27 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, rebound
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs
Rear brake Single 265mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2005: BMW R1200RT launched.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Instruments
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Riding
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Side view
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Front view
  • BMW R1200RT motorcycle review - Side view
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