BMW R1200RT (2014-on) Review

Published: 26 February 2014

"Despite a 2014 recall glitch, arguably the best bike BM make. Light, sophisticated and astonishingly effective"

BMW R1200RT  (2014-on)

"Despite a 2014 recall glitch, arguably the best bike BM make. Light, sophisticated and astonishingly effective"

  • At a glance
  • 1170cc  -  124 bhp
  • 46 mpg  -  240 miles range
  • Low seat height (805mm)
  • New: £13,350
    Used: £9,000 to £18,000 See all BMW R1200RTs for sale

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

Partially water-cooling the R1200RT has evolved it into an even better tourer. The new motor gives it a bit more bite to take on the likes of the Triumph Trophy while not over-stepping the mark. Despite being a large machine the BMW remains light and maneuverable and the addition of power modes and the advanced electronics have brought it bang up to date. Although the gear shift assist is a touch unnecessary, the hill start is brilliant and the water-cooled engine is considerably smoother off the bottom end.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

One of the key factors in the RT’s success is not only its extreme comfort, but also its light handling. Sensibly BMW haven’t played around with these features at all and the RT remains a superb mile muncher as well as surprisingly agile considering its size. The new fairing is fantastically protective and even at over six feet tall I found the screen deflected all wind blast over the top of my helmet without any signs of turbulence. The small tweaks to the riding position haven’t detracted from its all-day comfort levels and the new chassis still manages to mask the bike’s 274kg weight.

Engine 4 out of 5

Although the majority of the RT’s engine is the same as the new GS’s, a heavier flywheel and alternator have taken a bit of the feeling of lightness out of the GS’s revs while a taller rear shaft gear has calmed down the acceleration. This change of mood suits the RT perfectly and as with the GS, BMW have essentially made an air/oil-cooled with a bit more of everything everywhere and a smoother throttle action. The RT is now not only more responsive low-down, but also smoother. It isn’t overly powerful, just more willing to pull when the rev counter is in the bottom of its range while the gearbox is far slicker.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The boxer engine is reliable and the level of build quality very high. RTs easily shrug of huge mileages.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

In basic specification it is one of the cheapest full-dress tourers, but when you add the bling the price soon creeps up.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The RT comes with two riding modes, traction control, electric screen and ABS as standard. Semi-active suspension, hill start, gear shift assist are extra.

Owners' Reviews

6 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200RT (2014-on) 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 (2014-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4.8 out of 5
5 out of 5

2 years into a long friendship

22 November 2016 by Brian Butt

I waited 38 years to get my BMW R1200RT. The first couple of weeks I managed to scare myself and then slowly get competent on the big twin. I ride mainly around the city in traffic. The RT has plenty of power when needed, stops like it is on four... Read more wheels and darts left and right at the smallest inputs from the rider. The bike is comfortable and keeps the weather off the rider with the big screen and wide fairing. The purchase price was not negotiable and the dealer padded this out by throwing in some rider gear. 2 years into my relationship with this bike, I am very happy and look forward to many more years of riding the big German RT.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
R1200RT is the limo of the bike world. It feels like you are riding a much smaller bike and I have to remember this thing is as wide as a bus when filtering.
Engine
5 out of 5
Has all the power I need to get a decent traffic fine.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
I have been riding this bike for 2 years with a little over 15K KMS on the clock. Nothing has gone wrong with the bike - nothing has fallen off and there are no rattles. Great BMW quality.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
The annual service comes out around 600 dollars Australian - add to this 500 dollars compulsory insurance, 200 dollars road tax and 400 dollars accident/theft/fire insurance and it isn't a cheap toy to have in the garage. I ride mine to work daily so I get value for my money.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The only thing that didn't come standard in Australia was the top box and sat nav. Both cost an arm and a leg to get, I got the top box and use it every day and use my phone for sat nav. Favourite feature of the bike would have to be the ABS brakes - stops well on wet, dusty or dry roads in all temperatures. After my previous Yamaha V-Star, the BMW is a dream to stop.
Buying experience

Yes, I bought my RT from Brisons Motor Cycles - Newcastle Australia. The ride away price was it - no nasty surprises on pickup day.

4 out of 5

BMW R 1200 RT in Australia

22 November 2016 by Michael

A large tourer which feels as nimble as a 600cc bike. Light handling in traffic despite its size and width. Good power band and a smooth hydraulic clutch. The gear change though positive is still agricultural from 1st to 3rd. The sports shift helps... Read more in the higher gears. The engine though reliable is not Japanese bike smooth but oozes a character of its own. The adjustable windscreen on the move covers all weathers and wind conditions.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Thanks to the front fork geometry, diving on braking is minimised and the Brembo's really bite. Definitely a decent all-round bike with long hours between breaks even for 6Ft + riders. The seat can get a little hard and an aftermarket air cell gel seat would be a very useful add on. The standard panniers are cavernous and waterproof making weekend getaways a definite possibility.
Engine
4 out of 5
I like the torque spread which negates the need to change down to overtake at our governed speeds. It can be induced to lift the front wheel on spirited launches despite all the electronic safety measures onboard but always feels controlled.The improved exhaust note on the dynamic engine setting is throaty and spirited.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Very well built but ensure that exhausts are well polished frequently as pitting can occur on account of their exposure. In 12000 km in just over a year no issues at all. A very basic and awkward oil level checking system using a sight glass but uses no oil at all. The increased flywheel mass has smoothed out engine vibrations and the partial liquid cooling has assisted hot weather cruising.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Annual servicing in AU $ based on servicing every 10,000 km at an authorised BMW Motorad centre is about average.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The cruise control really stands out on motorway rides. The level of information available on the dash is very exhaustive and easy to access once the thumbwheel has been mastered. I have stuck with the original Metezeler tyres and found them to be very good for grip and longevity. The daytime riding light also tends to get noticed by traffic and is very distinctly BMW.
Buying experience

From a dealer when the model was offered at a BMW sponsored discount

5 out of 5

BMW have moved on from previous model.

13 December 2015 by EJH Somerset

Much improved for shorter riders from previous model, seat very comfortable, side stand can be got up easier, rear brake pedal larger contact area, mirrors foldable. I think BMW have tweaked the minor annoyances on the previous model to make this one... Read more a better ergonomic machine, and after having had 3 of the air/oiled models, and test riding this new lc model I had to have one.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
For me no other bike, including previous model was quite as smooth as this one.
Engine
5 out of 5
Smoother, quicker, as economical, quieter, has much more punch, I like it.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
After 6000 miles rear drive shaft bearing needed replacing! Luckily under warranty but shouldn't have failed at such low mileage. Otherwise excellent.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
For me excellent value, yes it's expensive, yes the extras cost alot, but keep it, look after it and you'll see why the don't depreciate quite as quickly like most other manufacturers.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I have the LE spec model which has more bells and whistles than I thought I'd never need, but strangely I've started using the gear shifter and hill start brake and found them quite useful.
Buying experience

Bought privately.

4 out of 5

After 2500 miles

06 August 2015 by BMW rider for 35 years

Clutch/gearchange like a bag of nails. Weight verging on the obese. Otherwise near-perfect. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Clutch needed removing and soaking overnight after 600 miles. Still felt like a bag of nails afterwards.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

The Best of All Worlds

25 July 2015 by Mattblack

As a previous GS (airhead & LC) owner and a novice rider (passed test 3 years ago), i was worried about the sheer mass and size of this bike. Unfounded fears however, drop the panniers and you've got a better protected pocket rocket RS, loads of... Read more features and weather protection is outstanding - although you may want to opt for a taller screen if you're over 6'3".

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
This is one of the best bikes I've ridden, steady and smooth in slow traffic / crawling (due to low centre of gravity), if you're a bigger chap (or chapess), it's worth switching the suspension to "rider with luggage: set up to firm up the back end. Dynamic mode is awesome for around the streets, and rain mode gives you that bit bigger safety net in the wet (or off road track, gravel car park, etc). It feels like a much lighter bike than it really is when above 15-20mph, but still maintain control and poise. Brakes top notch.
Engine
5 out of 5
Slight vibration of wing mirrors at tick over, other than that, slick as anything. Damn fast with good acceleration and quick shifter a dream. Still has Soviet block tractor clunkiness to the gearbox but it's endearing and hints of over-built longevity.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
So far, so good. I believe the LC GS was an "electrical lemon", having had the battery replaced three times due to not holding a charge, even with the BMW battery conditioner. Something somewhere was draining the battery and BMW couldn't figure it out. But the RT has been reliable starting even after two months of sitting in the garage (due to work, not being a fair-weather only rider, thank you very much!). Am a little worried of stories and rumours of corrosion of bolts on engine block so mines acdf'd 50'D to the max. Time will tell.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Nothing required so far except initial check. But you pay for what you get. Good return of value and distance for a tank of fuel (unless ridden like you stole it!). It would be an idea for BMW to introduce all your servicing for a nominal monthly fee as per a lot of the German car manufacturers these days, Skoda even include tyres in these packages.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Pretty much faultless, however some optional extras are excessively priced! A radio with external speakers, on a bike? over a grand! really? A carpeted top box with lights, bells, whistles and pneumatic struts - ditto above. Would have like to have seen better phone / GPS integration ? Bluetooth compatibility (iphone/ android plug in option and make compatible with wheel selector and TFT screen! And finally, why not have the other cubby box as an extra? why if you only buy the radio? Griping aside, equipment levels very good, would have liked a choice of tyres though. Only just getting used to Interact Z8's after Metzlers on previous bikes (Pilot Road 4 GT should be an option, methinks)
Buying experience

Massive thank you to Williams BMW in Manchester, who talked me through all the information, models, etc. and provided impartial advice suited to the customer and not profit

5 out of 5

02 July 2015 by mark Culwick

A great combination of mile eating with progressive and agile handling, for a bike of this size and easier to ride slowly and through traffic than you would ever have thought. 700 miles in a day without issue Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
For a bike of this size the handling is a revalation, never having owned a barge before I wasn't sure what to expect but handling surpassed my expectations. It's no fire blade but I couldn't see me walking properly after 700 miles in a day on a blade either. Feels very reassured in the wet of dry and always feels planted even two up with luggage
Engine
4 out of 5
Sounds like a tractor on tickover but pulls strongly and smoothly when on the road. Torque is great, pulling away in third with luggage no mean achievement. Flexible and smooth delivery to make progress as rapidly as you need and despatches overtakes with ease
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Great build and 2500 miles in 3 months and all is well
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
The bike isn't cheap and options are pricey. Not a value motor by any means but very good at what it does and it does it exceedingly well
Equipment
5 out of 5
So i ticked all the options list. I particularly like the hill hold function, waiting at traffic lights on a hill takes all the hassle out of it, think of it as a handbrake for a bike. The quick shifter makes clutches down change so easy that you only find you need the clutch for town work, changing up is more of an art and I still find myself shutting the throttle to up change which upsets the system. Get it right and up shifts are perfect with no need to roll off the power. Great shield from the fairing she it's raining and the electric screen creates a perfect bubble of tranquility.
Buying experience

Benham in Wolverhampton were great and straight forward to deal with, thanks Andy providing a reasonable part ex and an attractive deal on the new bike. Clarks (my local dealer) were a disaster, not for the first time, but I see they have now been taken over by Blade so things may improve.

Read all 6 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2014
Year discontinued -
New price £13,350
Used price £9,000 to £18,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £1,100
Performance
Max power 124 bhp
Max torque 92 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 240 miles
Specification
Engine size 1170cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8v boxer twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 25 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 274kg
Front suspension BMW Telelever, adjustable spring preload
Rear suspension BMW Evo Paralever, fully adjustable rear shock
Front brake 2x320mm discs. Brembo four-piston radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 1x276mm petal disc, Brembo two-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70ZR17
Rear tyre size 180/55ZR17

History & Versions

Model history

1995: The R1100RT is launched, updated in 2001 to the R1150RT.

The R1200RT is unveiled in 2005 and gains twin cams in 2010.

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • BMW R1200RT  (2014-on)
All related reviews
All related bikes for sale