BMW R1200RT (2014 - 2019) Review

Highlights

  • One of the top tourers out there when launched
  • Water-cooled engine introduced to range
  • Fabulous used buy

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £550
Power: 124 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: High (604 lbs / 274 kg)

Prices

New N/A
Used £6,000 - £15,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Partially water-cooling the BMW 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.

The first BMW R1200RT replaced the R1150RT back in 2005. Then the second generation arrived in 2010. This is is the third generation, which has been superceded by the R1250RT in 2019. 

In 2016 MCN ran a BMW R1200RT on long-term test for a year. We found it a consumate mile-muncher with a long range, track riding capability and some smaller touches that really made us smile. 

Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to join a community to meet likeminded folk. We'd recommend the BMW R1200RT/R1250RT forum.

2014 BMW R1200RT video review

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The boxer engine is reliable and the level of build quality very high. RTs easily shrug off huge mileages. It was affected by a recall for bikes using the ESA electronic suspension system issued immediately after going on sale, but that should have been fixed for free by BMW so we don't forsee any issues with those bikes. 

BMW R1200RT owners' reviews 

We've got 11 BMW R1200RT owners' reviews on the MCN site. A score of 4.7 stars out of 5 overall shows just how popular this bike is with owners. The score has gone up in the past few months, showing the R1200RT remains a great used buy.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

In basic specification it is one of the cheapest full-dress tourers, but when you add the bling the price soon creeps up. It's a rival for the 2013-2016 Yamaha FJR1300, the 2012-on Triumph Trophy and 2002-on Honda ST1300 Pan European, but none of these can really hold a candle to the brilliance of the BMW. 

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £550
New price -
Used price £6,000 - £15,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 124 bhp
Max torque 92 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 240 miles

Model 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

Owners' reviews for the BMW R1200RT (2014 - 2019)

11 owners have reviewed their BMW R1200RT (2014 - 2019) 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 - 2019)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £550
5 out of 5 If you want a bike to change your life , this is it
01 May 2020 by Ken

Version: Tourer

Year: 2014

Annual servicing cost: £70

If you want comfort touring then this bike is the business without a doubt , it is totally effortless and refined can’t praise it enough

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Superb manners

Engine 5 out of 5

If this is what you started with you will find it more than adequate if you have driven the 1250 cc then no doubt you would feel a dramatic difference

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Perfectly feasible to service yourself if you are a competent person

Equipment 5 out of 5

Adjustable windscreen and heated seats and grips

Buying experience: I bought from a dealer it was about £10,750 and I paid £10,000

5 out of 5 Does what it says on the tin
24 April 2020 by Roger Rogers

Version: SE spec *option 719

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £225

So comfortable, with a screen that really works

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Strong power throughout the range

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Easy to ride - riding modes to make a difference to throttle response

Buying experience: Dealer advertised with optional 719 paint / seat at £17000, paid £16300

5 out of 5 Buying a bike you will never want to change , mind you it took me about six bikes to find it but was it worth the wait , oh yes
17 April 2020 by Ken Crombie

Year: 2014

Annual servicing cost: £100

The bike is without a doubt the most comfortable and reassuring bikes I have ever owned

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I find the bike an absolute dream on the road whether it be motorways or lovely country roads , I think the bikes loves the bends as I do

Engine 5 out of 5

Engine wise I cannot complain on my bike I find it more than adequate for my needs but I understand the new 1250 takes it to a new level

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I never have had any problems with this bike since I bought it

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I service the bike mainly myself and find there is nothing that difficult to do on it

Equipment 4 out of 5

Self cancelling indicators would good and the horn in a more convenient place

Buying experience: Yes I bought from a dealer and got a reasonable trade in and a bit off the RT

5 out of 5 As Close to Perfection as You Can Get
05 July 2019 by Ron Grimes

Year: 2018

You get all the tech in this bike that you'd pay a lot more for in other makes: ESA, ABS, linked braking, push button windshield adjustment, central locking, bluetooth, gear shift assist pro, hill start assist. On top of that, it's nimble with easy balance. They even designed it so that putting it up on center stand is a breeze. The only fault I can give it is that they didn't include the mount for the Nav VI as part of the central locking system.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Super comfortable, but I'm only using it so far as a commuter bike.

Engine 5 out of 5

The only complaint I could possibly have is that the clutchless shifting is a bit too noticeable and not as smooth as I'd like in the lower gears.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I can't really say anything about maintenance costs as I purchased the extended 7 year/100,000 mile warranty, and it's too new to have had a breakdown.

Equipment 5 out of 5

I added on the iliumworks engine and pannier guards. I feel this is a must and should come standard. No one plans on dropping a bike, but most likely you won't go through years of ownership without that happening. No one wants a scuffed up pannier or cylinder cover. I also added on the iliumworks sportboards to replace the driver pegs. I purchased a full featured topcase that includes it in central locking. Finally, I added on a BMW low seat and BAKUP backrest.

Buying experience: I bought my bike from Harrison Eurosports, and it was a great experience. My salesman was also the manager of the BMW portion of the business. He is a retired cop and was terrific throughout the process. I bought the 2018 at the end of the 1st quarter of 2019 and got $4000 off, reducing it from over $22K to just over $18K. It had 3 miles on it at time of purchase.

4 out of 5 RT Great bike, BMW let it down.
10 December 2017 by Roland Eagar

Year: 2014

Annual servicing cost: £700

Bike works almost perfectly. Problems with disconnecting bluetooth devices this has left the speakers un-usable. Considering what this system costs on the bike it should work better.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

This bike is super comfortable and it can be ridden comfortable between fuelling on long trips. Considering the weight of the bike, the braking is excellent.

Engine 5 out of 5

Personally I don't need more power from a bike. Even two-up the bike responds very well when acceleration is needed.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The bike has had no issues... except for a hole about 2 square inches blew out in the rear wheel rim on a dual carriageway. Bike had about 35,000 kms at the time and tyres were almost new. Frightened the life out of me.....Biggest "let down" was that BMW ignored the whole event. BMW did not want to know anything about what happened. All I could think of, was " if that happened on the front wheel rim, what might have happened to me on the bike?" This has changed my perception of BMW as a brand.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

BMW servicing is costly but a good quality service generally.

Equipment 4 out of 5

My bike is fully loaded with all of the extras. However, I would be very happy with the base model which has most of the "must haves". The "extras" are only occasionally used.

Buying experience: I bought from a dealer for €23,000. Price was market standard.

5 out of 5 2 years into a long friendship
22 November 2016 by Brian Butt

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £1,700

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 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.

Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £500

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 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.

Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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

Version: LE.

Year: 2014

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 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.

Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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

Version: R1200RT SE

Year: 2014

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

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Clutch needed removing and soaking overnight after 600 miles. Still felt like a bag of nails afterwards.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 The Best of All Worlds
25 July 2015 by Mattblack

Version: R1200RT LE

Year: 2014

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 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.

Reliability & build quality 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 vs rivals 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

Version: LE

Year: 2015

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

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

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Great build and 2500 miles in 3 months and all is well

Value vs rivals 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.

Back to top