BMW R1200RT (2014 - 2019) Review
- One of the top tourers out there when launched
- Water-cooled engine introduced to range
- Fabulous used buy
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£490|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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.
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 qualityNext up: Value
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 rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
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.
|Engine type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8v boxer twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||25 litres|
|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||£96|
|Annual service cost||£490|
|Used price||£7,000 - £14,800|
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
1995: The R1100RT is launched, updated in 2001 to the R1150RT.
The R1200RT is unveiled in 2005 and gains twin cams in 2010.
Owners' reviews for the BMW R1200RT (2014 - 2019)
17 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£490|
Brilliant handling, always feels like it’s looking after you. Worst feature? Weight.
Excellent all rounder. There’s a very good reason that the police use them. Seat could be better. Brakes great 60-0 in under 30m.
The last tankful went through at 61mpg, including quite a bit of naughtiness!
Some aspects of the finish, leading to early corrosion that would not be tolerated in the car world. Disc callipers rubbish finish. Unnecessarily high maintenance costs though not the worst. Cheap skate aspects like shaft splines not lubricated and unsealed universal joints. Alternator failure well into 4 figures. That said, mine was great in the 5 years I had it.
Like almost all the manufacturers, far more thought has gone into style at the expense of practicality, front mudguard anybody? No, we put up with the engine etc getting grit blasted and salted.
In the era of average speed cameras, cruise control. Never thought about heated seat until I tried one out in freezing temperatures. Last set of tyres Michelin Pilote Road 5s, best I have ever used.
Buying experience: Dealer, £15k. Almost everything on the options list fitted except keyless which I’m not struck on anyway.
It does everything and it does it all vowed well indeed.
It's a heavy old beast at standstill and pushing it around but once moving it's lovely and light. Make no mistake you know you're on a big heavy bike but if you're in the mood it will dance like a sports bike and that weight just vanishes. It will corner far faster than I would ever dare and has saved my bacon once or twice when I've gone into a bend too hot. This is a bike that flatters your riding if you trust it. Easy to manoeuvre at low speeds too. All the controls are light. Only the clunky gearbox lets the side down on the refinement front.
Plenty of grunt. Bike not quick enough? Feel the need for real speed? Select 'Dynamic' mode and it'll take off like a scalded cat!
The plastic bits (of which there are many) feel like plastic but at least it's decent quality plastic. Nothing has ever broken or fallen off. I know I'm tempting fate now but it really has been faultless over 4 years and 16,000 miles so far.
Main dealer servicing has averaged a shade under £300 a year. Tyres come in at £250-300 a set every 6,000 miles or so.
More electrickery than you can shake a stick at. The LE has everything. The only things I spent money on were cylinder head guards in case that enormous weight got the better of me and I dropped the thing (I haven't!), and a front mud guard extender which is essential if you don't want to pepper the front of the engine with stone chips. Why can't bike manufacturers put function ahead of style and do this from the factory? Oh and the saddle is not brilliant after a couple of hours. No different to anyone else's standard saddle though in that!
Buying experience: Brand new from main dealer. I actually got a decent deal and was very well treated.
Annual servicing cost: £350
Def recommend this bike . Been all over the Uk night and day down to -15 degrees. Just turned up the heated seat and handle bars . Had some issues with the clutch - gearbox bats all repaired through warranty . Def up there as one of the best touring bikes I have owned
Not tried a passenger as of yet . Driven seven hours in one go England to Scotland just stopped for fuel and a coffee
No issues good power
Not let me down as of yet . Just regular serviced
The bike has everything a biker would need . The only thing I feel missing is front fog lights to aid other drivers seeing you . The bike has the electric screen , cruise control, good headlights, pro gearbox , heated seats and handle bars, good luggage , central locking , abs breaks
Buying experience: It was good value for money second hand although IMO, Preston bmw we’re shocking with the sale. Maidenhead bmw 100% better and give heaps of good service to me and the bike
This is a brilliant all rounder. Comfortable, with good weather protection and quality components that mean that the bikes handles and turns in far better than you would think. Obviously, it is heavy but the weight vanishes once on the move. The ability to make good progress and ride quickly through the bends while listening to music is a sheer joy. I would recommend this bike, with some reservations, listed in my write up.
Excellent. BMW has fitted high quality components. I am going to need to get the suspension looked at as I select the pillion setting and firm suspension on the suspension setting, which is leading to the rear tyre feathering when ridden with some pace in the bends. Nothing that causes an issue when riding however.
Torquey, with enough acceleration for most roads, particularly the twisty ones that I like to tide. No issues.
Always works; no issues to report.
The cost depends on the mileage of course. There was one fault, which was a rear wheel bearing wearing out in under 10,000 miles, which was covered under warranty. No issues since.
There are issues with the bluetooth connections on this bike. Unless a BMW helmet is purchased, it is only possible to connect one helmet to the bluetooth system, which causes issues if you wish to ride two up. Also, BMW markets this bike as being able to connect an IPod. You can but only one pre-September 2013 will work. To listen to music, you have to use a USB stick in the standrad windows configuration. You cannot use Apple products; they don't work! I use Bridgestone T31 tyres, which I am pleased with. Stable, good turn in and grip in both wet and dry. I regularly ride to the edge of the rear tyre, where these tyres provide good communication as to what is happening with the bike. Where the electronics are good is that I change the suspension settings as the road surface changes. This really works and enables the rider to make good progress over different surfaces as the surface changes. If it only had a DAB radio!
Annual servicing cost: £300
Best: handling and weather protection. Worst: Fairing makes going faster than is good for the licence far too easy. Weight when pushing it around, particularly on loose surfaces.
With the exception of the seat, Sub 90 minute comfort. 2/5
Engine is fine but I would like to try the 1250.
Corrosion, poor for such an expensive bike. Probably down to too many sharp edges on painted surfaces. This is where most corrosion problems seem to emanate. The noise valve failing to operate. If this was necessary to pass homologation tests, when it fails does this, technically, make the bike illegal?
Service costs vary but do seem to be somewhat steep compared to the car world.
Crash bars recommended and better horn. Access to battery and air filter poor.I didn't rate Michelin Pilote 4GTs but the Pilote 5s fitted at the moment are superb.
Does everything perfectly. Handling superb, engine has plenty of power and is very flexible. I rode 15 hours in the Pyrenees and got off the bike feeling refreshed, it’s that comfortable. BUT read reviews here and you will see that reliability is not at Japanese level.
The best bike there is for all day touring. Pillion loves it.
Torquey. Flexible. Fun.
Mine was OK until the rear disc came loose literally hanging loose, at 1000 miles. And it happened again too. Could have been a disaster at speed. Dealer said ‘bring it in and we’ll have a look. Needles to say I declined to ride it and insisted they collect. The first fix didn’t work so I changed who services it. 1Star because that could have killed me.
Actual servicing around £500 on average taking into account big and small services. But being a BMW with occasional very expensive quality issues you need the extended warranty which adds about £400. None of my Hondas needed that and they were cheaper to service too.
Heated seats and grips are very effective with pillion able to control heat in their own seat. Suspension is utterly brilliant and confidence inspiring. Everything on this bike is perfect equipment wise and there is plenty of it. Just don’t buy the Nav VI satnav. It’s the worst piece of electronic equipment I have had the misfortune to use in my entire life. Checkout owner reviews elsewhere.
Buying experience: Bought new from Dealer in central south England. Purchasing and customer service excellent. Got £500 off list price. Disappointed with warranty commitment though as they put very little effort into getting a faulty part replaced under warranty and then when it got worse they said you’ve let it go to far to claim. Grrr.
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
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
Perfectly feasible to service yourself if you are a competent person
Adjustable windscreen and heated seats and grips
Buying experience: I bought from a dealer it was about £10,750 and I paid £10,000
Version: SE spec *option 719
Annual servicing cost: £225
So comfortable, with a screen that really works
Strong power throughout the range
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
Annual servicing cost: £100
The bike is without a doubt the most comfortable and reassuring bikes I have ever owned
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 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
I never have had any problems with this bike since I bought it
I service the bike mainly myself and find there is nothing that difficult to do on it
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
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.
Super comfortable, but I'm only using it so far as a commuter bike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Personally I don't need more power from a bike. Even two-up the bike responds very well when acceleration is needed.
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.
BMW servicing is costly but a good quality service generally.
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.
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.
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.
Has all the power I need to get a decent traffic fine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Annual servicing in AU $ based on servicing every 10,000 km at an authorised BMW Motorad centre is about average.
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
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.
For me no other bike, including previous model was quite as smooth as this one.
Smoother, quicker, as economical, quieter, has much more punch, I like it.
After 6000 miles rear drive shaft bearing needed replacing! Luckily under warranty but shouldn't have failed at such low mileage. Otherwise excellent.
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.
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.
Version: R1200RT SE
Clutch/gearchange like a bag of nails. Weight verging on the obese. Otherwise near-perfect.
Clutch needed removing and soaking overnight after 600 miles. Still felt like a bag of nails afterwards.
Version: R1200RT LE
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Great build and 2500 miles in 3 months and all is well
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
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.