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MCN Fleet: 'The RT's little touches really make me smile'

Published: 24 May 2016

It’s strange how the little things matter and become more apparent the longer time goes on. My RT’s qualities are obvious: class-leading comfort, excellent rider aids and a punchy, partially water-cooled boxer engine. It’s clear to see why it’s won MCN’s prestigious Best Tourer award for the last two years.

But now, after 2000 miles and a month of ownership, it’s the minor details which are making me smile. The stuff I shrugged at, regarded as pointless or even a gimmick is actually proving to be useful, interesting and making life easier.

For example the keyless ignition with keyless fuel cap – it’s only now that I realise it really makes a difference. For starters I don’t even have to remove my gloves to fuel up. With the RT’s transponder fob inside my pocket, I simply kill the ignition and open the fuel cap. When it’s full, I close the fuel cap and walk away without flapping around for a key. I still don’t have to remove my gloves and the RT is perfectly safe as even the panniers are locked with the press of one button on the right bar. It’s simple and allows me to be lazy.

The panniers are really useful. I’ve started carrying a spare helmet in one of them, which can stay there safe and secure. If I’m commuting the 180-mile round trip to work I’ll wear a full-face lid as it’s usually cold first thing in the morning. But if the sun comes out I’ll pull over, swap lids and ride in my open-face lid. It’s only because of the panniers that I can carry the right kit for the conditions and the journey.

I’ve never really used an open-face helmet for long periods before, but it makes sense on the RT. With the electrically adjustable screen fully upright I can cruise along at motorway speeds no problem, there’s hardly any windblast. It makes it easier to hear my music too. Again the bike’s radio/music system might seem a bit gimmicky, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve even tuned into the traffic reports so I can take avoiding action when required on the morning rush-hour commute, which is brilliant.

Just the other evening it was 17°C and I was happily riding in my open-face helmet with the cruise control set to 75mph. I had Bob Marley playing from my iPhone, which was on charge in the RT’s front fairing compartment, and when I reached my destination I just walked away from the keyless RT. Does motorcycling get any easier?

The big RT just makes life simple in lots of ways. I like the way the rider modes automatically change the suspension to suit the type of riding I’ve selected, I like the way the screen gracefully and automatically lowers when I switch off the ignition, that the steering lock can be applied without a key, simply and easily, and that there’s central locking for all the storage. Plus, the dash dishes out more information than I could ever need. It’s such a lazy man’s bike that I reckon the only thing missing is a cup holder. I’m actually thinking about getting one because with an open-face lid I could enjoy a brew on my commute to work!

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