For the second year running, the BMW R1200RT has won the MCN award for Best Tourer, and it’s not hard to understand why. Able to effortlessly cruise along or hold its own in the twisties, if you’re looking for a cross continental tourer then this should be on your shopping list.
This has been one of the busiest years for the MCN road test team in recent memory, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the thick and fast introduction of so many exciting new bikes. 2015 has seen the arrival of great new adventure bikes, cruisers, retros, 125s, A2 licence-friendly machines and scooters, while also being hailed as the return of the superbike.
The MCN awards are our pick of the best metal to be released this year and covers multiple categories. Over the next week, we will reveal all the winners, so keep checking back.
Best Tourer (open class)
Even before BMW released the updated R1200RT at the beginning of 2014, their much-loved tourer was easily best in class. In group tests it was more practical, sportier and more fun than the firm’s own six-cylinder BMW K1600 and simply leagues ahead of non-BMW rivals.
But with its new semi-water-cooled Boxer motor, chassis tweaks and a host of optional electronic gizmos this current-generation R1200RT is on another level, which is why we awarded it our best tourer of 2014 and again for 2015.
If there was any bike we’d want to do big, continental miles on, the R1200RT is it. But not only is it superb at gobbling up motorways for breakfast, in complete comfort and tranquillity, by yourself or with a pillion, it loves the fast sweeping roads just as much. And it won’t even complain when you want to scratch your way over up and over mountains, either. In fact, when you’ve got the bit between your teeth it’s agile, stable and grippy through the kind of endless sunny switchbacks you crave all year.
You can hardly tell the RT is a flat twin nowadays. There’s little of the rocking from side-to-side you’d get from old Boxers. Instead there’s a smooth rush of power and torque when you open the ride-by-wire throttle, no matter what your speed, revs or gear.
The ride is smooth, polished and cossetting. There’s no buffeting at speed and if you tick all the options boxes you can have everything from an electronic hill-starting brake to a quickshifter, auto-blipper, heated seats and grips, stereo, adjustable screen, sat nav, cruise control, ABS, traction control… the list goes on.
If any manufacturer wants to steal BMW’s trophy next year, they’re going to have to come up with something very special indeed.
||1170cc (101 x 73mm), 8v flat twin
||Tubular steel frame, engine stressed member
||Optional riding modes, semi-active suspension, traction control, quickshifter, auto-blipper, cruise control, hill start assist, ABS.
||£2923.31 deposit, 36 monthly payments: £129, final payment: £7059.42
Click here to see our review of the R1200RT