Staff bikes: BMW R1200RT - A testing start

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In terms of timing, weather and traffic, the day I hitched a lift to Vines in Guildford to pick up my BMW R1200RT long term test bike couldn’t have been any worse.

Around 20 miles away from the arrival at the dealership it started to rain and it got worse by the minute. I got there just after 3pm, by the time the bike was ready and I was changed it was almost 4pm. And it was lashing down.

And so onto the M25 in the pouring rain with 20 miles of stationary traffic to filter through on the RT which is nearly two metres wide with the panniers in place. And then it got dark and really, really started to hammer with rain.

Onto the M40 to avoid yet more standstill traffic and the rain was coming down so hard that there were two inch deep rivers of water running across the motorway causing the front end to aquaplane every now and again.

On so many bikes the trip would have been a horrible nightmare. On the RT it was actually good fun; apart from the filtering which was the usual mix of car drivers not looking or indicating before changing lanes, slippery catseyes and broken road surface.

The rest of it with heated seat and grips set to maximum, electric screen raised up and the Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESAII) set to comfort was lovely. Friday evening traffic was bad but making progress was still possible.

I got home after two-and-a-half hours of non-stop riding without an ache or a pain and learnt a lot about the bike too.

• The new twin-cam boxer twin and shaft drive are super smooth
• It’s beautifully comfortable to ride
• The Metzeler M6 Interact tyres are very good in the wet
• It averaged 50mpg with a predicted tank range of 250 miles
• The way rain water blows back over the screen leaves little pools of water on the LCD information screen
• It took me and my four-year-old son two hours to clean the bike the next day
• The panniers are completely water tight

I’ve got a lot planned for the RT this year (including a trip to Scotland next week hopefully) so please stay tuned to my blog which will be updated throughout the year. And please let me know about your RT if you have one at

Further reading:
Staff bike blogs | R1200RT blog

R1200RT10 BLOG10

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter