Now in its 34th year of production, the BMW R 1200 RT has long been sport touring’s standard-bearer. Designed, built and refined in the shadow of the Alps, the RT name is synonymous with tractable power, intuitive handling and first-rate comfort and wind protection. Its trademark air/oil-cooled boxer twin with shaft drive represents 90 years of BMW design tradition, a setup that has proven to be reliable and popular.
Updated for 2010, the RT received the HP2 Sport-derived radial four-valve, DOHC cylinder head and other improvements that helped the engine rev more smoothly, broadened the torque curve and perked up the exhaust note. It also introduced the innovative Multi-Controller, a thumb wheel on the left hand grip that controls the optional audio system. Styling was updated, the already-excellent wind protection was improved, the optional Electronic Suspension Adjustment was upgraded from ESA I to ESA II, and more (Rider, September 2012 and on ridermagazine.com).
Like the K 1600 GT, our R 1200 RT test bike is a 2012 model; there are no changes in pricing, options or colors for 2013. The base price of $17,350 includes ABS, a centerstand, a power accessory socket and white turn signal lenses as standard equipment. Our test bike is also equipped with the RT Premium Equipment package ($2,200), which adds a chrome exhaust, ESA II, heated seat and grips, cruise control, an onboard computer and a dual accessory socket; the Audio and Communications package ($1,300), which adds Bluetooth and an audio system with radio software; and the tire pressure monitor ($250), boosting the as-tested price to $21,100.
The R 1200 RT held its own in this comparison, but it will certainly be even better when it receives the new air/liquid-cooled engine, 6-speed transmission with wet slipper clutch, optional Dynamic ESA and other features found on the all-new R 1200 GS (Rider, April 2013).
BMW R 1200 RT Specs
Base Price: $17,350
Price as Tested: $21,100 (RT Premium Equipment, Audio and Communications package, tire pressure monitor)
Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles
Type: Air/oil-cooled, longitudinal opposed flat twin
Bore x Stroke: 101.0 x 73.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl., radial layout
Valve Adj. Interval: 6,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: Fully sequential EFI, 50mm throttle bodies x 2
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated dry clutch
Final Drive: Shaft, 2.62:1
Ignition: Electronic (BMS-K+ w/ twin spark plugs)
Charging Output: 720 watts max.
Battery: 12V 19AH
Frame: Tubular-steel space frame w/ engine as stressed member & cast aluminum Paralever single-sided swingarm
Wheelbase: 58.5 in.
Rake/Trail: 26.2 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 32.3/33.1 in. (no-cost low seat: 30.7/31.5 in.)
Suspension, Front: BMW Telelever w/ 41mm stanchions & single shock, Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA II, as tested), 4.7-in. travel
Rear: BMW Paralever w/ single shock, ESA II (as tested), 5.3-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers & semi-Integral ABS
Rear: Single disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Wet Weight: 626 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 465 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 1,091 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 6.6 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 89 PON min. (high/avg/low) 47.1/42.8/38.4
Estimated Range: 283 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,200
This sidebar was published as part of our 2013 Sport-Touring Comparison Test: BMW K1600GT, BMW R1200RT, Kawasaki Concours 14, Triumph Trophy, Yamaha FJR1300.