With the introduction of the liquid-cooled BMW R 1200 GS earlier this year, it was only a matter of time before the lighter, more powerful “water boxer” twin made its way onto other R-series models, and the R 1200 RT sport tourer is the obvious next-best platform for the engine. Although the RT got a major update for 2010 and a minor refresh for 2012, the basic platform has remained unchanged since 2005, when the R 1200 RT replaced the R 1150 RT.
Derived from the boxer engine on the BMW R 1200 GS, the RT’s new engine has the same displacement as before (1,170cc), but its output is much higher—a claimed 125 horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. For sport-touring duty, the centrifugal masses of both the crankshaft and the alternator have been increased to help the engine run more smoothly. The 6-speed transmission has a taller secondary transmission ratio to reduce engine rpm, and the hydraulically actuated wet clutch has a slipper function.
Although the Alps-bred R 1200 RT has always been a nimble machine, for 2014 the chassis has been revised to complement the higher-output engine. The new frame has a continuous design that increases rigidity, which BMW says improves both responsiveness and feedback. The RT’s 36 degrees of steering lock and lower center of gravity should help it turn even more sharply than before. And new 10-spoke cast aluminum wheels add to the bike’s more dynamic look.
The 2014 BMW R 1200 RT comes standard with two riding modes (Rain and Road) as well as Automatic Stability Control (ASC). Optional Riding mode Pro adds a third riding mode (Dynamic) and the new Hill Start Control function, which adds some rear brake pressure to assist the rider when stopping and starting on an uphill slope (BMW says it is not to be confused with a parking brake). Other options include the Gear Shift Assistant Pro for clutchless upshifts and downshifts, as well as BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment).
A 0.8-inch lower handlebar-seat-footpeg triangle makes it easier for more riders to reach the ground without compromising legroom, though cornering clearance is likely to be lower as a result. A redesigned windscreen is said to improve what was already among the best wind protection of any sport tourer available. Bodywork has also been redesigned, giving the R 1200 RT an appearance that splits the difference between the R 1200 GS and the K 1600 GT/GTL, with the optional LED Corona Ring giving the RT a head-on look like that of the K-bikes. A new multifunctional instrument panel with TFT color display, standard BMW Motorrad Pro onboard computer and control of the optional audio system with the Multi-Controller dial on the left cluster help narrow the amenity gap between the K 1600s and the R 1200 RT.
The 2014 BMW R 1200 RT will be available in three colors: Quartz Blue Metallic, Callisto Grey Metallic Matt and Ebony Metallic. As with any BMW, many options and accessories will be available. Pricing and availability are TBD.
For more information, visit bmwmotorcycles.com.