BMW’s RT has been a stalwart model for the Bavarian marque for decades, and the Boxer-powered R1200RT arrives for the 2014 model year as a comprehensive redesign.
The most significant update to the new RT is the latest generation of BMW’s horizontally opposed Boxer Twin, which made its debut on the 2013 R1200GS.
Engine update adds 15 horsepower for 125 total, as well as three lb-ft of torque. And the RT profits from a more robust bottom and top-end, with the peaky mid-range also ironed out. A heavier crankshaft and larger alternator, which add flywheel effect, differentiate it from the GS.
The Boxer punches out a steady pulse of torque across a broad powerband. And riders can access on-the-fly adjustable ride modes, which all delivers a markedly different throttle response.
New for 2014, the RT features an optional Gear Shift Assist. The system offers seamless upshifts like a quickshifter but allows for clutchless downshifts as well. Overall we liked the system, but found the standard clutch smoother in operation.
The RT sources BMW’s latest Dynamic ESA package, which adjusts suspension damping on BMW’s proprietary Telelever and Duolever suspension units. The ESA also controls spring preload as well. Riders mix and match the suspension package with Ride Modes to dial in a suitable setup.
BMW lowered the bike by almost an inch, thanks to the more compact engine. The low center of gravity, combined with neutral handling, make for a smooth, composed bike on the roads. The RT tips in and changes direction with ease and is more than game for a sporty, aggressive pace.
Relaxed touring-friendly ergonomics include an upright stance and plenty of leg room. The real gem, however, is the turbulence free riding pocket offered by the wide fairing, wind deflectors and adjustable windscreen.
The RT lives up to BMW’s luxury designation. The crisp TFT color display highlights top-shelf instrumentation and fit and finish. The RT also utilizes an optional integrated audio system.
Impressively the new RT pricing is virtually unchanged from the previous model. However, it still sports a premium MSRP compared with its sales rivals – and as-tested our press bike retails for more than $22 grand.
MotoUSA rates the RT a thoroughly competent sport-touring platform with luxury features. The old guard BMW riders will be quite pleased with this new Beemer.