Rapid Transit Authority

Four Ways To Play Fast And Loose With The Space/Time Continuum

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

BMW R1200RT | PRICE: $17,900
Hard Parts

The RT provides the most complete wind protection with a windscreen that adjusts through an effective range of 5.5 inches. Our cockpit incorporated BMW's optional onboard computer ($275) that monitors engine oil level, among other things.

BMW's latest partly integral ABS system is more intuitive and dramatically less invasive than its ancestors. The handlebar lever actuates all three calipers, but the pedal cues only the two-piston rear unit.

The RT-spec boxer has gained about 10 bhp over the first-generation 1170cc twin via 12:1-compression pistons and by spinning 500 rpm higher. Anti-knock circuitry lets it digest lower-octane fuel when necessary.

Though the engine/suspension assembly carries most of the load, there are also two subframes bolted directly to the engine: a tube-steel main/rear space-frame, along with another welded steel structure up front, which was new on the '04 RT.

BMW's familiar Telelever handles front suspension duties, followed by an EVO Paralever rear carried over from the R1200GS, with tweaks to accommodate wider wheels and tires. Damping increases as the wheel moves through its travel.

Horsepower: 101.1 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Torque: 78.0 lb.-ft. @ 6250 rpm

Those peaks and valleys mucking up the RT's power and torque curves don't register at the seat of your pants. The bottom-heavy delivery takes care of business from 2000 rpm, but it spins all the way to 8000 when necessary.

10.4 inches
108.4 degrees
22.6 inches
20.8 inches

Tech Spec
Engine Type: a/o-c opposed-twin
Valve train: SIHC, 8v

Displacement: 1170cc
Bore x stroke: 101.0 x 73.0mm

Compression: 12.0:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Dry, single-plate

Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular steel lattice

Front suspension: Telelever with single Showa shock

Rear suspension: Single Showa shock, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping

Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 320mm discs

Rear brake: Single Brembo two-piston caliper, 264mm disc

Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road
Rake/trail: 26.6/4.3 in.
Seat height: 32.2 in.
Wheelbase: 58.4 in.
Fuel capacity: 7.1 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 631/588 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 101.1 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Measured torque: 78 lb.-ft. @ 6250 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 11.68 sec. @ 118.88 mph
Top gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 4.3 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 53/38/46 mpg
Colors: Titan Silver Metallic
Warranty: 24 months, unlimited mi.
Contact: BMW of North America
300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677

The RT leaves a longer reach to the tarmac, though the adjustable seat makes it accessible to a 30-inch inseam. All things considered, accommodations are the next best thing to a Gold Wing, whether you go solo or two-up.

Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!

*Please enter your username

*Please enter your password

*Please enter your comments
Not Registered?Signup Here
(1024 character limit)
  • Motorcyclist Online