2005 BMW R1200RT

Das Boxer: The Next Generation

Some recombinant boxer DNA from BMW's 2004 R1200GS has seeped into the German maker's '05 touring lineup, giving us an essentially all-new R1200RT.

BMW's latest take on mach schnell long-distance travel inherits a massaged version of the 1170cc boxer and Evo-Paralever driveline introduced on the '04 GS. Listed at a claimed 110 bhp, the engine is some 12 horsepower stronger than an '04 R1150RT's. And at 571 pounds--with its 7.1-gallon fuel tank full but without saddlebags--it's 44 pounds lighter. BMW credits the added muscle to revamped intake and exhaust plumbing, warmer cam timing and 12.0:1 compression (up from 11.3:1 for the '04 RT's 1130cc boxer). Said power flows through a GS-spec six-speed gearbox, though primary- and final-drive cogs are new.

Proprietary BMW-K engine management electronics replace the old Motronic MA 2.4 system and orchestrate internal combustion activities separately for each cylinder. A new fuel-injection system plus a three-way catalytic converter aim at creating maximum performance with minimal exhaust effluvium; BMW contends the bike goes from 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds.

Chassis architecture is typical BMW. Steel-tube structures at both ends utilize das boxer as a fully stressed member. Up front, the familiar Telelever steering/suspension layout bolts to the frame's forward section using 1150RT-spec 35mm fork tubes with a modified 1200GS-style front swingarm and shock. Aside from changes necessary to accommodate the 5.5-inch rear wheel and 180/55ZR-17 tire, the new RT's Evo-Paralever is lifted directly from the 1200GS. BMW's power-assisted EVO brakes and integral ABS cue dual 320mm front discs and one 265mm rear rotor. The excellent Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) we sampled on the K1200S--which is still hung up in preproduction limbo--is also optional here, letting you choose between various preset spring and damping settings on the fly.

Other electronics are likewise predictably sophisticated. The various systems communicate via a double-wire controller area network (CAN-bus) rather than the old analog labyrinth of cables, connectors and fuses. In case of an electrical misunderstanding, the computer simply switches off the offending component. A central data panel in the cockpit displays your oil temperature, fuel level and the number of miles until you'll run out, as well as the gear you're in and time of day. LED telltales just above it monitor other vital functions.

As with its predecessor, this latest RT comes with the minor miracle of electrically adjustable wind protection. The rider's seat adjusts for height as well (choose 32.3 or 33.1 inches). An optional low seat puts inseam-challenged riders another 1.6 inches closer to the pavement. New hard-shell bags dovetail with styling you'll either love or have bad dreams about. Either way, expect the bike to materialize in the U.S. sometime this spring. And though we're not privy to the price tag yet, expect a figure to the north of an '04 R1150RT's $16,290 sticker. Stay tuned.

BMW is clearly committed to the 1170cc boxer-twin unveiled last year in the R1200GS. The newest RT gets a more powerful version of the GS's engine, though internal gearbox ratios are status quo. This RT promises more rapid interstate travel, with a power-to-weight ratio about 20 percent better than last year's model.
Even more sporting is the R1200ST, with sharper styling and a relatively trim 507-pound claimed weight. That's about it in terms of salient details for now, but watch this space.