R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 1:24 pm
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R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I've been riding an R 1200 GS for about five years now, and have been satisfied with it. But I'm thinking about getting a 2010 R 1200 RT. I have never used the GS for off-road purposes, and I have no desire to do so. I'm wondering if the RT might be a better overall bike for my purposes, which is mainly short distance commuting during the week and longer 70 to 100 mile rides on the weekends around the NYC area on paved roads. Any thoughts on the differences between these bikes as far as handling and overall ride experience would be welcome. Thanks
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 2:18 pm
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Thumbs up Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMan
I've been riding an R 1200 GS for about five years now, and have been satisfied with it. But I'm thinking about getting a 2010 R 1200 RT. I have never used the GS for off-road purposes, and I have no desire to do so. I'm wondering if the RT might be a better overall bike for my purposes, which is mainly short distance commuting during the week and longer 70 to 100 mile rides on the weekends around the NYC area on paved roads. Any thoughts on the differences between these bikes as far as handling and overall ride experience would be welcome. Thanks
I put 350 miles/week in commuting on my RT. Great for year round commuting here in Western Oregon. Wind, rain, sunshine and occasionally snow and it get's me home. Match it with a set of Michelin Road Pilot 2s and it's a great set up!
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 2:19 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I have a friend who has a 1150GS. Last summer, he had the opportunity to ride a 1200RT while making a trip in the Alps and to his surprize
the RT handled as good as his GS. I think this has to be a compliment for the RT (moreover since this friend of mine really knows how to ride
a bike, he is an experienced off-road rider and has competed in motorcross for several years)
Gaby
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 2:26 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

yes. But for camping which I've begun to do , I'd like to have the work ethic of a GS. For everything else I do on one the RT is just fine. Since I can't have two bikes , or won't take on the cost of two, I will forever be torn between the two most wonderful bikes ever made.

Mine and yours. LOL
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 9:53 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I traded my '05 GS (purchased in Nov 2004) for my '09 RT this past Nov. I only have about 1000 miles on it so far and it's a mixed bag compared to the GS depending on what you are doing. At the time I traded the GS, I had Ohlins, and a corbin seat, aftermarket windshield (actually, several!) and the adventure wings. Also the OEM 3-piece vario bags, heated grips, and ABS. I did most of the routine maintenance myself and never had a lick of trouble in 25K miles. My use was very similar to the OP - commuting and day rides around Washington state, including some forest service roads and gravel but no off-road.

My RT is similarly equipped, plus ESA and heated seats. I scored a smokin' ebay deal on a brand new heated corbin seat ensemble, and added a Z-Technik windscreen. Neither were really necessary, but are nice additions. I guess I have barely controlled farkleitis.

So in comparison, I think the RT handles better (except for a slight wallow-weave when the top box is on without a passenger). Weather/wind/rain protection is better, but I seem to be somewhat chillier on this bike in the low 40's - high 30's. I'm 5'10 with a 32" inseam and am defiinitely more confortable and 'in' the bike as opposed to 'on' the GS. No bar risers or peg lowerers needed for me. The GS seems lighter and quicker, but tall at a stop. The RT mirrors really suck and are the one really bad thing about the bike. I just bought a pair of used mirrors off of a K1200R - we'll see how that works. I can definitely carry more on the RT - the 49liter top box is humungous!

The overall character of the two bikes are very similar and I am not sorry I switched. I look forward to some better shocks down the road - love the ESA, just wish they were better damped. I have had '91 and '99 ST1100s, an '02 Gold wing, the GS, and RT and the RT is the best all around motorcycle I have owned to date. I loved the Goldwing - it way just too damn big and the GS a little too small and open. The RT is just right.

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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:14 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMan
I've been riding an R 1200 GS for about five years now, and have been satisfied with it. But I'm thinking about getting a 2010 R 1200 RT. I have never used the GS for off-road purposes, and I have no desire to do so. I'm wondering if the RT might be a better overall bike for my purposes, which is mainly short distance commuting during the week and longer 70 to 100 mile rides on the weekends around the NYC area on paved roads. Any thoughts on the differences between these bikes as far as handling and overall ride experience would be welcome. Thanks
Bikes owned in the last 3 years---- 02 1150gs-- 07 gs adv--08 rt se--09 gs adv and now the 09 rt in black, ok I admit I am truly nuts, both bikes are brilliant at what they do, I love the road presence of the gs adv, also its tank range and carrying capacity,but-- I found it to be vibey on motorway trips, the rt is just so smooth and obviously geared for the road rather than the rough stuff, in an ideal world I would have both bikes, however as I can only have one it has to be the rt,I have just fitted engine bars, am I trying to turn it into a gs?
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:54 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Its such a tough call. I'm always going back and forth in my thinking on this. I am likely going to stay with a GS, but the RT sure has a lot of appeal.

The RT has factory cruise control, which wouldn't be used often. I do want it though and wish the GS had it. The RT does have better wind protection but that's only an advantage 3 months out of the year. The rest of the time, I'd like a bit less protection and more wind to keep things cool. The RT looks more refined and dignified.

The reasons I will likely stick with the GS is because of two things. First, I am clumsy. I will lay it over in a parking lot at some point. The GS will take that better. The next is the top loading, square luggage. I have Touratechs on my current 1150GS and love them. They are so much easier to load and unload than the side opening boxes of the RT. Finally, I like the mounting possibilities for things like my ham radio, antenna, GPS and other farkles. Not that it can't be done on an RT, but the GS is just a bit easier (actually, the GSA really is for the antenna).

Let's not forget the odd looks the GS gets. There's something about that. I can't describe it, but when its 20 degrees out and this odd duck of a bike pulls up with metal boxes, a ham radio antenna and heated gear, the looks are priceless. I rather like that.

Now if only BMW would figure out that "adventure touring" means touring with cruise control, it would be a much easier decision.
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 1:08 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Thanks to everyone for their replies. I just demo'd an RT (2009 model) today, and I have mixed feelings. The rear view mirrors really are not good, as Courtney from Seattle stated. I rode around for about 45 minutes and could not quite get used to them. I feel more comfortable on the GS, but of course that could be simply because I'm so used to it. I felt more "scrunched up" on the RT, but I guess that can be addressed with lower pegs. (I'm also 5'10" with a 32" inseam.) I was very impressed with the RT's handling and acceleration, and I liked the wind shield, although in fully extended position it interfered with my vision a little. I like the idea of a tire pressure monitoring system (available in the 2010 model), and apparently the RT's engine will use the HP2 Sport engine. Bottom line: I think I'll wait for the 2010 model (probably April according to the dealer) and demo that.
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:08 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I took care of the stock mirror deficiency on my '08 RT with these http://www.ascycles.com/detail.aspx?ID=1792; they fit in the holes on the stock levers and, IMO, look great on the bike. Other than that, the RT is a great touring bike with very good sport handling in the twisties and overall great economy and performance.
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Old Jan 27th, 2010, 8:24 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I traded my 08 RT (which I loved) for an 09 GSA. I did so because a recent lumbar fusion left me very tender to bumps, and the Adventure soaks up bad roads better than my RT.

That said, I find the Adventure to be a very fun bike to ride. The wider bars offer a bit more leverage in tight turns and provides quicker manuevering in city driving. On the highway I miss the cruise control of the RT and suffer with a Vista Cruise. The Adventure has longer range, but offers a tad less protection from wind. It also does not have as much top end speed as the RT due to the lack of aerodynamics.

Personally, I really like what I see with the new RT. Second Gen ESA, vibration dampening bars, broader power band, revised instruments and a better stereo are all welcome improvements.

Judging from your perspective, either bike would suffice just fine if it were me. Once I know the maintenance costs and intervals and fuel economy of the new DOHC engine, I will make a decision on buying another RT.

If the fuel economy is as good or better, and the maintenance and reliability of the new engine are agreeable, I will probably get an '11 RT. By then my back will hopefully be better.
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Old Jan 27th, 2010, 10:46 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMan
Thanks to everyone for their replies. I just demo'd an RT (2009 model) today, and I have mixed feelings. The rear view mirrors really are not good, as Courtney from Seattle stated. I rode around for about 45 minutes and could not quite get used to them. I feel more comfortable on the GS, but of course that could be simply because I'm so used to it. I felt more "scrunched up" on the RT, but I guess that can be addressed with lower pegs. (I'm also 5'10" with a 32" inseam.) I was very impressed with the RT's handling and acceleration, and I liked the wind shield, although in fully extended position it interfered with my vision a little. I like the idea of a tire pressure monitoring system (available in the 2010 model), and apparently the RT's engine will use the HP2 Sport engine. Bottom line: I think I'll wait for the 2010 model (probably April according to the dealer) and demo that.
They have supposedly addressed the mirror issue on the new tens. That said, my O8 model was solved completely by simply adding the GS mirror stalks to the existing holes already in the handle bar ends. Install was five minutes including a tiny bit of reaming on one side. Now I see as good as on the GS.

Keep this in mind though, the 2010 model will go to the japanese standard turn signal switches so you will have to re learn that . The 09 model keeps the same left right TS we all hated but now love. LOL
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 12:30 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyMan
I've been riding an R 1200 GS for about five years now, and have been satisfied with it. But I'm thinking about getting a 2010 R 1200 RT. I have never used the GS for off-road purposes, and I have no desire to do so. I'm wondering if the RT might be a better overall bike for my purposes, which is mainly short distance commuting during the week and longer 70 to 100 mile rides on the weekends around the NYC area on paved roads. Any thoughts on the differences between these bikes as far as handling and overall ride experience would be welcome. Thanks
I've got one of each, and love 'em both, but they are pretty different animals, IMHO, even though the foundation is similar. Personally, I think the GS is one of the best handling bikes I've ever been on and is a hoot to ride either on or off road. The RT is more refined, you do notice the extra weight to a degree. Although also a very good handler, I don't feel it is as nimble as the GS. The RT is definitely better if you do much 2-up riding, and the luggage capacity is great with the 49l top box, which can be removed in no time. I find the RT to be somewhat more comfortable for longer rides, but it was my GS that took me to Alaska and back! All that being said, if you are happy with your GS and it isn't giving you any problems, stick with it, but if you feel the need for a change, you won't regret an RT. But, if the larger fairing and the need for long 2-up rides aren't issues, look at a 1200R. You can fit different windshields, RT bags can be added, and the bike is amazing. Best handling BMW I've ever been on. Light, nimble and quick.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 9:16 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I have and love the RT, but there is that one thing...

Before I get to it I will say, The GS is thought of as one of the most comfortable bikes in the line, if you are tall enough. Of course you can now get the low model...

Mirrors are easy to fix on an RT if you do not like the stock- I do- no problem for me.
The foot pegs are also an easy fix- on the RT- I did that too.

Windshield on the GS is a negative for me- I play with the position on the RT enough to think of it as a "must have".

Etc.

the ONE thing you cannot easily fix is the first gear ratio. the GS is lower and easier to live with than the RT- which got a lot of discussion here and on other forums. If it were me and if I did a lot of commuting, in traffic- I'd go with the GS and make the other mods as needed.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 11:10 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopz
I have and love the RT, but there is that one thing...

Before I get to it I will say, The GS is thought of as one of the most comfortable bikes in the line, if you are tall enough. Of course you can now get the low model...

Mirrors are easy to fix on an RT if you do not like the stock- I do- no problem for me.
The foot pegs are also an easy fix- on the RT- I did that too.

Windshield on the GS is a negative for me- I play with the position on the RT enough to think of it as a "must have".
Etc.

the ONE thing you cannot easily fix is the first gear ratio. the GS is lower and easier to live with than the RT- which got a lot of discussion here and on other forums. If it were me and if I did a lot of commuting, in traffic- I'd go with the GS and make the other mods as needed.
I agree. I fine tune my windshield for different speeds and objectives quite often. It is not a set a leave it kind of thing. I will probably really miss that adjustable windscreen if I didn't have it.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 11:59 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

I have the RT, 2 buddies had the GSs. RT mods are lower pegs, GS mirrors and custom Russell Day Long seat.

We rode to Alaska and back this past summer.

Bike comparison notes:
When loaded it seemed that the RT had better range
At the end of the day it seemed like I could have kept on going and they were ready to stop
When it came to go up to Deadhorse, I chose to go south and stay on the slabs
When we were on the gravel portions of the highways, I was way way less comfortable than the guys on the GSs

Now everyone knows that bigger and clumsier bikes have made the haul road run, I simply chose to skip it and instead head south to Seward and Homer and I am glad I did not miss out on the southern part of the state.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 3:17 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Itís interesting how people can have very different opinions of any given bike.
As a sports bike rider (BMW R1200S and Ducati 1098S) I was looking for something more tour friendly so I arranged a back to back test ride of the R1200GS with ESA, the R1200GSA with ESA and tall screen and the R1200RT with ESA.

First out was the RT (with panniers) and I was immediately impressed with the low speed handling and comfort, once on the move it felt very light and nimble despite its large heavy looking appearance. Wind protection was the best I have ever experienced on a bike, the lack of buffeting and noise at freeway speeds was a revelation.
The ESA suspension did not impress, no setting provided the combination of control and comfort I would expect of an expensive Euro tourer. The same applied the K1300S with ESA that I had ridden not long before.

I was not at all happy with either GS, the high centre of gravity and trail bike, sit on top feel just donít work for me coming from sports bikes. Comfort was also a big disappointment, the seats had me squirming around in an attempt to find a comfortable position after only half an hour and the wind protection on even the tall screen GSA was marginal at best with a lot of tiring buffeting at freeway speeds. I would rather a naked bike or the 1098 Ducati than put up with buffeting.

After the test rides I was surprised in my strong dislike for the GS and great admiration for the RT, it stood out as the sort of bike I was looking for.
I had previously tested the Triumph Sprint ST and Tiger, I dislike the Tiger for much the same reasons as the GS and liked the Sprint, although it was not what I was after.

Within a couple of weeks I purchased a non ESA R12RT and ordered a pair of Ohlins shocks and a taller, wider California Scientific screen. The Ohlins transformed the ride and handing of the RT, gone is the front end lift under hard acceleration and dive under brakes, the ride is now smooth comfortable and controlled with no bounce or wallow. With a few extra clicks of damping the RT is as tied down as the sports bikes and lots of fun in the twisties.
The Cal Science screen has almost eliminated what little buffeting was there with the original screen and is noticeably quieter at high speeds, its hard to imaging how any bike would have better aerodynamics and wind protection than this setup.

I note that people have issues with the RTís mirrors, I found them ďdifferentĒ at first but once they where adjusted properly and I got used to looking down at them I found I liked them a lot, they are large, always very clear and obviously play a vital role in keeping wind and rain of my hands. I have no desire to add handlebar mounted mirrors.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 9:48 am
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Question Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by OwenM
Itís interesting how people can have very different opinions of any given bike.
As a sports bike rider (BMW R1200S and Ducati 1098S) I was looking for something more tour friendly so I arranged a back to back test ride of the R1200GS with ESA, the R1200GSA with ESA and tall screen and the R1200RT with ESA.

First out was the RT (with panniers) and I was immediately impressed with the low speed handling and comfort, once on the move it felt very light and nimble despite its large heavy looking appearance. Wind protection was the best I have ever experienced on a bike, the lack of buffeting and noise at freeway speeds was a revelation.
The ESA suspension did not impress, no setting provided the combination of control and comfort I would expect of an expensive Euro tourer. The same applied the K1300S with ESA that I had ridden not long before.

I was not at all happy with either GS, the high centre of gravity and trail bike, sit on top feel just donít work for me coming from sports bikes. Comfort was also a big disappointment, the seats had me squirming around in an attempt to find a comfortable position after only half an hour and the wind protection on even the tall screen GSA was marginal at best with a lot of tiring buffeting at freeway speeds. I would rather a naked bike or the 1098 Ducati than put up with buffeting.

After the test rides I was surprised in my strong dislike for the GS and great admiration for the RT, it stood out as the sort of bike I was looking for.
I had previously tested the Triumph Sprint ST and Tiger, I dislike the Tiger for much the same reasons as the GS and liked the Sprint, although it was not what I was after.

Within a couple of weeks I purchased a non ESA R12RT and ordered a pair of Ohlins shocks and a taller, wider California Scientific screen. The Ohlins transformed the ride and handing of the RT, gone is the front end lift under hard acceleration and dive under brakes, the ride is now smooth comfortable and controlled with no bounce or wallow. With a few extra clicks of damping the RT is as tied down as the sports bikes and lots of fun in the twisties.
The Cal Science screen has almost eliminated what little buffeting was there with the original screen and is noticeably quieter at high speeds, its hard to imaging how any bike would have better aerodynamics and wind protection than this setup.

I note that people have issues with the RTís mirrors, I found them ďdifferentĒ at first but once they where adjusted properly and I got used to looking down at them I found I liked them a lot, they are large, always very clear and obviously play a vital role in keeping wind and rain of my hands. I have no desire to add handlebar mounted mirrors.
I have a 2008 R1200RtSE with ESA. I have read a lot of posts in regards to improvements of aftermarket shocks, especially Ohlins. Opinion is important but JUST HOW big a difference is there for the average R1200 RT rider and how do you tell? Happy to be convinced, but still don't have a definitive answer.
regards
Paul
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 7:56 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

How much improvement the Ohlins will make is dependant on how many km you have on the ESA units, how you ride and what you want the bike to do.
Ohlins are famous for providing a comfortable ride while at the same time providing sporting control, a combination you canít get with the ESA or standard BMW suspension.

Coming from an R1200S with factory fitted Ohlins it was clear to me that the RT suspension just was not in the same class. The front end rise and fall when running up hard through the gears and the weight transfer under brakes I found quite alarming, it makes the bike feel heaver than it is and not at all sporting. When two up on country roads there is a tendency to bounce and wallow, the suspension is easily overtaxed and bottoms out, an indication of inadequate damping and soft springs. The standard shocks just donít have the right mix of high and low speed damping and manage to be too harsh over sharp bumps and too soft over undulations.

With the Ohlins (properly set up) the RT is a different bike, the front rise and fall as well as the weight transfer and dive under brakes are virtually eliminated. The ride is supple, smooth and controlled, I can ride two up at speed over rough roads and the bike just soaks it up without complaint in a very civilised way, I canít ever remember bottoming out in 5000km of country riding.

If I feel like playing sports bike I can take off the bags, add a few clicks of damping front and rear then go mix it with the SS bikes, no way the standard suspension is up to that.
If the roads are tight or surface rough the sports bikes have trouble keeping up, the idea that a big clumsy looking boxer BMW can give them the hurry up has the SS boys scratching their heads.

If you are inclined to just putter around the place and donít push the bike hard on country roads the standard suspension is adequate provided it is not past its use by date.

For me suspension performance on a motorcycle is of vital importance and I consider the price of Ohlins a good investment. They can be rebuilt so they will outlast the bike and you can remove them and sell them separately to recoup a large proportion of their cost when you change bikes.

If you think you want a set I can suggest a US vendor with very good prices.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 9:44 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

At approximately what mileage does the ESA stock shocks begin to lose it on the RT?

Everything I've read says that the Ohlins will transform the bike.

I own an ESA 08RT with 17,000 spirited, occasional two up miles.

THANKS,
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 10:00 pm
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

The ESA shocks never had it to begin with so by 17,000 miles I would not expect them to be good.
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Old Feb 8th, 2010, 8:32 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Hi Owen, welcome to the "heavy plastic" forum. I totally agree with your mirror comment. When I picked up my RT from its first owner he had the RS mirrors on it. Not only did they disturb the airflow at high speed, they were vibrating all over the place. I lost them in a week. I guess they are good for putting on make-up or combing your hair after you take off your helmet.

I've never had an OEM shock that was worth overhauling except the Ohlins that came on my HP2Sport. The R1200S Ohlins, emulsion, I'd replace.
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'99 R1100S w/ Ohlins and A-arm mod (coming soon)
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Old Feb 8th, 2010, 8:38 am
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Re: R 1200 RT vs. R 1200 GS

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1LIFE2LIVE
At approximately what mileage does the ESA stock shocks begin to lose it on the RT?

Everything I've read says that the Ohlins will transform the bike.

I own an ESA 08RT with 17,000 spirited, occasional two up miles.

THANKS,
Start looking at 30K miles. Mine has 20k right now.
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'06 F650GS w/ Ohlins and RaceTech Gold Valves
'08 R1200RT w/ every conceivable option
'99 R1100S w/ Ohlins and A-arm mod (coming soon)
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