R1250RT Review MC.com - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 42 Old May 13th, 2019, 11:17 pm Thread Starter
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R1250RT Review MC.com

The always fun John Burns reviews the latest version of our forum's namesake bike:

Motorcycle.com RT review
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post #2 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 9:48 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

"....the RT has put on exactly 20 pounds since the R1200 RT blew the competition out of the water five years ago in our 2014 S/T comparison and won three consecutive Sport-Tourer of the Year awards."

Do old guys purchasing a sport tourer really want MORE weight? Nope. And it's clearly old guys who purchase RT's, on the whole. Just look at the average age in this forum. Whatever brand recognizes this reality will score big on an ST model that has a P:W ratio similar to the current RT offering, electric screen an absolute must, ASC, ABS Pro, Dynamic ESA, heated grips/seat, TPM, all in a 525lb form factor complete w/ empty panniers & fully fueled. Lose the uber luxury features like central locking, audio package, the clunky, heavy shaft drive in favor of a lovely lightweight, efficient, quiet, maintenance-free belt drive paired up with a power plant w/ a transverse mounted crankshaft. It would be a challenge to do right, but I think it's definitely possible and I believe done very well including styling would garner ample market share from all of those...old guys. The only problem BMW would have on this is that 10% market share currently garnered by RT would diminish except for those enamored w/ a boxer engine.
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post #3 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 12:10 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Do old guys purchasing a sport tourer really want MORE weight? Nope. And it's clearly old guys who purchase RT's, on the whole.
I am one of those old guys -- 79. I like the R1200RT just fine. I feel the added poundage on the R1250RT. I have one, but have not ridden it much because I am waiting for my RDL saddles, which will not be built until July.

Why doesn't BMW put fine leather saddles on their pricey RTs instead of hard vinyl ones? I have no idea. Seems to me to be a no-brainer to put first-class leather saddles on a first-class motorcycle. But ... no.
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post #4 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 12:15 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Why doesn't BMW put fine leather saddles on their pricey RTs instead of hard vinyl ones? I have no idea. Seems to me to be a no-brainer to put first-class leather saddles on a first-class motorcycle. But ... no.
Agreed. Offer good saddles, peg lowering, handlebar risers, so it's ready to ride when it goes out the door.

Harley is starting to move that way but no maker is there yet.
I can buy a luxury car setup how I want.
Why not a premium bike?
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post #5 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 3:10 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Power - Price - Weight. Pick two.

Old guys wanted more power without jacking up the price with expensive alloys. So we got a heavier bike. The RT carries it well with a low center of mass, so I'm not sure it's really that noticeable.

Not everyone on an RT is that old - I haven't cracked 50 yet, which is old enough. I'm certainly not looking for lower pegs or bar risers - I test-rode an RT without breaking my body in first for 5 hours after renting one in Arizona (and another 4 hours the next day) and the thought of moving the bars, changing the seat, or lowering the pegs never crossed my mind. Have had my own 1250 now since January and haven't once looked at barbacks or lowered pegs. It seems really popular on this board, but I have to imagine it's a minority of RT owners who are that unhappy with the ergonomics to be demanding a lot of customization.
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post #6 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 5:16 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Haha, I love grouchy Burns and his dry sense of humor. Definitely my generation (I'm 64)..

I also love my new-to-me 2017 wethead RT. It's just about perfect - I had a camhead before and have no need for more technology (especially), or power. The only time I feel the weight is when pushing it around the garage.

Thanks for posting the link.
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post #7 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 6:55 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

If you had the comfort, tech, power, handling of a 2019 RT but lost 90lbs in the translation, would you still be clamoring for an RT? I just think it's odd that you don't find the full array of comfort/tech/performance in a lighter form factor. While you might be fine w/ it now a quick visit the smaller model forums you will see it is often full of older guys who downsized mostly for weight. That was my observation anyway on the F800 and Versa forums. Wanted something a little less cumbersome but in doing so lost a lot of comfort/perf/tech.

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post #8 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 10:02 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

The weight isn't objectionable to me as I owned a 1600 Nomad before my RT. TCO and reliability down the road matter a lot more to me.
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post #9 of 42 Old May 14th, 2019, 10:55 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
If you had the comfort, tech, power, handling of a 2019 RT but lost 90lbs in the translation, would you still be clamoring for an RT? I just think it's odd that you don't find the full array of comfort/tech/performance in a lighter form factor. While you might be fine w/ it now a quick visit the smaller model forums you will see it is often full of older guys who downsized mostly for weight. That was my observation anyway on the F800 and Versa forums. Wanted something a little less cumbersome but in doing so lost a lot of comfort/perf/tech.
I agree with your thought process, and think your weight number is about right - 540-560 lbs or so wet, much lighter and it will get blown around and ride too rough. I jumped on the F800GT today and had a blast running errands on it, mainly because the light weight makes it feel so nimble and sporty. But make an interstate run up to Seattle or Portland or the Northeast from here? No thanks, not for me. Thats where the comfort, handling (and weight) of the RT make it so easy. I do wonder sometimes about the R1200/R1250RS, kind of a middle ground.
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post #10 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 7:50 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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I agree with your thought process, and think your weight number is about right - 540-560 lbs or so wet, much lighter and it will get blown around and ride too rough. I jumped on the F800GT today and had a blast running errands on it, mainly because the light weight makes it feel so nimble and sporty. But make an interstate run up to Seattle or Portland or the Northeast from here? No thanks, not for me. Thats where the comfort, handling (and weight) of the RT make it so easy. I do wonder sometimes about the R1200/R1250RS, kind of a middle ground.
I ran up to Seattle (Long Beach WA actually) from Sacramento and back down over Tioga Pass on an F800GT and the idea of being 'blown around' just wasn't an issue whatsoever, even in stiff side winds and we had some of that. Even w/ it's marginal suspension it never felt rough per se either. What was not good was poor wind management for comfort's sake, and ergonomics for me at 6'4" wasn't ideal. Plus the Rotax engine was rather buzzy at anything over 4200 rpm under load in particular. By the time you take a curb weight of 525lb and load it for touring your now up to at least 550lbs+ anyway. That light and sporty feel is something that I really enjoyed on the F800GT it reminded me of a Miata. I love my '16 RT dearly but should a truly uncompromising ST model appear at a curb weight of around 525lb this would absolutely get my attention! To me this is a glaring opportunity for a brand that has yet to be addressed, at least in the current era.

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post #11 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 8:38 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

I am 72, and I own a ‘14 RT. I also have an ‘01 Triumph Bonneville and a ‘78 BMW R100/7 cafe racer. I put a deposit on a ‘19 RT on the day they were announced. As details of the ‘19s were announced, I realized that about the only difference in it and my ‘14 was the additional power. After thinking about it I cancelled my order.

I keep hoping BMW will announce a lighter sport-touring bike, but I am tired of waiting. A couple months ago I saw a ‘18 R1200RS at my dealer, and it really caught my attention. I found that the RSs were getting the 1250 engine, probably by September.

I have decided now to wait for the new RS, and place an order. They can be equipped with panniers and a top box, and most other equipment as the RTs. There is no information on them on the US BMW website, but the international website has some.

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post #12 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 9:08 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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...A couple months ago I saw a ‘18 R1200ST
What is an R1200ST?

Is that a US equivalent to the R1200RS?

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post #13 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 9:11 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

I had a 2014 which I traded for the 1250. The only difference is not just the power. It feels like a different bike, handles better, gearbox is 100 times better, so really pleased. I would say if you had a an 17 or 18 then there wouldn't have been so much difference. But I am only a youngster at 61.
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post #14 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 9:53 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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I had a 2014 which I traded for the 1250. The only difference is not just the power. It feels like a different bike, handles better, gearbox is 100 times better, so really pleased. I would say if you had a an 17 or 18 then there wouldn't have been so much difference. But I am only a youngster at 61.
I noticed very little difference between my '17 and the 1250...Until I put a stopwatch against the speedo in each gear. The bike feels identical to my '17, but is much quicker in each gear if you are in a hurry.
As for ride quality - same.
Noise - 1250 engine seemed marginally noiser than my '17 (but may get quieter with miles).
Transmission - identical
Weight? couldn't tell the difference.
Brakes - felt identical.

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post #15 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 3:20 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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What is an R1200ST?

Is that a US equivalent to the R1200RS?
Whoops, that should’ve said R1200RS. I will edit my post.
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post #16 of 42 Old May 15th, 2019, 11:28 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Young guy here... 44 if that qualifies as young... have owned rice rockets, adventure bikes, cruisers and dirt bikes... now have a 19 RT the RT is THE bike. It does it all. Not too heavy, can be stiff and sporty or soft and cushy, wind management is the best in the biz and the tech is fantastic, central locking alarm, cruise heated seat and grips. Wanna be boy racer? Put the windshield down tuck into the tank and bury the speedo it doesn’t take long. 500 km to a tank of fuel at 110, no chain to mess with... rain? Who cares... storage... lots. Only gripe I had was it’s geared a bit short for me but I’m over it. Love this bike. Handlebars are perfect height seat is comfy... I did get the brown option 719 seat maybe it’s softer I don’t know? Gravel road for a bit? No prob... out of its element but I’ve been miles in Mexico where an RT has no business being... it is truly the best balance in my mind.


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post #17 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 12:01 am Thread Starter
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Well, everybody wants what they want but I would absolutely never buy the bike you are describing. I like the electric screen but would happily swap that for a manual adjustment and less weight up high. OTOH, the chain drive would cause me to cross your bike off my list. Much less interest in a bike with a transverse crank because the inline crank cuts both weight and decreases power loss with a shaft drive.

It sounds like what you really want is an F850ST. Given the poor sales of sport touring bikes BMW may or may not build an ST on the 850 platform but you can hope.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
"....the RT has put on exactly 20 pounds since the R1200 RT blew the competition out of the water five years ago in our 2014 S/T comparison and won three consecutive Sport-Tourer of the Year awards."

Do old guys purchasing a sport tourer really want MORE weight? Nope. And it's clearly old guys who purchase RT's, on the whole. Just look at the average age in this forum. Whatever brand recognizes this reality will score big on an ST model that has a P:W ratio similar to the current RT offering, electric screen an absolute must, ASC, ABS Pro, Dynamic ESA, heated grips/seat, TPM, all in a 525lb form factor complete w/ empty panniers & fully fueled. Lose the uber luxury features like central locking, audio package, the clunky, heavy shaft drive in favor of a lovely lightweight, efficient, quiet, maintenance-free belt drive paired up with a power plant w/ a transverse mounted crankshaft. It would be a challenge to do right, but I think it's definitely possible and I believe done very well including styling would garner ample market share from all of those...old guys. The only problem BMW would have on this is that 10% market share currently garnered by RT would diminish except for those enamored w/ a boxer engine.

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post #18 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 8:51 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

[QUOTE=Goose11;1911231]Well, everybody wants what they want but I would absolutely never buy the bike you are describing. I like the electric screen but would happily swap that for a manual adjustment and less weight up high. OTOH, the chain drive would cause me to cross your bike off my list. Much less interest in a bike with a transverse crank because the inline crank cuts both weight and decreases power loss with a shaft drive.

It sounds like what you really want is an F850ST. Given the poor sales of sport touring bikes BMW may or may not build an ST on the 850 platform but you can hope.[/QUOTE

Belt drive Goose, not chain drive. And nope, I have no desire to buy another of a slew of compromised STs and an F850ST likely wouldn't even qualify as a compromised ST--F850 will not meet the power nor comfort requirements whatsoever. What I want is everything my RT provides (my RT has no audio package, nor central locking), but w/ 80lbs less curb weight, and get rid of the heavy, inefficient, maintenance-demanding and expensive to replace shaft drive! And I guarantee you if this model were done right even you might want one! The devil will be in all of the details else it's just another half-baked attempt at a 'Sport Tourer' which now means you can slap panniers on it and that's all that's required.

Quite frankly I think the shaft-drive is an inelegant way to transfer power to a rotating rear wheel. Two sets of u-joints, 8 bearing sets in all. Right-angle turns. When crap blows up in them they can lock the rear wheel. Nope, never have been impressed compared to the quiet, efficient, clean, maintenance-free belt on the F800 I put 23K miles on. Longitudinal crankshafts don't work so well w/ belt drives hence you pretty much have to use drive shafts.
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post #19 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 1:13 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Quite frankly I think the shaft-drive is an inelegant way to transfer power to a rotating rear wheel. Two sets of u-joints, 8 bearing sets in all. Right-angle turns. When crap blows up in them they can lock the rear wheel. Nope, never have been impressed compared to the quiet, efficient, clean, maintenance-free belt on the F800 I put 23K miles on. Longitudinal crankshafts don't work so well w/ belt drives hence you pretty much have to use drive shafts.
I can't say I disagree. Shaft drive is a complicated mess and to me only makes sense to satisfy the consumer's desire to avoid cleaning and lubing a chain.

I was initially skeptical when belts first started appearing but HDs have been using them successfully for many years now so the technology is obviously pretty mature by now.

Shaft drives certainly don't improve efficiency, reduce weight, or reduce overall complexity. I've always thought the ticket price for entry into comfortable riding is the inverse of those three things. It would be ice for someone to produce something like what you are proposing (don't forget a bike with an easier reach to the ground for the more than half the population under 5'8" tall).

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post #20 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 1:27 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

I won't own a bike that isn't shaft drive. The failure rate is quite low. I recall some early F series BMW sprockets cracking. So those aren't foolproof either.

It takes me all of 10 minutes on the RT to replace the fluid. The single side arm makes swapping tires a breeze. I wouldn't buy another BMW without this setup.
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post #21 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 1:27 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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I can't say I disagree. Shaft drive is a complicated mess and to me only makes sense to satisfy the consumer's desire to avoid cleaning and lubing a chain.

I was initially skeptical when belts first started appearing but HDs have been using them successfully for many years now so the technology is obviously pretty mature by now.

Shaft drives certainly don't improve efficiency, reduce weight, or reduce overall complexity. I've always thought the ticket price for entry into comfortable riding is the inverse of those three things. It would be ice for someone to produce something like what you are proposing (don't forget a bike with an easier reach to the ground for the more than half the population under 5'8" tall).
Shaft drive makes sense for the boxer engine. adding a right angle drive for a chain would incur power losses and probably create a problem point. Belts are expensive to replace too. Indian recommends replacing them every 30K miles. HD is longer I believe, but they don't do well in environments like gravel roads. Chains have improved over the years though. It depends on the bike. I wouldn't mind a Versys 1000 with a chain drive or the zx900RS. Might be fun again. None of the non-shaft drive BMWs interest me.

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post #22 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 3:23 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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I won't own a bike that isn't shaft drive. The failure rate is quite low. I recall some early F series BMW sprockets cracking. So those aren't foolproof either.

It takes me all of 10 minutes on the RT to replace the fluid. The single side arm makes swapping tires a breeze. I wouldn't buy another BMW without this setup.
Getting the belt replaced on those F series bikes is not cheap, either.


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post #23 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 4:16 pm
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Getting the belt replaced on those F series bikes is not cheap, either.
I can do the work myself but day-am, the F800 belt is $530! Yeah. I think I'll keep my shaft drive. Never mind...

Belts appeal to the engineer in me for their improved efficiency (power transmission losses), reduced weight and overall complexity but yeah, to have to pay that for a scheduled maintenance item is definitely a deal-breaker for me.

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post #24 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 4:18 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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...
Quite frankly I think the shaft-drive is an inelegant way to transfer power to a rotating rear wheel. Two sets of u-joints, 8 bearing sets in all. Right-angle turns. When crap blows up in them they can lock the rear wheel. Nope, never have been impressed compared to the quiet, efficient, clean, maintenance-free belt on the F800 I put 23K miles on. Longitudinal crankshafts don't work so well w/ belt drives hence you pretty much have to use drive shafts.
Shaft is not inelegant for a boxer design that's endured from the 1920s. An F800 belt wouldn't be maintenance-free for, say, 123k mi and I'm sure its replacement would cost far more than periodic shaft oil changes over those miles. The chance of "crap" blowing up in my RT's shaft drive and actually locking a rear wheel seems extremely low. An object flying into a belt seems far more likely. I understand that you have a dream bike design in mind that you'd like BMW to build, but do you regret switching from F800 to RT?
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post #25 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 6:22 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Shaft is not inelegant for a boxer design that's endured from the 1920s. An F800 belt wouldn't be maintenance-free for, say, 123k mi and I'm sure its replacement would cost far more than periodic shaft oil changes over those miles. The chance of "crap" blowing up in my RT's shaft drive and actually locking a rear wheel seems extremely low. An object flying into a belt seems far more likely. I understand that you have a dream bike design in mind that you'd like BMW to build, but do you regret switching from F800 to RT?
I think it's inelegant for all of the reasons stated--all those bearings and right angle turns--just crude. I like the idea of everything turning in like orientations. When belts fail and they can typically there are a few teeth that start to shear off and worst case several strip off and you lose power and the bike doesn't move any more. Chains and encased shaft-drive create a whole other level of potential for problems. At least that's how I see it and have read some stories that corroborate it, whereas the belt failure stories I've read were less dramatic. Totally unsubstantiated, but plausible. And then there are the legendary final drive failure stories from various BMW models over the years and all of the cost associated with this.

This question, "do you regret..." means exactly what in the context of my dream bike for aging baby boomers? I've said it a million times RTW is a phenomenal machine. An F800 is not even in the same universe as my dream machine.

RT has always had the association of being and old man's bike. Sure plenty of non old men and women own and ride them of course, but that is mostly what it is. Even though my dreamcicle would have appeal to those who find 620lbs unloaded a bit unwieldy, and at some point many to most people will, because of styling and other elements I can see it being appealing to a much larger age range. It will be carefully designed to emphasize Sport in appearance versus the sedate styling that RT employs, yet it will tour every bit as well. And it will operate in sport mode better than RT will due to effective suspension and its much lighter curb weight. Not sure if there is any validity to this, but I wonder if the fact the published power rating of an RT versus its tested power to the rear wheel is a direct reflection of loss of power thru the final drive. Is it?

Now for die-hard boxer fans you're out of luck here of course. BMW T1000GT will have an ultra-smooth parallel ~1000cc 115hp triple or quad with that handy transverse crank so all of that power can transfer to the rear wheel with all those lovely gears and sprockets all aligned in the same plane and on to a 50K mile belt final drive.

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post #26 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 7:23 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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... And then there are the legendary final drive failure stories from various BMW models over the years and all of the cost associated with this....
BMW final-drive failure stories are legendary and well-publicized, especially on oilheads and old portly LTs with most at high miles. I don't diminish their importance -- I'd be pissed if mine failed -- but failures aren't universal or inevitable. Non-failures aren't publicized. I'm wondering how many F800s are on the road at 100k+ miles with their original belt. There are probably a few HD belts laying in highway ditches. Meanwhile, Gold Wing final drive failures seem pretty rare, so as "inefficient" as longitudinal-engine enclosed shafts may be, their specific design, manufacturing and materials all affect reliability.

That said, I've owned 5 RTs of all different generations and none ever had final drive problems, so there's 5 final-drive non-failures for the anecdotes list. Not saying the bikes didn't have other problems -- and knock-on-wood my current final drive won't fail tomorrow!

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post #27 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 7:32 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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I'm wondering how many F800s are on the road at 100k+ miles with their original belt.
How many K and R original drive shafts last for 800K miles? It's the same absurd rhetorical question. F800GT's belt was never intended to go to 100k+ miles. Most people change them out at around 32K miles it seems. Some have gone to over 50K. Recommended change is 24K. A rare few stories of people getting less than 24K and those stories are from its one vulnerability, getting something sharp trapped between belt and cog.

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post #28 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 9:05 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

800k mi? Absurd rhetorical questions are flying. Yes BMW expects F800 owners to spend $2000+ on at least 4 OEM belts over 100k mi -- assuming DIY. And as you've stipulated, they're vulnerable to debris. I'll stick with shaft and its "potential" problems. Crossing fingers that both of our RTs shafts stay intact!


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post #29 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 10:01 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Crossing fingers that both of our RTs shafts stay intact!

Yes, you well should as they're amply expensive to replace, and we have at least one story of someone who sustained failure of one u-joint at 73K miles. I plan on replacing or rebuilding mine at 80K miles if I and it make it that far. While you're wondering when your drive shaft will fail as you approach 80K miles that belt driven rider pretty much knows the status of their belt, as in when it was last replaced and how long it will go. Belt failures were very uncommon on the F800 forum--I read of one.

It would be the rare person that would change their belt at the recommended interval. At 26K miles when I sold my F800GT the belt upon close inspection looked perfect. And that is typical for most at that mileage which is why most don't touch them until 32K. People change them at that mileage because they think they should, not because of wear. So realistically at 100K miles you're at around $1,600 w/ this bike's current belt. By the time you factor in the time and cost involved in regular oil changes for your shaft drive bevel gear, and replacing the drive shaft when it goes as it has in well under 100K for at least 1 on this forum, you're looking at similar total costs. A belt can be changed on the side of the road and you can carry an extra belt w/ you. The former ST models have generic belts now from Conti at a much lower cost and I would imagine this could happen w/ F800GT's belt soon if they phase the model out. As for risk of premature failure from a retained rock--it seems to be rare. I like the idea when something fails on a belt, flexible pieces can fly out and away, whereas w/ contained hard parts that is not possible. Those parts will have to grapple w/ other hard parts contained in the swing arm casing and bevel gear housing.

Back to the main reasons for belt drive in my dreamcicle: it comes mostly down to weight reduction. To shave off 80lbs is no small feat. The rest of the benefit--more efficient power transfer, zero maintenance, etc are very desirable other attributes. If you survey the F800GT forum you will discover a significant reason people bought that particular bike was its belt drive, and everyone who owns the bike remains very happy w/ the belt. I love simple and effective and elegant:


Compare that to the what the forces coming off your crankshaft have to do to deliver rotational force to the rear wheel. It is the opposite of efficient and elegant!
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post #30 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 10:43 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

I definitely agree about the belt drive and am not stuck on shafts. Belts are an awesome solution, especially compared to a greasy chain and sprockets, and holds up well compared to a shaft. They are light, efficient, clean and quiet. The price on the belts are coming down - several have purchased in the $300 range now for the GT, so under a grand for 100K, or a penny a mile. Definitely a viable solution.
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post #31 of 42 Old May 16th, 2019, 11:23 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Interesting reading this thread I guess my thoughts are guys/gals that can afford RT’s don’t care about maint costs that much. Also when you twist a throttle on the 1250 you don’t really wish you had chain or belt cuz it would be faster... it’s fast and I have ridden open class rockets. I have buddies that ride HD with belts and they are pretty decent... but meh. U-joints and gears are pretty solid they’ve used em in vehicles for years. Being a mechanic I have zero issues with the setup.


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post #32 of 42 Old May 24th, 2019, 11:02 am Thread Starter
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

I've owned bikes with four drive systems, chain, enclosed chain (a very nice compromise), belt and shaft. The idea of a belt or a chain spinning around sprockets exposed to all the crap that floats around the road strikes me as extremely inelegant, it makes me think of the time between the first motorcycles and the 1930s when motorcycles had exposed valve gear.

I prefer shaft drive and cranks in line with the wheelbase but if you go to a belt the transverse engine makes more sense. I wouldn't mind if the RT lost weight but it isn't a big driver for me, YMMV. OTOH, the BMW is in my garage because buying a new Harley touring bike would have meant a bike between 850 and 950 pounds and I just wasn't willing to spend a big pile of money on a bike I couldn't even pick up by myself, I had enough trouble picking up my K1200LT when it fell over in my garage during an earthquake and I was a lot younger in 2003.

I had my dreams of road racing superstardom dashed when I was racing with the AFM in the 1970s, I'm just not that fast. Add the years and miles since then and I don't use more than 50% of the RT's abilities day to day and I doubt I ever get to 80% on my fastest days chasing one of the more aggressive guys I ride with. Your riding is your business but if your speed is being limited by the RT's abilities on a twisty road I strongly suggest you should get a license and do some club racing. You'll have a huge amount of fun, everybody is sober, going the same direction and has passed both training and bike safety inspection. Drunks, people who have a 350 degree blind spot and other forms of rolling death are banned from the track. It is much smarter than riding WFO on the street.

OTOH, if you just like a smaller, lighter, more agile package for your street riding I understand. Unfortunately, humans and especially American humans generally believe bigger is better and more is more fun. I'm pretty pleased the RT is still available, anything smaller as a touring bike would be a very tough sell in the product planning meeting. I'm slightly surprised BMW built the 800GT after the poor sales of the 800ST. If we go to fantasies, yeah, I'd love to see the technology that can produce a 450 pound, 150 RWHP superbike used to build an RT like bike with a full fairing and bags that weighs 500 pounds wet, carries 6 gallons of fuel, has a clean, low maintenance final drive and the wonders of cornering ABS and ESA. The $30K base price might be a problem 'cause my RT started a lot lower and it broke $30K before I was was able to take it home.




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Quite frankly I think the shaft-drive is an inelegant way to transfer power to a rotating rear wheel. Two sets of u-joints, 8 bearing sets in all. Right-angle turns. When crap blows up in them they can lock the rear wheel. Nope, never have been impressed compared to the quiet, efficient, clean, maintenance-free belt on the F800 I put 23K miles on. Longitudinal crankshafts don't work so well w/ belt drives hence you pretty much have to use drive shafts.
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post #33 of 42 Old May 24th, 2019, 12:38 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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I've owned bikes with four drive systems, chain, enclosed chain (a very nice compromise), belt and shaft. The idea of a belt or a chain spinning around sprockets exposed to all the crap that floats around the road strikes me as extremely inelegant, it makes me think of the time between the first motorcycles and the 1930s when motorcycles had exposed valve gear.

I prefer shaft drive and cranks in line with the wheelbase but if you go to a belt the transverse engine makes more sense. I wouldn't mind if the RT lost weight but it isn't a big driver for me, YMMV. OTOH, the BMW is in my garage because buying a new Harley touring bike would have meant a bike between 850 and 950 pounds and I just wasn't willing to spend a big pile of money on a bike I couldn't even pick up by myself, I had enough trouble picking up my K1200LT when it fell over in my garage during an earthquake and I was a lot younger in 2003.

I had my dreams of road racing superstardom dashed when I was racing with the AFM in the 1970s, I'm just not that fast. Add the years and miles since then and I don't use more than 50% of the RT's abilities day to day and I doubt I ever get to 80% on my fastest days chasing one of the more aggressive guys I ride with. Your riding is your business but if your speed is being limited by the RT's abilities on a twisty road I strongly suggest you should get a license and do some club racing. You'll have a huge amount of fun, everybody is sober, going the same direction and has passed both training and bike safety inspection. Drunks, people who have a 350 degree blind spot and other forms of rolling death are banned from the track. It is much smarter than riding WFO on the street.

OTOH, if you just like a smaller, lighter, more agile package for your street riding I understand. Unfortunately, humans and especially American humans generally believe bigger is better and more is more fun. I'm pretty pleased the RT is still available, anything smaller as a touring bike would be a very tough sell in the product planning meeting. I'm slightly surprised BMW built the 800GT after the poor sales of the 800ST. If we go to fantasies, yeah, I'd love to see the technology that can produce a 450 pound, 150 RWHP superbike used to build an RT like bike with a full fairing and bags that weighs 500 pounds wet, carries 6 gallons of fuel, has a clean, low maintenance final drive and the wonders of cornering ABS and ESA. The $30K base price might be a problem 'cause my RT started a lot lower and it broke $30K before I was was able to take it home.
30k? Too rich for me. I would like BMW to build something that requires less maintenance. Just fluids and skip the problems with things that have been figured out for decades.

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post #34 of 42 Old May 24th, 2019, 1:47 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

The easiest way for the RT to lose weight, is setting right on the drivers seat. :-)
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post #35 of 42 Old May 24th, 2019, 6:29 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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The idea of a belt or a chain spinning around sprockets exposed to all the crap that floats around the road strikes me as extremely inelegant.....

..... humans and especially American humans generally believe bigger is better and more is more fun.....I'm slightly surprised BMW built the 800GT after the poor sales of the 800ST. If we go to fantasies, yeah, I'd love to see the technology that can produce a 450 pound, 150 RWHP superbike used to build an RT like bike with a full fairing and bags that weighs 500 pounds wet, carries 6 gallons of fuel, has a clean, low maintenance final drive and the wonders of cornering ABS and ESA. The $30K base price might be a problem 'cause my RT started a lot lower and it broke $30K before I was was able to take it home.
>>>And yet, for the 23K miles I put on the F800GT the belt and sprockets always looked dry and clean, and I never cleaned anything! To put all of those miles on and remain maintenance-free, clean/dry, nice looking, etc, is my vision if simple and effective elegance, indeed. My experience is nearly universal for everyone on an F800GT or ST, save the rare one who experienced an early failure due to a rock chip or what have you. Visit the forum and ask how many people find its belt a major reason for wanting and liking the bike.

>>>>No need for a 150lb RWHP for me--I'd just like exactly what I described--essentially a bit better P:W, and I think it would sell well if done right. I fully agree w/ you on F800GT: it's another in a wide array of 'Sport Tourers' that get the moniker because of the side cases, versus their competence as Sports Tourers. Get that up to 115hp w/ a curb weight of 525lbs, fully endowed w/ all of those comfort features described--sure winner. Oh, and yes belt drive is for me a no-brainer in that transverse engine design. I think the idea that American humans generally believe bigger is better may currently be the case perhaps but that is frequently perpetuated in forums like this as a given, and I don't believe that it is at all, or at least doesn't need to dictate everything that matters in developing for a market. Show them the machine that outperforms that R1250RT and provides the same level of comfort but loses 100lbs and with that amps up the Sport side significantly while retaining the Tour side very well? The problem is--no one makes this model. Instead, it's a string of compromised ST's and those are not inspiring, which is why they may not sell as well. The magic is in all the details! Whatever brand comes up with the right combination will find, at least for the first year or two, they are the only brand w/ this and soon others will follow suit. People believe they need to buy that extra 100lb to get what they really want. I don't believe for one nanosecond people, especially aging people (!) prefer 100 extra pounds! Bologna! Keep telling yourself it's so you can feel more planted! Nonsense!

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post #36 of 42 Old May 25th, 2019, 12:57 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Its a bit futile arguing about one model over another. I regally ride RTPs and last year we bought 2 F800GTs, both do a different job. Would I buy an F800, no, it doesn't have the weather protection and its not as good to spend all day on as the RTs, not just my opinion, not one of my colleagues like the bike. There have been several agencies that have tried the F800s, but nearly all have reverted to RTs, its half the price and half the bike, but if you accept that and don't have to be on it all day, like other bikes, it will do the job. Horses for courses
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post #37 of 42 Old May 25th, 2019, 9:37 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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"....the RT has put on exactly 20 pounds since the R1200 RT blew the competition out of the water five years ago in our 2014 S/T comparison and won three consecutive Sport-Tourer of the Year awards."

Do old guys purchasing a sport tourer really want MORE weight? Nope. And it's clearly old guys who purchase RT's, on the whole. Just look at the average age in this forum. Whatever brand recognizes this reality will score big on an ST model that has a P:W ratio similar to the current RT offering, electric screen an absolute must, ASC, ABS Pro, Dynamic ESA, heated grips/seat, TPM, all in a 525lb form factor complete w/ empty panniers & fully fueled. Lose the uber luxury features like central locking, audio package, the clunky, heavy shaft drive in favor of a lovely lightweight, efficient, quiet, maintenance-free belt drive paired up with a power plant w/ a transverse mounted crankshaft.
Not sure about every point, but oh boy, am I on board with getting rid of the "audio" package! I didn't even have an option -- dealer couldn't find one (2017 RTW) without it. Who in god's name can listen to music/radio while riding? What's the point? Road noise, helmet speakers, etc... You gonna hear that car with a crummy horn warning you to get out of it's way, or whose lane you're sneaking into because it's the 1/10000 time that you failed a head-check because your memory of your last look into your mirror showed nothing there?
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post #38 of 42 Old May 25th, 2019, 9:59 am
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Took the words right outta my mouth! Top post in the thread...if I get a vote!

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The easiest way for the RT to lose weight, is setting right on the drivers seat. :-)
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post #39 of 42 Old May 28th, 2019, 10:21 pm Thread Starter
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Too true, my bike is about 70 pounds lighter than it was 20 years ago. The down side is you have to start out pretty fat to have seventy pounds to lose.

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The easiest way for the RT to lose weight, is setting right on the drivers seat. :-)

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post #40 of 42 Old May 28th, 2019, 10:24 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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Too true, my bike is about 70 pounds lighter than it was 20 years ago. The down side is you have to start out pretty fat to have seventy pounds to lose.
I lost 165lbs. The bike got quicker. Unfortunately I've had health issues since losing the weight that have precluded me from riding.

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post #41 of 42 Old May 28th, 2019, 10:40 pm Thread Starter
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

Me as one example. If it doesn't work for you that is your business but you should be grown up enough to understand others can disagree. I have music playing on my pedal bike, my motor bike and in my car about 99% of the time. Since I seldom blast the music (exceptions for Uptown Funk and some blues but only when the coast is clear) the music has never caused a problem of any kind and I started long enough ago I was using the then newfangled cassette tapes as a music source. I still remember the first time I got it to work, riding through Lost Hills on SR46 and when Jimmy Buffett sang "If I had saxophones" I could really hear the saxophones playing in response.

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Who in god's name can listen to music/radio while riding? What's the point? Road noise, helmet speakers, etc.
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post #42 of 42 Old May 29th, 2019, 1:38 pm
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Re: R1250RT Review MC.com

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The easiest way for the RT to lose weight, is setting right on the drivers seat. :-)
Yes, it would make the P:W ratio look better but won't solve the reason aging riders start looking to downsize weight--moving the bike around the garage, reducing risk of tip-overs, less physical strength that comes with aging.

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