Searching for an RT, years? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 29 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 11:25 am Thread Starter
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Searching for an RT, years?

In the search for a lightweight touring bike. RT is at my current top of list. LT too big for my needs I think. ST1100 may also be considered but the BMW calls to me. Have less than 5k to work with. $3500 ideal for my budget since the youngest just started college. And the wife says I have too many toys already. With that budget what should I be looking for?
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post #2 of 29 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 12:39 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

1996-2001 R1100RT.

https://www.cycletrader.com/BMW-R-11...rim=RT%7C24840

https://motorcycles.autotrader.com/m...100rt-for-sale

Jeff Dean
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post #3 of 29 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 1:28 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

Are there years to avoid? I've heard from posts there are issues with some Drive shafts. Other issues to look for?
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post #4 of 29 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 1:49 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

I've had several oil-heads including a R1100RT and 1150RT and did my own maintenance Some issues that you may encounter during ownership:
Hall Sensor (crank position sensor for ignition timing) wiring insulation becomes brittle over time and shorts out when exposed to wet weather. Mine did and left me stranded. There are after market replacements that cure this.
Dry transmission and driveshaft splines, should be lubed with moly grease every 50k miles or so. Requires pulling transmission. Clutch lasts a long time on these bikes, by the way.
I've read the earlier 1100 transmissions can experience bearing problems. I would tend towards the later years 1999-2000.
Final drive has a large diameter single-row ball bearing that I had to replace on 2 of my GSs, neither of my RTs had any issues.
Brake hoses should be changed to braided SS on bikes this old.
I've never had a drive shaft fail, but haven't taken one past 70k miles either.

I prefer the looks of the 1150 RT but the simplicity of the 1100. 1150 also has better brakes and a 6th gear for slightly lower highway RPM.
The later year 1150 had complex brake system that included a servo motor and linked front and rear together. Brake flush procedure more involved than earlier models.
Look for a bike with detailed maintenance records owned by someone familiar with the issues listed above. There are enough used bikes out there you can be picky...as long as you're patient for the right bike to show up.
The stock seat will likely not be comfortable to you, but if you've been riding a long time you're aware of the options out there.

Some good reading on this link:
https://ibmwr.org/index.php/oilhead-...tech-articles/
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post #5 of 29 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 1:53 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

Having owned both the Honda ST1100 & ST 1300 I would go with one of those. Some of the earlier ST1300’s are getting close to your $$ amount & both have really good power and are very reliable. Can’t help with the older Beemers
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post #6 of 29 Old Dec 15th, 2019, 5:06 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

I like the STs but one consideration is that they are very heavy.

According to Wikipedia, the ST11 is up to 650 lbs and the ST13 is right at 700 and over depending on model. The R11 and R1150 bracket 600 lbs (570 and 630). The STs carry that weight higher off the ground than RTs do. They make gobs of power so the weight doesn't affect comparative acceleration but moving it around in your garage is going to be a factor.

I happened to sit on a used one at a Honda dealer a few weeks ago (I don't recall if it was an 11 or a 13) and my overall impression was that it was very, eh, "dense." I have very short legs so an extra 100 pounds would make a very big difference to me.

Of course, this is all subjective and whichever way you go I wish you the best of luck!

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post #7 of 29 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 9:34 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

I like the group called Hex-heads. '05 to... what 07 or '08.

These were the much improved version of the earlier models. I had an '05 and loved it until I traded for a '14. I mentioned on this site not long ago that in many ways I liked the '05 better than the '14.

I bet the Hexhead family will be in your price range...

p.s. edit your "handle" to show where you are located... you never know, maybe a helping neighbor will show up.

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post #8 of 29 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 10:02 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by Jmcfarland View Post
Are there years to avoid? I've heard from posts there are issues with some Drive shafts. Other issues to look for?
Yes, avoid 2002 bikes.
Ideally late 2003 or 2004 bikes. The twin sparks were much better bikes.

However. See if you can stretch your finances to a late 2007. A lot of hexhead glitches were sorted by then.

2003 R1150RT & 2017 R1200RT
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post #9 of 29 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 11:42 am Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by hopz View Post
I like the group called Hex-heads. '05 to... what 07 or '08.

These were the much improved version of the earlier models. I had an '05 and loved it until I traded for a '14. I mentioned on this site not long ago that in many ways I liked the '05 better than the '14.

I bet the Hexhead family will be in your price range...

p.s. edit your "handle" to show where you are located... you never know, maybe a helping neighbor will show up.
I fixed my "handle" I've been having a tough time getting through some of the settings on the site! Still won't let me have a bottom title for some reason.

This is good stuff! Cleveland has a local BMW riders group. I hope to hit one of there meetings this "off-season".
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post #10 of 29 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 1:07 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by Jmcfarland View Post
Are there years to avoid? I've heard from posts there are issues with some Drive shafts. Other issues to look for?
At your budget, do not expect perfection.

The R1100RT is a good bike. I have owned several without any problems.

Jeff Dean
Tucson, Arizona, & Madison, Wisconsin

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post #11 of 29 Old Dec 16th, 2019, 1:29 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by jeffdean View Post
At your budget, do not expect perfection.

The R1100RT is a good bike. I have owned several without any problems.
Don't expect it. The good thing is that I have plenty of time to find the right one. Just trying to find the models to look for and stay away from.
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post #12 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 8:18 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by Jmcfarland View Post
I fixed my "handle" I've been having a tough time getting through some of the settings on the site! Still won't let me have a bottom title for some reason.

This is good stuff! Cleveland has a local BMW riders group. I hope to hit one of there meetings this "off-season".
Hey, we are neighbors!!!


As for what you call the bottom line, you will find that is the signature in your CP setting!


You should be able to get at least an '07 RT for your 5k budget! I had sold my '07 for not much more than that in 2014. Stay with the 1200s if possible, and definitely '07 or newer if you can manage it. I had considered getting the ST1300 before deciding on the RT, many years ago. I think that you will like the RT better.

My '15 RT is available for sales, but that's going to be a lot higher than your budget.

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post #13 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 9:27 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

Well, I am glad we got most of the administration, name, location etc... fixed- now back to the topic.

You will find satisfaction and fun in the '05-'07 RT's. (I loved my '05 RT)

Sure, any particular bike (at any age or mileage) might have some issues but hey, it's a used bike with no warranty. That is the game we play. The good news is that this series of bike (known as Hexheads) is, in my opinion, one of the best, and one that certainly has a large base of owners and those who have enjoyed self-maintenance and are willing, available and helpful.

Good luck and do not hesitate to keep us posted on the search. If you go national- it is likely that someone is near the candidate bike and can give it a look-over. Post your progress here and you might get lucky.

If you have not yet found the BMW Sport Touring site go there, and join. That site and this one are on my daily reading list. You will benefit from access to both.

The adventure begins... enjoy the ride!

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post #14 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 9:52 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

Also check out govdeals.com, an auction site. They have RTs from time to time, including a '13 RT-P listed right now. It sold a few days ago for $4300 but the buyer backed out because he was turned off by the paint damage caused when the local law enforcement agency removed their decals, so now it's back for sale again. This one is in Knoxville, TN.

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post #15 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 1:24 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Also check out govdeals.com, an auction site. They have RTs from time to time, including a '13 RT-P listed right now. It sold a few days ago for $4300 but the buyer backed out because he was turned off by the paint damage caused when the local law enforcement agency removed their decals, so now it's back for sale again. This one is in Knoxville, TN.
RT-P would need to be converted to civilian two-up. I have heard that can be pricey to find all the parts to make the change. Side boxes are also smaller aren't they?
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post #16 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 1:53 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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RT-P would need to be converted to civilian two-up. I have heard that can be pricey to find all the parts to make the change. Side boxes are also smaller aren't they?
It only needs to be converted, of course, if you plan to ride with a passenger. I would take the radio box off and put on in its place a large platform for camping gear, etc.

Yes, the side cases are smaller but some people see that as an advantage, also. I have always assumed they are easily removable and the standard cases can be installed in their place. Guys here will know the answer to that.

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post #17 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 2:05 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

Due to some legal issues I am having, I may be selling my 08 RT for $4,500. For another $500 I will throw in a Kendon trailer. My RT has 32,xxx miles on it. It has many many extras. If you or anyone is serious, pm me and I will email you the details. I am located in Williamsburg Virginia.

Mike Trevelino
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2000 LT - Totaled at 99,960 miles


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post #18 of 29 Old Dec 17th, 2019, 2:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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It only needs to be converted, of course, if you plan to ride with a passenger. I would take the radio box off and put on in its place a large platform for camping gear, etc.

Yes, the side cases are smaller but some people see that as an advantage, also. I have always assumed they are easily removable and the standard cases can be installed in their place. Guys here will know the answer to that.
Yeah I need to have the two-up availability. But if I can get a '13 and convert it as opposed to a early 2000's maybe it's worth looking at...
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post #19 of 29 Old Dec 19th, 2019, 7:00 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Due to some legal issues I am having, I may be selling my 08 RT for $4,500. For another $500 I will throw in a Kendon trailer. My RT has 32,xxx miles on it. It has many many extras. If you or anyone is serious, pm me and I will email you the details. I am located in Williamsburg Virginia.
I might be interested in the trailer. I will PM you..

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post #20 of 29 Old Dec 19th, 2019, 9:07 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Due to some legal issues I am having, I may be selling my 08 RT for $4,500. For another $500 I will throw in a Kendon trailer. My RT has 32,xxx miles on it. It has many many extras. If you or anyone is serious, pm me and I will email you the details. I am located in Williamsburg Virginia.
There's your deal, by 08 they were pretty solid and had the good (non-servo) brakes. 32K is nothing.
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post #21 of 29 Old Dec 20th, 2019, 9:41 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

Call me the contrarian here. I'm on my 4th RT. I love them! If I were looking now, knowing what I know, I would find a well maintained '05 to '08. Here's why:

1100:

1. Surging, throttle bodies and final drive problems on 1100s. If you can find a dual-plugged 1100, maybe go that way, but these bikes are never in tune. A lot of them surged at just under 3,000 RPMs to about 3400. This is a very common running area and it drove me nuts. I did a lot of mods to mine to solve it...They all cost me money and time. I lucked out and ordered up a "spline lube" at the right time from the dealer. They found leaking output bearing, a clutch started to get wet and other problems....all replaced under warranty. You won't find that anymore because...no warranty. It's a big job to fix this stuff and the parts are expensive.

2. 1100 Fairings are a PITA to remove and install. If you buy SS screws and do everything in proper order, it's still a PITA but less so.

3. Get an 1100 with an aftermarket seat. The stock seat will put your private parts to sleep within 50 miles. More expense.

4. Get an 1100 with a good touring windscreen...The aeroflow "Tall" for those bikes was my favorite.

1150:

1. Servo brakes on these bikes are abominable. You can not stop smoothly with these brakes. After 2 years, I was still trying to do that consistently...can't be done...terrible. And...when the bike is turned off, the brakes almost don't work at all...so pushing it around the garage is a challenge.

2. Surging is solved with dual plug models. Surging is worse with single-plug early models...so make sure you get dual plugs. However, the throttle bodies are still made by Bing...and that means that the little axles wear out and allow air to seep in. When you have air leaking in, you can't really tune the throttle bodies for smooth running at all speeds. This gets pretty frustrating after going to all the work of a tune.

3. Rear brake is linked. You can't apply the rear brakes without applying the fronts. Not a big deal unless you're going downhill on soft ground at a rally...Ask me how I know!

4. Fairing still a PITA...but better.

5. In spite of and extra 50cc and dual plugs, there is no more performance from the 1150. They de-tuned it for emissions reasons. They run a bit hotter...but have better oil coolers.

6. Aftermarket seat and screen highly recommended. I used the ones from my 1100.

7. Original shocks aren't the best. Find one with Ohlins or Wilburs? I transferred the Ohlins from my 1100 to my 1150...paid a bit extra for a couple new bits on them...and they converted. Worked well.

8. Always change brake fluid on any of these bikes every year or every 2 years if you have teflon braided brake lines. You do not want ABS problems. This was the one thing I always had the dealer do. I've never had an ABS problem on any of the 4 RTs.

9. Always use reputable premium fuel in these bikes. I've never had a fuel gage problem on any of my 4 RTs...and this is supposedly common on some years. Fuel strip? Anyway, put good fuel in and avoid this and other issues.

Early 1200:

1. I loved mine. Put 90K on it and it's still going strong under new ownership...Minimum maintenance. Yes, you have to adjust valves but it's not difficult to learn. There are videos for sale that cover all the maintenance. Do a finiky great job at the valves and you don't need to touch the throttle bodies at all...or remove fairings at all. This is just so much easier.

2. Engine is stronger and smoother.

3. Handling is improved.

4. Center of Gravity is lower and it's just easier to operate at low speeds.

5. The locks! 1100 and 1150 have a lock system that requires you to lock the bags in order to close them securely. This is a PITA for packing the bike. You forget something, you have to find the key...which lock did I leave it in? The 1200 allows you to latch the bags unlocked. I ride all day unlocked, then pull my liners out and lock the bags at night with whatever I want to keep on the bike. This is really sea-change for the better.

6. Bags hold a bit more.

7. Again, get aftermarket screen I like CeeBailey flip-up "tall" (not the Euro version, not "tall-wide".) You may want to replace the arms that hold the windscreen with aftermarket ones. I went through a bunch of OEM ones. They would break on the expressways in the wind. This solves it. I got new uppers and lowers and never had another issue.

8. I got my Wilburs shocks rebuilt by Beemershop after a couple years of putting up with a not great setup from the NJ guys. When they came back, they were GREAT.

The 1100/1150 shocks will not fit the 1200. Strongly recommend Beemershop because they know how to set them up properly.

9. RT's are tough on rear tires. When they get flat in the middle, handling is affected negatively. I found that Metzler tires handle best on curvy roads, but if you live in the flat part of the country and every decent road is 200 miles away, you need something that will hold up to straight line miles without squaring. Michelin Pilot Road 3 or 4 have worked really well for this. I haven't tried 5s yet. Point is, they have hard rubber in the center and softer outside with a good belt construction. I'm not a tire industry expert, but I've gotten extremely good life out of these and they are still decent when they get worn a bit. Metzler are favorite if you live near the curves and wear the sides out before the centers. I'm jealous!

10. With all these little problems, you'd think I'd be negative on BMW bikes. I'm definitely not. Any of these bikes are worth the trouble. They are just lovely to ride. They handle extremely well and have a lot of engine braking available that can be used to help you around corners and let you change your line mid-turn if you need to. This gives great confidence in the bike. The GS is the same. Both are wonderful machines that really communicate with the rider and are comfortable enough for long distances. Of them all though, I think the early 1200 bikes represent the best overall value. Having a budget should include maintenance and repair costs. Both will be lower on the 1200.

All that being said, you really need to buy from someone who has taken care of their bike. This doesn't mean shiny, this means maintenance has been done. It's not got the original brake fluid. There aren't broken things. They were stored properly with fresh oil in them. I'd also shop for a bike that was ridden and has good accessories. Some, like a decent aftermarket seat and a good touring windscreen, are required equipment, in my mind. Aftermarket shocks are a huge plus. They can be rebuilt indefinitely. Shop well. There are some real bargains out there. Dealers around here are bulging at the seams with really nice used BMWs. The new liquid cooled bikes are very popular. Lots of trade-ins around. Get the history and know the previous owner...or budget some money to get things put right.

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post #22 of 29 Old Dec 20th, 2019, 10:43 am Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

This is all great information. Seems like the consensus is to go with a 2005 and up R1200. So how does the R compare to a K1200GT? Is the GT sportier? I don't want sport bike ergonomics. Looking for something with a more upright seating position.
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post #23 of 29 Old Dec 20th, 2019, 4:57 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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This is all great information. Seems like the consensus is to go with a 2005 and up R1200.
I would start looking at 2007 and up. I had a 2005 RT with the servo brakes, but never had an issue with them. I learned to stop smoothly with them but if they go out, replacement cost is through the roof (about $2,600 for the ABS module).
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post #24 of 29 Old Dec 21st, 2019, 5:40 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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I would start looking at 2007 and up. I had a 2005 RT with the servo brakes, but never had an issue with them. I learned to stop smoothly with them but if they go out, replacement cost is through the roof (about $2,600 for the ABS module).
I've currently got an 05 RT, can also stop smoothly but it took some getting used to. My 2007 R1200R, without servo brakes, has better feedback. Incidentally, I've read somewhere on this forum, there's someone who rebuilds the stock ABS servo motors for much cheaper than new. Just can't remember where I saw that. It may help someone, if still available. I'll add, for the OP, I do love the bike overall. Have put about 12k miles on it so far, including a 3400 mile round trip out west. It's done everything I've asked of it very well, and been quite fun and comfortable.

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post #25 of 29 Old Dec 25th, 2019, 7:32 pm
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

If your budget is limited, I'm tempted to suggest you return to the Honda ST1100 (or ST1300).
I rode a '93 ST1100 (among the other bikes in the garage) from 1993 to 2016 when I finally let it go and made a 2009 BMW R1200RT the only bike in my garage.
Until last week when I added a 2016 BMW R1200GS. Even then I almost bought a Honda Africa Twin instead but just couldn't go back to chain final drive.

Back to the topic: The BMW is simply more expensive to maintain and/or repair than the Honda. It's better in many ways but not enough to justify the cost if you're on a tight budget. If the budget opens up, different story. For more than 20 years the Honda never let me down. Just thought you might want to hear it from a guy who loves his BMWs but has also loved and owned Yamahas, Suzukis, Ducatis and others.
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post #26 of 29 Old Dec 26th, 2019, 4:21 am
LAF
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by mtrevelino View Post
Due to some legal issues I am having, I may be selling my 08 RT for $4,500. For another $500 I will throw in a Kendon trailer. My RT has 32,xxx miles on it. It has many many extras. If you or anyone is serious, pm me and I will email you the details. I am located in Williamsburg Virginia.
Sorry to see this I hope it all works out for you.
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Lee
17.5 R1200 GSW Black Low
15 R1200 RTLC San Marino Blue Metallic (Sold)
10 Liquid Silver FJR1300 (Sold)
O7 Biarritz Blue Metallic LT (Totaled 2010)
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post #27 of 29 Old Dec 26th, 2019, 8:23 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by LAF View Post
Sorry to see this I hope it all works out for you.
+1


I didn't say it, but I was thinking the same thing!
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Pad. Gajajiva
Solon, OH, USA

2015 R1200RT (San Marino Blue Met.) - FOR SALES!
2014 R1200RT (Quartz Metallic Blue - Returned to BMW)
2007 R1200RT (Sold!)


Once Upon a Time........
1963 Norton Dominator 650 SS
1960 Triumph Bonneville (T120)
1960 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1952 Triumph Thunderbird (6T)
1932 Triumph 500
1952 BSA Goldstar
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post #28 of 29 Old Jan 24th, 2020, 12:38 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

I've heard several people say to avoid 2002 models. Why this one in particular? I do notice while shopping online that 2002 is a popular model on the market.

John McFarland
Mentor, Ohio
Northeast Ohio snow belt

No current bike under butt
Past bikes include:
1989 HD Electraglide
1999 Suzuki VL1500
1982 Yamaha 920 Virago
1978 Honda GW
1981 Yamaha 400 Special ii
1975 Honda GW
1979 Honda CX500C
1975 Honda CB200
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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post #29 of 29 Old Today, 9:34 am
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Re: Searching for an RT, years?

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Originally Posted by Jmcfarland View Post
I've heard several people say to avoid 2002 models. Why this one in particular? I do notice while shopping online that 2002 is a popular model on the market.
The reason is that the 1150RT of that year was a single spark model not the later (2003 onward twin spark) it (along with earlier bikes) suffered from a trait called 'surging'. It is not a pleasant sensation.
However, the main reason was that 2002 was a very bad year for these bikes suffering from gearbox input shaft failures. The splines that engage with the clutch disc strip out leaving the rider stranded.
Before any 2002 owners start shouting, we know that they didn't all do it, but statistically the risk is MUCH higher on the 2002.
The reason for the shaft stripping? Well, it is believed that it was due to a mis-aligned gearbox. So even if you replaced the input shaft, there would be a high chance it would happen again.
The cure? replacement gearbox (from another year).

2003 R1150RT & 2017 R1200RT
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