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Considering an RT

2548 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  dbw11
Got a 2005 K1200s I've had since new and it's been a great bike. Being the first year of a new bike there were problems and BMW Canada has stood behind the bike even after the warranty period. This kind of product support is why a BMW is at the top of my shortlist.
I just am not able to get comfortable on the ks for any length of time unless I'm doing 75mph or better any more. I'm just about 60 and am in the gym 3-4 times a week so I'm doing my part. I had a chance to ride a 2012 RT last week at a demo ride and liked it. Really like thelight weight and the handling which is something I'd miss from the ks. Power was fine - I seldom use what the ks has and the RT was just fine with what it has. Also brakes on the RT are pretty good too.

I'm curious as to others who have made this kind of switch in bikes and their thoughts.

For those who didn't get the optional BMW sound system and have music what route did you go?

Many thanks for any responses.

In Winnipeg
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Hey Dave,

I had a 2004 GT that I enjoyed the heck out of for 25000 miles until a shoulder and neck job injury made it too uncomfortable to ride any longer. I spent a year on a HD Cruiser before buying a 2012 RT.

Long story short, I like the new bike very much! It does everything very well and doesn't really lack performance. Granted it doesn't really have that kick in the pants punch of your bike but if you can live without that you'll be fine.

I do miss that animal power of my old inline 4, but the truth is this bike is so much more comfortable to ride I'm out on it as often as time allows. In all honesty, it has all the power you can really use, and never lets you down. In the past I could find almost any excuse why I'd leave the bike at home.

I didn't get the radio option so I can't help you out there, I prefer to do without when I'm on a bike.
What's not to like, It's an RT...

You'll love it.. I have to have the upright seating position these days or things start to hurt real fast....

Plenty of power.. Enought to get killed a thousand times over...

When I want to listen to music then I pipe it in thru the earplugs... I rarely ride far without my ears being plugged or earphoned... My little MP3 player thru my bluetooth comm system works just fine....

Good Luck

Thanks for the replies. The ks has been a fun machine and have done a few long trips on it. Been looking at other options, kgt, k16's, concourse, Fjr and keep coming back to the RT. After last week's demo ride if I can make a reasonable deal, fair to both the dealer and myself, the RT may be the way to go. This would be the 3rd bike I've bought there. After reading comments here on the bmw radio package there may be better places to get a radio and intercom setup. I'm a couple/few years from retirement and I'd like a bike I can ride for the next 10+ years.
I have an 07 RT with the radio option, added XM and even got my ipod wired in.

Were I to do it over, some 27,000 miles later, I wouldn't bother. The more I ride the less music I listen to and when I ride it is seldom that I go out for less than 3 - 4 days. My riding is multi-day "get the heck out of dodge" type stuff.

I do use molded ear plugs and have bike to bike and I can hear the gps - that's all I ever listen to anymore.

My 2 cents.

As far as the bike, I have nothing to compare it to (my first street bike was a Honday 1000VFR), but I have yet to make a ride that did not end with a smile, comfortable, comfortable, comfortable - but to get there I added a custom Russell Day Long seat, Cee Bailey shield, lower pegs and raised the bars - all well worth it. I can ride forever without a slight bit of discomfort.

Good luck in your search.
Coming from a K engined bike myself, I absolutely love the RT. You will have to get accustomed to a little more vibration that you get with the R engine, but the bike is fantastic. Leaving Sunday on a 6K + trip with it.

Ultra LT
Hi Dave. Sure enjoy the music. Went with a Garmin Zumo 665 which I use as an mp3 player, and also use it for XM radio. Autocom wire to helmet(s). Hardwire is truly not an issue at all, and sound is very good. Phone bluetoothed through Zumo. Life is good.

Trojan said:
Hi Dave. Sure enjoy the music. Went with a Garmin Zumo 665 which I use as an mp3 player, and also use it for XM radio. Autocom wire to helmet(s). Hardwire is truly not an issue at all, and sound is very good. Phone bluetoothed through Zumo. Life is good.

Hi John,

If you have a moment would you explain to me the nuts and bolts how you do this - connect up the 665? Headset/ear plugs you use etc. I've been thinking about the 665 for some. Many thanks.

Vibration on the test ride was not an issue..... in fact it was fine. I noticed the kgt I demoed last year had more vibes at 70+ mph. I was actually surprised how smooth it was.

I really appreciate the input here. This is a big purchase I'll probably have for quite a few years.

Trojan said:
Hi Dave. Sure enjoy the music. Went with a Garmin Zumo 665 which I use as an mp3 player, and also use it for XM radio. Autocom wire to helmet(s). Hardwire is truly not an issue at all, and sound is very good. Phone bluetoothed through Zumo. Life is good.

Ive got a 665 paired to my iPhone as well as to my Sena intercom using their 1/8 plug mount with custom molded ear buds from Ear inc. great setup and I also listen to MP3s on the Zumo.
Hi Dave. When I bought my bike in 2009, I had the dealer install the Autocom Super Pro Automatic with Kit SP-A which includes what Autocom refers to as "high power, super slim 32 ohm stereo speakers" that work with or without earplugs. The autocom is mounted under the seat, and there are plug in leads with mine mounted on the lower right front of tank, and passenger's on the left side of back seat near the extra power port. They mounted the Zumo in the center of the handlebars, hard-wired it to the Autocom. Pair up the phone to the Zumo, and you're good to go. Download iTunes library to the Zumo (have to convert songs to mp3 format, easily done). XM puck on a shelf above instruments. I'll soon move the Zumo to a ram mount coming off one of the handlebar bolts so that I can see the Zumo above the BMW tank bag, and yet have it not obstructing the instruments (haven't had a tank bag until now, so not an issue until now).

Hope this is of some help. As to the tech end, dealer did the work, so I can't be of much help with that. As to the results end, I sure finished up with something that I like a lot. Speakers are mounted in our Shoei Multitech helmets, and no problem talking to passenger, or listening to music at highway speeds.

By the way, we're about the same age, sounds like both in pretty good shape. Love the RT. I have a cruiser, and it's become a garage queen. RT gets all the love now - more powerful, less weight, more nimble, more comfortable. Hope to ride it a long time.

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I'll try to be brief here...
1 - I was riding an ST1300. Tried the K1200GT but found it too much like the ST although I liked the GT more. Got the RT. Have always liked the boxer engine and the RT is so much lighter than most bikes in it's class. Sometimes I miss the high power of the other bikes but everything else the RT does very well.

2 - I sometimes play MP3's with the Zumo 660. Most of the time I play my XM. All go thru an AmpliRider amp and ear bud speakers.

3 - Vibration is a non-issue at almost all normal speeds on the RT. At higher speeds the ST1300 was very good. But I'm talking hyper speeds here (in a closed circuit only).

4 - Love the no heat of the RT compared to the ST. Where I live that is important.

If interested you can look at the blog for more details and a comparison of the ST and RT.

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I use a Zumo 400. It has a 4Gb SD card crammed with about 35 hours of music.
Simply have a male to female 3.5mm lead permanantly attached to Zumo and pokes out by my seat. I plug my earphones into that.
Doesn't get any simpler.

Comfort wise, I think the only people that suffer are the vertically challenged.
Short legs = low seat = less foam & more leg bend = aching!.
After years of riding many different bikes and never been truly happy, I bought a 2009 RT. I had it for 2 years and I loved the bike.

Then BMW came out with the K1600 GT and I go on the pre-order list as I had to have it. I had it from June 2011 until last month. I never really loved the bike.

In April I bought 2012 RT and I couldn't be happier. I felt like I was home again. The handling, weight, seating position, and that boxer feel.
I ride a K1200RS and an R1200RT.
Way different bikes in terms of handling, power, comfort, etc.
Summary- for short play distances the handling and power of the K bike is way more fun but for any serious mile munching the RT wins hands down.

I find the RT handling a bit sluggish and top heavy but if you work with it, it dances OK.
Not yet found a bike that has its comfort and weather protection with any better handling- the lever front is a serious contributor to comfort on those longs days...
I have owned these BMW's:

- 00 R1200C
- 04 K1200RS
- 05 K1200S
- 02 R1150RT

So far the RT is my favorite. But I'm kinda fickle, so only time will tell.

When I first bought my 04 K1200RS, it was in luuuuv. I had found most sportbikes too light and twitchy, so I really enjoyed tossing around a heavier bike. But it had a lot of mechanical problems and pressed against my sciatic nerve in such a strange way that after 6 months I could no longer ride it.

I can't remember why I bought the 05 K1200S, but I also enjoyed that bike a great deal. But I sold it after a few months because I wound up riding it at extreme speeds. Putting aside the question of safety, speed limits in America are way too low for that bike, way too low for anything but a scooter if you ask me, so I sold it before I lost my license.

My wife, who got tired of falling in love with my motorcycles only to watch me sell them from underneath her, took matters into her own hands and bought our current 02 R1150RT. Since she's the owner, I can't sell it. I thought that was wicked resourceful on her part. She doesn't drive. I do the driving. But she owns the bike. :)

Although the power of the RT's engine is no match for the K-bikes, it still has plenty of it. And I seem to be able to control my need to speed much better with the RT. I'm more comfortable just cruising on that bike. Something about the nature of the boxer engine, I suspect. To my surprise, the RT handles the canyons in Colorado remarkably well. It really will keep up with other bikes that are ridden at a reasonable, if brisk, pace for the street.

The RT is not a sportbike by any means, and it would get left in the dust on a race track, but it handles remarkably well in the canyons.

Comfort is excellent. Carrying capacity is good. Wind protection is very good. And the bike is a pleasure to work on. Once you get the fairings off.

Remember, I'm talking about the previous generation, the R1150. The 1200's have even more power and refinement.

Good luck,

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Talking with the local dealer who is not enthused about taking my bike on a trade as they claim they are hard to move......even though I purchased it there. I've put mine in Kijiji and ill see if there are any nibbles. If I get lowballed on my trade I may go pick something up in the USA later this year.

Thanks very much for all the responses. I think an RT will be my next bike.
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