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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting the itch, again, for a BMW R1200RT. I've had FJR's and Harleys, but never a BMW. I have had the pleasure of riding a couple of RTs and really loved the way they handle and feel.

I am without a bike at the present time, but looking at R1200RT models for sale on various sites. Seems from about 2014 forward, there are exposed frame components, tubular if you will, that are not on visible earlier models. This must must indicate some improvement for the frame component. I am sure the later models have better suspension components, EAS, better brakes, etc. Are there still problems with the switch gear popping up now and then?

So if you were looking, what is the oldest model you would consider? I am willing to pay the extra for later model bikes. The last thing I want is an older bike with known issues to the community of which I may not be aware.

So any input from the community would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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Forester, I am getting my first RT but have been riding Beemers for years and am a fan of the boxer motor. If you are looking at 14+ model years, then you are looking at what we fondly call the Wethead. That version introduced partial water cooling in addition to air and oil cooled. Model years 14-18 used the first version of that 1200 CC boxer. Styling on those model years are near identical. Option packages differ from year to year so you will need to research some to see what came with which package in which year. Electronics were updated a few time as well giving more options.

2019-2020 bikes come with the updated Shiftcam 1250 Boxer motor with a bump in HP and Torque which everyone seems to think is a worthwhile improvement. A few more electronic updates but same styling.

I started out looking for a used 16-18 model year and with the accolades given to the motor update along with a few more goodies, I am buying a leftover 2020 with full warranty! You may want to consider that as well or to buy a 19-20 trade in as some folks want the improvements of the 2021 model year which has adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlight, and updated full TFT dash with updated integration of GPS and Audio. Previous models including the one I am buying is prehistoric in comparison, like a 15 year old car.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your search.

Rick G
 
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"Prehistoric" 🤣
Coming from a Harley, the Wethead is head and shoulders more technologically advanced. Got delivery of my Shiftcam on 11Sep2020, my only regret is waiting until I was 50 to move to BMW 😎
 

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"Prehistoric" 🤣
Coming from a Harley, the Wethead is head and shoulders more technologically advanced. Got delivery of my Shiftcam on 11Sep2020, my only regret is waiting until I was 50 to move to BMW 😎
The prehistoric comment refers to the outdated Bluetooth, Audio, GPS integration, not the bike. Even with out the new adaptive crap, my soon to be mine 2020 RT is a technological marvel!

Rick G
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That you Rick for that thorough reply and bringing me up to date a little. Congrats on the 2020 model. I am not interested in a new motorcycle. I do all my own maintenance, so a used bike in good condition with low mileage is what I am considering. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"Prehistoric" 🤣
Coming from a Harley, the Wethead is head and shoulders more technologically advanced. Got delivery of my Shiftcam on 11Sep2020, my only regret is waiting until I was 50 to move to BMW"

Haven't had a Harley in a while. I kept my 2015 FJR a good while longer after selling the last HD and enjoyed it much more than the HD. I've had 3 HDs, all touring models, and 2 FJRs (and 08 and a 15, bought both new). The FJR by far was the better designed bike both mechanically and from the techno perspective. I was always disappointed with the quality of a stock HD in many ways that are irrelevant to this discussion.

So at 65 years of age and in pretty good health so far, and with two replaced hips (both feel great) I am enjoying looking at the used market and hope to find something that will work. Thanks
 

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That you Rick for that thorough reply and bringing me up to date a little. Congrats on the 2020 model. I am not interested in a new motorcycle. I do all my own maintenance, so a used bike in good condition with low mileage is what I am considering. Thanks again.
If you want to do most of your own maintenance, I would go with previous generation RT from 2005-13 when they were updated to Wethead status. No water cooling, and fewer electronics. 2005-2009 was 1st gen Hexhead, 2010-2013 was the 2nd gen Camhead,, a slight improvement over Hexheads. I have a Camhead Roadster ant the motor is wonderful! The RT has same state of tune. Still great performers with less shit to break! :cool:

Rick G
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again Rick. Has there been any problems experienced by owners of the wetheads with the liquid cooling hardware on the bike? My FJRs were both liquid cooled and no issues. Harley had a heck of a time getting their partial liquid cooling correct. So in 2014 when the wet-heads appeared, was there/is there any unresolved issues with the cooling system? (leaking, poor water pump seals, faulty water pumps, misc maint issues, etc., etc.). Thanks
 

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The wetheads have been very reliable so far. There have been a few stator replaced in the very early builds, pre May '14 IIRC. The transmission was updated with the '17 making it smoother shifting. Later years some have had intake cam wear. Some have reported exhaust flapper (technical term lol) noise but that is more of an annoyance than a real problem IMO. And the audio system is outdated. Mine is a '16 without audio and I don't miss it a bit.
If I was looking to buy, I would look for a good low miles '17 or '18 with all the bells and whistle just for the better resale value. Or get a left over '20. I will wait for the '21, till they fix the new bikes issues.
 

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I'll go against the grain and say I prefer the non-water-cooled RTs, and yes, I've owned a 2016. I also do all my own maintenance and enjoy that connection with the bike. I've had my 2013 RT for over 110k miles as well as maintained my wife's and my friend's over many miles and find them significantly easier to work on. They are also more narrow and lighter than the wethead RTs. Frankly, the new electronics don't impress me and are still worlds behind other car standards: no Apple Carplay or Android Auto. I'm assuming even the latest generation has the same garbage computer that's in my i3 that is slow to connect bluetooth and has worthless GPS.

Lastly, my 2016 suffered from the infamous "limp-mode" problem that left me toddling along at 30mph on several trips, limping to a dealer who then said they fixed it only to have it happen again (claiming it was a computer problem). Sure, the greater power and quickshifter are impressive, but not enough to compensate for the headaches it gave me. I'm also just not a big fan of their increasing size and weight. They seem to be pushing the RT more towards luxury touring than sport touring.

As for which year oil-cooled bike to get, the 2013 is hands down the pinnacle of the generation. The main capper on the 2013 is the use of a float for the fuel level rather than a strip (which can and will fail in all previous years). The 2010-2013 (camheads) are all good, though, and have a tiny bit more torque than the previous hexhead generation, which are still fantastic. I'd recommend anything from 2008-2013 as 2008 is when they beefed up the drive shaft and final drive which led to way less failures. These bikes can be had all day in the $6-8k range and are really a steal for what they are.

Good luck in your search! Any RT is better than anything else IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll go against the grain and say I prefer the non-water-cooled RTs, and yes, I've owned a 2016. I also do all my own maintenance and enjoy that connection with the bike. I've had my 2013 RT for over 110k miles as well as maintained my wife's and my friend's over many miles and find them significantly easier to work on. They are also more narrow and lighter than the wethead RTs. Frankly, the new electronics don't impress me and are still worlds behind other car standards: no Apple Carplay or Android Auto. I'm assuming even the latest generation has the same garbage computer that's in my i3 that is slow to connect bluetooth and has worthless GPS.

Lastly, my 2016 suffered from the infamous "limp-mode" problem that left me toddling along at 30mph on several trips, limping to a dealer who then said they fixed it only to have it happen again (claiming it was a computer problem). Sure, the greater power and quickshifter are impressive, but not enough to compensate for the headaches it gave me. I'm also just not a big fan of their increasing size and weight. They seem to be pushing the RT more towards luxury touring than sport touring.

As for which year oil-cooled bike to get, the 2013 is hands down the pinnacle of the generation. The main capper on the 2013 is the use of a float for the fuel level rather than a strip (which can and will fail in all previous years). The 2010-2013 (camheads) are all good, though, and have a tiny bit more torque than the previous hexhead generation, which are still fantastic. I'd recommend anything from 2008-2013 as 2008 is when they beefed up the drive shaft and final drive which led to way less failures. These bikes can be had all day in the $6-8k range and are really a steal for what they are.

Good luck in your search! Any RT is better than anything else IMO.

That's good info Danate and I appreciate you sharing your experiences. That will certainly help me in my search. Thanks again.
 

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I wouldn't place too much stress on the water ingress into the drive housing, mainly because it applies to ALL 1200RTs! Two issues that causes this problem. First, people goes with the prevalent myth that the splines of the 1200 boxers needs to be lubed (they don't, but no harm in doing so), and when they put everything back together again, they fail to seal the boot properly, and allowing water to be sucked into the drive housing under wet conditions. Second, is that BMW failed to seal the boot properly from the factory, and therefore water can be sucked into the housing. This is apparent when people drop the final-drive to lube the spline and finds them to be heavily rusted, or worse yet, have the U-joint fails without having ever taken the drive apart! Yes, you have to drop the FD on the '07 RT (I had one) to do the oil change of the FD, but to me that is a good thing because it will give you an opportunity to check the condition of the inside of the drive housing and make sure, when you put everything back together, that the boot is properly sealed!

To answer your question though, my recommendation is to get the latest model that you can afford, or want to spend your money on, starting with the 2007 model. I suggest that you stay away from the 2005 and 2006 only because they have the servo-assist brakes. Nothing wrong with them, but you don't need a more complex braking system that is more likely to go wrong, just from age! The prime choice, IMHO, is to get one of the "wetheads" RT, that is MY 2014 - 2018. No, I have never heard of the cooling system being a problem from any riders.

I do all of the maintenance works myself, and had always done so over the years. The RTs (all models) are extremely easy to maintain!
 

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I have had 3 Harley Touring bikes and loved them all. I also Have owned two FLR's 2006 and later. My wife never enjoyed the ride on my FJR so we always used the Harley. Once i bought my 2015 wethead we never use the Harley any more but I do Miss it now as does she but you can ride for hours on the wethead and never feel tired. A few modifications on the BMW and you will be good. My 2015 has been flawless. Maintenance is easy but the only thing I do not like is having to remove the stupid tupperware which is more of a PIA than the FJR was. Harley was the easiest. Just put it on the lift and start working!. Might just buy one more Harley
 
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I have a 2007 RT with a lot of miles on it. Drive shaft committed suicide at @ just under 103K miles. Fuel level sensor was garbage and replaced 9 times by BMW, then when they stopped covering the replacement, I just use the trip meter to decide when to fuel. Currently at my boys garage with @ 115K on it. It's still an excellent bike to ride if you can overlook the fuel sensor issue.

Currently on a 15 RTW with 39K on the clock - absolutely perfect bike for me.

Side note: my Dad started teaching me to ride in 1956, on a 1956 boxer with a sidecar on it. With exceptions for Military service overseas, I've had at least one BMW in the garage. The 15 RTW is hands down the easiest, most fun twin I've owned.

Good luck making the best decision for you to enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for that info PadG, Reg, and Steve!
 

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'17 RTW; Dark Blue; Illium barbaks and crash bars; Sargent seat, Aeroflow Tall windscreen.
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That you Rick for that thorough reply and bringing me up to date a little. Congrats on the 2020 model. I am not interested in a new motorcycle. I do all my own maintenance, so a used bike in good condition with low mileage is what I am considering. Thanks again.
Forester:

I've had 4 BMW RTs. 4 different generations. Here's my take given your DIY attitude.

1. Mileage on BMWs is less of a thing than on many other bikes. BMWs with car-like used miles are perfectly great, especially if you do your own service. Find one with "old school" maintenance done and you'll likely have few issues...and none you can't figure out. There are lots of good resources for BMW repair and maintenance info.

2. I would stay away frim the first generation RTs. Here's why: 1. The fairings were murder to get off and on. 2. The headlights were terrible. Extra lighting was really a necessity. 3. The stock seating was the worst ever on a touring bike. The rider's seat would put your privates literally to sleep in 50 miles or so. ...This sprouted a healthy aftermarket seat industry for these bikes. Anyone who really used their probably has a good seat for it...ask. 4. Surging. The bike had this terrible tendency to hiccup at sedate neighborhood cruising RPMs. The only thing that really fixed it was 2 spark plugs per cylinder...an expensive proposition.

The 2nd gen was the 1150. I had one of those too. I think it was the best looking of the 4. It didn't surge. The seat was marginally better. The headlight was greatly improved. Power was the same. They used the 50cc to make a lean running motor that supposedly had better emissions than the 1100...but it also gave off more heat. The worst thing was the servo brake system on that bike. The brakes were grabby. You could not come to a smooth stop no matter how long you practiced. Also...almost no brakes with the engine off...so pushing it around in the garage was a massive surprise if you forgot about this. The brakes were fully linked...meaning the foot brake as well as the hand brake activated both wheels. This made certain low speed maneuvers very hard....downhill on lower friction surfaces...low speed turning and stopping. So...I don't recommend this generation either.

3rd Generation, Called the "hex-head" is pretty nice. I had a 2005. I put about 80,000 miles on it, more than any of the others, so far. The problems with these are minor. The tune-ups and maintenance is easier. There are a few tricks: Set the valve lash perfectly the same on both cylinders...use 4 feeler gages and really get them right. Take it to a dealer and have them synch the throttle bodies....just pay the man. Now...with this bike, you will never have to fool with the throttles again. Just set the valve lash the way you did and the bike will be smooth and a joy to ride. I LOVED my 2005 RT. There are tons of internet tips on equipment like seats (I got Sargent), windscreen (I got CeeBailey's flip-up tall. They're no longer in business, but Aeroflow makes one near the same.) Both of these are great to have and make riding much better. I had a Gamin Zumo GPS with GadgetGuy mount. Very nice setup. Change the lube in the final drive ever 2 or 3 oil changes. You can substitute engine oils but use the BMW final drive lube...or the exact equivilent. Don't skimp on that stuff. It only needs a few ounces, but neglect this at your peril. JVB Maintenance Videos are highly recommended. They take you through the whole BMW major service routine using normal tools.

4th Generation: My '17 wet-head is the best of the bunch. I would say the weak spot is the electronics. I have built-in GPS, which is great, but pairing a bluetooth helmet device to this bike is a royal PITA and the fidelity of music coming through it is not what it should be. Other than that, it's been a perfect motorcycle for me. I have an Aeroflow tall windscreen on it, chosen after many hours of online research. I'm very happy with it. I bought another Sargent seat. They're pretty good although others are probably better. I've been on some long rides and survived...I'm not young, so I guess that's a testimonial. I think the Russel Day-Long might be better if you are a hard core tourer. They're pretty expensive and take a long time to get.

I can't speak for the shift-cam bikes. I haven't even tried one. I'm pretty happy with my 2017. From the looks of things, DIY might be easier on the non-shift-cam models. I can tell you for certain that changing the air filter on either of them is far too big of a job!!! (Minor complaint, seriously.)

Whatever you get, it will be fabulous for you. I'd suggest getting a well-cared for bike with the accessories that you value. The best deal is a bike that you don't have to add money to. BMW accessories cost a lot. Used bikes generally sell faster with accessories included, but they don't fetch much more money. Get one with a good seat and windscreen. I also suggest bar-backs...These raise the bars a bit and bring them towards you, which makes riding easier sitting straight up on the bike. Great for putting on miles..and general riding as well.

Happy shopping!

:alien:
 
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rtwiz has provided a lot of excellent information. I can’t argue with any of it. I’m most aligned with dante. I ride a 2013 RT which I purchased last year with all of the accessories needed for long rides. My ride previous ride was a 2003 K1200GT which I rode for 123,000 miles. It was more powerful and faster. It wasn’t as comfortable and it didn’t handle as well. Though the RT has less power and is slower off the line, it has loads of torque and that makes up for a lot of power loss. I had radiator problems on the K bike. The 2013 RT has all the electronics that the 2014 and later have. I never thought much of the BMW GPS. The screen is to far from the seat and it’s to small. I use a 7” Garmin mounted on my bars. I can see it, monkey with it, and even hear it. It is Bluetooth capable. Who needs all the BMW crap. The 2013 RT was and is the pinicale of the oil cooled boxer. It’s easy to work on. Parts are readily available as are farckles. Why spend more for future radiator issues. A low mileage 2013 RT can be found for less than $10k with every accessory you will ever require. That sure beats the price of a later model RT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you Wiz and elliotandy for those valuable comments. I really appreciate your time and thoughful suggestions. I am leaning heavily toward the 13 model year. But have not totally made up my mind as of yet. Still researching.
Thank you again,
Forester (my name is Joe but I am a professional forester, hence the forum name)
 

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rtwiz has provided a lot of excellent information. I can’t argue with any of it. I’m most aligned with dante. I ride a 2013 RT which I purchased last year with all of the accessories needed for long rides. My ride previous ride was a 2003 K1200GT which I rode for 123,000 miles. It was more powerful and faster. It wasn’t as comfortable and it didn’t handle as well. Though the RT has less power and is slower off the line, it has loads of torque and that makes up for a lot of power loss. I had radiator problems on the K bike. The 2013 RT has all the electronics that the 2014 and later have. I never thought much of the BMW GPS. The screen is to far from the seat and it’s to small. I use a 7” Garmin mounted on my bars. I can see it, monkey with it, and even hear it. It is Bluetooth capable. Who needs all the BMW crap. The 2013 RT was and is the pinicale of the oil cooled boxer. It’s easy to work on. Parts are readily available as are farckles. Why spend more for future radiator issues. A low mileage 2013 RT can be found for less than $10k with every accessory you will ever require. That sure beats the price of a later model RT.
As someone with a 2013 anniversary edition, I concur. At 79k miles, it’s as solid as it was when I got it used with 19k miles. The service is easy, and the only issue I’ve ran into, is the upper shaft seal/boot on the drive shaft was leaking. Quick trip to the dealer fixed that. Other than that, it has been good. I test rode a 2020, the speed and throttle response was amazing...besides all the new tech, just wasn’t worth it.


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BMW, like many manufacturers sometimes has issues when rolling out new models. I've always stayed away from first year products. Whatever RT you choose, oilhead, hexhead, camhead or wethead, pick one that is second year of production or later. Engineering issues usually have been worked out.
I've had an '04 R1150RT and currently have a '11 R1200GS and a '20 R1250RT. All have been wonderful bikes and completely reliable. Go for the latest style you can afford. Each model advancement results in a palpable difference in performance.
 
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