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2016 R1200RT
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Greetings friends, I've been a BMW owner since 1985. I just replaced my 1998 RT with this 2017 RT - wow, what a step up! Love it. This one came with a Russell saddle built for someone quite a bit taller than me, so I'm planning to have it rebuilt this winter. I'm not ready to go without the seat just yet. It also came with an aluminium Givi topcase. Nice, but better suited for a GS so I replaced it with a GIVI V47. Not planning any other mods or additions. I`ve only put 1k miles on it so far but am blown away. Fantastic bike. I look forward to hearing and sharing stories with my new LT community!
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Hello! everybody... newbie here looking to get back into riding!... its been 15yrs since ive ridden a motorcycle, just took a safety rider permit class (passed) going for my endorsement in a few weeks or so, anyway im looking to buy a used Bmw bike, never owned one, my last bike was a kawasaki vulcan.

I am looking to spend around $4k give or take a couple of hundred on a used bike and would like some suggestions? I am 6'1 250 I would primarily be riding on weekends so it wont be necessarily a daily driver, couple of bikes that have caught my eye are a 2003-2004 1150 RT and 1200 LT dont know much about them so hoping to get some feedback on these bikes and others that im not aware of, anyway thanks! in advance and hope to be part of your culture soon.
 

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May be hard to find a nice bike in your target budget, although with the years you designate it may be possible. You might also want to consider a newer 1200 RTP. Those usually are a lot cheaper than civilian bikes, but clean ones are out there. Never owned an LT (although I did consider a K1300GT a while back), but I would recommend a 2010-2013 RT. Some high-mileage yet well cared for examples in your price range. Good luck with the search!
 

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'17 RTW; Cobalt Black; Illium barbaks and crash bars; Sargent seat, Aeroflow Tall windscreen.
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177 Posts
Hello! everybody... newbie here looking to get back into riding!... its been 15yrs since ive ridden a motorcycle, just took a safety rider permit class (passed) going for my endorsement in a few weeks or so, anyway im looking to buy a used Bmw bike, never owned one, my last bike was a kawasaki vulcan.

I am looking to spend around $4k give or take a couple of hundred on a used bike and would like some suggestions? I am 6'1 250 I would primarily be riding on weekends so it wont be necessarily a daily driver, couple of bikes that have caught my eye are a 2003-2004 1150 RT and 1200 LT dont know much about them so hoping to get some feedback on these bikes and others that im not aware of, anyway thanks! in advance and hope to be part of your culture soon.
Hot:

Welcome to the swamp!

I bought a '17 RT new about 3 years ago. It was the last new '17 at the dealer and they wanted to move it. It's my 4th RT. I had a '99 1100RT, a '01 1150RT and an '05 1200RT before this bike.

The '99 was a good bike, but a maintenance headache. 1. The stock seat will put your nether-region to sleep within 50 miles. Strange and unpleasant. ...so don't buy one with a stock seat. I found that the Sargent seat was OK. Same with the windscreen. They need to be replaced with an Aeroflow or CeeBaileys. If you buy used, try to get these two items with the bike. 2. The other problem with 1100s was SURGING. Test ride the bike after it's warm. Just ride normally and see how it holds speed between 2800 and 3500 at light loads...like cruising around 40mph. This is a go-to engine speed and the problem is extremely annoying. There are legions of "solutions" to this problem and I tried most of them. The best fix is dual plugging the bike...not cheap and involves removing the heads and sending them to San Jose BMW, where they will drill and thread the head for a new plug and give you an update kit to install yourself. This actually works, but it's a 4-figure expense and a lot of work. 3. Another issue was the Bing throttle bodies. They have flap-valves with soft metal bearings that wear out and leak air. Then you can't balance the throttle bodies right. There may be fixes around but be prepared to get dirty. 4. Removing and replacing the fairings on these things is an art. Look for missing screws on the tank. The holes may be stripped out. I bought a set of stainless steel screws for mine. They look better and the hexes don't wear out. 5. The headlight is inadequate and you will need auxiliary lighting.

FYI: The best practice when riding at night is to find a 4 wheeled vehicle to follow because...deer. Let them hit that guy. it won't hurt them so much.

The '01 1150 was purchased because BMW put dual plugs on them. One very nasty problem solved. Warning: There are a few early 1150's , I think GS? that don't have dual plugs. Don't buy those. They surge and they run pretty rough too. 1150's still use Bing throttle bodies with the same old issue of air-leaks through worn butterfly bearings after 30K-50K miles. They require synching of the throttle bodies at every oil change/tune up as the 1100s did. I would never buy another 1150 because of the early version servo brakes. They are so touchy and sensitive when the bike is running and they are nearly not there at all when the bike is off. This is not nice for pushing the bike around the garage. You cannot make a smooth stop with these brakes no matter how long you practice. Grrr.... On the 1150RT, you cannot use the rear brake independently. There are times when this is good to do....not available. The good thing about servo system? You can panic-stop this bike with two fingers. This has saved my bacon a couple times. I thought my 1150, in metallic blue, was the prettiest RT I've owned. ...They also require aftermarket seats and screens although the seat is improved over the dreaded 1100RT seat.

My '05 1200 RT, (hex-head motor) however, was a peach. A bit more power, better handling, better lock system (you can close and latch the bags without locking them. This means you can pack your bike in the morning without moving the bike key from one bag to another constantly (yay!). BMW dumped Bing and made their own throttle body and cable system. It's much better. If you are careful with your valve clearance adjustments, you don't need to balance the throttle bodies at all anymore. This is a bike you can service yourself easily. You need 2 intake and 2 exhaust feeler gages (www.beemerboneyard). Have a tech do the throttle body synch for you one time and then don't touch it again....GREAT! I put 100K on my '05. I never adjusted the throttle bodies and it ran smooth as silk. Also, improved servo brake system. Not touchy when stopping, work way better when the bike is turned off and they'll still panic stop you with 2 fingers. Neither the 1150 or the 1200 need you to use the brake pedal to stop the bike. The computer distributes brake power between front and rear wheels. It works very well. The hand brake will stop the bike very quickly. Oh...and it has CRUISE CONTROL. Don't laugh, this is a major good thing on a long trip, when you really need to go the speed limit and when you want to enjoy scenery a bit. So much better than a throttle-lock.

On a 1200RT, I would again buy a seat, although you can get along with the stock seat for a year or so. Likewise, the windscreen is tolerable for a while, but an Aeroflow tall is a lot better. I put Wilbers aftermarket shocks on my bike within the first 2 months of ownership. I thought the stock shocks were OK but rear spring was too strong and front damping too hard. An older 1200RT with original shocks, I would budget for new shocks. The guys who really know how to set them up right are at Beemershop in California. My Wilbers were purchased elsewhere. When I got 20,000 miles on them, I sent them to Beemershop and they came back PERFECT. OMG. Bigger improvement than the new shocks over the originals.

I have a friend with an '09 GS (gearhead motor), which has same motor as my '05 hex head except for the head and valve design, GS did not offer cruise control until recently, so he uses a throttle lock. The gearheads give a bit better performance than the hex head but are maybe a little more difficult to service yourself. He has put at least 100K on his and is still loving it. It's a good looking bike too. His is white and has just the right accessories.

I love my water-cooled '17 1200 RT, but I think they're still a little out of your budget. I won't bore you.

I would look for an '05 or newer air-cooled RT or GS. They are mechanically better beginning in '05. I would only buy one that has been stored indoors, has maintenance records and has the aftermarket stuff, including shocks. Getting the right one will save a lot of fooling around later on.

The earlier ones are a maintenance lifestyle and some years have annoyances that will not make you happy after the thrill of being back on a bike wears off. Spares are still around for most of these bikes. They were pretty popular and the models don't change for a long time. Others will disagree with some of this, I'm sure, but I was perfectly happy with my '05 when I bought the '17. I sold the '05 to a friend and he still rides it.

Good luck with your shopping adventure. I went back to bikes at age 42. I hadn't ridden since I was in my early 20s. It's a great thing to do. Work was consuming me at the time and this was the antidote.
 
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2018 R1200RT
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@Hotnhere

1) Welcome, but what you did is called "thread jacking", and is sometimes frowned on. That's attaching to someone else's thread and adding your own, sometimes different topics. Better to create a new thread (you'll get more feedback, too!) 👍

2) I second RTWIZ's on oilheads, and the hexheads. $4K won't really get you want you want, unless you want a project. You'll want to look at both model year and mileage. The R1200RT's are better in many ways, and I've ridden them both. It handles better, lower center of gravity, better power, better everything. 2005 was their first year, through about 2010, when the "camheads" were introduced (different valve configuration, more upgrades, etc.). That's a pretty good run. If you can find anything in that year range, with lower than say, 30K miles, you've you got yourself a peach. Beemers will run forever, but like any other mechanical machine, they require more maintenance when you add age or mileage. I'd pay a $1000 or $1500 more to get one with 30K miles, versus a 90K mile bike in the same year. A lot depends on maintenance (insist on seeing complete records). A garaged bike is going to look and probably be better, than one that been in the sun and elements 24/7 for 15 years. I sold my 2005 R1200RT with 48K miles and some expensive add-ons (Sargent Seats, 49L top case, BMW tank bag, etc.) for $5,000. I gave a friend a deal, but I didn't give the bike away.

3) Be willing to travel to get your bike, like maybe fly in, ride out, and your shopping market increases substantially. Cycletrader, Craigslist (SearchTempest) are good sources, Ebay, if nothing else than to show you what's out there and establish price.

4) "Farkles", i.e. add-ons cost big $$$, plus your time and energy. A custom seat (if it fits you, i.e. expensive hand made seats are made for the rider, i.e. a 5'6" 140 lb rider won't feel great on one made for a 6'3" 250lb guy, and vice-versa) is definitely a plus. Windshield, maybe, again, depending on the rider. (A "barn door" tail Cee Baily in a hot climate will have you looking for something that gets more air over the top, even in full down position). There are also crash bars (i.e. mainly to protect the heads, which protrude out either sides of a Beemer), and 1001 different things people put on bikes for one purpose or another. Older bikes are usually pretty well equipped (unless the owner has stripped the stuff off prior to sale), and used parts are abundant.

5) Service: As the other poster indicated, maintenance is very doable on the Hexheads. On this site, bmwrt.com, and bmwmoa.com there are many older threads with detailed maintenance procedures, including pictures. There are even pieces documenting specialized tools made to avoid buying expensive BMW specific tools.

Good luck on your hunt.
 
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