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I have been riding many years, with some "barren" years of not owning any motorcycle. Some off road trail riding but mostly street. It was my dream for many years to own a Harley. I owned 1 about 10 years ago for a short time, but it had some issues which made me nervous, so I sold it. Then I finally bought a solid dependable(?) Harley about 4 - 5 years ago. It's a `97 springer softail, and it has given me many miles of riding pleasure. Went to Myrtle Beach, and Johnstown, PA and several annual rides and trips. I have been thinking about switching over to an R1200RT. I love all kinds of bikes, not a purist or someone who thinks one is perfect above all others. All bikes, and all types of bikes have their pros and cons.I like the look of the R series, and the idea that I could ride a really long way in comfort, and not worry about being cool. (see Fonzi for reference). All my riding buddies do currently ride Harleys, so there could be some friendly ribbing, but I'm sure I can find some clever comebacks. I was wondering if anyone has "jumped ship" from Harley to an R series, and what your experience was like? I haven't ridden an R series so comparisons to Hondas or Harleys would help. Thanks!
 

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Welcome to the group. You will find all kinds of great information here about anything RT. There are quite a few HD converts over here too, so they will be replying.

I ride an RT and teach Harley Riders Edge classes, so I get a lot of ribbing from the group I hang with. They are going to ask you why you don't buy a "real bike". Secretly and out of site of a lot of their peers, many will come and tell me that they think the RT is a really nice bike, but will never, ever say that with anybody present :D

My usual reply to the question is that HD bikes are not my kind of ride, and that usually suffices to cut the conversation short. HD makes great bikes as do a lot of other manufacturers, and whatever floats your boat is nobody's concern or business.

Take a ride on the RT and be aware that it takes a number of rides of some length to really appreciate what a well rounded and versatile machine the RT is. Bring your checkbook after you catch some good test rides.. you will buy the bike.

Doug
 

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My previous bike just traded in this December was a 2006 V-Rod. I know that Harley purist don't consider a V-Rod a "real" Harley but that's because it was the best engine HD (Porsche Design) has ever made.
I also rode a Fat Boy quite a bit over the last 6 or 7 years.
I wanted to move into a touring bike and considered a HD Ultra, Street Glide or Road King but in the end I chose the versatility of the RT.
I love the ride, the weight, the feel and being able to handle highways as well as it handles twisty's. It's great to have ESAII that enables me to ride with a sport suspension or a comfort-highway position in the same day...heck mile to mile if I chose.
I've only got 4 months (off-season) and about 1400 miles so far, but I love the RT and I'm 100% confident that this was the best bike choice that I could have possibly made for me.
 

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Having come from a 2011 FLHR Road King to a current R1200RT I can tell you that the bikes are worlds apart. The Harley as you know are a farly relaxed ride, power is adequate (brakes are just so) for this genre of motorcycle. The R1200RT will surprise you with it's performance, handling and braking. In addition the 100 odd kilograms of weight saving will come as a revelation.

All in all I think you will be VERY happy with the RT (once you come to terms with the riding position).

Cheers
 

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homewrek said:
My previous bike just traded in this December was a 2006 V-Rod. I know that Harley purist don't consider a V-Rod a "real" Harley but that's because it was the best engine HD (Porsche Design) has ever made.
I also rode a Fat Boy quite a bit over the last 6 or 7 years.
I wanted to move into a touring bike and considered a HD Ultra, Street Glide or Road King but in the end I chose the versatility of the RT.
I love the ride, the weight, the feel and being able to handle highways as well as it handles twisty's. It's great to have ESAII that enables me to ride with a sport suspension or a comfort-highway position in the same day...heck mile to mile if I chose.
I've only got 4 months (off-season) and about 1400 miles so far, but I love the RT and I'm 100% confident that this was the best bike choice that I could have possibly made for me.
I don't know...something about the statement "I rode a Fat Boy quite a bit over the last 6 or 7 years." just seems kinda wrong. :D
 

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I rode an FLHTK for 2 years and 47,000 miles. I still have a Night Train with 32,000 miles on it. I've got about 3,000 miles on my RT so far this year, and I haven't missed the FLHTK yet. Search my posts for specific details about the differences between the bikes, but suffice it to say that I'm very pleased with my decision.
 

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Another former H-D rider here. Came from a 2010 FLHX Street Glide to a 2012 RT and don't regret the move one bit. Very satisfying to ride the RT and the subtleties of the design slowly grow on you and you wonder how you put up with the shortcomings of your previous rides.

I wouldn't mind another Big Twin to join my RT but since I am a mere mortal and can only keep one bike at a time I'll keep the RT (plus the thing is kind of expensive so I need to keep it awhile so the wife can cool down).

Aloha,
Huladog
 

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There are quite a lot of folks here who moved from H-D to BMW's.

You asked about H-D to R-bikes. I did exactly that. Was on H-D for near 20 years. Last one was Road Glide... after 4 touring Harleys in a row. Found a near-project BMW R1100R under a tarp in a guys back yard. After a lot of cleaning and putting-right... rode her well.

The R bikes are basically the same as other R models in any given year/engine but they have far less weather protection and to some eyes may appear as "more sporty". With the reduced fairing area comes a very slight reduction on weight, and a somewhat easier routine maintenance since you do not have to spend the 10 minutes it takes to remove the fairing pieces... aka Tupperware.

My first real BMW was and still is the R1200RT. This was added to the stable while the Road Glide was there. We are touring riders and my wife loves to ride. After the first RT ride, she never wanted to ride the Glide again, and it was her choice.

Many of the regulars here have heard me say it but what I usually say when my H-D pals asked me why I switched... I say I doubled my horsepower and lost 200 pounds.

Please feel free to ask specific questions and we will fill you in.

EDIT to clarify... I went back and re-read your post. I mistakenly "heard" you refer to R bikes... I thought you were speaking of bikes such as the R1200R, or the R1150R's.

In BMW-speak models that begin with the letter "R" are the horizontally opposed twin cylinder bikes that are the classic BMW configuration. The other bikes are K bikes which in modern times are 4 cylinder bikes in-line engines. (I had one of those also)

The current model R1200RT's are perhaps the best combination touring, sporty, comfortable, lighter weight but still solid bikes on the market. If you thought the Softail was comfortable- wait till you ride an RT.
 

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homewrek said:
My previous bike just traded in this December was a 2006 V-Rod. I know that Harley purist don't consider a V-Rod a "real" Harley but that's because it was the best engine HD (Porsche Design) has ever made.
.
Correction with the Porsche comment. The Revolution engine is Harley Davidson designed engine derived from the VR-1000 superbike when Harley was racing in that series in the 1990's. Harley asked help from Porsche to have that engine refined for street use.

I've owned Harleys since 1994 and a current Night Rod owner. I"m looking to add the R1200RT to my stable sometime in the near future.
 

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I am not a Harley convert but do own a Honda VTX1800 as well as an R1150RT. What I like about the VTX and the RT compared to the Harley is the difference in engine design. The VTX with it's water cooling and the RT with it's oil cooling are simply tighter engines that on average will outlast an air-cooled bike. I have four bikes total and enjoy them all because they do ride differently from each other. That's the fun of it for me. The RT is a very different beast than those Harleys though. Much cooler, more nimble, and smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all for the insights! I had considered moving to a Street Glide, but I feel like I have experienced the whole Harley thing and would like to try something really different. I too am a mere mortal, and can only afford one bike at a time. Life is short and I'd like to experience some other rides. I have read some posts here about loud pipes, and I agree that a bike, like a hot rod, can have a nice sound without offending the entire population. My bike is a little louder then stock, but not much. We go to an annual camping/bike event here in MD every year geared towards adults, but sometimes the burnouts and engine revving in the middle of the night can get ridiculous. I will definitely check out an RT as soon as I can and post my experience for those interested. Cheers!
 

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I went from years of Harleys to a Goldwing in 03. Took a couple months to fully start appreciating the different handling characteristics and began to ride into a new era for me that I had never experienced before. 2011 bought RT..its much lighter and a little more nimble, even though the GLH Handled like a cat.

Harleys unsettling geometry almost killed me several times in corners throughout life. No more of that for me..I love what I have now and the new adventure..and no more back seat riders :eek:

I'm a Blessed Man!
 

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Just joined this forum and just bought a new R1200RT. I was riding a Harley Ultra Limited and am really liking the BMW so far. A little adjustment to the riding position but love the lighter weight, more responsive handling, and especially the braking. I think I'm converted and look forward to many miles on the RT. I've had it a week and have 1400 so far.
 

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Recommend you test drive BOTH the RT1200 and the K1600GTL the same day. Let the bikes themselves tell you which you prefer. Cost between both is a few grand, but you're gonna want to do this, really. I was riding a Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter beforehand.
I did the test drive a few weeks ago, and ended up with the K1600GTL. Everyone has their favorite!
 

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Well, I suppose you could be rude and remind them that most Harley's ceased to have anything like competitive performance about the day after the first Honda 750 was sold. And be nice by not reminding them how many years ago that was....

Or maybe by now they've been passed by so many folks on BMWs they already know that. God knows we don't set out to see how many Harleys and Harley wannabees we can blow off in a ride but given the natural cruising speed differences and comfort in the bikes, its hard not to do it a lot aorund where I live.

Always a believe that anyone on a bike should stop and offer asistance to another rider if they need it. So I've helped a few folks with Harleys--- chrome cruisers are far and away the most common bike type aound here. I just hope mine doesn't crap an FD someplace so I need help- not much anyone could do for me then unless they're towing a bike trailer. Expect the usual ribbing if you have one of the bikes classical failures..
 

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racer7 said:
...
Always a believe that anyone on a bike should stop and offer asistance to another rider if they need it. So I've helped a few folks with Harleys--- chrome cruisers are far and away the most common bike type aound here. I just hope mine doesn't crap an FD someplace so I need help- not much anyone could do for me then unless they're towing a bike trailer. Expect the usual ribbing if you have one of the bikes classical failures..
I always carry a couple of quarts of oil for my Harley brothers ... :wave
 

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I think what you will find is that some of your buddies will also switch to BMW after awhile. Especially if you do a bike swap on a ride with them.
 

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beech said:
I think what you will find is that some of your buddies will also switch to BMW after awhile. Especially if you do a bike swap on a ride with them.
Anyone who's been riding a Harley for a long time (20+ years) is going to have a hard time on anything else. The riding position is so different, if you're used to the foot-forward, leaned back position, an upright or forward-leaning position is going to be uncomfortable. It engages a completely different set of muscles, and radically changes how your weight is carried on the bike. Don't underestimate the psychological hurdle as well, because "it looks uncomfortable".

There is no doubt in my mind that the RT's positioning puts me in a much better position to control the bike. There's also no doubt that the RT is a much more responsive machine, which makes it less stable for all-day slab hauling. What's debatable is the long-distance comfort for me. I could literally go all day and all night on a Touring Harley, it remains to be seen if that's possible on the RT.
 

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05train, touch on some interesting points. I traded my 2010 EG for a 2011RT just last September. I addressed the long distance touring comfort with a Russell saddle and some Illium hwy pegs. With that said I'm still NOT 100% sold on the BMW and it mainly has to do with maintenance requirements. Without a doubt the RT is smooth, responsive and nimble as compared to the HD, but it has far too many maintenance requirements for the mileage I rack up. I'm hangin in there under the assumption that as I become more familiar with the bike and its needs, that I'll also come up with some sort of maintenance schedule to address both my desire to ride and the bikes need for servicing. I don't know maybe I have it all wrong but a bike manufacture who promotes their product for the long ride and designs it to require 6k maintenance is obviously of a different idea of what riding is than I.
So long and short is the RT is a great bike in every respect but consider the maintenance schedule and how that fits into your riding habits.
 
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