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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Which RT year is the best to buy? What to look for? Im new to BMW but not to riding. I ride for the past 43 years and many different ones but didnt own one until now. I test drove the RT and I got very excited. But need to know from experts such as yours which one is the best.
 

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Some where around 2017 they got 21mm lower to the ground at the seat and handle bars. Skip the 2014's the 15 to 18 are great bikes, lots of power. The 2010 and 2011 are easy to work on. The 1100 and 1150 need more of a tune up (throttle body balance) Do some reading, pick one that has features you like. Personally I don't like the keyless systems that are now current but then I'm old.
 

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Which RT year is the best to buy? What to look for? Im new to BMW but not to riding. I ride for the past 43 years and many different ones but didnt own one until now. I test drove the RT and I got very excited. But need to know from experets such as yours which one is the best.
That will depends on your budget, but generally I would recommend the latest model year that will fit in your budget. The 1100s and 1150s can have final drive and spline issues. The hexhead 1200s (MY 2005 - 2009) will have fuel-strip (to detect fuel tank level) failure issue as well as possible fuel-pump controller issues. Personally, I would start with the wethead 1200s (MY 2014 - 2018). The first 2 years of the 1250s (2019 and 2020) is nothing more than the MY2018 with larger, and better engine. The real change for the 1250s came with the 2021 MY, with load of new features that is more common with modern and future bikes. Other manufacturers, even HD, had taken similar approach.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some where around 2017 they got 21mm lower to the ground at the seat and handle bars. Skip the 2014's the 15 to 18 are great bikes, lots of power. The 2010 and 2011 are easy to work on. The 1100 and 1150 need more of a tune up (throttle body balance) Do some reading, pick one that has features you like. Personally I don't like the keyless systems that are now current but then I'm old.
Any reason why I should skip the 2014's? bc I found one with 14K miles in excellent shape close by my house.
 

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2021 BMW R 1250 RT, 2020 BMW R 1250 GSA, 2014 HD FLHTK, 2005 Honda Goldwing
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Had an 1150RT and presently own a 2021 version. The differences and improvements are very apparent in every aspect.
the 2021 is the best RT I have ever ridden or owned.
Caviat: The TFT and NAV idosyncrasies are mind boggling and aggravating.
 

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I bought a 2014 earlier this year, also with 14k miles. I’ve since enjoyed over 7k miles riding it around, including a 6-day coast-to-coast. I suppose in a few years (for some unknown reason) I may look for a newer RT but, at least for now, this baby delivers everything I need to make my socks go up and down. :)
 

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I agree with buying at or near the end of the model cycle. My previous RT was a CamHead 2011, it was a fabulous bike with the last gen Oil/Air cooled engine and dry clutch. I swapped it for a 2018, and while I'm still getting used to the Wet Head I'm really starting to gel with it.

It depends on your budget and your local dealer if it is under warranty or if you are going to need them to service it.

Give us more info about you and we can give you more feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for your advise and support. I have found 2 that I like. A 2016 and 2018. The 2016 is local to me which I will see tomorrow. The 2018 is in Las Vegas. From the 2 which one is the best?
 

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Thank you all for your advise and support. I have found 2 that I like. A 2016 and 2018. The 2016 is local to me which I will see tomorrow. The 2018 is in Las Vegas. From the 2 which one is the best?
I vote the 18 because of my prior statement... Though both are great!

"Tranny change in 2017 gives smoother shifting"

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

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I started with a 2002 rt , traded it in on a 2012 rt. Bike was totaled , I survived. Now I have a 2016 rt. The new the better. Love the 2016. Happy searching. Also love the keyless feature.
 

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@PofC:

My first RT was a 2003 R1100RT-P, i.e. an "oilhead", or pre-hexhead generation. Next was the first generation hexhead, 2005 R1200RT. Road that from about 2008 to 2014/15, and just got back to riding this year. So, I was asking similar questions, to yours.

From one perspective, EVERY BMW RT is a work of art and engineering excellence, but also, every class of BMW has it's own share of "teething" problems. I'll try to keep this brief (to anyone who knows how I write, that's a 🤣🤣🤣):

R1100RT-P - I enjoyed mine, has a lot of problems due to the service use of that bike. However, it was top heavy, and shifted like a tractor.
R1200RT (1st gen): Significant improvement in all areas of the bike. The biggest, in my opinion, was that the center of gravity was lower (or seemed so). Far less top heavy. Coming from a dirt bike, off road background, with the R1100RT, every move I made was choreographed so that I wouldn't highside the beast, or otherwise do something both embarrassing and dangerous, tipping the bike over at an inopportune moment. However, with the R1200RT, I found myself flatfooted (6'2"), holding the bike upright against my leg, like I was riding a 250cc dirt bike. It felt lighter, it handled and acted more "flickable". It was a day and night difference.

Others can tell you more about the hexhead versus camhead differences. I haven't ridden my 2018 R1200RT "wethead" enough to really verify what I've read about power, handling and etc. I can tell you that the clutch is so light, and shifting so smooth, that I had a difficult time on my first ride to NOT ride the clutch at every shift.

About my decision:
Selection criteria:
1) No more RT-P's or project bikes. Been there, done that, and it took too much out of me. Target must be a lower mileage, later model RT.
2) Camhead (2010-2013) versus Wethead (i.e. 2014-2018). I had nothing against the hexhead (2005-2009), but they wouldn't fit criteria #1 (i.e. too old). At the least, I'd end up immediately replacing/rebuilding shocks, and doing a bunch of both regular maintenance as well as upgrades (again, see criteria #1).

When I was last riding, I was looking at Camhead's with some level of envy, and Wetheads were but a $dream$. After reading reviews about the upgrades to the Wetheads, and looking at criterion #1 again, I quickly set my sights on a Wethead class. Then, I found out about the 2014 recalls, and the premature camshaft wear problems related to material problems. That led me to add criterion #3.

3) No first year, bleeding edge models. Buy into a later year of whatever class I targeted, after the bugs had pretty much been worked out. Sure, the latest and greatest is cool, but I didn't want to be on the forums trying to figure out this bug, that bug, or trying to buy upgrades, only to find that there's absolutely NOTHING used available, i.e. every upgrade cost an arm or a leg.

4) Budget: Used, not new. I actually exceeded my original target budget (about $12K USD) by $3K. A new RT (a.k.a. Shiftcam, 2019-2021) was out of the question. Surveying the used bike market, I could not find a used R1250RT on the market at all, so no price comps past 2018. No, I didn't shake all of the trees (i.e. contacting multiple dealers, putting out the word), as I figured if I couldn't find one, I probably couldn't afford one if I found it. Plus, see criterion #3.


5) Target:

a) All of that logic developed my search criteria, ie. 2015-2018 R1200RT.

b) Prefer 2017-2018: After further research, I discovered the significant transmission upgrades on the 2017-2018 models (and little difference in price between 2014-2018's), so I refined my search to: 2017-2018 R1200RT, less than 25K miles, and preferably, under 10K miles. (I wouldn't have run away from a good 2015 or 2016, but most were priced higher than the 2018 I eventually bought.)

c) Must be "Premium": Then the REAL confusion started, as I attempted to understand the optional packages. Reviewing available packages and original pricing for those things, I pretty much said "scr**w it, I want a loaded bike", so I didn't have to try to figure the relative value of each, different add-on. I discovered that BMW marketed a "Premium" model (in the USA, I think it's the LC in the UK), with most of the packages included. So, I further narrowed down that search to those bikes. (Note: I also discovered dealers across the USA marketing "Premium" RT's, when they only had one or two of the four major packages included. I figured that out looking up the build list by VIN's, and comparing. The equipment codes were a nightmare to figure out. I'll elaborate on this in a separate post if enough people ask about it.) One more thing: Premium models originally sold between $22K and $25K. Those extras were expensive.

d) Conclusion: My target was 2017-2018, R1200RT Premium, color irrelevant (I like them all), less than 25K miles. Transportation factored in (i.e. local > shipped or "fly in, ride out".

6) Search: I used three tools:
cycletrader - they are the leader
motohunt.com - they had some hits on my search criteria
Craigslist - (via SearchTempest, for a coast to coast search).

ALERT * ALERT ***: Buyer beware, on any of these advertisements. I quite easily found two or three clearly fraudulent ads, i.e. the seller didn't own the bike advertised (and may or may not have been living in Nigeria 🙄). I won't digress into the topic, other than to say, you just have to be careful, and do your due diligence. I won't go into great detail about buying dealer only versus private party (or third party, non-BMW dealers), other than to say, if you're buying private party, and intend to "fly in, ride out",

a) Check your states sales tax and registration laws (i.e. if I had picked mine up in California, and ridden home to Idaho, there's a good chance I'd be stuck with both CA and ID sales tax, and definitely, CA and ID registrations).

b) Plan on paying a local BMW dealer for an hour of service time to inspect the vehicle, before you buy your plane ticket. Sure, that may disrupt any deal, but at least you'll know that an objective third party has actually seen the bike, met the registered owner, and a service professional has verified the condition. Service records are great, but I wouldn't do PP out of state, without this inspection. (And, don't send money. TAKE an instrument, cashier's check, etc., and hand it to the seller when you get the title and bill of sale.)

Back to our regularly scheduled program, a.k.a. "The Great BMW RT Search!" 😉

Final Search:

I quickly discovered about late September, early October of this year, that there were fewer than 20 unique BMW's nationwide, that fit my criteria. There were only about two, within 300 miles of me. I had intended to evaluate the market through the winter, and try find an off-season "deal". However, of the < 20 bikes, only 4-5 were "Premium" models, and only about 2 of those, were verified legitimate Premium, low mileage, 2017 or 2018 models. (There was a 6th 2017 which had 33K miles at a Las Vegas auction house; I passed.) Within 2 weeks of my first search, those 20 bikes were now down to fewer than 10, and most prices were $16K and over. (Again, there were NO R1250RT's for sale, anywhere.) Not only were there half as many bikes available, but I was down to about 2 "Premium" models. The majority of bikes available were 2017 models.

To make a short story long (yeah, sorry, I do that a lot), I decided to move early, picking up a 2018 RT, Mars Red, Premium model. The dealer discounted the bike to about $13,800, threw in a matching 49L top case at his cost (total $15K), and I had it shipped to Idaho for $780 via Federal Motorcycle Transport. I asked for and received every document BMW had on the bike, service, maintenance, and warranty (6 more months). It cost more than I originally wanted to spend, earlier than I wanted to spend it (I'll be storing for winter), but I got the bike I wanted.

Of course, not everything went perfectly. When I received the bike, still tucked in the glove box was a registration that had "Loaner #1" written on it. When I spoke to the Service Manager, he said "Oh, this was one of ours, all the service was done here, yeah, we can get you all the records...", which I understood to mean, the bike was sold at that dealer and maintained there by the owner, not that it was ACTUALLY the dealers service loaner. The sales staff revealed nothing about it's history. 😖(n) Ethically, that information should have been disclosed by that unnamed BMW dealership. The bike also came with some significant scratches and appearance defects which weren't documented and disclosed. Nothing that was a deal breaker; I'll fix them all over the winter. At 12K miles, my hope is that it hasn't been thrashed badly enough that I'll be splitting another BMW RT to rebuild the engine, transmission, alternator, etc.. (i.e., like my first RT-P). I got a deal on the bike, sure, but considering that it was (apparently) never garaged, ridden by multiple riders, presumably hard, it may or may not be worth what I paid for it. I'm pretty happy with it now.

That's my story my decision process, for my new bike. Hope your search goes well, better even, than mine. As I said at the start, they're all great bikes. Just study the market, put eyes on and hands on the bike if you can, verify title and history via national resources (i.e. there are a couple of free links you can look up, to verify VIN, and that the bike was never stolen or wrecked), pay to have it checked over, and be patient. Most of the used BMW's are absolute gems. Most BMW owners are responsible folks, IMHO. Complete service histories on these expensive bikes are a must. Original owner, garaged, low miles, huge pluses. I personally am happy buying the final year of the "Wethead" model. It's the best bike (technologically, the ride, etc.) that I've ever owned.
 

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Epic write-up, Scott. Now I’ll start my day with upgrade envy. :) I’d just add a note about buying in another state. (I bought my RT from a friend, so it was likely less complicated.) Because I planned to ride it from California to my home in Maryland, I licensed it in my home state and got a 30-day temporary registration, pending a Maryland inspection. This enabled me to put a plate on it before my cross-country ride. It had current California registration so I could have just told any inquiring peace officers that I was just borrowing it from a friend, but I dropped that idea promptly for obvious (to me) insurance reasons. Fortunately, Maryland‘s 30-day temp extended through the month of July, as I got a late start.
 

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I'm happy with the '18 I bought used a couple years ago with 4k miles for $15,300. Did a fly and ride and thoroughly enjoyed the 1200 mile trip home. Had owned a few oilheads and was pleased with the improvements they'd made to the wethead. If you do your own maintenance, the price of admission is a GS911 (or similar) and a laptop if you don't like viewing a small phone screen. It is nice not dealing with the throttle body synch procedure, there are no cables. Had some fear of dealing with the higher tech, but it has turned out OK. I have no urge to upgrade to the shift cam...125 hp is plenty for me.
 
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