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2014 BMW R1200RT Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

After significantly improving its iconic R1200GS enduro bike, BMW turned to the GT segment and its new R1200RT. Better equipped and finished, this model benefits from a new, more efficient version of the company's boxer twin.

The 2014 BMW R1200RT provides enhanced comfort thanks to a power-adjustable windshield offering increased protection and reduced buffeting, a larger fairing that also increases protection, as well as power-folding mirrors that double as hand guards. The front section is now 3mm wider than the tail, so you're less likely to hit something with the side cases and damage them.

2014 BMW R1200RT equipment and ergonomics
The lengthy list of standard amenities with the 2014 BMW R1200RT includes a TFT colour instrument panel, a BMW Motorrad Pro trip computer, fairing-integrated storage compartments, heated grips, and a 12V outlet. On the other hand, there are many optional features, as well, including a second 12V outlet, a navigation system, an iPod adapter cable, central locking, LED headlights, front and rear heated seats, and BMW's Pro Shift Assistant, which allows upshifts and downshifts without declutching or closing the throttle.

Access to the 2014 BMW R1200RT has been improved with a 20mm lower ''rider triangle'' (seat, footrests, and handlebars) and a lower passenger seat and footrests. What's more, the rider gets a wider cushion that can be adjusted from 808-825 mm high.

The heart and soul
Borrowed from the new R1200GS, the air/water-cooled flat-twin engine of the 2014 BMW R1200RT boasts a pair of small radiators on each side of the front fairing. To account for the machine's heavier weight and longer-distance capabilities, engineers have fitted a beefier crankshaft and revised engine maps to improve low- and mid-range torque.

The transmission gets a longer final drive ratio that lowers revs at highway speeds, while the thoroughly revised cylinder heads reduce noise and vibration when compared with the old engine. Riders will have a choice of two standard riding modes (Rain and Road) and a third, optional mode (Dynamic) in addition to numerous electronic aids such as ABS, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), and Active Suspension Control (ASC).

The Dynamic mode offers sharper throttle response and less intrusive ABS and DTC systems. Selecting this option means you can also add Hill Start Control.

A new, more powerful alternator provides the extra juice to feed all the new devices.

Class-leading chassis elevates the 2014 BMW R1200RT

The outgoing model already served as a benchmark in terms of ride and handling, so look for minimal changes to the 2014 BMW R1200RT in that department. Structurally speaking, this bike is pretty similar to the R1200GS, with the engine supporting only the front swingarm axis in the Telelever system and the rest being attached to the frame. Stiffer fork crowns offset the smaller-diameter stanchions.

Just like the GS, the 2014 BMW R1200RT's Paralever Evo system integrates the shaft final drive, and the tailpipe is now mounted on the right side. The bolted rear sub-frame is also stiffer. The new model weighs 15 kg more than its predecessor does at 274 kg.

GT motorcycles from BMW are always quite nimble, and the 2014 BMW R1200RT is no exception thanks to some of the most compact dimensions (wheelbase, rake, and steering angle) in the segment, as well as a flat-twin engine that lowers the machine's centre of gravity.

While we deplore the many optional features, the 2014 BMW R1200RT looks poised to remain a leader with technology, performance, and quality levels that will make other GTs jealous.

2014 BMW R1200RT
Photo: BMW