Those seeking a do-anything motorcycle tend to go for a well-equipped BMW R1200RT. The BMW R1200RT is the top pick for a fully dressed touring motorcycle, whether from BMW or from other motorcycle manufacturers. In fact, I'm will to go a step further: not only is the BMW R1200RT a great tourer, it's the greatest all-round motorcycle ever created.
The twin-cam, air-cooled boxer engine, inherited by the BMW R1200RT in 2010, plays no small part in sharpening the dynamics of the motorcycle to the point of becoming class-leading. Although peak power remained the same modest 109 horsepower output of the outgoing single-cam engine, big gains were made in flexibility, efficiency, refinement and responsiveness to the throttle. The arrival of the 105 Nm torque peak some 1,500rpm earlier gave the boxer more punch at everyday engine speeds, and it also felt far less breathless up top. A heavier exhaust note upped the sonic appeal as well. While BMW's venerable air-cooled boxer twin never lacked for character, the extra cam fitted to either side of the engine, combined with the new radial-valve cylinder heads, added a lot more muscle to the BMW R1200RT. At the same time, a revolution took place on the suspension front. The shock absorber, mounted on the steering head, gained electronic adjustment, producing improved control of the single-wishbone Telelever front end, while a similar unit was used to manage wheel travel at the rear. For each of four riding modes – Solo, Solo with Luggage, Two-up and Two-up with Luggage – BMW's ESA II system allowed access to three settings at the press of a button: Comfort, Normal and Sport. The result, in all 12 configurations, was a motorcycle that could blot surface imperfections with excellence and be fine-tuned according to the occasion.
In its sportier suspension settings, the BMW R1200RT handles with a deftness denied to just about every other heavyweight tourer. It flicks and rips down challenging stretches of winding road in a most un-tourer-like fashion, the rider mounted high for a good view over crests and of slower traffic, and reveling in the leverage that the generously wide handlebars offer over the agile steering. Of course, the highly popular BMW R1200GS adventure bike is just as wieldy, just as unfazed by bumpy surfaces and just as punchy when you power out of corners; however, its steering is less sharp, and it is slower to roll-rotate from peg to peg through fast -S-bends, If the popularity of the R1200GS is a bit a turn-off an R1200RT makes a better-handling, more exclusive alternative.
And when Mother Nature turns of the waterworks, the more expansive weather protection of the BMW R1200RT is most certainly appreciated. Not a single part of the rider need be exposed when the weather takes a turn for the moody, thanks to a revised fairing that completely protects feel, legs, hands, lap and torso, and a power-adjustable screen that can be raised or lowered to provide the perfect compromise between wind noise and weather-proofing for the rider's head.
The safety, comfort and convenience features of the BMW R1200RT make a long list. Notable highlights include beautifully finished and well-designed quick-detach panniers, cruise control, traction control, masterful ABS-equipped brakes, an audio system and tire-pressure monitoring. Adding a bit of geek appeal is bike-don's equivalent of an iDrive control interface, though it's far easier to use than the genuine article.