2013 BMW R 1200 RT

Road Test Review

Now in its 34th year of production, the BMW R 1200 RT has long been sport touring’s standard-bearer. Designed, built and refined in the shadow of the Alps, the RT name is synonymous with tractable power, intuitive handling and first-rate comfort and wind protection. Its trademark air/oil-cooled boxer twin with shaft drive represents 90 years of BMW design tradition, a setup that has proven to be reliable and popular.

Updated for 2010, the RT received the HP2 Sport-derived radial four-valve, DOHC cylinder head and other improvements that helped the engine rev more smoothly, broadened the torque curve and perked up the exhaust note. It also introduced the innovative Multi-Controller, a thumb wheel on the left hand grip that controls the optional audio system. Styling was updated, the already-excellent wind protection was improved, the optional Electronic Suspension Adjustment was upgraded from ESA I to ESA II, and more (Rider, September 2012 and on ridermagazine.com).

Like the K 1600 GT, our R 1200 RT test bike is a 2012 model; there are no changes in pricing, options or colors for 2013. The base price of $17,350 includes ABS, a centerstand, a power accessory socket and white turn signal lenses as standard equipment. Our test bike is also equipped with the RT Premium Equipment package ($2,200), which adds a chrome exhaust, ESA II, heated seat and grips, cruise control, an onboard computer and a dual accessory socket; the Audio and Communications package ($1,300), which adds Bluetooth and an audio system with radio software; and the tire pressure monitor ($250), boosting the as-tested price to $21,100.

The R 1200 RT held its own in this comparison, but it will certainly be even better when it receives the new air/liquid-cooled engine, 6-speed transmission with wet slipper clutch, optional Dynamic ESA and other features found on the all-new R 1200 GS (Rider, April 2013).