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First Look: BMW R1200RT
By Brian Korfhage
BMW will debut two of their newest models this week at the Bologna motorcycle show in Italy, the R1200ST and R1200RT. Both models are slated to go on the market for 2005.
The ST is a sportier version and is claimed to be 66 pounds lighter than the RT model and also has a hideous set of headlights to luminate the road ahead.
Aside from the lamps and weight difference the internals on the two machines are the same.
Last year BMW introduced the R1200GS adventure-tourer as the first model in a new Boxer line of motorcycles. In our test of the new GS, the 1170cc flat-Twin proved to be significantly more powerful than the older-tech 1130cc mill, and the bike lost a huge amount of weight.
BMW is now instituting this plethora of new technology to the 2005 R12000RT to vault it toward the pinnacle of sport-touring excellence. The new Boxer is the same unit featured in the R1200GS and BMW claims 16% more power than previous engine models. BMW claims 110 horsepower and 85 lb-ft of torque for the 1200RT thanks to a new intake system, new silencers, and modified camshafts.
The latest electronic Boxer engine technology is carried over to the 1200RT. Some of the highlights include electronic engine management that boasts both anti-knock control as well as separate oxygen sensors controlling the air/fuel mixture individually for each cylinder. The anti-knock control enables riders to run on lower fuel grades down to 95 RON without suffering any damage. The new electronic engine control and dual-plug heads also boosts gas mileage, according to BMW.
Cradling the new Twin is a redesigned two-piece tubular steel spaceframe, with the engine existing as a load-bearing unit. The front portion of the chassis is a welded steel structure, while the rear is made of straight steel tubes welded to one another. New cast aluminum wheels are lighter, contributing to a 505-pound claimed dry weight, a huge 44-pound reduction compared to the old model.
Suspending the front end is the BMW Telelever suspension system that has anti-dive properties engineered into it. Out back, the rear end is suspended by a shock that has travel-dependant damping, a feature first seen on the 2002 R1150GS Adventure. Like the new 1200GS, the new RT uses BMW's Evo-Paralever, a much lighter shaft-drive system that is also more rigid than previous. BMW says the system is "hardly heavier" than a conventional chain and swingarm.
Bringing the 1200RT to a stop is BMW's EVO brake system featuring the partly-integrated version of its Integral ABS brakes. Up front is a set of 320mm discs, while the rear is a 265mm single disc.
While the new engine technology is one of the most impressive aspects of the new model, the on-board controls are top of the line. For 2005, BMW is offering an on-board computer which gives the rider addition display functions including outside temperature, black ice warning signal, average fuel consumption, average speed, and an oil level warning. While the standard controls exist on the 1200RT (including the controversial opposing turn signal buttons), BMW is offering an anti-theft device as standard equipment on the 2005 model. Simply removed the key from the ignition and the electronic software deactivates both fuel injection and the ignition.
Those looking to take the 1200RT on long trips will be happy to know that 32-liter hard-shell cases come standard on the 2005 model. The case supports are integrated into the body of the motorcycle, which makes the 1200RT look as good in sport mode as it does when touring. A choice of two seats and two mounting positions offer a range of seat heights between 30.7 and 33.1 inches. Together with a higher and wider electrically-operated adjustable windshield (with a range of 5.5 inches), the new RT should be able to fit almost anyone.
BMW, ever the company of opulence, offers a host of extras for rider willing to dish out the cash. Some of the most interesting goodies include an additional power point, heated grips and seat, radio with CD player, on-board computer, cruise control and Navigator 2 GPS. Also optional is BMW's Electronic Suspension Adjustment. ESA enables riders to adjust the spring preload and damper rate with the touch of a button, even while riding.
The R1200RT is expected to arrive in the U.S. in March of 2005. It will be available in three color schemes: Granite Grey Metallic, Dark Graphite Metallic, and Piemont Red Metallic. As of this date, BMW hasn't announced pricing information.