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BMW Bikes that are engineered to be ridden... just sayin'...

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Old 01-28-2012, 09:15 PM
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R1200RT Riding Impressions

I figured I'd keep a log here just in case anyone cares.

I took Dagmar out on our first "real" ride today (my first since November 20th for anyone keeping score at home). I got right around 130 miles today in beautiful 45-50 degree weather on all sorts of roads. It was really, really good to get out.

I've got my seat in the "tall" setting, and "tall" is a good descriptor. I can flat-foot the thing, but only just so. I can dangle my feet off the pegs while riding, and only my toes hit the ground. The high seating position makes for a nice, commanding view of the road.

The seating position itself is somewhat of a mixed bag. As the day went on and my Motrin wore off, my right knee and left wrist complained a bit. I'll chalk that up to the accident and the fact that I'm not in my usual riding shape, because there's almost no weight on my wrists while I'm riding. Similarly, even with my knees bent and my feet beneath me, I had no issues at all with the good knee. With all that said, I will be adding a peg-lowering kit and some sort of highway pegs.

There are a ton of switches and buttons on the fairing, the gauge cluster, and the hand controls. I figured out how to turn the stereo on, but not how to change the station. There's a TPMS (which is nice), a computer that figures MPG and miles remaining, and a surprisingly accurate thermometer. Then there's the controls for the suspension (preload and damping), the traction control, the heated grips and seat, the adjustable windshield (awesome), the cruise control, the horn, the turn signals, the hazard lights, and the starter/killswitch.

So on to the riding. I took it out without the top case, and I dropped the panniers (saddlebags in BMW-speak) off at Battley to fix a minor issue. This is one (comparatively speaking) light bike. The lightness pays all sorts of dividends, with one major caveat (but more on that later).

Leaving the house and heading out onto the backroads, the hydraulic clutch is light and offers excellent feedback. With the suspension set to "comfort", the bike floats over all but the worst frost heaves in the pavement. Steering is effortless. Seriously effortless. Look where you want to go and the bike just falls into the turn. Full-lock turns are a breeze, even with the higher center-of-gravity. The brakes are nothing short of heroic. The fronts are linked to the rear, the rear also operates by itself. They're throw-you-over-the-bars strong, but easily modulated.

The Caveat....This is a much lighter bike than the BSL, with narrower tires. With the BSL, I could pretty much put it where I wanted it in the lane, and it stayed there. With the more aggressive steering head rake and the lighter weight, Dagmar requires a bit more attention while riding. However I could still ride hands-off, and the bike tracked straight as an arrow.

The power is sublime. The bike's so quiet that i really only hear the wind at lower RPMs. Power is smooth across the rev-band, with a nice surge starting at around 5,000 or so. The motor sends a nice little Softail-like tremor through the grips, and makes for an odd motion down below when rev-matching downshifts (probably due to the boxer layout).

What all this means on the road is that the rider's seat is way more comfortable than it looks and has amazing protection from the wind. The bike runs through corners with ease, and powers out of them better than anything this comfortable should. Running through roads that I'm very familiar with, I found myself braking way earlier than I needed to, and running much faster through corners. If I were at 100% and more familiar with the bike, I could embarrass squids on GSXRs on "my" roads.

So after one day of riding, I can say that I like it. It's got character. It's got soul. It's not a Harley, not by any stretch (with all the good and bad that comes with that). What it is is an awesomely capable sport-tourer. I might have used 40% of that capability today. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:23 PM
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did you find the coffee maker?


seriously looked like a ton of fun at the show, not a harley and never claimed to be, a fun beast though..... we can always swap bike on and off on long rides
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:36 PM
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Very cool, nothing like riding a new scooter - especially a capable one!!

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Old 01-28-2012, 11:05 PM
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:10 PM
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Very cool review, Russ. Enjoy.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:22 PM
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Excellent report, Russ. I'm glad you're liking the new ride!

here's the question that I want explored: I would've assumed (and maybe others as well) that you would've been all over the 1600 tourer; what were your thoughts in selecting the boxer over the 1600?
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:02 AM
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MrSurly View Post
Excellent report, Russ. I'm glad you're liking the new ride!

here's the question that I want explored: I would've assumed (and maybe others as well) that you would've been all over the 1600 tourer; what were your thoughts in selecting the boxer over the 1600?
10K.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Pivot Man View Post
did you find the coffee maker?


seriously looked like a ton of fun at the show, not a harley and never claimed to be, a fun beast though..... we can always swap bike on and off on long rides
Or you could just ride on back w/Russ, you saw how Scabby was wanting to sit on back with me at the bike show..,glad Frank was there to protect me~~
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:49 AM
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Tell us more~
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:42 AM
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Tell us more~
About Scabby or the Bemmer?
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:14 AM
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About Scabby or the Bemmer?
yes
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MrSurly View Post
Excellent report, Russ. I'm glad you're liking the new ride!

here's the question that I want explored: I would've assumed (and maybe others as well) that you would've been all over the 1600 tourer; what were your thoughts in selecting the boxer over the 1600?
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10K.
Yup, 10 grand was a big factor.

The K1600GTL is a really nice bike. It's loaded with even more tech than the RT, and the riding position is a little more laid back. It' also got 160 horsepower, which is nice.

In short, it's a German interpretation of a 'Wing or and Ultra, and I didn't want that. The RT is 200 pounds lighter, and lighter is gooder. The GTL handles really well and goes like stink, but the weight is always present. It's 100 pounds lighter than the BSL, but you'd never know that while riding it.

To make matters worse, the RT does a better job with wind management and the seat's more comfortable (though I'll still probably end up changing it in the future). Then there's the whole issue of buying a first-year bike, and the benefit of a simple, air-cooled engine over that beast of a 6.

My hope is that the RT suits our needs for the next 5 years or so (especially since I paid for 5 years of unlimited-mileage warranty), and then look at adding a GTL as our long-distance bike. Of course, that goes out the window if Dana is miserable on our first trip.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by '05Train View Post
Yup, 10 grand was a big factor.

The K1600GTL is a really nice bike. It's loaded with even more tech than the RT, and the riding position is a little more laid back. It' also got 160 horsepower, which is nice.

In short, it's a German interpretation of a 'Wing or and Ultra, and I didn't want that. The RT is 200 pounds lighter, and lighter is gooder. The GTL handles really well and goes like stink, but the weight is always present. It's 100 pounds lighter than the BSL, but you'd never know that while riding it.

To make matters worse, the RT does a better job with wind management and the seat's more comfortable (though I'll still probably end up changing it in the future). Then there's the whole issue of buying a first-year bike, and the benefit of a simple, air-cooled engine over that beast of a 6.

My hope is that the RT suits our needs for the next 5 years or so (especially since I paid for 5 years of unlimited-mileage warranty), and then look at adding a GTL as our long-distance bike. Of course, that goes out the window if Dana is miserable on our first trip.

"when" dana is......... carry one
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:37 AM
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"when" dana is......... carry one
I really don't think so. She enjoyed the hell out of the GSA, which is the same basic platform as the RT (but with less wind protection).
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