BMW R1250 RT longterm update

R1250 RT

We’ve been putting some miles on BMW’s R1250 RT with big commutes, weekend rides and a late-night blast back from Gatwick to Coventry.

BMW’S R1250 RT gains the ShiftCam motor for 2019 and with its cavernous luggage space and comfortable ergonomics, it seemed the perfect choice as a long-term steed to schlep up and down the M1 to the Visordown office.

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Now, I’ve held off on the first installment of this long-term report, and for good reason. The relationship between the Bavarian beast and myself wasn’t smooth to start with, but time and tide – and about 3000-miles – have changed my outlook on the bike completely.

To start with, I didn’t find the bike very inspiring. It’s not a bike that you open the garage door to and immediately think ‘Phwoar, let us go spank some B-roads together’, and it’s not that it’s boring to ride or slow in any way. Quite the opposite, it’s extremely good when pointed up a twisty road but it just didn’t fire my loins as some bikes do.

It might be the boxer engine’s character, and the muted exhaust note that makes riding the RT feel underwhelmingly efficient and typically BMW. That said, we pushed on started to build the miles until one wet and very late night after the 2019 Isle of Man TT when suddenly, I had a massive lightbulb moment!

If you’ve been to the IoM by plane, you’ll know how small Ronaldsway is and how quickly delays can crop up. Travelling back to the UK after the event, I blearily witness the flight timetable on my phone notifying me that my 6:30pm flight back home is now going to leave the tiny airport at about 10pm. With only a tinted visor, no waterproofs for riding – just Kevlar jeans and a leather jacket – and pissing rain forecast for most of the UK; to say I was not looking forward to the ride from Gatwick to Coventry was an understatement!

Loading my bags into the BMW’s panniers I can hear rain hammering down even with my lid on and foam earplugs stuffed in my lug-holes, not what you need when you’ve got 140-miles to ride with no waterproofs and a tinted visor. But it turns out I really needn’t have worried, as the RT had got my back with what is some of the best weather protection available this side of a Kawasaki Versys 1000. The adjustable screen goes high enough to sit you in a calm bubble of still air, while the heated grips and seat warm up quick and stay relatively warm.

With the tyres skipping around underneath me as they constantly lift up on the cushion of water, the bike stays composed and still, with the only signs of a slide coming as I eagerly get on the throttle with all the accuracy of a drunk Viking, forcing the traction control – which is switchable but it’s a real faff – to intervene preventing any late night embarrassment!

When I arrived home at about 1am I hopped off the bike and wheeled it into the garage before giving myself a little pat down. Amazingly I was only slightly damp, not rain sodden and freezing cold like you’d expect. Closing the garage door I sprint the 50-yards from the garage to home, walking into my living room I notice I’m dripping all over the floor – I got wetter crossing the street in the rain than I did riding 140-miles at over 80mph. and that’s what makes the BMW R1250 RT a special machine – there are only a few bikes that can make journeys like that so effortless and comfortable.