The BMW R 1250 RT has had the equivalent to a Bootcamp. The 2021 generation machine has shed some size, looks leaner and has added quite a bit of extra technology. We put it through a thorough physical to check out what these improvements offer the rider.
To say I was excited to ride the 2021 BMW R 1250 RT is a true understatement. I saw the announcements for it around about October last year and started to talk about it with the staff at VinesBMW, my preferred BMW Motorrad Dealer.
When they phoned me in March and said their demo bike would be available as soon as lockdown eased, I was delighted. I collected the RT from Guildford and immediately headed for the back roads of Surrey to acquaint myself with the bike.
The 2021 BMW R 1250 RT has had a facelift as well as other augmentations. Like any superior cosmetic surgery, people should see the results without seeing how changes were made. BMW Motorrad has done this to the 2021 R 1250 RT. The redesigned cockpit accommodates a sizeable rectangular TFT screen and the front lighting and fairing have been made even more aerodynamic.
Placed by the previous generation RT side, you would strain to see any difference in the fairing size. Still, you can notice the change in lighting, which looks sharper, giving the impression of being leaner. The subtle changes have come through a newly developed fairing looking more honed, and it has aerodynamic advancements.
Full-LED headlamps come as standard, and BMW has altered the upper section of the fairing by reducing its height. The result is a broader field of vision for the rider. The impression is the BMW R 1250 RT appears lighter and more dynamic.
A turning light and new functions as ex-works options are available to enhance the full-LED headlamp that lights everything ahead with maximum brightness and clarity.
There is a swivel function offering an “Adaptive Turning Light” option. On dipped beam, the headlamp turns into the bend according to the bikes banking position. In this way, the curve is almost entirely lit because the light moves to where the motorcycle is pointed. Thanks to these light functions, riding on the 2021 model is more intense.
Options such as “Welcome/Goodbye functions for taking leave and the “Follow me home” function for guidance purposes will become available in the future.
BMW has also improved the technology available on the bike but vitally kept the heart of the machine intact. The 1250 cc Boxer engine works, so they left it alone. The RT can cruise all day at motorway or autobahn speeds, and with the large capacity tank, 280 plus miles is possible.
The RT can be pushed along at speed on any road, handling like a Sportsbike, with agility, grip and smooth ride. 100 kW (136 hp) comes from the 1250 cc engine, which, combined with ShiftCam technology, delivers supreme power across the complete speed range. The technology allows for smooth riding, fantastic emission values and fuel consumption. The bike is equally capable of daily use as a commuter.
The heated seat and grips perfect for all year riding when you need the warmth on the posterior and through the hands. It is agile, combined with changing gears quickly, increasing or decreasing speed seamlessly. The bike gives you confidence in the heaviest traffic.
The machine comes into its own when covering the miles doing what it is designed to do, Touring. The BMW R 1250 RT can easily manage two-up travel laden with full panniers and kit. The powerful engine can pull in any gear so that you can sit at any speed with confidence.
The bike also benefits from a comfortable riding position and seat essential to a rider. Suspension and engine modes can be adjusted from the switches on the handlebars, where the phone, navigation and bike settings are also controlled.
A big draw for me is the improvements BMW has made to the technology of the bike by moving away from analogue to fully digital. The 10.25″ TFT digital screen is fantastic, especially if you are of a certain age like me and strain to read text messages and crosswords. The figures and words are crystal clear so reading all information is simple. The standard variables are available to see fuel consumption or fuel range or choose from many more options.
The screen can be split so bike information can be displayed simultaneously with the navigation maps. The BMW R 1250 RT connects to the BMW smartphone App, and a secure compartment on the right-hand side of the cockpit allows for a phone. When in the container, the phone can wirelessly charge or connect via a USB. Your phone is kept cool by an internal fan while protected from the outside elements.
Getting back to how the bike rides and the technology BMW has installed to aid the rider. The previous generation RT has most of the same riding assistance as the 2021 model; new is MSR, engine drag torque control. The function makes for a smoother, safer, more stable ride when changing down gear or coasting. Sadly this is an option and not standard, which I think it should be.
Dynamic Traction Control DTC comes as standard and ensures a high level of riding safety due to excellent traction. A new, standard “Eco” riding mode helps the rider achieve the best possible fuel efficiency. Particularly helpful on those long tours when you are cruising.
Another beneficial addition is Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC) as standard. Buyers can opt for Active Cruise Control (ACC) – cruise control with integrated distance control for relaxed touring as an ex-work option.
In connection with the standard Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC), “dynamic” means that the preselected speed is kept at a constant level when riding downhill. Suppose the engine’s braking effect is not sufficient. In that case, the fully integral brake is automatically activated to maintain the desired riding speed.
Active Cruise Control (ACC), available as an optional extra, goes one step further. Thanks to radar sensor technology, it enables relaxed gliding with distance control – and there is no need for the rider to adapt road speed to the vehicle in front. As with all cruise control, it is not safe to relax totally and rely on technology.
Simon at Vines pointed out that riders must still be aware that the traffic in that lane will be slower than the set speed when changing back to a left-hand lane. So never switch the best technology off, your brain.
I had an enjoyable two weeks with the BMW R 1250 RT and fell in love with it. The bike does everything so well; designed as a Tourer, it is much more versatile than the label suggests. It does more than it says on the tin.
The bike can be a daily ride, Commuter, Sportster and of course, the best Tourer on the market. BMW has sympathetically enhanced an already great bike taking it into the future.
I own an RT already, so my heart is torn between keeping my older version or opting to visit VinesBMW to purchase the 2021 model.
BMW R 1250 RT – Where and How?
The starting price for the model is £15820. In addition to the attractive basic version in Alpine White, the new BMW R 1250 RT is also available in the refined Style variants “Elegance”, “Sport”, and “Option 719”. More information is available via www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk.
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