2005 BMW R1150 RT
Since its introduction, BMW's R1150 RT has become the touring motorcycle against which all others are now judged. The bike has all the qualities that experienced long distance riders demand. The list is a long one but, when checked against it, nothing else comes close.
Beautifully styled, the R1150 RT is more aerodynamically efficient than any of its contemporaries and when combined with BMW's technologically advanced Telelever, and Paralever swing arm, the RT's ride stability is unmatched. Riding position, comfort and passenger carrying capability are ergonomically superb. However, there is more.
The R1150 RT's power output gives a "two-up" autobahn cruising capability well into three figures; an electrically adjustable windscreen enhances the already superlative weather protection; engine braking is arguably the best of any tourer; a six-speed gearbox with overdrive provides unrivalled fuel economy in its class; a 25-litre tank allows the RT to travel further without stopping than any other tourer; roll-on acceleration in top gear (overdrive) is excellent; BMW's anti-lock braking (with EVO front brake) is the most efficient and safest produced by a motorcycle manufacturer; handling is excellent; and standard luggage-carrying capacity is superb but can be easily expanded, if required.
The R1150 RT probably requires less rider input than any other purpose-built tourer. It almost feels as if it is chauffer driven.
Surprisingly, the RT is not as expensive as some of its less efficient rivals. Available in four metallic colours - Titanium grey metallic, Biarritz blue metallic, Titanium silver metallic, Piemont red metallic and Night black - the R1150 RT costs £9,910 on-the-road.
Power and influence
Engine configuration influences and determines the way a motorcycle is ridden; more so in a well designed tourer. Traditional virtues of the big twin are perhaps the ideal characteristics for a touring motorcycle - experienced riders mostly agree that torque, freely available at low engine revs, contributes more to fatigue-free journeys than any other attribute.
The current, 95 bhp air/oil-cooled 1130cc flat-twin develops an outstanding torque figure of 100 Nm at 5,500 rpm and should satisfy a generation of demanding riders. More than 90 Nm is consistently available between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm - just where it is needed - and provides better response, instant pick up and more usable shift-free acceleration than its predecessor. The ultra-reliable Motronic MA 2.4 masterminds digital engine management, and exhaust emissions are cleaned by a fully controlled catalytic converter - a world standard on all BMW motorcycles since 1997.
Overdriven and under-stressed
The R1150 RT's power is transmitted by a hydraulically operated clutch and delivered to the rear wheel by a six-speed gearbox and BMW's reliable, time-proven drive shaft. The clutch-operating lever is adjustable to three different positions (the front brake lever is adjustable to four).
A new gearbox offers significantly better gear shifting precision (and comfort) when compared to the older five-speed unit. Additionally, sixth gear is "longer" in ratio and operates as an overdrive; reducing engine speed, noise, vibration, and fuel consumption. In conjunction with a 25.2-litre fuel tank, the six-speed gearbox and normal use of the overdrive also allow the RT to travel further without stopping than (arguably) any other touring motorcycle. Mechanical longevity - BMW bywords - come as standard.
Suspension for real riding
When the R1150 RT is ridden for the first time, the most noticeable characteristic is an extraordinary stability in diverse weather conditions and across variable quality surfaces. Although technically complicated, the reasons are simple: BMW uses a road-dedicated suspension system and industry-advanced aerodynamics. Even at high speed, in wet and gusty conditions, the RT will prove to be the most stable of motorcycles. Not only that, of course, but protection from the electrically adjustable screen and aerodynamic protective bodywork, ensures that the rider is more alert and in control than on any other contemporary grand tourer.
Stability of any motorcycle starts at the front and by using BMW's advanced Telelever front suspension, the RT tracks and corners superbly. At the rear of the bike, the equally innovative Paralever double-joint swingarm (on the drive shaft-driven wheel) used in conjunction with a centrally mounted rear suspension strut, is able to damp out reactive forces from all types of surface irregularity. This translates into excellent handling, tracking, steering and unsurpassed roadholding.
Important components of the R1150 RT's excellent suspension set-up are the wheels. The extra-fine and light cast aluminium wheels feature five spokes and a modern, dynamic appearance.
The front wheel of the R1150 RT employs the newly developed, twin-disc EVO brake. Using a brake servo with high performance electro-hydraulic pumps means that two fingers will summon enough stopping power to deal with almost any situation. The combination of dynamic brake force distribution with the very latest ABS technology - also original equipment on the RT - is unequalled by any other motorcycle.
BMW's anti-lock braking system has taken a third and bigger stride forward with the introduction of Integral ABS. Fitted as standard, the integral function ensures that when either the hand or foot brake (or both) are activated, braking is applied across both wheels simultaneously.
The keys to smoother and more seamless operation are the very large diameter discs (320mm), new four-piston calipers (with two larger pistons in each), and a new master cylinder. The entire combination of ABS, EVO front wheel and new braking components enable not only more confident riding, but also safer riding.
The comfort zone
Comfort for rider and passenger is paramount on a grand tourer. BMW has always been renowned for endowing its motorcycles with the most ergonomic and appropriate of riding positions. The R1150 RT simply emphasises this.
The two-piece, height-adjustable seat has been contoured and padded to provide enhanced comfort and better thigh support. The seat can be set to three different heights - 805, 825, or 845mm (31.7, 32.5, or 33.3 inches). Both rider and passenger will find little difficulty in travelling over 500 miles in a day - even if they stop only once for fuel.
Night riding is also guaranteed to be more enjoyable and safer. The RT is now equipped with tandem headlights and two integrated spotlights.
At the end of the journey, the R1150 RT will prove how remarkably easy it is to lift onto its centre stand - even fully laden.
An integrated luggage rack and two system cases (operated by the ignition key) are standard equipment on the R1150 RT and should provide enough storage space for more than just a few days on the road. However, the system can easily be supplemented from BMW's extensive range of optional luggage, which includes tank bags and top cases.
BMW owners also know that if they need an accessory, a comprehensive selection is already available. The list is vast, but a few examples include: a satellite navigation system (the BMW Navigator II), stereo system, an even lower seat, luggage inner bags, cylinder protection guards, anti-theft warning system and a multi-tone horn.
Standard factory equipment
Integral ignition switch and steering lock
One key system for ignition, steering, tank dual seat and helmet locks
Rear storage compartment for toolkit, literature and tyre service set
Clutch lever adjustable to three positions, brake lever to four
Gear lever adjustable to two positions
Overdrive sixth gear
Hydraulically operated clutch
Side stand with ignition circuit breaker
Twin spark ignition, catalytic converter
Complete exhaust system made from stainless steel with chrome finish
Dual seat, rider's section is height adjustable to three positions (805, 825 and 845mm)
Twin electric power socket
Competition fairing with integrated indicators
Evo brake and integral ABS (Touring)
High, two piece forged handlebar
Rider Information Display (RID)
Pannier frames, panniers and luggage rack
Hazard warning lights
Black engine transmission
Factory fit options
Heated handlebar grips - £175
Radio with sound system - £575
Radio prep and second socket - £150
Low seat (780, 800 and 800mm) - No cost
* Prices current as of 1 January 2004.
Inner bag for panniers (each) - £45
Top case (33 litres) - £180
Inner bag for top case - £45
Tank bag - £135
Large windshield - £185
Chrome cylinder head covers (each) - £115
Cylinder protection (small) including mounting kit - £66.50
Alarm control unit including mounting kit - £265
* Prices current as of 1 January 2004.
Engine Type: Air/oil-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke boxer engine,
one camshaft and four valves per cylinder
Bore x stroke: 101 mm x 70.5 mm
Capacity: 1130 cc
Rated output: 70 kW (95 bhp) at 7250 rpm
Max. torque: 100 Nm at 5500 rpm
Compression ratio: 11.3 : 1
Carburetion/engine management: Electronic intake pipe injection/digital engine management: Bosch Motronic MA 2.4 with overrun fuel cut-off, dual ignition
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter
Maximum speed: Approx. 200 km/h
Fuel consumption over 100 km at steady 90 km/h: 4.5 l
Fuel consumption over 100 km at steady 120 km/h: 5.5 l
Fuel type: Unleaded premium, minimum octane rating 95 (RON)
Generator: 700 W three-phase generator
Battery: 12 V/19 Ah (low maintenance)
Clutch: Single-disc dry clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox: Constant mesh 6-speed transmission (Overdrive)
Drive: Shaft drive
Frame: Triple-section frame consisting of front and rear
frame sections and load-bearing engine
Front suspension: BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter
35 mm, central strut
Rear suspension: Die-cast aluminium single-sided swing arm with
BMW Motorrad Paralever; central strut, spring preload adjustable by means of hand wheel to continuously variable levels, rebound damping adjustable
Travel front/rear: 120 mm/135 mm
Wheelbase (in normal position): 1485 mm
Caster (in normal position): 122 mm
Steering head angle (in normal position): 62.9 °
Wheels: Die-cast aluminium wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17
Rim, rear: 5.00 x 17
Tyres, front: 120/70 ZR 17
Tyres, rear: 170/60 ZR 17
Brake, front: EVO brake system with dual disc, floating brake
discs, 320 mm diameter, 4-piston fixed caliper
Brake, rear: ingle disc, 276 mm diameter, 2-piston floating caliper
ABS: Standard equipment: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (fully integral)
Seat height, unladen: 805 mm/825 mm/845 mm
(optional lower seat:780 mm/800 mm/820 mm)
Unladen, road ready, fully fuelled 1): 279.0 kg (without pannier cases)
Dry weight 2): 255.1 kg (without pannier cases)
Permitted total weight: 495.0 kg
Payload (with standard equipment): 216.0 kg
Usable tank volume: 25.2 l (Incl. reserve: Approx. 4 l)
Length: 2230 mm
Height (not incl. mirrors): 1380 mm
Width (incl. mirrors): 898 mm