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Bike Torque: New BMW R1200RT is king of the road

The BMW R1200RT
The BMW R1200RT

IF you’re ever looking for a road that’ll truly test your bike’s ability, head for the west and ride the N59 from Galway towards Clifden and then taking a left on the R341 to Roundstone in Connemara.

Then for good measure, miss your turn for Roundstone off the N59 and continue into Clifden, taking the R341 the other way and eventually arriving in Roundstone on the right road but in the wrong direction, adding half an hour to your overall journey time in the process.

I didn’t plan the detour, but boy did it put the 2014 BMW R1200RT through its paces.

The tourer takes the same 1,170cc liquid-cooled engine first introduced to new R1200GS last year, putting out 125hp and 92lb/ft of torque in the process.

As is now the norm with bikes from Motorrad, the motorcycle division of the German company, the options list for the RT reads like a gadget freak’s Christmas wish-list.

The standard R1200RT, setting you back just under €17,600 gets you your hard panniers, ABS, heated grips, an onboard computer, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), two riding modes (road and rain) and an on-board power socket to charge your GPS or phone on the go. 

Trade up to the SE version (€19,250) and you also get Electronic Suspension Adjustment, preparation for GPS, heated seats and cruise control.

Spend an extra €4,600 over the standard model for the RTLE model (€22,120) and gizmos include chrome exhaust, central locking, tyre pressure monitor, Gear Assist Pro (basically a quickshifter) and Riding Mode Pro, which gives you a more aggressive ‘Dynamic’ riding mode that reacts to conditions on the fly.

You could spend an entire afternoon trying to figure out which options package best suits your needs, but a far more enjoyable way to while away the hours, as you all know, is simply to go for a ride.

For a bike that weighs in at 274kg fully fuelled, the RT handles the quick-changing roads through Connemara with ease.

There’s such a lovely spread of torque available, and the traction control works so well, that you find yourself riding the RT almost as though you were on a sportsbike.

It’s obviously not as nimble or light, but with all the rider aids at your disposal – ASC, ESA, Gear Assist Pro (so no need to use the clutch) – you can get on with simply eyeing up the next corner and trust the RT to do a lot of the last-minute decision-making for you.

The electronically adjustable windscreen, when fully extended, has you sitting in a virtual bubble as you enjoy the ride. And the seat is so comfortable you’d be forgiven for thinking there was an extra ‘arse massage’ mode working its magic.

But forget all the gizmos on this bike for a moment – it’s the star of an engine perfectly mated to a seamless chassis that make it a dream to ride. And when things do get tricky, the Brembo monobloc stoppers and intelligent ABS make light work of scrubbing off speed while keeping the big bike steady.

My continent-conquering adventures are on hold for the moment, but as soon as I’m thinking of heading to Europe for my next big tour, I think I’ve found my perfect steed in the new BMW R1200RT.