Saturday, September 24, 2016

Test ride - BMW R1200RT

I rode out to Myerstown, PA with my buddy Brad to test ride a couple of bikes. I like the Ducati Multistrada I am currently riding, but after 4 shields and 3 helmets with no relief from the buffeting and noise, I am beginning to despair. I have a Cee Bailey (read as: Barn Door) windscreen on the way, but thought I would hop on and try a couple of other possible future contenders out. 

Off we went, riding the back roads of Southcentral PA to Wenger's, an independent motorcycle shop. They are not an authorized dealer for any one brand, and they carry a little bit of everything. They are also, incidentally, one of the largest Can-Am resalers in the country. We got to the shop and met Carol. It quickly turned into one of the nicest motorcycle shop experiences ever. They were super friendly and they WANTED us to ride bikes. I picked a BMW R1200RT and Brad hopped on a Can Am Spyder.

The BMW had a great rider position, even more comfortable than my Ducati. The triangle was relaxed, with everything right where you would expect it to be, except the turn signals, which BMW puts one on each of the handlebars (instead of a single switch on the left handlebar). It had a Corbin seat which was hard, but afforded a lot of room to move around, especially fore and aft. It had highway pegs and MondMoto Bullet lights (had them on my Triumph and loved them) to light up the road at night and make me more visible in the daytime. The bike had a great luggage package, too - I like theirs!

The RT shines on the road. I have never been on a bike that returns to its natural, upright position as quickly as this one. Going into corners was great, but winding on the throttle and rolling out of them was even better. It just carved in the corners, inspiring more and more confidence with each dive into the twistier. This bike made me realize everything I am doing with my hands to counter steer, pushing on one side while pulling on the other. Additionally, the brakes might be the best brakes ever put on a bike. They were that good!

Wind protection on the BMW was incredible, and the electric shield worked flawlessly. With the shield all the way down, the wind hit just below my chin; all the way up, and I was wrapped in a cone of near silence. This is an all-day-long sport tourer, and that comfort and protection stands in stark contrast to my Ducati. 

However, the acceleration was just adequate, and I wish the bike had more power, more torque, and more room to the redline. The bike has a buzzy feel to it, as opposed to the grunt of a v-twin. I have a buddy who loves the BMW brand and assures me proper chipping and exhaust can really add to the oomph-factor of the RT. The lack of torque is honestly enough to turn me off of ownership of this bike, so I am curious to know what the tweaks bring to the party.

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