2019 BMW R 1250 RT Review w/ Select Package
Improving on an iconic motorcycle is always a difficult task. Typically, the goal is to better the breed, while not losing touch with what makes the long-running motorcycle desirable. BMW tackled the job of updating the RT with caution. Rather than giving the RT a major makeover, BMW focused on updating the powerplant, and with good results. The 2019 BMW R 1250 RT is a bigger improvement when you’re in the saddle than it is on paper, and that is exactly how we like it.
- The 2019 BMW R 1250 RT gets an 84cc boost in displacement, and a sophisticated new intake cam. To retain the character of the previous motor, BMW added displacement via balanced increases in the bore and stroke. Further, a new two-profile intake cam optimizes performance. The result is genuinely more power everywhere—from idle to the rev limiter, the 1250 dominates the 1200. The torque gains are especially impressive, making the R 1250 RT even more passenger-friendly than the 1200 it replaces.
- Horsepower gains are modest up to 4500 rpm, and then the 1250 truly comes into its own. On the 1200, the power delivery began to flag at 4500 rpm. In contrast, that’s where the 1250 starts to pick up a serious head of steam. By 6500 rpm, the 1250 has 17 more horsepower on offer than the 1200, along with a meaty torque increase of 12 ft/lbs. This makes a huge difference in passing power regardless of grade or headwind—a valued capability for a touring motorcycle. The additional power output makes what was an excellent motor just that much more functional.
- The standard 2019 BMW R 1250 RT has two riding modes, though our Select Package test motorcycle had a third choice. For the genuinely casual tourer, the standard Road and Rain modes will do. Sufficiently manageable, Road will be the default choice of virtually any RT rider. However, should it rain, as it did heavily while I was testing it, the Rain mode is comforting and easily accessed. I also found the Rain mode to be helpful in urban traffic, as it makes working through congestion less taxing. The optional Dynamic mode and Dynamic Pro, of course, are there for the cognoscenti.
- Dynamic ride mode ups the performance ante, yet the R 1250 RT remains eminently rideable. The likable boxer is never cantankerous, regardless of the mode you select. Still, Dynamic provides more performance for those who perceive the RT as a sport-touring mount. There is a bit less traction control intrusion, though I found its implementation transparent.
- Although hooligan 2019 BMW R 1250 RT is an oxymoron, the Dynamic Pro mode will help you defeat some of the electronic rider aids. Really, I can’t imagine the need to turn off traction control and go on a wheelying binge, though YouTube hits can be lucrative. BMW requires proactive behavior on your part to access Dynamic Pro and its customization options—a coded plug under the seat must be manipulated. Even though I found Dynamic to be a great choice when I wanted to make time, and Dynamic Pro superfluous, there is nothing wrong with BMW allowing additional personalization choices to inclined riders.
- The quickshifter makes riding just that much easier. Once underway, there’s no reason to work the clutch lever to get the most out of the six-speed transmission. BMW’s Gear Shift Assist Pro makes for virtually seamless gearchanges with only the flick of your toe. Touring is about reducing fatigue, and BMW R 1250 RT’s quickshifter does just that.
- The Select Package for the 2019 BMW R 1250 RT also gets you Dynamic ESA suspension. While the Select Package isn’t inexpensive at $5150 MSRP, I can’t imagine passing on it. It takes the rather bare-bones RT and turns it into a premium motorcycle. The suspension system isn’t satisfied with the job of continually adjusting the damping to conditions. This Next Generation Dynamic ESA even sets the spring preload automatically—the rider doesn’t have to do a thing. You will only look askance at the Telelever front suspension until you ride with it—then you won’t even notice that it is an atypical design.
- There are three Dynamic ESA suspension modes—Dynamic, Road, and Rain—and they all enhance performance and safety. Inherently self-explanatory, the three modes are distinctive, yet not excessively different. Should you forget to switch out of Rain mode when the sun is shining, the RT still handles fine, even if the suspension is additionally compliant. Dynamic on a wet road is far from treacherous—just not ideal. It doesn’t take much to experiment with the three modes—you can switch between them on the fly—and determine which mode is what you need for what you’re doing. Unsurprisingly, I preferred the Dynamic mode in the twisties, and the cushier Road or Rain mode on the superslab.
- The RT’s frame is unchanged for 2019, and it is more than capable of handling the additional power produced by the 1250 boxer. While it might seem like a cliché to call the 2019 BMW R 1250 RT’s handling intuitive, there is hardly a more fitting term. The chassis is rock-solid stable on the open highway, even in the punishing crosswinds you’ll find in California’s Colorado Desert. When it comes time to hurtle through the canyons, keep in mind that you have 600+ pounds beneath you and all will be well.
- The RT is impressively agile for its weight. Credit is due to the compact 58.5-inch wheelbase, Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact tires, and the neutral 25.9 degrees of rake. Setting a line and sticking to it is the best plan of attack in the twisties. Turn-in is natural, and traction plentiful to the cornering clearance limits. Should you get into a corner too hot, ABS Pro is there to help keep the contact patch unbroken.
- Braking is natural and perfect on the 2019 BMW R 1250 RT. The initial bite is smooth, and the adjustable lever ramps up the grasp on the 320mm front discs on an as-needed basis. BMW’s ABS Pro does have a unique feature that cuts power should you accidentally add some while braking—apparently that’s an issue for less-experienced riders. We do like that ABS Pro is included on the standard RT, rather than part of the Select Package.
- I’m a huge fan of Hill Start Control Pro (HSCP). Part of the Ride Modes Pro package rather than ABS Pro, HSCP is an essential aid any time you have to stop on a grade. The 2019 BMW R 1250 RT Select Package notices you have stopped on a hill with a five percent grade (or more) and it automatically sets the brake. That means no manipulating the hand brake to get going again, or standing with one foot on the brake pedal. You can also manually activate the system with a couple of quick applications of the hand brake. HSCP can be defeated via the menu, but don’t do it. If you don’t love it straight away as I did, you’ll get used to it and wonder why all premium motorcycles don’t have this feature.
- For all the advances on the 2019 RT, the LCD dash feels cheap and dated. BMW did not update the dash on the RT when it boosted the motor. It’s a strange decision, as the R 1250 GT was the recipient of a new, large LED dash. There is a place to mount a GPS, though not a huge one. When you pay over $24k for the Select Package version of the 2019 BMW R 1250 RT, you are going to be disappointed every time you look at the dash. On the upside, the interface with the dash is a good one—BMW carries over the unique Multi-Controller dial that we like.
- Ergonomics are unchanged on the 2019 BMW R 1250 RT, and we can’t complain. The RT is a standard bearer in the sport-touring world, and we would see no reason to change its ergonomics. It is comfortable for sunrise-to-sunset rides, and feels as natural as any motorcycle. Seat choices and heights allow for personalization for the pickiest of riders, as does the electronically adjusted windscreen.
- The 2019 BMW R 1250 RT is the best-ever RT in its 40+ year history. The big news this year is the 1254cc motor, and the muscular powerplant makes all the difference in the world. We didn’t have any gripes with the 1200, but when presented with the 1250 engine, there is no going back. If you are an RT owner, don’t test ride this motorcycle without being prepared to buy one. If you ride another brand, you’re likely to be more impressed than you might expect.
Helmet: HJC RPHA 90 Tanisk
Communications: Sena 10C
Jacket: Alpinestars Valparaiso 2 Drystar
Back protection: Alpinestars Nucleon KR-Celli
Pants: Alpinestars Bryce Gore-Tex
Gloves: Alpinestars Andes Touring Outdry
Boots: Tourmaster Epic Touring
2019 BMW R 1250 RT Specs
- Type: Horizontally opposed twin
- Displacement: 1254cc
- Bore x stroke: 102.5 x 76mm
- Maximum power: 136 horsepower @ 7750 rpm
- Maximum torque: 105 ft/lbs @ 6250 rpm
- Compression ratio: 12.5:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC w/ dual profile cams, 4vpc
- Cooling: Liquid and air
- Transmission: Constant mesh 6-speed w/ helical gear teeth
- Clutch: Hydraulically actuated slipper
- Final drive: Shaft
- Frame: Continuous tubular steel bridge-type
- Front suspension; travel: BMW Telelever 37mm fork w/ central spring strut; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: BMW EVO Paralever and WAD strut w/ spring-preload and rebound-damping adjustable shock; 5.4 inches
- Electronic active suspension: Optional (tested)
- Wheels: Die-cast aluminum
- Front wheel: 3.50 x 17
- Rear wheel: 5.50 x 17
- Tires: Metzeler Roadtec Z8 Interact
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 180/55 x 17
- Front brakes: Dual floating 320mm discs w/ 4-piston fixed calipers
- Rear brake: 276mm disc, with dual-piston floating caliper
- ABS: Standard
- Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
- Rake: 25.9 degrees
- Trail: 4.6 inches
- Seat height: 31.7 and 32.5 inches (standard choices); 30.0 and 33.5 inches optional seats
- Fuel capacity: 6.6 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 50 mpg
- Curb weight: 615 pounds
2019 BMW R 1250 RT Colors:
- Alpine White; Mars Red Metallic/Slate Dark Metallic; Carbon Black Metallic
- R 1250 RT Option 719 (Blue Planet metallic; Sparking Storm metallic)
2019 BMW R 1250 RT Prices:
- From $18,645 MSRP
- From $23,795 MSRP as tested w/ Select Package