Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2016
Winner of the best sport touring motorcycle of the year: BMW R1200RT
Okay, it’s been three years in a row for Bmwis venerable RT, which is actually not so venerable since he got the 1170cc Oil Head Boxer just two years ago. Venerable, however, insofar as BMW continues to build incredible motorcycles on the shoulders of all the greats that came before.
2014 BMW R1200RT First Drive
Packed with more power, more comfort, more electronics and more performanceâ¦ it’s hard to understand how they stall this much more comfortable bike in a set that only weighs 617 pounds on a full tank of gas (6, 6 gallons); 110 horsepower isn’t that much anymore, but a flat torque curve with 80 lb-ft at just 5,400 rpm means the BMW behaves like something much sportier than it looks. Something about the Boxer longitudinal crank means these bikes have always been phenomenal and safe handlers. Add to that the optional ESA (Electronic Suspension Assistant) which lets you choose Sport, Road or Normal with the push of a button. (And don’t forget Shift Assist Pro, Hill Start Control, and about 10 other things that make life better and safer). Also, don’t forget the best bags in the business. A super aerodynamic fairing with an electrically adjustable windshield. A seat you are not afraid to sit on all day …
At the end of our Comparison test 2014 in which the RT easily beat a Guzzi Norge And one Yamaha FJR1300ES, I wrote: Fortunately, I drew the BMW straw for the ride home. With heated grips and a seat set to two out of five bars, suspension set to Hard and the throttle on Road, it was a delightful descent down the dark, twisty mountain road through the pines, back into the lights. from town, back to I-10. Set the suspension to Soft, engage cruise control, raise the windshield, ride the Pandora. We had refueled in Idyllwild, and the odometer clicked over 100 miles as I pulled into my humble home. The clock read 10:30 a.m. I felt fresh like the proverbial daisy. There is no other ground vehicle that I would have preferred to be on. Yes, it’s as good as Tom said, and we did the right thing by naming the RT Sport-Tourer of the Year.
Honorable mention: BMW S 1000XR
If the BMW RT leans towards the tour half of the sport-tour continuum, the S1000XR definitely tips the scales in the direction of sport. Although it is truly categorized as an adventure bike, this new BMW has such a broad mission statement that we had to squeeze the bike that ended up on top of our Nine bike adventure shootout last year somewhere in these prices.
BMW has done its best to tame the S1000RR 999cc Four-banger for quieter use, but it still puts out over 150bhp and very low-end torque loss, enough to give the 550-pound XR (with bags!) The kind of power-to-weight ratio of first line superbikes had half a decade ago. Wait, some of them still do.
2015 BMW S1000XR First Drive
Add in the adventure bike ergonomics, Dynamic ESA suspension and a bunch of ride modes that allow the XR to perform on dirt roads when venturing off the pavementâ¦ it’s a very act. difficult to follow.
The only fly is a bit of engine vibration weaving through the bars and pegs of the XR at different revs, which bothers some more than others and can be alleviated by pressing the cruise control button. This is the bike for riders who want to go anywhere and do anything – but have a deep need to get there first.