Choosing my first off these bikes

General discussion of the BMW R1200RT/R1250RT
Post Reply
vchealy
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:24 pm

Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by vchealy »

Hi all.
First post on here.


Let me say I am well versed in another manufacturer range of bikes and have ridden every style of bike they have.


I am going to buy an R1200RT after a few 100 miles on friends.


I don't want a dealer new bike at the moment just something made in the last 10years will be fine. I can do all the checks etc for purchase.


What I would like know are the pros n cons that anyone has found of bikes of this age. Are there any options that look good on paper but in real life have been a pain or expensive to maintain. Anything other than usual this leaks/wears out quick etc as I can easily research that stuff.


Cheers
V
Pappy35
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:43 am

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by Pappy35 »

I opted to buy a '13 RT (Camhead) rather than a '14 -> (Wethead).

There's lots of info out there but one thing that may influence you is the location of two components: the clutch and the alternator.

For any RT made before 2014 the engine is primarily air cooled with an air/oil heat exchanger added to assist with cooling. The transmission and engine are two separable units with independent oil sumps and the alternator, mounted on top of the crankcase, is driven by an external belt and looks exactly like a car alternator. The clutch rides in a dry compartment between the two and the transmission can be removed as a unit without requiring the removal of the engine itself. It's not easy as the bike more or less needs to be split in two but it's not impossible for a person with average to good mechanical skills and some time to do. The clutch friction plate, the clutch is dry like found in most manual transmission cars, is very inexpensive (just a few hundred dollars I believe).

For 2014 the entire powertrain was redesigned to accommodate liquid cooling so now there are two radiators, each with its own fan, and a water pump and all the related plumbing. The now wet clutch like most modern motorcycles, was moved to the front of the engine and can be serviced without significant disassembly only by removing a cover. The transmission shares the same sump as the engine oil and can not be individually separated from the engine without exposing the gear train. For me, a huge change was that they now put the alternator between the crankcase and the transmission. Why is this important? If the alternator fails, the engine must be removed from the motorcycle and the engine/transmission cases must be separated to replace it. The alternator itself is a $1,400 part and to that you must add at least a full day or two of labor at the shop. I don't have the skill to confidently crack open the engine cases and then try to reassemble gear train so this would be a shop-only repair for me.

The Camhead bikes are a great value, very reliable (not saying the newer ones aren't mind you),and easy to maintain. For whatever that's worth, that's what swayed me from getting a newer model.
Last edited by Pappy35 on Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
'13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition
vchealy
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:24 pm

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by vchealy »

Thank you. Thats the kind of info thats great.  :)
bandytales
Posts: 554
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:54 am

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by bandytales »

vchealy wrote:
What I would like know are the pros n cons that anyone has found of bikes of this age. Are there any options that look good on paper but in real life have been a pain or expensive to maintain. Anything other than usual this leaks/wears out quick etc as I can easily research that stuff.

Hi Vchealy, I would advise you to choose based on your budget. The Wethead is a significant improvement over the other 1200's. Using the alternator as a point for not buying one bike or another is of no relevance.
You are more likely to hear of a 1001 other failures before an alternator. In fact. I have never heard of an alternator failure apart from drive belt failures (which of course the pre Wetheads do have, so therefore more likely to fail!).
I have both a Wethead and an Oilhead BMW and love them both. but in terms of reliability, maintenance, technology, style, the Wethead is the one to go for.
The old adage is true here - buy as new a bike as you can afford. There are some Wetheads turning up at very acceptable prices now.
Finally, this is the crunch part, go and test ride a few of each and make your decision. Whatever happens, if the bikes you look at have stock seats and windscreens, you will probably change them for aftermarket ones to suit your own ergonomics,
beemerboy9
Posts: 582
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:44 am
Location: North London
Bike Model and Year: 1250RT 2019
Been liked: 16 times
Great Britain

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by beemerboy9 »

I had an alternator failure on a 2005RT but this is an extremely rare occurrence. I would not select a machine based on a potential alternator failure.
John Bentall
Pappy35
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:43 am

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by Pappy35 »

beemerboy9 wrote: I had an alternator failure on a 2005RT but this is an extremely rare occurrence. I would not select a machine based on a potential alternator failure.

There are a few forum reports in the various BMW forums out there of failures but not enough to conclusively prove it's a common problem. It's just that if it does it could be hugely painful and was really just something I keyed in on. I agree that it is kind of hyperbolic. If you have a warranty, it's only a concern later once it expires.


Overall what swung me away from the wethead was that it is generally more complicated mechanically (all the water-cooling bits mainly) and insurance in my area was 1/3rd the cost for a Camhead than any model year wethead. That's almost completely arbitrary of course (I don't recall where the OP was located). If you're not one that's made of money there's also the depreciation to consider. I bought my now 5 year old machine in like new condition with 6,200 miles on it for less than half its original cost.


Whatever the OP chooses they're both great machines!
Last edited by Pappy35 on Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
'13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition
bandytales
Posts: 554
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:54 am

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by bandytales »

Pappy35 wrote:
There are a few forum reports in the various BMW forums out there of failures but not enough to conclusively prove it's a common problem.

You have heard of failures of alternators on Wetheads?
Pappy35
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:43 am

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by Pappy35 »

While researching which Beemer would suit me I came upon a few forum reports here and there (one or two on a GS forum stick out in my memory). Again, given how many they've sold (GS and RT's) it's not enough to indicate a trend, but it got me looking into what it would take to repair.
'13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition
gogs01
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:32 am

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by gogs01 »

R1200RTs are generally expensive to buy and expensive to run, even without catastrophic failures.


I think they're great bikes.


For less money I could buy a big Honda (or two small ones) and invest the money left over to hedge against a major failure, but I really like the RT.


I do believe that most people running RTs are happy with them, live with the cost of routine maintenance and, mostly, don't encounter the big ticket horror stories which you can never be sure of avoiding.


Try to find one which has been cherished, treat it well and hope to stay lucky. That would be my advice to anyone considering an RT.
My 4th R1200RT = 2016 (2017 MY) R1200RT LE
guest4915

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by guest4915 »

gogs01 wrote: R1200RTs are generally expensive to buy and expensive to run, even without catastrophic failures.


I think they're great bikes.


For less money I could buy a big Honda (or two small ones) and invest the money left over to hedge against a major failure, but I really like the RT.


I do believe that most people running RTs are happy with them, live with the cost of routine maintenance and, mostly, don't encounter the big ticket horror stories which you can never be sure of avoiding.


Try to find one which has been cherished, treat it well and hope to stay lucky. That would be my advice to anyone considering an RT.

Couldn't have put it better myself and nice to see a bit of honesty.
Gman1969
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:12 pm

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by Gman1969 »

If you can wait till August 18th mine 16 plate fully spec'd will be up for sale :) (No audio, but everything else included)
User avatar
exportman
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:57 pm
Bike Model and Year: R1250RT 2023
Has liked: 6 times
Been liked: 41 times
Great Britain

Re: Choosing my first off these bikes

Post by exportman »

gogs01 wrote:
Try to find one which has been cherished, treat it well and hope to stay lucky. That would be my advice to anyone considering an RT.

Thats not going to be mine then  used and abused, but ridden with passion
Post Reply