R1200RT From £13,685 R1200RS From £11,065
Class-leading boxer tourer will shrink a continent with its easy handling and grunt. If you want all the practicality of the GS, but don’t want the stigma that comes with it, buy the RS.
The RT is the reason BMW has such a strong reputation in the touring market. If you need to cover huge distances, this boxer behemoth has everything (or can be accessorized to add it) you could possibly need. But this raft of creature comforts comes at a cost – weight and size. At 276kg, it is 44kg heavier than the R and that makes it cumbersome at slow speeds, especially with a pillion. On the open road the weight isn’t an issue, though.
If you are serious about your touring, the RT will allow you to explore the world in total milemunching bliss, and in a way no other boxer can. Its low weight balance makes it very secure in corners if not the fastest turning, but it is the RT’S ability to make miles float away that sets it aside from the rest of the range. It’s the ultimate continent crusher. BMW may call the RS a sportstourer, it is far better regarded as a superb do-it-all machine that boasts a degree of cool. On the road, the RS is comfortable and relaxed, with a riding position designed to let you cover big miles. Aside from the ineffective screen (down to BMW retaining the bike’s sporty profile), the RS is every bit the tourer the RT or GS are. But with a sportier side.
The RS’S composed forks and matching 17in wheels give it the edge when the pace picks up. The GS will run it close, but ultimately the RS will always win as it carries a more conventionally sporty set-up. It’s a bike that, for 90% of the time, is a match for the GS. But when it’s cold and wet, and you just want to get home, the RS’S lack of proper weather protection might leave you yearning for the protection of the GS or RT.