Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

800 S. Francisco St.
Mission, TX

Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

Big Bend National Pk.jpg


Filtering by Category: "R1200RT"

BMW R1200RT and BMW K1200S - A Dilemma

Tomas Perez

The RT in high places...

From Merriam-Webster:
3. a :  a problem involving a difficult choice...

I've had a perfectly good BMW R1200RT since 2010.  I purchased the bike new without a test ride. It was not my first boxer BMW although my last boxer was a 1984 R80RT.  The 2010 was a new model year with engine and body changes.  It was too many positive changes to pass up.

I've always liked the boxer engine.  It has some weak spots but the basic design also has some positive attributes.  And there seem to be many others that feel the same way to the point that BMW boxer has been in production for 90 years.  Even more revealing is the fact that production stopped once but public demand brought the bike back to production.

What I like about it is the simplicity of the engine, low center of gravity, the unique shape and sound of the engine, and the way it feels while under power.  It's hard to describe but it's like a lazy lope at normal highway speeds.  Push it hard and you get a vibration from the engine but it's the low frequency type that does not bother you as much as a high frequency type vibration.  At higher speeds - in the order of over 85 mph - and that vibration is worse.  The times I notice most are when I fall behind a riding group and I'm running much higher than normal speed in an effort to catch up with the group.  But keep in mind that the other 99% of the time I'm one with the bike.  

For the highway I find the RT hard to beat.  Starting with the lower weight as compared to other touring bikes and adding the range that the bike has makes for a very good touring bike.  I have gone 265 miles at high speeds and over 300 miles at lower speeds on a tank of gas.  I can carry 10 days of clothes and camping gear on the bike without too much trouble.  I have also set up my bike with music and GPS navigation which makes long distance travel that much easier.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not all a bowl of cherries.  I've had my share of the typical BMW problems but the basic machine has been very solid.  By the way, let me add that I still don't understand why BMW took so long and in some cases never added some of these problems.  My problems on the RT were the handlebar switches and one fuel strip gone bad.  All things considered I obviously like the RT since I still have it and don't have plans to replace it any time soon.  

But then this year I find this hardly used 2008 BMW K1200S stored in an enclosed trailer.  It had a dead battery and a flashing brake failure light which normally indicates a non functional ABS system.  We put a new battery in it and it starts up right away.  The sound alone was impressive.  Did I mention that it had a Remus muffler on it.  That makes a big difference.  I decide to take a test drive.  Since the bike had hardly been used in about 5 years I was careful and concerned about the test ride.  In addition, it not being my bike I was very gentle with it - no hard acceleration nor hard braking (also had that blinking brake light to worry about).  I did not even check the tire pressure and I also did not check the suspension settings but in spite of this the bike handled very well during my short test ride.  Just months earlier I had purchased a Honda VTR1000 (Super Hawk).  It's Honda's copy of a Ducati - at least as far as engines go.  It's a V twin (90 degree), carburetors, chain, choke - you get the idea... old school hot rod.  In addition it came with a set of carbon fiber mufflers that when I added them it made the bike sound that much more like a hot rod bike.  The bike also had suspension and carburetor work that resulted in a nice total package.  It's about the same horsepower as the RT but it's much lighter and smaller.  I like the handling a lot but the riding position is rather sporty.  

BMW 2008 K1200S 
After test riding the K1200S I could easily see that this bike was in another class.  I know that the Honda is a 1998 and the KS a 2008 but it goes beyond that.  I was forcing myself to stick to the Super Hawk as my hot rod bike with zero intentions of using it for touring.  I liked the basic elements of the Super Hawk and did not want something too close to the functionality of my RT.  That is also the main reason I never considered the GT as another bike.

After riding both bikes for a month I decided the KS would be my second bike.  Now that I have ridden it more - a total of 3000 miles - I am liking it even more.  Although I never meant for it to be used for touring I have added a tail rack to it and use my BMW Sport Bag on it as well as a small waterproof bag.  I added a Ram mount on the battery cover so that I can mount my Zumo 660 but instead I have been using my iPhone for music and GPS.  Having both of these very nice bikes reminds me so much of John F. Kennedy.

I've ridden both bikes back to back to back on the same day.  They are so very different yet I love the way each rides and handles.  That is my dilemma... which will be my main bike?  If I ride one of them for an extended period (days) I look forward to riding the other bike.  My logical side of the brain also tells me that I don't need anything more than the BMW R1200RT but then the K1200S stirs the soul.  There are many times that I ride the KS in a very civil way felling secure that if called upon the bike can do so much more.  Getting on the expressway via an access road is a joke for the KS.  It's just so easy to merge into the flow.  Of course right after that I have to let up on the throttle because I am normally way beyond the speed limit.  It's exactly like they say - the acceleration is intoxicating.  About 10%... maybe more like 5% of the time I tell myself that I need to sell the KS before I get in trouble with it.

Sunday morning breakfast run

Getting back to John F...  My good ole dependable RT is my Jackie Kennedy...  the KS is like... well... like Marilyn Monroe.

For now... I'm keeping both...


Headlight Upgrade Review

Tomas Perez

Tail of the Dragon ride

I'm always for more light while riding at night in country roads.  The reasons being both my aging eyes and the fact that I do a lot of country riding on Texas roads and highways.  We have lots of deer, javelins, feral hogs, and even cows and horses that can get out on the road.  This review is the beginning of the changes to my BMW R1200RT lighting system.

I used the OEM headlight bulbs on my bike until the first burned out after about 18 months.  I was at a bike rally and many miles from home so I had no option for a major upgrade but I did want something better than stock.  I found an Auto Zone store in a small town and found the Sylvania SilverStar Ultras on sale.  The RT uses two H7 bulbs for low beam and one H7 for the high beam.  It took me about an hour in a hotel parking lot to replace the first H7 with the new Ultra bulb.  The second bulb took me about two minutes to replace.  If you plan to replace the bulbs on your BMW RT take the time to find out how the bail wire hooks up in it's locked position.  That can save you a ton of time.

The Ultra seemed to be better than stock but this review is for the Osram H7 Rallye 65 watt bulb.  I got two bulbs from Candlepower for $36 and free shipping.  This bulb is rated at 2100 lumens and 500 hours.  The stock bulb is rated at 1400 lumens and the same bulb life.  I first replaced the left side bulb and wanted to compare that to the right side.  I could tell the light was brighter for the Rallye bulb when I pointed the lights at my garage door but the comparison was difficult because the light pattern of the left and right side bulbs is different.  I went ahead and replaced the right side bulb.  I also used one of the old Ultra bulbs for the high beam.  That set me up with the 65 watt rallye bulbs for the low beams and an Ultra for the high beam.

I went for a ride immediately after I finished the install.  The difference is not an obvious change in lighting.  I had to ride some country roads that had no lighting to notice what seemed like greater range.  Using the high beam did seem like an obvious improvement.  Once I turned around and headed back home and only using the low beam is when I started to notice the difference.  Side lighting was better than before and what I really noticed was that on roads I regularly traveled I was seeing and reading road signs much sooner than before.  It was also easier to read street names.  I always had a problem with this with the old lighting whenever street names were posted higher than normal.  The old light pattern seemed to miss them.

I'm happy with the upgrade.  It is an improvement but I hope the extra heat from these bulbs doesn't do any damage.  Also, I'm still considering doing the HID upgrade but for now I'll run this setup.  These bikes have great lighting and now it's even better.


My Review: BMW RT vs Honda ST

Tomas Perez

2003 ST1300

2010 R1200RT

I decided to review the Honda and BMW sport touring motorcycles after riding the Honda ST1100 and ST1300 for about 11 years and then replacing the 2003 ST1300 with a 2010 BMW R1200RT. I wanted to wait until I had some miles on the RT before I started this project. I'll be comparing the 2010 RT to the 2003 ST1300 I had. Starting with the front of the bikes and working my way to the back...

Please note that a 2010 ST1300ABS is essentially the same as the 2003 ST1300ABS.

Headlight - The RT has got very good dual H7 powered headlights and a third H7 high beam. The ST has a pair of special H4 bulbs that only Honda sells. Most tourers put in higher powered H4s in place of the OEM bulbs. I did that on both my STs with good results but I still think the stock RT headlight is better. Winner RT.

Dash - Slight edge to the RT. The BMW dash just looks more professional and the LCD display is easier to read in most daylight conditions. I also like that you can check remaining range whenever you want on the RT. The ST displays remaining range only when it goes into reserve. Both fuel and temperature gauges appear to be very accurate. Winner RT.

Mirrors - Let me rate these on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good). I would rate the ST mirrors a 3 and the RT mirrors a strong 4. Both are positioned perfect for protecting the hands from wind, bugs, etc but the ST mirrors show too much of your hands in most conditions. I found myself dipping my head in order to get a clear view of whatever was behind me. Not so on the RT. Both offer a clear view (little to no vibration). Winner RT.

Seat - This item is so subjective and no two riders will have the same impressions on any motorcycle seat. I replaced the stock ST seats (both 1100 and 1300) with Corbin seats. The Corbin was much better than stock and better than the RT OEM seat. I am forcing myself to like the BMW seat since it has the heated option at a cost of $350. Nevertheless I may upgrade in the future. Winner RT (comparing stock seats).

Transmission - Both bikes have top notch transmissions. I'll give the nod to the RT for smoother shifting and 6 speeds. In my opinion the ST is geared slighter lower in high gear. I find myself looking for another gear while on the highway. The RT seems to be geared perfect for highway cruising but first gear is very tall (high). It idles in 1st gear at about 8 MPH. I've never found a false neutral on the RT in just over 10K miles and I expect the RT transmission to get even better as I add miles to the bike. Winner RT.

Brakes - Both bikes were equipped with ABS and both are awesome. Slight edge to the Honda for the ABS. You never know it's there until it's needed. Winner ST.

Suspension - I liked the ST setup but the RT has the electronic suspension option (ESA II). I like being able to change the settings from normal to comfort for the highway and then to sport if the going gets twisty. And you can do that while riding. Preload on the RT has to be set via switch while you are stopped. Setting are 1 up, 1 up with luggage, and 2 up. Riding the BMW with paralever and telelever suspension is a unique experience. I like it. The 2010 has ESA II which addressed several concerns with the older system. Winner RT.

Cases - Both are very good and can hold a full face helmet. I give the edge to the RT because you can leave the bags unlocked plus they have 4 latching points. Also the RT looks a lot better without the bags. The ST does not have a clean look when the bags are off. Winner RT.

Tank (mileage) - The ST1300 has a 7.3 gallon tank and the RT has a 6.6 gallon tank. I modified the ST with a K&N air filter, Two Brothers mufflers, and a Turbo Tom fuel pressure regulator. Those changes made the ST much better and increased my mileage. At low speed the RT has better mileage. At high speed the ST was better. Slight edge to the ST but both bikes can do over 300 miles on a tank on a good day. Winner ST.

Fairing - BMW did it right with the new RT. The ST is good but the RT offers better protection and less wind noise. In addition, I can have the windshield lower and still have the wind stream go over my helmet so I don't have to look through the windshield. Winner RT.

Weight - The BMW is about 120 pounds lighter ready to go. One of the reasons I purchased the RT over another Honda ST or BMW K bike. Winner RT.

Options - Hands down it's the BMW. I ran out of money before I ran out of options for the RT. Winner RT.

Engine - Like them both - a lot - for different reasons. The Honda V-4 is simply awesome in the way it delivers its power. Riders talk about sweet spots for cruising. I like to say that the ST's sweet spot is 60 to 110 mph. It will cruise at any speed you want very easily and the engine pulls from about 2,000 rpm on. I do a lot more shifting on the RT. Going down a road or highway I say the ST is best for 5 to 25 mph and the RT is better for 25 to 75 mph and the ST taking over again at speed over 75 mph. Both engines are very smooth. The Honda does kick out a lot of heat whereas the BMW has nearly zero heat hitting the rider. Nod to the Honda engine. Winner ST.

Handling - Once again - subjective but the total package of the BMW makes for the better ride. I find myself using the RT for short, around town trips. I normally would not do that with the ST. Lots of factors involved - lower COG, lower weight, suspension bits, brakes, etc. The total package goes to the BMW. Winner RT.

Dealer Network - No contest! My Honda dealer is about 5 miles away - the BMW dealer is 265 miles away. Winner ST.

Cost - I think the ST cost me $14.5K in Nov 2002. The base cost for the 2010 RT is $17K and a little over $21K with the options I added. Winner ST.

Reliability - Honda makes good stuff. In 50K miles I had 3 things go bad on the Honda - oil leak (within a week of purchasing the bike), bad CPU that gave a FI fault (took the dealer a year to fix), and a brake valve (drove 600 miles with only the front brake). In 10K miles the BMW electric windshield refused to go down. I'll have to give this one to the Honda. Winner ST.

Throttle Response (update) - The ST had some reported issues with throttle response and a lean spot that was there to meet EPA regulations. I never really had much issues with this but did have a few times that the throttle response was rather abrupt. It wasn't often and only lasted a half second but it did happen. Going from the ST1100 to the ST1300 it is the one thing I noticed the most (besides more power and better brakes). The RT on the other hand has been perfect on throttle response so far and it is the only bike that I have had that just seems to get better overall as I put miles on it. Winner RT.

Body Panels (update) - This may seem like a trivial category but it was such a pain taking the Honda to the dealer for any type of service. Whenever the dealer had to remove a panel I never - I repeat - I NEVER got the bike back in the right order. I know that this is more a dealer issue than a bike issue but it created a number of problems in either case. For those of you that don't know, the bike uses at least 3 different panel screws plus plastic rivet type locks in other places. The plastic locks don't last too long and the metal screws have different size threads, different lengths, and different size shoulder depth! And some are Phillips and others Allen. Some black and some alloy. It's a mess. The problem with the dealer was so bad that I got to the point that I was stocking my own set of panel screws and they are not cheap! And yes I reported it to the main guy and yes I showed them what went where and yes I even loaned them my service manual. The 2010 RT has only one type that I know of. I haven't taken off all the panels yet but the ones I've had off are all the same size, color, wrench size, and they are all Torx. In addition, the panels on the RT just fall into place - no bending or twisting of panels to get them to pop in place. Winner RT.

Both bikes are awesome to ride and when I purchased the ST1100 I thought it was the perfect touring motorcycle for me. But overall it's the RT for me. Too many things that I like about it. The lighter weight and lower center of gravity makes it much easier to move around and ride at slow speed. The handling is top notch, the range is very good, brakes are great, weather protection is one of the best, good set of practical options, good cases, etc. In addition, I wonder how I rode for so many years without a cruise control. It took me about 3 months to get used to it but now I use it whenever I hit the highways. I also really appreciate the gear indicator on the dash. It's amazing how many times I glance at that whereas on my prior bikes I tried shifting again - either up on 5th or down after I was in first. For some strange reason the RT is just a pleasure to ride. I look for excuses to ride.

Kind of long winded but I wanted to cover the main areas of each bike. In any case... both bikes are awesome.

Update 2012/1/10 - Honda is selling the ST1300 again.  Price seems to have gone up to $18,230.  That's getting up there with the BMW RT cost.

2010 R1200RT