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Top 200 Current Motorcycles: Best Or Worst? - BMW R 1200 RT, S & ST

Updated on May 31, 2009

 BMW R 1200 RT

It's extremely difficult to get over that big, bulbous central front fairing on the BMW R 1200 RT. I really want to love the bike, as I have a soft spot in my heart for boxer engines, but I just can't possibly get excited about this malformed and overtly unattractive sport tourer from the fine folks in Munich. Far too many angles and curves that don't match up, and an excess of incoherence in the styling leaves me profoundly uninterested.

The bike has BMW's typically advanced 1170 cc, oil/air cooled, 2 - cylinders boxer motor designed with a bore and stroke measuring 101 mm x 73 mm and a compression ratio of 12:1 which endows the model an euphoric 110 horsepower (80.9 kW). When we look at the overall dry weight of the bike being 504 pounds (229 Kg.), and factor the weight in to the phenomenal horsepower we get a final calculation of 4.58 pounds per horsepower, which is a number that can compare favorably with the power to weight ratio of a Mercedes SLK-Class.

Verdict: It pains me to dislike a boxer sport tourer, but the Black Forest wizards really missed the target on this one. Although I could possibly live with the rear half of the bike, the front half's ridiculously oversized fairing just ruins the whole bike for me. WORST!

 BMW R 1200 S

Although I have next to no interest in ever owning or riding the BMW R 1200 S, I do have to give props to the stylists in Munich who were able to show a modicum of restraint in not making this bike quite as outrageous as the majority of the current Bavarian lineup. The rear half of the bike is almost ethereally light, and when you first look at it you instinctively figure that something's missing. Instead it's a sporting motorcycle stripped down to its absolute bare essentials, and although I would have liked to have seen that minimalist approach be applied to the oversized front bodywork, the end result is rather harmonious.

The motorcycle is driven by a potent 1170 cc, oil/air cooled, 2 - cylinders boxer engine set up with a bore and stroke of 101 mm x 73 mm and a compression ratio of 12.5:1 which gives the motorcycle an elating 122 horsepower (89.7 kW). When we calculate the total weight of the motorcycle being 418 pounds (190 Kg.), and factor it into the awe-inspiring horsepower we get a total calculation of 3.43 pounds per horsepower, a figure that approximates the power to weight ratio of a Nissan GT-R.

Verdict: Maybe the Beemer stylists are finally getting the point that less is more. The R 1200 S is an attractive and striking bike drawn on a minimalist canvas which is remarkably alluring. BEST!

BMW R 1200 ST

Let's just consider the powerplant of the BMW R 1200 ST. It's Beemer's legendary boxer engine just a scosh under 1.2 litres. It certainly doesn't get any better than that for a powerful and light weight motor. Now let's consider the rest of the motorcycle right from the early Eighties Honda cast wheels to the Buck Rogers bodywork. Throw it all out as the hideous scrap that it is. The engine's great though!

This model is powered by a powerful 1170 cc, oil/air cooled, 2 - cylinders boxer powerplant with a bore and stroke of 101 mm x 73 mm and a compression ratio of 12:1 which confers upon the bike a gratifying 110 horsepower (80.9 kW). When we compute the overall weight of the motorcycle being 451 pounds (205 Kg.), and factor that into the jaw-dropping horses available we get a total of 4.1 pounds per horsepower, which is not far off from the power to weight ratio of a Porsche Boxster.

Verdict: Absolutely nothing to recommend this bike for with the exception of its engine, which fortunately is found in much more attractive motorcycles such as the R 1200 S and the R 1200 R. WORST!

Read all about each and every Top 200 Current Aprilia, Benelli, Bimota, BMW, Buell, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory, and Yamaha Motorcycle Model!


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      Tom 5 years ago

      One man's garbage is another man's gold. I personally like the RT's looks! And frankly, that is its appeal. Should all motorcycles look the same? Goldwing, Hyabusa, HD, Victory all have very distinct styling for a reason, to set them apart. The RT is a "form follows function" approach to be sure, but it is has undoubtedly the best wind protection available on a touring motorcycle. The boys from Munich thought, "is this bike one to wash and admire or ride for hours on end in stress free, buffet free bliss?" Sure its different, but I say that is what makes it one cool bike!

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      Heikki J. Salminen 7 years ago

      Hi, I meant to post about the cars... "that you just CAN'T go out and buy at your car dealer". Think about it, compared to the R 1200 S, if it is a 1730 kg car (like the Nissan GT-R), it would need to have 1110 hp for an equal weight-to-horsepower ratio. That means the GT-R would need an additional 630 hp to the 480 hp it already has, to come on par... and the R 1200 S isn't even by no means extreme, in sport-bike terms. Please, give some respect to the bikes!

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      Heikki J. Salminen 7 years ago

      Hi! I agree on the BMW:s looks & me too, I like the boxer twin engines a lot. Still, if you want to put your money on all-out performance, you'll be better served with three or four cylinders, or maybe a Ducati V-twin. Only you calculated the weight-to-power ratios for the cars you mention in kg/hp, and lb/hp for the bikes. That means the BMW's compared will have more than twice the power per unit mass, compared to the cars. In general, the only reason why a car could have any change in an acceleration contest with a powerful bike is, the car's don't wheelie unless it is something really wild (that you just go out and buy at your car dealer) and they can put a lot more rubber on the pavement, so you avoid wheelspin. Please try to get your numbers right next time!