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RT vs. GS highway question


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I posted a question on advforum but thought I'd post here as well as you are the experts at RT's etc. Apologies if you happen to view both forums.



I have had an inexplicable desire to add an RT since getting my 12GS. I don't think I could part with the GS . .so this is NOT an either or debate of overall superiority. I might need to add an RT for the highway runs.


You you can tell me if i'm being unrealistic.


I find the concept of a slick highway cruiser to be appealing . .big tank range, the adj shield, heated seat, cruise control . . .and I somehow imagine that the slightly more powerful motor w/ different gearing and better aerodynamics can make 80-100mph effortless. That speed on a GS (i have cee bailey with winglets) is fairly high energy. It's very quiet with no buffeting from a wind point of view, but a GS at 100mph is not as mellow as a more powerful bike. As an example . . .There is not the feeling - like on a BMW GT or even a VFR - that 100mph is just scratching the surface of available momentum. It's not a criticism of the GS . . .I've taken in on the track against 999's etc and had a blast. Up to intermediate class it's as fast as the rider . . .but that's not my question.


I recognize the RT is still a boxer and is not in the same class as a GT but . . . is high'ish' speed cruising noticably more effortless on an RT?? I live in Canada so test rides are hopelessly artificial. ie. Follow a train of 15 pennyless yahoo's led by a saleman on a slow predertemined loop that gives no feeling for whatsoever for a bike. The 10 mins I was on one, I did "think" the RT was a faster cruise but could have been wishful thinking. I may try to secure a proper test drive in the spring . . but wanted your input.


In summary . . .wind blast ASIDE . . . GS/RT side by side at 100mph/160km. Is the RT really smoother/faster on the highway than the GS?

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Just how fast do you want to go? 100 mph on an RT is not just scratching the surface, you're pretty close to the bottom of the well in terms of available power. I've taken mine up to 115 mph a few times, and you can tell that the engine is starting to work pretty hard. Mine seems to be happiest at about 80 indicated, which is about 77 actual miles per hour. That's where the mirrors clear up and the handlebar vibration is minimal. My FJR offered more power from idle on up, but came up short in the comfort department.

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It's not the speed I want ot go as much as I'm trying to get a direct comparison between my GS and the RT. I'm hoping there are some on this forum that have ridden both at sustained cruise speeds.

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I've owned both for 10 yrs and wouldn't part with either. They are similar but yet very different. Ride a 10 or 12 hour day on both and the RT will leave you alot less fatigued. PM me if you have any specific questions. Cheers Ralph

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I've got both, an '05 1200GS I bought in July of '04 and an '05 1200RT I bought in '05 to replace an 1100LT. The RT is mostly ridden with the wife on the back for both day rides and longer tours. The superior weather protection and greater baggage capacity make it better for two up riding and touring. I use the GS when I'm by myself, or occasionally with the wife for local back roads exploring. The GS has a bigger fun factor for me. It feels faster, probably because of less weight, and more nimble. If I rode solo all the time, it would be my only bike.

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I had an '04 1150 GSA and now own a '07 1200RT. The primary reason for the change was the greatly increased wind/weather protection of the RT. (I also really like the lighter weight, adjustable windshield and smoother transmission of the RT!)


They will both do the longer miles easily enough, but I find that the RT's "rider microclimate" is a LOT calmer than the GS. On a 200 mile day, it's not a massive difference, but on a 400+ mile day, the RT feels significantly better to me.

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While others have spoken to the better comfort of the RT, I'd point out that BMW currently specs the RT as being geared about 10% higher in 6th. My '06 RT turns 3,500 rpm at a true 65 mph - so you might compare this with your GS. Also, the "sweet" zone of the RT boxer seems to be from about 3,300 to 4,500 for cruising.


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I own both 07 KGT and brand new RT. What you need to meet you demands is a KGT. That machine rocks seriously.

The GS and RT have the same engines in slightly different state of tune but very similar.

The GT is a touring bike with a superbike engine. For me the only drawback is the limited comfort for my passenger.

I may sell it for that reason next spring, not sure yet.

Contact me if you are interested.

Robert in Montreal.

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Just how fast do you want to go? 100 mph on an RT is not just scratching the surface, you're pretty close to the bottom of the well in terms of available power.


I like my RT for the wind protection and not feeling tired after 10 hours in the saddle. Never rode a GS (don't have the desire to offroad). As far as power, the last long run I was on the GPS said 133 mph (with the bags on).

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I have a GT and a GS. That's the best combo in my opinion. The engine in the RT is not that different from the GS. The GT engine is whole new world. 120 mph feels about the same as 60 mph.

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I have a GT and a GS. That's the best combo in my opinion. The engine in the RT is not that different from the GS. The GT engine is whole new world. 120 mph feels about the same as 60 mph.


Rich also put 63,000 miles on an R1150 RT.



I have a friend who was trying to decide between boxer and K.

I took his wife for a test ride on a restricted access private road course.

She couldn't guess within 40 mph of the speed the GT (original, not GT 2) was going when we stopped.

She was that comfortable.

She guessed 60 when we were at 100.

But, everyone is different.

How you fit on the bikes may or may not be an issue.

Handlebar ergos and mirror issues, may or may not affect you.

The GS has much more wind management/airflow factors to consider.

Do you ride 3-5 hours, or 12-15?



Best wishes.

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Sounds to me like you will need to identify your priorities before you make a decision. If you are looking for long distance ergos, comfort and superior wind protection; good two up comfort with good performance (though not superbike performance), then the RT is the ticket. If you are looking for long distance riding with "break the sound barrier" performance, functional two up comfort, reasonable wind protection (that can be modified for better protection), then the GT is your ticket...


What is most important to you???? That will be the deciding factor...


The other factor is: do you do your own maintenance?? If so, the RT is much, much easier to work on with more information available in the riding community. If not, then the GT may actually be a little less expensive to own... (As per Foothills BMW in Wheatridge, CO).


You decide, and a full test ride of both is absolutely mandatory or else don't buy either....

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The long 6th gear on my '04rt makes cruising at a hundred on the long trek across Kansas to get to Colorado way too easy. Got a nice citation on my last trip. The trooper was a rider and gave me a big break. Some don't like the overdrive sixth gear on the 1150's but I love the lumbering low rev high speed feel.

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I would not say that 100 is topping out on an RT either, I've had mine up at 135(GPS) and that was as far as she would go, but a buck is a brisk cruise. As to RT/GS one of each would be ideal to me, but I like to do my own work on my bikes. The GT is a great machine and if it were not for the maint requiring a bunch of specialty tools it would be high on my list. For flat out performance the GT is a hands down winner, but the RT is a damn good machine and has the advantage of better wind protection and serious two up riding. I will say that the gearing could have been done better with a broader spread and a lower first, but its not a deal breaker. I must say that given my druthers and having to have only one bike I would opt for the GS or GSA due to it being a better "all around" bike IMHO.

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Thanks all. That's a lot of interesting info. I did test ride the GT and as with RT . . i didn't get a chance to experience it properly. I could tell that it was full on rockship fast and smooth. However it doesn't (for some reason??) give me the same emotional reaction as the RT. Of course . .that might change once I get a proper ride. I agree completely on the maintenance point. I do all my own on the GS and really enjoy it. That was a pro for considerign the RT. Since moving to a boxer from a long line of inline 4's . . I'm not sure I can go back. No question the GT is a fantastic engine . .but the sound and feel are a bit sterile to my over 40 tastes. I see that the 1150 seemed to have an "overdrive" 6th which made fast cruising easy . . . .is that shared with the 1200RT or are things spaced a little tighter a la GS? Wind protection and the slick integrated fairing/signals/mirrors on the RT have appeal to me over the GT as well . . . but I recognise it's definitely a matter of indivual taste, as the GT is very modern and clean. Many find the RT ugly.


One clarification . . .some say the RT has a heavy handling front end (esp vs. the GS). Would you agree? Is the GT a noticably more satisfying handler? To follow that . . . I always assumed my GS works so well on tight rough back roads because of the paralever/telelever . . . and if that's true the RT should share that virtue . . no??




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On my test ride of both, the superior wind protection and overall comfort of the RT was what sold me. The ability to adjust the windshield on the fly along with the cruise control are great for longer trips.


I think a test ride back to back on the freeway is the best way to find out.


Also remember that you can raise the seat on the RT if you like the extra legroom and don't mind a longer reach to the ground.



IMO- hoever, unless you carry a passegner regularly, I'd save hte money and just add some upgrades to the GS to improve highway comfort. After market screen, aftermarket cruise control, aftermarket seat and so on. You do lose the ability ot hop off onto a gravel road for a little exploring on the RT. Well... you still can, but street tires on loose gravel isn't the best ride and listeneing to rocks bounce off painted plastics isn't good either.

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From your comments the RT is what you are looking for.

As far as handling is concerned the RT is absolutely fantastic.

Some may find faults with its handling , I think its great (and I have been riding bikes for 40 years)

6th gear on the 1150 is a bit too tall leaving a "hole" between 5th and 6th. On the 1200 6th is a bit shorter and just right.


Have fun with the RT.

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I have both and i will sell the RT, there is no difference unless you intend to use the RT in heavy traffic and or offroad.

Very similar the GsAdv and RT.

Is very difficult to tell any difference on HP. Only the gears are taller on the RT.

In mexico a have ridden both for more than 150 mile above 160 km/hr, only difference is helmet noise.

I enjoy much better the GS because the RT and the limeted flow of air make the bike much hotter, on coast ride i get too hot on the RT. The GS feel a lot quiker on the bends because rear tire is much slimmer and you need to incline less the bike. And offroad there is a loooot of difference.

I will only miss the headlight (superb on the RT,lousy on the Gs) and the radio.

You can ride with the legs lees bend on the GS (i have 32 inseam) and the seat is a little larger on the ADV, and you can incline it because of the support system on the ADV.

The RT sips less gas. But i have larger tank on the Adv,


I will be 15,000 dollars happier without the RT.

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Hey MX, I have a great idea. What you need to do is get together with a group of fellow beemer nuts like us on the board at an event like DV Daze and hook up with some one like me that has an RT and wants to get in a real test ride on a GS and trade bikes for a few hundred miles on a loop of road. I have found that alot of us in the motorcycle family are willing to let a brother or sister ride thier machine, and for the guy like me that is giving serious consideration to picking up a GS the chance to ride on while helping out the guy thats on the other side of the coin is a win win. Lacking the ability to do something like that I'd spend the 150 bucks and rent one for a day. The dealer here has a rental fleet and they give you 300 miles a day in the rental contract. To me 300 is plenty to either fall in love or figure out what you want to look at next.

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I simultaneously owned both an RT and a GS. I found that owning both introduced a lot of redundancy into the stable,as there is so much overlap in what both bikes do well. If you have only so much time and money to spend on bikes, why have two bikes that are essentially the same? Be happy with your GS and if you must have a 2nd bike, go in a totally different direction!


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Lvnvbiker, that is a good idea lvnvbiker. I will keep that in mind when the season gets closer. That would be a win/win. As long as there is pretty good confidence that both parties will cover the damage if things get a little over the edge! Although . .as you said, for a few hundred I could coordinate a winter trip and get a ride in soon!


And Pbbeck . . .you're also right. That is the big thing holding me back. I know htere is a lot of overlap and I don't get as much riding time as I'd like. Having two bikes might induce guilt and frustration to offset the benefits. I've also considered upgrading my GS to the newer model albeit without much benefit. I don't like the servos and the few extra HP and a trip computer of the second generation might be nice. Using that line of thinking, I could trade to the RT (keep my akrapovic exhaust can, fastways, side cases and cee baily, with the hope they don't change the GS fittings too much) with idea that I will come back to GS in a year or two. Then wring the complete experience out of whatever I have.


When I say that, though . .I get the pangs of "no GS in the garage??". Clearly, I have undying love the GS. But I have an incurable RT curiousity. I think the weekend rental is the only answer.



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I never ride ff road but if I did I would have kept the GS. There were alot of little things for me that the GS came up short in. My list of gripes with my 1150GS compared to my 1200RT (I know apples and oranges comparing the 1150 to a 1200 but most of these still apply to the 1200GS I rode):


- the GS is very unstable feeling in wind or passing trucks, the RT is well planted and stable in just about every occasion.

- The wind buffetting drove me nuts. On a freeway the GS made me feel like a bobble head. However on a warm day the less protection felt nice. I have heard the 1200adventure is alot better, but the std 1200GS did the same for me.

- Lack of storage on the GS. There is no cool lockable glove box like on the RT and the side case on eht left had a cutout for the exhaust. Jesse style cases on a GS may help on that.

-no cruise control on the GS. I like the cruise mainly just as short term rests for my wrist but it makes a difference.

-headlight. The GS has IMO, the worst headlight on a motorcycle period. It was just downright bad. Its amazing thst the headlight on the RT was developed by the same company that put a flashlight on the GS. However a cheap upgrade to HID can fix that.

-pegs, the pegs on the GS were narrow and skinny and were not good for long rides. The RT's are way better.

-fuel range. Unless you get a adventure model the GS will run out of fuel 100+ miles sooner. The tank on my 1150 had a hard time using all 5+ gallons of space for some reason. Its discussed heavily on the Advrider space and there are a few tricks you can do.



However the things I found my GS better at were:


-handling. The GS is a beast in the twisties althought this new 1200rt is by far no slouch, I think the GS still has it beat. Granted by only a small margin. Now 1150GS to 1100/1150RT and the gap is a bit wider. I know my 1200RT handles better than my 1100RT did especially at low speeds.

-Coolness factor. Lets face it, is there anythign cooler than pulling up on a sweet GS?

-Hot weather riding, the GS's lack of wether protection is a plus in the summer time. However, neither bike generates heat so to me the RT is not intolerable.

-Sercice, theres no need to remove body panels for servicing. If you do your own service this is a plus.

-Standing up- I was never big into riding while standing up but with the GS it came natural and I found myslef doing it alot. I suppose you can do it on a RT but it just has never felt right.

-Ride comfort- C'mon, how can you deny another 2 inches of travel front and back? The GS smoothens the road out better than any bike I have ridden hands down. The RT does a very good job but is still shy of the GS's capabilities.

-Simplicity- The GS is more of a standard motorcycle setup for bars and to me makes it easier for adding gizmos,farkles and gadgets but there is still a huge support for both.


Both bikes have pros and cons but for me and my liking to ride all pavement and somewhat long days in the saddle, I prefer my RT over the GS. There are still a few things I would love to still have from the GS, mostly that extra 2 inches of travel on the suspension. Personally I could make a case to own both bikes. If could have 2 bikes I would have an RT and a GS most likey. I would use the GS for short rides in the hills and urban riding. Any longer day rides, bad weather riding and long trips would be the RT.


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Slight hijack: For anyone concerned about the 1150 GSA's crap-o-la H1 low beam :P, check out the advrider.com threads on plug-and-play HID kits. I put one of those kits on my GSA...took about 2 hours to get everything installed and tidy...the results were (pun intended...) night and day better. It was truly the highest $$/value I spent on the bike.

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