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Revving the RT


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I see many posts that refer to how the RT "loves" being revved. The general mantra is "drive it like you stole it". But what does it actually mean when people say the bike "loves" it? Is this just a reference to the point at which the power curve kicks in or is there a mechanical foundation for this assertion or is it a subjective view?

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Above 3krpm it runs smooth and above 5krpm it starts to really deliver. I think this love being revved refers to the fact that very many riders run sub 3krpm which causes roughnes in running and in the long run carbon deposit problems. Modern engines need to really work to stay fit (and clean)

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4,000 rpm seems to be the sweet spot for me. Its smooth, but ready to jump into action with a twist.


The rev limiter is a wonderful thing.



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The comment stems in part for riders who, like me, came from the Harley / cruiser set. Those bikes (V-twins) have a sweet spot in the very low rpm range, around 2-3k, above which not much happens except for extra noise. The BMW boxer twin smooths out and hits peak HP and torque much higher in the range, and one must retrain himself to ride accordingly.


This hit home for me when I took Jim Ford's Rider Workshop course, and we were instructed at one point to try to keep rpms above 4k for a stretch of twisties, whereas before we were riding in higher gears. The difference was an eye-opener. Prior to that course I was riding my RT the way I rode my Harley - afterwards, I realized how much potential this boxer really has.


People used to other lower-revving machines are often concerned about "hurting" the motor by revving it, but this is an unfounded concern. These bikes are indeed "happier" being ridden more aggressively than being lugged along at idle revs.



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Joe Frickin' Friday

Bikes like Harleys are tuned to make peak torque (and peak power) at relatively modest RPM, typically in the neighborhood of 4,000 RPM. They are long-stroke motors, and so they hit high mean piston speed at an RPM not much higher than that.


OTOH, BMW's boxer makes peak torque at a much higher RPM (something close to 7,000 IIRC), and peak power output is up there, too. They have a shorter stroke, so redline is much higher than the Harleys, around 8,000. In short, it's designed to perform well at high RPM, and designed to endure it as well. I beat the living snot out of my oilhead for ten years, lots of high-RPM, high-torque operation. Ended up replacing a final drive and a gearbox input shaft (though those failures often happened on bikes that weren't ridden hard), but after 135,000 miles, the engine was as healthy as ever, never needing any repair and never burning more oil than it did after it was done breaking in.


I've had my 1200RT for 16 months now, and I'm treating it much the same way: if I'm accelerating hard, I choose a lower gear to get the revs up. WOT at 3,000 RPM won't hurt it, but neither will 7,000+, either, and that's where the power is.

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In my layman's terms, it breathes well. The engine doesn't feel like it is choking. Technical reasons include the cam, air intake, and exhaust header designs.


If you get a chance, rev up the engine on a R1200C (while riding). That engine was tuned for more torque at lower RPM and runs out of steam at higher revs, or at least it felt that way to me when I owned one.

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There is another reason.

The more the rev range is used in the 1st 30,000 miles the less oil is used and engine componants (and gearbox to an extent)seem to bed in. Bike just seems to run sweeter from around that milage, well the two I've had did.



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In my mind anyway "ride it like you stole it" is kind of like running a mile instead of walking it at a leisurely pace. Running brings a lot of air through your lungs, puts your blood under pressure so it will run faster and clean out your system and it will stretch and tone your muscles This same type of thinking applies to the bike.


If you run the engine hard, keeping the revs up, your bike will "feel" like you do when you run that mile. It makes the oil get hot and flow everywhere which helps keep the engine well lubricated and clean. The injectors work hard and don't goop up. The piston rings seat well and carbon doesn't get a chance to build up in them. The valves get a hard workout and conform better to their seats.


I had an R1200C that would get grumpy if it sat too long. Riding it like I stole it would make it a happy person again.



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I was always taught..."better to over-rev it than to bog it" providing you have good oil in her. Nowdays thanks to rev limiters you have no worries doing just that.

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