Road Test

So the guys at Bahnstormer stepped up and lent us a 2021 BMW R1250RT LE for a few days.  To get it close to a specification we would be buying they were going to fit an RT top case but didn’t have one when we turned up to collect, so Keith grabbed one off a K1600.  This is slightly different to the R1250RT one in that the K version has a more rounded backrest with a headrest bit and according to Alison was superbly comfortable, so that’s the option we would go for. 234 miles later…

We picked it up on Tuesday and headed up to No. 131 at Cheltenham – a “cool hotel” – which is run by a friend of ours, Ricardo.  This was the first time I’d ridden a motorbike since my little ‘off’ in July 2019… So why not start with a small 96 mile ride on mixed roads?

First thing, though, was to connect up the iPhone to the RT.  I’d already downloaded the BMW Motorrad Connected app and downloaded the maps for it.  So we then had to get the app to connect which was a little more difficult.  Retry and it worked. Next up was the connection of the RT to my Cardo PACKTALK Bold – the RT can connect to a phone and two headsets, so that’s a positive for two-up touring – which went effortlessly.  The iPhone then sits in a ventilated box with wireless charging.  That seemed to work intermittently, as I kept hearing it starting charging through the Cardo and watched it start to run down occasionally too.  I have no idea why BMW don’t simply move over to Apple CarPlay like they do with their cars. That way I could use Waze with the benefit of its warnings…  On our last day, a mile or two from our destination, the BMW Connected app … wasn’t.  It just dropped out and I had to reconnect.

Round to the Abarth where we packed our Triumph pannier liner bags into the RT’s panniers and my Givi 30L stuffer back into the top case – which has a high level brake light and an internal courtesy light – and put our waterproofs and spare gloves around it.  And then off.

Anyway, back to Cheltenham. We arrived after a great 96 mile ride and parked up … in the hotel’s restaurant which is now outside since COVID-19.

Restaurant Parking

A couple of gins later – they have hundreds! – we showered in our fabulous room and headed down for a delicious meal.

The next morning, we headed down to breakfast and our purchasing dilemma given our ‘unique’ living arrangements (spreading ourselves between London and Corralejo), registration dates and delivery periods, etc.

We then rode another brief 25 mile ride down to the Bay Tree at Burford, where we got married three years earlier. We sat out in the garden for drinks and then headed over to our friend Jules’ place at Kingston Bagpuize, another 30 miles in total.  This was on the apps “windy” setting, with the selection in the middle.  It took us down some ‘interesting’ B-roads to say the least.

We had tried Dynamic and Road modes and realised that Road mode is a bit bouncy but very plush over dodgy road surfaces, but Dynamic firms it all up and the information from the app shows some good lean angles and G-forces.

A romantic meal with a  bottle of champagne and off to bed.  We headed out after breakfast and made our way back to Alton, stopping only for fuel.  A very windy day but behind the fairing it was calm and despite its size, the RT wasn’t particularly affected by crosswinds.  Colder than the previous days, Alison was using the heated seat which is separate from the rider’s to keep her core warm.  Another 83 miles.

Superbly comfortable and capable. I don’t think the optional Akrapovic is needed as the standard is growly enough and the Akra isn’t any smaller or neater.

Our only issue is we shouldn’t get one before May 2022 because of our travel, the March registration change and winter weather to go with delivery periods.

And as for me riding a motorbike again? It’s good to be back in the saddle after two years.

Can I Get a Test Ride?

OK, so having narrowed the field down a bit in terms of a replacement for my deceased Triumph Sprint GT1050 (now that the amputations are all over and I’m just about fit enough to ride, albeit with some pain, following my little ‘off’), the BMW R1250RT LE is looking really positive, albeit with a couple of small caveats:

  1. For some reason BMW seem to be having problems with the audio system? Their website states that “unfortunately it is currently only possible to offer the audio system preparation for the motorcycle.”  Whatever that means.
  2. Despite Bluetooth connectivity and a connected app from BMW, Apple CarPlay isn’t an option so you can’t use Waze, Maps or Google Maps for navigation with real-time updates.
  3. Why no top case as standard on a tourer? The Sprint came with full luggage as standard.

Clearly, the next step is to try one for a test ride with Mrs RHM.  She had issues – understandably so – with the luggage on the Tiger 1200 which has put us off somewhat, although the long overdue model update might remedy this?  Jack Lilley (as they then were) were kind enough to lend us a demo for a couple of days and we did a few hundred miles on it.

So I contacted Park Lane BMW, or at least they contacted me after I’d had issues getting information from BMW’s website, but unfortunately they could only offer a couple of hours’ ride due to their insurance issues.  They suggested a rental company but they don’t appear to have the R1250RT, just the GS.

I have now contacted Bahnstormer at Alton to see if they can help out; they’re the people who sold my mate Yox his R1200GSA a short while ago.

And just in case, I’ve replied to BMW UK to see if I can grab one of their press fleet for the planned three day trip to the Cotswolds in August: a nice mixture of motorways, A-roads and B-roads.

Updates

It’s been a while since I updated this blog.

I had mainly been using my Triumph Sprint GT1050 for my foreign jaunts – aka “Eurothrashes’ – but that all came to a crashing stop back in July 2019 when I got broken up a tad by a SMIDSY.

Since then, I’ve not been back on two wheels whilst various bits of me mended or were taken off because they got in the way: I’m think of the second amputation here just before Christmas 2020.

While Blue Rex was off the road, I decided that I should do something with the personalised registrations I have: 8000 RM which was on the Sprint and which is now on retention; 2000 RM which was on my Abarth 124 Spider; and 3RHM which was on the ZRX1200R which wasn’t seeing much daylight.  So I swapped the Abarth’s registration with the ZRX and bought a load of new plates to suit.

Now my latest amputation is healing well and the physiotherapy reduced, I decided to service, tax and MoT Blue Rex and it sailed through yesterday.

The mileage? 19,422 miles which means since September 2018 it’s only done 36 miles!

Goodbye 2000 RM; Hello 3 RHM

Whilst the Kawasaki is off the road – whilst I recover from my serious crash last year – I thought I’d take the opportunity to swap the numberplate over, as the ZRX’s ‘plate is ‘better’ than the Abarth’s.

Getting them off the vehicles and onto retention certificates was easy online but I then hit a snag in that you can’t immediately reassign them until the new registration documents (that you won’t be using for anything else other than immediately making them obsolete) arrived.

Great! So whilst the bike is fine in my garage, I had to park the 124 on a private road for a couple of days until I could get it reinsured with its new numberplate.

So 2000 RM is no more (in terms of the 124); long live 3 RHM!