In case anyone was wondering...
Let me tell you all about the new RT(W). From an RT perspective, I can appreciate the full fairings when it comes to long distance traveling, in rain or cold conditions. Those fairings are very nice at blocking lots of environmental issues and letting you sit in a little cocoon of air behind that wind sail they call a windshield and all that plastic. (It also blocks air during high temps of summer, not allowing as much cooling air flow.) It might be pointing out the obvious that while I can appreciate the bike and its features, the bike doesn't really appeal to me.
This is now the third RT that Oilburner has owned. His first was the 2009 demo bike that he was able to purchase after its "year" service with 2600 miles on it. I did not ride that bike too often. I was still new to riding and too afraid of dropping the darn thing and scratching up all that expensive plastic. I did ride it a couple times in the winter when I was underdressed and a long way from home. Comparing it to my R1200R, the handling just felt a little "off". Almost like it wasn't tracking well. Hard to imagine with only two wheels. We mentioned it a couple times to the dealer, and they did some research and measuring but never discovered anything.
After totaling that bike, he wasn't sure what he wanted as a replacement. Weeks of researching what he might want next, we were in the BMW dealership and his eyes completely lit up when he saw his second love in the form of a 2011 model. He was so distraught over the loss of the first one, he was having a difficult time thinking of any replacments. So when I saw how excited and happy he looked for the first time, I urged him into buying it then and there.
To give you a little history and tradition, when our little group first started riding, Oilburner's years of riding prompted a tradition of him riding everyone's bikes home from their maiden purchase. No one did that for Oilburner, since he was the backbone after all. And he seemed to have poor luck with his bikes. That meant the purchase of this brand new 2011 meant that we wanted to enforce tradition and have someone else ride his bike home! HHmmm....now who would that be...
The difference in handling was night and day. I was still scared of dropping the thing, and wanted to be careful. But I was very impressed with how smooth it was compared to his '09. So while I still would never convert, it was a nicer bike in my opinion.
Fast forward to last Saturday. We bounced back and forth with tradition again and discussed riding each other's bikes home. It was a moot point since he has been so terribly ill that he wasn't capable of riding his home, and the GS wasn't ready. Be default I again rode his brand new 2014 R1200RT(W) home.
The new oil and water cooled engine is fantastically smooth. That might also have something to do with a wet clutch. Oh my. So far, all our our BMW's have been dry clutches. This was a nice change. Oilburner also sprung for the "Pro Shift Assistant" that allows up and down shifting without the clutch. I didn't have the guts to try it. Then again, I was only on the bike about 7 miles.
I'm generally reluctant to do much horseplay or "feeling out" on bikes that are not mine. So it is quite surprising that I was flipping the bike through its paces, zigging and zagging across the lane to get a feel for the balance and handling a block away from the dealer. I tried to reign it in, but failed in another block when I goosed it to avoid having to stop for a very yellow light. Oops.
Another couple of blocks brought me to the larger thoroughfare. Saturday, time of day, empty roads. Just how did I get up to 70 mph?
This bike is fun. They managed to shave about 40 lbs of weight from the bike. They lowered the bars just a touch. It all added up to lighter weight, more flickable, lower center of gravity, and FUN! Don't get me wrong. I'm not a convert, but I caught myself daydreaming about a cross country ride behind those fairings. (It only lasted a second. I swear!)
Poor Oilburner, he had to watch me ride his new motorbike home. (He swears he didn't mind.) And as of the time of this post, he has only pushed the bike a few feet and ridden it exactly 12 feet in a forward direction. Unbelieveable.