The manufacturers are all overhauling their lineups just before the new Euro5 emissions regs come into play—and that means several BMW models are getting updates, including the R1250 RT.
The RT was updated significantly for 2019 (see Dean’s review here), with the new Shiftcam engine and other tweaks. The 2021 update isn’t as major, but there are still some big improvements, including some important optional add-ons.
Several of the RT’s upgrades are similar to what we already saw on the GS model. The R1250 RT now gets an “Eco” riding mode, giving the bike three ride modes as stock. Of course, the Shiftcam is now Euro5-friendly; in its current tuning, it makes 136 horsepower.
BMW also included its Dynamic Traction Control (leaning-sensitive traction control) and Integral ABS Pro (rear brakes linked to front brake lever) as stock on the new RT. BMW also has Dynamic Cruise Control as standard, which isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds; this feature applies the brakes if necessary to maintain cruising speed when the bike is rolling downhill.
BMW’s optional Active Cruise Control is much more interesting. Basically, this is a smart cruise control system, just like the automotive world has already had for years. Using radar and other sensors, Active Cruise Control will keep your motorcycle a safe distance from other vehicles on the road, automatically slowing the bike if traffic in front slows. It functions as a normal cruise control system otherwise.
BMW’s press release says “Thanks to radar sensor technology, it enables relaxed gliding with distance control – and there is no need for the rider to adapt road speed to the vehicle in front.” The company has been promising this technology for a while, and it’s introducing it at the same time as Ducati, which says the new Multistrada V4 will have a similar system—no word if it’s an option on the Ducati, like the BMW, or if the Italians include it as standard.
There’s a massive new 10.25-inch TFT screen on the R1250 RT as standard. It’s the largest TFT ever put on a stock bike, and BMW seems intent to build its bike’s infotainment capabilities around it. The presser says there’s no need for another GPS screen, thanks to the large TFT (tell that to an Iron Butt rider, and hear ’em laugh!), and BMW also updated its optional onboard audio system as well. Tie it all into your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you’ve got some powerful capabilities here.
BMW has all-LED headlights on the bike as stock, but if you pay extra, you can opt for a cornering-sensitive headlight. This headlight will focus its beam through curves, when it detects the bike is leaning into a corner. Yamaha’s had this available for the FJR1300 for a while, as well as other manufacturers and aftermarket companies. It’s a useful feature for touring bikes, from both safety and performance perspectives.
The bodywork is upgraded for 2021, and BMW also has plenty of other add-ons available for riders looking for long haul comfort: heated seats, heated grips, you know the drill. We haven’t seen 2021 pricing or availability yet, but it should be along soon.