On this we can agree, BMW’s R1200RT is the best sport-touring motorcycle available today. The newly designed Beemer won our 2014 Sport-Touring Final SmackDown + Video, and was chosen by both MO editors and MO readers as the class winner, making it a unanimous decision. As one of the lighter sport-touring bikes available, (604 pounds with its 6.6-gallon tank full), the RT navigates long sweepers and tight switchbacks with equal aplomb. It was, however, a narrow victory over Ducati’s Multistrada, with 25.0% choosing the BMW and 22.8% choosing the Duc. As our choice for Best Sport-Touring Bike of 2013, we understand the allure of the Multistrada. The Multistrada, with a curb weight of 516 pounds, is significantly lighter than the BMW or our second place sport-touring shootout finisher, Yamaha’s FJR1300.


The BMW R1200RT exhibits excellent weather protection, as well as other creature comforts such as heated grips and seats, cruise control, ESA and a quick-shifter.

The R1200RT is a bastion of electronics including our choice for Best Technology of 2014. Hill Start Control is a technology that helps to get a fully loaded RT underway from a dead stop on a steep incline without concerns about it rolling backward. The TFT color display is new to the RT, and its 5.7-inch window displays information from the RT’s onboard computer and audio controls. Using the multi-controller and various fairing-mounted buttons, the TFT color display provides the rider with all the current settings such as Ride Mode, suspension setting, ambient temperature, tire pressure, radio channel selection, etc.

2014 BMW R1200RT Review – First Ride

At nearly $21k, the RT with the Premium Package is a technological tour de force, and it would even be a worthy nominee in the Touring category. The sport-touring class contains some bikes that are faster, but none that have the broadband competence of the nimble, advanced, comfortable and adaptable BMW R1200RT.

Reader’s Choice Best of 2015 winners:

Best Motorcycles of 2014 Best Sport Bike
Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Motorcycle Best Touring Motorcycle
Best Cruiser Motorcycle Best Sport Touring Motorcycle
Best On-Off Road Adventure Motorcycle Best Value Motorcycle
Best Standard Motorcycle Best Dirt Bike
Best Scooter Best Electric Motorcycle
  • Vrooom

    Give me the multistrada. For $21K you can buy two decent bikes, which is the problem with this BMW. I know two guys who own them and just like a $9K FJ-09, they immediately pour $3K in farkles into it for all the weaknesses. Of course you’d probably do that with the Ducati too, but you’d have a much faster lighter bike.

    • But which bike would you want to take on a 4000 mile trip? Ergonomics matter too, Neither the Duc nor the FJ would be comfortable over the long haul, at least for me, if I could even fit on a FJ09 comfortably.

    • eric watkins

      You can’t buy 2 Multistradas for that price.
      You could buy a multistrada and then add some panniers and maybe a heated seat and an aftermarket stereo. Of course, you still wouldn’t have the awesome TFT dash and the absolutely sublime control wheel that works with it.
      The Multistrada is a fantastic bike. I’d love to own one myself. But, if I’m strictly talking about sport touring..meaning I am never taking the bike on the track or off road, I’d choose the RT.
      no, the RT is not as fast. but, up to 145 mph, it’s pretty darn close. and after that, we aren’t talking about sport touring; we are talking about jail .The new water-cool boxer is a beast of an engine. don’t judge this version of the RT like any of the old ones. I promise you it’s worth a look.
      it fully earns this “best of” nod.

      • Fraleyfrog

        I’ve owned many FJR’S over the years my last was an 08. after getting hit and getting it totaled I bought an FJ 09 after much $$ getting it to tour like an FJR it wasn’t for me so I sold it about 6 mo ago. I like the new FJR with 6 speeds and am considering purchase but soon learned I could own R1200RT for close to the same costs?
        I will test drive the BMW this weekend and decide.

  • Emptybee

    Have you checked the price of a 2015 Multistrada S? $19,695.

    • 12er

      2k less for the standard, I went that route as beta testing skyhook scared the heck out of me in ’13. Never had electric suspension so I didnt miss it. Also almost nobody buys the non-S so you can wheel and deal a bit more. I got a great deal mid year, no left over sale… Then of course I started farkling and added it right back.

    • And how much is the Multi with the full touring get up? 22k I think. The real street price of the RT is about the same, 22-23k. Then you have to figure the maintenance costs. I could do the maintenance on the beemer, but I wouldn’t want to futz with the desmo valve gear and I think Ducati has a stipulation that for the warranty to be in effect, the dealer has to do certain maintenances. As cool as the Duc is, I’ll pass.

  • reg26

    After riding Harley touring bikes for years and also two FJR’s I decided to rent the new WC 1200rt for a weeks vacation in CA. The RT blows everything I have ever ridden away. Even my wife said she has never been more comfortable on any other bike. I will be buying one this Spring.

    • Rayman

      For price, comfort, style, size etc. I would choose the 2015 vstar 1300 T

    • reg26

      Nothing wrong with the Vstar Rayman but you are talking apples and oranges. They are two completely different motorcycles