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· Super Moderator
296 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In 2016, I wrote a review on the 2014 R1200RT loaner bike that Motorcycles of Dulles (MOD) loaned me while Brahma was in the shop. A year later, brahma was in the shop again and I got a 2013 R1200RT as the loaner. Here are both reviews in a single spot for your reading pleasure.

Brahma needed to go in for a constant high idle check. He has had this since early winter and after the 30K mile check in January, I thought it had been corrected but nope. Anyway, MOD gave me a 2014 R1220RT as my loner.

The motor-mags have this bike as the best Touring Bike for 2014 and 2015 even though it is not classified as a touring specific bike. I have one gripe that says they are wrong; any bike classified as a touring bike has to be comfortable for 10-12 hours days in my book and this one won’t quite make that I’m afraid. But I will say it is one hell of a dang good commuter.

For starters, I picked it up on a cold day. The heated grips are far better than the ones I tried on the 2008 R1200GS I rode in January. And the heated seat AWESOME! This bike has satellite radio, and I can hear it at freeway speeds even with my full-face helmet. The dashboard is easy to navigate once you get the hang of it and it has cruise control. The brakes are Brembo and seem pretty darn good. It has decent power and shifting hard into second will lift the front tire pretty effortlessly.

The bags are all big enough to hold my full-face helmet and are auto locked and unlocked by both a button on the grips and a key fob.

Sensors tell you the tire pressure and the ambient temperature and more things than a guy like me care to know about. But switching suspension firmness on the fly is pretty cool. I like keeping it hard myself. And the ride modes are cool too, but I keep this one in Road.

Now about that riding whining I started with; The bike tilts me forward just enough that my weight is on my hands. Not like a full-on sport bike mind you, but just enough that I start to feel it about 30 minutes into the ride. The pegs are in a good location for my 5’ 9” frame and the wind protection is great on my legs. The front wind screen moves up and down as one likes and is easy to find the sweet spot. On the freeway, I find it likes to ride between 75 and 80 MPH nicely and can still take on passing duties from there. The engine seems quite good for this duty. The mirrors however are not up to snuff as they vibrate so much they are unusable at speed. And they are way too low for my liking.

It does like to be thrashed in the twisties though and it handles them with ease. Engine braking is great, and I hardly need to use the brakes. Slow speed maneuvering is pretty darn good too with very tight turns at walking speed a breeze.

The real question is would I own one of these? I think so since it is a great commuter. However, I would not trade off the R3T for it. With that said, this is a nice bike overall and my complaints are really not that big of a deal as the handlebars can be changed to meet my personal requirements if I needed to.

Now for the 2013 review

Brahma is in for his 40K mile checkup and MOD, (Ken is still trying to convert me to BMW) has given me a 2013 R1200RT as a loaner. If you recall, the last bike they loaned me was a 2014 R1200RT; this ’13 model looks like the ’14 but is a very different machine.

For starters, I did not like the comfort level of the ’14 for all day riding and this one is less comfy. My ride from MOD back to work caused my knees to tell me to F-off, and that is just an hour away at freeway speed. I had another 2-hour ride to a job site and fared no better. The bike handles great though and has plenty of pick-up for passing and avoiding witless cagers.

This bike does not have the top trunk like the previous bike but the side cases are the same and can hold my full-face helmet.

Each morning commute since I picked it five days ago has started with temperatures just above freezing. The heated grips have two settings, and both are great. The high setting must be for temps 10-15 degrees below freezing as they are too hot for 33F; even at freeway speed.

This used bike has low mileage when I got it, around 1,500 or so. I have added a few hundred more to it. Something is not right with the radio though as I cannot figure out to change the channels, not on FM, AM or Sat. The volume is as good as the ’14 though.

I expect that the OEM battery is still in it as the morning starts are hard and the bike has died after starting on two different starts. The colder it is, the slower the engine turns. After my cold weather start issues with Brahma, I think the battery or cables may be the issue. So, anytime you buy a used bike, always check these things before purchase.

The cruise control is outstanding and reminds me that adding it to Brahma is one of the first things I said I wanted to add to him. I just wished they are not as expensive as they are.

Like the ’14, the sensors tell you the tire pressure and the ambient temperature, but I cannot find the trip counter on this fellow, just the total miles. Maybe it’s not meant for us Luddites.

If it has the ability to electronically change suspension firmness, I cannot find that either. I was spoiled by that on the ’14 model.

As for my personal riding position, this bike does not angle me as far forward as the ’14 did thus in that perspective it is easier on my wrists and back. The windscreen moves with a button and works pretty well in the rain on this morning’s ride. It is a different shape than the ’14 though and makes looking through it more distorted.

On the freeway, I find it rides a little smoother at speed than the ’14 did. Not sure why that would be, but it feels better at about 5 MPH faster than its newer sibling does. However, like its sibling, the mirrors are not up to snuff being so low, but at least these do not vibrate so much they are unusable at speed. Maybe this has to do with the tires, not sure.

One of the things that does not happen too often with me, is having the kick stand collapse. When I went to vote yesterday, I had to park it on a slight downhill slope. When I returned to ride away, I first noticed that frost had covered the seat and windscreen while I was inside. I put the bike in neutral and started it to warm up and as I was fastening my helmet strap, the bike fell on me. It had begun rolling forward, unbeknown to me, causing the kickstand to spring back. Luckily, the R1200 is a light bike, it didn’t knock me down, and I was able to catch it before hitting pavement. Just one of the many joys of riding an unfamiliar bike, I guess.

If choosing between the ’14 and this ’13 model, I think I would go with the newer bike. However, like I said last spring, I would not trade the Rocket for either.


· Admin of the North
1989 GSXR 1100
423 Posts
Great write up Boog. I like the look of that & it is similar to how I see myself progressing when I hang up the sport bike gear. I have had the same problem with a slope at my local store. I leave it in gear now to prevent it rolling.
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