BMW updates R 1250 RT for 2021

The most recently announced “new” bike is the R 1250 RT. Along with the entirely accurate self-congratulating accolades in the press release, BMW Motorrad also gave us the details: Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and a new “Eco” riding mode meant to maximize fuel efficiency are now included as standard. Also included in the standard setup is an update to fully integrated brakes; now whether you use the hand lever or the foot lever, both brakes are actuated. While BMW calls Full Integral ABS Pro the “perfect braking system for a touring bike,” some riders may lament the loss of being able to use the rear brake on its own, especially in low-speed situations.

Not content to allow other manufacturers to get ahead of them in the motorcycle infotainment wars, BMW chose the RT as the platform to debut its new 10.25” color thin-film transistor (TFT) cockpit data display, now with satellite navigation built in. This is probably the most interesting and even exciting update to the BMW motorcycle lineup, as the idea of providing a BMW with built-in sat-nav is indeed a good one. Smartphone connectivity is achieved via a cable hookup, with a special compartment set aside for that purpose. They even included a fan to keep your mobile device cool, and you’ll be able to further upgrade your music listening experience with the updated Audio System 2.0, because of course you need a high-tech sound system on your touring bike.

Another interesting electronic update is the possibility to upgrade to Active Cruise Control. While the standard Dynamic Cruise Control will keep you at your desired speed whether you’re going uphill or down, ACC brings motorcycle cruise control into the 21st century with the ability to specify a following distance from the vehicle ahead of you. This is becoming more ubiquitous in late-model cars, so it’s no real surprise to see it make its way to BMW motorcycles. You’ll also be able to upgrade—for an additional charge—to Riding Modes Pro, which includes a new Dynamic mode allowing engine drag torque control, whatever that is.

The front fairing of the RT has been redesigned, and it looks both literally and figuratively sharper than the previous generation. The best upgrade to the fairing is the inclusion of an all-LED lighting setup, and if you so desire, you can upgrade further to the new Adaptive Turning Light, which will lead you into a turn for improved illumination when leaned over. Everything on the 2021 R 1250 RT is available in one of four color schemes. There is basic Alpine White, of course, and three optional schemes: Sport (a beautiful deep electric blue), Elegance (a muted, so-so looking… brown?) and Option 719, which has appeared—along with hand-painted pinstripes—on other models as black with yellow or white highlights, bold red and blue, and a striking black and gold scheme.