BMW’s R1250 RT touring machine is the latest in the lineup for a mild makeover, just ahead of Euro5 regulations taking hold in Europe. But, the Beemer’s upgrades go far beyond a simple update to the emissions system.

The R1250 RT was last overhauled for 2019, getting BMW’s new Shiftcam boxer engine, with variable valve timing. The 2021 model will keep rolling with that Shiftcam design (making 136 horsepower), but obviously, the engine is updated to meet Euro5 emissions standards. But while BMW was in there tinkering with the emissions system, it also made some other significant changes.

Photo: BMW

Now, the R1250 RT has an “Eco” riding mode available as standard, and Dynamic Traction Control (cornering-sensitive traction control) is also standard now. Integral ABS Pro (linked braking—the front brake lever also activates the rear brakes) is also standard now, as well as Dynamic Cruise Control (the bike will apply brakes on downhills, to maintain constant speed).

BMW also includes a massive 10.25-inch TFT screen on the RT. This screen is so large that BMW says there’s no need for a secondary map display; riders can get all their navigational info direct from the massive TFT. Of course, it’s Bluetooth-compatible with your smartphone. The bike’s onboard audio system is also supposedly greatly improved for next season.

BMW re-styled the bodywork, and as always, offers new paint options for 2021.

Photo: BMW

There are also several interesting add-ons available, starting with Active Cruise Control. This tech is all the rage now, with Ducati also announcing a similar design for the new V4 Multistrada. It’s been well-known that BMW also plans to include this technology on its high-end tourers, and it looks like the RT will have it available for next season. According to the BMW press release, “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.” In other words, this will work like active cruise control in cars; not only will it maintain a safe speed on the road, it will also maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. No doubt BMW will have plenty more information on this tech in the days to come.

BMW also says the RT will come with an optional cornering-adaptive headlight. Other bikes have had similar headlights for years, and you can even buy aftermarket drop-in replacements for some bikes with this capability. Basically, the headlight uses sensors to determine if the bike is cornering, and if it does, the headlight beam moves to “see into the corner.” Anyone who’s tried to run a bike hard down a twisty road at night will immediately see the advantage of this capability. The standard headlight doesn’t have this capacity, but at least it’s full LED.

Riders can also opt for BMW’s Dynamic ESA (“smart suspension” that self-adjusts, basically), as well as hill start assist, engine drag torque control, emergency system alert, and of course the standard creature comforts (heated seats, etc.) and luggage upgrades that are always available.


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