'19 BMW R1250 RT vs '19 Honda Gold Wing DCT Tour - Long

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by T-88, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. T-88

    T-88 Been here awhile

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    I've recently road tested back-to-back a '19 BMW R1200RT and the '19 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT to replace my '14 BMW R1200RT (which, in more than 40 years of riding, has been the best motorcycle I've owned.)

    I thought my road test observations would be of interest to anybody looking at a new R1250RT or Wing.

    A little bit about me. I'm 5'8" with a 30-in. inseam. My previous bikes were: '14 R1200RT, '12 Moto Guzizi Stelvio NTX, '07 Honda GL1800A Gold Wing, '04 BMW R1150RT, '03 Honda ST1300A, '92 Honda ST1100A, etc.

    I'm fortunate. In my city (metro pop. 1 million), dealers have demo bikes. So here we go.

    '19 BMW R1250RT

    LIKE. The '19 R1250RT is exactly the same as my '14 RT except for the new, more powerful shift-cam engine. One of the pros of the new RT is that all my current accessories - topcase, handlebar risers, lowered footpegs, GPS, Clearwater Darla aux. lights, and custom saddle can be directly bolted onto the '19 RT.

    LIKE. The wind/weather protection of the RT is better than the Gold Wing Tour, which has a narrower windscreen than the BMW.

    LIKE. The new 136 hp shift-cam engine IS more powerful than the 125 hp wethead engine any time you whack the throttle open at any RPM, BUT . . .

    DISLIKE. . . . the 1250cc shift-cam engine feels SOFTER off idle than the 1200cc Wethead. (I mentioned this 'quirk' to my sales person who attended the launch of the '19s in Europe, and he smiled and said he and his colleague noticed the same off idle 'softness' compared to'19 GS/GSAs, and he and I wondered if the RT's soft off idle MIGHT have been due to the RTs not having had broken in engines. We don't know.

    Dislike. The RT's riding triangle has gotten too tight for my aging body. Even with a footpeg lowering kit, my RT puts my feet behind my knees, causing hip pain.

    SUSPENSION. I won't categorize the '19 RT's excellent suspension as a Like or Dislike. The electronic adjustable suspension is identical to my '14 RT's. I had the suspension set to 'Road', one rider, no luggage, like mine's set. Compared to the Wimg, the RT's suspension feels 'livelier', transmitting more impact from road irregularities through the chassis, seat and handlebars than does the new Wing. Also, the RT exhibits a very slight sense of 'flotiness' on the very rough section of test highway at 120 kph.

    '19 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT

    LIKE.
    The Wing's new double wishbone suspension is noticeably better than the RT's on beat up highway pavement. The bike's weight helps give a superior ride, which is ultra smooth and controlled. (I had the suspension set at Road and one rider, no luggage.) My best description is the new Wing rides like an S-class Mercedes.

    Like. The DCT transmission is phenomenal. I may be an old school rider, but I'm also getting older and looking for any features that make my riding easier and will extend my riding years. Not only does the DCT tranny make riding easier, in Sport mode, the bike snap up- and down-shifts faster than is humanly possible. Honda's DCT transmission is motorcycling's equivalent to Porsche's PDK automatic transmission.

    Like. While the new Wing may still be a heavy pig on paper, it's low saddle and very low centre-of-gravity makes it feel as easy, if not easier, to wheel around at walking speed than the RT.

    Like. The Wimg's footpegs place the feet forward, just below one's knees. As my body ages, this more open riding position works better for my body.

    Dislike. This is a minor quibble. The new Wing lacks a large, easy to read digital speedometer readout like the RT. I'm old, and the analog speedometer's font is too small for easy legibility.

    Conclusion

    I voted with my wallet and bought a new '19 Honda Gold Wing DCT Tour, with LED fog lights, chrome topcase rack with aux brakelight, pannier liners, topcase carpet (crazy, eh?), and 12v connector.

    I'm picking up the new Wing on Thursday and looking forward to it. And I'm going to really miss the '14 BMW R1200RT. It's the best bike I've owned to date. It served me well.

    Cheers from Canada.

    Tim
    #1
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  2. Rider

    Rider Spectacularly Correct

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    Excellent review! Much appreciated. :thumb
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  3. jersey jim

    jersey jim Long timer

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    That DCT is something else, huh? I did a demo ride up at Americade a couple weeks ago, I was very impressed by the whole bike, most specifically the DCT, the front suspension, and how the character of the bike (and DCT) changes in the different drive modes.

    Cool machine.
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  4. motogrizzo

    motogrizzo Adventurererer

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    Great write up! Looking forward to updates.

    I own a '14 R1200RT and did a demo of the DCT Goldwing Tour at Americade a couple weeks ago, too. Did the demo two up with my wife. It was a mix of highway and mountain roads, but pretty slow, mostly on the mountain roads. I liked the way the Wing handled for a heavy bike and it seemed much smaller than the RT from the rider position. The Wing isn't as flickable as the RT.

    The slower group ride left me without a full evaluation. I need to ride the Wing more to see what it can really do. I loved the DCT, that was cool. I did try sport mode and scared myself taking off and turning right from an exit ramp. I almost launched the bike into the opposite lane, I wasn't ready for the responsiveness of the throttle in sport mode, that's for sure, so I put it back in Tour for the rest of the ride :)

    Being used to the RT, my wife didn't realize there were passenger floor boards on the Wing and thought the little rear tip over guards on the exhaust were the passenger pegs. haha. Half way through the ride she made a comment and I told her about the passenger boards, I thought they were down from the previous couple test riding the bike. She sits higher on the RT and pretty much looks over my head, whereas, on the Wing, she sits directly behind me and wasn't crazy about having to look around my big lid.

    We liked it but have mixed feelings, more like unresolved observations. We'll need to borrow one from our dealer for a longer period of time to make a full evaluation. We love the RT, it's like a favorite pair of jeans, but I like the idea of the dual clutch. We do a lot of mountain riding on old roads fully loaded with gear and can sometimes find ourselves at the top of a very steep hill at a stop sign. The auto dual clutch would make that experience much less of a cold-sweat moment for me. The RT has the hill holder but I either stall it by not giving enough throttle to pull out of the grip of the brake or I give it too much throttle and have to keep from doing a wheelie when it releases. Either way, it can be a dry mouth cold sweat experience fully loaded and two-up :) The dual clutch is great for loaded two-up touring. Need to try it again.

    Thanks again for the great review!
    Mike
    #4
  5. Smaug1

    Smaug1 '19 Kawasaki Versys 1000, '15 SMax

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    Congratulations on the new Goldwing. You made the right choice, and I think your wallet will thank you down the road.
    #5
  6. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer Supporter

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    I did test rides on both and can only come away with the thought that the Wing is about 250 lbs. heavier. But I have arthritic wrists and thumbs and the DCT is a dream. Beemers shift assist is neat but not in the same class as the DCT. Still, the weight...
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  7. T-88

    T-88 Been here awhile

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    I neglected to say the '19 DCT Wing I tested was fitted with the optional foot gearshift pedal. The Honda's foot operated gearshift (which is redundant to the left handlebar mounted paddle shifters) was slick, buttery smooth, and vastly superior to the sometimes clunky first generation quick shifter on the '14 R1200RT.

    My sales person was very curious about my observations on the value and useability of the footshift, and I said it was a needless redundancy to the paddle shifters, and the only riders I could imagine who would pay for thos accessory were the hard core, old school riders who felt they MUST have a foot-operated gearshift.

    Tim
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  8. T-88

    T-88 Been here awhile

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    A minor addition to my original comparo post:

    Cruise control

    Both bikes have cruise control.

    The demo machines are Canadian-spec bikes, and the '14 R1200RT's CC is adjustable in (frustrating to me) +/- 2 kph increments, while the '19 Gold Wing's CC is adjustable in +/- 1 kph increments. I prefer the finer adjustment of the Wing.

    The RT's CC is is mounted on the left handlebar and easy to reach; the Wing's CC is located on the right handlebar, which I found awkward to set with my right thumb while holding the throttle.

    Tim

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  9. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer Supporter

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    Interesting, thanks.
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  10. rtcoker

    rtcoker Adventurer

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    I'm curious. Wondering if you gave any consideration to the 1600 BMW? Other than price. I have ridden both the Wing and it and would opt for the 1600. I have a 2012 RT and a 2004 RT (1150). Love them both. Am going to downsize and sell the 04. But the 12 is so sweet I don't think I will ever sell it. But I am 67 and thinking of the same comfort for my long trips that the more forward pegs/floor boards might provide
    #10
  11. T-88

    T-88 Been here awhile

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    Yes, I gave consideration to a K1600 (sort of.) When I bought my '14 R1200RT, I tested a K1600 and much preferred the lighter feeling and nimbleness of the RT over the K-bike.

    In my recent research comparing the new generation of Gold Wing to K1600, various moto journalists noted the Wing has slightly slower steering, hence greater straight line stability at highway speeds than the K. Finally, the Wing was observed to be much less affected by side winds than the K. I prefer straight line stability to quick handling these days.

    What really swayed my decision was the Wing's shockingly impressive DCT automatic transmission. As I get older, I believe FOR ME, one less thing to do on a bike (working a clutch and shifting gears) will make operating a bike easier and allow me to ride comfortably and competently for a lomger period of time.

    While the K-bike's high reving, much more powerful engine is attractive, I prefer to use torque, not high revs, to power out of corners, plus the DCT tranny is 'smart' enough to smoothly downshift to the right gear to give good acceleration.

    Really, there is no 'bad' choice between a K1600 and a new Gold Wing. Blonde or brunette? Chocolate or vanilla? All's good.

    Tim
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  12. gkgeiger

    gkgeiger Every ride is an ADV

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    When did Honda first offer DCT on the wing?
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  13. slipknot

    slipknot Hello Girls

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    With the introduction of the redesigned Gold Wing, 2018 model.
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  14. gkgeiger

    gkgeiger Every ride is an ADV

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    Thanks
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  15. Fireman1000

    Fireman1000 Long timer

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    How old are you? I know its a silly question, but when you say aging body, I'm curious. I'm 42, and starting to feel little things here and there. I've been riding since I was a 7. I'm currently riding a 2017 Desert Sled, but always looking at different bikes. Never had a big touring bike unless you call a C14 that.
    #15
  16. dduelin

    dduelin Prone To Wander, Lord, I Feel It

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    Released to dealers late January into March 2018.
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  17. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

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    Great review. I think the new wing is opening up to a larger audience than the prior model. If $ wasnt a factor (it is), that would be my daily commuter and road trip ride. Tired of shifting in traffic and with my injured left foot, shifting gets painful at times. The new wing is such a good looking ride.

    Curious when BMW will come out with a DCT? A K1600 with DCT or a GSA with DCT would sell more DCT than manuals within a few years.

    Congrats on your new ride!
    #17
  18. T-88

    T-88 Been here awhile

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    Thanks.

    Will BMW introduce a DCT-type transmission? Who knows?

    The DCT tranny SEEMS to be a hit for Honda and their Gold Wing. I live in a city with a metropolitan population of 1 million. There are 3 Honda motorcycle dealers in the region. My dealer said he sold 23 or 27 new Wings in 2019, mostly with DCTs. He says manual transmission Wings are almost impossible to sell.

    But that's the Wing.

    I don't know how well DCT Africa Twins have sold or DCT NCX70s have sold in Canada. (I know the DCT NCX750 is hugely populat in Europe, but that's a scooter culture Honda has stolen some market share from the maxi scooter segment with the DCT NCX.

    I would hazard to GUESS that BMW MIGHT be watching Honda's success with the DCT Wing very closely, and they might even have an engineer or two costing out the feasibility of a DCT equipped K1600GT/GTL/Grand America, the natural compeitor to the Gold Wing.

    Tim
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  19. LudemJo

    LudemJo Iron Butt Dreamer

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    I currently own both, a 2015 RT and a 2018 GW DCT Tour. I concur with everything the OP stated about both bikes. The RT is effortless to ride, all the controls are light and almost dainty compared to the HD Electra Glide I traded in to buy the GW. The GW takes more effort at the bars to get it to turn, but it is dead stable everywhere. Sometimes the RT feels like it needs constant attention to maintain a straight course on some roads, but that same feeling makes twisty roads a treat.

    They are both great bikes, and live up to all the hype. Neither of them are perfect, but there are few touring bikes that are better all-arounders. I considered the K1600 right up until I sat on one. It felt like the windshield was three feet in front of you. The bike felt like an aircraft carrier. Turned me off immediately.

    You can’t go wrong with either of them, but that DCT transmission is a huge winner in the end. I suspect you will see more manufacturers developing them in the near futures

    Ask me anything...

    John
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  20. Blakebird

    Blakebird r - u - n - n - o - f - t

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    I had a DCT Africa Twin as well as a DCT Gold Wing Tour - the DCT has attributes that make it an excellent choice for both bikes.
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