have never ridden before and have fallen in love with the
RT. Should I consider the RT as my first bike?
says "My normal advice to new riders is to start with
a smaller and lighter bike. Pick up a used Honda, for example,
of about 500cc, and after you have had a lot of experience
on that sort of bike, move on up to an R1100RT. Better yet,
start out with a used airhead BMW, such as an R75/5, R75/6,
or R80, and get used to their Teutonic qualities. Then move
to an RT.
have not yet taken the MSF "Motorcycle Rider Course:
Riding and Street Skills," take it now. How you do there
may help answer your question, giving you a better idea of
your skill level.
thing: Someone recently posted to the K1200LT BB the same
question! There, the overwhelming answer from LT owners was
"NO!" I agree there. A new rider on an 830-pound
LT is a frightening proposition! An RT, however, does not
present one with so clear an answer.
bought an RT as his first bike, but concurs with Jeff on the
MSF Course: "First step is to take the MSF course, this
will immediately tell you whether you're ready to go from
the small bikes they use to a larger bike."
step is getting in touch with your brain. You're going to
have a learning curve that's steeper than if you would be
jumping onto a 500cc or 750cc bike, it will be important to
have the proper mentality that accepts you're going to be
learning and training on your new RT for quite a while (after
6 months and 14K miles on my RT, I am still learning each
time I ride)."
"For me, I ended up at a motorcycle show one weekend
with some friends. Was bitten by the bug after riding on their
bikes as a passenger and spending a couple hours sitting on
the thousands of different bikes at the show. Before setting
my heart on a bike I took the MSF course to learn the proper
techniques and determine what my abilities were with a motorcycle.
I ended up being the only person in the class that got a perfect
score on the written and riding tests, and receiving comments
from the instructors that were clearly to add to skills required
outside the course vs. instructions given to other students
to help them within the course. I felt good about my skills,
but wasn't sure about trying to balance a 600lb bike while
sitting on a 1100cc motor.... the test ride convinced me that
I had the skills that would allow me to ride safely, learn
new skills, and apply those skills to an RT."
I recommend it? Not for most new riders, but there are many
here that have jumped right on the RT and safely love every
minute. It helps if you know a fellow RT rider that will ride
with you, is eager to assist in your learning, and will trim
your wings when they see techniques that aren't wise."
experience - I'm extremely happy that I went for the RT first.
After 6 months, 14K miles, and a 2 week vacation on the RT
under my belt... I've had my fair share of humbling experiences
(like dropping the bike in my own garage), have had a blast
on all types of roads and try to work hard each time I ride
to improve my riding."
As a final
thought, Kris adds "Don't forget the gear! Make sure
you get excellent protection for not only your head, but the
rest of your body... and use it every time you ride. Even
during my 10 mile commute today, I take 15 minutes to checkout
the bike and put the overpants, jacket, gloves, helmet, etc
on my body before leaving the driveway. I could drive to work
in the car in the amount of time I spend putting the gear
on for the motorcycle"
moved up quickly after gaining experience on a smaller bike.
"Previous to purchasing my new 'RT in Dec 1999, the largest
bike I had ridden on a regular basis was 650cc. Even after
riding for 10+ years and taking the basic MSF course, the
first few rides on the 'RT were a bit of a challenge. There
is so much new stuff on the bike to get used to (switchgear,
seating position, tall first gear, etc.) that, if you weren't
already secure in your riding skills, might make you a bit
unsafe. For information purposes, I'm 6'6" 260# - the
'RT was still a challenge.
absolutely set on getting an 'RT, I would suggest you buy
one and plan on riding it on empty country roads, parking
lots, etc. for a month or two and develop your skills (AFTER
completing the MSF course). The 'RT is a fun bike - you don't
want to make your first experiences with the bike your last.
reminds you to consider the financial aspects: "I really
see no reason to avoid the RT as a first bike as long as you
can 1) afford it if you drop it or wreck it (most accidents
happen to new riders) 2) keep your wits about you since the
RT is a bike that can fool you by being much faster than it
seems (especially on curvy roads you may find yourself flying
faster than your brain can keep up). There are other bikes
that make better city commuter bikes also as you have heard
about surging at low throttle, etc.. Have you ridden any of
the other R models like an R850 or R1100? Have you tried the
F650? In any case test ride what you will buy to be sure it
suits you and take your time to learn the bike as each one
is a little different.
says "I've been motorcycles for 25 years, so while my
early motorcycling experiences are vivid, they are a little
dated. Here are my thoughts:
the good old days (when I started riding), a 350 - 400 cc.
machine was considered a respectable starter bike, and indeed
it was enough for me. My first street bike was a Yamaha RD400,
which was a handful--extremely fast, with a very light front
end. I clearly got myself in over my head a few times when
I started riding, but I was lucky that I didn't hurt myself
or anyone else. Here's what I think you'd find with a bike
as large as the RT. First, though it's not a pure sport bike,
as a novice you'll be amazed by the incredible acceleration
and power available, compared to almost any automobile. Only
a few exotics--Ferraris, Porsche Turbos, tricked-out Corvettes
or Supras--can keep up with a bike like the RT, but that's
about it. Secondly, a fully fueled and loaded RT hits the
scales at over 700 lbs. Your strength will help in handling
the bike while parking, but has little relevance to being
able to handle it at speed. That's where the dynamics of handling
a very fast 700 lb. projectile come into play, and I feel
that it's too much for any newcomer to tackle. Yes, you're
less likely to drop the bike putting it on the centerstand;
but the more important question is, will you have the physical
and mental skills--strength has almost nothing to do with
it--to avoid getting yourself in over your head in traffic
or in a hinky curve with an oil slick? Finally, you should
think about the fact that you might not like motorcycling.
I love it, but a great many people get into the sport and
find it so unsatisfying that they drop it within a couple
of months. You're less likely to get hurt if you start on
a somewhat smaller machine, and you're also more likely to
enjoy yourself if you get something that's clearly appropriate
to your skill level. My suggestion is to find a good used
smaller bike and give yourself a season to develop your skills
and your appreciation of motorcycling before taking this big
says "I would probably start out with something lighter
and less expensive in case of the almost inevitable "Oooops"
experience you are likely to have. This is not reflection
upon your skill level, which might be quite high for a new
rider (everybody has a different learning curve). It's merely
that novice riders do tend to make more mistakes than seasoned
veterans and on a bike like the RT it can be VERY expensive
to fix in the case of a drop/incident and, to be brutally
frank, the power:weight ratio on the RT can get somebody into
trouble quickly. This is a relatively quick motorcycle and
only experienced paws should be at the throttle, IMHO. Many
years ago I started on 550cc and 750cc bikes which were relatively
light and yet satisfying from a performance standpoint. Perhaps
you should buy a smaller, used bike and get a year under your
belt before jumping right in, despite the overwhelming temptation.
Perhaps a used Beemer . . . an older boxer or a K75? Once
the miles pass under you and you gain more confidence (and
assure yourself that this isn't just some passing fad), then
jump on the R1100RT bandwagon with both feet!"
adds "In pilot's lingo, the RT is a high-performance
craft. It has the added complexity of a sensitive transmission,
1100cc motor on a faired bike that makes it cruise like a
Bonanza or Mooney, and is capable of running in situations
where things must happen VERY fast.
you learn and ride on an RT? Yes, you could. Could you take
your PPL-SEL instruction in a Mooney? Sure. Neither one is
probably the BEST choice for a beginner.
you probably flew a Cherokee or C-172 to start with, a simpler
bike might be best to start with. I rode a 1986 BMW R80 (air
cooled, less power, FUN bike) for 6 years before I got my
RT. Had I been in a position to, I'd have bought a bigger
bike after one year - but I couldn't, and the RT is all that
much sweeter for the wait.
have suggested an R1100R to start with - There are good deals
on new ones now, but it's still prone to expensive damage.
Also, BMWs have a significant break-in period (6,000 - 12,000
miles) during which they are not as smooth or forgiving as
they could be, especially in the transmission. Look for a
good used R80 or R100 (or R1100R if you so desire) that is
fully broken in - you'll find it will run much smoother, giving
you less to deal with as you learn. If you decide you are
dead-set on the RT (and I wouldn't blame you), still consider
used for the same reason."
Brennig got an RT as his first bike "It was the
RT that convinced me to get a motorbike. When I saw it on
the web, I fell in love. My test drive consisted of being
the pillion! I did not have a license nor more importantly,
I had only a total of 1 hour of time on a 250cc Honda dirt
bike a few years earlier. I blanched at the feel of power
on the bike, thinking, it is mad to do this - and I was right.
But such is love. Coincidentally, it was my birthday when
I went to buy the RT and my friend rode the bike while I sat
as pillion again. I did not ride the bike until I took the
MSF course ten days later. Excellent course. Then I started
riding the RT. What a rush! I was torn between the agony of
taming all that mass and power and the pleasure that the arises
when riding an amazingly engineered machine. During the first
months of I thought I had made a mistake and taken on something
more than I could handle. But these were growing pains. It
is humbling to realize that riders w/ decades of experience
are still learning. Basically, the RT is certainly something
a neophyte rider can handle, it just takes dedication. Lots
of it. If you go this route just remember that your inexperience
will take a toll on the bike (hopefully not you, buy good
equipment). In the first couple months I dropped my RT five
times! Once even in snow (got the bike in Feb) and the other
times by not parking in correctly so I could push off the
center stand and remain balanced. I still do not have cylinder
protectors on... I am 5'7" and I do not think most people
will have this same problem of reach to the ground. I have
noticed that riders with 10+ years are still learning and
encountering dangerous situations. They are able to react
to many situations immediately, without hesitation, this seems
the result of years of riding. All note that it is experience
that plays the deciding factor in keep safe, in staying alive.
On the other hand, I would actually feel less safe on a smaller
bike (heaven forbid I sell my RT for a smaller bike!) It is
as easy to get into trouble on taking a curve too fast or
picking a poor line on a 600cc bike as well as the RT - without
the benefit of Telelever. I would feel much more prone to
risk on a smaller bike in traffic for the RT seems so much
more visible. On the interstate where semis are doing 80 miles
an hour I like the fact that I have the power to get out of
a tight pack of vehicles. The RT has good anti-lock brakes.
To me it seems there are two issues here. Learning how to
ride safely on a given machine: know its power/weight ratio
for acceleration, braking and balance and secondly, apprising
oneself of the dangers on the road and learning how to manage
them through learning motorcycling skills and practicing them.
I know that sooner or later I will face an emergency situation
far greater than embarrassment of a scratched cylinder cover
and I hope to be prepared to manage it with minimal damage
continues "That said, I would not recommend the path
I have taken per se, indeed there are better approaches to
entering the world of motorcycling and then leaping in on
a brand new beemer. Only know that it is possible to begin
with a R1100RT.
agrees with Sean's suggestion of entering the BMW Community
with something more managable: "Rather that starting
out on another brand of bike, start out with a used airhead
BMW, something like an R75/6, R75/5, R80, K75, R65 etc. That
would get you into Beemerland and used to dealing with German
idiosyncracies. So go with the Beemer if you can find one.
If you pick a good used model, you won't even lose money that
way you would on an Asian product!
many of the others sentiments: "While the R1100RT is
a great machine for a lot of reasons, I wouldn't recommend
it to a rider just starting out. A new rider has a lot to
learn. Learning to operate the bike, developing riding skill,
and developing what I'll call "good judgment" that
only comes from riding experience. Starting out on a heavy
bike (~1000 lbs. including rider) stacks the deck against
of folks have recommended starting out with a smaller bike
(i.e. F650GS, R100, K75). This is a good idea. It would give
you a chance to try it out and develop the skills you'll need.
Assuming that you decide to continue riding, the *only* downside
is that you'll probably find yourself wanting to trade up
to a bigger bike. You might even find that you'll appreciate
your dream bike a little more. Since you really do want a
BMW, an older R100 or R1100R are good options. The older R100
models are less expensive and mechanically pretty simple.
You would have a chance to learn about motorcycle maintenance
(a good thing-IMHO). The R1100R is a nice bike and, best of
all, can be had with ABS (another very good thing). Lastly,
Buy good safety gear!! you should budget $1000.00 by the time
you get helmet, riding suit or leathers, boots, and gloves.
Bikes come and go. You've only got one body. Protect it."
took the plunge right away "I had not been on a bike
for about 30 years. Saw the R1200C and was crazy about it.
I then took the MSF course and started looking at bikes. The
Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles does not recommend the
RT for new riders. However, I am also a big guy 6'4"
and 230lbs and truly liked the comfort. I purchased a 2000
RT-SE and rode the first couple of hundred miles with the
seat in the low position which makes handling a bit easier.
I think if you use your head and understand that this is a
lot of machine that needs respect you will be fine. If you
truly feel uncomfortable go with the R.
thinks its best to grow with your skills, and don't forget
to learn mechanical systems as well: "I've been riding
for 27 years, so I have to admit, I can't remember what it
was like to be a novice rider. I can say, that I've seen a
number of people begin their riding careers and I've coached
a number of them. The riders who began with the lighter bikes
all progressed to much larger bikes and are doing well. Of
those two who I saw begin with the larger bikes, one quit
riding after having too many difficulties and the other is
dead, from a motorcycle accident. I'd suggest getting a used
BMW that is lighter and without an expensive fairing on it.
Use this bike to gain experience and skill. When you drop
it, fixing it won't be nearly as costly as fixing an RT. You'll
actually make many of your repairs on the spot with your tools
and maybe some tape."
other aspect to safe and good motorcycling is being able to
maintain your machine. Do your own repairs on that used bike.
You won't have to worry about voiding any warranties. Learn
how to remove the wheels and fix flats. Work on the electrical
system. The skills you learn here will be valuable when you
break down in the middle of nowhere. You'll never break down
near a BMW dealer! Being able to circumvent an electrical
short can mean the difference between riding off into the
sunset or remaining on the side of the road, a target for
you have your experience, you can either sell the bike for
about what you paid for it, trade it in, or keep it as an
extra bike to play with."