BMW R1200RT Suspension Features, Suspension Preload

The BMW R1200RT has a BMW Telelever front suspension with the upper fork bridge tilt decoupled.

The rear suspension is a cast aluminum single swing arm with a BMW Motorrad Paralever.

Front suspension travel on BMW R1200RT is 4.7 inches (120 mm), or 3.7 inches (94 mm) with factory lowered suspension option.

Standard rear suspension travel is 5.3 inches (135 mm), or 4.3 inches (109 mm) on lowered suspension models.

Electronic Suspension Adjustment allows automatic chassis adjustments based on selected riding mode and load.

BMW R1200RT Front Suspension

The BMW R1200RT uses a BMW Telelever front suspension design with the upper fork bridge tilt decoupled.

This leading link is mounted in the engine and telescopic fork, with a central spring strut supported on the leading link and front frame.

The front suspension strut has coil pressure springing and includes Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA II).

This allows electrically adjustable rebound damping.

Front suspension travel is 4.7 inches (120 mm), or 3.7 inches (94 mm) with factory lowered suspension option.

The front suspension costs around $1100 in the aftermarket. OEM front suspension would cost around $2300.

BMW R1200RT Rear Suspension

A cast aluminum single swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever provides the rear suspension.

The rear suspension has a central spring strut with coil spring and a single-tube gas-filled shock absorber. This can be controlled by a linkage system, allowing infinitely variable adjustment of spring preload and rebound rate.

Models with ESA II feature a central spring strut with coil and elastomer spring assembly with a single-tube, gas-filled shock absorber, and electrically adjustable control of both suspension damping and spring preload/spring rate.

Standard rear suspension travel is 5.3 inches (135 mm), or 4.3 inches (109 mm) on lowered suspension models.

The rear suspension costs around $1000-1100 in the aftermarket. OEM rear suspension would cost around $2300.

BMW R1200RT Suspension Features, Suspension Preload

Electronic Suspension Features

Electronic Suspension Adjustment allows automatic chassis adjustments based on load and selected riding mode.

Depending on the mode, damping levels are set on both spring struts while the spring base, spring rate, and rear shock preload are adjusted.

This provides precise chassis tuning for all conditions.

The spring rate can be electrically changed through an elastomer spring element with electrohydraulic control.

Limiting lateral expansion increases the spring rate. Fully enclosing the element maximizes the spring rate. Lower control allows a decrease.

BMW R1200RT Suspension Preload

Spring preload adjustment allows the R1200RT suspension to be set for the motorcycle’s load.

The rear uses a handwheel with directional arrows. Turning towards HIGH increases preload for heavier loads.

Turning towards LOW reduces preload for lighter loads.

The standard basic spring preload setting for a full tank and 187 lb (85 kg) rider is 10 clicks towards HIGH from the lowest position.

Front Suspension Travel4.7 inches (120 mm)
Rear Suspension Travel5.3 inches (135 mm)
Front Suspension Travel
(Factory Lowered)
3.7 inches (94 mm)
Rear Suspension Travel
(Factory Lowered)
4.3 inches (109 mm)
Basic Suspension Preload Setting10 clicks towards HIGH

Comparison to Other Sport Touring Bikes

BMW’s Electronic Suspension Adjustment gives the R1200RT an advantage over other sport-touring motorcycles.

The ability to tweak suspension settings on the fly to account for loads and road conditions provides greater comfort and composure compared to fixed, non-adjustable systems.

Only the latest high-end touring models from Honda and Yamaha offer comparable electronic adjustment capabilities.

Review of BMW R1200RT Suspension

The BMW R1200RT features one of the most advanced suspension systems found on any touring motorcycle.

Precision-engineered front suspension and rear suspension components provide excellent wheel control and bump absorption.

The inclusion of ESA II allows easy tweaks for loads and surfaces, tailoring the chassis for comfort and handling.

Electronically adjustable spring rate, rebound damping, and rear preload make this among the most tunable OEM sport touring suspensions.

Comfort and Handling

The BMW R1200RT suspension system provides a comfortable ride while maintaining composed handling.

Electronic adjustment lets riders fine-tune settings for current loads and road conditions, ensuring good chassis geometry and static normal position in varying situations.

Appropriate spring base, damping rates, and spring rate offsets are made, keeping handling consistent across different loads and rides.

Upgrading BMW R1200RT Suspension

While the stock R1200RT suspension performs admirably, optional upgrades like lower-height spring and shock kits are available.

Lowering kits reduce seat height which can aid shorter riders.

Aftermarket shocks with adjustment knobs offer wider tuning ranges.

Stiffer fork springs and thicker fork oil improve the feel and front-end dive under hard braking.

Lighter components like carbon fiber wheels can allow for the utilization of more suspension travel.

BMW R1200RT Suspension Maintenance Tips

Check air pressure in air-sprung forks weekly per manual guidelines.

Inspect front forks for oil leaks indicating blown seals. Lubricate rear shock and linkage pivots if you hear noises from the suspension.

Consider lighter fork oil for quicker damping adjustment at colder temperatures.

Have the rear spring preload reset periodically as it can drift over miles.

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