I was the one who started this thread. I have owned two BMW's, a 2000 R1200C that I rode for two years and a 2005 R1200RT that I rode for five years.
... bikes for folks that want new and want the cheapest--they are obviously price leaders
I paid $10,000 for my R1200C, $21,000 for my R1200RT and $15,120 for the R1200R. If I wanted to go cheap, I would have purchased a F650. Price was not my factor for choosing the R1200R.
... bikes for folks whose next bike will have a fairing
I had a fairing on the RT and while I appreciated it for cold weather riding, I absolutely hated it for riding in the 90 degree temperature and 90 percent humidity that we have here in NC.
... bikes for city riding and not the long distance touring so favored by USA BMW owners. They are for sure better for city riding than the bikes with fairings.
I toured on my R1200C, I toured on my R1200RT and I intend to tour on my R1200R. I have the side cases on the R and I will put a seat bag/duffel bag on the rear seat, since I don't ride two up.
... difficult to distinguish from a GS, but for sure shorter
I don't understand this. The GS has an entirely different shape from the R. True, the R has a much shorter seat height than the GS, but it doesn't look anything like a GS, in my opinion.
... least intimidating ... as regards fear of falling over and damaging fairing
I would agree with Don. The R1200R is not necessarily less intimidating, but is a lot easier to ride, maneuver than the RT, LT, GS, especially if you only have a 29 inch inseam. If I was 6 foot 3 inch dude with a 36 inch inseam, perhaps I would have a different opinion. Like Don, I like to be able to see the ground in front and to the side of the bike, in case of potential obstacles. On the RT, every parking maneuver was a guess, especially if you are on tip toes, trying to maneuver the bike.
In starting this thread, it was not my intention to condemn others' choices of bikes. I have been enlightened by the renewed joy of motorcycling revealed to me by the R1200R. The RT just wasn't doing that for me anymore, because of the factors I have mentioned and others have seconded.