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Thread: 2017 RT vs. 2015/16 RT

  1. #1
    Sufferin Boothead
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    2017 RT vs. 2015/16 RT

    I'm going from an Oilhead to possibly a 2017 RT and was wondering if anyone has gone from an older wethead RT to a '17? Are their noticeable differences (besides price) going from 2015 or 2016 model to the 2017 with the minor changes received ?

  2. #2
    BMW MOA co-founder bmwdean's Avatar
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    There are transmission and drive shaft changes for 2017 model RTs.

    I have a 2015 RT and a 2017 RT. The major change I noticed right away is that the 2015 RT will not "talk to" a Nav5 or Nav6 GPS. They will only show GPS info, nothing generated by link from the RT. This changed with the 2017 RT. Non-GPS motorcycle data from the '17 RT does show on the display, such as ambient temperature (see below image). Cannot get that from a 15 RT.

    gps screen.jpg
    Last edited by bmwdean; 09-28-2017 at 03:20 PM.
    Jeff Dean − BMW MOA Co-founder (1972)
    '17 R1200RT, '15 R1200RT, '67 R60/2, '69 R60US, '55 R67/3, '49 R24

  3. #3
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    As Jeff said, the 2017 RT getting a data feed now for the "My Motorcycle" info that was previously only available on the GSW is the most readily aparent change.

    As from that, the functional changes were limited to the addition of a judder damper and a few improvements to the transmission which appears to have made the tranny a bit smoother (can't recall if my firends with them sad they were any quieter, but they do appear to be smoother). Also, ABS Pro was added as an option, I'm not sure if the dynamic brake light is available in NA yet.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - MOA Charter Club #097, BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: '14 R1200RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  4. #4
    Registered User patm's Avatar
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    I rode one for six weeks this summer and the transmission was definitively smoother than my '16.
    If i had to chose between the two, $$ notwitstanding, I would get the '17 but the difference would not be enough to get me to change.
    Pat

    Ride Safe!
    '16 RT

  5. #5
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Having owned an 1150GS, R1200RT Hex Head and still have a R1200GSA Cam Head with my 2016 RTW there is no comparison between the RTW and the 1150 or earlier 1200's. The Wet Head is smoother, quicker and seems way more refined. I love the shift assist pro! In addition maintenance on the RTW is easier and less costly with 12K valve adjustments, synthetic oil, no separate gear oil and simple (i.e. normal) final drive with a real fill plug and drain plug. I will say that comparing my '06 R1200RT to my new '16 R1200RTW while I love the motor and mechanics in the RTW the '06 seems to have been built like a tank where as the RTW is a bit flimsy in places. The RTW has less storage in the front fairing. But all in all I would not go back to the '06.

    Oh ... and yes the 2017 has the same bike interface as the GSW has and now talks to the GPS. But really that is a cool feature but certainly not a key feature for me. I mean do you really need to know how many times you pulled in the clutch, what % throttle you have applied, etc. Again a nest thing to play with but something I can certainly live without. If you get a good deal on a '15 or '16 I would say go for it.
    Ed Apelian
    When Life Throws You a Curve Lean into it!
    2012 R1200GSA Magma Red!
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  6. #6
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    I just switched from a 2012 hexhead to a 2017. The handling alone is worth the admission. Night and day!

    In terms of the tech, I found the Bluetooth hub to be a pain to setup. In fact I still don't have it fully configured and the menu-instruction is next to none. A Nav VI unit is almost a must for the 2017. They should have included that in the Tech package.

    Still learning to fully use the shift-assist pro.

  7. #7
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinsclo View Post
    I just switched from a 2012 hexhead to a 2017. The handling alone is worth the admission. Night and day!

    In terms of the tech, I found the Bluetooth hub to be a pain to setup. In fact I still don't have it fully configured and the menu-instruction is next to none. A Nav VI unit is almost a must for the 2017. They should have included that in the Tech package.

    Still learning to fully use the shift-assist pro.
    I poo poo'd the shift assist pro until I began using it and now I LOVE it. Getting onto the interstate you just open the throttle and hold it while you snick snick snick through the gears! AMAZING!
    Ed Apelian
    When Life Throws You a Curve Lean into it!
    2012 R1200GSA Magma Red!
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by gsinnc View Post
    I poo poo'd the shift assist pro until I began using it and now I LOVE it. Getting onto the interstate you just open the throttle and hold it while you snick snick snick through the gears! AMAZING!
    If I had to do over I would have ordered SAP w/ my custom configured '16 RT since there are so many fans for it. I can retrofit it for about $700-$800 but I'm too cheap to do it at this point it's just not worth it. Had I ordered it w/ the bike new it would have been a $500 charge. I was so pleased at the easy clutch pull force required for RTLC that I thought, 'who needs it!' This being said, I get on the interstate likely as fast as the guy w/ SAP, certainly way fast enough, as I go all the way to 70+mph in 3rd gear if I'm looking for fast entry speed anyway, and it's boogieing as you know even w/o shifting to 4th or 5th at those speeds. And I have become excellent at clutchless shifts between 4-5, 5-6 and do it most of the time unconsciously now because I've got it down as fast and smooth, but mainly just because it's easier and I'm lazy

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bmwdean View Post
    There are transmission and drive shaft changes for 2017 model RTs.
    This is the first I've heard of 'drive shaft changes' for the 17 models. Can you elaborate?

    Also Jeff, now that you have both, can you rate the shifting QUALITY in the lowest gears, N>1, 1-2, 2-3, in your new '17 compared to your '15? I've heard both extremes now, one says it's a major difference for the better in the '17, whereas another report was that it was just a little better. Scale of 1-10, 10 being 'perfect', how about rating your two wundercycles? I agree w/ you RTLC is the best motorcycle of any, bar none!

  10. #10
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncpbmw1953 View Post
    If I had to do over I would have ordered SAP w/ my custom configured '16 RT since there are so many fans for it. I can retrofit it for about $700-$800 but I'm too cheap to do it at this point it's just not worth it. Had I ordered it w/ the bike new it would have been a $500 charge. I was so pleased at the easy clutch pull force required for RTLC that I thought, 'who needs it!' This being said, I get on the interstate likely as fast as the guy w/ SAP, certainly way fast enough, as I go all the way to 70+mph in 3rd gear if I'm looking for fast entry speed anyway, and it's boogieing as you know even w/o shifting to 4th or 5th at those speeds. And I have become excellent at clutch less shifts between 4-5, 5-6 and do it most of the time unconsciously now because I've got it down as fast and smooth, but mainly just because it's easier and I'm lazy

    Certainly not a must have but I am considering swapping my '12 GSA for a newer Water Cooled GS and the 2 things that I really want are cruise control and SAP. My issue is that having one bike with and one without it takes me about half hour to lock into my brain which features I have or don't have. While you may be as fast as the guy with it but I assure you the guy with SAP has smoother gear changes. You barely feel it shift. Freaking amazing! But would I swap bikes just for that feature .... probably not.
    Ed Apelian
    When Life Throws You a Curve Lean into it!
    2012 R1200GSA Magma Red!
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by gsinnc View Post
    but I assure you the guy with SAP has smoother gear changes. You barely feel it shift. Freaking amazing!
    Yes, I understand that and it sounds amazing. As I say if I'm in a hurry on a short onramp I can get up to warp speed without shifting after the shift to 3rd, and chances are by the time I commit to the onramp I'm already in 2nd, so we're only talking about one shift to get to 3rd gear and 70+mph. SAP will hardly affect this it seems to me--but I can't really test it myself. I forget but I think I might be around 5800K RPM at 75mph in 3rd gear. Also, as you rev up you're moving towards the power band so this must help offset being at the end of the gear's speed range. Anyway, this hardly ever happens to me, the need to jump on it that much. That is just one way to use SAP I know from reading testimony. Great for riding thru the twisties I am told for both up and downshifting.

    As I say I would have added it had I known, and I would have installed a bloomin' headlamp protector, but I didn't know enough on either of them. SAP sounded 'gimmicky' for lack of a better word. It seems it is that in some sense but an amazingly well done gimmick as it were with some practical value besides fun. That is my only regret on my custom order, which i could remedy now but $700 is more than I want to invest for the feature. The bike is so easy to shift anyway, and as I say I have mastered clutch-less shifts between 4-5, and 5-6. 3-4 is harder to get perfectly smooth.

  12. #12
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncpbmw1953 View Post
    Yes, I understand that and it sounds amazing. As I say if I'm in a hurry on a short onramp I can get up to warp speed without shifting after the shift to 3rd, and chances are by the time I commit to the onramp I'm already in 2nd, so we're only talking about one shift to get to 3rd gear and 70+mph. SAP will hardly affect this it seems to me--but I can't really test it myself. I forget but I think I might be around 5800K RPM at 75mph in 3rd gear. Also, as you rev up you're moving towards the power band so this must help offset being at the end of the gear's speed range. Anyway, this hardly ever happens to me, the need to jump on it that much. That is just one way to use SAP I know from reading testimony. Great for riding thru the twisties I am told for both up and downshifting.

    As I say I would have added it had I known, and I would have installed a bloomin' headlamp protector, but I didn't know enough on either of them. SAP sounded 'gimmicky' for lack of a better word. It seems it is that in some sense but an amazingly well done gimmick as it were with some practical value besides fun. That is my only regret on my custom order, which i could remedy now but $700 is more than I want to invest for the feature. The bike is so easy to shift anyway, and as I say I have mastered clutch-less shifts between 4-5, and 5-6. 3-4 is harder to get perfectly smooth.
    But understand I as noted it is not only about getting up to speed although the SAP does help there A LOT but it is really about smooth seamless shifting. Would I sell a bike to buy one only for SAP probably not. But it is one feature that truly shocked me once I began using it. Unlike the Hill Start feature which my bike has. That is fine and nice to have but I can truly live without it! Not so the SAP. You really need to take a nice long demo ride with the SAP and see the beauty of it. Oh and every bike I have owned since my first R1100RT has had a headlight protector. To me it is cheap insurance and keeps your headlight lens from getting sandblasted. But hey life is a learning experience every day! Enjoy the RTW!
    Ed Apelian
    When Life Throws You a Curve Lean into it!
    2012 R1200GSA Magma Red!
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  13. #13
    Registered User LFarling's Avatar
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    SAP sucks on too many bikes to count.

    The GS I follow is atrocious. He actually wore a hole in his boot trying to use it!

    Others it works fine.

    The 17 is supposed to be like butter. However they put new transmission shaft in it, new bearings, anti shudder and redesigned the sifter forks. I think that would make a huge design change and a reason to have a 17.

    If you are not aware you can have the transmission reset. Then you need to run it in each gear for like 10 seconds. Only way to complete that task is on the center stand.

    I have done my 15 twice after the dealer reset it and told me to drive it for 10 seconds in each gear and sent me on my way. Well how are you going to do that in traffic? Hell you drive to the end of the lot you have to stop downshift, and then start again maybe get to second stop for the light or stop sign and then down to first again. Just no practical way to relearn it unless it is on the center stand and you hold the gears that way.

    I reset the GS and we ran it that way and still not really good but got a little better. I can say I just did his shifter lube and the clips had a slight roundness to them from him trying to use SAP. You could plainly see the indent of the ball they attach to on the strait part of the clips that go through the shift linkage cups.

    Now my 15 RT has gotten better but I basically use it on the highway or mid corner when I do not want to move my hands on the bars. 3-6 and 6-3 are ok but nothing lower has worked well for me.

    SAP would never make me leave my 15. However if I did not have a bike I would buy the 17 for those improvements alone.

    Since I do own a fine bike now I am waiting on the 19 or 20. It should be a 1250 by then. Have a TFT screen. And Variable Valve Timing(VVT). That with the transmission changes from 17 and my 15 will go away pretty quickly.

    Until then I am gonna have to keep grinning with my 15 until my face hurts.
    2015 R 1200 RT LC
    San Marino Blue
    Dark Side 205/50/ZR17

  14. #14
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
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    I rarely use my SAP and would have gladly saved the $500 if that was an option for my purchase. I also feel that there is a lot more pressure on the gear shift selector when using SAP.

    As said, the bike shifts very smoothly and at my age, I have muscle memory programmed to use the clutch lever!
    MOA #107139
    RA #28511

  15. #15
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    I can only speak from my own personal experience. On a 21 day 5300 mile trip the SAP was exceptional and never once worked less than perfectly! I am sure others have negative experiences but for me it ROCKS! That being said I don't use it 1st to 2nd but from 3rd gear one it works seamlessly! I too had to retrain myself after 25+ years of using the clutch. But once I got my brain retrained I loved it. Now the engagement point of the RTW clutch is a whole other story. I hate the engagement point. But have learned to just live with it. Oh ... and if ordering a new bike you can pretty much get exactly the options you prefer. Of course you may pay a premium since it would be a special order but you can truly get a bike built to your personal specification.
    Ed Apelian
    When Life Throws You a Curve Lean into it!
    2012 R1200GSA Magma Red!
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

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