BMW R 1250 RT


After six months of getting to know each other, would Alun Davies buy the BMW RT?

As the years have flown by, I’ve picked up on a few quirky things about my character. Some I was born with and are the curse (or blessing) of genetics. Others have their roots in my childhood experience and have formed a part of my adult personality.

For example, I feel edgy and uncomfortable when a young family member asks if they can have a second can of pop in a single day. I get this urge to say something in a slightly bitter and condescending tone along the lines of: “You’ve already had one, stop being greedy, let me tell you when I was your age…”

I know exactly where this urge comes from. It all stems from between 1967 and 1970 when Wilf, a travelling fruit and veg salesman, would park his old Commer van outside the house on a Friday evening. Every week I’d follow my mother up the steps into that van where she would buy groceries for the week and a single bottle of Corona Dandelion and Burdock pop. I gripped and carried that bottle as if life depended on it.

If you grew up on a working-class council estate in the ‘70s, then you know what comes next. If I drank just shy of a third of a glass a day, that single bottle of pop would last until the following Thursday when my dad would get his next pay packet.


Price: £15,820 (base model) £23,110 (with all optional extras)
Engine: 1,254cc, two-cylinder, air and liquid cooled, four stroke boxer engine
Power: 136hp at 7,750rpm
Torque: 143Nm at 6,250rpm
Suspension: Front: BMW telelever, central spring strut, 37mm diameter, 120mm travel. Rear: Single-sided swing arm, 136mm travel
Brakes: Two 320mm discs, 4 piston floating calliper with ABR pro. Rear Brake: Single 276mm double-piston floating calliper with ABS pro
Weight: 279kg (wet)
Tank capacity: 25l
Seat height: 760mm – 850mm
Storage capacity: 70 litres

I was drawn back to those values forged in the Rhondda Valley during the 60s and 70s when I found myself stood in a layby at the side of the scenic A44 in the Cotswolds. I was busy scribbling down some thoughts about the RT, and digging deep to search for something I did not like about the bike.

But here’s the thing, I could not think of anything I disliked about the RT. BMW has crafted a superb touring machine that absolutely dovetails with my present situation and needs.

Serious leg injuries dictate that off-road ability, or motorcycles that are tall or top-heavy, are no longer on my shortlist. I desire a motorcycle with a lower seat height, all-day comfort, that are effortless to ride over long distances, pillion friendly, and has a level of handling and performance to cope with those moments when I feel 20 years younger. Throw in the bonus of a no-maintenance shaft drive and a pedigree that oozes reliability, and the RT is the one.

I have the money to buy a new RT but as I stood there knowing it was the right bike for me, the Rhondda part of my brain started to take me down the well-worn path of ‘go for something less expensive or second hand, you don’t really need it, save your money for a rainy day, take time to think about it’ etc, etc, etc, bloody etc.

I carefully threw a leg over the RT, fired up the boxer twin, gripped the bars like a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock and thought ‘I’m 62, just what the hell am I waiting for’.