BMW rolls out new R1200RT for open-road warriors, 160 hp S1000R for well-heeled hooligans

Winter is virtually here and, while many riders are dialing back road time or putting their steeds into hibernation as the snow begins to fall, BMW has announced two new bikes to dream about on those cold, dark nights.

2014 R 1200 RT

BMW-R1200RT-cornerfront

The first is the “all new” version of the boxer sport-tourer icon, the R 1200 RT, which includes the most recent upgrade of the venerable flat-twin engine. The big RT has been in BMW’s lineup for decades but 2014 marks the first year the new targeted-liquid cooled engine (BMW calls it “air/liquid cooled”) propels the RT.

The RT’s new plant retains its air-cooled appearance but a radiator lurks under the generous fairing, shedding heat wicked away by coolant swirling around the bike’s cylinder heads and exhaust valves. Air whipping by the exposed jugs does the rest, perhaps with a small assist from some internal oil spray to keep the 125 horsepower and 92-pound feet of torque flowing on those two-up runs down the Autobahn or while pushing it a few ticks over the limit on the Pickle Parkway in Texas. “I swear we were only doing 85, officer.”

Wherever its exceeding the posted limit, rider and passenger on the big RT will do so in comfort, thanks to its generous seating, spacious panniers and a big, wind-tunnel sculpted fairing. The re-skinned RT is stuffed with tech, including electronic suspension adjustment, Rain and Road power modes, adjustable traction control, ABS, an option for clutch-less shifting, a tiltable color 5.7-inch TFT LCD multi-display, powered windscreen adjustment, cruise control and much more. There’s even a new hill-start assist system for those with a nervous clutch hand. Nearly all the tech options can be executed using an innovative left-grip controller that keeps the rider’s eyes on the road.

BMW recognizes that today’s riders are tech-savvy, so the onboard computer can sync up with Bluetooth-enabled helmets and the grip controller can dial up a phone call or Ride of the Valkyries on your smartphone. Feel free to debate the safety of these features in the comments. Of course, BMW’s capable (and $900) Navigator V GPS unit plugs right into the RT and is controllable from the left grip. Oh, and the speakers in the fairing now have better bass response as well, so you can rock out while racking up the miles.

2014 S 1000 R

BMW-S1000R-actionwheelie

The RT may represent an offering for BMW’s traditionally “mature” market (aka: older riders), but the new S1000R naked bike is solidly pointed at riders who aren’t yet listening to ED ads. Built around a re-tuned powerplant from the hyperspeed S 1000 RR sportbike, the S 1000 R doesn’t appear to have lost much besides an R and some plastic in the transition to hooligan hooner.

While the all-conquering RR packs nearly 200 hp and is a torture rack on long rides, the S1000R dials the juice back to “only” 160 ponies but stirs in more torque (83 ft-lb), a tubular handlebar and more comfort for more real-world rideability (and wheelies!). Remember, a Miata makes 167 hp, weighs about 2,000 pounds more and people race the heck out of them.

While the S 1000 R may look stripped down (and that’s the general idea), it’s still packing a tech punch with Automatic Stability Control, ABS (including a Race mode) and Traction Control, all of which are rider-adjustable through the LCD display and bar buttons. Electronic suspension control upgrades are available as an option as are myriad other add-ons from a bigger fly screen, that $900 GPS unit, cruise control, soft luggage and more. Yes, you can tour on a S1000R. Quickly. There’s also an optional track-only (wink wink, nudge nudge) exhaust system – thank goodness – since the EPA-mandated plumbing is plain fugly.

As always, BMW’s styling choice for the S1000R may put off fans of symmetry, with its continued obsession with odd headlight pairings. As on the RR, the R features a pirate’s face of a cat-eye low beam and a high-beam orb stolen off a slide projector. I’m sure there are very good technical reasons for the ugliness of it.

No pricing was announced but as you can imagine, “it was a bargain” won’t likely be a phrase new owners use when meeting up with their riding buddies. Also, BMW is celebrating 90 years of motorbike innovation this year; please pay no attention to the war years behind that curtain.

(All photos courtesy of BMW Motorrad)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.