BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy 1200 SE in comparison


BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy 1200 SE in comparison

Comparative test: top tourers from BMW and Triumph

BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy 1200 SE in comparison

The plan to combine mountains, sea and one of Europe’s top metropolises in three days leads from the eastern Pyrenees to Barcelona. The desire to experience all of this in a particularly comfortable way on two wheels drives the saddles of the BMW R 1200 RT and its new challenger, the Triumph Trophy SE.

Huge windshields, optional heated grips and seat heating: a little exhausted, but happy, Georg and I stand with the two extremely inviting top tourers BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy SE in the French town of Prades at the foot of the Pyrenees. Enjoy a stylish ambience and a well-deserved after-work beer in the Villa du Parc. The morning after, the snow-white crowned, 2785 meter high Pic du Canigou winks at us. Let’s go with the two travel giants, up on the passes to the other, the Spanish side.

D.he Bavarian boxer is right there when the button is pressed, wakes up with a bark. Yes, the dohc engine has sounded really robust with its exhaust flap since 2010, no longer like a dishwasher. Well, nice, hissing-hoarse sound (plus balanced performance characteristics) has always been the strength of the English triples. The youngest is no exception. He starts work with a subtle grumbling, with a slightly increased idle speed of 2000 tours. But only if you firmly press the starter a touch longer.

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BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy 1200 SE in comparison

Comparative test: top tourers from BMW and Triumph
BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy 1200 SE in comparison

Dealing with the crowd


The Pyrenees is a dream – the comparison test with the BMW R 1200 RT and the Triumph Trophy 1200 SE is twice as fun.

Unfortunately also with the weight. The Trophy SE weighs in at an impressive 317 kilograms. And that doesn’t include the optional topcase. Thus, the Triumph weighs a full 70 pounds more than the BMW, which, at 282 kilograms (in almost complete equipment), is a lightweight. The difference is clearly noticeable: The RT is much easier to move when stationary. When lifting into the vertical, the kilos are suddenly collected. Especially since the focus of the Trophy is quite high. At first it is difficult to straighten, then suddenly threatens to tip over in the opposite direction – to the right. Maneuvering requires the whole man. With strength and concentration. Done, boarded the railing.

Georg has it easier on RT. Low center of gravity, less pounds, almost a normal motorcycle. But the BMW transmission is clumsier. It takes a stronger kick, and engaging first gear answers with a stronger, louder shift. The gears in the Triumph gearbox slide smoothly. The next surprise follows immediately: How well the Triumph colossus is balanced. You can tell when you start driving. The fat Brummer sets off in a straight line, without compensating swings to the left or right. The balance is right.



Simply picturesque: the citadel, the city walls and the winding streets of Mont-Louis in France are world heritage sites.

The trophy rolls through the curves incredibly nimble. How easy it is to fold it down in an inclined position despite its many pounds. Sensationally light-footed! And how steadfastly and precisely it stays on course. With its extremely precise steering, it cannot be disturbed, but nevertheless gratefully accepts course corrections. Because it implements what you want one-to-one, does not defend itself against an incline, but also never works out more than planned. In addition, the Triumph series Pirelli Angel ST tires have good adhesion. All of this conveys an extremely high level of confidence when driving. A good feeling, a good-natured giant!

Fine, well-developed roads lead further to the southwest. They always offer wonderful views of green valleys and rust-red rocks. It’s Indian Summer in the mountains. In the valleys the foliage of the plane trees turns yellow and orange, on the slopes the needles of the larches. White shell limestone contrasts with a bright blue sky. We soar up into the fortress town of Mont-Louis, at least 1,574 meters above the nearby Mediterranean Sea. The citadel with the closed city wall is a World Heritage Site. Here Jean-Michel storms towards us, a gray mottled southern Frenchman. He recognizes the new Triumph tourer and is looking for a replacement for his Yamaha FJR 1300.

We try to explain how sociable the fat guy behaves once he’s on the move. The pure pleasure is the curve swing in the extra soft Triumph saddle behind the 76 centimeter wide handlebars. You only have to plow a little on the Brit bike in fast changing bends. The downside of the high center of gravity, which makes it easier to turn in, but makes turning in alternating curves more difficult.

And the BMW? So far, it has set standards in the handling of the large tourers. With great handling and top travel expertise. Representative and yet so easy to master. It is not without reason that the RT is a very popular police motorcycle. French flics drive them, and Spanish commanders use them to send officials into the crowd. But this time, against the new Triumph, it will be tight, very tight. This is evident in every roundabout, in every curve. On the Bridgestone BT 021, the BMW constantly requires minor steering corrections, especially in slow corners. In the case of a high incline, the RT with tires in this way irritates with the tendency to fold further on its own.


Between sky and sea – this is what a motorcycle paradise looks like.

Despite the handling-enhancing longitudinal crankshaft, the RT does not fold down as easily as it should; it is only easier to throw back and forth in fast, fluid curve combinations with its noticeably lower center of gravity. But the machine from Berlin never achieved the arrow-like accuracy of the Triumph. We had already helped the steering precision with increased air pressure: With 2.5 bar at the front and 2.9 bar at the rear instead of 2.3 and 2.6 bar as at the beginning of the test, the driving characteristics improved noticeably. A tire pressure sensor costs 207 euros extra at BMW.

The passes lead over the Pyrenees ridge up to over 1,888 meters. A world in white is waiting for us. And a “salted” driving experience in ice deserts. Spaniards play in the snow, we screw our way towards the sky. The motorcycle heaven. Because a few kilometers further south of the 1920 meter high Coll de la Creueta, the Iberian sun shows once again what it’s capable of at the beginning of November. It bathes the wild, rugged mountain world in a magical light. We catch our breath. This is how you imagine the Andes. Small defiant villages stick to the rocks like swallow nests. Common ravens circling overhead, croaking.

Four degrees Celsius. The Triumph cockpit reports an ice warning. Here and there, two-stage heated grips with high heat radiation that quickly reach the roast level when switched on are very welcome. But actually it would need a “lever warmer”, because after all, the fingers freeze most of the time when putting them on the clutch and brake, which is necessary to be on the safe side. No matter. Because the two tourers drive almost telepathically. The Triumph in particular has an almost therapeutic effect. This travel duo clears your mind! Could also be due to the fine engines. The RT pushes mightily out of the corners. Sensitive drivers notice the wave-like torque curve, especially the significant increase in power at 4500 tours. Almost sensual, as the boxer sounds and turns up. Then, however, the level of vibration also becomes more pronounced. In general, the two-cylinder always runs a little rougher mechanically. It vibrates more strongly, pulsates more noticeably in the handlebar grips. Despite the balancer shaft, which is also carried by the Triumph. In addition, the boxer looks much more strained and constricted when turning (which you never have to do in the labyrinth of curves in this mountain landscape!).

The motors


Welcome to the sea of ​​houses. Barcelona is one of Europe’s top metropolises.

And with frequent turning maneuvers in a confined space, after all, you have to drive through the picture book scenery more often to take a photo, the single-disc dry clutch quickly begins to stink. In addition, it is not quite as easy to dose as the Triumph’s hydraulically operated clutch, which bathes its discs in oil. Both balancing hums rely on single-sided swinging with torque support. But cardan reactions and load changes at the apex of the bend are much stronger with the BMW. It has more play in the drive train.

At any speed, the triple outperforms the boxer in terms of torque and power. The Trophy does not convert its extra power into better driving performance, a tribute to the additional weight and greater air resistance of its even larger fairing. But in a relaxed pace. ¬Bends that you lap around in second gear on the BMW, the Triumph easily takes in third. It is stronger and more elastic. Save speed, fuel and nerves! Both engines are content with five liters per 100 kilometers on the country road. The same applies to a constant 130 on French motorways. With 25 liters of tank capacity for the RT and 26 for the Triumph, this results in fantastic ranges of around 500 kilometers!

The only difference is that the significantly more long-stroke trident is simply better tuned, finer and more directly attached to the gas. And would offer much more speed reserves. Quite supple, really velvety, the engine management follows every slight twitch of the electric throttle, where BMW still relies on conventional cables. This silky motor works masterfully with little load change. How great the triple turned out. It’s addicting! The audible rattling timing chain and the clattering of the clutch do not change anything that disappears when you reach for the smooth clutch lever. No, the powerful triple operates simply more relaxed and much more confidently. Its triangular muffler is lean-friendly and emphasizes the three-cylinder theme optically.

Only when switching directly does one of the “only” 73 centimeters wide RT handlebars appear narrow in terms of bicycles. Behind the wider handlebars of the Triumph, it is simply more casual and confident. This also applies to seating comfort. The English seats are larger and more luxuriously upholstered, both in the front and in the back. As comfortable as a Pullman armchair from the Victorian era, as relaxing as a back massage. The seat height of the Triumph is actually smaller than that of the BMW: 82 or 83.5 centimeters to 83 or 85 centimeters. Not the world.


BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy SE.

But the clever cut of the Triumph side cover actually allows shorter legs than with the RT, in order to be able to safely reach the ground. Two-stage heated seats, each separately for the driver and front passenger, cost a surcharge here as there. Both manufacturers also offer low comfort seats. In complete touring regalia, the Trophy SE climbs over the 20,000 euro mark. The RT stays just below it. Their base price is much lower, 16 550 to 18 670 euros, but BMW can also pay a lot more for that. Extras for 3000 euros are on board here!

Safety on slippery passages gives both drives the traction controls that, logically, cost extra at BMW. And “slipperiness” can be expected here in the Spanish Pyrenees at any time. Stones or goat dung on the almost deserted streets, for example. So little traffic, so much peace and quiet. No stress, no rush. Mile-long sections on which you can hardly get beyond third gear. Sometimes the peaks are rugged and jagged, then again round and covered with green fur from trees. In the afternoon, the low sun turns the range of hills into a paper cut. We roll downhill on fairly furrowed asphalt.

The Triumph chassis simply fishes out more on streets with patchwork asphalt. Their spring elements respond more finely and offer even better suspension comfort. The Trophy irons the tar with a fantastic smooth finish. One is stirred, not shaken. RT also pulls out of the affair well. But their wheel suspensions with a central spring strut at the front and rear seem more trampling. Your electronically adjustable ESA chassis (of course subject to a surcharge) may have been the inspiration for the standard TES suspension elements of Trophy SE. The spring base can also be adapted to the payload and the rebound damping to the road (road) conditions. And in the same stages as with BMW: Normal, Comfort and Sport.

The “Sport” setting is particularly recommended for the Triumph for smooth gourmet asphalt. “Comfort” really drives even more smoothly, more comfortably than the “Normal” setting. This in turn offers more feedback on what is happening between the road and the vehicle. We have now reached Barcelona, ​​are experiencing a culture shock in the house more. Pardon: sea of ​​houses. Street canyons, scooter squads and traffic lights every 50 meters require full concentration. Just don’t mess with the sweeping, over 90 centimeter wide full cladding. Everything is so much more expensive in Barcelona than in the mountains, except for fuel, which is a moderate 1.41 euros per liter compared to Germany.



Your hat will fly away. The Sagra da Família basilica by the creative architect Antoni Gaudí is considered a symbol of Barcelona.

Once you’ve got used to the cheeky scooter riders, sightseeing on two wheels is really fun. Thanks to the upright sitting position, you can see everything from a panoramic perspective. Just much more flexible than the tourists in their convertible buses. And with 213 kilograms of payload for the RT or a lush 237 for the Trophy, you can take more with you than with any low-cost airline. When it comes to brakes, both manufacturers rely on the principle of solidarity, just controlled differently. The RT couples all three brakes together when the hand lever is reached – maximum braking power guaranteed. Even easier to dose. The pedal alone brakes behind. Finally a discipline where the RT is still ahead.

On the Triumph, the foot activates two of the four brake pistons at the front right – a complex process controlled by a proportional valve. So that with small adaptive braking, too much is not braked at the front. Only when you fully step on the pedal does it get down to business. Tomorrow, on the winding coastal road from Spain to France, it will be shown once again that you can brake far into corners with the Trophy front brake alone without the truck standing up. It only does that when you brake at the rear. When reaching for the lever, the RT wants to be more vertical.

On the way back we will activate the cruise control again and just let the balanced music steamers run. The standard audio system of the Triumph sounds better. Like that of the RT, it has an automatic adjustment of the volume to the speed plus a USB port in the cladding storage compartment. And is even compatible with Bluetooth, for intercoms or cell phones. But we don’t want to be reachable at all. But switch off. It just shows time and again that the Triumph is simply more modern. Your on-board computer has more functions and can be switched through the menu in both directions, the BMW only in one direction.

In order to always find the right switch or transmitter, the right suspension setting or whatever, even at night, one would like to see illuminated switches on the handlebars here and there – a 125cc KTM can do that today. The wind protection of the optional touring windshield of the Triumph sets standards: more is not possible. Superscript, you have to see through completely. But even in the subscript, the shielding is better than that of the BMW serial plate. Her shoulders, neck, neck and helmet are in the airstream in the low position.

With the luggage system, the RT is hard to beat. Your suitcases are more usable because they are less rugged. Those of the Trophy are connected to each other and swing a little while driving to minimize influences on the chassis. All four cases each hold a full-face helmet, but not even two fit into the huge Triumph topcase. Interesting for frequent drivers: the Triumph’s 16000 maintenance intervals. They make the BMW 10,000 series look almost old. The final icing on the cake with which Trophy SE can pin the first trophy for a test victory.

The Triumph is the better motorcycle that is also more fun to ride. The better is the enemy of the good. The three-cylinder never leaves the slightest doubt about that. But it’s just great to be out and about with both top tourers. We were damn close to motorcycle heaven with them.


The BMW R 1200 RT.

Here and there: classic round clocks with a large information display in between. This is greater with the Triumph and has even more to report than that of the BMW. The Trophy packs its indicator lights in the analog instruments, the RT keeps them separate.

Solidarity principle, interpreted in different ways: on the BMW (above) the hand lever accesses all three brakes, the foot pedal only towards the rear. The Trophy goes from back to front: Two of the four brake pistons in the right saddle activate the pedal.

Mirror image: Cardan arm swing arms with torque support are a great standard, relocated to the right in the RT (above), on the left in the Trophy. The Triumph shines with sensationally low cardan reactions. The BMW changes the load more.

Turn or press: With the RT, the rotary knob on the handle is used to adjust the transmitter and volume. In the Trophy, the left handlebar fitting seems overloaded. With so many switches, your thumb doesn’t quite know what to press.

So and so. Both offer easy-to-use three-point attachments for the cases. A completely painted rear fairing, however, only the BMW (above). The Triumph cases are coupled together. They swing out while driving.

Pillion passenger
Both top tourers are predestined for traveling as a couple. Both Eurocrats offer large, easy-to-grasp handles. The Trophy offers a little more space, a more comfortable, larger seat and more relaxed knee angles for the pillion passenger.


The Triumph Trophy SE.

Good and better: the RT windshield, which can be raised by 14 centimeters, provides great protection. The much larger, optional touring disc of the Trophy tops that. It goes up 16.4 centimeters. You have to look through it when put up

MOTORCYCLE test results
1. A new star has risen in the touring sky with the Triumph Trophy SE. The eagerly awaited three-cylinder super tourer with cardan shaft and fine engine drives light-footed and super-comfortable. Well done, triumph! If only it wasn’t so heavy …

2. The touring tourer from BMW has found its master. But for a seven year old motorcycle, the RT still drives really well. In terms of brakes, workmanship and price, it still leads. And in terms of performance, the lighter boxer has the edge.



The Triumph Trophy SE emerged as the narrow winner in our group test.


maximum number of points BWM R 1200 RT Triumph Trophy SE
Draft 40 23 20th
acceleration    40 24 22nd
Top speed 30th 17th 17th
Engine characteristics 30th 21st 24
Responsiveness 20th 12th 15th
Load change 20th 11 16
Smoothness 20th 12th 14th
coupling 10 7th 8th
circuit 20th 13 14th
Gear ratio 10 9 7th
Start 10 9 7th
total 250 158 164

Three- or four-cylinder? The triple is much stronger, runs more cultivated, its transmission can be shifted more smoothly and it depends more directly on the gas. Above all, the English drive shines with phenomenally low load change reactions. The BMW boxer is rough. After all, it starts more spontaneously and accelerates the easier RT faster.
Winner engine: triumph.

landing gear

maximum number of points BWM R 1200 RT Triumph Trophy SE
Handiness 40 23 21st
Stability in turns 40 29 30th
steering behavior 40 26th 28
feedback 10 5 7th
Inclined position 20th 16 16
Straight-line stability 20th 15th 14th
Suspension setup in front 20th 15th 17th
Chassis set-up at the rear 20th 15th 17th
Adjustment options undercarriage 10 8th 8th
Suspension comfort 10 7th 8th
Driving behavior with Sizius 20th 18th 19th
total 250 177 185

Both drive phenomenally well. But the Triumph drives better. She is more stable in corners, more precise and blessed with more feedback. Their suspension comfort and the perfect coordination of their suspension elements set standards. In addition, the Trophy takes a passenger even more calmly. On top of that, there’s great freedom from leaning, just like with the RT.
Chassis winner: triumph.

everyday life

maximum number of points BWM R 1200 RT Triumph Trophy SE
Ergonomics driver 40 34 35
Ergonomics pillion 20th 17th 18th
Windbreak 20th 18th 19th
view 20th 11 10
light 20th 18th 18th
Furnishing 30th 27 30th
Handling / maintenance 30th 20th 18th
Luggage storage 10 10 10
Payload 10 9 10
Range 30th 30th 30th
processing 20th 16 15th
total 250 210 213

Advantage Trophy SE. It embeds the driver and front passenger more comfortably, offers outstanding wind protection with the touring windshield and even more opulent equipment such as payload: 237 kilograms without top case. However, a dead weight of 317 kilograms makes handling difficult. The RT shines with better workmanship and like the Triumph with top range plus great luggage storage.
Winner everyday: triumph.


maximum number of points BWM R 1200 RT Triumph Trophy SE
Braking effect 40 30th 28
Brake metering 30th 20th 19th
Braking with a passenger / fading 20th 17th 16
Righting moment when braking 10 7th 8th
ABS function 20th 15th 13
Handlebar slapping 20th 18th 18th
Ground clearance 10 8th 8th
total 150 115 110

The hour of RT. Your brakes bite much more powerfully, can be dosed better and offer more reserves. Your ABS also regulates more finely. Great for both: ground clearance and absolutely no banging of the handlebars.
Safety winner: BMW.

maximum number of points BWM R 1200 RT Triumph Trophy SE
guarantee 30th 17th 15th
Consumption (country road) 30th 17th 19th
Inspection costs 20th 16 20th
Maintenance costs 20th 9 7th
Buzzer 100 59 61

The Triumph’s 16,000 service intervals are impressive. For this, RT offers a mobility guarantee.

maximum number of points BWM R 1200 RT Triumph Trophy SE
Overall rating 1000 719 733
placement 2. 1.
Price-performance note 1.0 2.7 2.8

It pays off that the almost fully equipped BMW is almost 1000 euros cheaper than the Triumph Trophy SE.

Technical specifications

BMW R 1200 RT and Triumph Trophy SE.

BMW R 1200 RT Triumoh Trophy SE engine 
design type Two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine Three-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine
injection Ø 47 mm Ø 46 mm
coupling Single-disc dry clutch  Multi-disc oil bath clutch 
Bore x stroke 101.0 x 73.0 mm 85.0 x 71.4 mm
Displacement 1170 cm3 1215 cm3
compression 12.0: 1 11.0: 1
power 81.0 kW (110 hp) at 7750 rpm 99.0 kW (135 PS) at 8900 rpm
Torque 120 Nm at 6000 rpm 120 Nm at 6450 rpm
landing gear
frame load-bearing motor-gear unit  Bridge frame made of aluminum, supporting the engine 
fork telescopic fork, Ø 35 mm Upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm
Brakes front / rear Ø 320/265 mm Ø 320/282 mm
Assistance systems Partly integral braking system with ABS Partly integral braking system with ABS
bikes 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17 120/70 R 17; 190/55 R 17
Tires Bridgestone BT 021 Pirelli Angel ST, front “A” 
Dimensions + weights
wheelbase 1485 mm  1542 mm 
Steering head angle 63.4 degrees 63.0 degrees
trailing 110 mm 119 mm
Front / rear suspension travel 120/135 mm 127/120 mm
Seat height ** 830-850 mm 820-835 mm
Weight with full tank ** 282 kg 317 kg
Payload ** 213 kg 237 kg
Tank capacity / reserve 25.0 liters 26.0 liters
Service intervals 10000 km 16000 km
price 16550 euros 18670 euros
Price test motorcycle 19485 euros *** 20260 euros ****
Additional costs 390 euros 370 euros
Top speed * 223 km / h 214 (2231) km / h
0-100 km / h 3.9 sec 4.0 sec
0-140 km / h 6.1 sec 6.6 sec
0-200 km / h 15.3 sec 14.7 sec
60-100 km / h 4.8 sec 5.2 sec
100-140 km / h 4.9 sec 5.5 sec
140-180 km / h 6.8 sec 7.7 sec
Consumption highway 5.0 liters / Super Plus 5.0 liters / super
Reach country road 500 km 520 km

* Manufacturer information; 1MOTOR WHEEL measurements; ***Incl. Safety package (430 euros) consisting of ASC and RDC, touring package (1505) consisting of ESA, chrome-plated exhaust system, heated grips, heated seats, cruise control, on-board computer and second socket. Audio system (1000 euros); ****Incl. Touring screen (215 euros), heated grips (185 euros), heated driver’s seat (298 euros), heated passenger seat (279 euros), luggage rack (145 euros), top case (468 euros)

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