Among the Airhead wizards and sages, the conventional wisdom is that the 800cc version of the Airhead RT is better than the 1000cc version. What’s that you say, there is no replacement for displacement? Well, just like today, when adventure bikes and monster tourers are giving way to small and mid-sized alternatives, so it was for the initial RT. Arguably. The main argument is around the engine, which is a bit smoother, and perhaps around the gearbox which is better suited to the intended mode of travel. This argument is often passed off as the envious utterings of those not able to step up to the top of the line R100RT. Sour grapes, as it were. And perhaps for some that is true.

However, having now owned both, there is merit to the claims of the baby brother. I would argue that it is indeed smoother, and the gearbox shifts better. I would also argue that the 750-800cc engine is a BMW sweet spot, that has been true since the R75/5. This R80RT has about 50,000 miles on it, and a commensurate number of rough edges and the paint has a number of chips and flaws. Patina. Just the way I prefer it.

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