BMWSportTouring

Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider

Posted By: Robus

Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/03/10 03:25 AM

Hi from the Chicago suburbs. I just registered on the forum. I'm a long-time Harley rider who is about to purchase a BMW in the near future. My current ride is a late-model 1200R Sportster. I love it and it suits me perfectly for 1-up riding around town. I'll be keeping it regardless.

The problem is that is just isn't ideal for riding 2-up or longer distances. Anything over 30 minutes and my wife rebels. Anything over 3 hours and my backside rebels.

I'm looking for a bike that will be comfortable enough to ride 2-up for longer distances, but that isn't so big that it becomes a monster to maneuver in traffic or parking lots, and that I could pick up easily if I dropped it. That rules out the bigger Harleys and single-purpose touring bikes like the GW. I am 5'10.

I've been looking at the 2010 K1300GT and R1200RT. I visited a BMW dealer this afternoon, sat on both bikes, and test rode the 1200RT. I'll ride the 1300GT soon.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Here are a few specific questions:

1. Rider, passenger comfort. How do these two bikes compare on longer rides?

2. Stock seats. Are they any good? Will I likely want to upgrade?

3. Passenger backrest. Is the optional luggage trunk/passenger backrest worth considering? Are there aftermarket backrests that do as well or better?

4. Reliability. Is the quality of these late-model bikes up to the traditional BMW standard? I understand that there have been some recalls with the 1300GT. Have those issues been sorted out?

5. Are there other BMW models that I should consider?

Thanks, Robus
Posted By: boatzo

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/03/10 12:26 PM

Hi Robus and welcome to the group. I will try to answer some of your questions that I have experience with. I do not ride 2 up so I cannot really address that. My wife tried the pillion and said "FORGETABOUTIT". We sat on Goldwings and she thought she might ride on one of those, but I can't afford one at this point.

I have had my RT for 5 years and have ridden 30k miles. I love the bike but it has never really been comfortable for me. Now keep in mind that I said "ME". There are lots of folks on this forum that have ridden all over the place and find the RT very comfortable. My problem is I am 5'8" and weigh 250 lbs. I find the bike top heavy and cannot flat foot at a stop. I have tried a lot of different seats, air hawk, bead rider and now have a custom Rick Mayer saddle that is better but not really there.

The reliability on my 99 is fantastic, I cannot speak to the newer RTs and GTs.

I am currently going to K1200LT in hopes that the wife will ride with me and that I will be more comfortable on the long haul.

Hope this helps some with your decision. thumbsup

PS I forgot to mention, there is a technique for lifting a downed bike. I think it has been posted on the forum somewhere but I am not good at the search function. In essence, you back into the side of the bike and raise it. See if you can find it, or some other members maybe can post it. It is presented by a light weight girl and it does work, I have used it several times.

Also, one big + for me on a Beemer is that there is almost NO chrome to clean and polish. laugh
Posted By: hopz

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/03/10 01:08 PM

Welcome on board. You have found the best place for all things BMW

Passenger comfort... MY '05 RT is the most comfortable bike she has ridden on including the 20 years of H-D (with the last 4 bikes being Touring models). Before we had the RT we had a K1300RS- predecessor to the current GT bikes (but pretty far back in the evolution) she didn't like it all that much mostly because I could not keep my hand off the throttle.

Stock Seats... seats are often the butt of many complaints. Many people change, but many others so not. I would not let this be a big part of the decision. ( I always changed the H-D seats...)

Passenger backrest... yes! by all means get the Top Case. It is comfortable and roomy. A must have for 2-up comfort although there are options- but you will end up with it anyway so go ahead and plan for it.

Reliability... not an issue. Some recalls yes but for relatively minor things.

If you want to remain versatile then the RT and the GT are the two most likely models for all around utility/comfort. If you are looking for a true long distance touring bike the LT should be considered but normal advice is to not let her sit on one, ever, until you have made up your mind. It ranks up there with the Gold Wing for comfort. But in the BMW world... LT stands for Light Truck. Heavy and difficult to live with for some riders (of smaller size) but wonderful on the highway.

Another thing about the GT vs RT... is rider involvement in maintenance. The RT is great for those who enjoy getting involved in self-maintenance. The GT is a 4 cylinder model with very little owner work to be done except fluid changes. So if you are the hands-on sort, you will likely enjoy the RT more.

I do.

That being said... the power and smoothness of the GT is almost overwhelming- if that is your thing you will be impressed. However the riding position is more sporty on the GT than on the RT. A lot will depend on your body shape, size, and willingness to re-learn how to sit a motorcycle. Many people moving from H-D will go through a learning phase where they will think they have made a mistake in the change-over. The difference is that on H-D one typically sits in a fashion much like sitting in an easy chair. On a BMW it is more akin to a comfy bar stool.
Posted By: Francois_Dumas

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/03/10 01:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Robus

Here are a few specific questions:

1. Rider, passenger comfort. How do these two bikes compare on longer rides?


My wifey thinks it is excellent, but she's only 5 feet tall (and am not allow to divulge her age, weight or favorite food).

I love mine (but it's an 1150 RT, not the new fangled 1200 (which I have ridden on a few occasions to, and is equally comfy)

Originally Posted By: Robus
2. Stock seats. Are they any good? Will I likely want to upgrade?


Still riding my stock seats after 6 years. Then again, the 1150 was more comfortable. And in Europe we don't start by changing all perfectly good parts right from the start *gg*

Originally Posted By: Robus
3. Passenger backrest. Is the optional luggage trunk/passenger backrest worth considering? Are there aftermarket backrests that do as well or better?


Nina would not and will not ride without the top case (with the ridiculously expensive little pad called 'backrest'.

Originally Posted By: Robus
4. Reliability. Is the quality of these late-model bikes up to the traditional BMW standard? I understand that there have been some recalls with the 1300GT. Have those issues been sorted out?


Dunno, only what I read about it. They are no Toyota's.....

Originally Posted By: Robus
5. Are there other BMW models that I should consider?


They are ALL tall, except for the Cruiser, and that would defeat the purpose ;-)

I am 6 foot something and weigh a hefty 198 pounds. I can keep the RT upright even in emergencies, but can NOT pick it up due to an increasingly bad back. Again, the 1200RT is slightly lighter than the 1150, or so I'm told.

I am not a 'racer' and therefor like the RT better than the 1300GT, but as with everything in life... YYMV.

Originally Posted By: Robus
Thanks, Robus


Francois
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/03/10 11:17 PM

Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning toward the 1200RT. I'll test ride the 1300GT on Monday and make a final decision, then buy the bike when I return from vacation in late July.
Posted By: tallman

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 01:22 AM

Ergos and pillion comfrot are greatly affected by the size of the parties involved.
Ergos between the R 1200 RT and K 1300 GT are very similar.
There are pictures of the 2 in overlay mode if you do a search here (originally posted by Tom) ( 3_Putt) I think.
My wife says real men ride GT's.
cool
Posted By: Rphoto

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 01:53 AM

Originally Posted By: hopz
Welcome on board. You have found the best place for all things BMW

Passenger comfort... MY '05 RT is the most comfortable bike she has ridden on including the 20 years of H-D (with the last 4 bikes being Touring models). Before we had the RT we had a K1300RS- predecessor to the current GT bikes (but pretty far back in the evolution) she didn't like it all that much mostly because I could not keep my hand off the throttle.

Stock Seats... seats are often the butt of many complaints. Many people change, but many others so not. I would not let this be a big part of the decision. ( I always changed the H-D seats...)

Passenger backrest... yes! by all means get the Top Case. It is comfortable and roomy. A must have for 2-up comfort although there are options- but you will end up with it anyway so go ahead and plan for it.

Reliability... not an issue. Some recalls yes but for relatively minor things.

If you want to remain versatile then the RT and the GT are the two most likely models for all around utility/comfort. If you are looking for a true long distance touring bike the LT should be considered but normal advice is to not let her sit on one, ever, until you have made up your mind. It ranks up there with the Gold Wing for comfort. But in the BMW world... LT stands for Light Truck. Heavy and difficult to live with for some riders (of smaller size) but wonderful on the highway.

Another thing about the GT vs RT... is rider involvement in maintenance. The RT is great for those who enjoy getting involved in self-maintenance. The GT is a 4 cylinder model with very little owner work to be done except fluid changes. So if you are the hands-on sort, you will likely enjoy the RT more.

I do.

That being said... the power and smoothness of the GT is almost overwhelming- if that is your thing you will be impressed. However the riding position is more sporty on the GT than on the RT. A lot will depend on your body shape, size, and willingness to re-learn how to sit a motorcycle. Many people moving from H-D will go through a learning phase where they will think they have made a mistake in the change-over. The difference is that on H-D one typically sits in a fashion much like sitting in an easy chair. On a BMW it is more akin to a comfy bar stool.


Good points. Here is some additional info based on our experience. My wife and I ride quite a bit 2 up. We started on a '99 R1100RT and it was very comfortable for us (I'm 6-1/290 and she is, well, lets just say 5-5 with weight commiserate with height.) Realy liked that bike but were concerned about the Final Drive issues and also increasing need for repairs so bought 2009 K1300GT. We wanted to get the R1200RT but it was too tight front to rear compared to the GT (and even our old RT). On paper the ergos are similar, we found the GT to be more leaned forward with tighter legroom. Suburban bar risers and peg lowers helped but still is a difference. We fooled around quite a bit with the top box/passenger backrest. We started with the big box and it was just too upright so now have the smaller one and she likes it. Many will tell you that the GT seats suck and I agree -- especially for the driver. Am playing with an Airhawk pad but might go with a Corbin/Sargeant/Russell at a future time.

I won't say much about reliability because it has all been said if you read this and the other Beemer forums. We got a bad one, but hopefully it is finally sorted out after many tears and a near-lawsuit. Quite a pain if you live far from the dealer and/or have a less than knowledgeable dealer. HD with its huge dealer network is much better in this regard (we also have a VRod).

Whichever BMW you get it will be in a whole different league regarding smoothness and engineering but will also be much more computer-driven, complex and expensive to repair than your current bike.
Posted By: FLrider

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 01:54 AM

I'll start off by saying that I really enjoy my RT as she is quick, stylish and has some great features (like the electric windshield).

Having said that and having ridden Harelys for 25 years, I would suggest that you rethink your assumptions about the new 2010 HD Touring bikes.

1) While they are heavier than an RT/GT, it is not true that they are less maneuverable in traffic or parking lots. The HD has a lower center of gravity, is (IMHO) easier to maneuver lock to lock and for passengers, there is nothing like that back seat, complete with armrests and true cushioned back pad. Additionally, you are more likely to find the stock touring seat on an HD more comfortable than the seat on an RT. If you browse these forums, you will see plenty of chatter about seat changes. Look in the classifieds. Used seats go FAST.

2) With a few pointers, I guarantee you that you can lift the Ultra just as easily as the RT. I've seen girls 5'6 and 150lbs lift Touring bikes. You just have to know how.

For me it was about torque, engineering, style duality and a desire to ride something that everybody and his brother doesn't ride. By style duality I mean that, in a matter of seconds, I can remove the top and side cases, lower the windshield and I have a totally different bike.

Happy hunting!

In the end,
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 04:14 AM

Thanks for the advice, FLrider and others. Regarding the Harleys, I guess I've just gotten to the point where I want to try something different. I can't bring myself to want a full dresser as my main ride. Another point too is the ABS, which I've heard is very good on the BMW. I had an accident in April, my first accident with injuries in 25 of riding, off and on. Without going into details, it would not have happened on an ABS-equipped bike. That has caused me to rethink what I am looking for in a motorcycle. I understand ABS comes on a few Harley models, but not the ones I would be particularly interested in owning.

In terms of convenience and service, the move to a BMW is going to be a big step backwards. My local Harley dealership is a mile down the road, and there are four or five others within about a 20 mile radius. There are only two BMW dealers in the Chicago area, one on the northside and the other in the northwest suburbs. I live in the south suburbs, at least an hour away under best traffic conditions (which you almost never find).
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 04:47 AM

Tallman, I'd love to see that overlay. I did a search but did not find it. Could you give me a hint about the keywords to use? Thanks.
Posted By: tallman

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 11:42 AM



There are more.
Look for R1200 RT or K1300 GT from 4/8/10.
Link


Posted By: Bullett

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 02:02 PM

Hi Robus, welcome to the asylum! wave
Posted By: outpost22

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 04:44 PM

Before you go "big", have you even thought about one of THESE?

Lighter, less $, but maybe not too small. I don't know your or the passengers weight? Might be worth a look before spending the extra 8 grand or so. It is also way more nimble than the RT or GT and lighter.
specs
Posted By: Dick_at_Lake_Tahoe_NV

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 05:26 PM

I am now on my 3rd RT--'97R1100RT, '02R1150RT and now '05R1200RT and that's the best one. I really like the RT model, and for the '05 (and newer) the partially linked brakes, ABS and Cruise Control. Many, many of us have changed the stock seat to either one by Rick Meyer, or Russel Day-long saddle (Russel is the most comfortable, but may be a little tall for you). RT has great range and mpg--range is easily 300miles. Consider a fairly new used RT, they are a really good value. One reason to chose the R-bike over the K-bike, is you can mount "foot-forward pegs" on the RT and you'll need them if you plan to ride more than 200-300 miles per day. If you can "wrench", you can do your own oil change, valve adjustments, throttle body adjustments (get the DVD from Jim vonBaden) and you won't visit the dealer for much of anything.
Posted By: hopz

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 09:28 PM

Tim's link no-worky for me... but FYI, the red dots are the R1200RT's places- respectively.

In other words, more pull back on the handlebars, slightly higher in the seat- if they both have the same set... kinda didn't know the GT had lower seat but I sorta doubt it. and the GT is longer, with slightly more forward pegs

Posted By: FLrider

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 09:51 PM

Originally Posted By: tallman

My wife says real men ride GT's.
cool


grin Tell her I still love her in spite of her misguided assumption grin
Posted By: FLrider

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 09:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Robus
Thanks for the advice, FLrider and others. I guess I've just gotten to the point where I want to try something different.

+ 1 Bimmer

I can't bring myself to want a full dresser as my main ride.

+2 for RT

in April, my first accident with injuries in 25 of riding, off and on. Without going into details, it would not have happened on an ABS-equipped bike.

+3 Bimmer. I can categorically tell you that the ABS linked brakes on the BMW's are AWESOME.

In terms of convenience and service, the move to a BMW is going to be a big step backwards. My local Harley dealership is a mile down the road, and there are four or five others within about a 20 mile radius.

+4 for BMW. No more wasting time walking around the Dealership looking for another piece of chrome to put on the bike, no more bandannas, no more "live free or die decals".


Posted By: tallman

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/04/10 11:08 PM

Originally Posted By: hopz
Tim's link no-worky for me... but FYI, the red dots are the R1200RT's places- respectively.

In other words, more pull back on the handlebars, slightly higher in the seat- if they both have the same set... kinda didn't know the GT had lower seat but I sorta doubt it. and the GT is longer, with slightly more forward pegs


try this
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 12:15 AM

Awesome advice, people! Thanks!
Posted By: gmarktbone

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 05:28 AM

I think the total package is advantage BMW. I started on a small Suzuki cruiser-style bike and looked for the next motorcycle almost from the day I got it. I came to find that all bikes could develop a reasonable amount of speed to get you killed, but not many can stop well. Although many on this board don't like the 02 brakes, I am a fan. When you need to stop, it will stop. That was one of the most important things to me when looking at every brand.

+1 on not having to look for the latest chrome accessory, but there are plenty of other things to spend your money on with a bmw--new seat, additional mirrors because the stock ones are useless, GPS mounts, etc....
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 06:17 AM

gmarkbone, tell me more about the mirrors. One of the things I noticed riding the RT was that the mirrors integrated into the fairing seemed less-than-ideal. They just didn't sit out far enough from the bike to give a decent field of vision.

This is an important issue for me. I want both to act as rear-view mirrors, but also be able to see what's happening behind me in the lanes to right and left. I've spent a lot of time and money getting the mirrors just right on all the bikes I've owned.

What are the upgrade options on RT mirrors? How can you compensate for the basic fact that the mirrors are just located too far inboard?
Posted By: Francois_Dumas

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 06:37 AM

The only thing wrong with the mirrors is that they leave a 'blind corner' just close next to you.

You compensate by turning around and LOOKING first, before making any decisive moves. Which, as a motor cycle rider, you should do anyway wink

But, adding two small round 'corner mirrors' also helps a lot and the RT mirrors are more than large enough to allow for some space being occupied by the small extra mirrors.
Posted By: Boffin

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 07:30 AM

The most common - and easy on all but the latest RTs - is to fit the mirrors off of a GS of the same vintage as the RT. The mounting holes for the mirrors are already on the bar controls - just bolt-em up and go.

Andy
Posted By: FLrider

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Francois_Dumas
The only thing wrong with the mirrors is that they leave a 'blind corner' just close next to you.

You compensate by turning around and LOOKING first, before making any decisive moves. Which, as a motor cycle rider, you should do anyway wink



Yours has mirrors? wink thumbsup
Posted By: Francois_Dumas

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 06:59 PM

LOL! I must have the DeLuxe model ....
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/05/10 11:49 PM

Sounds like two good ideas: fitting a little convex mirror or adding a second set from the GT.

The dealership was closed today; I guess as a consequence July 4 falling on a Sunday.

I'm leaning strongly toward the RT and will probably purchase the bike tomorrow. Then the day after I will leave on a two-week vacation. Thinking of that brand-new bike sitting in my garage is probably going spoil my vacation. ;-)
Posted By: SuperG

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/06/10 04:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Francois_Dumas

But, adding two small round 'corner mirrors' also helps a lot and the RT mirrors are more than large enough to allow for some space being occupied by the small extra mirrors.


+1 on the convex mirrors.
Most auto parts store carry it even walmart has it.
Self adhesive, easy to install.
Better yet, look for the one that is convex and has a slight tilt to its base and rotates 360 degrees.
So it is convex but you can aim it as well by turning it - changing its view angle.

http://www.sportsimportsltd.com/adspcomi.html
Posted By: hopz

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/06/10 02:13 PM

Regarding the stick-on mirrors...

The auto parts stores do carry them but they are fractionally larger than the ones you can get at the independent bike parts shops. Even the smaller ones take up more room than they are worth and the net result is less vision rather than more.

I have a set on my garage wall that you can have if you drop by... I didn't like them. The RT mirrors get a lot of undeserved criticism. I can see very well with them, but I am short and thin.
Posted By: SuperG

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/06/10 04:21 PM

I also like the stock mirror and have no need for additional mirrors. IMHO they just create air turbulence.
I use the the 2 inch covex placed in the upper inner side of the stock mirror.
Adjusted properly it shows if a vehicle is in the next lane next to my bike. If its a lazy lane change I use the stock mirror + convex to check, in a quick lane i use my quick head turn to check.
Posted By: Selden

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/06/10 06:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Robus
1. Rider, passenger comfort. How do these two bikes compare on longer rides?

2. Stock seats. Are they any good? Will I likely want to upgrade?

5. Are there other BMW models that I should consider?

Thanks, Robus

I've been told (have no direct experience) that the passenger accommodations are better on the GS. At 5'10" a GS might a little tall for you (depends on where your height comes from), but they make a Low model that I can flatfoot (5'6", 29" inseam). The GS is also nearly a hundred pounds lighter than an RT, which counts, especially if you're carrying a passenger.
Posted By: Francois_Dumas

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/06/10 07:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Lov2fly
I also like the stock mirror and have no need for additional mirrors. IMHO they just create air turbulence.
I use the the 2 inch covex placed in the upper inner side of the stock mirror.
Adjusted properly it shows if a vehicle is in the next lane next to my bike. If its a lazy lane change I use the stock mirror + convex to check, in a quick lane i use my quick head turn to check.


Yup, same here. And I can see well behind me even with passenger and bags tied onto the side cases !
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 12:53 AM

Thanks for the great advice I received from the community on this thread.

And here is what showed up in my driveway this afternoon (just to keep the Sporty company):





And one more, with a 2008 model Australian Cattle Dog:



Posted By: boatzo

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 01:13 AM

Nice ride Robus. Congratulations. Did you notice that there aren't many OPINIONS on this forum? smirk
Posted By: RT-Mike

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 01:30 AM

Congrats on your new RT...I know your intentions are to keep the Sporty,but I predict it will be at the end of your drive with a 4-sale sign hanging off of it. grin

You will soon realize "how in the hell did I ever ride that thing"

Just kidding of course,enjoy your new ride thumbsup
Posted By: Rphoto

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 01:33 AM

You have the best of both worlds. You'll enjoy that Sporty for cruising around town on nice days and the Beemer for trips and bad weather. Nice dog, too. Looks like he is protecting your stable of bikes.
Posted By: mbelectric

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 03:06 AM

Love the look of that new RT... thumbsup

Nice rig.

I'd venture to say you have (what appears by the photo) is a new use for your sporty...to tie the dog up to. grin

ride safe

MB>
Posted By: Ozonewanderer

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 04:29 AM

Congratulations on your new gorgeous bike! (Same one I just got.) I also have a Harley Dyna. You will wish you had two butts so you can ride them both. They are very different but both fun.

FWIW, with only 2000 miles on my RT here are my tips and initial reactions:
- The peak torque bandwidth is between 4-6000 RPM so around that range is where you want to play for the most fun after you break it in. (See Power/Torque curve here: http://www.webbikeworld.com/BMW-motorcycles/2010-bmw-r-1200-rt/) You will ride at higher RPMS than on the H-D.

- First gear is tall so get the revs to about 4000 RPM before starting off from a stop.

- The bike is relatively top heavy, but it still handles beautifully.

- I find the ergonomics less than perfect for me (I'm 5'-10", 165 lbs.) The seat is very painful within 30 mins of riding. I suspect that the Russell Day Long saddle is the most comfortable from all that I've read on these forums, but it is expensive and ugly. So now I'm trying an Airhawk seat pad. With the pad I can ride about 90 mins before my butt needs a rest.

- At first I thought I really needed handlebar risers and highway pegs. Now I'm not so sure. So I guess take your time before investing in these add-ons.

- Watch the oil level. It may burn oil for the first few thousand miles. Some say it needs 12,000 miles to get fully broken in.

Enjoy!
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 05:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Ozonewanderer

FWIW, with only 2000 miles on my RT here are my tips and initial reactions:
- The peak torque bandwidth is between 4-6000 RPM so around that range is where you want to play for the most fun after you break it in. (See Power/Torque curve here: http://www.webbikeworld.com/BMW-motorcycles/2010-bmw-r-1200-rt/) You will ride at higher RPMS than on the H-D.

- First gear is tall so get the revs to about 4000 RPM before starting off from a stop.

- The bike is relatively top heavy, but it still handles beautifully.

- I find the ergonomics less than perfect for me (I'm 5'-10", 165 lbs.) The seat is very painful within 30 mins of riding. I suspect that the Russell Day Long saddle is the most comfortable from all that I've read on these forums, but it is expensive and ugly. So now I'm trying an Airhawk seat pad. With the pad I can ride about 90 mins before my butt needs a rest.

- At first I thought I really needed handlebar risers and highway pegs. Now I'm not so sure. So I guess take your time before investing in these add-ons.

- Watch the oil level. It may burn oil for the first few thousand miles. Some say it needs 12,000 miles to get fully broken in.

Enjoy!


Thanks everybody. My wife summed up my impressions in one word: "sweet."

Here are my initial thoughts based on a long ride home from the dealership this afternoon and a shorter ride 2-up this evening to try out the luggage crate/passenger backrest:

1. Yes, it is taller. That is going to take some getting used to. I usually wear a big pair of Durango leather boots with heels for riding on the Harley, but figured they wouldn't fit as well with the RT. I might give them a try; otherwise, I'm in the market for new riding boots.

2. Center of gravity higher. That combined with the more "flickable" character of the bike made it much more, shall we say "dynamic," in the way it responds to crosswinds and the like. Again, will take some getting used to. I noticed the bike really settled down and felt more stable when I got up to highway speed.

3. Not much venting on the lower fairing. In order to bypass the parking lot that is I-90/94 through the Chicago loop, I took a detour through the city traffic of Western Avenue for about ten miles past downtown. It was about 90 degree, stopping at every light. The heat radiating up from the engine just about toasted my--well, we won't go there. On the Sporty, you sort of sit with your knees splayed out. That takes care of the lower ventilation. That part of the ride would have been more comfortably on the Harley.

4. I had forgotten what it's like to ride on a quieter bike. The Sporty with its Rush slip-on pipes is, well, an extrovert. Actually, I liked the quieter ride.

5. Seat, no problem. The ride home clocked at two hours, between the traffic and the detours. The bum did not complain.

6. Everything about the BMW felt refined, smooth. Whereas the Harley feels rough and raw. Both pleasing in different ways.

7. That adjustable wind screen is addictive! I couldn't keep my thumb off that button. Every time I changed speeds, I seemed to find a new setting that worked best. Love that! I don't think I lowered the face shield of my helmet once on the ride home. Just fiddled with the wind screen a little and all was good.

8. Had to make a quick trip to a corner store a mile away this evening. I took the Harley. Perhaps because I'm not yet used to the BMW, but really the RT seems ideal for a different kind of riding. I think the Sportster is going to keep its place in the stable, just filling a different niche than the Bimmer.

Thanks again!
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 06:23 AM

Originally Posted By: boatzo
Nice ride Robus. Congratulations. Did you notice that there aren't many OPINIONS on this forum? smirk


Yes, these BMW riders seem so shy!
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 07:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Rphoto
Nice dog, too. Looks like he is protecting your stable of bikes.


That's Kipper. He's a nice dog...if you're a nice person. If not, he turns instantly into a guard dog. Typical of the breed. He's my wife's running companion during those long, dark morning jogs of winter. Here's the whole pack, Nellie, Kipper, and Big Max:


Posted By: hopz

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 01:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Robus

1. ... I might give them a try; otherwise, I'm in the market for new riding boots.


... and so it begins....
Posted By: Rphoto

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 02:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Robus
[quote=Ozonewanderer]
SNIP
8. Had to make a quick trip to a corner store a mile away this evening. I took the Harley. Perhaps because I'm not yet used to the BMW, but really the RT seems ideal for a different kind of riding. I think the Sportster is going to keep its place in the stable, just filling a different niche than the Bimmer.

Thanks again!


I figured you would want to keep the Harley. Those who have not experienced the simple joys of a v-twin are missing a fun part of life. I am fortunate enough to also have a HD VRod (Street Rod) and it is a nice complement to the cycling experience.
Posted By: tallman

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 09:36 PM

Congrats on the beautiful new beemer.

Hope you love it.

ps (bimmers are the 4 wheel variety)
grin
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/07/10 11:10 PM

Originally Posted By: tallman
ps (bimmers are the 4 wheel variety)
grin


I have much to learn about the BMW culture!
Posted By: rinkydink

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/08/10 01:35 AM

Eureka, I have finally found someone who can stand the stock seat! You are definitely in the minority my friend. Enjoy your new RT.
Posted By: Selden

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/08/10 02:55 AM

The latest issue of MCN arrived in my mailbox today. They have a comparison road test of the Concours 14, VFR1200F, and FJR1300. As sort of a postscript, they added a R1200GS:

Quote:
The GS was our unanimous favorite for its handling, engine character, riding comfort and pure mile-eating fun. If it came to spending our own money for a sport-tourer, we all picked the GS. How's that for a surprise?

Posted By: Deek

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/08/10 10:54 PM

Nice "burglar alarm" tied it there peering into the camera! grin
Posted By: crmdgn

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/09/10 12:43 AM

Robus, don't let anyone fool you, there is no "culture" in the Beemer world! lol

+1 on having a Harley in the stable. I have the XR1200 and to charge up my inner hooligan, that works wonders!

paul
Posted By: Blake A.

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/15/10 05:57 PM

Well too late to put in my 2 cents but you made a good decision. As one that went from a Honda Shadow 750 to a 2007 K1200GT via an R1200RT in the past year I appreciate what your thought process was.

I kept the Honda and had to use it this past weekend for a trip to the GF which is 170 miles one way to Martha's Vineyard. It has been a GT trip and it was quite different with the 750. But entertaining. Passing was quite a bit different.

I spent 900 miles on an RT last fall in three days of NC and TN hills in fair weather and foul including wind and rain. Included a long stretch of Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon. Decided I loved the R1200RT I rented and it took me from thinking about a bigger cruiser to the BMW.

I bought a used 2007 GT and between April and June this year put 6000 miles one it. Love the extra power over the RT. Was a bit apprehensive about the final drive when I bought it (having read these forums) and purchased extra warranty. Glad I did as the FD failed weeks ago and that was the reason I was on the Honda.

I bought the BMW from a H-D dealer as the guy who traded it rode 2 up all the time and had short legs and it was harder for him to handle.
Given the same price I would choose the GT. I would make the same decision for a bit more money as well. I think your choice of the RT is excellent. I spent 8 hour days in the saddle and had no issues with it. I have also spent a 12 hour, 750 mile day from Grand Rapids to western Massachusetts and had no problem with the GT saddle either.

Quite a difference looking at the Sportster and the RT side by side. You're gonna love the smoothness of the Beemer. But there is always a place and day for that Harley.

And remember, as Alan Sherman sings, "Good advice costs nothing and it's worth the price." But you will find a lot of good advice here. Sorting it out is part of the fun.
Posted By: loboheritage

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/15/10 07:03 PM

Don't get rid of your Sportster. Sold my identical 1200R when I bought my RT. Still have one Harley, but wish I still had the 1200R. Just couldn't justify three bikes. Great handling bike.....even my BMW friends liked riding it (for short distances!)....
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 07:24 AM

Originally Posted By: loboheritage
Don't get rid of your Sportster. Sold my identical 1200R when I bought my RT. Still have one Harley, but wish I still had the 1200R. Just couldn't justify three bikes. Great handling bike.....even my BMW friends liked riding it (for short distances!)....


I'm having second thoughts about keeping the Sporty. Sigh. My wife is all in favor of me selling it in order to pay off the larger part of what I financed on the Beemer.

For me, the bigger consideration is this. The RT with its linked ABS and the Sporty with its conventional brakes require two different braking techniques.

Based on some preliminary parking lot practice, the fastest way to stop this RT seems to be to hammer the lever and let the ABS do its thing. Try that on the Sporty and I would be sliding down the highway on my chin (for the second time this year...).

So my question is, do I really want to commit two different braking techniques to muscle memory and then hope I resort to the right technique for the bike I happen to be riding at the moment when I need to stop really, really quickly?

A related question: do people put road bells on Beemers? That's a little piece of Harley lore that is just plain fun.
Posted By: Boffin

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 07:28 AM

You should NOT use different braking techniques for the two bikes. On both bikes, you should get to a parking lot and practive threshold braking with each braks, then both brakes. ABS is a backup safety aid, NOT a primary braking mode.

Andy
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 07:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Boffin
You should NOT use different braking techniques for the two bikes. On both bikes, you should get to a parking lot and practive threshold braking with each braks, then both brakes. ABS is a backup safety aid, NOT a primary braking mode.

Andy


Interesting. I do need to practice more on the Beemer. Based on just a couple of hours in the parking lot so far, I was not able to stop as quickly trying to find the threshold as just allowing the ABS to kick in.


One thing that my accident in April brought home to me in a big way was this. Even though I had done a lot of braking practice on the Harley and thought I was pretty good at it, there is something about facing an honest-to-god "I mean to kill you" left-turner that can add a few extra foot pounds of pressure to the front brake lever.
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 08:30 AM

Andy, I'm probably hijacking my own thread and taking it off in a different direction here, but how could a motorcycle with linked brakes not require a different technique than one without? Leaving the ABS aside. With conventional brakes, it's always that delicate coordination of front and rear: A little more rear brake at the beginning, then ease up on the rear as the weight transfers forward, then more rear brake again as the bike eases to a stop. The technique is different with linked brakes, no?

I need to be educated on this subject. The manual that came with the bike was pretty taciturn on all this. The service manager at Chicago BMW who gave me the pre-flight briefing before I rode it off the lot actually smirked when I asked if the RT could do a stoppie. He explained that since the brakes won't lock, it can't do a stoppie....right? After that reply, I didn't see a point to asking him any more questions.
Posted By: Quinn

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 12:37 PM

You know how the sound of scrappping parts lets you know how far you can lean the bike over? Well, the ABS kicking in lets you know how much squeeze you can put on the brakes.

---
Posted By: ka5ysy

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 12:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Robus
Andy, I'm probably hijacking my own thread and taking it off in a different direction here, but how could a motorcycle with linked brakes not require a different technique than one without? Leaving the ABS aside. With conventional brakes, it's always that delicate coordination of front and rear: A little more rear brake at the beginning, then ease up on the rear as the weight transfers forward, then more rear brake again as the bike eases to a stop. The technique is different with linked brakes, no?

I need to be educated on this subject. The manual that came with the bike was pretty taciturn on all this. The service manager at Chicago BMW who gave me the pre-flight briefing before I rode it off the lot actually smirked when I asked if the RT could do a stoppie. He explained that since the brakes won't lock, it can't do a stoppie....right? After that reply, I didn't see a point to asking him any more questions.



FWIW: We MSF/Riders Edge Instructors teach "both brakes always" for normal stopping. In practice, at low parking lot maneuvering speed and turning, this changes slightly to "rear brake only" to avoid having an "asphaltic encounter". For emergency quick stops, apply both brakes fully by squeezing (not grabbing!) the front brake and pressing the rear, with the handle bars square and straight to avoid a dump.

The reason you always want to use both brakes is that if you happen to get on some other bike you do not normally ride, you will still be doing proper application of brakes instead of automatically relying on the particular brake setup your usual ride might have. For example, my R1200R has the setup that application of the front brake lever also stages in the rear. The rear brake only activates the rear. Some of the bikes I ride are not linked in any manner. Front is only front and rear is only rear. The easy way to keep all these different setups straight when riding is to simply do it the correct way in the first place: Both brakes always.

For the standard fork motorcycles, I generally suggest slightly leading a braking situation with the rear brake so that the weight transfer (forks compress) occurs before the full application of the front brake to avoid a front wheel lockup. Since a lot of the BMW bikes exhibit no front fork dive, you will not notice the weight transfer/fork compression, and the anti-lock brakes will avoid a lockup anyway.

If you have never had a formal training session or even if you have and it has been while, go sign up for either a basic rider course, or an experienced rider course (you can use your own bike in these!) and gain some good experience in how to do quick stops, stops in turns, swerving and the always problematic cornering procedures. You absolutely will learn skills that will save your life.

Proper braking skills are somewhat volatile and must be practiced regularly to keep sharp.

For those of you with ABS, go find a straight spot without a lot of traffic and actually try the system by grabbing a handful of brake (just what you are not supposed to do!). It will feel like you have dropped a tail hook and you will stop right now. Your eyeballs will kind of pop like in the cartoon, but nothing bad happens !!. I recently had a guy with a R1200GS that had never experienced the ABS in an experienced rider course. I had him do a full grab of the brakes to activate the ABS on one of his practice brake passes. His first words were "Holy Crap!" and a big smile appeared on his face. He now appreciates what the ABS is capable of doing when it is needed, and he learned something about his bike !




Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/27/10 08:22 PM

Thanks ka5ysy. That's good practical advice if I'm going to ride two bikes with different braking systems. I'm still getting familiar with the RT. Riding it these recent days I've been applying both brakes for normal stopping because that is the technique I've learned over the years. I had been wondering though whether that might be counterproductive--i.e., by applying the rear brake manually, I might be overriding the linked system and actually getting less effective braking. It doesn't matter so much for normal braking, but I'm a believer in the mantra of "train like you fight; fight like you train." Whatever you are used to doing normally is probably what you're going to do in an emergency braking event.
Posted By: tallman

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 01:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Robus
Andy, I'm probably hijacking my own thread and taking it off in a different direction here, but how could a motorcycle with linked brakes not require a different technique than one without? Leaving the ABS aside. With conventional brakes, it's always that delicate coordination of front and rear: A little more rear brake at the beginning, then ease up on the rear as the weight transfers forward, then more rear brake again as the bike eases to a stop. The technique is different with linked brakes, no?




I need to be educated on this subject. The manual that came with the bike was pretty taciturn on all this. The service manager at Chicago BMW who gave me the pre-flight briefing before I rode it off the lot actually smirked when I asked if the RT could do a stoppie. He explained that since the brakes won't lock, it can't do a stoppie....right? After that reply, I didn't see a point to asking him any more questions.


He is, to put it mildly, mistaken.
My link broke.
Google
Jean Pierre Goy and R 1200 RT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKIcKnGKEtw
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 04:24 AM

"Jean Pierre Goy and R 1200 RT"

Amazing!
Posted By: gmarktbone

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 11:05 AM

Is it really necessary to go through all that braking technique on a linked RT? I never use my foot brake. I can stop very well just using the handbrake. I get it about moving to another bike that doesn't have linked brakes, but I will probably take it really easy on a new bike while I'm getting used to having to not having linked brakes. That being said-after having an RT with linked brakes, I will probably not be buying another bike without them.
Posted By: Boffin

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 03:21 PM

Originally Posted By: gmarktbone
Is it really necessary to go through all that braking technique on a linked RT? I never use my foot brake. I can stop very well just using the handbrake. I get it about moving to another bike that doesn't have linked brakes, but I will probably take it really easy on a new bike while I'm getting used to having to not having linked brakes. That being said-after having an RT with linked brakes, I will probably not be buying another bike without them.


Yes, it is. The linked brakes are there to compensate for poor technique not to encourage it. Should the linking fail, you will only be using part of the now limited braking effort available to you. If you never practice threshole braking, up to and including locking the wheels or activating the ABS you will not know haw quickly you can stop or how the bike behaves under heavy braking. Various studies have suggested that a lot of motorcycle/car crashes could have been avoided if the rider had not been too frightened to brake at the bikes maximum. Many others are caused by over-braking on non-ABS bikes. Both scenarios are much reduced if good thechnique is used and practised on a regular basis.

Andy
Posted By: Twisties

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 04:15 PM

I'm going to disagree. Much confusion on this subject because different BMW models have different set up regards the linking protocols, and the abs set up.

I regularly do parking lot practice and I agree with Robus, the one time I really needed my brakes, it was a whole different ballgame.

On an '07 RT at least you can and likely should grab as much front brake as possible as fast as possible, and leave the rear brake alone, in a true panic stop. At least, that is my opinion.

After this thread
Posted By: Twisties

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 05:25 PM

...and this thread too...
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 07/28/10 06:45 PM

Thanks for the links, Twisties.
Posted By: Bill246

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 08/01/10 07:02 PM

As a fairly new owner of a 09 r1200rt when i went looking for a new bike i was torn between those same two bikes. It came down to power vs handleing for me. i like the handling of the rt and it had plenty of power. As for 2-up riding its is very comfortable me and the wife just compeleted a 500mile 12hr ride and the backs where good a little but sore with stock seats but nothing that interfered with the trip. I have but on 7k miles and the maintance has been very straight foward so far Good luck on your choice as both will be great bikes
Posted By: Robus

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 08/02/10 03:39 AM

Thanks Bill. I chose the RT and am delighted with it so far.
Posted By: ka5ysy

Re: Advice for a Soon-to-be BMW rider - 08/02/10 01:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Twisties


On an '07 RT at least you can and likely should grab as much front brake as possible as fast as possible, and leave the rear brake alone, in a true panic stop. At least, that is my opinion.



You can get away with this as the link system stages in the rear. It is still a very bad habit to get into, because as previously noted, if the link system faults, you will leave about 20% of your brake effectiveness unused. You should also not get into the habit of "grabbing" a handful of brake and relying on the ABS. If you ever happen to be on another bike without ABS you will instantly have an "asphaltic" experience due to front wheel lockup. Squeeze the front brake, and press the rear. They are like volume controls, not on/off switches.

FWIW, the BMW ABS will allow a small stoppie sometime, but nothing thrilling and unless you are standing beside the bike watching it happen, you will not notice it when riding. It is a really effective system that is worth every penny when you need it.

Go out and practice threshold braking with your bike and get a feel for where the ABS kicks in, and how fast you can stop without the ABS functioning. It is great practice in any event, because we suggest always practicing three important survival skills: 1. Emergency quick stops, 2. Stopping quickly in a curve (bike upright, bars square, apply brakes fully) and 3. Swerves.

I do this combination every time I leave my neighborhood to tune up the survival instincts before entering the combat zone.
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