Rough start with a K1200S (2005) - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 4:54 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2020
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Rough start with a K1200S (2005)

Howdy all,

I'm new to this site and K1200S bikes.
Hmm.. where do I start. BMWs run in our household so I figured why not try a BMW bike this time around so I went with a K1200S. it's got 50k miles on it.
Well...choppy little guy to say the least. Certainly not what I was expecting from the BMW brand.
What I was imagining was a really robust and smooth shifting experience, good road stability and lots more. I am not going to trash it all the way but boy, this is not what I was thinking. LOL

Anyway here's my list of things that I'm hoping you guys can chime in on and perhaps help me get started on where to look and what to attempt to fix/swap:

1. The transmission in neutral is like a bag of loose bolts and nuts. Apparently this is categorical for these bikes but somehow I just can't come to terms with it. There has got to be something that can be done about the stupid clunking noise in neutral that's better when the clutch is in but not entirely gone. also who wants to hold the clutch at every stop for the duration of all traffic lights. Any thoughts? Has anyone actually been able to figure out what's making this noise?

2. Related to that noise, each time I hear the clunking noise in the transmission in neutral, the RPM varies (deeps for noise, comes back up and then over again).

3. It's far from smooth in first gear when slowly accelerating. Very choppy and jerky around 2500-3000rpm range. both in 1st and 2nd gears. there's a good amount of hesitation as if it's gasping for air/fuel. I'm thinking spark plugs, maybe fuel filter, maybe ECU tuning. who knows.
3a. It used to have a remus pipe on it when I bought it and it was backfiring like crazy. No chip installed so I put the stock pipe back on to give it back the backpressure it needs. Much better and way smoother running but it still hear occasional backfiring, which is a bit strange for stock.
3b. Everything is essentially stock on it now. Oil level is good. I haven't done the oil change yet but the oil looks good for now.

4. Related to #1 above, i also feel some inherent vibration around 2500rpm when accelerating in 1st gear. I'd bet my money (at least some of it) that the transmission issue has to do with this vibration feel when accelerating. it's more prominent in 1st gear than elsewhere.

5. Going from 1st gear to neutral seems like a dream come true about 99.999% of the time. The only way I can somehow be certain to hit it most of the time is going into 2nd gear and then tapping it gently into neutral. Compared to other bikes I previously owned, this is just pure nonsense.

i'll stop here as to not overload the post.
I am hoping you guys can kick in with thoughts on 1-5 and I can hopefully start swapping stuff out and repairing what makes sense.
I guess one option is to go and unload cash at a local dealer but I'd prefer to get your thoughts first before dishing out cash for who knows what at the dealer.
I'll call them to find out how much it would be to do a full assessment of it but knowing how they operate, I'd probably have to part ways with at least $300 to find out the basics and perhaps another $1k for them to open up the tranny and tell me that "it's normal". LOL

thanks everyone!

Last edited by CaliK12; Mar 3rd, 2020 at 4:59 pm.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 2020, 10:14 am
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Posts: 28
Welcome to the forums. I've been here only a couple months, 2008 K12S.

Two things about this place:
1. The information is great.
2. It is not frequented that often so patience is a virtue.

Two things recommended to me in my first thread were a "timing chain guide" and a "timing chain tensioner" to get rid of excessive noises and wear.
It seems that many have changed out the K1200S clutch baskets for K1300 clutch baskets and have had better performance.
If you go to my introductory thread, you'll see the posts about "what needs to be done" - it's only a few threads down from this one.

Also, since I know my girl sat unused for awhile, she's getting a full bottle of Fuel Injector cleaner on every fill up.
This has dropped the "roughness" below 3000 RPM significantly in two months and 2500 miles.

Hope this helps,

2014 Honda F6B "Isleen"
2008 BMW K1200S "Lena"
1995 HD Heritage Special "Saorla"

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 2020, 6:15 pm
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Posts: 74
Hey Calik. The 2005 S was well known for clutch issues - which lasted up to the k13. Poor fueling, rattling cam chain and brake issues with the assisted brakes. First thing to do is to take it to a dealer and see if it has the latest software update. VERY IMPORTANT - check that the cam chain jump guard is fitted. Check out this video and John's others to gain an appreciation of the clutch issues

I fitted an ax-fied which fixed the fueling to a large degree. At 62k miles I had John rebuild the clutch which is now a joy to use. Also check with the dealer to see if the clutch basket has been replaced. This was a factory recall here in Australia and Iím guessing the same for you. All the above issues aside the bike is fantastic which is why Iíve kept mine -2008 k1200R - for so long. One last thing - the thermostat has been known to fail. Mine did once but no further problems. All the best with it

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 2020, 8:57 pm Thread Starter
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thanks for your input. yes, it seems like the site is not frequented as much but it's certainly worth the wait if good inputs are out there.

Cap Howdy posted similar info as you and I'm starting to agree that the clutch basket is definitely an item to look at.
Now, I wonder if the dealer has the recall on this so i'll check into it.

Fuel injector cleaner would surprise me to be the solution as I tend to not believe in those as much but it doesn't hurt to give it a shot.
I will run a tank or two with it to see if anything changes. If so then it might be good to go through a full flush to get FIs cleaned.

I'm suspecting a lot of issues to be handled and it always sucks to have to go to a dealer for any of it but it will be a good starting point.
That said, I can't say I trust them with anything, especially their advice on what has to be changed. They are firm believers in full replacement if any flaws are detected as they expect that people would assume that high bills are inevitable.
So I don't trust them one bit unless I had their foreman as a close friend. But anyway, I think i'll have to start with them.

I wish there was a great BMW bike shop close by that knows K's well but haven't been able to locate one. I'll continue searching.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 2020, 9:01 pm Thread Starter
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Hey Cap,
great video. oh yeah, i can see how the boo-boo'ed up that clutch with oversized hole design and too much play.
no wonder they came back with a tight hole and slot to compensate and re-align.
i'll definitely have to check into that as well as the cam chain.

it looks like i'll be out at least a few bills to find out. I actually don't mind investing into this bike if the amount is reasonable as I like it and it's a good ride.
I can see a lot of potential for at least another 5-6 years of happy ownership (possibly more) but there's one too many items that has me feeling restless about the bike so i'll have to get to the bottom of it one by one.

At least I can take it in to the dealer to find out what their assessment of it is and go from there.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 2020, 10:09 pm
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My rough idle or running issue was the idle control solenoid and or the temp sensor in the air box (moved it out and ran much better). With that many miles on it you may have dirty throttle body too.
The gearbox and clutches on these are known issues and your looking at 1500 in used parts if you can find them and if you can install them yourself or 4000+ for a stealer to do it. Also count on tearing the ass of bike apart to do it, would be a nice winter project.
Look out for the crappy plastics quick connect gas line on tank, I replaced that with a solid elbow from tank and inline metal quick connect.
Good luck and hope it works out better for you than me, I'll never own another BMW.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 2020, 12:29 am
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Well, you have the hotrod version of the K bike. the K13 was engineered to eliminate most of your problems. Your bike is not an around town bike. The rattle in neutral is the spacer on the idle gear shaft not being the correct thickness no factory repair, live with it. Start your bike with the clutch in and in first gear. Spend the day that way, stop lights do not go to neutral. The throw out bearing is big and has oil so just sit there through lights and stops in first gear. You should convert to the K13 hydraulic cam chain tension device. Be sure your bike has the jump guard in it. Keeps the cam chain from skipping a tooth on the crank and causing death. Look in the two inch cover plate on the clutch cover and see if you can see a half moon of dark plastic to the right. The clutch basket in your bike is a disaster, expensive to fix but can be done if you do the research or spend a huge bunch of money and put a K13 clutch basket in. Use 5W40 motorcycle oil. No one told you that tires go away every 4500 miles. Hope you enjoy working on your bike because if you turn it over to the dealer mucho bucks. Do some reading on how to check your own valves. Few people do it because of tool expense and complicated procedure. The time interval for this check can be extended if your confident they are okay as they hold their settings for a long time. I figure I have been enough of a debbi downer. Great bike for going fast long distances. Enjoy
Pictures below, see the dark area to the right over the bearing, jump guard, good thing. Not there, the dealer may put one in for free as it was a recall years back. Right picture has a jump guard, left one no.
Idle problems are caused by sticky idle air valve and a bad design on the intake air box which would warp when hot. MAX bmw has a great parts fiche which shows parts and helps find stuff. If you do your own work, buy the OEM DVD service manual for actual facts on how to take things apart and put back together. It will not help with figuring out what is wrong. That takes a GS-911 computer reader and asking lots of questions.
Your signature should include your general location so people can offer help.
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Mount Vernon, WA.
tire guy, I'll mount your tires.

Last edited by Beech; Mar 5th, 2020 at 12:36 am.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 2020, 1:30 am
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I think the faulty air box was also a recall issue And the aluminium boss that the wheel bolts to cracks and was factory replaced with a steel one. All this make the k1200 sound like a clusterfuck but once sorted (and the expensive stuff was pretty much done by the factory except for the clutch) you will love the bike.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 2020, 3:41 pm
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Posts: 18
Sounds just like my 2005 when I bought it. All the same issues.

Not really what I expected from a BMW.

I'm still riding it and I have to say it's a nice bike BUT! I haven't been converted to a BMW fanatic. I'll go back to the metric bikes for my next.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 2020, 3:49 pm
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Sdk1200s, tell us ALL you find on your k-bike that isn't metric. Nevermind, we know what you mean.

If it doesn't suit, don't wear it. I share a lot of the issues of the OP's 2005 K12 with my 2010 K13GT, but I think there's no selling the bike for any reasonable price on this island, so I'll ride it on down until one of us croaks.

Last edited by Honolulu; Mar 29th, 2020 at 4:13 pm.
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