A New "S" Owner!! First Opinions Arrrrrg - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 4:53 pm Thread Starter
Pirate's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 1,624
Unhappy A New "S" Owner!! First Opinions Arrrrrg

Who is that ďluckyĒ devil?? Yep.. Picked her up yesterday at Greenville BMW. Got the ABS, foofoo suspension, electric grips, and the optional on-board computer and they all work pretty well.

The Good:
The mirrors rock!! Best Iíve seen on any modern sportbike.
The headlight throws some serious light.
While the wheelbase is longer than the RS, itís much easier to flick into corners.. Much easier to hang off when getting serious.
The ESA works well.. better than expected

The Bad:
Everything else..

Do you remember the first time you rode an RS.. ?? In less than a mile you just KNEW you had to buy one.. Youíll NOT get this effect with this bike.

Spent all day on it today and all I can honestly say.. I have never been as disappointed in any new motorcycle Iíve ever purchased as I am with this bike. Geezzz.. I just pray to the lord god above (and Iím NOT a Christian) that it runs smoother once itís broken in because as of today.. Iím not impressed.

I always said that if BMW would lop off 100 lbs and add 30 more ponies to the RS.. Iíd buy it.. Well.. this may be 100 lbs lighter.. and have the extra HP.. but it ainít no RS and is primitive in comparison. While powerful, the S is the most unrefined in-line 4 I have ever ridden. The ROUGHEST Kawasaki Iíve ever ridden was smoother in comparison. Maybe with time....

I canít think of a single positive thing to say about the new front end.. There is virtually no feel or feedback to it at all. The turn in is the worst Iíve seen on ANY bike. Isnít this supposed to be a step up in the evolution of motorcycles?? Iíd have preferred simple forks or the old RS telelever front end to this. Will definitely change to a more neutral steering tire like the Metzelers or Pirellis next change. The Pilots just make the turn in worse. Maybe Iíll get used to it with time..

BOTH my hands were numb after 20 minutes and I had to stop regularly to get the feel back. I know what caused this.. While the bar angles are nearly perfect, the seat is about 1" too tall which throws all your weight on to your palms causing lack of circulation. Rather than slap on bar risers, the optional lower seat (which was not available at the time of MY purchase) should make for better ergos for virtually everyone. A Throttlemeister will go on in the am and gel grips as well.

But enough negativity... Before I run to the hardware store to buy a few yards of rope and a stool with balsa-wood legs, Iím gonna spend more time on the bike before I spew further. Some things can be tweaked... opinions change. Iíll give her a fair chance like I would with a new wife with serious personality flaws. I also realize that all BMWís smooth out with time and milage...I just hope this is one of them. Sure.. there's a lot to be said for massive horsepower and less weight.. but at what cost? My first owners impression is that the RS or GT is a much better "overall" motorcycle in almost every way. .. As Ozzie would say... ďPlease God help me..Ē Maybe she'll grow on me... fingers crossed. All you people who have been raving about this new bike...especially former RS owners... Can I borrow your rose colored glasses?? PLEASE!

As I've heard so little negative feedback on these bikes..at least here. Is it just me? Are my standards simply too high??

So... let the devoted S rider slams begin.. and/or encouragement to hang in there..

Jerry D. Finley ("Danger" is my middle name)
"I speed, therefore I am. "

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post #2 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 5:49 pm
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I'm sorry I don't get it. How could you not have known. In fact, you are kidding, right?

So many owners who still love the KS (I am one) have posted about the shortcomings of this bike.

I don't know what can be said to make you feel better about your purchase. Maybe some of the issues can be resolved, maybe this is not the bike for you.
xlr8r is offline  
post #3 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 7:08 pm
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Sell it and buy one of the new ZZR's with launch control (when they arrive).

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post #4 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 8:36 pm
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Jerry (Pirate),
That's a real bummer for you.
I haven't spent much time on the RS or GT but lots of time on the GS (and a few asian sport bikes) and maybe that's the reason for my glowing review of the KS. It felt like a luxury vehicle to me when compared to my R12GS.
The KS I rode had some miles on the odo and maybe that smoothed it out a bit but overall, I thought it was great. My limited experience with the KS is that once you stop waiting for the bike to live up to all the published hype and your body stops trying to ride it like your last bike, you'll begin to relax in the saddle and things get better.

It will take some time for your mind to stop comparing it to what the RS you've ridden for long felt like. Once that happens, rider input begins to smooth out which in turn makes everything feel smoother and more natural. At this point, the whole KS experience begins to get better and better with each mile behind you.

I think you'll find it's not ever going to be as turbine smooth as the RS (I don't think there will ever be a bike quite like the flying brick again) but that should be the only thing it can never be. It will always be different and if you compare it to other bikes you'll always find something to complain about. However, the bike has the potential to meet or surpass many bikes in it's class. I think you just need to give it some time and let her show you what she can do.

At least that's my experience and I hope that becomes the case for you.
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post #5 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 9:00 pm
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Oh geez Jerry........you should have asked. Them grey ones are the bad ones!

Seriously though, I'm NOT one of those riders that must convince himself & others that his bike is terrific, only because he bought it and has to live with it. If I was unhappy, I'd let everyone know why, and then move on.

I'm sorry about your experience so far, but I don't identify at all with your comments. Of course, I now have 4,500+ miles on mine, and it has "evolved" with miles. The only negative comments I can make are that I miss the cruise control from the RS, and the engine will "buck" under 3,000 rpm's, which I have no problem living with. Quirks in my book.

THAT'S IT!! I've owned many top shelf sportbikes and S is the all around most impressive bike I've owned. Not the fastest or qickest, but the best handling, most stable, and most confidence inspiring bike I've ridden. There is a bit of a learning curve with these bikes, as they are a little different than conventional sportbikes. Also, mine does NOT have ESA (by choice), and I have found that the bike is quite sensitive to suspension setup, i.e., rear spring preload, rebound damping, and tire pressure. I have mine set up properly for my weight, riding style, and type of riding I do, and I can tell you without hesitation that the bike turns in quick, holds a line beautifully, and responds surefootedly to direction changes and mid-corner corrections. It is impervious to shitty roads, and it will not headshake or do anything lacking stability at speeds of 150+ in sweepers.

I suggest hanging in there. The motor gets better and smoother with age and seems to like being run hard. The suspension also comes into its own with miles, e.g., ball joints, steering damper, shocks.

I'm an aggressive sport rider weighing 155 lbs. + gear. I run tire pressures of 34-35F and 36-38R, and I have adjusted the suspension on the very firm side. You may want to try this out.

Also, keep in mind that the S and RS are very different machines with very different focuses, at least in my opinion. The RS is a superb sport tourer, with emphasis on either end depending on your riding style. The S, however, is most definitely a sportbike. Not a supersport literbike, but a large capacity sportbike, "similar" to the ZX-12R I owned.

Also, note that the RS has a compression ratio of 11.5:1 vs. 13:1 for the S, and the RS makes 111 crank hp/liter vs. 144 crank hp/liter for the S. Obviously, the S is in a significantly higher state of tune, which sometimes can result in negative attributes, e.g., vibration, low engine speed issues, etc. Somehow the Japanese have mastered this situation. My ZX-10R has a 12.7:1 compression ratio and makes around 190 crank hp/ liter, and can be ridden in any gear at virtually any engine speed without complaint.

But so be it. Different strokes for different folks. Nobody, NOBODY beats the Japanese at their game of bang for the buck. I honestly don't know how they make these incredible bikes that sell for under $11,000. But then, BMW has their game too. Quality, exclusivity, high tech, real world road bikes that run forever.

As they say, more will be revealed. Good luck with the bike. It's beautiful.
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post #6 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 9:54 pm
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Damn, that's not a good reaction. The S doesn't feel very much like an RS, except (to me) the same feeling of stability and security. No matter what the road surface does, the steering line responds only to YOUR inputs and goes right where you wish. Except that it all happens a lot QUICKER, my S is MUCH better at sequential turns than my RS. The RS falls perhaps a bit quicker into the first turn (NOW, with the current tires)- with all that weight, and as high as a lot of it is, it's quite good at falling- but it sure doesn't pick up so quickly for the NEXT turn. The S has not even the slightest tendency to fall into turns, it simply does exactly what you ask it to do, and it stops exactly where you want it to stop. Completely neutral, always. I believe that's partially a result of the lower center of gravity.

Assuming you keep the ESA out of comfort mode, anyway. I REALLY don't care for how it feels in turns in that mode. (yeah, I accidently tested this too, and now I understand why Miles wanted to change modes instantly)

However, before I switched the RS tires from Mez4 to Mez6s it wouldn't even do that, it was quite reluctant to depart from a straight line without a lot of encouragement. The Mez6s made a huge difference on that bike.

Now, let's see what's different between our bikes, since our impressions are so different.

1. Mine came with battleaxes, not pilots, and this is my first experience with them. But the handling seems pretty good, at least at the fairly relaxed pace I've been breaking it in at. Hard to be sure, with a new bike and new tires too.

2. I have the BMW short tank bag; and it has a very stiff body that continues the line of the tank. Between the support of the tank and bag, wind pressure, and fairly good back muscles I basically have NO weight on my hands. In fact, I have much more weight on my hands riding my RS. A, uh, mature profile undoubtedly helps too. I recommend donuts for best results.

3. But your smoothness problem I do not understand, and this is the first I've heard of the problem on an 06. The bike is not as smooth as the K1200RS- I don't think anything else could possibly be- but it's pretty damn smooth, at least at the RPM ranges that I most commonly use (4-6K) and from 2-4K as well. I understand that the balance shafts are more effective at mid RPM ranges than at higher ones, maybe we're riding at different engine speeds? The FEEL is different from the RS- not turbine-like at all- but the power delivery always seems smooth, consistent, and reliable. And there's a LOT of it.

4. As for the lack of front end feedback, there is a quote that might apply that I saw in an Irish review- "That is because there isn't anything wrong". I think (for what that's worth, probably not much) a lot of the "feedback" people have become used to is misbehavior that other suspension systems exhibit when stressed, and this allows the riders to gauge how much they are pushing things. The duolever doesn't misbehave, so this "feedback" doesn't occur. I'm sure BMW agrees with my analysis. . . But I will bow to more experienced riders on whether this is a good thing or not.
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post #7 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 10:00 pm
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I don't have as much sportbike experience as the Pirate. In fact, the KS is the first sportbike I've owned. I had the K1200GT for two years and loved it. After reading about the S I bought one. I've put 4,500 miles on it in the past few months, and can honestly say I love the bike. I don't miss the GT, I think the S is a better bike. The only thing I miss from the GT is the cruise control. However, I did notice it took me some time to get used to it, possibly because I'm not as experienced with sport bikes. It took me at least 1,000 miles to get comfortable with it, and after a couple of thousand miles and learning the proper riding position I've come to love it. If your wrists are sore, you're putting way too much weight on your arms. You should be just lightly holding the bars, with most of the weight in your hips and feet. I hope your bike grows on you. If not, there are plenty of other choices out there.

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post #8 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2005, 11:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Pirate
.. but it ainít no RS and is primitive in comparison.
Yep, the latest is not always the bestest.
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post #9 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 2005, 12:54 am
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only one remedy :
- take xanax during breaking-in
- then take the bike to a track-day crowded with race-equipped bikes and riders
- relax yourself and let the bike do the job

i don't think you'll still be so disappointed then
(and i don't think the 'rs would have been happy in such an environment)

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post #10 of 63 (permalink) Old Oct 31st, 2005, 4:51 am
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So, Pirate, the "ugly" tail light is no longer such a big deal, right?

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