K1200 RS shimmy at speed - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 4:20 pm Thread Starter
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Cool K1200 RS shimmy at speed

My 02 RS is a wonderful machine, but seems to be a different beast on the interstate with almost any traffic around. Semis will create turbulence that freaks me out, making the bike shimmy side to side. Seems fine on its own bit of road, and taking off all the system cases and back box seems to help only a little. I did fit a taller screen, but don't thinks its an issue. 25 K on it, tires near new and nothing I can find in the way of loose bits. Just part of the marque? Invite ideas or suggestions.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 4:33 pm
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Wind buffeting from other vehicles causes this so called shimmy. Usually the large vehicles traveling at freeway speeds seem to cause my 02 KRS to do the same. No big deal, just get past the turbulence offender. Stay out of blind spots, do not follow too close, try not to ride next to them, pass them and get out in the free space between the herds of 4 wheelers. This is why the BMW gods gave us 130hp, use it.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 5:51 pm
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I sometimes get a blast of wind from a semi and get pushed a bit, but i never get a shimmy. My 04 RS "rides on rails" as the saying goes. I also have minimal buffeting at 80+mph. You stated that it's sold other than that, but maybe the tire pressure or condition has something to do with it?

07 BMW K1200 S (cosmic blue/titan silver)
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 5:57 pm
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I don't believe it to be wind buffeting, because mine never did it passing even the biggest trucks at speed. Instead, depending on if you have had the 'front' tire changed recently, could be that its out of wack. That is to say, there is a procedure that you follow after putting on the front tire before tightening all the nuts and bolts to get it to align properly. That is, you put the bike squarely on the ground..not on the centerstand and bounce the front end down a few times then put it back on the centerstand and then tighten all the hardware. Seems that I read this when I first got my bike in '02 in the i-bmw forum. Since I change my own tires, I've done this procedure. Always worked for me.

Perhaps someone may remember it and find a link to this wobble problem and this procedure.

No current bike.
(previous: 01 K12RS (*RED*)

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 11:14 pm
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I've heard the "my GT/RS shimmys at speed" several times. The thing I've noticed is the guys with the GT windshields (tall shields) experience it and those with the RS shields (short shields) don't. My RS shimmys when I put the GT shield on it.

Try this no-cost experiment: Take the windshield off and ride the bike.


'04 K1200RS Alpine White/Orient Blue
'05 R1200GS Red
'07 KTM 950 Super Enduro
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2005, 6:24 am
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I've found the K' to be very sensitive to tire pressures. Mine doesn't "shimmy" as much as wander a little in the turbulence from trucks. The effect is greatly reduced with proper tire pressures. Don't overinflate the front under any circumstance and thus get it higher than the rear. Try 42 Rear, 36.3 front.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2005, 1:37 pm
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Question I have an '03 RS with the GT windshield, no shimmy

I put the "comfort" windshield on my bike, and also the hand guards like the GTs have. No shimmy. Mine is solid at any speed, with or without system cases, so they don't all do that. I'm thinking there has to be something else with your bike. Steering damper needs replacing? Tires? What size rear tire do you have? I've heard of problems after switching from the original 5" tire to the 5.5".
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2005, 2:03 pm
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I also think it has to do with the tires... Are you by chance using Pilot Sports?? Their profile makes them condusive to this. That's the main reason I never liked them. I'd check tire pressures.. These bikes should feel as solid as a.. well.. a brick at any speed.

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

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2005, 2:24 pm
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Some folks say that at around 80mph the bike starts to shimmy. I've got the 5.5" wheel on the rear and have never felt anything but super-smooth "on rails" handling at high speeds.

I run Metzeler Z6's and keep them inflated to 40/46 (front/rear, cold) -- there is a noticeable difference in handling at lower PSI. However, I've never noticed low PSI creating a shimmy -- mostly, I feel the difference of lower tire pressure at lower speeds when cornering (too low PSI makes the front end feel heavy in turns).

I also keep the rear shock pre-load turned up pretty tight to between the first and second mark (second silver line/mark from the left) when riding solo -- I'm 225 lbs. When riding two up or with full luggage I'll crank the pre-load up to just past the first mark.

I know many folks like to crank up the pre-load all the way -- I find this puts too much weight on my hands. Although, you want your weight forward in the twisties. All a matter of preference.

Tire pressure and rear shock pre-load adjustments are super easy and will make a very noticeable difference to the bike's handling.

Before looking for more "advanced" problems I'd suggest playing with these adjustments if your ride is anything less than perfect!

I haven't done much with the dampening settings on the rear shock or steering damper -- so far, whatever they are set at is working fine for me.


When I'm not rockin' @ radio.wazee I'm screamin' around Denver on my 2003 K1200RS!

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old Oct 24th, 2005, 3:26 pm
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I have brought the pressures down to 36-37 front and 38-40 at the rear after some track time this summer. Seems to avoid the cupping and while had no shimmy, does feel more stable with those giant incoming wind blast from quarry trucks at 60 coming at you on the back roads.
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