1986 miles, the rockies, and one helluva motorcycle - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:51 am Thread Starter
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1986 miles, the rockies, and one helluva motorcycle

I'll fish out the details for you later tonight or tomorrow.

Here are the highlights:

Trip Total: 1986 miles
Freeway miles: about 1000
Mountain miles: 986
Top Speed: Let's just say I matched the fastest I ever went on my MV Agusta
Average speed for the entire trip: 63.8 MPH
Average MPG for the entire trip: 47.8 MPG (including the ride out, the ride back, and riding in the mountains)
Longest mileage on a tank: I chickened out and bought gas at 260 miles (22 miles after the reserve light came on at high altitude)
First word said by the few people who took it for a spin: "FUCK" with a big smile
Best "but" answer: Sure, it's ugly, but that's not why I bought it
Best thing about the bike: Power and handling when riding the "real" twisties
Worst thing about the bike: Tie - windshield and seat (but the seat seems to be getting better -- or my ass is getting used to the seat)
Interesting things about the bike:
  • It loves 90 MPH.
  • It loves 5000+ RPM.
  • Only a woman could love 4900 RPM, but it's a very narrow band buzz +-50 RPM at 4900 RPM.
  • Anything under 40 MPH is a chore in terms of throttle control.
  • Yes, Margaret, the front wheel does come off the ground when you shift down twice and pass 3 semi-trucks.
  • Letting the engine coast at certain RPMs feels like it's "necklacing" (almost like there was slack in the timing chain and it was rubbing against the inside of the case)
  • MEZ6 tires are GREAT!!! And it looks like I might actually get some miles out of them.
  • The stock exhaust is very quiet -- sewing machine quiet, until you open her up. And then -- growl!
  • 600-700 mile days are a breeze, but I do need a different windshield.
  • You get the strangest looks from sportbikes when you pass them with side cases and the 49 liter topcase.
  • You get the strangest looks from Harley riders when you blow by them at more than double their speed (mostly you see them shudder in fear as you scare the crap out of them)
I'll post more details later.

Again, if you have any specific questions about the long distance touring aspects (or anything) on the K1200GT, just ask.

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Last edited by eljeffe; May 27th, 2006 at 7:15 pm.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 5:39 pm
 
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I'm wondering if you noticed any wandering due to the large 49L topcase. I've got both the big one and the small one, but have only used the small one so far, which doesn't seem to affect handling at all, that I can detect.

I got the big one for longer trips, and with only 1,500 miles on it, I haven't done any long trips yet.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 6:11 pm Thread Starter
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Ruben,

I didn't feel anything with the case. With or without the case, it is interesting when you get behind a big truck with a crosswind. It's not as beefy as the LT, so the lighter GT gets tossed a little in the slipstream.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 7:36 pm
 
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Jeff,

welcome home, sir. i'm glad you have arrived safely. i have SO looked forward to these posts.

at 5'6" i have always looked THROUGH the windshield of the LT. i have the standard screen and often ride with it all the way UP on the freeway... sacrificing MPGs for perceived "comfort." when cee bailey's comes out with the +4/+4 (which is i think the one for which you are searching), i have to wonder where i'll be looking.
On my GS, i look OVER the screen, of course... it is the standard screen LOCKED in the FULL UPRIGHT position because of my RCU shelf. are you hoping that you can look THROUGH the aftermarket screen as well? this will probably have some impact of SAVING your hearing in the long run. we all use earplugs, but fears about long-term hearing still linger when i'm on a long roadtrip.

i hope that you get some rest and will be interested in hearing your thoughts about the subject. i am glad that somehow, for whatever reason, you are becoming more accustomed to the seat... but, i have seen no one else give it any praise at all. Folks seem to disagree about WHY they hate it... but not that they do.

again, welcome home, my friend. we'd love to hear more about the Rally itself, when you get some rest and have the time
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 8:07 pm
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Hi,
I agree with Jeff about the seat getting better. The first 75 miles I rode my GT the seat was the worst I have ever sat on. Now a 1000 miles later the seat gets more comfortable every time I ride. 300 miles is no problem. I am going to put somewhere around 1500 miles on the bike in the next 4 days and will let you know about the seat. But for me it just keeps getting better.
Ed
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 8:29 pm Thread Starter
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I promised a more comprehensive review, so here it goes.

First off, let me say, WHAT A BIKE!!! This bike outclasses all three of my previous BMWs (K1200LT, '01 K1200RS, and '02 K1200RS). This bike is such a level above the previous generation LT/RS/GT that it isn't even comparable. Between the power and handling, there is no way to have a fair comparison. Aside from styling and seat, it beats any previous BMW K1200 in every category.

Okay, enough of the standard "this bike is the best motorcycle I have ever ridden in 35 years of riding".

The 1000 mile trip to and from the mountains:

This bike is quite the tourer on the freeway. This motorcycle loves 80-90 MPH. Makes for light work of those long stretches across the western US. 70 MPH seemed to be a chore. I was just in a place on the power band where the buzz was at its worst. And I mean it is a very narrow band. 50 RPM one way or the other and it's gone. 68 or 72 MPH felt fine. It seems like as the bike breaks in, this buzz is going away, but it's still noticeable.

I think my butt finally broke in the seat, as I found it acceptible over the 600 mile ride. Note that I said acceptible, not comfortable. I'll probably be looking for an aftermarket seat. And since I am so tall, the stock high screen just isn't working for me. In the lower position, the wind blast hits me in the neck. In the high position, the buffeting is annoying. The electric control makes it nice to move to that "perfect" position, but I think it will take an after market screen to fix this issue. I'll be talking to Tom at Cee Bailey's next week.

We broke the trip out over an afternoon and the following morning. But the return trip was 660 miles, about 500 on the freeway. 10 hours and 36 minutes in the saddle. No issues. As long as you stay out of 4900 RPM, it's great. It's no LT in terms of comfort, but it sure makes up for it in every other category.

986 miles in the mountains:

This bike was built to ride the twisties. The ESA and Hossack suspension make for an awesome combination. The bike takes the corners like it was on rails. Mountain roads with sharp corners and steep transitions are what this motorcycle craves. The rear tire is scuffed from edge to edge, and I have yet to touch down the footpegs. Through the tightest of turns and the fastest of sweepers, you feel like you are part of the bike, not just a rider of the bike. Decreasing radius turns were not a problem. Provide more input into the turn, and the bike responds crisply and immediately. The bike transitions effortlessly in any series of s-turns. In fact, effortless is the word that best describes how this bike rides. You give it input in terms of steering or throttle, and it just does it. The bike almost feels like it is anticipating your every move.

This bike really shined on the road between Red River and Questa. 13 miles of perfectly cambered sweepers. Leading out the group on Friday, I was able to go almost the entire 13 miles uninterrupted by other vehicles. I've ridden that same stretch of road on the LT, and it's easy to get in over your head. No such feeling on the new GT. Same goes for NM 502 between the Espanola cutoff and the Y-split to White Rock. There are a series of uphill s-curves. The new GT takes these corners with such ease that it just begs you to test your limits. The Metzeler Z6 tires are so sticky, even the tar snakes couldn't deter the agressive lean angles in these turns.

NM 4 from White Rock to Jemez Springs allowed the GT to show its truest colors. Power delivery was perfect for passing those series of slower vehicles and climbing those steep uphill switchbacks. NM 4 provides everything from winding sharp corners to well cambered sweepers. Coming across the "top of 4" and into the Valle Grande, I announced on the radio to the rest of the group, "welcome to the Valle Grande International Speedway". You come out of a set of s-turns into a 3 mile gentle left curve. Let's just say that an undisclosed speed was attained, but it wasn't until I checked the GPS later that I found out what it really was. It sure didn't feel that fast at all -- it was rock solid at all speeds. No vibrations, no wobbles, no instability, nothing that inspired anything but confidence. I could go on with stories of NM 518, 94, 434, 120, and 442. 986 miles of mountain, canyon, and river roads provided nothing but riding bliss.

I tried various pre-load settings on the ESA. One up, One up with luggage, Two up. The pre-load must be set while standing still. Once in motion, you can shift between comfort, normal, and sport on the fly. You'll know when you forget to change from comfort to sport in the twisties, or sport to comfort on that rough stretch of road. Very nice feature. I found that at my weight, the one-up with luggage seemed to work out very well. The one-up only setting seemed to feel kinda mushy. The two-up setting felt a little stiff. And sounding like goldilocks, the one-up with luggage setting was just right.

Other things I noticed:

Windshield - only in the lower to middle positions was the airflow bearable. In these settings, it sent the air right down at my neck, but anything higher caused buffeting that was too annoying to tolerate. An aftermarket shield will fix that.

Heated Grips and Seat - when we hit the 28 degree mark yesterday morning, the heated grips and seat were a godsend. They heat up very quickly and in the high setting were almost too hot. The low setting made it very comfortable once the temps were above 35.

Tankbag - BMW finally makes a functional and useful tankbag. Even though the sealing mechanism for the map pocket is a little weird, it is very functional. Basically, you roll up the end to the velcro and seal it down. I am sure it is quite waterproof. Also, BMW has made the interior of the tankbag water resistant. It's hard to explain, but it's like they placed the waterproof liner inside the tankbag instead of the Chicane method of sewing in an integrated raincover.

Luggage - the system cases are right off the R1200RT. The new system is so much better than before. Taking the luggage off and on the bike is a breeze. No mistaking the fit and risk melting your luggage. The indicator for open/closed is idiotproof (and trust me, I've messed up my share of older system cases).

Seat Adjustment - the seat adjustment is quite easy. No guessing if you have the slot aligned (like the old RS/GT). You can move from high to low in a matter of seconds. Release the pillion seat, move off the driver seat, slide the bar to the high or low position, and reinstall the driver and pillion seat. I rode out to NM in the high position, and returned in the low position. I am 6'3" and found the seat much more comfortable in the low position. I don't get it either, but it worked out that way.

Top case - the 49 liter topcase is HUGE. I think it holds more than the LT topcase. The mechanism is just as simple as the new system cases. Easy on/easy off. And as advertised, the topcase will hold two full face helmets -- even a Schuberth.

Horn - you'd think on a bike this big, someone would put a horn that makes a more macho sound than the european "meep meep". I just ordered a Stebel horn from Pirate, so we'll see how that turns out.

Well, that's it for now. The next trips are Arkansas in June, AZ/UT/CO in July, and CCR in GA this August. If I'm lucky, I should have about 15K on the bike by the end of the summer. I'll keep y'all informed on how the bike performs for the long run.

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 8:32 pm Thread Starter
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Greg,

When I needed to shift positions on the long ride, I would drape my feet over the passenger pegs and lean down on the tankbag. In that position, I was looking through the screen. Very clear and no distortion. Unlike the LT's vertigo generating shield, you can look through the GT's shield while riding.

As for the seat, I may just be getting used to it. Ron K Miller of Kontour Seat would just love me to have one made. And I may take him up on the offer. We'll see how may patience wears out as the seat breaks in. LOL!!!

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 8:47 pm
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Nice review Jeff. I concur with everything except the windscreen and that's because of the difference in our heights; it's fine for me. But, will be looking forward to a Cee Bailey #2/flip...that may reduce the wind on the shoulders that I could not eliminate.

My only worry with the bike is that as a relatively new rider and not much experience in twisties, it does instill such a sense of oneness with the bike: And the bike's abiltiy to handle so well that I get a false sense of security. But then again pushing the limits a bit is indeed fun.

Keep us informed about Tom's/Cee Bailey's response on a screen. The #2 with wings on the LT is superb, maybe one for the GT.

John
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 8:54 pm Thread Starter
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Actually, someone shorter than me did take the bike out for a spin and never noticed the issue either. So, yes, my height at 6'3" is probably the issue. If it's like the RT shield, Cee Baileys should make something a couple inches higher and a couple inches wider on each side. I'll try to call Tom this week.

As for that "the bike's ability to handle so well" giving a false sense of security, I'm with you. I found myself pushing limits further than I did even on the MV. The one time that I gave myself the "oh shit" moment this past weekend, I just gave some additional input and the bike completed the decreasing radius turn effortlessly. Last year on the same corner (I should burn that place into my memory), I could feel the front tire on the LT fade just a tad. Quite unnerving. No such fade on the new GT.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2006, 9:20 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
Greg,

When I needed to shift positions on the long ride, I would drape my feet over the passenger pegs and lean down on the tankbag. In that position, I was looking through the screen. Very clear and no distortion. Unlike the LT's vertigo generating shield, you can look through the GT's shield while riding.

As for the seat, I may just be getting used to it. Ron K Miller of Kontour Seat would just love me to have one made. And I may take him up on the offer. We'll see how may patience wears out as the seat breaks in. LOL!!!
Thanks, Jeff
i really appreciate the reply
i think you have about talked me into trading my LT for the GT.... though i am still riddled with guilt (for who knows what reason)

did you take any pictures on the trip?

thanks again
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