K12R Newbie Observations
Just a month into owning a 2006 K12R with 19,000 kilometres. Having read about clutch problems, I opened her up. The original clutch plates with those little green rubber bumpers looked fine, no sludge or wear on the hope. Having already ordered new Barnett plates I changed them anyway. A ground zero. As per Patrique Hofmann, I drilled that small additional hole in the hope. This to deliver more oil to the first friction plate. I also removed the original aluminium oil jet nozzle and put in the last iteration of the oiler from the K1300. I had to turn it down on the lathe because of the lip to prevent the aluminium plug from going to deep prevented the new oiler from seating all the way down. The fussiest part was tightening the six bolts on the compression plate for the diaphragm spring. There is enough slop that it can be eccentric to the oiler/thrust rod if not repeatedly checked. So I've done what I can as far as the clutch.
A few observations. The action of the clutch lever is very different from my R12R and R12C. The lever travel from engaged to disengaged is maybe an inch +. On the K12 I have to have the lever hard against the grip to reach disengaged. Upon release it really doesn't engage until way out. OK, that's different. In city traffic I'm finding the clutch heavy, I use two fingers. I have ordered the Oberon clutch slave, said to be about 30% less pull required.
The notorious first gear clunk. From my reading there were three suggestions. Blip the throttle just before dropping into first. I think the idea is to separate the clutch plates. I have so far found this to be inconsistent, could be a timing thing. Besides, this bike draws enough attention without me blipping the throttle at stop lights. Next was to down shift into first and just keep the clutch in. You start the bike with it in first and never a clunk. But some suggest potencial heating and lack of oil at the slave in prolonged stops. Then there is the simple one that I'm having the most success with. Just pull the clutch in maybe 10-15 seconds before you drop it into first. Many times it's just a small click. When it does clunk, it's much reduced. There is a gremlin here somewhere!
The overall shifting I'm still working on. Engineering is deliberate. They have design parameters. These are not always spelled out or apparent to us. My habits come from the R12R. This is an all round bike. The shifting is solid and can be lazy. The K12R is a very sensitive beast. It has the capabilities of speed. Therefore the shifting should be capable of speed. I've been working on two suggestions about going through the gears. The first was to shift fairly quickly into the gear you need. Because of the torque distribution high rpms need not be the goal. Along with this, preload the shifter and pull the clutch lever just a twitch. Very little travel is needed. Overall, this has been working well. Second is still the noisiest but the rest are just a click.
I have to thank all those that have shared information. This collective is of great value and helped me. This bike drips personality. These discussions have helped me feel comfortable with this K12R. One last curious observation. I liked watching Top Gear. Those exotic cars were just that, sort of a freak show of possibilities. Why would anyone spend that kind of money on a car that can reach speeds you'd be jailed for? With the K12R I think I get it. It's not really about the top speed itself. Rather it's about a machine that is alive. She's a thoroughbred with limits beyond my capabilities. But takes me along and always reminding me she's ready. There is the common refrain that the machine is an extension of oneself. But I'm finding integrating with the machine works for me.