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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just some thoughts on the frequent criticism of the "disconnected feeling" of the K12S duolever system.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride a new R1200ST while my K12S was being serviced. I rode it on a 200+ mile trip on the twisty roads via the back side of Ventura County, CA.

The first thing I noticed about the ST is that the handlebars vibrated so badly that I thought there was a bearing loose on the front end. Then I realized that after putting in more than 12k miles on the K12S, I've become accustomed to the rock solid "feel" of the duolever system.

I've read the comments where folks want to feel the nuances of the road so they can tell when the front end is getting funky on them. Well I had the opposite feeling. I was alarmed at all the "feedback" because I had forgotten how it felt.

On the ST, I hammered it hard into the 15 and 20 MPH caution sign turns on Hwy. 33 and Lockwood Valley Road. Although it is a nice handling machine, the road imperfections were constantly jolting me through the handlbars. The bike felt less than rock solid to me and I noticed that I slowed down my pace BECAUSE the bike didn't inspire confidence like the K12S does.

I'm not a "Glory Days" former track racer like many of the Microsoft Word Wonders in the magazine industry, but I wonder if this duolever system is so technologically advanced that the so called experts can't embrace it because it is so different. Afterall, when folks buy a car, do they expect leaf springs or independent strut suspension? You might argue that all the jolts and bumps you feel in an old Ford truck give you a better feel for the road than in the smooth riding suspension of a BMW 7-series car.

I was happy to return the ST and get my K12S back. The duolever system felt unflappable and rock solid on the way home. Just the way I like it!
 

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MadMax said:
Just some thoughts on the frequent criticism of the "disconnected feeling" of the K12S duolever system.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride a new R1200ST while my K12S was being serviced. I rode it on a 200+ mile trip on the twisty roads via the back side of Ventura County, CA.

The first thing I noticed about the ST is that the handlebars vibrated so badly that I thought there was a bearing loose on the front end. Then I realized that after putting in more than 12k miles on the K12S, I've become accustomed to the rock solid "feel" of the duolever system.

I've read the comments where folks want to feel the nuances of the road so they can tell when the front end is getting funky on them. Well I had the opposite feeling. I was alarmed at all the "feedback" because I had forgotten how it felt.

On the ST, I hammered it hard into the 15 and 20 MPH caution sign turns on Hwy. 33 and Lockwood Valley Road. Although it is a nice handling machine, the road imperfections were constantly jolting me through the handlbars. The bike felt less than rock solid to me and I noticed that I slowed down my pace BECAUSE the bike didn't inspire confidence like the K12S does.

I'm not a "Glory Days" former track racer like many of the Microsoft Word Wonders in the magazine industry, but I wonder if this duolever system is so technologically advanced that the so called experts can't embrace it because it is so different. Afterall, when folks buy a car, do they expect leaf springs or independent strut suspension? You might argue that all the jolts and bumps you feel in an old Ford truck give you a better feel for the road than in the smooth riding suspension of a BMW 7-series car.

I was happy to return the ST and get my K12S back. The duolever system felt unflappable and rock solid on the way home. Just the way I like it!
While I have not purchased a K1200S yet, I will say I have thouroughly enjoyed my 2 test rides I have had on the bike. I really like the way you can see the upper link of the Duolever working over time....while it is not being transmitted to your hands.
 

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Personally, I'm not sensitive enough to actually feel thinks like linkage elements working, etc... I just know how the suspension feels over a variety of road surfaces, braking, and going in to, rolling through, and exiting corners. The K12S's duolever feels great - it's a bit like driving a rear wheel drive car with electronic traction/stability control, though. What I mean is that it's doing something on behalf of the rider, kind of like ABS. Does the Duolever take some control away from the rider and place it in the trust of the bike's mechanicals? I can't say for sure.

Now in a track situation, we know that racers don't use things like ABS, traction control (for cars), and automatic transmissions; but that doesn't mean that those things aren't better in real world scenarios than their "manual" counterparts. Even the best drivers in real world scenarios can probably benefit from technology substitution for manual controls, because of the lack of environmental controls. However, in a perfectly controlled track environment, with an expert rider, those things may or may not improve performance while they certainly add mechanical complication, weight, etc...

With respect to Duolever vs. Telelever, I have bikes with both now, and the Duolever is definitely the superior setup, IMHO. Telelever always felt like a bit of a compromise to me, what with the remnants of conventional forks, etc... It definitely doesn't enter corners as fluently as Duolever, doesn't eliminate brake dive as much, and doesn't allow as much in-corner braking. To me, Duolever is superior in all regards (except maybe weight?).

Here's another question to ponder: why did BMW ditch the Telelever in exchange for conventional style forks (albeit inverted) on the HP2? I know that many of the Tele/Duo-levers' advantages are with respect to street riding, so what does the switch to regular forks say about the R1200GS's balance of street vs. dirt competency?
 

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feedback

Thank you gentlemen I do enjoy reading this type of feed back. The system should feed back all you need to know without adding 'noise'.
One point though I must raise my versions were always lighter than their competition by a considerable margin. The average 500cc single back in the 80's weighed over 250 lbs. while mine weighed weighed 220 lbs. My K100 was about 12 Kg lighter tan standard.

Norman Hossack
 

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Is this reply really authored by Norman Hossack? Seems like it could be genuine.

Among other things, Mr. Hossack is credited with designing a square piston engine.

How strange is that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you!

Hossack said:
Thank you gentlemen I do enjoy reading this type of feed back. The system should feed back all you need to know without adding 'noise'.
One point though I must raise my versions were always lighter than their competition by a considerable margin. The average 500cc single back in the 80's weighed over 250 lbs. while mine weighed weighed 220 lbs. My K100 was about 12 Kg lighter tan standard.

Norman Hossack

No, thank you sir, for developing such a fine suspension. This BMW version of your work is truly a pleasure to use each day.
 

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MadMax said:
Just some thoughts on the frequent criticism of the "disconnected feeling" of the K12S duolever system.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride a new R1200ST while my K12S was being serviced. I rode it on a 200+ mile trip on the twisty roads via the back side of Ventura County, CA.

The first thing I noticed about the ST is that the handlebars vibrated so badly that I thought there was a bearing loose on the front end. Then I realized that after putting in more than 12k miles on the K12S, I've become accustomed to the rock solid "feel" of the duolever system.

I've read the comments where folks want to feel the nuances of the road so they can tell when the front end is getting funky on them. Well I had the opposite feeling. I was alarmed at all the "feedback" because I had forgotten how it felt.

On the ST, I hammered it hard into the 15 and 20 MPH caution sign turns on Hwy. 33 and Lockwood Valley Road. Although it is a nice handling machine, the road imperfections were constantly jolting me through the handlbars. The bike felt less than rock solid to me and I noticed that I slowed down my pace BECAUSE the bike didn't inspire confidence like the K12S does.

I'm not a "Glory Days" former track racer like many of the Microsoft Word Wonders in the magazine industry, but I wonder if this duolever system is so technologically advanced that the so called experts can't embrace it because it is so different. Afterall, when folks buy a car, do they expect leaf springs or independent strut suspension? You might argue that all the jolts and bumps you feel in an old Ford truck give you a better feel for the road than in the smooth riding suspension of a BMW 7-series car.

I was happy to return the ST and get my K12S back. The duolever system felt unflappable and rock solid on the way home. Just the way I like it!
I really think you are on to something here. I've hardly put any miles on my S at all (it's new) and it is the most comfortable bike I've used on street twisties, going quickly. And the word is confidence. It felt undisturbed by road imperfections, braking and throttle inputs. My most recent road bike was a 12GS, which can be ridden very quickly in the twisties. The S inspires more confidence which makes me better, faster, safer and adds to the fun.

My track bike has a conventional suspension (much upgraded) and the S has a similar planted feeling dealing with real world roads as the 600 does on the track. Neat.

I'm not saying the S is better for the track than my 600, but it is pure fun on the road.

Can't wait for the weekend.
 

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Is this reply really authored by Norman Hossack? Seems like it could be genuine.
Absolutely! Mr. Hossack honored us at i-bmw.com and has made the trip to k-bikes.com!

Kind of cool to be able to post to the inventor isn't it?? :) :) :)

Randy
 

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I wonder if Mr. Hossack has ridden the K12S? What are your impressions?

If he has not ridden the bike, I extend an invitation to him if he is ever in my area.

Of course, fair warning. Mine has no steering damper!!
 

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The main reason the HP2 has conventional forks at the pointy end is long travel. The telelever and duolever are somewhat limited in the amount of travel they can offer.

Cheers
Trevor
 

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MadMax said:
The first thing I noticed about the ST is that the handlebars vibrated so badly that I thought there was a bearing loose on the front end. Then I realized that after putting in more than 12k miles on the K12S, I've become accustomed to the rock solid "feel" of the duolever system.

I've read the comments where folks want to feel the nuances of the road so they can tell when the front end is getting funky on them. Well I had the opposite feeling. I was alarmed at all the "feedback" because I had forgotten how it felt.

On the ST, I hammered it hard into the 15 and 20 MPH caution sign turns on Hwy. 33 and Lockwood Valley Road. Although it is a nice handling machine, the road imperfections were constantly jolting me through the handlbars. The bike felt less than rock solid to me and I noticed that I slowed down my pace BECAUSE the bike didn't inspire confidence like the K12S does.
Bob,

Interesting occupation, your flying helicopters! Combined with the K-S, you might say you can literally fly vertical and horizontal. <g>

We have both the ST and the K-S. The ST is primarily my wife's ride, but I continually make the same comparisons between the two bikes in the twisties that you have.

Over the months we've had both some conclusions have crossed my mind between the two.

Most of what follows has to do with the very different approach to the front suspension. The Hossack (duo-lever) has the distinct advantage of being a "twin, albeit horizontal - there's that word again) wishbone suspension; while the telelever is a "single", but larger wishbone set-up. Over the rougher, chip seal roads I travel here in the boonies, it's clear that the K-S derives quite a bit of advantage in that the two wishbones (levers) do an amazing job of completely eliminating any right and/or left deflection. This allowed the BMW engineers the luxury of including a little "give" (less anti-dive) so that the front end of the bike is more compliant than the ST over the same roads leaned into the same turns at the same speeds.

Here's the difference on the ST: BMW wanted, for whatever reason, to proivde this bike with a quantum of sporting performance higher than it's immediate predecessor, the R-RS. In doing so they gave the bike 100% anti-dive - ironically the same as on the K-RS/GT. And, did you know the ST has significantly beefier forks than does the R12RT? Yes, the ST has 41 mm forks compared to the more touring orient RT that has 35 mm forks. Basically what this all achieves, is a stable, flat platform when going thru a high speed turn; but yes, it's better on smooth rather than rough tarmac! At least compared to the K-S.

But, and here's the ringer in the ointment for me. The ST also has a shorter wheelbase than the K-S and is some 40 lbs lighter. What happens here, at least for me, is a much easier (read fun) bike to take the twisites at speeds up to 50 mph than the K-S (this is noticable, but not huge). Going 60 or 70 over the same turns with the K-S, at this relatively higher speeds, on chip seal gives a more planted feel and provides more confidence. Finally, I think BMW gave the K-S more high-speed confidence since it's, well, a lot faster machine.

I've deliberately left out conversation about low speed handling, but just to incidentally include this: what do you think of the ST vs. the K-S at slow, manuvering speeds up to, say 30 mph? Right; the smoother tranny and the very even low speed fueling make the ST shine once again in this dept.

By the way, I've never felt the level of vibration thru the bars on the ST that you have to ever think anything was acutally loose; maybe I'm just used to the bike. No question the K-S is smoother thru the bars at high speed turns.

This is practice, by the way. As soon as the new R1200S enters the scene with its telelever suspension and very similar front-end "look" to the K-S; this discussion will be elivated to a higher level. <g>

Miles
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Slow speed

Miles,
I'd absolutely agree about the slow speed riding, the ST is easier to ride because of the even fuel delivery, and the engine just isn't as, "snatchy" as the KS at slow speeds.

That's interesting about the forks on the ST vs. the RT. I've read that some say the RT seems to handle just as well as the ST in the corners, despite it's weight disadvantage.

And, may I say, you are a lucky man to have a riding wife and 2 BMWs!
 

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Duolever is the Best Front End ever on a Motorcycle!

I rode my neighbors new 2007 k1200R for about 20 min on back roads and highway. I was dazzled the duoleaver front end. When I ran over an "ouch" manhole cover in the street that my K75 "bangs" over the duoleaver just soaked it up like it wasn't even there. Dive during hard braking dive is practically non-existent.

Smoothness front end on a motorcycle ever. A remarkable achievement. Riding is believing! Next add a grease fitting to eliminate the needless clutch spine lube in the rest of the bmw line.

MadMax - totally agree with the leaf-spring analogy.

Regarding lap times at the track: I read an article where a guy turns almost the same time on his K12 as his gsxr1100. If someone really wants feedback buy a gsxr600. Why do we need buzzing handlebars and a rock- hard race track front forks when riding on the street?

'92 k75s 58K, owned past 5 yrs.

p.s. K1200R & S = Wet Clutch = No clutch-spline to ever lube! (are you listening bmw?)
 

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I pretty much agree with Miles on this. My wife also has an ST which I get to ride after doing any service work. The only vibration I have ever noticed in the bars is from the engine, the normal twin vibe. The ST is just plain fun on twisty roads, but I am sticking with my S.
 

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machew01 said:
peteo,

If you ever need any help working on the ST, I would be willing to assist with the test ride part.


mac
Thanks but no thanks. I would never hear the end of it should anything happen while you were on the bike.
 

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