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Topic: '15 R1200RT after-action comments  (Read 3426 times)

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RBEmerson
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« on: July 12, 2016, 06:10:17 pm »

After spending a week riding an RT in the Alps (see Ride Report), not a chance I'd buy one. Why?

Handling was good anywhere from a walk to above 90 MPH. Torque was downright scary - I lifted the front wheel at least three times. Mileage (who counts mileage?) is good, but, more importantly, the bike has long legs (distance between refills). Altitude ranged from about 2200 feet to about 9000 feet. The bike never obviously ran out of breath. I liked the ergos for the most part, even after about 8 hours of riding in a day. But...

No matter what speed I ran the motor at (typically no less than 3K), from clutch-slipping slow hairpin turns to cruising at about 80, the thing buzzed big time. That alone is a deal breaker. Shifting was painfully clunky, and shifting a lot was needed to keep the motor above 3K.

The computer controls suck. It was too easy to get to places, in the menus on the dashboard, that either were unwanted or mystifying. Getting to the wanted stuff usually required a lot of button pushing and control ring twisting. The throttle/suspension mode switch is far close to the "lock the saddle bags" button. Fumbling around for the mode switch, I bumped the lockout button and then couldn't figure out why the bags wouldn't unlock. Doh...

The "step on this" bit of the side stand is immediately adjacent to the shifter. Stomp on the wrong thing and the bike is back in gear. With no interlock (the side stand isn't down), there's nothing to keep the bike from taking off and/or dumping. The one time I hit the wrong thing I had a hard grip on the front brake - no damage done. Finding the thing to retract it is a challenge - it's now way, way too far forward to get to easily.

The center stand is ridiculous. Setting it takes secret knowledge known only to Zen masters. Once the bike's on the stand (thanks to a Zen master) there's no lockout to keep the motor from running in gear while the bike's on the stand. I know. The same Zen master moved the bike, left it in first, and put it on the center stand. It was very exciting to hear the rear wheel spinning away on the stand. Gee, let's shift my weight way back, drop the rear wheel, and see what happens. I don't think so.

In 80F + weather and slow traffic, the thermometer (or the stack of bars - no indication of the engine temperature) climbed well up toward the top of the scale. That can't be good. The gas bar gauge doesn't change until the bike has moved for a bit. That makes trying to fill the tank less than full by intent darn near impossible.

The bike didn't really let me down, but it demanded too much effort to keep the motor happy, the motor buzzed, and the computer controls suck. In short, no sale.
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littlefield
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2016, 08:29:30 pm »

As a 2014 R1200RTW owner I can relate to some of the comments. Why BMW can't manage a slick shifting transmission is beyond me. A little preload on the shifter helps. Folks with the shift assist report it works well. Always wanted to add it to my bike but for $600, no.
Other than that........ I like the menu and wonder wheel electronics. Once you get use to it things are easy find. Don't do much fiddling when riding the twisties. Ditto the center stand, works okay for me.
It is a dense, heavy bike. Lots of stuff. More computers than cylinders. The ESA works well, electric windscreen as well. Should for $21k. I didn't care for the seat, got Seth Laam to modify it.
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RBEmerson
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2016, 11:28:07 am »

I've tested the "no clutch" shifting (beats me what its official name is). Going up went well. Going down is... you've gotta be kidding. The throttle has to be 100% closed before going down a gear. Dropping a cog or two at WOT is kinda a good way to watch the rear wheel do exciting things, but at somewhere around 1/4 throttle or less, not so much. Anyway, you've gotta be kidding, BMW.

The ESA (if that's the name for rain/road/dyna modes) changed well enough, but some days I don't want a marshmallow ride with a rainy day throttle, or a bone shaking ride with the dyna throttle (which, at the bottom of the range, did too much "now it's on / now it's off").

BMW, in four wheel products, uses a "wonder wheel" equivalent (introduced as the I-Control - how very original...  Rolleyes). IMNSHO it's an accident waiting to happen. It demands eyes in the cockpit far too much. On the bike, the displays I'd like to flip through the most, air temp, tire pressure, fuel consumption, take far too much effort to change. I'm undecided about the digital speedo. The clocks are a challenge to read in detail. For the speedo, the digital display helps. But... while changing down for a hairpin, I'd see the flickering digits (as speed dropped) and think something was wrong on the bike. Usually it's idiot lights that blink to convey really bad news. Or I thought I was getting a light glint from something behind me. Either way, it was distracting, even after three - four days.

The electric screen is v. cool but... AFAIK, when the key is turned off and turned on later, the windshield doesn't come back to the last setting. It's a small point but one that shouldn't have been missed.

After having the bike land on my foot, I can confirm it's heavy. Not having dropped the bike into a lake, I can't speak to its density. I predict, however, it'd probably drop like... like a heavy motorcycle with parts crowded into a smallish volume. Glub, glub, glub...  Lol
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PatM
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2016, 01:51:03 pm »

The RTW does need some getting acquainted time. As in putt-putting around town.  
On a mountain tour, with all these electronic options, I can understand you didn't get it.

No clutch is Gear Shift Assist Pro. +1 on that. It's not worth it.

ESA is just the electronic semi active suspension. The dynamic package adds different settings to the suspension, ABS, traction control and throttle.
By default in RAIN mode, it reduces the power, the throttle gets less sensitive, ABS reacts quickly, traction control prevents slipping and the suspension is set to soft. You can manually reset the suspension to NORMAL. The same is true with Dynamic mode. You can reset to NORMAL suspension and still have Dynamic throttle, traction control and ABS.

The windshield does come back to its setting after a restart. You must be moving for that to happen. As in about 20 feet. Mine does.

It is an heavy bike when compared to smaller sport bikes like your RS. It all depends on what you compare it with. In its class, it's one of the lightest compared to a Concours 14, FJR, Honda ST, etc. Compare it to its big sisters the K16s or a Goldwing, it's pretty light.  Smile

Thanks for your comments.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2016, 01:54:25 pm by PatM » Logged

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RBEmerson
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2016, 03:52:32 pm »

The windshield may well return on its own on a healthy bike. Although it only had 30000 km (18,000 miles) on it, I'm sure they were hard miles. The right saddle bag shows scrapes and the right mirror took a hit before I got to it. A non-RT owner like me wouldn't recognize something was wrong and report it to the techs.

Remember I did putt-putt around town (sic) thanks to Hermy's. I didn't like the wonder wheel then, and I darn sure didn't like it later. It's a sign of how complex the suspension options are (e.g., selecting rain throttle, road suspension) that I couldn't find them even with a manual (OK, in PDF form on my Samsung S5) in front of me. And the choice between air temp, tire pressure, etc. was equally as obscure. Bad as the mono-control is in a BMW car, IMNSHO it's nearly lethal on a bike because of the eyes-down time needed to accomplish the task. Fail.

The weight wasn't objectionable (except on my foot - it was the cylinder guards that nicely localized the weight). The RS isn't exactly a feather-weight bike, either. Unfortunately. No surprise with the six cylinder, loaded K1600GT. But I can roll into a stop at a slow walk and still not have to put a foot down (both feet on the pegs, BTW) with the RT, RS, and K1600. Where weight does show up is in footing the bike backwards or frontwards against any grade. On that point they all flunk.

As I said, the buzz is the real deal breaker. After covering a mere 150 - 200 miles (+/-), it and the mandatory "gear jamming" were tiring and annoying. The computer can essentially be ignored. The mode options can be lived with. But why pay $20K for a bike that I have to ignore no small amount of what I'm paying for? Fail and fail again.
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RBEmerson
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2016, 09:07:05 am »

OK, haters gotta hate and all that.  Bigsmile

My K1200RS was left at Hermy's (failed low fluid sensor on the rear brake reservoir). They loaned me a F650GS. The power band on this bike was wider, and shook or buzzed far less. Being a naked bike, I wouldn't care to do extended touring on it. However, it's a 50+ mile ride between home and Hermy's (yes, they're worth the ride) and the ride wasn't too wearing other than the seat... it makes a good argument for standing on the pegs. A lot.

I'd put extenders on the rear brake pedal and shifter. They're too close to the motor/frame for my Combat Lite boots.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 11:47:41 am by RBEmerson » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2016, 10:25:46 am »

I think bikes are getting WAY too complicated now.
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RBEmerson
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2016, 08:48:14 am »

LOL It's a measure of the state of things that I can't think of a modern (whatever that means) bike a) with a kickstarter and b) able to "bump start" if the battery starts to fade. Versus, for example, the good old days of Triumphs with a built in oil check (no leak = no oil), a kick starter, and no battery, just a whacking great capacitor sold as a "battery eliminator".
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 09:19:13 pm »

I just picked up this bike like a week ago and I love it. Took some getting used to finding the various things in the computer but once I figured it all out and tweaked it to the settings I like I don't see myself making many changes anyway, especially on the fly. I've to the gear assist pro shift or what the heck they call it and it's something I didn't think I'd like or use but it was already on the bike I was buying, in fact all the bikes on the showroom floor. Turns out, I love it. It's only really great from 3 -4-5-6 and back down and it takes a little getting used to the best rpms to work smoothly but once I figured that out I really love it. More for upshifting than down but it's still great.

I'm coming off a Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide Custom, or 900 plus pounds of behemoth! So the RT feels like a freaking scooter to me! The seat is fine. No problems with the side stand. I guess coming from a completely different bike I don't know any better. I'm short but I have no problem getting the kickstand up or down. And my kickstand does have an interlock so no issues with that for me.

I changed out the windshield and also added a few more things but overall I've been blown away by this bike. 40 years of riding and ridden most everything. Rode the R1200C several years back before going over to the HD's for a few years. Test rode the RT in 2012 and hated it. Test rode it again a few weeks ago and loved it so much I sold the HD and bought it.
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RBEmerson
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2016, 09:39:56 am »

Truly, I give joy of your new bike. I think you'll find it's got the long legs for extended touringwithout being tiring, if you're good with the feel of the motor. The clutchless shifting, which I demoed, is a mixed blessing. Going up through the gears, if you want the ride of your life, you can go to WOT and bang through the gears without missing a shift. That part's awesome. It took me a bit to figure out downshifting, and here I'm not so impressed. Clutchless downshifting is locked out except with a totally closed throttle. I wasn't briefed on the feature before I left on my ride, so I had to figure out the rules as I rode. Going up, as I said, was easy-peasy. Coming down was sometimes yes, sometimes no. It wasn't until I woke up to needing closed throttle to shift, that I could try the whole package. Downshifting into a closed throttle is, in many cases, not a good thing. Pop down a gear sooner than conditions warrant, and it won't be a comfortable moment.

One other thing to watch for. Dumping the clutch at somewhere around 4K in first can lift the front wheel. Not just "go light" but really lift the wheel. I've never seen another RT do it so I don't know how far up it comes, but I can tell you for a fact the bars are as loose as when the bike's on its center stand and the rear wheel is on the ground.  EEK! Weight forward is a good thing. OTOH, once you're rolling and you need to get around a car yesterday, put your hand into the throttle and hold on, 'cause you're gonna be moving in a distinct hurry fast.

If you can get the computer to do it, I'd spend some time with the rain throttle setting and the road suspension setting. The rain suspension setting is IMHO a little too marshmallowy. The dyna throttle setting, at least on the RT I rode in Austria, had a distinct on/off feel at the bottom of the throttle. This becomes a problem in doing u-turns at very low speeds (very quickly, the move is to get the bike rolling with very little throttle, dragging the rear brake and feathering the clutch to hold a consistent road speed, shifting your weight to the outside of the bike to increase lean and thus closing the turning radius way down - done right, a u-turn in a standard width road is simple). The problem is trying to manage a constant motor speed with the throttle doing "now I'm on, now I'm not". Road or rain don't do this.

Again, enjoy your ride!  Thumbsup
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RBEmerson
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2016, 07:15:51 pm »

The RS is back in the shop. It looks as though the ABS module has tanked again. At least this will be a warranty job. But it's the loaner that prompts this note.

At my request, I'm back on an RT It's robably '08 or '09 - even the dealer doesn't remember and the bike's paperwork is taped to the back of the license plate. There's 52K on the clock. It's lightly farkled, and has an after-market muffler. The farkles are minor. The muffler is a two-wheel version of a fart can. It's obnoxious, it backfires like a Harley, and generally is any teenage boy's idea of fun.  Thumbsdown Thumbsdown

SPOILER ALERT: I'm very much enjoying the bike. I chased it through a set of hairpins along with the usual mix of stuff found in hilly areas. The bike did well and, since then, we've become very good friends.

Getting over the motor thing, compared to the '15, this motor is still not a turbine, but the vibration is nowhere as intrusive as it was with the 15. I now get why some people say this is The Motor for them.

But...getting under way from a standing start is a near "OMG am I about to stall this thing" or "wind it up and drop the hammer" moment. Once up to 3K, things improve markedly. Unlike the '15, this bike doesn't seem to have an urge to lift the front tire (works for me). Keeping the bike at or above 3K, it's certainly got enough meat for one up. Two up would probably take the edge off the motor. There is something to be said for the '15's horsepower and torque.

This bike has ESA. What I didn't get is it can't be changed on the fly. Stop, push the ESA button, and ride on in the new mode. Works for me. On the fly would be better, but I can cope.

The clocks are OK. I think the speedo is optimistic but, without a GPS speedo, I don't know for sure. I'd still like to see waving needles for oil and temp, but BMW didn't see it that way. End of story.

One thing that I really don't like is the seat height. I can flatfoot the bike, but I don't have the same certainty I'm planted I get from my RS, for example. IIRC the '15 is lower. At least I don't remember being particularly worried about keeping the bike up at stop signs. The same overall height probably means a higher CG. which isn't my first choice for negotiating non-straight road.

While I wouldn't buy one these RT's, I'm enjoying it no end while I wait for the RS to come back from the shop. And that's something I expected to happen.


ADDED: A VIN check shows this is an '09 RT (01/2009).
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 06:08:17 pm by RBEmerson » Logged

It's taken me entirely too long to develop a sense of patience.
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