Aloha from Hawaii - HD convert to BMW
Another one of those old guys who have converted from HDs > BMWs. Luckily the wife gave me the reluctant "go ahead" so I jumped at getting a new 2012 R1200RT the dealer had told me they were ordering back in August, 2011.
Lucky for me nobody bought the bike once it arrived and I happened to stop-by the dealer on my way home from having the rear brake light switch replaced on my 2010 Street Glide as a factory recall item.
Been thinking about the R1200R and RT for a couple years and now I'm glad I made the change!
Looking forward to riding my RT for many years .... actually I HAVE to or the wife is going to kill me.
Opinion of the switch from HD > BMW
[QUOTE=460Jetboat;740391]Not to bash Harleys (I rode them for a lot of years too) but I'd be interested in your opinion of the switch.....Pro & Con![/QUOTE]
WARNING: Long post full of personal opinions, your experiences may vary.
Not bashing either brands, they're different, both fun to ride and let's get on with my impressions so far.
A bit of recent bike history for perspective. Since getting back on two wheels in 2003 after a long 25+ year absence (you know how that goes) I've had a Honda ACE 750 (good re-entry bike), Triumph Sprint RS (love that triple), HD Softail Deluxe, Yamaha FZ-1, Suzuki Bandit, HD Nightster (brutal lack of suspension travel but fun and simple to work on) and the HD Street Glide.
I'm short so that eliminated a lot of bikes for me which is why I've had a few HDs recently, but while the Street Glide was comfortable the bulk, weight, heat, buffeting got to me. Even though I did mods like changing the pipes to get rid of the cat converter which was like a nuclear reactor by your right leg, different windscreens, fork mounted wind deflector, etc. I realized the lack of research & development dollars into effective airflow management wasn't going to cut it.
Plus riding the Street Glide around town was kind of hard work with that long wheelbase and heavy steering, although those big FLs are a lot more nimble than you would think.
I admit the HDs are easy to work on, you can find a ton of parts and accessories online from dealers and fleaBay at reasonable prices.
Two years ago when I first planned to get off the Nightster I had looked at the RT with the lowered suspension and was surprised that the Nightster and RT weighed about the same. The Nightster was just a denser mass of steel compared to the bulkier looking but light RT.
But I got sidetracked when I found a new leftover 2010 Street Glide at a good price so I wanted to get the "bagger" itch out of my system.
I had been considering the Honda VFR1200F now that Honda dropped the price on the brand new leftover 2010s, but the wife actually reminded me that I WANTED a BMW so I should GET a BMW and not fart around with other brands.
That said when I picked up my RT and rode off (and I bought it WITHOUT taking a test ride since they're hard to come by out here, and WITHOUT having ever rode a boxer) I was comfortable and smiling rightaway.
I wanted a more sophisticated ride and knew the RT had it.
Clutch feel was nice and light. Front brakes are light and strong, link brakes don't bother me. Getting used to the small rear brake pedal for tight maneuvers is a little tricky (but pedal enlarger is on the way). Front and rear suspension are great, even in the lowered version which I do not find to be harsh (then again I'm comparing to a Street Glide with a lowered suspension, too).
Low suspension and low seat makes it possible for a short legged guy to ride the RT even though it looks too tall when you walk up to it. When I first sat on one I was surprised I was practically flat footed in street shoes, not even my riding boots.
Of course the frame geometry along with much lighter weight (like 800 pounds v. 570 pounds or so) makes the steering superlight and responsive. Now I am back to just "thinking" where I need to go and the bike follows my mental command.
HD touring guys will talk all day about trying to find the right windscreen since the real problem is caused by airflow up from under the fairing. With the well designed RT fairing all below your hands it channels the airflow very well, plus the windscreen venting allows some airflow to counteract any low pressure buffeting behind the screen.
I usually keep the screen all the way down for max airflow and find the airflow very clean while wearing my various helmets. Today in the middle of rainshowers I just raised it all the way to block the heaviest raindrops.
Stereo? OK the HD touring radio is simple, just like you find in most cars. The BMW one is taking me awhile to figure out even if I read the manual! Today I finally got around to trying it out and I was surprised I could listen to it on the freeway. Much better experience compared to the HD. Has to be the clean airflow and lack of buffeting (I did have the quiet SuperTrapp SuperMeg 2-1 pipe on the Street Glide but it wasn't loud at all).
Quiet bike! Which I find to be a good thing now. I think I'll just leave it alone since I can hear enough of the engine to know what it is doing, plus I don't find any lean surging or glitchy fueling like I've noticed on previous bikes. Again, I think I'll just leave it alone so I can spend $ on comfort farkles.
Transmission, I had been reading how some say it is "clunky" or "agricultural"? Well, compared to a HD transmission the RT shift easily and smoothly for me. Sure other brands may be slicker shifting, but if you polish your technique a bit the boxer shifts slick, too.
On board computer, love it. I needed more info and the HD just lacks it. Even with the touring fairing with a bunch of gauges I find the LCD screen on the RT more useful.
Vibrations, some have said the boxer vibrates too much. Again, coming off a Street Glide which is really smooth at speed, but a paint shaker at idle, the RT has enough vibes in the grips so I know what the bike is doing but not so much that it bothers your hands. The Nightster used to buzz my hands even though it was a rubber-mount and I had installed Ricor Vibranators to cut down the high frequency vibes. Heck, the first time I sat on the Nightster I was laughing because it shook so much it made my vision blur at idle!
My buddy picked up one of those leftover 2010 VFR1200s so one day soon we'll swap bikes and I can see what that V-4 is like. I really wanted to get the earlier generation VFR because that motor just interests me.
The boxer torque is just fine, like it much better than higher revving inline-fours. The Honda V-4 is supposed to be a nice combination of twin torque and inline-four smoothness, so we'll see later.
Thanks for your patience and if you have more questions feel free to PM me.