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Thread: Need opinions from the 1200RT club

  1. #1
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    Need opinions from the 1200RT club

    I will be picking up a new 1200RT in a few months and need some qualified opinions. Should I pick up the offered GPS from the dealer and have them install it or go aftermarket like I did with my Toyota? My stick to the windshield GPS works great and is several thousand cheaper than the Toyota in the dash model.
    Also, want to add extra lights since half of my riding will be at night going home from my second shift job. Again, dealer installed or aftermarket? Saw one BMW on this site with lights on side roll bars and another set near the windshield. Should they be installed by the dealer and would they be hooked up to the high beam switch?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    neanderssance man sedanman's Avatar
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    I took my stick to the windshield gps out of my truck and mounted it to the bike )on a RAM mount). It works ok but I can't hear it so it's visual only. Also, it's NOT waterproof or even water resistant. If I get caught in the rain it has to come off and go in the saddlebag.
    Paul
    "Friends don't let friends ride junk!"
    2011 R1200RT

  3. #3
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickticket View Post
    I will be picking up a new 1200RT in a few months and need some qualified opinions. Should I pick up the offered GPS from the dealer and have them install it or go aftermarket like I did with my Toyota? My stick to the windshield GPS works great and is several thousand cheaper than the Toyota in the dash model.
    Also, want to add extra lights since half of my riding will be at night going home from my second shift job. Again, dealer installed or aftermarket? Saw one BMW on this site with lights on side roll bars and another set near the windshield. Should they be installed by the dealer and would they be hooked up to the high beam switch?
    Thanks
    Both projects, and probably doing many future additions, depend on your comfort with working on the bike yourself. You'll need to get acquainted with the bike's unique Canbus electrical system and you'll need to learn how to strip the tupperware off the bike to run wires. The easy way to set-up the bike to accept additional electrical items is to add a fuse block. There are many posts about doing these sort of things on this and other forums. So it is up to you, and you alone, to determine if you want to do the work yourself or pay someone else to do it.
    Kevin Huddy
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    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  4. #4
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    My answer is lights, no. BMW stuff is overpriced and the aftermarket holds superb choices these days- but you need to know exactly what you want to do- there is no single light design that does everything. Generally, getting lows optimized with a supplement is the most important. Few folks use their driving lights all that often due to traffic. My bike mounts all possible type light upgrades and uses halogen driving lights (but has HID lows with LED supplement) rather than HID so they can be tied into high beam switch for simple ergos.

    Re the gps- its more of a toss. There are some cheaper true waterproof motorcycle GPS in the aftermarket but each gives up a little capabilty. For example, my SOs Garmin 220 stores very few routes and gives up some of the features of higher end Zumos but works fine for most stuff. I would not use a non-motorcycle gps thats not weatherproof though it is possible if you want to put up with its limitations.

    FWIW, I find the majority of owners do really really crappy wiring. Loose, unloomed wires run helter skelter all over the bike. Caused by being too lazy to get materials organized, pull panels and route wires well, plan for non-interference with service and repairs, no or wrong fuses, etc...I bought an 06 K-GT a while ago and job one was to strip out an autocom and fuse panel install the looked like it was intended as a nest for chipmunks. If you're going to do it yourself, learn the bike layout and do it right. Bike ridden in the rain or offroad can be pretty hard on bad work and you sure don't want a short in an unfused addition burning your bike up.

  5. #5
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    I've done CB, radio and other installations but that was years ago, before all the computers.
    I really don't want to mess with the electronics and fry a board.
    Ok, so the BMW GPS is good.
    What light brands are recommended? Also, the dealer said that he normally hard wired the extra lights so that they are on all the time. I'm thinking that they should be hooked to the high beam switch so I don't blind other drivers.
    Thoughts???

  6. #6
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    I don't want my extra lights on all the time.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  7. #7
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickticket View Post
    Should I pick up the offered GPS from the dealer and have them install it or go aftermarket like I did with my Toyota?
    The BMW Nav IV is basically a Zumo 660 with a few minor differences.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  8. #8
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    The BMW Nav IV is basically a Zumo 660 with a few minor differences.
    Yes, and no.. (I have the 660, and I've owned earlier BMW Navigators..)

    The big differences between the 660 and the BMW NAV-IV are:

    660 - 1 year warranty. NAV-IV - 3 year warranty. While the 660 isn't known to be unreliable, if you get a bad one, the extra 2 years could be very nice to have.

    660 - plain mount, hardwire audio input/output on the side of the GPS and on the cable. Need to wire it into either the battery, an auxiliary fuse-box or the existing pre-wire GPS connection using a "repair connector" from BMW. In any case - the installation is more complex then BMWs, and it only comes with handlebar mounts. Most people end up buying the base BMW GPS mount (which the cradle bolts up to) for their model.

    NAV-IV, specialized mount with 4 buttons, and hardwire audio output only via the cradle, no audio input (microphone) except via BlueTooth. Comes prewired for the bike, it's basically plug and play (very easy installation. If you can plug a lamp in, you can install the NAV-IV on any prewired BMW.) You still have to purchase the base GPS mount - so that is not a saving over the 660.

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=43271 - good comparison thread.

    BTW - both share the same software/hardware bug of not recognizing the MP3 files on a miniSD card. Lots about this on several Garmin forums. No one seems to know if this is a hardware (bad miniSD receptacle) or software related. There are arguments for both. It's an annoyance if you want to listen to streaming MP3's on the GPS.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    I would actually be happy with the NAV-IV if it didn't cost so much. Having the buttons does make a very nice difference when operating the GPS with gloves on. If you don't have very thin gloves on, using the on-screen buttons on the 660 is point and hope. That can be a distraction.

    The one function I used on the earlier Navigators was the zoom in/out buttons. Used these all the time to move from detailed views (like when riding really tight twisties - it's amazing how much easier knowing what the road does ahead makes this..) or out to get overall route views.

    Audio via Bluetooth is the way to go with either of the units IMHO. No wires tethering you to the bike, and if you use something like a Scala or the Schuberth SRC - no wires going to earplugs in your ears. The volume of these units used with the 660 (and I'd assume the NAV-IV) is enough that they can be used with custom earplugs under a Schuberth helmet.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A few additional thoughts:

    1. BOTH are really waterproof. This adds a lot of value to them IMHO since when it's wet out and visibility is impaired is when a GPS guiding you along (with audio so you don't have to look at it) is worth it's weight in gold.

    2. Resale value of both is excellent - with the BMW Navigator series generally bringing a real premium. I've watched numerous NAV-IV's sell on Ebay for more then a brand new 660 would cost. The 660's also go for about 80% of original price, again, excellent value and actually pretty low cost if you tend to want the newest and greatest.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  9. #9
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickticket View Post
    What light brands are recommended? Also, the dealer said that he normally hard wired the extra lights so that they are on all the time. I'm thinking that they should be hooked to the high beam switch so I don't blind other drivers.
    Thoughts???
    Depends on the lights. There are lights which are primarily made for conspicuity (lights so people SEE you..) These you want on pretty much whenever the engine is running. There are other lights used to enhance the night riding experience (making daylight out of night.) These are better switched somehow, either with the high beam, or at least with a separate switch.

    As far as brands - I'm a big fan of Hella FF50's - excellent output and beam quality, and build quality at a very reasonable price. They aren't motorcycle specific, so some wiring skill and usually an aftermarket mount is needed to install them. There are other brands of lights (generally more expensive) that come with model specific motorcycle mounts and wiring. More or less your choice on what you want the light to accomplish.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  10. #10
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    My need for added lights if more for the added coverage at night. I really want to see those deer!!
    How about some recommendations on these types of lights. What have you added to your bike to really cover the darkness??
    BTW, I am a CNC programer/operator and can work on the machines but am very reluctant to work on a new cycle. I need a light system I can hand the dealer and say "add this please".

  11. #11
    RAINEY 187132's Avatar
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    I have no complaints for the BMW Nav IV that I had the dealer install. Yes it is a Garmin but I like the over all functionality of the Nav IV. I also really like the way the dealer installed it. Get a dealer that will work with you on the price and pay them to install it. Just the time and frustration made it easy to pay for them to do it.
    Jason
    Grand rapids, MI
    2012 BMW R1200RT

  12. #12
    Registered User apexal's Avatar
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    I guess that I was lucky. I got a "free" BMW Nav IV when I bought my RT last August. The dealer only charged $40 to install it and I couldn't be happier. It's a really neat installation and a very nice GPS.
    Dover, NH

    2014 BMW R1200GS Racing Red

  13. #13
    RAINEY 187132's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apexal View Post
    I guess that I was lucky. I got a "free" BMW Nav IV when I bought my RT last August. The dealer only charged $40 to install it and I couldn't be happier. It's a really neat installation and a very nice GPS.
    I bought my RT in August while that promo was running. I asked for the amount to be knocked off the price of the bike and they can keep the GPS. Well later I decided I wanted the GPS and bought the same one that BMW sent for my bike.

    You will be very happy with the unit. However, the base camp software for your computer needs a little help
    Jason
    Grand rapids, MI
    2012 BMW R1200RT

  14. #14
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Smile

    My advice is to go with a RAM-mounted Garmin 660.

    Have it hard-wired into the bike for power, but have it set as 'switched' power, so when the bike is off, so is the GPS. On AUX, you can still power up the GPS for access/route modification.

    For lights, the Denali's from Twisted Throttle are hard to beat for brightness without getting too high in the Kelvin scale (6,000 and up gets too hot and too blue - results in less distance/penetration), yet compact to mount (again, 'switched' power) and stylish to boot.

    Good Luck!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  15. #15
    jrk6982@gmail.com
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    Gps

    I bought a R1200RT this spring. It was before the summer promo of free GPS on all BMW bikes between June-August. I researched putting on my own. I found very useful info on the RKA luggage website. He has some interesting mounting options. He also believes GPS units will be replaced by smartphones. He has interesting options for that too. After 4000 miles I traded the R12 for a K16. The BMW GPS is out of the question for the price. I live in Minnesota and riding is ending soon. I will look into mounting my Iphone 5 in the spring. Good Luck

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