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Thread: Day-to-day life with the wethead

  1. #61
    Registered User hooykaas's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 20,000 km on bike

    Just got back from my trans-continental ride on the new bike from the east coast to the Lunatic Fringe Rally in Alberta, the Gypsy Tour out of Leavenworth down to Salem and then down the PCH/Continental Divide to the Mexico border then through the scorching heat of Arizona back to Ontario. These are my observations:

    The Tourance Next rear lasted me 18,000 km until I was forced to swap it out with my old used Shinko 150 rear that I had been carrying along with me as I new the proper NEXT was unobtainium at present. I replaced the rear at No-Mar in St Louis and find that the narrower dimension rear off my old 1150 GSA will fit and work on the bike properly and falls within spec tolerances for the wider rim. The traction, ABS, and Dynamic ESA appear to be unaffected. There is no slip or other adverse reaction from riding with the narrower tire. The only issue may be that the rim itself is ever so close to the width of the tire is elf as opposed to 20 mm within the widest part of the tire with the 170 NEXT, leading to the possibility of a rock or chuck hole touching the rim. WHY ON EARTH WOULD THE TIRE COMPANIES NOT HAVE RAMPED UP PRODUCTION OF THESE TO MEET MARKET DEMAND?

    While talking about the rear wheel, it is nice that you no longer have to remove the caliper when pulling the rear wheel. Just lay the bike down on the left side undo the 5 Torx bolts and off she comes, eezy-peezy. On and off is a snap, no more centering pin., no muffler to remove. It even comes off with my Meta Mule bags on the bike.

    The Metal Mule panniers are amazing, the held up flawlessly for the entire ride, not any dust penetration and not any moisture, not even condensation on the muffler side as I had with my former Jesse bags, which after having used those for many years with no real issues, I would now say there is a new King of the Hill in saddle bags. The Metal Mules set a new standard for the non-sacrificial bag manufacturers to ramp up to.

    The 5W40 oil can be hard to find, although I did find a single jug of it at a Walmart in Salem and did my own oil change at the rally. Surprise for some reason the drain plug is now an Allen 10 instead of an 8 as they have used for years. Of course I never had need to carry such a large key and had to do a bit of searching before I found someone who had one of these. Then I find that they are now using a larger crush washer, and I only brought extras off my 1150, so I had to reuse the old one by turning it over. There were no dealers at the rally so I did he oil change alone but not filter change. Later I found Wunderlich had a few filters in their truck so I bought a Mahle one from them for $15. The nice thing about the current placement of the filter on the side of the engine is that I was able to change the filter without affecting the oil change, I just laid the bike down on the right side jug spun the filter off and spun a new one on. Only the residual in the old filter was lost. There is also enough room there to put on a larger 1150 spec filter if you have any laying around as it will give about twice the filtering capacity.

    The OEM factory crash guards leave the valve covers vulnerable, because I noticed that when laid on the bars, the valve cover is almost touching the ground. Lay the bike down on gravel and surely the cover will be holed or at least damaged. The OEM crashbars suck, recommend the really beefy Altrider bars that are just coming to market.

    As Ian said the bike is certainly a highway destroyer, I rode mine in all kinds of conditions from long 800 mile days in 110F temps to knarly trails along the BDR in Washington and Oregon. The temp gauge always remained with a 3 degree celsius range of 85C. the fan would kick in on a regular basis and can be heard at idle. The heat from the rad blows back and away from the legs, so heat is a non-issue on this bike, for either the bike or the rider. The bike will cruise all day near the triple digest and not miss a beat.

    I can honestly say that the rocket scientists at BMW certainly did their R&D well with this puppy. In the nearly 13,000 miles I have put on this bike in the last two months, not a singe thing, I mean NOTHING has gone wrong, missed a beat or even needs any adjustment. This is amazing for a first year production bike that has been ridden fairly hard.

    Cruise control is a dream and I too found it a bit abrupt until I read the owners manual again and found out how to properly use the thing. I find that if you simply flick the cruise button back or forward one click at a time it will increase or decrease your speed in 2 km/h increments as you come upon a slower car ahead. If you hold it it will increase or decrease the speed incrementally. I think the cruise may be the best innovation on the bike.

    Riding modes are there and were raved about, but frankly I don't see much of a difference. I have tried the dynamic, road, rain and enduro settings. I would save my money next time and do without those as they seem to be just a gimmick IMHO.

    The OEM large BMW tank bag works very well, is waterproof and the large window will hold an iPad and even allows you to control the screen through the plastic, it has a touch compliant surface. Using the OEM tank bag never created any kill switch issues as Ian discovered. It pays to sometimes get OEM accessories as you know they will be properly designed for the bike.

    The adjustable windscreen is a joke, flimsy and just waiting to be busted off. The adjustments make little to no difference for me. Again, the could have save us money by not designing such a fancy adjustment mechanism. However, the small screen itself does perform remarkable well for its size. I see no need to get an aftermarket screen.

    I ordered an OEM headlight protector for the $$$ LED headlight, and that works really well, it is quick detachable clear Lexan and follows the exact angle of the shield itself. This OEM part is hard to find and the dealer will have to look hard to even find it in his list of options for the bike. Mine is the only one I have yet to see. I knew about it from being at the model unveiling at Intermot in Cologne in October. Do not get one of those metal wire ones that look cool but do nothing to prevent stones from hitting the LED glass.

    The bike is too low for me. I am 6'2" tall with a 32" inseam and my 1150 GSA fit like a glove, but this bke is much lower with the stock seat, even with it at the highest setting. My feet sit flat on the ground, but my knees are bent way too much when riding. Either the pegs need to be lowered or I need a higher seat. There is a higher seat option for the bike but that will be a pricey way to go obviously. If only I had known I could have ordered the higher seat at the outset for no charge.

    The rear seat and grab handle are in the way. I can't wait for Jeremy at Altrider to get his rear seat replacement rack into production so I can toss the rear seat and grab handle and properly mount my Rotopax in its place to have a proper plat mounting surface between the panniers.

    A far as dealers doing the servicing, I spent $25 for 4 liters of synthetic for the bike and $15 for a filter for a total of $40 for an oil change. Although they don't like to admit it, when I pushed my dealer about warranty issues if I changed the oils myself, he said it would be no problem as long as I had receipts, so after hearing Ian's charges, I will continue to do my own service on the bike.

    Lastly, and this is a big $$$ saver, the bike will run fine on regular 87 octane fuel, even mentions this as an Alternative fuel on the back page of the owners manual! In heading west along backroads, premium was a bit harder to find, so was forced to use regular grade and amazingly found that the bike ran exactly as it did on premium, no knock, no hesitation and no drop in fuel milage. I raised this with the National Service manager at the technical discussion In Salem and he said to carry on a use regular if the bike runs fine, it will not harm the bike. Apparently the Motronic has an extra anti-knock valve somewhere to compensate. So for the last 10,000 km I have been putting in regular and will continue to do so, per his advice and my experience.

    So in summary, the bike is amazing, aside from a few small adjustments to suit me, the bike is dialed in from the factory and so far bullet-proof.

    Bill in Canada
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    Last edited by HOOYKAAS; 08-02-2013 at 09:41 PM.
    2013 1200 GS LC
    1974 75/6 since new
    1974 R90S x2, Silver Smoke & Daytona Orange

  2. #62
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOOYKAAS View Post
    The Tourance Next rear lasted me 18,000 km... snip
    We must have extremely different riding styles....

    Cruise control is a dream and I too found it a bit abrupt until I read the owners manual again and found out how to properly use the thing. I find that if you simply flick the cruise button back or forward one click at a time it will increase or decrease your speed in 2 km/h increments as you come upon a slower car ahead. If you hold it it will increase or decrease the speed incrementally.
    Well, that is how all cruise controls work... it just depends on how fast you're approaching slower traffic and how long you wait before adjusting your speed (in hopes that the left-lane-bandit will move out of the way!)

  3. #63
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    In Hells Canyon...

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    I just heard from friends that the August issue of BMW ON has arrived, so I better pipe up!

    My riding since last posting includes:

    • 3-day, 2700 mile ride to Oregon from Atlanta
    • The Aufderhide Byway
    • Exploration of Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
    • An adventure ride along the western slope of Mt. Hood
    • The Blue Mountain Byway in Eastern OR
    • A ride out to Hat Point in Hells Canyon
    • Riding the Lolo Motorway


    ... and some putting around in northwest Montana. I am waiting for a new rear tire because with 4,700 miles, the Metzeler Tourance Next I have isn't going to make it back to Atlanta. Tires are hard to find for this bike... thank goodness I have a place to stay for free while I wait for the tire to make its way to me.

    Observations

    This motorcycle is a highway destroyer... it eats miles and spits them out in its wake. 900 mile days are no big drama, and the cruise control is heaven. I've finally mastered releasing the cruise without a big, unsettling change in speed.

    The transmission is breaking in, as expected. There are still more than a couple of notch shifts, but the bike goes into first gear nicely in most instances now. Whatever you do, don't try to put it into first while coasting to a stop. Big grinch, every time. Shifting up from first to second is usually very quiet, and the shift from second to third is improving.

    The ESA is great at adjusting to my too-heavy load. I'm carrying about 40 pounds of camera and computer gear in addition to a 4-person tent (the first tent I've ever had that I can stand up in). When loaded, I use the two-up setting. According to the manual, the two-helmet icon means two-up with luggage. I also choose the Hard setting. On pavement the bike handles without wallowing, and can pound down some pretty rough stuff without bottoming. But man, all this weight really restricts your options off-pavement.

    The traction control and ABS are excellent off-pavement assists. I was really skeptical about this, and now I am a believer. As one who usually left ABS on when riding my personal bikes off-pavement, I knew that it can be useful when combined with careful, balanced F/R braking. But the ASC/ABS on the wethead is much more effective. You can crank on the gas without worrying about too much wheelspin, and can apply the brakes *hard* on gravel and come to a very short stop.

    The kill switch is in a not-so-good place. When riding with a tank bag it is not hard to shut the motor down during a full-lock, hard right turn. I wish they'd left it where it was, on top of the handlebar control switch.

    Off-pavement, you really notice the longer swingarm. The rear wheel follows the ground much more evenly than my 1150, with much less fore/aft pitching while riding over large-ish rocks and ledges. I *really* wish I could get a set of knobby tires for this bike for serious off-road testing.

    Tires for this bike are currently hard to find. Tires from the manufacturers are really taking their time flowing into the distribution channel. In my article I promised that I'd have a review of the new Metzeler Karoo IIIs, however, they are simply not available yet in sizes that fit this bike.

    The Jesse boxes rock! The mounts are very strong, I've only had a couple of low-speed tip-overs, but no tweaking at all. They hold a lot, they haven't leaked, and they are unobtrusive while mounting, dismounting or riding the bike.

    .
    Great write up!!!! Just an FYI, I just ordered a set of Karoo 3's from Revzilla, apparently they had them in stock? Maybe I got lucky?

  5. #65
    Registered User Emoto's Avatar
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    Great write-up, Hooykaas!

    That is outstanding tire life. What pressures did you run in them?
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  6. #66
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOOYKAAS View Post
    The OEM factory crash guards leave the valve covers vulnerable, because I noticed that when laid on the bars, the valve cover is almost touching the ground. Lay the bike down on gravel and surely the cover will be holed or at least damaged. The OEM crashbars suck, recommend the really beefy Altrider bars that are just coming to market.
    I've read similar complaints about the Touratech bars. I mounted Hepco & Becker bars. I haven't had mine on its side yet so can't say for sure how the bars will hold up. Regardless, I always carry some JB Stik as part of my emergency kit.





    Quote Originally Posted by HOOYKAAS View Post
    Riding modes ar there and were raved about, but frank I don't see much of a difference. I have tried the dynamic, road, rain and enduro settings and didn't see much difference. I wold save my money next time and do without those as they seem to be just a gimmick IMHO.
    Interesting. I like the modes and find they transform the bike into different machines. The throttle response between dynamic and enduro is especially noticeable. I use enduro mode on some of the local back roads. They are paved --- perhaps I should say they were once paved and have only been patched for the last decade or two. Softening the suspension, decreasing the throttle response, and allowing for a little wheel slip on the pine needle covered roadway make for a nicer ride than straight road mode. On the other hand dynamic mode is fantastic for twisties.
    Last edited by marchyman; 07-31-2013 at 11:58 PM.

  7. #67
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOOYKAAS
    Riding modes ar there and were raved about, but frank I don't see much of a difference. I have tried the dynamic, road, rain and enduro settings and didn't see much difference. I wold save my money next time and do without those as they seem to be just a gimmick IMHO.
    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    Interesting. I like the modes and find they transforms the bike into different machines. The throttle response between dynamic and enduro is especially noticeable. I use enduro mode on some of the local back roads. They are paved --- perhaps I should say they were once paved and have only been patched for the last decade or two. Softening the suspension, decreasing the throttle response, and allowing for a little wheel slip on the pine needs covered roadway make for a nicer ride than straight road mode. On the other hand dynamic mode is fantastic for twisties.
    I totally agree. At first I was skeptical, but after much experience, I like the way the Enduro mode reduces wheelspin under hard acceleration, as well. Enduro Pro mode lets you do well-controlled power slides.... nice!

    The ABS in these modes also is far more effective than in the past. I was very impressed by how hard you could pull on the binders without losing traction.

  8. #68
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pjohnson387 View Post
    Great write up!!!! Just an FYI, I just ordered a set of Karoo 3's from Revzilla, apparently they had them in stock? Maybe I got lucky?
    That must be very recent? I checked them when ordering last weekend and didn't see they were available.

    Plus, I have about 2,500 miles to get home, and figured they'd be gone at that point.

    I ordered a rear Tourance Next from Bike Bandit and the order, for a number of reasons, got all wrapped up in my axle. The tire will show up this Friday.

    Until then, I'll be wearing out the rest of the tire I have out here in Montana.

  9. #69
    Registered User hooykaas's Avatar
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    I run the pressure at 32 and 40 psi constantly monitored via the TPS.

    FYI, Mototire/Mo-Mar in St Louis got in two Next rears yesterday. While they last.
    2013 1200 GS LC
    1974 75/6 since new
    1974 R90S x2, Silver Smoke & Daytona Orange

  10. #70
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    This thread is just amazing - filled with really valuable information, hints, tips and opinions. Thanks to all of you who are already enjoying the WC GS for your thoughts!
    Dan

  11. #71
    Registered User hooykaas's Avatar
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    Dynamic ESA

    More than the modes, I think that rear wheel slip is more due to the instant adjustments made by the Dynamic ESA which involves a rod from the swing arm to the shock control box and another from the A-frame to the front shock control. It reacts quickly to the changing road conditions and in turn gives directions to the ABS and traction control. I think the modes actually fine tune that signal to change the reaction baseline. The ABS can be turned on and off as usual on a GS, but the traction control is new and itself is impressive indeed for those very rocky inclines... much more bit and actual power to the road.

    The flapper on the muffler also seems to modify the power curve from full HP in Dynamic to more torque in Enduro Pro.

    Gotta love that fabulous throaty, but mellow exhaust roar when rolling on. I find I roll the bike on harder just to hear that beautiful sound!
    2013 1200 GS LC
    1974 75/6 since new
    1974 R90S x2, Silver Smoke & Daytona Orange

  12. #72
    Registered User hooykaas's Avatar
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    Crashbar options

    Now that more companies have ramped up to supply aftermarket solutions for the new liquid cooled GS, I thought I would share some impressions of the set I looked at.R1200 Right side full.jpg Interestingly the main portion of the bar that surrounds the heads is approx. 50% larger than any other bars on the market. In addition, the bar completely surrounds the upper portion of the head which has the advantage of both providing a nice hollow to stretch out your leg between the throttle body and the bar, (the OEM bars and others do not allow for this as the TB being above the barrel doesn't allow for enough space to rest the leg), and also offers additional protection for the radiators when tipped over, all in a nice compact package. IMAG0067.jpgIMAG0030.jpgAs you can see in the pictures, there is about 1 1/2" of free space--much more than OEM and TT bars for this bike. I ordered the OEM bars for the bike and liked them until I saw the demo which convinced me that they provided inadequate protection. I have ordered a set of these bars to replace my 4 month old OEM bars. Altrider says they should be rolling out of production within a month or two. To me they seem to be worth the wait. The bike represents too large of an investment to accept anything less! Anyone want my like-new OEM bars?

    Additional pictures can be seen here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8803277...7634890461297/
    Last edited by HOOYKAAS; 08-02-2013 at 09:36 PM.
    2013 1200 GS LC
    1974 75/6 since new
    1974 R90S x2, Silver Smoke & Daytona Orange

  13. #73
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Yesterday I experimented with shifting technique and found that I can reduce clunkiness by using what is typically referred to as speed shifting. That is, pre-loading the shift lever, pulling in the clutch only partially, rolling off the throttle only partially while simultaneously shifting up. The result was remarkably improved shifting smoothness, especially in shifting up to 3rd and 4th. Downshifts were smoother, too.

    Of course, this was done gently, not forcefully, and made it much easier to ride the bike smoothly in technical pavement conditions (tight twisties). A lot of road racers use this technique.

  14. #74
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Over the past couple of years, I have not been using crash bars on my HP2e, and instead going with X-head covers. They're far, far lighter and make maintenance much easier.

    I've probably dropped the bike umpteen times in all kinds of conditions and have never had a problem with scratching or cracking.

    Prior to these, using Touratech bars, I had a relatively low-drama get-off and the lower section of the bar hit the spark plug under the motor, cracking the ceramic insulator and causing the engine to start missing badly.

    The valve covers on these bikes are actually very strong, so strong that when I pile drivered the bike onto the asphalt when hitting a bad pavement spot, the Xhead got trashed but the valve cover didn't fracture. It did, of course, get scratched, but this was a pretty extreme get-off. Bike left the ground and impacted directly on its side.

    In this photo, the entire top half of the Xhead has been broken off, which allowed the valve cover to be scratched.


  15. #75
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Visian,

    In your ON article you said something to the effect that the brake pedal is not adjustable. I think it is. Not 100% sure which of the various ways I've found to change the height is the correct way, though. I'll post something once I know for sure.

    The easiest way to raise the lever is to mount these in the low position:



    BMW marketing literature is incorrect regarding peg height. The pegs are a full inch lower in the low position when compared to the stock pegs. The eagle eyed will notice the lack of return springs. They are on order. I didn't realize that the springs for the stock pegs would not fit the new pegs and neglected to initially order them. Live and learn.

    Those pegs plus swapping the stock brake pedal for the enduro model resulted in a brake pedal that is too high. That's why I've been playing with brake pedal adjustability.

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