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Thread: Too bad BMW does want to sell cop motorcycles........

  1. #16
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    The clutch can be a definite issue despite the fact some here may have not experienced clutch problems. BMW will not warranty a clutch replacement solely due to wear and slippage. They will warranty an RTP clutch for slippage one time. Another surprising fact of life, at least for me, is the fact there are LEO's that get involved with RTP's having had no experience with a clutch on anything. Some of these officers have never driven anything without an automatic transmission.

  2. #17
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    The California Highway Patrol is the largest user of police motorcycles in the United States (I think). They actually test and report on police motorcycles in written format every few years and the document will review BMW, Harley, Honda, and Kawasaki police units. If I recall they actually state that all the units they test are acceptable but if you compare the test results by segment, braking, acceleration, etc., you will find that BMW does exceptionally well in all areas.

    There seems to be two primary areas of complaints with the BMW's. One is the fact they are obviously German and many agencies don't get off on this fact; they want that Made in the USA feeling. They seem to be unaware of foreign content percentages. The second is cost. H-D parts are surprisingly inexpensive sometimes especially when used in comparison with BMW. Many police departments also have the skill sets to maintain H-D in-house. This seems to not be true with BMW in general.

    A BMW can clearly outrun, out stop and out handle a Harley. There are many municipalities that seem to be oblivious to that fact. Many times the powers that be in those municipalities simply know nothing to speak of about a motorcycle. But you can bet your last dollar on one fact, all the decision-making individuals within any community knows Harley makes police motorcycles and "their" made in the USA. Therefore it is patriotic to buy H-D and bad to buy BMW. I don't believe the officer's safety is taken into consideration and there is no comparison between the two brands. The powers that be simply are not aware of the substantial differences.

  3. #18
    Registered User motorman587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicVW View Post
    John, my experience is exactly the opposite to yours. Most LEOs that were trained on and are used to the Harley clutch will burn out a BMW clutch if they feather it the same way.

    Here's a direct quote from BMW's own 1200 RT-P brochure which backs up Paul's comment....

    BMW utilizes a different clutch system than some of our competitors. BMW's clutch is a hydraulic (self-adjusting) single-plate dry clutch as used in cars and trucks, well proven for long life. Our competitors utilize a multi-plate wet clutch, which runs in an oil bath.
    The primary difference between the two designs is that the dry clutch operates at the end of the engine crankshaft before the primary gear reduction. The wet clutch design operates after the primary gear reduction. Meaning, that for a given RPM on a dry clutch design, the same RPM on a wet clutch design will be turning that wet clutch surface approximately half as fast (feet-per-second at the plate surface). Conversely, if you have been trained to ride a wet clutch motor, you will need to greatly reduce the RPM on the dry clutch motor to keep from over-heating it. How long would any wet clutch last if you grey-area slipped that clutch at 5,000 rpm?
    Again I been on cop motorcycle for 16years and rode BMW 10 years. I know how to ride a BMW. There is quote that proves my point. BMW is a dry clutch, well proven for long life.........with that said and all that other stuff is blah. It is real simple to have your BMW clutch last forever. "Do not use your rear brake". Period. Simple.....................but because this is an open forum on a public web site, hammer away, but do use the rear brake.
    John
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  4. #19
    Registered User motorman587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    The California Highway Patrol is the largest user of police motorcycles in the United States (I think). They actually test and report on police motorcycles in written format every few years and the document will review BMW, Harley, Honda, and Kawasaki police units. If I recall they actually state that all the units they test are acceptable but if you compare the test results by segment, braking, acceleration, etc., you will find that BMW does exceptionally well in all areas.

    There seems to be two primary areas of complaints with the BMW's. One is the fact they are obviously German and many agencies don't get off on this fact; they want that Made in the USA feeling. They seem to be unaware of foreign content percentages. The second is cost. H-D parts are surprisingly inexpensive sometimes especially when used in comparison with BMW. Many police departments also have the skill sets to maintain H-D in-house. This seems to not be true with BMW in general.

    A BMW can clearly outrun, out stop and out handle a Harley. There are many municipalities that seem to be oblivious to that fact. Many times the powers that be in those municipalities simply know nothing to speak of about a motorcycle. But you can bet your last dollar on one fact, all the decision-making individuals
    within any community knows Harley makes police motorcycles and "their" made in the USA. Therefore it is patriotic to buy H-D and bad to buy BMW. I don't believe the officer's safety is taken into consideration and there is no comparison between the two brands. The powers that be simply are not aware of the substantial differences.
    How I fixed that with my department was point out all the non american parts on the other brand. Shuts them up for a while. Then I would go into that the other brand is 100 old technology and if we use that same technology in police work right in guns and cars, I would be driving a model T-Ford and shooting a wheel gun. Then I would hit them with this. You do not go to the pound to get a k-9 if you want a real dog to do the job.
    John
    2004 BMW R1150R Black
    Contact me 4 (1&1) training, Expert witness in motorcycle crash reconstruction

  5. #20
    What, me worry? GILLY's Avatar
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    The dry clutch issue is a moot point anyways; if I wanted BMW for a pursuit bike, it would have 6 cylinders and a wet clutch. If you want to catch someone, get a bike that will catch most ANYone!
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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorman587 View Post
    Again I been on cop motorcycle for 16years and rode BMW 10 years. I know how to ride a BMW. There is quote that proves my point. BMW is a dry clutch, well proven for long life.........with that said and all that other stuff is blah. It is real simple to have your BMW clutch last forever. "Do not use your rear brake". Period. Simple.....................but because this is an open forum on a public web site, hammer away, but do use the rear brake.
    Your comments have no basis in reality I'm sorry to say. You obviously have been successful with your own clutch. The reality is this is a known issue in the world of police motorcycles. Sorry, I only have experience in selling and servicing them.

  7. #22
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    I prefer a wet clutch, even after owning an RT for 2 plus years.
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post
    I prefer a wet clutch, even after owning an RT for 2 plus years.
    I personnaly don't care wet or dry. To me what is more important is how much to repair and sadly BMW loses there. The clutch components may not be cheap but I can deal with that. It's the level of labor that bothers me. Many folks struggle with that from a dollar point of view and of course most folks are not able to do it on their own. Then there's the side effect of was everything reassembled correctly by the tech. Given the level of teardown the risk of errors increases as well. Being in the industry for so many years and no matter how good the tech I never feel truly comfortable when something of that nature is tore apart to such a degree. And, I imagine many owners feel the same way.

    But yet I love RT's... can you explain that?

  9. #24
    Registered User motorman587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    Your comments have no basis in reality I'm sorry to say. You obviously have been successful with your own clutch. The reality is this is a known issue in the world of police motorcycles. Sorry, I only have experience in selling and servicing them.
    And that is why we train with no brake exercise to keep the cost down either wet or dry.
    Last edited by motorman587; 06-12-2013 at 04:07 PM.
    John
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    Contact me 4 (1&1) training, Expert witness in motorcycle crash reconstruction

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy walker View Post
    The California Highway Patrol is the largest user of police motorcycles in the United States (I think). They actually test and report on police motorcycles in written format every few years and the document will review BMW, Harley, Honda, and Kawasaki police units. If I recall they actually state that all the units they test are acceptable but if you compare the test results by segment, braking, acceleration, etc., you will find that BMW does exceptionally well in all areas.

    There seems to be two primary areas of complaints with the BMW's. One is the fact they are obviously German and many agencies don't get off on this fact; they want that Made in the USA feeling. They seem to be unaware of foreign content percentages. The second is cost. H-D parts are surprisingly inexpensive sometimes especially when used in comparison with BMW. Many police departments also have the skill sets to maintain H-D in-house. This seems to not be true with BMW in general.

    A BMW can clearly outrun, out stop and out handle a Harley. There are many municipalities that seem to be oblivious to that fact. Many times the powers that be in those municipalities simply know nothing to speak of about a motorcycle. But you can bet your last dollar on one fact, all the decision-making individuals within any community knows Harley makes police motorcycles and "their" made in the USA. Therefore it is patriotic to buy H-D and bad to buy BMW. I don't believe the officer's safety is taken into consideration and there is no comparison between the two brands. The powers that be simply are not aware of the substantial differences.
    Billy, I couldn't agree more. Exactly my experience with police departments, and also knowledge of the facts that I haven't personally experienced. (As related to me by both BMW and H-D hqs executives)
    Everyone must be having problems with the BMW clutches or else BMW wouldn't warranty 1 clutch job for their police motors. I sense departments are balking. My RT-P had it's clutch replaced at only 30K miles just prior to being auctioned off, and I have the repair order and receipts- BMW dealer billed the police dept $4100 for the job!

  11. #26
    One Man Wolfpack Kent Niederhofer's Avatar
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    Michigan State Police Motorcycle Testing

    I can't find the full report performed by the Michigan State Police when their contract with Harley-Davidson expired and they evaluated the latest offerings from top manufacturers. Here's an article that reports some of their findings and suffice it to say they are rolling on brand new R1200RTs: http://www.policemag.com/blog/vehicl...t-results.aspx.

    Kent

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicVW View Post
    Billy, I couldn't agree more. Exactly my experience with police departments, and also knowledge of the facts that I haven't personally experienced. (As related to me by both BMW and H-D hqs executives)
    Everyone must be having problems with the BMW clutches or else BMW wouldn't warranty 1 clutch job for their police motors. I sense departments are balking. My RT-P had it's clutch replaced at only 30K miles just prior to being auctioned off, and I have the repair order and receipts- BMW dealer billed the police dept $4100 for the job!
    The folks that are wasting the clutch are in the minority but sadly the numbers are high enough to cause concern. As stated previously I'm a bit surprised that the motor division seems to attract people with zero clutch experience and those folks are certain to waste the clutch as a general rule.

  13. #28
    Registered User Blacque Jacque Shellacque's Avatar
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    I think the biggest hurdle of Harley vs BMW is ergonomics. Its just too hard for most cops to get their leg up over the seat of a BMW. The low seat height of a Harley is a blessing for those with a large gut.

  14. #29
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Regarding the wheels - Pretty well known among us... this was even discussed in our magazine a while back. When the 1100s came out, the wheels were (allegedly) designed as an integral part of the crash-absorption system. So many of them were being heavily dinged by very minor obstacles that for a short time, BMW actually replaced some under warranty. Then the number of claims quickly blossomed and they stopped replacing them. Some were probably damaged by running too low on the tire pressures. But even with a slight redesign, and continuing through the 1150s, they ding easily, and will even get noticeably bent by a careless tire change.

    Most of the departments around here use RTPs now, but there are still some Harleys and many Hondas. I know of one HD still in use that has undergone a few mods to make it a bit quicker...

  15. #30
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls1150 View Post
    But even with a slight redesign, and continuing through the 1150s, they ding easily, and will even get noticeably bent by a careless tire change.
    The R1200 wheels don't seem to have the same issue as the earlier wheels. It's enough of a non-issue that I (and many others) took their GS with alloy wheels on dirt and rock strewn roads with little concern. OK, a little concern. I'd not air down as much as the guys with wire wheels. Since the hexheads have been around for about 8 years and this topic is about cops buying current motorcycles any discussion of soft wheels is a bit disingenuous.
    And wearing my fortune teller hat I can see it already... a discussion in 2020 about the dry clutch issues of the R series bikes even though there have been none made that way for 5 or 6 years.

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