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Offline RBEmerson

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Riding RT's
« on: April 14, 2016, 08:55:20 AM »
I'm quite happy with my K1200RS but I'll spend a week on an R1200RT. I've ridden one before but just don't really love the lumpy boxer motor's feel. Looking at some video of new RT's, it looks as though the plan is to keep the motor wound up a bit. Input needed on how to manage this rascal.
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Online R Doug

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 09:34:10 AM »
Depending on which generation of a boxer you have experience, it's made some leap and bound improvements over the years.

First was the upgrade to the dual overhead cam (the HP2 motor).  That's the first one I ever "gelled" with.  The current wet heads are a torque monster.  I love them.

For me, the motor is most happy between 3,500 and 4,500 RPM.  I'm going on a long ride this Saturday and will try to pay closer attention to that and report back.
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Online radon222

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 09:34:14 AM »
If you haven't ridden a Wethead yet, you may be in for a surprise for the power department.  Even the Camhead was good bump up on the hexhead/oilhead motors.

Online R Doug

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 09:36:31 AM »
Funny... Radon and I must have been typing a response at the same time (posted 4 seconds apart) and we concur.  Therefore, it must be fact!
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Offline marc11

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 10:25:42 AM »
It makes so much torque that it doesn't need to be wound up, but it loves to live above 3000 RPM.  The wet head is far from lumpy compared to the hex or oil heads for sure.
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Online Max Wedge

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 11:32:09 AM »
I keep my hexhead above 3500, smooth's out a lot around 5000. The wet head is like a different motor entirely. I have ridden a couple of RT's and GS's with wetheads and I don't recall where the sweet spot was, but it is smoother across the board.
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Offline kneescrubber

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 11:59:49 AM »
My /5 is lumpy. And I love it.
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 03:20:22 PM »
I've ridden a restored /5, an 1150, an '07 1200, and a '14 1200.

The /5 was an interesting ride, particularly when waiting for the brakes to do anything meaningful.

When I was in the market for something with the blue and white roundel, I demoed an 1150. And happily bought a K1200RS instead. I've had a couple of 1150 loaners. Meh.

While the '07 and '14 are more closely related, the wethead is the clear favorite. My friend with the '07 can't flatfoot his bike while the '14 makes it easy. And, of course, the newer RT motor is punchier.

All of that said, I'm looking for input on what makes this bike sing while cruising and while in the twisties. I'm guessing the motor wants to be wound up a fair amount (1/2 to 2/3 to redline). Maybe not?
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Online radon222

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2016, 03:25:36 PM »
Gearing on my GSAW is a bit different than the RT.   But depending on how spirited you intend to ride, you'll probably ~4,500 -5,000 +/- rpm range.   Unless I'm intentionally trying to race to the next corner....then probably closer to 7,000-8,000 rpm.   Can't say for sure, cause my eyes are usually on the ashpalt and not the tachometer.   ;D

Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 04:48:21 PM »
I'm very big on "head up and on a swivel". However it's helpful to have a rough idea of the sort of revs that the bike likes; I'll do quick peeks at the clocks as needed. At least until I start to know what different road and motor speeds feel like.

If this was only a few hours of riding I'd just fake it. But at 150-300 miles/day for a week, I might as well do things right.
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Offline PatM

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2016, 04:57:58 PM »
The engine likes to pull from down low. Airpins can be taken in second while twisties and sweepers are fun in third or fourth at around 5K.
Don't worry, it's an easy bike to ride.
Ride safe!

Offline Acadian Rider

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2016, 05:03:40 PM »
I went from a K1300GT to a Camhead (R1200RT).  I've never tried the wethead.  What I can say is that there is a difference in power between the K bike and the Camhead but that's no news to anybody.  The biggest difference is at the top end.  Where my Camhead runs out of steam, the K bike kept going real strong.  However, at normal speeds the Camhead has plenty of torque. 

In tight twisties such as Deals Gap, I am having almost as much fun with the Camhead as I had with the K bike.  Evidently, I have to keep the RPMs up. The same thing goes for longer sweepers.  The R1200RT is better if you want to spend looooong days in the saddle. It all depends what you like.         

I see that you are not a young man anymore.  Perhaps it is time for you to slow down.    ;)   That's what I said when I bought my Camhead.   

Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2016, 09:30:58 PM »
Um, the question is about the wet head, not earlier generations. My reason for asking the question is I'm going to spend a week on this bike, touring mainly the Austrian Alps. I want to shorten the learning curve. Figuring the bike on the last day isn't a good outcome.

Having logged 200 - 350 mile days, back to back, on the K1200RS, maybe it's a little more comfortable than you suggest. (the ergos, including the saddle, are box stock)

One of my core tenets about riding is "ride your own ride". I'm doing just fine, thank you.
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Online R Doug

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2016, 09:39:03 PM »
Sign of old age... Grouchiness.  :lol:


I think you'll love the RT.  I've had a k1200s, a double cam RT, and now wet GS.  I've liked each one better than the previous. 

You'll love that wet head in the Alps! 
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Offline PatM

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2016, 10:15:03 PM »
Up until this winter, I rode an fjr. I've rented bikes in Europe before. It usually took me a couple of days to get confident on them.
Last summer, I rented an RT Wethead. Half an hour with my wife riding pillion was all it took to not only feel confident but also make my wife feel comfortable too. Because she felt I was confident. It's that easy.

It's also the reason I traded my fjr for my RT.
Ride safe!

Online radon222

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2016, 07:48:47 AM »
The hardest thing for me to get used to was throttle response.  Going from the stiffer 10yr old cable throttle on my to 1150 the ride-by-wire on the wethead, had me riding a bit heavy fisted until I got my wrist re-calibrated.   ;D

Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2016, 08:11:19 AM »
Too right about the throttle!

Unfortunately, the K1200RS' throttle has a (IMHO too) stiff throttle return spring or maybe the cables have too much drag. I've lubed them to death without much change. That said, I've had this problem with all of the fly-by-wire throttles: seemingly much too loose throttle grip. Some way to add a bit of drag (IMNSHO throttle locks are death waiting to happen - really) strikes me as a good idea. Bouncing over an unexpected speed bump, while hanging tightly onto the throttle, strikes me as a good way to produce ...um... unwanted throttle inputs with unwanted consequences.
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Offline Acadian Rider

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2016, 07:41:18 AM »
Um, the question is about the wet head, not earlier generations. My reason for asking the question is I'm going to spend a week on this bike, touring mainly the Austrian Alps. I want to shorten the learning curve. Figuring the bike on the last day isn't a good outcome.

Having logged 200 - 350 mile days, back to back, on the K1200RS, maybe it's a little more comfortable than you suggest. (the ergos, including the saddle, are box stock)

One of my core tenets about riding is "ride your own ride". I'm doing just fine, thank you.

Sorry, I misunderstood your original post in this thread.  I did not get that you were renting a wethead in Europe for a week and I totally agree with you that you should "ride your own ride". 

Regarding comfort, I am not dissing your K1200RS.  I'm sure it is very comfortable.  After all, it is a BMW.  What I am saying is that my Camhead is better than my K1300GT on looooong days but I'm getting off the subject again.   :beerchug:

Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2016, 08:47:52 AM »
 :beerchug:
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Online R Doug

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2016, 10:52:57 AM »
I'm not sure if the RT and GS have similar gear ratios, but I did pay more attention yesterday on my longish ride.  The shift point felt right between 4k and 4.5k.  And, motor was most happy in the same spot.  On fairly straight back roads, the motor was at home in 5th at 4 to 5K RPM and 60-65 MPH.  When I did hit some twisty bits, 4th gear felt best keeping the motor between 4 and 5K in the corners and charging up to 6K (at times) between them.  If I were to guess, 4th gear all day long with minimal shifting would be what I would be doing on my GS in the Alps for a spirited ride. 

I love torque... you hardly ever need to shift.  And with low-end torque, you don't feel as if you're wringing the bike's neck all day. 

Have fun!
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2016, 05:03:34 PM »
For a quick sense of the "tight and twisty" on the "hero" pass roads, check out YouTube videos for Stelvio Pass. The hairpins and trying to maintain a reasonably good (and tight) line mean gear jammin'.

Thank for an insight into the engine speeds you were using.
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2016, 06:02:09 PM »
Following up on the preceding discussion (which I found very helpful)... As posted on STN, I was very happy to give the RT back at the end of 900+ miles. The bike was buzzy and constantly rowing a clunky gearbox became an annoyance. The suspension worked well for me. The fly-by-wire throttle was OK but, in sport mode, rather tetchy about getting being fully closed - think of a mis-calibrated throttle position sensor. Lots of ONjerkOFFjerkON action - rather disconcerting when trying to get set up for a significant turn and not much fun even going straight. I retain my innate hate of the wonder ring, demon spawn from the BMW I-control knob. I said, in print, never again a boxer shall I ride. Oh well...

I'm currently on a '09 RT loaner. It's got 52K+ on the clock and looks to be very good condition. PO did screw up the bike with: a Cee Bailey windscreen, lame valve cover guards with pegs(!!!), and a fart can muffler from ZTechnik.

The windscreen has a spiffy curved lip which, I suppose, is meant to route air over the rider's head. At anywhere from full down to full up, I still get significant air flow coming over the top. Fail. Air around the sides is enough to flutter my jacket sleeves. Fail. It's light and doesn't seem to produce obnoxious distortions when looking through it. Meh.

The valve cover guard is a joke. Run a straight edge from the high point on the guard (at the front of each valve cover) back to the next possible point of contact in a dump. Yep, no protection. And that's assuming a flat surface with nothing poking up. The PO then clamped on highway pegs (or maybe they came with the guard (sic) or the guard is the result of wanting to add pegs (sick!)). It's an almost physical impossibility to use them. Unless one is not human... See Wunderlich for a reasonable approach to the job: Engine & valve cover protection

The Ztechnik muffler seems to have only one purpose: make noise like them Harley dudes do. It's noisy, it pops on closing the throttle, and otherwise seems to serve no discernible purpose, save make Ztechnik money. After 150 miles of riding at various speeds, I'd look for a good stock muffler from Bimmer Boneyard, et al. Since this is a loaner, I'll be more careful about putting in my ear plugs...

About the bike... oddly, I like it. A lot. It's nowhere near as buzzy as the wethead. OTOH, it's down on power and torque compared to the wethead. With about 230-240 pounds of rider and AGATT, adding another petite 175 pounds of pillion rider would probably make the bike work harder than I'd like. Toss in three bags of stuff (2 x pannier and 1 x top box) and... not so much fun to get rolling.

The bike has ESA but not ASC. In everything from straight line at Interstate speeds to 20+ in near hairpin turns, steering is predictable and the suspension didn't hang me out to dry. Sport mode was designed by a dentist. It's a good way to bounce one or more fillings loose. Normal suspension is still stiff, but perceptibly not as stiff as sport. Comfortable is about what I think most people would call normal - it's not a marshmallow setting.

The seat height is baffling. I can flatfoot the bike, but if my inseam was 32 or 30 instead of 34, I'd be worried. A friend with a shorter inseam has done, AFAIK, 5 "garage drops" (not all in the garage). The high seat contributes to a higher CG. Why BMW did this escapes me.  :headscratch:

One unalterable down check is air/oil cooling. BTDT for the last time, watching a motor cook itself while standing in summertime traffic.

All of that said, despite my definite dislike of the '15 RT (water cooling aside...), if I'd met this bike first, I'd have thought differently about boxers.
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Online Max Wedge

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2016, 05:58:58 AM »
Interesting comparison, thanks for posting it. I think the wethead is a little buzzier, but more so than say, a 600cc inline four? I did not find it that bad, but we all have our own perceptions, and even different build of the same models feel differently, especially the boxer. I have ridden some that felt smooth, others vibey.
Regarding seat height, is that one adjustable? Was it in the high position? I'm a 30"er,  >:( and am used to balls of the feet on the ground, and the RT's did not seem that bad-at least no worse than any currently available sport-tourer.
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Offline RBEmerson

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Re: Riding RT's
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2016, 07:22:14 AM »
I expect newer boxers to be no less buzzy than their predecessors. It's that simple. The '15 flunked that test during the week I had it. I get that the fundamental design of the motor is what it is, and there will always be inherent limits in managing vibration. The '09, by comparison, did better on this score. OTOH, both HP and torque, at least on a subjective basis, aren't as good as the '15. NTL I expect BMW to keep motor vibration to at least previous levels while rebuilding the motor to handle water cooling, etc. Agreed that, within any one production run, some bikes will shine and some will be "Friday" bikes.

Compared to my K1200RS' flat four, even the '09 hasn't a chance of being as smooth. Again, it goes back to the basic design. Four pistons, properly timed, will have less inherent vibration that two pistons moving in opposition.

As a side note, I rode BMW's "thumper" (650???) for a couple of days. Even that bike wasn't as buzzy as the '15. It was, in fact, even on an absolute scale, it's surprising smooth. Thumps and bumps, of course, but I was continually amazed at its good manners. Which makes the '15 seem even worse.

The seat is in the low (sic) position. As far as I can determine, it's an original, although the basket weave pattern isn't what's expected. I can't find a Sargent or Corbin, etc. sticker on the bottom of the pan. Even though I can flatfoot the bike, I'd sure like to have the seat at least a couple of inches lower, just to drop the CG. Beyond that, in the ergo, I'm not happy about the grip sweep back angle. Much as I hate pullbacks, I'd consider them to get my spine back in column. I can't remember my shirt size (collar's 15 1/2 but arm length escapes me) but my arm length seems to be about median for being 6'. NTL the bars pull me forward a bit, or maybe it's the '09's tank length. IIRC, the I didn't have the same problem with the RT. Looking at the pictures me riding past the camera truck on the side of the Stelvio road, my posture looks about right.

The RS calls for a semi-tuck position, but the ergos work out that getting support for the upper body isn't a problem, and isn't tiring (300+ mile days confirm this). Go figure.

I rode a Feejer briefly, and rode a C10 Concours before the RS. No particular recollections of the Feejer, but the Connie wasn't too bad for being buzzy. I did put a pair of Throttle Meister left grip weights on the Connie to calm a bit of buzz, though. It seemed to work. But that's a subject observation about a bike 5+ years gone. 
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