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r1200rt became very hot


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While stuck in traffic for about 20 minutes my bikes temperature guage went a bar higher than normal. Temperature outside was about 75. The bike began to run like the timing was advanced and the valves seemed quite noisy. Would a liquid cooled bike such as the k1200gt also get hot? Anyone else experience this type of situation?

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An entire bar higher than normal? Wow. grin.gif


Serioulsy, that behavior is perfectly normal and harmless and is no cause for concern. And yes, many water-cooled bikes do the same thing.

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Yeah, absolutely nothing to worry about. My old K12GT used to run almost to the top of the hot marker on the temp guage in slow traffic, then the fan would cut in, and move it back down to normal again. My (older) VFR800 used to run to well over 100 degrees C in traffic - but then the radiators on that beast were set sideways to the air flow (never could work out Honda's idea there!).


Air cooled motors will by definition run hotter, especially in slow moving situations. My BM dealer tells me that the header pipes on the R motors will actually glow red hot in the dark if left stationary, idling for a couple of minutes. I don't want to actually see this, though frown.gif

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The venerable boxer is designed to withstand such extremes, and here in the 21st century, we now have our little display to warn us of impending catastrophe.


I was sitting in the customs line to transit back into the United States from Canada and my temp gauge went up so far the red triangle of death started flashing. I swear I must have sat there moving at a snail's pace for a good fifty minutes. I simply pulled over and let her sit for a few minutes, started her up, and moved through the line until I could get back on the road to cooling air again. Absolutely no problems.


Things I would do: If you go through extended periods of "the red triangle of death," change your oil when you get home. Don't let the warning stare you in the face. Pull over and shut it down to cool, that's what the WARNING is designed to do, WARN you. Heed the warning.


Ride your bike and let it tell you what it needs. If it gets too hot, it will warn you, a time during which you can pull over and let it cool down in the most extreme of circumstances. In normal driving and traffic, don't even worry about it, this engine is battle tested and proven in a plethora of climates worldwide. All hail the mighty boxer!!!


Did I sound like a salesman?? I'm not, I promise... I'm a counselor. thumbsup.gif

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My other bike is a liquid-cooled 600cc Kawasaki sportbike. One of the main reasons I bought my R1200GS is because the sportbike gave off extremely uncomfortable amounts of heat in stop-and-go traffic, and when not moving, even with the fan running, was in borderline overheat. Pretty much all sportbikes are like this.


The 1200 line has an oil cooling system that distributes engine heat evenly and does a very effective job of eliminating heat. My Kaw, with a digital coolant temp readout, could go from 160F to 220F pretty easily within the time of 1-2 long stoplights, and then back to 160F within a mile. My GS will read 5-6 bars in prolonged stop-and-go traffic and will take several miles to get back down to 4, where it normally is during a warm day. Plenty of sportbikes can run "just fine" with the coolant in excess of 250F.


The main problem with an overheating engine isn't sudden seizure -- this isn't too common on modern engines -- but rather the different expansion rates of dissimilar materials (like aluminum heads and magnesium covers) leading to destroyed gaskets and warping. A secondary problem is that high temperatures lead to premature breakdown of oil.


Very hot is also relative. I have yet to sit down with a infrared temp gauge and figure out at what oil temperature each of the bars comes on.


I can't speak for the K1200GT, but for weight reasons, liquid-cooled bikes tend to have marginal cooling systems at idle. This means they can overheat just like air-cooled bikes, especially in 100F+ temperatures. When I test rode a K1200S, I deliberately put it through some traffic to see about the heat, and while it was not too uncomfortable, it did get very hot. If you're looking at the new KGT, it has the same motor, and most likely the same cooling system.


There aren't a whole lot of bikes that AREN'T going to have heat problems in bad traffic -- and like I said, I got an R1200 because it's a design that actually fares pretty well. BMW does well by giving riders bars instead of numbers -- if you knew what your bike was actually running at, it'd probably scare you...

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250F should not concern anyone for engine wear or oil breakdown. Today's synthetic oil won't even begin to break down until you hit 300F. As for the motor, my Harley regularly ran in 230-250 range (no oil cooler, fairing blocking all the air flow, etc) and just some minor pinging from that old boy. The boxer design is far superior in cooling, heck with the jugs sticking out so far it's a wonder you need an oil cooler at all. I also give mad props to the design of the R1200RT because even on those 100F days I feel virtually no heat on my legs from the motor and even on those days I never saw the oil/engine temp go above the middle mark. Just ride and enjoy.

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