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Shoulder Pain


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I'm a new R1100RT rider, 5'4", (female - don't know if that matters, but it could), short inseam (30") and equally short arm length. I have installed the pullbacks on the handlbars, but still have shoulder pain when I ride for any length of time. My local shop says that I don't ride enough, take Advil and do some stretches. But when I ride my other bike (yes, I have the other guy (Ultra), I have no pain. It's set up perfectly. My question is - Can this new baby be set up perfectly too?

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A couple of points. I can't give you specific hardware recommendations but, perhaps, I can guide you a bit towards a resolution.


I have always found that the angle of the BMW grips has been wrong for me. They seem to force my wrists to rotate outward, which wants to pull my elbows inboard which puts stress on the anterior deltoid muscle. The right in particular as I have to maintain some pressure on the throttle. This can also be a problem if you are leaning improperly and supporting your weight on your arms. See Master Yoda riding position for much, much more information.


My first suggestion would be to get a Throttlemeister of some similar throttle drag device to ease the need to maintain pressure on the throttle. On my 1100S, I used a #320 O-ring between the bar end weight and the throttle housing to the same effect.


The second suggestion is to have a machinist fabricate new bar back plates to change the angle of the bars such that the grips rotate outward about 5 degrees around the axis of the fork tubes. This really would not be all that expensive as it is a simple 1/2" thick plate with a couple of counter-bored holes and a couple of tapped holes. Show him your bar back plates and just have him rotate one of the hole patterns a couple of degrees.


Just thought of a third possibility, change over to RS bars. I believe this can be done fairly cheaply with factory parts. The bars on the RS are adjustable for angle and rise and might be the best solution.

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JBACORN... you have just hit on something I have contemplated for about two years now.


The shortest possible version of this story is that I am a Harley touring bike rider who thinks his Harley is set up perfectly, for him. I also love BMW's and have studied the idea if buying one for a long, long time.


So far two things have argued, persuasively, against the purchase. One is the two-up thing and comfort for my passenger. She is just not comfy on a BMW. The riding position is the other one, and frankly my aging, old, creaky body is part of the problem.

So far I see no way to make the BMW as comfortable as the H-D.

I look forward with great interest on your approach to this situation.

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Oh, you have to get the BMW. One of the most exciting decisions of my life. My husband thought I was crazy until he rode mine, then he went and bought his own. Anyway, back to my set up problem. The bars are the only problem. All else is wonderful. cool.gifI'll keep collecting these suggestions and give them to my tuner (husband) and we'll get back to one and all with the results. Thanks to everyone wave.gif

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Your solution is easy. The K1200LT was an almost perfect match for the riding position on my Electra-glide. No floorboards of course, and the controls are further back but, seat to bars, seat to windscreen are a near perfect match. Don't be fooled by stories of the heft of the big LT, I ran down many an RT rider on twisty roads with the big beast.


Getting the thing stopped is another matter. It does weigh over 800 lbs before you climb aboard. eek.gif

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A couple of years ago on the way up to Paonia from the S, some outstanding scenery and twisties, several in my group thought we were blowing away the curves until some guy on an LT blew by us waving as he passed! tongue.gif

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Describe your shoulder pain a bit more - is it like a stab in the back right between the shoulder blades? If so follow the link to Master Yoda's riding position, it fixed that problem for many of us though it feels a bit strange at first. If not you may have to follow Ed's suggestions.

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It starts out as slow swist of the muscles between the spine and the rotator cuff that runs along the top of the shoulder and it just gets tighter as I go. I have gone to Master Yoda's site also and printed this out to begin the exercises. Yikes! My body is protesting as we speak eek.gif About Ed's suggestions, are you talking about the RS bars?

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... But when I ride my other bike (yes, I have the other guy (Ultra), I have no pain. It's set up perfectly. My question is - Can this new baby be set up perfectly too?


Not to overstate the obvious, but if the other bike is "set up perfectly", then why not take some measurements off that bike and try to get the BMW to match? In bicycle racing, the fit is probably the most important part of having the right bike. Once the fit is nailed down, one can move from bike to bike by simply dialing in the relative position of three key points:


1. Seat

2. Bars

3. Pedals


If the relative position of these three points are identical, then your riding position will remain the same whether you're on a cruiser or an RT. A couple other items to look at when comparing the "fit" of your two bikes:


-Seat angle & support: do you feel like one seat is pushing you forward? Do they provide similar support?

-Bar angle: do the grips have a similar angle in?


If you're riding comparable distances and only one bike is causing shoulder pain then there could be some other subtle differences in your riding style (Are you more relaxed on the other bike? Do you ride faster/harder on one bike?). Is there a difference in the wind protection between the two? Might there be buffeting from the back which is pushing you forward? These are all ideas of things for you to look at. The bottom line - if one bike isn't causing problems, then IMHO this simply isn't a case of not enough miles!

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I remember that pain!!!!


Had a 2000 R1100RT; about 20 minutes into the ride - the pain would start - just as you described. I'm 5'5", female, inseam = 30.5", arm length @ 26", weight....N/A grin.gif


I tried the prestretching, borrowed a friends Throttlemeister, took Advil (or whatever I could get my hands on tongue.gif) and tried changing riding position throughout the ride - nothing helped. Was considering the barbacks or a handlebar change, but ended up selling the bike.


I found out about Master Yoda's riding position - continue with that as that's what has helped me the most with regards to the riding position of the K1200RS. Since I've had the K1200RS - no more shoulder pain clap.gif.


Perhaps, as suggested, the RS handlbars would give some relief.


Good luck, I know what you are going through.

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After 3 years and 3 seats, bar backs, lower pegs; floorboards, Yoda; etc. I came to the realization that due to the basics of the bikes, I would never be able to get Bonbon to be as comfortable as Smokey. I did achieve this however. On Bonbon, starting out would be miserable and gradually get better until about 300 miles when fatigue set in. On Smokey, it is heaven starting out,and gradually gets tiring at about 500 miles. I guess my arthritic old bones just like the feet forward lazy chair seating position of the Harleys. I am able with highway bars to achieve the same position on Pepper, so all is well. By basics I mean that due to my short stature, a Russell was out of the question, and MY particular Corbin was also too high so I didn't use it, wheras the Harley is so low, that a Corbin fits nicely. Also, with the cylinders so wide, I felt uncomfortable with my legs splayed way out there on the ends with BMW type highway bars.

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Jerry Johnston

Heli Bars would be the perfect answer for you but I'm not sure if they're still in business - at lest the site address I had saved didn't work. The nice thing about tham is you can make all kinds of adj. until you get it just right. Grips can be angled and the bars can be moved forward or back.

Just found their site http://www.helibars.com/ but they only listed bars for the K1200 series. There is another site that sells adapters so that any handle bar can be used, I look and see if I can find it.

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I had the same problem on my RT12 but only on left shoulder, I discovered that my left arm hold most of my upper body weight while I was accelerating, so the relief came when I stopped hanging from my left arm everytime I do start rolling and between fast and torky gear shifts.

Is this your case too?

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Short and Sweet - Yes. And, everyone, your input is going in to the brain, scrambling around, and I'm heading to the local shop to look at the RS handlebars this Saturday. I'm thinking about the exercises - does that count??? dopeslap.gif

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One more option: Suburban MAchine makes tube handlebar brackets for the R1100R which will fit the R11xxRT just fine. Once installed, as long as the cables reach, you could go from drag bars to ape-hanges in very little time. you just lose the cast BMW risers.

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First key is to figure out where specifically: Between the shoulder blades, on top of your shoulders, etc. All I would imagine have different fixes.

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