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The Jeckel/Hyde ride


russell_bynum

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russell_bynum

I've had Lisa's R1100RS dissasembled basically since we got back from Gleno's service. There were a bunch of small things that I needed to do and I just decided to do them all at once. It took forever because...well...we just didn't have any occasion to use that bike for a while. Lisa's always swamped with work the first half of the year and with the new dirt bikes and the track bikes taking up most of our riding free time, the RS just wasn't getting used.

 

Finally, I got sick of looking at it, and finished the work. I replaced the fork seal that was seeping until Mark Davis followed me down South Main Divide road and finished it off. I installed the Techlusion R259 that I basically got for free when I bought some misc parts from another member. I replaced the turn signal lens that Lisa broke in her Christmas day tipover. I fixed the motolight wiring that had become damaged. Installed the one missing piece of stainless brake line. Installed the solid aluminum bar mounts to replace the stupid rubber mounts that are stock. yada yada yada. Just a bunch of odds and ends.

 

I got done yesterday and was planning on taking the Tuono out for a ride, but decided since I haven't been on the RS in a LONG time (Spring Torrey last year), I'd take it instead.

 

I have a loop that I usually take. It starts 9 miles from my door and goes through some wonderful tight twisty roads in the wine country, up Palomar's South Grade, and from there I can decide were I want to go.

 

As I'm riding down the street, all of the boxer "character" is slapping me in the face. It's vibrating like crazy, the exhaust sounds like sombody farting in an empty metal trash can, dammit that was the horn button instead of the turn signal cancel, the transmission belongs in a cement truck, etc.

 

Then I got to the fun stuff. The frigging thing doesn't want to turn, and once you finally get it turned, it doesn't want to hold a line...it just wants to stand back up and go straight. The solid bar mounts are suddenly not masking the gawdawful front end action I'm getting thanks to the embarassment that BMW calls a front shock (I have a Works Performance rear shock on the bike, so the rear is fine.) I'd get into the corners and try to fire it out and nothing happened. Shesh...is this thing on? Yes, it's vibrating like a paint mixer and sounds like someone farting in a trash can, so it must be on...maybe I have the clutch in or something. dopeslap.gif

 

I hated it and I was wondering what was wrong with me that I ever thought this was a good bike. confused.gif

 

Mind you, I've been spending most of my riding time these days riding a 1000cc V-twin race bike with big wide dirt bike bars. It is like a laser scalpel...sharp, powerful, and precise. Smooth, too. I think about turning and the bike snaps down to exactly the lean angle I imagined and stays there rock solid...unless of course I want it to change lines...which it is more than happy to do. I've also been riding a Supersport-class 600cc sportbike with pretty nice aftermarket suspension and superglue-sticky race tires. This thing feels like I'm riding a water bed powered by a Harley motor that's only running on one cylinder in comparison.

 

Then I remembered that BMW made the front shock somewhat adjustable (rebound damping) on the RS, so I stopped, and added damping. I did that two more times until I at least got the damn thing to stop pogoing in the corners. It was then way too harsh, but at least it didn't bounce around.

 

Then I started playing with body weight...it's a heavy bike so you have to really lead it into the corners with your upper body. And it takes much more upper body to keep the bike balanced so it stays leaned in the turns.

 

Then I remembered the telelever and how it lets you do stupid things like brake into the corner, and throw the thing down on it's side while the front brake is still on.

 

The solid bar mounts finally give me the font end feedback I'm looking for and I can actually tell what the front tire is doing now, so I'm much more comfortable pushing it. I can also steer much quicker now since the rubber bar mounts aren't absorbing my countersteering input. The downside is the "boxer buzz" that you get under hard acceleration between 5500 and 6500rpms is really bad. At cruise throttle it's fine, even at elevated cruise speeds, but you really feel it on hard acceleration. (Some of that will probably get better the next time I do a valve adjust and TB sync.)

 

I was riding along pissed at the bike, bouncing off the rev limiter, and throwing it into turns when I realized...I'm having fun!

 

Then it started coming back to me...I'd just forgotten how hard you have to ride an oilhead to get it to perform.

 

I zipped up Palomar mountain passing sportbikes the whole way. grin.gif Then I turned around and went back down the mountain...passed a few more sportbikes. thumbsup.gif I decided to retrace part of my route through the tight stuff rather than take the most direct route home. I did that and got back to 76 with all of the "going to the casinos" traffic (You know...the traffic that the environmentally-conscious Indians said wasn't going to exist.) and split past about a zillion cars. Then I hit the freeway, dialed it up to 95, tucked in behind the windscreen, and reveled in the smooth, quiet airflow. Switched the grips up to low and enjoyed the warmth.

 

By the time I got home, I was in love with the bike again. You have to ignore the boxer "character" (much of that was improved with the hexhead R1200ST) and you have to ride the thing like you're mad at it..throwing it around, bouncing off the rev limiter, etc, but when you do that, it's really fun and actually fairly quick.

 

It needs another damn valve adjustment and TB sync, and it desperately needs a decent shock up front to match the Works shock in the rear, but aside from that it's a pretty fun bike.

 

The solid bar mounts from San Jose BMW get a solid two thumbs up from me. They eliminate much of the vauge feeling from the front end (the Telelever still gives you that to some degree, but at least now you can feel what the front is doing to some degree.), they make the bike turn much quicker since they don't absorb much of your countersteering input like the stock rubber mounts do, and they don't cause the bars to flop around when you go over bumps and stuff....which isn't really a problem but just feels WRONG. The only downside is the extra vibration, which I only felt at big throttle openings between 5500 and 6500rpm where the oilhead likes to vibrate anyway.

 

The Techlusion is in, but I didn't tune it at all...it's setup however the previous owner had it. Since it has been nearly a year since I've ridden the bike I can't really give any indication of any performance or driveability improvements that it brings. I'll spend some time tuning sometime and see what happens.

 

The new fork seal seems to be holding, the brakes feel good with the new stainless lines, the motolights are working again, and I remembered that you have to ride an oilhead like an a**hole to get it to perform. Since being an a**hole comes naturally to me, that wasn't a problem and I had a blast. grin.gif

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You forgot BMW rule #1. Ride it like you stole it. Just imagine if you had been back on an R1100RT. grin.gif

 

Not to mention it sounds like your comparing apples to oranges.

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russell_bynum
You forgot BMW rule #1. Ride it like you stole it. Just imagine if you had been back on an R1100RT. grin.gif

 

Indeed. I remember every time I'd get on that bike after riding the RT I felt like I was riding a rocketship. Going from the Tuono to the RS was a big shock.

 

Not to mention it sounds like your comparing apples to oranges.

 

Yes and no. Certainly, the two bikes (Tuono vs RS) are designed with different missions in mind. But...I use them for the same thing. I don't really have any complaints with the Tuono in the comfort department...except weather protection when it is really cold or rainy. The BMW definitely excells in that environment. But...this is SoCal so "cold" and "rain" aren't really things that I have to deal with very often.

 

It's funny because I've been riding the DRZ a whole bunch lately, and my rides to the dirt are generally on tight twisty paved roads. It's terrible on sweepers because the suspension just bounces the whole time, but otherwise, it's a real blast. I use the same very slow entry, short and quick turn event, followed by standing the thing up and snapping the throttle open to fire it out style that I use on the Tuono. The brakes on the Tuono are WAAAAY better, and you can't pin the throttle on corner exit or it'll stand on it's tail, but the style is basically the same and other than the brakes, I don't really find it difficult to adjust. Going to the RS was very different and I had to work much harder to make it go.

 

Of course...thinking back, I remember how I always manhandled the RT, so going from RT to RS made the RS feel like a 125 GP bike.

 

Anyway...it was an interesting ride. I started out hating the bike and ended up loving it again....once I got in touch with my "inner a**hole" and starting riding it like I stole it. cool.gif

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