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R1200RT tranny clunk


Jones

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I've been riding Japasaki bikes for over 2 decades. I finally got the BMW bike of my dreams. I'm not a rich man and this was a big deal (read mid-life crisis big) for me. The R1200RT is like a dream come true. There are a couple of things, however, I want to ask y'all BMW master gurus about.

 

First, the King Arthur sized sword sticking out from between my shoulder blades after about 2 hours of riding. I am 5'8" tall, 28-30" inseam, and a less than Brad Pitish 250 lbs. This bike is just at my limit to plant foot (not feet) without much problem. Dang that sword hurts! I have a Suburban Machinery pull-back adapter which I'll put on later this week. Is anything going to help more?? My mother used to tell me I had bad posture but at 46 years old I think I'm about as good as I'm going to get. What else to do??

 

Second, the BMW transmission clunk. Many say its a beemer thing and just get used to it. I understand clunky trannies but is this REALLY normal?? Geeeez! Just had the 600 mile check-up and it passed. I'm going to get a phobia about downshifting from 3-2-1. Please tell me how to at least make it better. After a lifetime of wet-clutched asian bikes...this is german engineering? I shredded a drive shaft on a Kiwasaki (dealer left it dry at assembly) and my experience is giving me warning flags while the BMW boards tell me to "suck it up beemer boy"

 

I know I sound like a new guy, I am. I love the RT and I just need a little wise guidence.

 

Thanks for your help and I'll see you on the road

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St0nkingByte

The clunk is normal. It seems to smooth out over time. It helps to keep the tranny spinning when switching gears, especially down into first if you're stopped. Slipping the clutch just a hair then pulling it back in usually does the trick. Also the tranny seems to much prefer firm shifting. Shift with authority, if you will. If I half-ass shift mine from first to second sometimes it'll drop to neutral, never had it drop from any other gear.

 

Most people consider BMWs, especially the boxers, just about broken in around 10,000 miles, I tend to agree.

 

I can't comment on the swordplay. The only time I've had that kind of pain was after riding for twelve hours the last three of which were non-stop twisties blush.gif I figured it was just time to call it a day.

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Firefight911

Me thinks we just got ourselves another firedude!!!!! thumbsup.gif

 

First off, welcome to the party!! wave.gifwave.gif You really have come to the right place for some awesome information.

 

Yes, the "clunk" is normal. You will get used to it and you will, with time and practice, learn to make the shifts positive and effortless. Don't worry about it too much.

 

As for the sword in your back, do a search for 'Master Yoda Riding Position.' This is a very good way to deal with this issue you are having. Your posture may be fine, but it needs to be re-trained to allow you max control and pain free enjoyment on your new steed!

 

You have a VERY knowledgeable asset not too far from you. I am sure Ken will chime in and offer some help.

 

As you explore, try and make some appearances at a Tech daze or three. You will learn an enormous amount about your bike and this can pay huge dividends when it comes to saving some money in service cost.

 

For that matter, you could post in Ride and Event Planning about having one or two over when it is time to do some service and they could help guide you through some stuff.

 

Give yourself some time to learn your new bike and for her to learn you. You are just getting started!

 

The best is yet to come!! thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

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Have you tried the low-seat? It works for me--I can just nicely plant both feet flat with the seat in the low position. I am 5'8" with a 31" inseam and 170 lbs. Slightly different dimensions but....give the low-seat some thought. I am sure that others will give you some good advice. However, it might work for you.

As far as the clunking: I asked the same question a while back and it seems as if it is normal. I try to shift with "authority" but my mind forgets sometimes. My K75s did the same thing and I thought that it was me.

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I'm 5'8", 240lbs, 28" inseam, so I hear your plea. Never had back pain, but it has taken some tweaking to get my R1200RT dialed in. I use a set of bar risers to bring the handle bars up and back about an inch, I've dropped the footpegs, and the best investment for the money: I got a custom saddle from Bill Mayer Saddles in Ojai, CA.

 

I'm contemplating a back rest, which may ease your pain. Check out www.bakupusa.com...they've got R1200RT driver's back rests. Best of luck to you.

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Blipping the throttle on downshifts eliminates the clunk for me. thumbsup.gif

Also, when selecting first from neutral at standstill, pull the clutch in and pause before selecting first - no clunk. thumbsup.gif

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texasaggie97

Tom welcome to the group and you will love the bike. I though the same thing when I got my GS and is has really smoothed out. This site is a blessing and will help you time and time again plus you will meet some amazing people here always willing to lead a helping hand.

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I find throttle blipping on downshifts is the only way to get noiseless changes and that for upshifts, preloading the lever and then shifting quickly and as the others have said 'with authority' and with just a small amount of clutch lever movement is the way to go.

I like to drive my car smoothly and ride my bike smoothly as well and although clunky trannies are considered 'normal on BMW bikes it derracts from that smooth efficient operation I am after. As the bike wears in more and my technique becomes more second nature I feel more at one with the machine. Try different suggestions and be patient.

Enjoy your beautiful bike and this great online community - they even let Aussies in!

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One other possibility for that sword in the back is backpressure against the helmet caused by running with the windscreen raised too high.

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I agree with Michael. The only time I've gotten the back pressure induced upper back pain was on a recent trip when I had the windshield higher than normal due to rain.

Tom

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Go back to your dealer and try the low seat...If too much time hasn't passed he may swap seats out free of charge. Key word here is may, as in maybe or maybe not.

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You people are the best. I think I'm going to like it here.

 

I'm going to get the handlebar risers on ASAP. I have high hopes for them as I think a lot of my problem is that I am reaching a bit for the bars. I have so much to get used to.

 

This is the second worst motorcycle seat I ever placed my posterior aspect on (Kawasaki holds first honors.) I have the low seat but no help. How on earth can German butts be that different?? Must be the Kansas firehouse cooking is all I can figure.

 

I shall immediately begin shifting with authority! One question though, I've worked the throttle on a lot of things big and small but just how does a person "Blip" one? On the up or down shift? Is it blip clunk or clunk blip?

 

I have to admit that the beloved BMW clunk scared the stuffing out of me. I thought I was going to drop the tranny on the pavement. But I will learn to love it if that's what is required. There is just something about going down the road on this thing........Well, you know.

 

Now to find the bucks for a seat to fit my big American (add euphemism here.) Mayer, Sargent, Russell, wait, more than one Mayer? Or was it more than one Russell? I am no good at these decisions. Help will be greatly appreciated. I do know one thing though, no Corbin. Been there on the Kawasaki. I've sat on cinder-blocks with more give in them. I know you need firm support but an I-beam tied to my can would have been better.

 

Thanks for all of your help. I've got an awful lot to learn now. This is a pro machine and it does not seem to like my sloppy riding habits.

 

Ride well........and safe.

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Even my '01 Honda CBR600F4i sportbike had a healthy clunk going into 1st. My New Nissan also had a light but noticeable thud as it engages 1st from a standstill.

 

Bliping the throttle.. this refers to a applying a very amount of throttle with th eclutch pulled in to raise the RPM's enogh to better match revs with a downshift. THis saves clutch wear and smooth out the shifts. This can also be done while braking by using the other 3 fingers on your throttle hand to roll on the throttle while you apply the clutch and brake with your other 2 fingers.

 

I had found clipping a little harder on my R1200RT because the cruise control adds a little play in the throttle so I have to roll the throttle farther to blip it. I have small hands so it can be a little tricky it's I'm also braking. It was much easier on my sportbikes.

 

Blipping the throttle is why you'll often hear a sharp spike in RPM's right before a downshift on high performance car or motorcycle on the race track. Although the newer sportbikes have slipper clutches so it's less important to match revs.

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Hi Tom

Welcome!! Get a new seat for your bike so you can remove the sword, put some Mobil 1 75W140 gear oil in the tranny to help with the clunk and enjoy your new RT.

KB

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I can't help you with your back but as a newcomer to the forum I posted a similar question regarding the transmission "clunk". I posted this onJuly 22nd titled"Gearbox impressions/First to second shift." If you can find this post I got some good advice that may help you. I've also got a lot from the replies to your post. What I've found most effective is shifting aggressively(quickly) combining the quick upshift with the foot in combination with a quick flip of the clutch, not necessarily trying to take the clutch all the way back to the grip. I take it back about half way and the shifts are much quicker and quieter. My biggest issue has been the shift from 1st to 2nd. I'm curious if this has been the case with you? This is my second BMW (Previous 04 R11S). Don't second guess yourself about your decision with the RT. I love mine and you will too. Just try all the ideas thrown at you here and the shifting will get smoother combining your experience with putting more miles on the bike.

 

Russ

 

PS: Let me know how you come along especially with your 1st to 2nd upshift.

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What I've found most effective is shifting aggressively(quickly) combining the quick upshift with the foot in combination with a quick flip of the clutch, not necessarily trying to take the clutch all the way back to the grip. I take it back about half way and the shifts are much quicker and quieter.

 

Agreed, silent upshifting is all about technique. All the clutch lever needs is a quick little quarter-squeeze just as you ease off the throttle but before the revs drop, and just as you lift the shifter with your toe -- kind of an all-in-one subtle move of both hands and left foot -- and then immediately ease on the throttle as you release the clutch. Shifting down quietly is much harder, but generally if you keep at a gear appropriate to the speed and don't let revs drop too much between shifts, the clunks won't be a total embarassment. But shift down to first while still rolling any more than 3mph and your tranny will usually announce your arrival at an intersection.

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Go back to your dealer and try the low seat...If too much time hasn't passed he may swap seats out free of charge. Key word here is may, as in maybe or maybe not.

I ordered my bike with the low seat - which is now a Rick Mayer seat. Experimenting with the (low) seat in it's two positions didn't affect the upper back pain one way or the other, but (for me) the lower position tends to promote leg cramps. At any rate, it does seem that the best way to avoid the upper back pain is to keep the windshield height as low as possible to reduce the back pressure.

Tom

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Agreed, silent upshifting is all about technique. All the clutch lever needs is a quick little quarter-squeeze just as you ease off the throttle but before the revs drop, and just as you lift the shifter with your toe -- kind of an all-in-one subtle move of both hands and left foot -- and then immediately ease on the throttle as you release the clutch.

 

One thing I did to help this work for me was to drop the gear lever one notch on the spline. Before I did that I found that the amount my foot had to move to execute the upchange was too great to be able to do it quickly. Downshifts are better too, as I don't have to lift my foot as much. This mod will not be for everybody - depends on boot size, natural angle of your foot on the peg etc

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Excellent advice from all. I have the Touratech adjustable shifter to put on this weekend along with the bar risers. Then I'm going to head out for some tranny practice. I can do this.

 

Some of you have mentioned going from 1-2-3. That's not a big deal, just getting used to the clutch timing. Been OK (mostly) with that so far. My problemo is on the down shifts. 3-2 I nail about 30% of the time. 2-1 is going to take work. I tend to wait a bit and bleed off speed before downshifting (Kawasaki thing) and I'm going to have to get used to working at much higher RPMs than I'm familiar with.

 

From all of your great advice I think I have my head around what I need to do differently. We'll see after this weekend's training ride.

 

My Jethro Bodine boots might not be a help either. I'll rethink my footwear as well.

 

I've got to face the fact that I'm a total barbarian riding a real class act bike. And I like it!

 

Come hell or high water, I'm going to ride this machine to the Tetons for a "New bike ride." No time yet for a custom seat so I'm going to have to duct-tape some cold-packs to my stern and just ride on.

 

As always..Thanks

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To turn the clunk into more of a snick on upshifts, try pre-loading the shifter - put a liitle upward pressure on the shifter, then the pull i the clutch and turn down the throttle - snick. Then again, loud shifts save lives, they say.

 

For the sword pain, perhaps you're putting all your weight on your hands. Try putting some tension in your legs and stomach, with less weight on the handlebars.

 

For the seat, my Sargent is fine, but probably anything is better than the stock seat.

 

Good luck.

 

 

Larry

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Come hell or high water, I'm going to ride this machine to the Tetons for a "New bike ride." No time yet for a custom seat so I'm going to have to duct-tape some cold-packs to my stern and just ride on.

You might try fitting an Air Hawk. Should be more comfortable than the stock saddle. If you like it keep it, if not put the AH up for sale at a 33% discount.

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Tom- the bar risers are going to help a great deal. Go for them.

 

The shifter too.

 

Regarding up shifting- one thing not mentioned here so far is the RPM range... I notice that if I upshift when the rpms are pretty high- it shifts smoother. At a recent tech session it was explained that the German engineers think we ought to be using greater RPM. May be just a rumor.

 

Also the ole BMW trick of pre-loading the shifter... means to put a little pressure on the shift lever just before you actually pull the clutch or move the lever. You are supposed to be taking the slack out of the system. I think it works.

 

Throttle blippng helps too. You are trying to match the higher revs of the lower gear.

 

the neutral to first shift while at a stop or leaving the garage can be helped tremendously by pumping the clutch lever at least once before trying to make the shift. I also see improvement by putting a little pre-load on the lever and clutch once... seems to slip right in on the next clutch/lever move.

And if folklore is true, a few thousand more mile will help a great deal.

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Hey Tom,

Like you, I am new to the group(s) but already have found a wealth of information. There just needs to be more time in a day than 24 hours to even get close to checking it all out, let alone absorbing a lot.

I think the "clunking" has been pretty well covered, it's normal to a BMW, 'nuff said.

The sword in the back has been a problem of mine for some time now. I ride an '05 1200RT and love it to death, but I had this same problem with my previous bikes (Ducs ST2, ST3 & ST4S as well as my last Beemer, an R1000RT). I will be very interested if your bar risers work, or anything else for that matter. I'm 6'2", 200 lbs. and have a Corbin seat,

which I love (for the posterior). We had the seat custom built on site in Hollister which is much better than an off the shelf model I have found. Of course, I only live about 5 hours away, so that's a no brainer.

Best wishes with your new baby and happy trails!

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