Jump to content

Ilium barbacks - installed & tested


Recommended Posts

Being an oldster and not that flexible any more, one of the first things I did on my R1150R 3 yrs ago was bar backs (besides lowering the footpegs and moving them forward 2" ea) and found it made riding much more comfortable for me. (I'm 6' with 30" inseam and "hover" around 250 or so)


Fast forward to an 11 R1200RT. Many ergonomic improvements on the bike for longer rides, but still noticed my arms were pretty much straight out and my shoulders would get a little tired or sore after an hour or more.


So checked into barbacks. Ended up with the Iliums that come with the extended brake line as they move the bars up and esp back more than the others I found.


Was going to take a couple hundred mile jaunt yesterday up into Death Valley (from Vegas) but it was quite "warm" so decided to take the plunge and install the barbacks. Had been a wee bit paranoid about bleeding those brakes, even tho I've got many years of extensive wrenching and had found that bleeding the boosted ABS brakes on my 1150R weren't anywhere near as big a deal as it had been made out to be on more than one forum.


Didn't take that long for the mechanical part of the install, even replacing the brake line from the master cyl down to the junction block. After turning the bars full left and studying it a little and planning my moves, it wasn't as hard to get at or to work with the fittings and mounting bolt as I first thought. But, as usual, patience does help. You need a basic torx bit set, incl a T-35 for the brake line at the mstr cyl. The mstr cyl has to be removed from the bar to get the bit into the screw, but that's easy as it's just 2 little torx screws and it comes right off.


The extended replacement brake line is a Spiegler and is their usual great quality.


I was happy that my brake mstr cyl didn't have that funky cap on it that has the 2 tabs that have to be depressed to get it off. Mine is just a regular cover with 3 small torx screws in it.


After titanic struggles bleeding my R1150 clutch mstr cyl, I think BMW had a stroke of genius on the R1200RT front brakes (don't know when they started adding this) when they included a tiny bleed screw above where the brake lines hooks to the mstr cyl. I got more bubbles out of it (of course, with the empty replacement line) than I got out of both calipers together. Wish I had that on my 1150R clutch mstr cyl!!


Anyway, tried to find some m8 x 1.25 speed bleeders, none to be had anywhere in Vegas. So, back to the old method of pumping the brakes and loosening / tightening the bleed screw. Not a big deal on the right brake, but a cast iron b&*%h on the left front, esp if you want to watch the plastic tube to see if you get bubbles and when they stop coming. Being old and definitely not a contortionist, that ain't gonna happen again!!


So broke down and got a China (exCUse me, Harbor) Freight $25 brake bleeder kit with a hand vacuum pump and a little inline bottle in the hose that hooks to the bleed screw. Had one awhile ago that worked fine when it worked, but it crapped out after about 1/2 dozen uses. Well, only recourse, so got another one.


I had bled about a pint before by hand, but even with bleeding the tiny bleed screw at the mstr cyl, still had soft "pedal".


So that's when I decided to break down and get another one of those brake bleeder things.


Used a short length of clear tube at the bleed screw (they only come with rubber) hooked into the rubber hose with a connector cuz I wanted to be able to watch for bubbles.


One thing I did that I think helped - got a small tube of thread sealer and screwed the bleeders almost all the way out (using a paper towel to catch seepage) and smeared the threads with sealer, then screwed them back in. Under 10" of vacuum, no air bubbles even with the bleeder closed, so that worked.


Applied vacuum, worked the brake lever just maybe 1/2" in and out, and could easily see the fluid being pulled out of the reservoir.


Bled both sides again, used better part of another pint just to make sure as I suspected I may have gotten a little air into the lines that go thru the ABS. Still had soft "pedal" so bled the bleeder at the mstr cyl again, got several small bubbles. After that, had really nice firm "pedal". So that ended up being a good $25 spent for that brake bleeder thing.


Took it for about a 50 mile jaunt, some 2 lane, some freeway, and the brakes work just fine. Of course, I made sure of that before I got it out of first gear!


And the barbacks ? Absolutely worth it!! Now I don't have to stetch my arms out to near-lock to sit up straight for my back, and my shoulders didn't start to ache like they used to before.


And just plain a more comfortable position for longer rides.


The kit with the longer brake line is more expensive, and is somewhat of a job to install, but IMHO is well worth it.


It's just as they advertise - the clutch hose is plenty long and doesn't bind or stretch at all even when turning full left. The only thing I did was to use a small wire tie to suspend the big bunch of wires up about 1" right alongside the top left of the left fork tube, otherwise they would get tight and bind a little when turning full right.


If I'd of had that bleeder thing to start with, bleeding those brakes would have been no big deal. Totally a normal straightforward bleed job. Only it seems that darn brake fluid manages to get all over no matter how many paper towels one uses around the mstr cyl. Just wash it off with mild soap and water and rinse. Just wiping it off I guess doesn't do it and it will screw up the paint.





Link to comment

Thank you for the great write up. The Ilium bar backs are on the top of my list, followed by their highway pegs, for my 2010 RT. Considering their mighty cost, it's good to hear they work well. The position of the stock bars hurt the back between my shoulder blades so much I had to have physical therapy. Come to think of it, that makes these bar backs seem cheap!

Link to comment

I love both my bar backs and the highway pegs. The bar backs took all of 15 minutes to install, (that's including pauses for appropriate summer refreshement of course), and they look great! THe highway pegs took a bit longer but man are they the real deal, they change the entire dynamic of a long ride. Note of caution on the highway pegs, first and foremost have the right T wrnech to install the pegs to the frame, it's deeper then more T wrenches, and second use pletny of lock-tite. For what ever reason, the bolts vibrate loose pretty quickly, but blue lock-tite fixed the problem

Link to comment

I bought the set with the brake line but have not installed them.

I decided to use the Verholen set that pivot 15 degrees. With these I used the brake line and union that came with the Illium kit.

These bar backs work very well, for me, and the relaxation of the wrist angle is a great comfort change.

There is no longer a pinch in my shoulder blades as with the factory, grip angle.

At 6'5" with short arms, bar backs are a must but I believe that the Illium's might give you more "back" than the Verholens do with the angle adjusted out.

Just a little alternative for you larger guys.

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...

Macx, I have been working at installing the ilium bar back with the extended brake line kit on my new 2011 R1200RT. The brake block has a line coming in at the top and a line going down to the front wheel on the right side of the block and 2 lines on the left side of the block going back toward the rear wheel.


With the kit from iliup/spiegler they give a little brake block that the new line can attach to but in no way will this replace the origional brake block. And I can't seem to figure out how it could attach to the origional block either. Can you explain?

I could provide pictures if it would help get my question across.


I was sucessful at installing the highway pegs today and really like the new position of the bars with the bar back kit but the brake line is got me stumped.


Link to comment

Macx or Pletch did you notice any change in noise after installing the Pegs. Pretty sure I got the fairing all back on correctly but now I seem to have more wind noise at 70 and up from the windshiled which I didn't touch.

Link to comment

I only have additional wind noise with the pegs out and my feet on them, then the wind is channeled straight up on to my chest and against the bottom of my helmet. Other than that, nothing.

They are great and work well to break up the bent knee syndrome, as well as rest the lower back. But a word to the wise, make sure the pegs are stowed when entering twisties...you will rub the rubber off, quickly, and there is a greaqt deal of noise as the pegs drag :grin:

Link to comment

Thanks Pletch, Called the vendor and got the info I needed on the brake line. The origional brake block is actually 2 different brake blocks so the supplied new block made sense to me finally. Got it installed and just have to get the brake bled. Can't wait to try out the new set back on the handle bars and try to scrape the new pegs. I pulled the pegs back a little since the head was warm on my feet yesterday. That will be good for this winter - heated foot pegs.

Link to comment

Was going to tell you about the block, was going to go out and refresh my memory, then saw this last post.


A little tough to get at, but a little patience and practice helps.


I was worried about bleeding with the ABS, but got a cheap vac pump and did an otherwise conventional bleed operation. Worked like a champ.


I've got the little mini bleeder right at the outlet of the master cyl which was a godsend - got about as much air out of it as I did out of the caliper bleed screw. THAT was a stroke of genius on BMW's part!


I rode 740 miles yesterday, incl WAY too many miles of slow tight corners - many into 1st gear - and for the first time I got a little tired between the shoulder blades. Had done a number of 600+ mile rides before with no problem, of course stopping for pics etc etc, but still.


I AM 64 yrs old, 6' tall, and not the best back, so that should testify to the effectiveness of those Ilium bar backs.


Good luck!

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...