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What do I need to Know??


brady

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I'm currently in the market for a 2005-2008 RT. This is my first BMW and wanted to get some insight as to what I should look for pros or cons or questions I should ask when looking at potential options.

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They are all great bikes but there are differences. Up to 2007 they had a powered brake system that has some very expensive parts and are a little more difficult to flush. The rear drives in the early models did not have a bottom drain on the rear drive which made fluid change a bit more difficult.

 

In 2008 they added more to the computer system to include service reminders. Either a dealer computer or a GS-911 is needed to reset the reminders. It would be beneficial on any of them to own this tool.

 

http://www.gs911usa.com/

 

Maintenance on all of them is very easy and straight forward.

 

I recently did all the research and bought a 2008. I am sure it is the right decision for me.

 

HTH

 

Ron

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This past summer I got my first BMW RT as well. It is a one owner, dealer serviced, local bike, late 2007 model with no 'whizzy' brakes. Love it so far (6000 miles by me; 40k total). But no FD drain on the bottom - boo. Was lucky enough to find one here with everything I was looking for, aside from being an '08 with the FD drain, for a reasonable price. Even came with the top case and tank bag!

 

The whizzy brake thing was the biggest deal for me, since I don't think the brakes work well when rolling it around the garage (??). Next was service history, then heated grips and seat, then color, then mileage.

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So what i have so far is that the pre2008 bikes can have brake issues that are $$$$ to repair but the 2008 has a service reminder that requires either the dealer or a $350 part. Good thoughts I look forward to learning more.

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I have a 2008RT that has been great. But there's no "requirement" for a GS911 if you don't want one. I just ignore the "Service" request on the dash and do maintenance on schedule. Would be nice to flick it off but I'm not sure it's worth $350.

 

- Richard

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I have a 2008RT that has been great. But there's no "requirement" for a GS911 if you don't want one. I just ignore the "Service" request on the dash and do maintenance on schedule. Would be nice to flick it off but I'm not sure it's worth $350.

 

- Richard

 

I found a way to get rid of the "SERVICE" reminder... Just turn on my grip heaters! ;-) (On 2010+ it works.. cept' you get hot hands!!!) Hehe

 

(It just shows the ''grip heater icon" which supplants the SERVICE reminder)

 

Re: What to look for... As was mentioned those early models with the power assisted brakes can be an issue... Don't want to offend those that have them, but when I was looking I talked to my mechanic, a 35 year BMW cert. MASTER MECHANIC and he advised to stay away from them... Can be a REAL COSTLY repair!

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I'd like to add a few extra things.

If the bike has a BMW OE battery, prepare to change it as soon as possible. Not to offend all those who have been able to keep it for five or so years but experience has showed anything over two years is living on borrowed time.

If you can take a test ride be very mindful of "unusual" vibrations in the left footpeg: these are usually the early symptoms of a final drive (FD) main bearing failure. It's a bit tricky but can save you a lot of troubles (changing an FD main bearing early is relatively cheap and won't leave you stranded). If the bike's otherwise well kept this isn't a walk away issue: just ask for an extra discount to fix it.

If the owner/dealer allows it, take off the L/H fairing panel and check the conditions of the fuel pump flange: see here how to remove the body panel.

Those flanges need to be checked regularly because they are known to develop cracks. BMW has a new fuel pump with a different flange available but due to both the enormous price tag and their bizarre after-sale policies it's rarer than hen's teeth. Check the forum for cheap and easy fixes.

 

The two only areas of concern on these bikes (apart from the discontinued servo-assisted brakes) are the FD main bearing and the fuel pump. The OE battery's bad but it's a cheap and easy fix. Other than that these are very well designed bikes, built with premium materials and made to last. :thumbsup:

 

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So what i have so far is that the pre2008 bikes can have brake issues that are $$$$ to repair but the 2008 has a service reminder that requires either the dealer or a $350 part. Good thoughts I look forward to learning more.

 

First... welcome on board.

 

I own and have ridden an '05 since...'05. Your "information" is not totally true... let me expand.

 

First the info is not "un-true" just not totally objective... in my perfectly un-biased opinion...

 

The '05/'06 bikes have Servo controlled brakes. This means a device applies braking to both front and rear brakes when the "front" lever is applied. the computer applies braking force proportionately and it is far more effective than trying to train a rider to use both brakes appropriately. The "whizzy" sound is the servo activating. This sound ca be heard at stop lights or at low speed... by the rider. At any other speed you will not hear it.

 

I think the brakes are fantastic but the servo assist system requires a little more work when service time rolls around...but the work is easy and interesting.

 

Regarding the braking while moving the bike in the garage... it just does not matter. If you are moving with the engine started... you have power brakes. If you are moving with no motor... you are probably moving by hand... no big deal. The brakes still work to a very sufficient degree. It is a non-issue.

 

Regarding the Final Drive service. That service is still easy and entertaining... part of that service is to drop the final drive to drain it... this disconnects the final drive shaft from the forward portion of the system... you need to do that for service of the spline connection anyway...Again, just not a reason to buy or avoid buying in this year range.

 

My opinion is that the entire range from '05 thru '09 are great bikes. the minor differences are far outweighed by the bike you find and like. This means a '08/'09 bike with a spotty or unknown maintenance record and obvious signs of wear is far less desirable than an earlier bike with lower miles and a seller who has good records... etc.

 

There are other differences in earlier bikes but like I say... they do no amount to much.

 

So... what does matter... is Maintenance and History. You need to find a candidate bike that has reliable records, a seller who knows the bike (as opposed to a salesman who basically knows nothing except the commission structure)... and who will tell you the truth about repairs, service, history... and seems reliable and truthful.

 

Mileage is also relative. Many bikes in the age group can be found... just barely broken-in. This means about 18k miles or so. Over 30k bikes are just entering their prime. Many bikes will already be in the 50/60 range. Some great buys can be had there.

 

The only real questions are history and maintenance... enjoy the search.

 

Ask questions.

Forum members will be easily found who can survey a bike you find in places you may not be able to get to conveniently. Just ask.

 

Keep us "up" on your process... a lot of friends here.

 

 

 

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Just a clarification to HOPZ post..

 

All the models AFAIK (at least all ABS, not just the 05/06 servo brakes) have "proportional" braking... Pull the front lever and the rear is also "pulled in" .. (linked)

 

Rear works by itself and does not link to the front.. Not sure if that was true for all years.. it is on my 2010.

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Another thing to be aware of are the various option packages that came on the bikes from the factory. Farkles are always good, as well. If a prospective bike has been well farkled out with things that you find desireable, so much the better. It's always good to do your homework, research model year differences, and be aware of issues that owners bring up but, personally, I wouldn't necessarily shy away from one model year or another based on these things if all other factors were favorable including maintenance, history, options, farkles, overall appearance, your feelings about the owner, and (oh, yeah) price.

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All the models AFAIK (at least all ABS, not just the 05/06 servo brakes)

 

I thought about that myself and came back to re-post the clarification...

 

thanks, you beat me to it.

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I also own a 2005 Piedmont Red RT. So far absolutely no problems. Only things I had to replace on the bike are the tires (OEMs lasted about 12K miles), battery (after 5 years) and one light bulb. My final drive is just as tight as when the bike was new. If you decide to buy an 05-06 bike I would suggest setting the ESA to comfort setting and ride one up as much as you can. I think this puts the least amount of strain on the final drive and bearings... I service the bike myself for the past two-three years... fairly easy work however removing the body panels could be a pain though. I recommend getting a panel diagram drawn up and noting the screws and sizes and where they go. There are about 5 different sizes screws in the fairing.

Since I switched to 15w50 BMW syn oil I am getting up to 65mpg while cruising at 55mph in the summer months and about 58 mpg when the temps dip below 50 degrees F.

Anyway, these are great bikes, would recommend them!

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I service the bike myself for the past two-three years... fairly easy work however removing the body panels could be a pain though. I recommend getting a panel diagram drawn up and noting the screws and sizes and where they go. There are about 5 different sizes screws in the fairing.

 

Yo, Red... please post your location or consider modifying your signature. Always good for us to find new pals and know where you are.

 

Just for the new guys... removing/re-installing body panels is very easy and in fact can be done in about 20 minutes... unless you have a power screw driver- then call it 10 minutes- if you stop half-way for a beverage.

 

Truth is there are only 4 different screw sizes for the 05/06's. I hear the newer ones have 3. The Tank bag rail holds the large screws but they can remain on the rail so no confusion required. There are two slightly larger screws in the lower panels near the exhaust headers which are obvious because you have to get a different size bit for the Torx driver. (these have possibly been made all the same size at some point) the point is they are easy to not confuse because you need to change the driver to get off or re-install.

 

The only important screws are the two on the side of the radio box. These are important to keep separate because they are some tiny degree shorter than the others. Only issue is returning the wrong (longer) screw to the side of the box. The longer screw can drill a hole in the top/side of the radio box. Even that is really no big deal if it happens.

 

Here is a great thread from the Technical sub-forum at the BMW MOA site. I do not know if you have to be a member to view it.

http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?35262-HEXHEAD-Tech-R1200RT-Plastic-Removal-2008-Model

 

If you cannot view the MOA thread- go to You Tube for the Max BMW video on the same subject.

 

If you do get a BMW- it is well worth your time and money to join the MOA... = BMW Motorcycle Owner's Association. Their technical forums are among the best.

 

On your other point... the ESA option is probably one thing that you may encounter upon shopping for the bikes in this age range. The original buyer had the choice of Electronic Suspension Adjustment or not. Some lie/love it, some do not.

 

the other major option is the radio or not. then there is the Seat option... Low or regular.

 

Enjoy your shopping.

 

 

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Couple other things to look for...

 

Fuel level sendor issues abound. And on some bikes it can be stubborn to fix. Pay attention to if it appears the fuel level indicator reflects what’s in the tank. Or try to get an honest response to questions about a bike’s history of the issue.

 

On some of the earlier ones the outside air temp indication on the dash was notoriously inaccurate and there have been several updates on attempts to improve it. If that sort of thing matters to you.

 

Get a verification if possible that the very first service interval to re-torque the head bolts was done. It’s vital to the long life of the engine. Also a history of on schedule valve adjustments wouldn’t hurt.

 

These are dry clutch bikes so any burnt clutch like smells can be a quick warning flag that it was abused. And it’s a major major tear down to replace it.

 

Personally I don’t think the power assist brakes are as much an evil as some make them out to be, but it is important that the maintenance interval for flush & bleeds has been and is continued to be followed.

 

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I have a 2008 and one of the reasons I bought that year instead of earlier models is that the rear brakes will operate independently. That and the non power brakes. One thing you might want to consider is the low suspension (seat height)option if you are under 5'11" or so....I am 5'10" and can only put on foot flat on the ground at a stop. I ride conservatively so the loss of suspension travel would be ok (I think). I might go that route on my next RT

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Thanks for all the advice. There is some really helpful information that has been shared. When I get an RT I will certainly join the BMWMOA group. I believe in supporting those groups who share my common passions. Funny thing about the low suspension/seat height. I was looking at an RT a while back that had it but didn't advertise that. So when I sat on it I was surprised how low the bike felt. I'm 6'4" the guy that was selling the bike was 5'8" or so. When I looked in to what it would cost I decided to passed on the bike.

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Pay attention to if it appears the fuel level indicator reflects what’s in the tank.

 

On some of the earlier ones the outside air temp indication on the dash was notoriously inaccurate and there have been several updates on attempts to improve it.

 

Get a verification if possible that the very first service interval to re-torque the head bolts was done. It’s vital to the long life of the engine.

 

These are dry clutch bikes so any burnt clutch like smells can be a quick warning flag that it was abused. And it’s a major major tear down to replace it.

 

I think the quotes above deserve some additional chat. They are not wrong, just need some clarification:

 

Fuel level... sorry but I think the fuel level indicator is supposed to indicate whats in the tank. Must be a typo. Yes some of the later year bikes in the '05-'09 range had/have fuel strip problems. My '05 is accurate and has been. I think later models, especially in the '10+ range are having more issues.

 

Ambient Air Temperature... this is almost a joke. the '05/06 had the Temperature probe mounted over the rear tire. In late '06 BMW offered to move it to a position under the front fairing. The original position generally read 8 degree high. If you are good with math, like I am, you can subtract 8 from the temperature on the display. If you want to move the probe, it will take you a few minutes to figure out how to do it. No big deal.

 

Dry Clutch... yes. If you smell the clutch burn aroma during a regular test drive, and you have not slipped it yourself then by all means inquire. Caveat... any year, any bike can have an abnormally worn clutch from a previous owner. In general terms In my opinion it is worth asking about but is a rare thing. If anyone rides any bike long enough you will have clutch plate wear. That's the way it is.

 

Brake flush... any year, any bike, any model needs regular brake flush. Ask about it and if you get and intelligent answer, or better, you see records you are OK. If you are interested in any year bike and there is no known history you will want to do a flush anyway.

 

I have bought many used BMWs. When I get one I do a complete service on every one. ALL fluids, All brake parts carefully inspected, all adjustments and calibrations. It is a god way to get to know your new toy and is a great bonding and confidence building experience. If the fluid in an '05 was never changed... it is probably still OK anyway. A good flush will fix it. If it were 15 years old with original fluid, I would be concerned but even that is unlikely to be a certain problem. Take a screwdriver with you when you do an inspection. If the brake fluid question is not clearly answered ask permission and take a look inside the front reservoir. If it is bright and clean ... no problem. If not... walk away or start talking about a price reduction.

 

Summary is that you have more knowledge now than you did before... enjoy your shopping.

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following

 

I asked in your other thread, budget?

 

For example there is an '012 w/2,500 miles listed in our classifieds for $16.5 w/a ton of options.

 

Being 6'4" some RT fairing designs may, or may not, depending on leg lengths etc hit you in the shin when you stop and put foot down.

Unless you adjust, at least that was my experience.

I had an airhead R100 RT forever and it was not a problem for me.

When the oilheads came out I sat on them and eventually chose an RSL over the RT becasue of seating position and the shin issue on an RT.

Good luck.

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following

 

I asked in your other thread, budget?

 

For example there is an '012 w/2,500 miles listed in our classifieds for $16.5 w/a ton of options.

 

Being 6'4" some RT fairing designs may, or may not, depending on leg lengths etc hit you in the shin when you stop and put foot down.

Unless you adjust, at least that was my experience.

I had an airhead R100 RT forever and it was not a problem for me.

When the oilheads came out I sat on them and eventually chose an RSL over the RT becasue of seating position and the shin issue on an RT.

Good luck.

 

$16.5 is a bit more then I am currently looking at. In looking at a lot of ads I think that I should be able to find a good bike with between 20k-40k miles for between $8500-$9500. Farkels are nice but not necessary in my book. Its a bigger deal to get a well taken car of bike with a documented service history and then go from there.

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Yo, Red...The only important screws are the two on the side of the radio box. These are important to keep separate because they are some tiny degree shorter than the others. Only issue is returning the wrong (longer) screw to the side of the box. The longer screw can drill a hole in the top/side of the radio box. Even that is really no big deal if it happens.

 

 

Well, Hopz I live in the eastern part of North Carolina at this time. Mainly ride to Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach and to the NC coast to sail when I get a chance. Real flat land and many side roads with 55 mph speed limit (police likes to hide out mostly where you do not expect them. Kind of like the New York State speed traps).

 

I would also mention the screws holding the side panels by the gas tank. Installing the wrong screws here could possibly pucture the gas tank (have not tried it myself, but the space between the tank and side panels seems fairly tight. Also, you are right, there are only four different size screws on the bike holding the panels in place. However some are twice as long as others and are the same diameter and head size... also needles to mention that there are about 40 screws holding all the panels in place... I may be off in the count by a few.

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

2005 R1200RT

2008 MB C300 Sport (with stick shift)

 

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