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Still CAL

RT Impressions after 1st 50 miles

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Still CAL

As a BMW noob I thought I'd talk about my impressions. I got the bike, a 97 R1100RT, around the end of June with 49k on it. PO has had it since 2005 and put about 38k of the 49 on it. He hadn't done much to the bike other than engine and tranny/drive fluid changes, and never had a spline lube done. So I tore into it before riding it more than a mile and a half to my house.

 

I did the spline lube first thing, then went through the rest of the bike. New clutch, new Spiegler brakes lines with a drain and flush, cleaned the throttle bodies, new injectors from tills.de, new clutch, throttle, and the-one-which-must-not-be-named cables, cleaned up the bowden box, new Autolite plugs, new air filter element, new fuel filter, internal fuel hoses and clamps, renewed wiring of the Halls sensor array courtesy of GSAddict over on the MOA forum, new alternator belt that turned out to be NOS so still need a real new one. Removed the emissions canister and associated plumbing, set the valve clearances, set the freeplay on all the cables, installed a Battery Minder I had from another bike, and bled the brakes. Last was the TB sync and she was road-ready.

 

So today was my first real ride. I live 5 miles from pavement back in a canyon at 9000 feet above sea level. The tires really don't like the gravel, rocks and dirt, very skittish so I took it slow out to the highway. It has Michelin Radial 2CTs, 120/70 ZR-17 up front, 160/60 ZR-18 in back. Once on the highway I immediately noticed the steering is different than any other bike I've ridden, I'm guessing due to the telelever design. The road at that point is nothing but twisties so I had to figure it out real quick. :jaw:It didn't take long to get the hang of it, though, and I can tell you I LIKE IT! Super-responsive handling, nudge the handlebars and you immediately change your vector. I was able to be more agressive than I have been in a long time.

 

Downshifting. I can't get the hang of it yet. I don't know if it's the new clutch, the compression of the engine or a combination, but I'm barking the tires downshifting to third, second and first. I put a slipper clutch on the V-Rod I had which alleviated this quite a bit, does BMW offer something similar? I was afraid to downshift in the corners for fear of losing it and ending up in a ravine or oncoming traffic.

 

The bike accelerates well and cruising at 75 to 80 felt like I was just purring along in the short stretches where I could do it. No flat spots or lag in acceleration, and definitely no  surging. The PO installed a palm rest throttle assist which i really like, no hand cramps, which is saying alot since I'm only two months past nearly sawing three of my throttle fingers off.There's some vibration but very mild, couldn't even narrow it down to an rpm or speed band because I barely noticed it. The seat is very firm but didn't cause any discomfort during the ride. It has a red, light blue and dark blue chevron on the front of the seat nearest the tank, don't know if it's aftermarket or not.

 

On the minus side, the bike has an occasional afterburn pop in the exhaust when decelerating, very light and only occasionally, but noticeable. I'm assuming this is because of the Motronic leaning the crap out of the mixture. Would an  AF-Xied I see referenced on the site help with that? Or it may be a slight exhaust leak. I'll have to check the muffler clamp and manifold nuts again.

 

The other thing is the shifter and rear brake lever positions when wearing riding boots. I missed a couple downshifts due to the shifter position, and I've got it at the higher setting so I can get my toe under it, but it could come up some more. Same for the brake lever; I see I can adjust it some, but it also doesn't stick out very much and I don't get much of my boot on it when stopping. I'm new enough to the bike that in a panic situation I may miss the thing altogether. So suggestions on the levers are welcome.

 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my first ride, and I'm really happy with the bike, considering how much I changed or fiddled with. I think I'll keep her :bike:

 

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dirtrider
8 hours ago, Still CAL said:

As a BMW noob I thought I'd talk about my impressions. I got the bike, a 97 R1100RT, around the end of June with 49k on it. PO has had it since 2005 and put about 38k of the 49 on it. He hadn't done much to the bike other than engine and tranny/drive fluid changes, and never had a spline lube done. So I tore into it before riding it more than a mile and a half to my house.

 

I did the spline lube first thing, then went through the rest of the bike. New clutch, new Spiegler brakes lines with a drain and flush, cleaned the throttle bodies, new injectors from tills.de, new clutch, throttle, and the-one-which-must-not-be-named cables, cleaned up the bowden box, new Autolite plugs, new air filter element, new fuel filter, internal fuel hoses and clamps, renewed wiring of the Halls sensor array courtesy of GSAddict over on the MOA forum, new alternator belt that turned out to be NOS so still need a real new one. Removed the emissions canister and associated plumbing, set the valve clearances, set the freeplay on all the cables, installed a Battery Minder I had from another bike, and bled the brakes. Last was the TB sync and she was road-ready.

 

So today was my first real ride. I live 5 miles from pavement back in a canyon at 9000 feet above sea level. The tires really don't like the gravel, rocks and dirt, very skittish so I took it slow out to the highway. It has Michelin Radial 2CTs, 120/70 ZR-17 up front, 160/60 ZR-18 in back. Once on the highway I immediately noticed the steering is different than any other bike I've ridden, I'm guessing due to the telelever design. The road at that point is nothing but twisties so I had to figure it out real quick. :jaw:It didn't take long to get the hang of it, though, and I can tell you I LIKE IT! Super-responsive handling, nudge the handlebars and you immediately change your vector. I was able to be more agressive than I have been in a long time.

 

Downshifting. I can't get the hang of it yet. I don't know if it's the new clutch, the compression of the engine or a combination, but I'm barking the tires downshifting to third, second and first. I put a slipper clutch on the V-Rod I had which alleviated this quite a bit, does BMW offer something similar? I was afraid to downshift in the corners for fear of losing it and ending up in a ravine or oncoming traffic.

 

The bike accelerates well and cruising at 75 to 80 felt like I was just purring along in the short stretches where I could do it. No flat spots or lag in acceleration, and definitely no  surging. The PO installed a palm rest throttle assist which i really like, no hand cramps, which is saying alot since I'm only two months past nearly sawing three of my throttle fingers off.There's some vibration but very mild, couldn't even narrow it down to an rpm or speed band because I barely noticed it. The seat is very firm but didn't cause any discomfort during the ride. It has a red, light blue and dark blue chevron on the front of the seat nearest the tank, don't know if it's aftermarket or not.

 

On the minus side, the bike has an occasional afterburn pop in the exhaust when decelerating, very light and only occasionally, but noticeable. I'm assuming this is because of the Motronic leaning the crap out of the mixture. Would an  AF-Xied I see referenced on the site help with that? Or it may be a slight exhaust leak. I'll have to check the muffler clamp and manifold nuts again.

 

The other thing is the shifter and rear brake lever positions when wearing riding boots. I missed a couple downshifts due to the shifter position, and I've got it at the higher setting so I can get my toe under it, but it could come up some more. Same for the brake lever; I see I can adjust it some, but it also doesn't stick out very much and I don't get much of my boot on it when stopping. I'm new enough to the bike that in a panic situation I may miss the thing altogether. So suggestions on the levers are welcome.

 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my first ride, and I'm really happy with the bike, considering how much I changed or fiddled with. I think I'll keep her :bike:

 

 

 

Morning Still CAL

 

That's a lot of info in one posting so I will only address a few concerns.

 

On the downshifting tire barking thing-- you are letting the engine RPM drop too much during the downshift, remember you are riding a large piston boxer engine bike so those things have a lot of dropped throttle braking. With the 360° firing order it actually acts like large single cylinder engine in over-run.

 

Try shifting quicker & more deliberately as well a quicker on the clutch (you will figure it out).

 

To make the shifting smoother until you get used to the bike you might try riding with the choke on (don't worry it is not really a choke it is JUST a fast idle lever). This keeps the engine RPM's elevated so it doesn't drop into that heavy compression braking  range.

 

It can also help to set the base hot curb idle RPM's  to the high end of specs. (this might also help the dropped throttle popping)

 

On the dropped throttle  post-fire popping-- You might have an exhaust leak at header pipe to cylinder head, or a pin hole in the rear of  catalytic converter (they tend to crack at the rear cat mount). BMW actually eliminated the rear cat mount on the later bikes. I have even seen older 1100 bikes with the muffler internal baffle rotted out (that will cause dropped throttle popping).

 

Or you could have a slight fueling issue (some 1100 bikes do pop a bit even when everything is right) especially if the CCP has been removed. Or possibly a dripping fuel injector (especially if the bike was stored a long time) so maybe try some Techron in the fuel tank.  

 

On the shifting/downshifting-- That can be a problem for some riders using some boots. My suggestion (& how I personally handle it)  is to put the shift lever back to it's original position (that should give easy & positive downshift's), then learn to use the side of your boot to upshift. On most of my REAL riding boots I can use the inside 'top' of the bottom sole to hook the shift lever & upshift (this is easy if the sole on your boot sticks out a little). The more that you do it & practice it the more the boot will get a little area that will engage the shift lever. On most of my boots I really can't use the top of the boot easily with the shift lever adjusted for proper down shifts unless I move my foot & readjust the boot position on the peg between upshifting & downshifting. (with street shoes I have no problems getting under the shift lever).

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Still CAL

Thanks for the suggestions. Sorry for the lengthy post: decades of aircraft maintenance and being a retired airline pilot tends to make me prone to info dumps to try and avoid all the back-and-forth. Old habits...

 

I’ll try your suggestions on the shifting, ride with the fast idle on and look over the muffler. Thanks again. 

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dirtrider
4 minutes ago, Still CAL said:

Thanks for the suggestions. Sorry for the lengthy post: decades of aircraft maintenance and being a retired airline pilot tends to make me prone to info dumps to try and avoid all the back-and-forth. Old habits...

 

I’ll try your suggestions on the shifting, ride with the fast idle on and look over the muffler. Thanks again. 

 

Morning Still CAL

 

One thing I forgot to add above is--

 

You might also  check your TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) setting in regards to your post fire popping. BMW uses a TPS input based dropped throttle fuel shut off that turns the fuel injectors off on dropped throttle then back on again just before it reaches curb idle speed.  

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Still CAL

Thanks, it still has the blue tamper mark on it so I’ll probably let it be for now. 

Richard

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dirtrider
Just now, Still CAL said:

Thanks, it still has the blue tamper mark on it so I’ll probably let it be for now. 

Richard

 

 

Morning Richard

 

The blue paint marks on the TPS  are only valid IF the base idle screws haven't been messed with and you don't have a lot of wear on the  L/H throttle body shaft/bushings.

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Paul De

Hi Still CAL,

 

This vintage RT has lots of endearing personality traits and getting smooth shifts is in that basket.  I recently left my '15RT sit and took a nice long ride on my '99RT.  It took a few miles to get back into form for executing smooth shifts on that bike with its relatively wide gear ratio spacing and super long shift lever throw.   Aside from the tips DR gave you what came back to me was that on making smooth down shifts is to not fully close the throttle to avoid the engine RPM falling too fast while down shifting.  Also, I use what might be called an avoidance technique in that as I roll up to a full stop I keep the clutch disengaged for downshifts from 3 to 2 and 2 to 1 and rely solely on the brakes to scrub off speed and stop. Do a search on this site as there are lots of threads here on what I'll call the Zen of shifting an RT.

 

Having bought my '99 new I can tell you it had that slight deceleration popping from day 1.  It isn't all the time and never gets obtrusive so I put that in the personality basket too.

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JamesW

On my oilhead when coming to a stop from 5th gear I just use the brakes with the clutch disengaged and just before coming to a complete stop I shift rapidly down to 1st.  Downshifts to a lower gear while underway say..on sharp curvy roads from 5th to 4th are no problem and from 4th to 3rd isn't too bad either because the gear ratios are fairly close especially between 5th and 4th so no big issue.  Quick shifting the big twin as others point out takes getting used to and I just prefer not to bother.  You might also try some Motul with molybdenum 80w90 gear lube in the transmission.  This stuff really quieted my trans and made shifting smoother.  I wouldn't use the stuff in the final drive though.  Going to start using Motul 15w50 T4 synthetic blend motor oil in both my bikes.  Motul available on Amazon.

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Still CAL

Paul De, thanks for the inside look of a longtime rider of RTs. I quickly figured out that letting the rpm wind down while shifting is a no-no. Only 50 miles on it for me so need to dig deep into that old learning curve. Thanks for the note on the popping, too.

 

JamesW,  I appreciate the insight, I found the same experience shifting from 5th to 4th and 4th to 3rd. It was mainly an issue on the 20 mph switchbacks on our main road out here where I felt I needed 2nd so I wasn't lugging the bike out of the corners in 3rd. That comes from years of Honda and Yamaha forum gripes about keeping those old bikes revved all the time - carbureted 60s and 70s CBs, GLs, and Ventures mostly. As for tranny and final drive oil...................one day when it's raining or something else keeps me inside all day I'll do a thorough search of both forums and Chris Harris vids before I decide on what to use. Tires, too. :5590:

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Jim Moore

Feel free to rev that thing all the way to the red line, at full throttle, all day long. I've been doing it for 300,000 mile son my oilheads with nary an issue.

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Still CAL

Yep, I’m a redliner!

DE1AF2E6-BBF3-40BB-A72A-73A3D7EFDB1C.jpeg

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Skywagon

I do what Paul De does on my wethead….gears and brakes until 3rd gear on downshift...then pull in the clutch and use brakes only until nearly stopped..  It still clunks into 1st but does not grind.

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Still CAL

Getting ready to head out now, I’ll try these techniques. I’m interested in the Motul brand in the tranny too. Funny that some are using 75W140 red stuff but I realize it probably wasn’t available when this bike came out. And the synthetic vs dino debate. Rainy day reading stuff. 

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Lowndes

"The other thing is the shifter and rear brake lever positions when wearing riding boots. I missed a couple downshifts due to the shifter position, and I've got it at the higher setting so I can get my toe under it, but it could come up some more. Same for the brake lever; I see I can adjust it some, but it also doesn't stick out very much and I don't get much of my boot on it when stopping. I'm new enough to the bike that in a panic situation I may miss the thing altogether. So suggestions on the levers are welcome."

 

Still CAL,

 

This brake pedal pad extender came with the '99 RT and works very well.  I'd guess it is a Verholen.  q-FyGKlLvi1mlGSFzMFehk6RK6G6hHUfqBZiULQG

 

I see several types of brake pedal extenders here:

 

https://www.ebay.com/str/CreativeCycleConcepts/Lever-Extensions-/_i.html?_storecat=760763011

 

As others have said, shifting either up or down is an art and takes coordination and practice.  I found that in addition to the other suggestions here, the right amount of throttle rollback timed with just a very slight bump of the clutch lever with a positive shifter jab will have it shifting as smooth and quiet as a Lexus in Luxury mode.  You're really just slipping the clutch a tad and at the right time, slight positive power when up shifting and zero power - just matching RPM's of engine/drive train - when downshifting.  Plenty of engine braking with the boxer.

 

 

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dirtrider
13 minutes ago, Still CAL said:

Getting ready to head out now, I’ll try these techniques. I’m interested in the Motul brand in the tranny too. Funny that some are using 75W140 red stuff but I realize it probably wasn’t available when this bike came out. And the synthetic vs dino debate. Rainy day reading stuff. 

 

 

Afternoon Still CAL

 

Don't read as that will tell you nothing on YOUR bike.

 

Those old 1100 bike are all slightly different when it come to what gear oil shifts best. You need to try different gear oils (in YOUR bike) , 80w90, 75w90, 75w140, synthetic, conventional, maybe even Red Line heavy.

 

Keep what shifts best & don't keep what doesn't.

 

If you try the Red Line heavy do that LAST as that stuff takes many gear oil changes to get it all out.

 

On shifting in the upper gears, 4th & 5th anyhow, I never used the clutch for normal riding shifting for 4th & 5th  either up or down. Only time I would use the clutch for the upper 2 gears was at very heavy throttle shifting. BMW used to preach this in some circles.  

 

At light throttle riding (or with a passenger) I would even shift 3rd, 4th, 5th up with no clutch but usually only  downshift 5th to 4th without clutch  coming back down.  

 

Once you figure this one out you can get ultra smooth jurkless shifting every time.

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Still CAL

I tried some shifting without the clutch, it will take a little work but overall I seem to be settling in. Just got back from a 110-mile round robin including my first fill-up at Texaco, then 25 miles of desert at 102º, back up the mountains towards Ruidoso then cutting across the Nations to Cloudcroft then home. My derriere is definitely feeling it, mostly on the left chek, but some of that is because I'm overdue at the chiropracter's. PO said the seat suited him just fine.

 

I used two bars of gas since filling up, about 80 miles. Lots of mountain climbing and twisties, not much 5th gear. Sound reasonable? And couldn't detect any popping in the exhaust on deceleration. The only even remote issue was I had to restart twice to get the ABS to work, when first leaving home and again when leaving the gas station, 30 miles later. Shut off and restarted maybe four times after that with no issues.

 

I really like the way the RT handles, and only scared myself one time going into a bend that tightened up quickly on me. Supposedly there's an advanced rider's course offered here by the state, if I can find it I think I'll take it. Never to old to up your game, I guess.

 

Lowndes, thanks for the link, bought one.:thumbsup:

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dirtrider
6 minutes ago, Still CAL said:

I tried some shifting without the clutch, it will take a little work but overall I seem to be settling in. Just got back from a 110-mile round robin including my first fill-up at Texaco, then 25 miles of desert at 102º, back up the mountains towards Ruidoso then cutting across the Nations to Cloudcroft then home. My derriere is definitely feeling it, mostly on the left chek, but some of that is because I'm overdue at the chiropracter's. PO said the seat suited him just fine.

 

I used two bars of gas since filling up, about 80 miles. Lots of mountain climbing and twisties, not much 5th gear. Sound reasonable? And couldn't detect any popping in the exhaust on deceleration. The only even remote issue was I had to restart twice to get the ABS to work, when first leaving home and again when leaving the gas station, 30 miles later. Shut off and restarted maybe four times after that with no issues.

 

I really like the way the RT handles, and only scared myself one time going into a bend that tightened up quickly on me. Supposedly there's an advanced rider's course offered here by the state, if I can find it I think I'll take it. Never to old to up your game, I guess.

 

Lowndes, thanks for the link, bought one.:thumbsup:

 

Evening  Still CAL

 

You can make a couple of seat jacks for the seat front (raises the front of seat about 1/4" or even 1/2" this REALLY helps with stock seat comfort.

 

There is an ABS mod that you can make to allow an ABS reset without a re-start (or just put a better battery in the bike).  

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Still CAL

Thanks for the tips, I’ll do a search for both of those. 

 

Shoulda looked before leaping on the brake lever extension, mine looks to be a welded one-piece unit. Looks like cutting, drilling, tapping time. 

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JamesW

You know when it comes to the dry clutch transmission on our oil heads I have to say that I prefer it to the wet clutch on my other bike.  I think I know the reason why my other bike (FJR) shifts the way it does and talk about CLUNK when shifting from neutral into 1st.  If your BMW did that you would pull your hair out and break out the wrenches I guarantee it!  I know the technique to minimize the issues but I'll take my BMW for shifting anytime.  Matter a fact that's not all I prefer it for but we won't go into all that.

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Still CAL

Gotcha James, I look each time to make sure it actually went into 1st. I only rode it at the PO’s house and the mile and a half from the valley floor to my house, but both times it took some coaxing to get it to drop in. Since the spline lube, new clutch, cable and clutch adjustment it drops quietly in every time. 

image.jpg

Pretty good looking for a 22-year old!

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dirtrider
31 minutes ago, Still CAL said:

Thanks for the tips, I’ll do a search for both of those. 

 

Shoulda looked before leaping on the brake lever extension, mine looks to be a welded one-piece unit. Looks like cutting, drilling, tapping time. 

 

Evening  Still CAL

 

Easy to make the seat jacks (seat spacers). Will also need 4 longer bolts.

 

I usually make them from 1/4" thick plastic, then ride the bike for while, if it feels like it still needs more front seat height  then I just add a second set (double them up). 

 

Single 1/4" fits great with no problems, 1/2" high fits but is a bit finicky on seat re-fitment (but 1/2" will work).  

 

 

seat spacer.JPG

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Still CAL

If I was still in the Air Force I’d know exactly where to get something like that. Since I’m not, one of my wife’ Cutting boards may have to be sacrificed...

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Paul De
11 hours ago, Still CAL said:

If I was still in the Air Force I’d know exactly where to get something like that. Since I’m not, one of my wife’ Cutting boards may have to be sacrificed...

 

Haha  When my wife can't find the turkey baster in the kitchen drawer, she knows right right where to find it....the work bench in the garage.  Then she sends me out to replace it, which is a great excuse to go for a ride.  I know of a real nice kitchen supply company about 40 miles from the house passing about 5 Targets on the way.  She's onto my little scheme though because last round of the turkey baster game  she add on something that needs the car to fetch. Dang it!

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Lowndes
14 hours ago, Still CAL said:

"I really like the way the RT handles, and only scared myself one time going into a bend that tightened up quickly on me."

 

Still CAL,

 

I came from a bunch of old Hondas, too, S90, CB160, 450, 750F2.  The handling of my first BMW, a '99 R1100S, was way beyond what I was used to.  I am still amazed at how good it is.  If I needed to change direction in a curve on an old Honda, it was a scary struggle.  The bike seemed to be be saying, "you know you aren't supposed to do that because it isn't really possible and I'll prove that to you NOW".  Never had any crashes but there were plenty of really exciting moments.  

 

The BMW in the same or worse situation will effortlessly and instantly adjust to ANY changes you want, no problem.  This bike seems to be saying, "What, that??  That was nothing.  Now let's crank it up several notches and go have some real fun!!"   It just invites evil and exits cleanly.

 

The bike handles WAY better than I can drive it.  In fact, the less input I make, the better it handles.  Try taking curves with just one hand.  I know, it's not safe to ride that way but the improvements are very educational.  

 

I still have the '99 R1100RT and the '99 R1100S and the differences are stark.  The RT is more suited for long distance interstate all-weather traveling.  It will do the twisties but the wide ratio 5 speed means you have to be in the right gear ahead of time all the time.  The S will run off and leave it, even with my bro driving it.  Part of that is the Wilbur shocks on the S and the OEM units still on the RT,  plus Mich PR4's on the S and "other" on the RT.

 

The Telelever's lack of front end dive under hard braking is a wonder and joy, too.  It still baffles me but it works!!

 

Best of luck to you.  Enjoy!!

 

 

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Still CAL
1 hour ago, Paul De said:

 

Haha  When my wife can't find the turkey baster in the kitchen drawer, she knows right right where to find it....the work bench in the garage.

Forgot about that baster, hmm...

 

Quote
24 minutes ago, Lowndes said:

The bike handles WAY better than I can drive it.  In fact, the less input I make, the better it handles.  Try taking curves with just one hand.  I know, it's not safe to ride that way but the improvements are very educational.  

 

I still have the '99 R1100RT and the '99 R1100S and the differences are stark.  The RT is more suited for long distance interstate all-weather traveling.  It will do the twisties but the wide ratio 5 speed means you have to be in the right gear ahead of time all the time.  The S will run off and leave it, even with my bro driving it.  Part of that is the Wilbur shocks on the S and the OEM units still on the RT,  plus Mich PR4's on the S and "other" on the RT.

I watched a video from Britian of a guy test-ridng an RT, he kept commenting all through the ride about how he wasn't sure what the bike was doing and whether he should even bother with it, but he ended up buying it. That vid gave me some second thoughts about my purchase. But it only took a few miles to realize what you're saying, steering AND gearing, especially churning through the twisties. 

 

Really my biggest concern now is how much lean I can get into before dragging a footrest or something else. I've never been aggressive like that since some wild misadventures early on in my riding career. I also don't have a lot of trust in the Michelins it's wearing; modern street tires just seem to be slabs of rubber with curvy slits cut into them here and there. But I'm pretty sure the bike had plenty more to dedicate to that corner I hit than I was willing to go for. Oh well, only 160-ish miles on this Beemer for me, and like you point out, it's more about long-distance cruising than flogging  through tight benders. Shoot, I might have to sell off all my old Hondas!

 

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Lowndes

Still CAL said:

 

"Really my biggest concern now is how much lean I can get into before dragging a footrest or something else."

 

On the RT you have PLENTY of available lean angle.  I believe that both footpegs would be the first things to touch.  My left side footpeg has an inch long sacrificial "grinder" sticking down below it (the right side is missing).  Must be aftermarket.  No signs of grinding on either side.  

 

The actual amount of angle will be determined by the rear shock preload, the load on the bike (rider(s) and luggage), condition of the springs, and the bumps in the road.  You might want to start getting familiar with "suspension tuning".  Dave Moss on Youtube has a bunch of vids that help understand preload and sag, and how to get both ends matched for best handling.  

 

The Michelin PR4 tires have plenty of grip even when the roads are wet.  The main thing I learned and keep relearning is "TRUST THE TIRES".  When in doubt lean it over; they will stick.  The first thing I usually grind is my nerve.

 

 

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Paul De

The Telelever front suspension took some getting used to as far as the indirect feel to the tire's contact with the road, but it gives you plenty of warning through hinting at under steer if it is being pushed too hard.  The upside is if the RT had standard forks a much stiffer spring would be needed to counter the fairing weight and folk dive under braking which could reduce compliance keeping the contact patch on the road. Good tire compliance to the road surface is one of the biggest keys to confidence that the front is well planted regardless if the bike has standard forks or a Telelever suspension.

 

Before buying my '99RT I had been on a 10 year hiatus from riding and trusting the way radial tires kept a grip on the road surface took a while. The point at which a radial tire lets you know it is running out of grip is so far beyond  the limits I ride to that it virtually never happens.  I sure don't miss doing two wheel drifts experienced during my testosterone addled youth when riding frisky on the bias ply tires of that era.

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LBump

Reference Seat Spacers:

 

Spacers

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=43146&stc=1&

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Still CAL

Thanks for the replies, and thanks for the dimensions for the spacer. My wife is “sacrificing” her extra cutting board (translation: she’s buying a new one) and it’s right at 1/4” thick, should work well. 

 

So the Michelin PR 4s are a good match for this bike? I’ll probably never ride two-up and only enough in the bags to go 200 miles or so, and usually no trunk. Guess I need to watch those vids and figure out the preload thing, too. Thanks all. 

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dirtrider
6 hours ago, Still CAL said:

Really my biggest concern now is how much lean I can get into before dragging a footrest or something else. I've never been aggressive like that since some wild misadventures early on in my riding career. I also don't have a lot of trust in the Michelins it's wearing; modern street tires just seem to be slabs of rubber with curvy slits cut into them here and there. But I'm pretty sure the bike had plenty more to dedicate to that corner I hit than I was willing to go for. Oh well, only 160-ish miles on this Beemer for me, and like you point out, it's more about long-distance cruising than flogging  through tight benders. Shoot, I might have to sell off all my old Hondas!

 

 

 

Afternoon Still CAL

 

You can lean the bike over until the foot peg feelers touch the road but that is about it, those peg feelers tell you that you are reaching the lean  limit on a stock bike.

 

I usually grind mine down pretty good  but that is just telling me that I am getting lazy in my riding & not paying attention. If I ride correctly & get my butt over to the inside on the seat, get my upper body inboard  where it belongs, & get my head just behind the inboard mirror then the bike stands up a little & I usually don't drag the pegs. (it's when I get lazy & don't put the effort out to get my body mass inboard enough is when I usually start dragging the peg feelers) 

 

Moving your butt to the inside is a help but the BIG gain is in moving your upper body mass w-a-y inboard as you lean the bike over. (it's called KISSING THE MIRROR).

 

Try it next time that you riding, set your cornering line then lean the bike over into the turn (it doesn't have to be extreme, just leaned over) then once the bike settles into it's natural lean  move your upper body, shoulders, & head inboard as much as comfortable. You should feel the bike instantly stand up straighter but STILL maintain the lean required to stay on line through the curve.  (it's like magic & a very important riding tool). It becomes even more important if you ever drag a foot peg but still need a bit more turn-in to stay on line through a high speed curve or corner.

 

You can use the opposite at lower speeds to increase bike lean & improve low speed tight cornering, or if you instantly need a very quick lane change. At lower speeds just lean your body mass to the outside as that instantly leans the bike farther over & tightens the turn significantly. (Called cross control). We use that a LOT in off-road riding.

 

 

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Still CAL

Thanks Dirt, I seriously need to take an advanced riding course. This sounds like common knowledge for racing folks but I always just hillbilly’d it out there. I’m trying to get my head around the physics involved with what you’re describing, only because I’m always interested in the mechanics of things. 

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dirtrider
1 hour ago, Still CAL said:

Thanks Dirt, I seriously need to take an advanced riding course. This sounds like common knowledge for racing folks but I always just hillbilly’d it out there. I’m trying to get my head around the physics involved with what you’re describing, only because I’m always interested in the mechanics of things. 

 

Evening Still CAL

 

Yes, to the extreme it is a racing or squid thing but that is the full Monty.

 

Used in moderation it REALLY improves normal spirited riding though curves. The moderation is in just using the upper body for normal riding (especially head & shoulders). Just using your upper body & getting your head inboard (doesn't have to be all the way in line with the mirror ) makes big difference.  (personally I use a lot of head, shoulder, body movement when I am in the mood but almost always use a head & shoulder inboard even in normal riding, just not to the extreme). I don't go to the extreme of sticking my knee into oncoming traffic though.  

 

You probably won't understand it (correction, appreciate it)  until you try it.  Once you try it  will become very obvious what it does. You don't have to turn into Joe racer but a little upper body movement goes a l-o-n-g way towards better, smoother,  more stable cornering at speed. If nothing else it leaves more wiggle room if you enter a curve way too hot then instantly need more bike  lean to stay on line. 

 

I understand it as I use it EVERYTIME that I ride but I would have to look the physics up to do a decent job of explaining it.

 

If you trim your upper body position correctly (just like trimming airplane controls) you can even ride a sweeping curve hands-off (not suggested but it can be done).

 

I think Mitch  did a post on the  physics involved but there is also a lot posted on-line about the how & the why (just Goggle "Kiss the Mirror Motrocycle" as a start then work from there.

 

 

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kruuuzn

Still Cal

 

An experienced riders course is always worth the time. I’ve done a couple of them over the years.

But I’ve found I’ve learned the most by attending the track days our local BMW dealers put on a couple of times a year at Gratten Raceway NE of Grand Rapid. I’ve learned all the things DR is talking about and on top of that it’s just a fun, fun, day. Spending an entire day on the track really helps to learn how far you can safely push your bike. That’s valuable experience you can draw from if you need it on the road.

 

I KNOW it has made me a safer more confident rider on the road. 

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Still CAL

As I've entered my 7th decade on the planet in one piece I appreciate this stuff more. And since I'd like to keep riding for another decade or two I'll take all the learning I can get. Thanks for the replies.

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AndyS
13 hours ago, Still CAL said:

Thanks for the replies, and thanks for the dimensions for the spacer. My wife is “sacrificing” her extra cutting board (translation: she’s buying a new one) and it’s right at 1/4” thick, should work well. 

 

 

You may need more than 1/4". You may have to stack 2 of them. I found I needed a minimum of 10mm. See how it goes.

 

As to brake lever/gear lever extensions. I don't think they are needed once you have got used to the bike.

 

As to lean angles, If the suspension is tired, and you go over a bump  whilst leaning over, the centre stand can drag on the ground.

As others have intimated, these bikes handle amazingly well, but the advice is to adjust your riding style to accommodate the bike's idiosyncrasies.

 

Richard, that is a gorgeous looking bike.

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Still CAL

Thanks for the advice Andy. I’m 5’8”/ 1.7m tall with a 30”/ 76cm inseam. My wife brought home a fairly thin cutting board so I can make a stack of shims and see what works.

 

She IS pretty but lots of hardened bug goo on her that my regular cleaners are not taking off. I’ll see what the auto store has here in a little bit.

 

 I was traveling yesterday so haven’t had time to look into shock preload settings or watch the vids suggested earlier in the thread but I want to get that done sometime today. Headed out the door now for more running so that will be later. 

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AndyS

Fair enough. I must say the packing almost has no relevance to your own body height. The seat is just such that it is sloping nose down and so requires the rider to keep shuffling backwards. However, from the picture I note that the seat you have is NOT an OEM BMW normal (or the optional 'Comfort') seat. So the jury is out on this one.

Seats are very personal things!

 

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Still CAL

At some point I may look into the day long seat I see talked about here and on MOA, but I’ve spent a pile of money on seats in the past without much of a noticeable difference in comfort. As you say, they are very personal things, and back problems, hip replacements and knee surgeries and such all affect each rider’s tolerance levels. 

 

Later today I’ll post a picture of my current saddle and pillion, someone may recognize it. 

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Kirkus

Still CAL .... nice looking bike. I have the twin in 2000 model year.

Seat comfort .... My seat is stock and I use an Air Hawk bladder under a Sheepskin cover. 

I'm leaving Michigan on Saturday for a ride down to North Carolina / South Carolina with a few waterfall stops in western Virginia.

Hoping the tropical storm / hurricane doesn't lead to a long wet ride. 

 

large.sc111.jpg.f0da976b0b4b2c8dca444b51e19bdd47.jpg

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Still CAL

I’ve been a sucker all my life for The Woman in Red. Yours is a few years younger than mine but she sure is a looker. Zowie!

766574A1-899B-4BC2-80F8-5033738F1E3F.gif

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Bill_Walker
On 8/23/2019 at 9:21 PM, Still CAL said:

The seat is very firm but didn't cause any discomfort during the ride. It has a red, light blue and dark blue chevron on the front of the seat nearest the tank, don't know if it's aftermarket or not.

That seat is definitely aftermarket.  Sargent, maybe?

Yep, Sargent: https://www.sargentcycle.com/Seats-Accessories/World-Sport-Performance-Seat-BMW-R1100RT-R1150RT/

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Still CAL

The pan has BMW on it, no other markings. A5238AFC-B931-4E21-95C1-C558DDB0344E.thumb.jpeg.1d8df838b291a234bc04ca53a29c2b19.jpeg

656468BA-B11D-4D3E-A04A-A0280BC84317.jpeg

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Jim Moore

Pretty sure that's a Sargent. Mine looked exactly like that. Great seat.

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Lowndes

Moderator!!

 

Do we have some deja vu going on here??

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Still CAL

Just saw the link in Mr. Walker's post, clears that one up. Sorry for the deja vu!

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Skywagon

On your bug issue....what works best for me is Goo Be Gone.  It's an orange based cleaner.  I've not had any paint issues with it, but you might want to test it first in an inconspicuous area.  Available at any hardware store for a few bucks.  It will also take off any old glue residue left from stickers.

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Rinkydink
4 hours ago, Still CAL said:

The pan has BMW on it, no other markings. A5238AFC-B931-4E21-95C1-C558DDB0344E.thumb.jpeg.1d8df838b291a234bc04ca53a29c2b19.jpeg

656468BA-B11D-4D3E-A04A-A0280BC84317.jpeg

All of the Sargent seats I’ve owned (4) were built on Sargent seat pans. I suppose they would build on a BMW pan if requested but I’ve never seen one.  That sure looks like Sargent. 

On the day long topic: they are great seats for some and not so great for others. I’ve owned 3 and turned many people on to them with fantastic results. 

Downside is price and having to ship your seat pan to them...unless you make a ride in appointment. They sure fit my noassatall. 

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Bill_Walker
8 hours ago, Still CAL said:

The pan has BMW on it, no other markings

Interesting.  Because in every other respect but the choice of colors and the quasi-BMW M badge, it looks exactly like the seat pictured on Sargent's web site.

 

Many custom seat builders build your new seat on the original factory pan that you send in (or ride in on), but Sargent's site says it's "made with our lightweight PolyTec seat pan".  But maybe that wasn't always the case.

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BrianM

The early oilhead Sargent seats were made on stock seat pans.

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ltljohn
19 hours ago, Bill_Walker said:

Interesting.  Because in every other respect but the choice of colors and the quasi-BMW M badge, it looks exactly like the seat pictured on Sargent's web site.

 

Many custom seat builders build your new seat on the original factory pan that you send in (or ride in on), but Sargent's site says it's "made with our lightweight PolyTec seat pan".  But maybe that wasn't always the case.

Sargent has some seats that they do not make a pan for.  You have to send your seat in to have it modified.  My 2009 R1200R is one of them.  I am sending them my seat this winter.

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