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Trying to get used to the bmw gearbox or misadventures there of


Tony_K

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So the new to me RT is really a fun ride but damn if I don't get distracted by my gear selections!

I've driven and ridden lots of things in my years but i seem to not get the feel right on this thing. I've tried the pre load and short pull on the lever but I'm not to consistent. It's hard to get the j-bike out of my feel.

 

I also seem to be the king of the no gear engaged method (in third but not in third backwards 3) and sometimes not matching speed on second. I won't slam anything into gear, it's just not that important to me to get it in there.

 

I guess i need to finesse it but I switch bikes a lot and it's difficult to break habits. I am also used to lane sharing on city streets when the traffic is stopped and the car line is really long. Well now on the RT i just sit back and wait with them. I wont be using this bike for my in city short rides but thought today would be a good to see how it does.

 

This post doesn't really have a purpose or point to it just more of a freed thought typed out.

 

Anyway Lori likes it way more than anything else I've put her on. Her exact words were "it feels like cheating" referring to how comfortable she felt on it.

So big points there!

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I've found that each bike has its own gearchange characteristics. Even two bikes of an identical type can require different treatment.

It just takes practice.

My wife agrees with the comfort of the RT. To us, it feels like a bike that's designed to ride two-up

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As I've posted previously on this forum, I found pretty quickly that preloading the shifting lever before I clutched made the bike shift smoothly. However, I found myself still having problems now and then.

 

One day I went out and focused on shifting for about 45 minutes on a back road, and figured out that I consistently preloaded while shifting up, but that I was occasionally forgetting to preload during downshifts. After 30+ years of riding Japanese dirt bikes, clutching and braking (ususally, front braking) was almost an instinct when I needed to slow or stop the bike. I was unconsciously clutching before preloading. I worked on it some more, and consistently preloading the shift lever in advance of clutching while shifting up AND DOWN has helped a bunch.

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I'm finding myself having to pre-load on the upshifts as well. Last Sunday, I was riding along in 6th gear, but where the gear indicator is, it was all black. Suddenly, after 5 or 10 minutes of riding along the highway, the bike jumped out of gear into a false neutral. I changed back into 6th, and again, 5 minutes later, it jumped back down to 5th after a brief false neutral. For the next 200 miles of spirited riding, I had no further problems.

 

I've got no idea how it could find "neutral" between 5th and 6th, and I cannot fathom how it could jump to a lower gear when motoring along at a steady pace!!! crazy.gif

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I'm finding myself having to pre-load on the upshifts as well. Last Sunday, I was riding along in 6th gear, but where the gear indicator is, it was all black. Suddenly, after 5 or 10 minutes of riding along the highway, the bike jumped out of gear into a false neutral. I changed back into 6th, and again, 5 minutes later, it jumped back down to 5th after a brief false neutral. For the next 200 miles of spirited riding, I had no further problems.

 

I've got no idea how it could find "neutral" between 5th and 6th, and I cannot fathom how it could jump to a lower gear when motoring along at a steady pace!!! crazy.gif

 

Unfortunately, that sort of behavior sounds like a shift-fork problem. Most of my experience is with dirt bikes, but when a bike pops out of gear, it's almost always a bent or worn shift fork. Now, missing a gear (i.e. through a tentative shift technique) or having it drop out of gear during shifting, is a different issue. But when you're riding along in gear, and maybe more so under the stress of hard acceleration, and the bike just pops out of gear, that's not normal. frown.gif

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St0nkingByte

Everyone learns differently. I drove myself nuts trying to follow the advice found here on shifting. There's nothing wrong with the advice but it seemed like the harder I concentrated on smooth shifting, pre-loading the shifter, etc the worse my shifts were. Then I found the secret, for me at least; Riding fast.

 

On some clear, dry, semi-empty road mornings I gave the RT a run for its money a bunch of times. Basically accelerating as fast as I could shift running the bike up to 60-70 as quickly as possible. What I found was that as I increased how quickly I was shifting things just smoothed out and I trained myself to shift much more quickly and subsequently much smoother than I was before. I'm certain I'm implementing some (or all) of the shifting advice found here but I'm doing it so fast its all muscle memory and no thought at the this point. Its working well and I'm much happier with my riding and shifting now.

 

The only negative side effect is now I have the speed bug, gotta figure out how to kick that habit before it lands me a ticket or an accident. blush.gif

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I have noticed that the shift from 1st to 2nd is smoother if I wait until the engine speed is above 4000 RPM. After that, most shifts are smooth if I remember to only partially pull the clutch in at shift time, and to shift quickly. Finally, I notice false neutrals more often if I don't pull up firmly enough with my foot.

 

Jay

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3 points:

1) W/6K on my GS, I'm still playing with it. Pre-loading is a definite +.

2) Having just ridden the same year RT (ie; same tranny), it even had a different feel as mine. I think the biggest difference was lever positioning. I lowered my shift lever and that, coupled with the placement of it being different from the GS, would take some getting used to. (But, BOY, would that be fun! Thank you, Keith. You're officially in the will!)

3) As Steve Carr (STEVES1150) put it, "Remember: it's a gear BAG, not a gear box! grin.gif

Give it time. The journey will be worth it. thumbsup.gif

 

Oh, and if you want, Tony, I'll suffer wink.gif and ride the RT for you!!! grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...

I struggled with and cursed my RT for the first 6 months and 6K miles that I owned it for poor shifting compared to my Japanese bikes, and then one day I figured it out and now, IMO, it is the best shifting bike that I own...no exaggeration...

 

My secret is a LITTLE preload, like 6oz or so, and then a VERY shallow (like the first 1/3 of the range), and very quick clutch. The "right" amount of preload will just allow the bike to almost suck itself into the next highest gear with the short and fast clutch. This technique works well up until about 5K RPM's - past that you have to be a lot firmer on the upshift.

 

Anyway, the quick and shallow clutch eliminated all of my gear grinding.

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Thanks Everyone! When I posted that gripe I didn't have too many miles on the RT yet.

I think I have it now but every now and then I get distracted. I have used everyones advise with good results.

 

Seems most of my issues are in 2 to 3. The power band rpm range through there is so large that I get hung up at times. That's where I need to be extra diligent.

 

I've bent shift forks on 2 strokes and don't want to do it on this thing!

Thanks again.

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russell_bynum

2-3 is the hardest shift on that transmission, for sure. You'll get better as you get used to the bike.

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2-3 is the hardest shift on that transmission, for sure. You'll get better as you get used to the bike.

 

+1 Strongly agree. It took me a while but now it is fine. Remember, light preload, short clutch and quick shift.

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