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MagYukon

2013 R1200RT - instability or new rider inexperience ?

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MagYukon

Hello,

 

I have now been riding my bike for about 3000 km.


When there is a lot of wind, especially sideways, I have a funny feeling about the stability of the bike.  Pretty hard to describe but it is as if the wheels want to move from left to right.  Just like if my tires was on ice and slippering from left to right.

 

It is true that I do not have a lot of motorcycle experience yet, but I wonder if this is normal or not.  Before that bike, the only other one I rode was a Honda CB500 during my training.  Even in hard lateral wind with this bike, I had the feeling to be pushed sideways, but never like what I feel on the RT.

 

My friends all have Harleys and on the same rides they didn't seem as affected by the wind as I did.

 

Could it be a problem with the bike or if I'm the one worrying too much?

 

here are some details:

  • new front and rear tires (Michelin Pilot Road 5)
    • I tried having them at recommended pressure (26F / 32R) and I also tried as some here says (34F / 42R) without any change in that feeling
  • the bike at 34,000 km

 

My next step is to have one of my friend tried it and get their feeling about it

 

thanks for your thoughts !

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Skywagon

MagYukon....a couple of things.  Anything will move with the wind.  Bike, motorbike, car, boat, etc.  However let me make a couple of suggestions to you.  Your tire pressure should be something higher.  My recommendation to you is 36-38 on front and 42-44 on the rear.  Those numbers you quoted, especially the front are way too low.  I personally run 38/42

 

Second the RT has a big fairing and big windshield.  Those contribute to wind shift.  There isn't anything to do with the fairing, but you can adjust your windshield to the lowest point you are comfortable.  If your windshield is all the way up it will contribute to wind drift.

 

Harleys drift too, especially the ones with the bat wing fairing.  I've ridden plenty and that fairing at speed moves the bike.  If the Harley is the larger bikes like the Ultra Classic, they weigh at least 300lbs more than your bike.  This will add some stability as well as the lower center of gravity...but they move too.

 

Others will offer some advice like changing riding positions, hold the handlebars loosely, etc...but correct tire pressure and windshield placement will help you a lot.

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wbw6cos

It could be both you and the bike.   The RT moves a bit in strong cross winds, but your experience tells you that it was not good; it is all the way you perceive how it affects your ride.   After some more riding on your bike to get to know it,  you will find out that it is not all that bad and overtime, your mind will adjust accordingly.  You will still feel uneasy, but will tolerate it more.

 

.....and the tire pressures should be at recommended pressure.

 

Thanks for asking and ride safe!

 

 

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dirtrider
43 minutes ago, wbw6cos said:

It could be both you and the bike.   The RT moves a bit in strong cross winds, but your experience tells you that it was not good; it is all the way you perceive how it affects your ride.   After some more riding on your bike to get to know it,  you will find out that it is not all that bad and overtime, your mind will adjust accordingly.  You will still feel uneasy, but will tolerate it more.

 

.....and the tire pressures should be at recommended pressure.

 

Thanks for asking and ride safe!

 

 

Afternoon   MagYukon

 

There is always the possibility that there is something going on with your motorcycle or tires so keep that in mind. We can't ride or feel you motorcycle in the wind over the internet so about all we can address is what we think you are feeling.   

 

All in all the BMW 1200RT's are pretty stable in the wind but as Skywagon said they all move in the wind to a certain extent. It usually boils down to how you (the rider)  reacts & how you perceive the movement. 

 

You didn't say how fast you were riding or on what kind of roads, that can make a big difference in what you you feel & how to react to a small movement. 

 

If you tense up when the motorcycle starts moving a little that can turn a slight wind movement into big deal in your mind.  

 

In windy conditions you need to loosen up, ride with bent elbows, & allow the motorcycle to  move a little under you. If you stiffen up, go to straight arms & over-react to a little lateral movement, or wiggle, then it will feel like you are fighting the wind with no chance of precisely controlling it. 

 

If the wind starts moving you, don't over-react, let it move around a little, then lightly (very lightly) put a little bar in it to bring it back on line. (don't fight it, just gently work with it)

 

Personally, I really like riding fast in a good brisk fluctuating side wind,  makes the bike dance,  so I just go light on the controls & intuitively lead the dance.  

 

 

 

 

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MagYukon
1 hour ago, dirtrider said:

 

 

Personally, I really like riding fast in a good brisk fluctuating side wind,  makes the bike dance,  so I just go light on the controls & intuitively lead the dance.  

 

 

 

 

Maybe that just sums up my feeling.  the bike dancing under me (or with me).

 

I'll take all your advice and try to have fun instead of trying to counter act it !

 

Thanks for your inputs !

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MagYukon

I also just realize that the previous owner translated the pressure fomr Bar to PSI and wrote them on the owner manual.  

 

But he did it wrong.  I don't know how he came to that, but he wrote 26F/32R

 

which are far from reality...

 

again, thanks !

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Pappy35

Yeah. 26 up front is dangerously low. I'm surprised the TPS triangle didn't light up yellow (or even red). 

 

Given that, you should carefully examine the tread on your tires. If the center is worn flat, so instead of a smooth curve-like profile it's flat in the center and round on the edges, that could be a big part of your problem. A severely center-flat worn tire will behave in all kinds of strange ways. If you're not sure, take pictures of your front and rear tires such that we can see the profile (like looking straight down at the ground from above the front and something similar from the rear) and we can help you.

 

Also, believe anything Dirtrider tells you. He is THE technical guru on here.

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dduelin

Speaking in generalities I think most of us agree that the RT series are very stable motorcycles with no dangerous qualities as long as the machine is in correct working order so we are naturally first going to explore areas like tire condition, tire pressures, or suspension adjustments in response to the OP's question.

 

One of the traits of RT's is that despite their weight and full fairings they remain light on their feet and very nimble. To a rider without much comparative experience the RT may move around a lot in wind but it's also more fun to ride on winding roads and that is a trade off most gladly make.

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6speedTi
15 hours ago, MagYukon said:

I also just realize that the previous owner translated the pressure fomr Bar to PSI and wrote them on the owner manual.  

 

But he did it wrong.  I don't know how he came to that, but he wrote 26F/32R

 

which are far from reality...

 

again, thanks !

I found this article about tire wear helpful.  http://www.rattlebars.com/tirewear/

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MagYukon
10 hours ago, Pappy35 said:

Yeah. 26 up front is dangerously low. I'm surprised the TPS triangle didn't light up yellow (or even red). 

 

I don't have the TPMS option !

 

That's why there's no light :)

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dduelin

That's easy to fix.

 

 

IMG_0267(1).jpg

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MontanaMark

MagYukon,

 

If you have ESA, make sure you don't have it set in 'Comfort' mode.  I've noticed that this mode tends to make the suspension a little 'squishy' in the corners.  I believe the same 'squishiness' would be felt in a strong crosswind.   By the way, 'squishy' is a technical term...  :D

 

Cheers,

Mark

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GordonB

One thing to add is if your are using the 49L top box. I have found the top box adds quite a bit of movement in cross winds, more so with sudden gusts. 

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Hosstage

All good points.

When it does move around, remember to keep eyes up and forward, loosen your core grip, and let the bike move, just go with it.

Have you ridden on a long grate bridge? That will really test your idea of what a wandering bike really is!

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MagYukon
18 minutes ago, Hosstage said:

All good points.

When it does move around, remember to keep eyes up and forward, loosen your core grip, and let the bike move, just go with it.

Have you ridden on a long grate bridge? That will really test your idea of what a wandering bike really is!

Yes I have.

Fortunatly, it was not windy that day :)  

Suprisingly, it was not as bad as i thought it would be.  

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MagYukon
1 hour ago, dduelin said:

That's easy to fix.

 

 

IMG_0267(1).jpg

 

can you linked me to what it is eaxctly ?

is this the kind of things you have to add to the valve stems ?

 

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dirtrider
1 hour ago, MagYukon said:

Yes I have.

Fortunatly, it was not windy that day :)  

Suprisingly, it was not as bad as i thought it would be.  

Afternoon  MagYukon

 

If riding loose & relaxed then usually not too bad with regular street tires (especially at the low end of tire pressure specs).  They will usually walk around a  little but  not off line enough to make meaningful course corrections.

 

Now that can't be said when using knobby tires as that is like catching an edge with every other new knob entry into the grating. I ride a lot of high speed loose gravel & I will take the high speed  loose gravel any day over deep knobby tires on bridge  grating.  (I have a friend in the U.P. of Michigan & visiting him usually involves at least a couple or more  miles of bridge grating in the summer months, usually with buffeting winds to add excitement & entertainment).

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MuddBuddha

I have a 2008 RT and a 2014 Victory Vision Tour that is like sitting atop a billboard in strong crosswinds.  Relaxing on the grips is always best and allow the bike to track forward, but lane positioning is fairly important, particulary on a two lane road so you leave yourself room to counter steer against the wind to keep from crossing yellows; or going off the road completely. If you look on Amazon for motorcycle TPMS, you'll find a lot of options.  Here's one I settled on due to performance and working longevity...and you can see from my purchase history, I've put them on almost every bike I've had. 

Screen Shot 2020-09-29 at 1.44.37 PM.png

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Pappy35
8 hours ago, MagYukon said:

 

I don't have the TPMS option !

 

That's why there's no light :)

 

Yup. That explains it all right. That gadget Mudd linked to is pretty dope. Not too expensive either. Get one. Knowing tire perssure saved my ass one day. It's one of those "I'll never have a car (or bike) without that again" things.

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dduelin
6 hours ago, MagYukon said:

 

can you linked me to what it is eaxctly ?

is this the kind of things you have to add to the valve stems ?

 

This is the TPMS pictured and yes the sensors mount on the valve stems. You do not want to mount the sensor on a rubber valve stem so I installed an aluminum 83 degree valve in the rear wheel. The picture is of the same 83 degree stem in my Goldwing rear wheel. In the short run you can fabricate a plastic tube stand-off that prevents a rubber stem from bending at speed. The front of course is no problem with the BMW wheel.

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BFH9WZ7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

IMG_3455.JPG

IMG_3452.JPG

IMG_0023(1).JPG

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lather

The only thing I can add to this thread is the effect of speed. Generally the faster you are going the more stable the bike is. I've know a few riding friends that did not know this and made the mistake of slowing down in high side wind conditions. The faster the front wheel turns the more resistant it is to changing direction whether the input is yours or the winds.

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6speedTi
9 hours ago, MontanaMark said:

MagYukon,

 

If you have ESA, make sure you don't have it set in 'Comfort' mode.  I've noticed that this mode tends to make the suspension a little 'squishy' in the corners.  I believe the same 'squishiness' would be felt in a strong crosswind.   By the way, 'squishy' is a technical term...  :D

 

Cheers,

Mark

So what does Squishy Squashy mean in technical terms? 🤣

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MontanaMark
13 hours ago, 6speedTi said:

So what does Squishy Squashy mean in technical terms? 🤣

 

For me, it means that the suspension feels too soft in the corners.  Both the front and rear tires seem to wander, not holding the line I've chosen.  Mind you, this happens only in sharp twisties, at spirited speeds.  Not in evidence so much in sweepers.  Solution: use 'normal' or 'sport' setting!

 

My fellow riders without ESA get tired of me commenting over the Sena how much I love my bike, especially the suspension.  'Have I mentioned how comfortable this bike is?"   "Shut up, Mark"   :rofl:

 

Cheers,

Mark

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MagYukon

Thanks to all of you for your inputs and comments.

 

Just need more time to get used to it I guess.

 

If only there's more time in front of me to ride it before snow :(

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Ponch

I had a 1600 Nomad before my RT and the Nomad was more stable in cross winds. It was the only thing it was better at. It was 250lbs heavier. 

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lkraus

I don't usually have a crosswind stability issue unless I'm around a semi, which can cause a lot of buffeting. The area of buffeting seems to depend on wind direction and speed, so sometimes I'm alongside before feeling it, sometimes I'm several hundred feet back.  Best solution is to maintain a relaxed grip and stay well back, or pass the truck if possible.

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MagYukon

Good morning,

 

I rode my RT this weekend after putting it at 36/42 PSI.

 

I also took your advise to relax and to enjoy the ride.

 

it was not strongly windy but i felt my ride more comfortable than before.

 

Thanks for all your inputs !

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