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Thread: Day-to-day life with the wethead

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    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Day-to-day life with the wethead

    Just rode home from the US Press Launch for the new R1200GS, LA to ATL in 4 days, with plenty of backroads in between.

    As I put together my thoughts for an article in BMW ON, I'd like to begin sharing impressions here, in a more timely fashion.



    There really are two pieces of news here, the new motor and the new GS. So I am going to break up my comments likewise.

    The new motor(cycle)

    Hop on the bike and you immediately think that it's much lighter than previous models, even though it's not. Turn the key, wait for the light show to subside, thumb the starter and man, what a sweet sound! It's Ducati-esque... a nasty little bark with just the right edge.

    Draw in the delightfully light-pull lever to disengage the new wet clutch and snick it (or clunk it) into first. As you release the lever, the bike moves out right now. The new throttle-by-wire system fuels the bike perfectly... not like the light-switch hyper-sensitive throttle on previous models.

    Run it up through the gears, and the shifting is still, um... clunky through 3rd gear. 9 times out of 10 there is a pretty big "blonk" as you shift from Neutral into 1st. But of course, it will get better as the miles pile up. Flicking the bike from side to side reveals the benefits of a full frame... this bike steers with the same super-precision that my HP2 Enduro has. Frame stiffness is way up and it takes just the lightest hint of countersteering to make the bike change directions.

    Compare to previous boxers, where it really doesn't make much sense to rev beyond 5k RPM, this motor is just getting going at 5k and pulls strongly to 8. It's redlined at 9k and the song is wonderful. You best be holding on real good.

    RT riders are going to love this motor. I fully expect it to do roll-on acceleration uphill, two-up, with luggage. The motor makes power everywhere. As I rode the Angeles Crest Highway toward home, I often found myself in the tight twisties in 5th gear, with no lag in power when rolling on.

    The new GS

    While the latest model hex and camheads do feature ESA, ASC and ABS, these are relatively new concepts to me, and were ones I am not quite so sure of yet. The ASC's ride modes include Rain (most intrusive at eliminating wheel spin), Normal, Dynamic (allows some spin) and Enduro (allows a lot of spin in dirt). Enduro Pro is optional via a jumper in the fuse panel under the seat. I need to get the bike to my dealer to enable that. More discussion of these features later, as I get used to them.

    As a contrarian, I almost never turn off ABS when riding off-pavement, finding that careful and balanced braking makes ABS useful in these riding conditions. The ABS on the new GS makes this even better, and is truly an assist when riding off-pavement.

    Some general riding impressions:

    • Clutch is *awesome* ... a huge improvement when feathering over rough ground. IMO, this is the biggest news in off-road performance. It's that good.
    • Well, the longer swingarm due to shorter/reconfigured motor is pretty signficant, too.
    • Well, the high air intake also solves another major weakness of previous models.
    • Better stability in sand, thanks to wider tires (10mm in front, 20mm in rear)
    • The throttle-by-wire setup eliminates the lightswitch-like on/off throttle of previous models, which makes it far easier to transit over rough ground.
    • The footpegs are really too high, and fold your legs quite a bit. And I am only 5'8".
    • When riding with the balls of your feet on the pegs, my size 9.5 boot rubs on the swingarm.
    • Air management is very good, but I bet the adjustable windscreen will break on the first significant get-off.
    • Popular accessories are going to be lighting, peg lowering, radiator guards.
    • Cruise control is a gift from God.


    In closing for now, I feel that BMW looked very close at the Ducati Multistrada in setting this bike's tone. While the bike doesn't have quite the horsepower of the Ducati, it has puh-lenty of power and is much MUCH better off-pavement.


    Heading toward home on the Angeles Crest Highway. Jeez, the air pollution in LA is bad!

    More to come... I look forward to your questions and comments, too.
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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    Registered User wvpc's Avatar
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    Cool

    Come on BMWMOA Sweepstakes ticket.
    12 R1200 RT
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    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Come on BMW, deliver the bike I ordered two months ago.

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    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Looks like you were there on a "typical" day... On a windy (and therefore clear) day, you can see Catalina Island, but on a "bad" day, you can't even see downtown L.A.

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    What about the steering?

    My '07 R1200GS is wired to my central nervous system. I think, the GS turns. How's the new mount with the wider tires? I think my 6'5" frame would make me look like a jockey with the standard pegs. Thanks for your updates.
    pj

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    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickMJoyce View Post
    My '07 R1200GS is wired to my central nervous system. I think, the GS turns. How's the new mount with the wider tires? I think my 6'5" frame would make me look like a jockey with the standard pegs. Thanks for your updates.
    pj
    It could be he has the seat in the low position. I would recommend looking at cycle-ergo.com first and then sitting on one in a dealer. I am the same height, 34" inseam, so I am curious as well.
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    Director, MOA hooykaas's Avatar
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    Had my LC for about 6 weeks now, am 6'1" and haven't noticed any swing arm rub at the foot pegs myself. I did find there is a buzz over 60 mph in 5 and 6th gear, but this has been completely eliminated since installing a pair of Metal Mules panniers to the bike. Strange why that would be.

    The bike came with the new Tourance tires even though I got the wire wheels. These things are way too much like road tires, I wouldn't call them dual sport at all as they are very slippery on anything but asphalt. In checking with Heidenau I have been told that they don't make knobbies just yet for the wider rims, but that the Scouts that fit the former GS (150s) rims, are within the specs for the 170 rims but are not approved by BMW. If you ride gravel, be sure to request the knobbies rather than these when you place the order for the bike.

    Over all a huge leap forward from my 1150 GSA. Not sure how well the nuts and bolts will last as I have yet to find any wave washers on the bike, every connection uses blue Loctite.

    I fitted my 376 Garmin to the factory accessory bar and plugged it right into the GPS plug using a $15 adapter socket from the dealer. However the fancy thumbwheel control on the left grip becomes just candy as it will only control the newer models.

    The new factory tank bag is reputed to be completely waterproof, so I was hesitant to power it up directly from the battery for charging all the other farkels, but with a bit of careful cutting of the ripstop waterproof membrane, I think I have been able to retain the water repellence with the Powerlet tankbag kit. Time will tell.

    The windshield adjuster knob should be on the left side rather than the right side of the shield as you have to reach way over to adjust it while on the move. Haven't noticed much of a difference between the shield positions, so I think it is just a gimmick and like Ian says, will be gonzo along with the front turn signals upon the first upset.

    I will be getting a set of radiator covers as they are way to vulnerable just grinning out there.

    I also removed the rear factory grab handle/luggage carrier as they again were made of plastic and made for show not for overlanding. I am waiting for someone to make up a metal luggage rack that can take the place of the passenger seat. I know that there are several being developed by the usual aftermarket folks, but haven't hit retail yet.

    I installed the headlight guard to protect that very $$$ LED headlight setup. It is clear Lexan with a quick disconnect for cleaning off the bugs, nice feature, worth the money for peace of mind.

    It is not easy to find any faults with the bike though, it is all in all an amazing piece of kit.

    Bill Hooykaas
    Last edited by HOOYKAAS; 05-30-2013 at 08:53 PM.
    2013 1200 GS LC
    1974 75/6 since new
    1974 R90S x2, Silver Smoke & Daytona Orange

  8. #8
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickMJoyce View Post
    My '07 R1200GS is wired to my central nervous system. I think, the GS turns. How's the new mount with the wider tires? I think my 6'5" frame would make me look like a jockey with the standard pegs. Thanks for your updates.
    pj
    Hey Patrick - this thing is even more wired to your central nervous system, especially during multiple direction changes, such as tight twisties and/or flicking the bike from side to side. It honestly feels like a crotch rocket with wide bars.

    I believe this is due to the stiffness of the frame, which has tubing that connects front and rear sections. This thing feels exactly like my HP2e, which has a full frame, too.

    Regarding the pegs, the seat has less adjustability than my 1150... I don't own an R1200, so not sure how this compares. On the wet head, the front of the seat mounts in only one position, and there are two positions on the rear. I had mine in the upper position and still felt cramped. Made it difficult to transition to a standing position... hard on the ol' knees, ya know?

    One other note about the footpegs... they are attached on each side to a cast piece of metal welded directly to the frame. Break something like this and I bet the bike is totaled. The centerstand is also attached to this metal casting, so it must be fairly strong.

    Ian

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    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    On the wet head, the front of the seat mounts in only one position, and there are two positions on the rear.
    Not so. The front seat mount snaps off and turns over. One side is "H" and the other side is "L".

    seat adjust.JPG

  10. #10
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Guess I should say that I didn't get a manual with the bike?

    I'll have to try this, even if it's even harder to reach the ground for me.

    And while I am thinking of it, this bike seems to have less room for a passenger... is it my imagination? One thing I've loved about the GS is its roominess.

  11. #11
    Director, MOA hooykaas's Avatar
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    ian, is this a loaner or yours now?

    Bill
    2013 1200 GS LC
    1974 75/6 since new
    1974 R90S x2, Silver Smoke & Daytona Orange

  12. #12
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Dunno about the passenger. I don't have the bike yet. BMW says it is in production and I have a VIN, so that's something.

    During my test ride I noticed my knees were bent slightly more than on my '05, but I had lower pegs on the '05. I'll probably be mounting the BMW enduro pegs on the new GS with those pegs in the lowest position. Assuming I can get over the shock of the cost.

  13. #13
    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HOOYKAAS View Post
    ian, is this a loaner or yours now?

    Bill
    "possession is 9/10ths of the law" While I haven't ridden one, there is something about them that I like visually. Kinda scared or I should say my wallet is kinda scared to go test drive one
    OM
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  14. #14
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post

    During my test ride I noticed my knees were bent slightly more than on my '05, but I had lower pegs on the '05. I'll probably be mounting the BMW enduro pegs on the new GS with those pegs in the lowest position. Assuming I can get over the shock of the cost.
    It needs the wider pegs, too. This was one of the reasons I was riding with the balls of my feet... After a while, the pegs start hurting your arches. And definitely annoying during long periods of standing. The other reason is that once I get into top gear on the highway, or into the gear I want while standing, I like to move my feet around and ride a lot on the balls of my feet. Unless you're pigeon-toed or have really small feet, your heel will hit the drive shaft housing when placing the balls of your feet on the pegs. Not bad, but enough to leave a mark. Ymmv.

    This reminds me of another feature. You have to dip and twist your right toe inward to actuate the rear brake, just as with older models that have the rear intake. And the brake lever is pretty low, and doesn't appear to be widely adjustable. Several of the other press members were asking for it to be raised. My HP2 has a little flip-down adapter... This would be perfect to fix the situation on the GS.

  15. #15
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Great video by Jimmy Lewis.




    This brings up two other thoughts from my initial impressions. In addition to having very precise steering, the steering is also phenomenally light. Of course the wide bars help in this respect, and the new GS has the same Renthal-like Fat bars as my HP2.

    And watching Jimmy ride also reminds me that the standing position is much improved, the bars fall right into hand with no risers needed, it's easy to assume that lean-forward posture, and very comfortable to grip with your knees. This all may vary with different sized riders.

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