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Thread: Opinions on three button signals?

  1. #31
    K100Rider stevenmi's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Prineville, Oregon


    I prefer the BMW 3-button set up. I recently bought an '01F650GS with left-side single-button signals and I do like it as much as my '85K100 or '96R11RS.

    One thing I like about the 3-button system, is when distance touring, I can leave my left hand laying in my lap (relaxing) and signal right turns/cancels with my throttle hand, and left turns with a casual left-arm lift.

    Ride fast, ride safe.

  2. #32
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Mendocino, CA USA about as far left as you can get in the lower 48
    I have to agree, had single before, got used to the three button in a day or so, now have the new K with the single and go back and forth to the KRS, no problem most of the time. Sort of like going from a three speed to a 4 or 5 speed. I have to say I really like the new high beam switch. At first I wondered about it, but now, it is so easy to flip to highs with nary a push of the finger and hitting the pass-flash is also really easy. Thumb still learning the exact location of the horn, but don't use it enough to get it ingrained yet....
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >138,000 miles -- Black, 01/10/2000 to present
    Gone: White '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, Black '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, Red '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi, '06 Kaw 650R chrome yellow track bike sold

  3. #33
    I really prefer a single switch on my left for my turn signals, but have no problems riding a bike with the switch on the right or individual switches on either side, or what ever. No matter what bike I ride, if I have not ridden that bike in a while, I always check out everything before inserting key in the ignition. Once I am familiarized, I will start the bike and check ease of operation of everything, including adjusting mirrors etc.

    I don't see the problem that others seem to have with the switch arrangment. I don't think that any of the possible arrangements is wrong. They are just different. As long as the arrangement works, the lights flash appropriately, then get over it and ride.

  4. #34
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    I have more trouble remembering that my car has a floor shift while my SUY and truck have column shifts. My arm grabs at empty air.

    Been there...
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  5. #35
    P Monk
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Orange, Texas

    turn signals fwiw

    Easiest to operate turn signals were on my HD electraglides. Simple big button one on each side. Push to turn on. Push to cancel or wait until it self cancelled.

    The next best were the ones on my LT and RT. but didn't care for the right thumb up cancel button.

    Next is the switch on my 90/6. Pretty simple, up for right, down for left and middle for cancel.

    Least favorite is the one on the honda. One switch on a very cluttered control that is almost impossible to operate without looking. God forbid my life ever was to depend on finding the horn.
    P. Monk
    74 R90/6 (the Black Hole) Harvey couldn't kill it. . 09 R1200 GS, drowned in Harvey replaced by 2011 R1200RT. Wife, 1953 model survived aplastic anemia and a bone marrow transplant.

  6. #36
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Dartmouth, Massachusetts
    BMW and turn signals........

    So on the G650 X Challenge they decided to use a conventional "Honda" type turn signal switch. But they reversed the position with the horn switch. Having a number of other motorcycles with the switches in the conventional position, I always beep the horn on the "X" instead of activating the turn signals....
    2007 BMW K1200R Sport (abs),2007 Suzuki dl650 V Strom (abs),2004 Honda VFR (abs),1972 Honda Trail 90,
    2001 Moto Guzzi V-11 Rosso Mandello

  7. #37
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    N. Dallas 'burb
    I spent 20 years using Honda's left thumb single button. Six years ago, when I got my first BMW, it took a little time to get used to the three button system, but its now second nature. Ultimately I don't care. The BMW's system is a neat quirk and part of the bike's personality, but if I were forced to choose I'd say that the Honda system makes more sense for several reasons:
    • Like a car, its all controlled with one left-handed switch. Can you imagine a car with a two or three switch turn signal system?
    • When you turn, regardless of direction, your thumb is already on the button to turn off the signal. For that reason, IMHO, its easier to remember to turn off the signal on the Honda than the BMW.
    • Cancelling the signal is the least intuitive part of the three switch system. It'd be better to get rid of the third button for cancelling the signal, and set it up so a second depression of the same switch turns it off. That way, you'd depress the left or right signal, turn left or right, and depress the same left or right signal again having never taking your thumb off of it. I have a friend whose Harley Deuce works that way. IMHO its more intuitive than having a third button for cancellation.
    • The Honda system never results in horn confusion. I'm embarrased to admit that, after six years and over 75,000 miles with BMW's three button system, I still occassionally screw that up in the heat of a "hornblowing moment."

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    If the traffic in front of you suddenly stops, you can IMMEDIATELY get your flashers running by punching both buttons with your thumbs and holding them. You can do this without moving your hands or being unable to use the brake and clutch levers.
    I didn't know that! I need to check it out.
    Last edited by mistercindy; 10-13-2009 at 04:23 PM.
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  8. #38
    I don't care for them but it's not a deal killer. I have a Kawasaki too and it's so much easier to use the one button.

  9. #39
    Bikes, Guitars, and ... beemokat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I have the 3 button on my '04, and a 3 position "cheese slicer"* on my '79. Neither of them present a problem, but I actually like the 3 button better.

    *guitar guy slang for the for the selector switches on strats and teles
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  10. #40
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Green Bay, WI
    Personally, I feel ONLY BMW and Harley had the turn signal controls thing figured out logically and as is best ergonomically for the hand and thumb to move. I have always appreciated the BWM system, and I feel every single cycle-media dweeb that complains about the "odd BMW turn signal control placement" is nothing but a whiner not worth listening to. Lemmings following the herd over the cliff.

    Even the older BWMs which required a right thumb cancel action (like my 94 R11RS) make total sense to me. After you complete a turn, lets say in town with downshifts/upshifts, which hand is busiest? Your clutch hand! The hand that is busiest accurately moudlating the clutch for good shifting. The throttle hand really has to turn very little, maybe 1/5 turn (heh, heh, fiugure that out) for most riding, and your right thumb is always at the bottom of the grip anyway, right where the cancle switch is! Its natural and logical.

    Yet, the cycle media dweebs seem to love the universal LH thumb, twisted up higher/nearly distorted, to operate a cancel switch in, or worse yet SIDEWAYS! Not natural at all. Especially when the system requires the switch to be moved back to cancel. For riders with small hands you have to move the thumb up, move the hand to the right, just when you should be concentrating on clutch action. But to them, this is proper and the BMW system is odd? Jeez, even the RH turn signal control on my 76 R100RS makes more sense. My RH thumb does it all, up for left, down for right, all right where my thumb always is.

    I do demo rides for Nick's BMW, and everytime I get on the K1300GT versus the RT or GS, I HATE the new switch gear on the K1300GT, it sucks and feels unnatural. BMW may claim the redesign was done to reduce the size of the grip clusters on the handlebars, or to use the switch space on the RH cluster for other controls. But I only see it as cheaper to run wires to the LH grip versus both grips. Personally, I think the handlebar, switchgear and clusters on the K1300GT look cheap, unfinished and wimpy. But the bike is PHENOMINAL!
    Get trained! The best "performance" upgrade you can get is YOU. Visit for training info.

  11. #41
    Took me all of a day to get used to and appreciate the three control system but it's difficult to go to another bike!

  12. #42
    I prefer the style developed by either Bates or Buco. (later copied by HD in the late 50s or early 60s) They had the left switch on left and right switch on right. Switches were spring loaded an worked as long as you pressed but stopped when you removed your thumb. (no need to turn off or hit a cancel switch)

    When I started riding my PD I left the sigs on all the time because I was not used to turning them off on the HD. With my slash 6 I did not like the one switch set up (too much like a Limey bike but at least it was on the right instead of left like a Honda)

    On my Gold Wing I like the self canceling aspect but to put the damn thing on the left bar is just a PITA(especially with gloves) same side as choke, dimmer, horn, flashers and stereo buttons, looks like a keyboard, and if you look really close there is a clutch lever too)

  13. #43
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Tampa, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by 72598 View Post
    ... and if you look really close there is a clutch lever too)

    Seriously, another voter for the high beam/flash switch. Easy to get to and use. I switched from a GS to my 1300GT. I liked the separate switches as they ergonomically easier, but its nice not to be confused anymore when I swap from the Beemer to my Duc. (I confuse easily...maybe its old age...)

  14. #44
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I suspect that BMW had other reasons than just the press idiots to change controls - maybe some new European Union standard, or something to do with Canbus, or maybe a new supplier emerged. In any case - in my book it is a step backwards.
    I suspect that one switch saved them a whopping 30 cents per bike, without which the Quandt family would go bankrupt because then the competition would have such a HUGE price advantage.

    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  15. #45
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Atlanta 'burbs
    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    I have more trouble remembering that my car has a floor shift while my SUY and truck have column shifts. My arm grabs at empty air.
    You think that's 1983 my mom traded in her manual-transmission VW Rabbit for a column-shift automatic K-Car...and had to sit on her left foot to keep from trying to work the nonexistent clutch!
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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