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Thread: So, I rode the new RS today.....

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    So, I rode the new RS today.....

    There was a bit of a back-up at the dealership shop and I arrived early for my state inspection appointment, so I decided to take the demo wethead RS out for a spin. Relative to ergonomics, the bike is good fit for me. I'm 6'-1" and ride an oilhead RS with a Sargent saddle in the middle or top position, the standard wethead seat is a hair low for me, but not overly cramped. However, I do like that the front of the wethead seat is narrower than the "spread eagle"pose of the Oilhead seat. I'm not sure I like the no-slip/high traction surface of the seat. The handlebars seem definitely wider than my standard issue Oilhead bars, but there's no adjustment for angle or fore-aft position. The driver foot pegs are well placed but the shift lever seems to be too far forward. I ride with the ball of my foot on the peg, so the tip of my shoe doesn't reach the wethead shift level unless I move my foot forward. Also, when shifting, my foot hits the side stand tab located between the foot peg and the shift lever. There's no vibration transmitted thru the grips or anywhere else. The stock windscreen provides decent protection, but a larger aftermarket screen would likely occur in the future.

    In my world, the engine provides warp factor performance while being glass smooth relative to an oilhead. The chrome exhaust is definitely louder than my venerable oilhead. The transmission is completely different than any Airhead/Brick or oilhead I've ever ridden. My shifts weren't quiet, but they seemed smooth........within the confines of the rapid throttle response. Did I mention that I ride "Old School" with a throttle return screw for "Cruise control".

    The suspension, I think, was set to Road with dynamic ESA. It seemed fine, but I could produce some fork dive. If I hadn't upgraded the shocks on my Oilhead last year, I would be very impressed by the wethead suspension. As is, I think the wethead suspension matches a good aftermarket upgrade on a Tele-Lever bike.

    I'm not sure what the shift assist was supposed to do for me and the hill holding clutch/brake only serves to make you look like a fool at inconvenient times.

    There's a speedometer and a data display showing a lot of nothing. I couldn't find the odometer and the tachometer sideways bar chart with the obscure placement of a numerical value was baffling. Oil and coolant temp would have been nice to see.

    Switching between ride and suspension modes didn't seem to change anything, but then again, I was more involved with driving than fiddling with the playstation controller. I may have just run thru some menus and never changed anything. One or two toggle switches would have handled the job in a fairly direct manner. As is, I was fiddling with a video screen display while driving. I probably could have sent a text or two while I was at it.

    What the heck is that spinning wheel thing on the inboard side of the left handle bar grip?

    The handlebar switches are all nice, small and quite stylish. That's just what I want in motorcycle switch gear that I will operate wearing gloves. Returning to a small turn signal toggle switch is wonderfully retro in style and functionality.

    In short, the wethead RS engine and seat/handlebar ergonomics are winners in my book. The switch gear and "data cluster" are a disappointment. The ride modes, ESA, shift assist and hill holder clutch / brake aren't intuitively functional to me.

    But, I'm glad I had a chance to take the demo ride.....
    Last edited by 36654; 09-20-2015 at 02:03 AM.
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    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    The ride modes, ESA, shift assist and hill holder clutch / brake aren't intuitively functional to me.
    I didn't know the RS had the hill start function like the RT.

    Once you get used to the shift assist, you'll love it.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I didn't know the RS had the hill start function like the RT.

    Once you get used to the shift assist, you'll love it.
    What is the hill start supposed to do? It seems like cure for a problem I didn't know I had......
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    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    What is the hill start supposed to do? It seems like cure for a problem I didn't know I had......
    I've never ridden a bike with that option. From what I have read, you can sit on a steep grade at a stop sign and not hold a brake.
    Did I read your post right that the RS you rode had that option?
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Not meant to diminish the value some see and have on their bikes, however...

    To me it's like the shift point indicator, maybe designed by folks for folks who did not grow up with manual transmissions and inclines.
    Have ridden friends bikes with it, but old habits...not bad ones by any means, take over and never tried it. Maybe some day I'll appreciate the help, but not yet.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I've never ridden a bike with that option. From what I have read, you can sit on a steep grade at a stop sign and not hold a brake.
    Did I read your post right that the RS you rode had that option?
    Apparently, salesman indicated that was the case..... It resulted in a rather unique stumble at a stop sign. Engine reviving, no movement, something or the other happened, then movement after clutch and brake grabbed.......
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Not meant to diminish the value some see and have on their bikes, however...

    To me it's like the shift point indicator, maybe designed by folks for folks who did not grow up with manual transmissions and inclines.
    Have ridden friends bikes with it, but old habits...not bad ones by any means, take over and never tried it. Maybe some day I'll appreciate the help, but not yet.
    Like driving a Steptronic transmission. I shifted once, then said..........I'm driving an automatic, just like Dad's DynaFlow
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
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    wanderer
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    For those of us who come from "old school" displays and technology, find the evolving BMW "wobble wheel" with integrated info on the dash board and the GPS a bit over whelming. it does take some time to figure it out. Most dealers don't offer to take the time to really explain it and taking an hour test ride is NOT enough time to self learn. Just enough time to be frustrated.

    I found that most of the new R and RS come with display brightness set at minimum level...so a new...complex (info intensive) ..is both hard to read and understand. FYI there are 2 less complex display modes available..down the menu list!

    Display learning time aside, riding the new RS is pure joy. As RT and GS riders have know for a while now the new wet head is a wonderful engine. Smooth (ride a Multi Strada to feel jack hammer pounding), powerful and linear torque.

    The ESA suspension is good and blessing for those who have passengers and baggage. Easy to adapt. I agree well set up aftermarket suspension is better when fully dialed but that takes time and lots of $$$.

    My new RS is the my best bike ever.

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobzeliff View Post
    For those of us who come from "old school" displays and technology, find the evolving BMW "wobble wheel" with integrated info on the dash board and the GPS a bit over whelming. it does take some time to figure it out. Most dealers don't offer to take the time to really explain it and taking an hour test ride is NOT enough time to self learn. Just enough time to be frustrated.

    I found that most of the new R and RS come with display brightness set at minimum level...so a new...complex (info intensive) ..is both hard to read and understand. FYI there are 2 less complex display modes available..down the menu list!

    Display learning time aside, riding the new RS is pure joy. As RT and GS riders have know for a while now the new wet head is a wonderful engine. Smooth (ride a Multi Strada to feel jack hammer pounding), powerful and linear torque.

    The ESA suspension is good and blessing for those who have passengers and baggage. Easy to adapt. I agree well set up aftermarket suspension is better when fully dialed but that takes time and lots of $$$.

    My new RS is the my best bike ever.

    You like the new style switch gear?
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Only thing I use the wonder wheel for on my RT is changing radio stations or volume. Everything else requires viewing the screen and that's not happening when riding.

    I hear new RT requires menu manipulation to turn on/off heated handgrips--a deal killer for me. Having to search the computer screen for a nearly invisible icon to tell whether on or off is bad enough. It isn't all intelligent progress.
    Kent Christensen
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    Registered User BMARC153920's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Only thing I use the wonder wheel for on my RT is changing radio stations or volume. Everything else requires viewing the screen and that's not happening when riding.

    I hear new RT requires menu manipulation to turn on/off heated handgrips--a deal killer for me. Having to search the computer screen for a nearly invisible icon to tell whether on or off is bad enough. It isn't all intelligent progress.
    It is true you need the menu for heated grips and seat but there is a favorite setting which i set for heated grips. So you hit the button, and it goes right to heated grips, rotate the wheel, each click is one setting, hit the button again and you're at the heated seat, rotate wheel. Easy to do without ever taking your eyes off the road or hands off the grips.

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    Only thing I use the wonder wheel for on my RT is changing radio stations or volume. Everything else requires viewing the screen and that's not happening when riding.

    I hear new RT requires menu manipulation to turn on/off heated handgrips--a deal killer for me. Having to search the computer screen for a nearly invisible icon to tell whether on or off is bad enough. It isn't all intelligent progress.
    Is this I-drive for motorcycles?
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

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    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    You like the new style switch gear?
    I'm not too crazy about the new style switches on my K1300.
    I had the three big switches for the turn signals from 1988 to 2011 and think they were better.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobzeliff View Post
    I found that most of the new R and RS come with display brightness set at minimum level...
    Good to know you can change the brightness. On the first test ride my wife and I took on a R1200RS we both thought the instrument display was very hard to see.
    We both disliked the tach.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    I'm not too crazy about the new style switches on my K1300.
    I had the three big switches for the turn signals from 1988 to 2011 and think they were better.
    As I was riding today, I spent some time looking at my "old school" switches and thought it was pretty convenient to have the two most frequently used switches (R&L turn signals) adjacent to my thumbs. On the new bike, it was reach up, just under a cruise control switch, then left or right, to do the signals. I can't remember where the high / low beam switch was?

    The tech / data display on the new bike was just a waste of space with cluttered information. Not intuitive at all. There was less available info and it was in obscure places. Pretty much a design failure relative to functionality and clarity.

    All in all, it's sad that a good engine and ergonomics are tarnish by these electronic doo-dads and frills. The ESA didn't impress and the benefit will be gone in 20 or 30K when the stock shock is upgraded. But, that is my preference. I know that a manual adjuster is a simple knob, somewhere.

    Given the base price and the "standard package", the bike is priced at ~$16,500, or about $1300 more than the MSRP on my R11RS back in 1999. So, that isn't a bad price, but the switch gear and tach / data display really diminish the value of the product.

    That is my opinion............
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

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