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Thread: Interstate highway riding advice

  1. #1
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    Interstate highway riding advice

    Hi new rider here. I am getting bounced around a bit on my 2003 K1200GT bike. Going the normal speed. Yes there was a bit of a cross wind.

    I paced myself in right lane center. Moderate traffic here in Chicago area. 50s weather. Good spacing. Bike performed well. New tires. Recent service. No recommendations on shocks or alignment. 26k miles the bike. Rear shock set middle. No baggage weight. Rider 6ft 250 lbs. Speed between 60 and 70. Plenty of power available if needed. Road resurfaced and clean.

    Tried screen up, then down, flatter riding on the bike. Then more normal seating on this K1200GT. I didn't feel stuck to the ground like I wanted it to be.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by jrmull View Post
    Hi new rider here. I am getting bounced around a bit on my 2003 K1200GT bike. Going the normal speed. Yes there was a bit of a cross wind.

    I paced myself in right lane center. Moderate traffic here in Chicago area. 50s weather. Good spacing. Bike performed well. New tires. Recent service. No recommendations on shocks or alignment. 26k miles the bike. Rear shock set middle. No baggage weight. Rider 6ft 250 lbs. Speed between 60 and 70. Plenty of power available if needed. Road resurfaced and clean.

    Tried screen up, then down, flatter riding on the bike. Then more normal seating on this K1200GT. I didn't feel stuck to the ground like I wanted it to be.

    Any suggestions?
    Wind and turbulence will move a motorcycle around a bit. The lighter the bike, the moreso. But, for many riders the effect is exaggerated because the wind is actually moving the rider's upper body and this movement is transmitted via the rider's arms to the handlebars. So in crosswinds and turbulence it is important to relax the grip and keep the arms "loose" so as to not let the wind on the body move the bike around.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  3. #3
    skibum69 skibum69's Avatar
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    Avoid tensing up when gusts from wind or trucks hit you. Keep a relaxed grip on the bars. It will take quite a strong wind to move a 1200 around much you just need to get used to it a bit. Spend a little time thinking about relaxing your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet. Once you start paying attention to it you will recognize it. Stay out of the hurricanes for awhile.
    http://beerthief.ca
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  4. #4
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    The first year I had my 2003 K1200RS it would feel like it had a slight weave when riding in dirty air of large vehicles.
    Warranty replaced the front ball joints and that fixed the problem.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  5. #5
    One of the great things about riding on the Interstate Highways is the time to travel is greatly reduced absent heavy traffic or an accident.

    One also gains a much greater appreciation for the so-called blue highways or back roads where the pace is slower, one can meet interesting folks, traffic is often very low, and the scenery is often spectacular.

    A book was written about travelling the blue highways -

    https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Highways.../dp/0316353299

    Here is a presentation about the Blue Highway book ...


  6. #6
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    Illinois Riding

    In Illinois just because the road has been recently repaved does not make it smooth, I have been bounced off seat many times by imperfections in newly repaved roads. If the problems not fixed before repaying old imperfections show up again, one very fine example west of Peoria on US 24
    Also if you have heavy truck traffic on road the road get slight ruts or wheel tracks in pavement the right and left wheel track will be smother than the center try riding in the left or center wheel track see if it makes a difference. Older bike suspension may be not so good.

  7. #7
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    Some good advice already here. More will come along in the next day or so.

    My only added suggestion is to examine your expectations of motorcycle riding. As a self-named new rider, perhaps you expected riding to be similar to driving your car? If so, you will get over it soon enough. Riding a motorcycle is supposed to be different--even travel on a Goldwing (the standard of luxury two-wheel travel) is bouncier and twitchier than a car (unless you are in a 50s vintage MG or some equivalent). If motorcycling is in your heart and soul, you will quickly forget to notice anything except the exhilaration and delight of the wind in your face. And for some folks, motorcycling never penetrates to the heart and soul level. Those folks keep the bike in the garage except for weekends with nice weather. We refer to those machines as butt jewelry.

    Hope you reach the gut level quickly. Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  8. #8
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    Thank you for the suggestions. I found several good youtube items on highway riding. I will keep up the research.

    An example is MCrider. Pretty good guy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEZqDZwrCOg

    I like your point on what my expectations are. After 8 years of riding back in the day, one family life ago, retired now. I just enjoy riding. We would call is motorcycle Spring fever back in Iowa and the early 70's. Something about no helmet, wind in the face, no windshield, no goggles, on a Honda 160 then later Honda 350. Always admired the BMW R75 though. One long trip from Chicago to Tucson on that Honda 160 was for need and later a commuting vehicle in AZ.

    Fast forward, yep good idea to have a full face helmet. Bright safety jacket, pants, boots. ABS is a must. I already had the70s experience locking the fronts and road rash with shorts and flip-flops.

    Today, I try to riding daily (when dry) an hour just tooling around the town. The 2003 K1200GT so far has been pleasure. I know exactly the feeling I had in the 70s when ever I forget to pull the face shield down. Wind hitting the face like old days. Those darn state laws and law of probability. Aside from the frequent dodging cars, it hasn't been too bad. After a month to local, I ventured to the interstate for some practice. BMW dealers are a good hour trip on interstates. Good excuse to be on it.

    A future bucket list is another expectation for a long trip out West though Utah and such. No need for me to go 120 mph but I prefer to have a solid bike and keep up with traffic. Can't afford the $30k new bikes. This 2003 was $18k when new and well taken care of I think. The K1600GT and K1200LT seems too big for my taste. The K1200 has plenty of power. The K1200GT seems right, well so far until I got my first taste of Interstate riding.

    However is it bike tuning, rider technique tuning, or riding experience? Ok for me to keep adding to experience as long as this K1200GT isn't a twitchy mistake to use. I am into more touring style than knee dragging turns. Although I do have a mild fever problem.

    Is an R1200 better or worse for my condition? Would an upgrade to 2007 K1200GT improve this? K1200C style. Your experiences

    In the meantime, I will look into a weak damper and ball bearing topic. Recent mechanics road tested and declared it road worthy.


    Regards John

  9. #9
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    Ride experience

    If you go to the MOA.org page on toolbar at top heading called tools go to charted clubs and check out local clubs you will find a couple good ones in Chicago area talk to them get together with them I am sure you will find an old experienced K bike rider willing to take your bike for a spin and let you know itís ok

  10. #10
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    I found a seasoned BMW K rider in town. We will take a couple rides together. Might take a week or so but let you know if in the head or mechanical.

  11. #11
    Registered User gsinnc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robsryder View Post
    One of the great things about riding on the Interstate Highways is the time to travel is greatly reduced absent heavy traffic or an accident.

    One also gains a much greater appreciation for the so-called blue highways or back roads where the pace is slower, one can meet interesting folks, traffic is often very low, and the scenery is often spectacular.

    A book was written about travelling the blue highways -

    https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Highways.../dp/0316353299

    Here is a presentation about the Blue Highway book ...

    WOW what a great video! I had heard about the book but never read it. I plan on reading it now for sure and the follow up book as I have a fondness for Kansas and the Fly Over status. thanks for sharing
    Ed Apelian
    Motorcycling is my passion because golf is far too dangerous!
    2018 R1200GS - Light White !
    2016 R1200RT- Platinum Bronze

  12. #12
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Another Great Travel Book

    I've been using a travel book for cross-country MC trips for years. It's well worth the $20.

    Here's a screenshot of the Amazon page:

    Screen Shot 2018-11-03 at 10.30.21 AM.png

    One interesting place to which it guided me was the site where Bonnie and Clyde met their demise:

    DSC_9638.jpeg
    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    MOA #153274
    "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Pogo/via Walt Kelly

  13. #13
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExGMan View Post
    I've been using a travel book for cross-country MC trips for years. It's well worth the $20.

    Here's a screenshot of the Amazon page:

    Screen Shot 2018-11-03 at 10.30.21 AM.png

    One interesting place to which it guided me was the site where Bonnie and Clyde met their demise:

    DSC_9638.jpeg
    Thanks for the tip...just ordered the book.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  14. #14
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Larry - You'll like it a lot. Lots of good advice in it, and I think it's revised every year or so.

    Bend, OR, eh? Been there, and like it a lot! You're in a good spot.

    JG
    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    MOA #153274
    "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Pogo/via Walt Kelly

  15. #15
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmull View Post
    I found a seasoned BMW K rider in town. We will take a couple rides together. Might take a week or so but let you know if in the head or mechanical.
    This is a good idea.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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