Okay, I can’t keep the lid on it any longer. Let us introduce you to our new 2014 BMW R1200RT!
When we arrived in Daytona Beach last week, our K1200LT suffered a failed outer bearing on the final drive of the motorcycle. BMW Motorcycles of Daytona was going to get us back on the road pretty quickly though. You can read the entry about the final drive here instead of me going into it again.
We were at the dealer when we started to “What if…” ourselves. Many of you know what I mean. What if this happens or what if that happens? The K1200LT had 85, 391 miles on her when we retired her. Yes there were some maintenance items coming up due but that’s why it’s maintenance and hopefully not repair. I had just changed the oil before our trip to Florida.
We were looking at an ebony black 2015 K1600GTL and what is now our quartz metallic blue 2014 R1200RT. To be honest, the more we looked, I couldn’t justify the extra money of the K1600. Besides the R1200RT is the boxer style engine. I really didn’t like the R1200RT in the black or the matte gray they had. But that’s just my choice. The R1200RT was pretty much outfitted with everything the K1600GTL had too! It has the Bluetooth audio and communications system, the heated seats and grips, cruise control, satellite radio, the ESA suspension system and so much more. Did I say it’s got a boxer style motor? As an incentive from BMW the purchase of the 2014 R1200RT came with the BMW Nav V GPS system. BMW of Daytona was out of the GPS so they needed to get it from their sister dealer in Orlando. It hadn’t arrived by the time we headed for home so they need to ship it this week. We went ahead and ordered the 49 liter top case, which they also didn’t have and will be shipped. It was a tougher decision to do this than we thought but we’re thinking it was a good one.
We spent about half a day riding it around Daytona Beach during Biketoberfest while visiting my Dad. And then on Sunday we rode it home. The top case wasn’t in yet and this was the first time Donna would really be riding without a back rest or top case behind her for support. Luckily, we had done like we had in the past and made the trip home in 2 days after a stop overnight in Tifton, GA. It was really a good idea this time. Donna really wasn’t fond of not having the top case yet. And for me, after having the custom seat on the K1200LT the BMW seat on the R1200RT felt like sitting on a cinder block after a few hours. I’m sure I’ll adjust to the seat. The R1200RT gets tossed around by trucks more being that it’s more than 250 pounds lighter than the K1200LT was. We will miss the Magic Carpet, she served us well.
In the coming weeks as we ride the R1200RT I’ll be posting more articles about it. She hasn’t been named yet but that will come soon.
In June we bought a Scala Rider Teamset Pro Bluetooth intercom and only had the opportunity to use it once before the bike was down with the need to replace the rear tire.
We purchased the Scala Rider Teamset Pro which is a wireless bluetooth rider to passenger intercom set. This unit is for communication between the rider and passenger only and will not communicate with other motorcycles. It will pair with itself along with a separate cell phone for rider and passenger. You can conference the rider or passenger into your conversation using the intercom but I would hope that most of us don’t talk on the phone and ride. You can also pair a bluetooth GPS unit, and MP3 player. There are also wired connections for Mp3 players. I was told a warning about the wireless MP3 that is in your phone in that the intercom will see it as an incoming call and override any intercom conversation. I haven’t had the opportunity to use a GPS unit with it yet but hope to soon. My cellphone paired with it with no problem and while in the house and yard I was able to make and receive phone calls but riding around I couldn’t get it to make a call for some reason. I’m not concerned enough to find out why I can’t make phone calls as it’s not that important to me. UPDATE: I figured out that I was pushing the wrong button on the headset!
This unit is voice activated as most intercoms are but it is also dependent on ambient noise to operate. If you try it out in a quiet room it won’t work. Ride the bike or go outside where there’s traffic and it will work. The intercom also changes volume based upon noise. In other words, the faster you go the louder your intercom will be and then readjust as you slow down. There are also volume buttons to fine tune it to your liking. The intercom mounts attach to each helmet and the intercom is removable from the mount. The speakers mount in your helmet with provided velcro or in your helmet’s speaker pockets if it has them.
Scala Rider Teamset Pro
We rode for about 4 hours today and intentionally left the units on while we stopped for lunch and had no problem with power and the units are rated for twice that long anyway. All in all I was very satisfied with them. Conversation between Donna and I was clear and understandable. Mic placement however was more critical with the Scala Rider than it was with the wired headsets used with the BMW intercom. When the unit doesn’t detect speaking for about a minute it automatically goes back into standby mode. When the driver initiates a conversation, you know the VOX is activated by a tone in the speakers, but the passenger does not hear the tone. When the VOX goes into standby the driver will get a higher pitched series of beeps to let you know of standby mode and again the passenger does not hear it. If the passenger initiates the conversation the passenger and not the driver hears the beeps and tones. You can manually put initiate VOX or go to standby by pressing a button on the unit mounted on each helmet. It was nice not having connected from you to the motorcycle. We also liked the feature that at a gas stop Donna could walk around and we could converse while still wearing helmets as long as she stayed with bluetooth range. With the Scala Rider Teamset Pro you don’t hear your own voice in the helmet speakers like we did with the BMW intercom. Because of that, you may tend to speak a bit louder than needed. Donna kept telling me to just speak in a normal voice and it sounded much better. We use the unit on 3/4 helmets with flip up face shields.
Good, clear communications
Self adjusting volume
Easy setup and installation
Clear communication at speed
Mic placement is critical
Wind noise can activate intercom (this can be troublesome on a loud motorcycle or one without a windshield or fairing)
You must bring your charger with you when you travel
I would definitely recommend this product to a friend looking for an intercom.
We’re going to a motorcycle event tomorrow afternoon so we took advantage of trying out the new intercom while riding to get gas. It works and is different alright. As expected it really didn’t work while walking around getting ready to go. But once it detected noise it let the intercom work. We noticed that the faster we went, up to about 55 mph this trip the better it worked. Donna told me it sounded like I was talking too loud and to talk in a normal speaking voice and she said it was much better. Just to try it out I paired my cell phone with it. At the house I was able to make a call but on the road it wouldn’t work but that might’ve been operator error. Once home I was able to make calls again. Next Saturday we’ll be on the motorcycle for a couple of hours so we’ll really get to try it out and review it then.
Well it’s time for a new intercom in the K1200LT. Over time there’s been a pinched wire or two that’s caused a loose connection or a short. I have to jiggle my headset plug or position it just right where it connects to the motorcycle to get both speakers to work. At times I get a “crackling” in my speakers. I’ve actually tracked down the short for me and positioning the air intake winglets can affect the performance. I can get a new part but it also means stripping down the front end of the bike to replace. On the other hand, Donna goes through a lower headset cord a year just from wear and tear at the flex point on the cord where it plugs into the motorcycle. The cords are only about $23 but you get tired of buying them!
So I’ve been shopping around and yesterday we bought a Cardo Scala Rider TeamSet Pro. It’s a wireless BlueTooth system between the rider and the passenger. It’s got the ability to add a cell phone to each headset (not sure if we’ll do that), a BlueTooth enable or wired MP3 player and a BlueTooth enabled GPS for audio directions. Last night I installed the headsets in the helmets and charged both the units. Hopefully later today we’ll take them for a test run. The instructions actually advise against testing them inside in a quiet environment because the system is dependent on ambient noise to operate. Once we have a decent ride with them I’ll post a review of the system.