Our BMW R1200RT now has a name. Naming motorcycles is not as unusual as you think. For example, the R1200RT’s predecessor, our K1200LTE was “The Magic Carpet”. Since the motorcycle is German in origin the name of our R1200RT is “Die Eule” (pronounced dee oila) which in English is “The Owl”. How did it come to be named Die Eule? Well to understand how it got its name just take a look at the picture below.
Posts Tagged With: r1200rt
Last week I took a solo trip down to my Dad’s in the Daytona Beach area of Florida for a visit and help him with a few projects. I’m not too fond of solo trips and really do miss having Donna sitting behind me. A solo day ride is one thing but a solo trip is another thing entirely. This would also be the R1200RT’s first long trip since we brought it back from Daytona Beach, FL back in October of 2014.
We live just north of Atlanta, GA which means going through or around Atlanta to get to Florida. I commuted to Atlanta everyday day before I retired so I already had a plan. That plan was to get on the road by 6:30 am to be just ahead of the bulk of the rush hour traffic. It would also mean leaving in the dark which doesn’t bother me at all. I’d rather start the day in the dark than end it in the dark when I’m tired. You either get on the road early or wait and get on the road much later in the morning. Well my plan was a disaster due to the lack of driving skills of others. A multi-car accident on an entirely different highway caused major gridlock on Interstate 75 South! Imagine looking down at the GPS to see that you’re travelling 7.9 mph, and that was fast for that morning. It took me over an hour to travel a grand total of 18 miles, 15 of which were on the interstate! I was normally able to leave for work just before 7:00 am and get to work by 8:00 am with what I call normal rush hour traffic. An hour and 35 minutes into the ride I was getting to the exit I used to use from the interstate to get to my office! But once I got inside I-285, Atlanta’s perimeter highway, it was pretty much a speed limit ride. It was also pretty cold that morning too! When I left the temperature was in the upper 20’s (F) and peaked at about 30° (F) for quite some time until around central Georgia, well south of Macon. The cold caused another predicament too. I was dressed for cold weather riding, not cold weather sitting. After some time in traffic I was actually getting cold because I had also started to sweat. I had to turn the temperature on the heated seat down but left the grips toasty warm. As I approached southern Georgia the temperature started warming to near 50° (F) and slowly warmed a bit more. I actually had the heated grips on until I was in northern Florida! On the whole trip down the R1200RT continued to impress me. I had the dynamic ESA set to one rider with luggage and the mode set to soft, being on the interstate. To break the boredom of interstate highway travel it was good to have the Sirius/XM satellite radio. Once I got to Jacksonville, FL I tuned it into Radio Margaritaville!
After a few days in Florida it was time to head for home. When I left it was sunny and quickly warmed to about 74° (F) for a good while. As I headed west on I-10 and then north on I-75 the temperature started to drop but it stayed sunny. The day’s forecast had already told me that I’d be riding into rain the closer I got to home. As I approached Macon I was still in the sunshine but could see gray skies ahead. Once in Macon it started to rain on and off just enough to wet the windshield a few times. As I pressed on approaching Atlanta the rain became more steady, but not heavy. I switched the ride mode to “Rain” and continued on. The new fairing and windshield design on the R1200RT does manage to keep a lot of the rain off you while you’re moving. I’m still adjusting the new timing of the gas stops between the new R1200RT and our old K1200LT. In fact the R1200RT has a half-gallon larger gas tank, gets better gas mileage and goes further between fill ups. I stopped for gas south of Valdosta, GA to fill up and then did not stop again until I got off the highway near home, a full 265 miles later! And even when I did stop, I still had more than a gallon of gas left. This was with the cruise control seat at about 75 mph on the posted 70 mph stretch which was nearly most of the trip! The R1200RT averaged over 53 mpg on that last tank! Now along the way I was checking the trip computer (which can be displayed on the GPS screen) and it showed I’d get home with 65-70 miles of gas left (depending on the speed). The closer I got to home I also started to suffer from “getthereitis” but I wasn’t tired. But I will admit that I did find out what I had always heard about BMW seats being hard. During those last 50 miles I could have sworn I was sitting on a cinder block! Our previous motorcycle, the K1200LT already had a custom Rick Mayer seat on it when we bought it. That stretch from Valdosta to home was good practice for an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000! And it looks like a forecast of sunny and warm for this Saturday!
Okay we’ve owned the new BMW R1200RT for a couple of months now. It’s still an awesome motorcycle. It also came with the whole list of options. I had always looked at and priced motorcycles of interest. I mean who among us hasn’t done that? The R1200RT has quite a list of options and like buying a car, buying a package of options is often the best way to go, price-wise. The motorcycle has a few options that I always figured that if I were to purchase the motorcycle that I’d “opt out” of a few of the options. But now that I’ve been riding it a while some of them are really nice, a few are even things that I’d probably get again. So this post is about some of the more major and innovative options.
- Dynamic ESA electronic suspension adjustment: This is one that I had always figured that I could do without. Boy was I wrong! I figured that I would just continue to adjust the suspension just like I had been doing (and the way the R1200RT does without this option) and just turn the shock pre-load adjuster. With ESA I just scroll through the menu and select the suspension setting for that ride. It’s simple to do. I select one helmet if it’s just me, two helmets if we’re riding 2 up or one helmet with luggage if riding one or 2 up with the side cases loaded. While the suspension adjusts you can actually feel the motorcycle move slightly underneath you. Then additionally you get to pick one of 3 setting of soft (comfortable damping), normal (normal damping) and hard (sporty performance-oriented damping). It’s so easy to do and no more cranking an adjuster in or out. And it really does make a difference in the ride and performance of the motorcycle.
- Ride Mode Pro: This sets the Automatic Stability Control and throttle to one of 3 modes; Rain, Road or Dynamic (with the Pro option). The easiest way to describe it is from the throttle response section on the modes in the Rider’s Manual.
- In rain the throttle response is restrained and ASC intervenes early to prevent rear wheel slipping on wet roads.
- In road the throttle response in and stability is what you would normally expect.
- All I can say about Dynamic is WOW! It’s a sports performance mode. The throttle response is in no way restrained and is even quicker than normal mode. The ASC would intervene at the latest time and power transfer to the rear wheel is QUICK. The motorcycle was in dynamic mode when I picked it up and it flat-out took off. I pulled to the side of the road and figured out how to put it in normal mode.
- Gearshift Assistant Pro: This is nice to have but I’m not so sure I’d pay to get it added. What Gearshift Assistant Pro does is allow you to shift gears both up and down without using the clutch. That’s right, just shift. It’s made for performance oriented riding. I’ve used it when pulling out onto a highway from a stop. It works and it does shift quick. To shift gears up, just keep the throttle constant and shift. The trick is to relieve any pressure on the shifter between gear changes. To shift down, just be below the maximum RPM for that gear or let the throttle close a bit and shift down, again taking any pressure off the shifter between changes. It’s fun to play with but definitely not a “must have”
- Hill Start Control is another that is not a “must have” to me. I’ve used it to see how it works. It’s designed to do just what it says, to start on a hill. Or more precisely to start a fully loaded motorcycle from a stop on a hill. While stopped you shift to neutral, squeeze the front brake lever quickly and firmly and it will set the rear brake. The motorcycle will not roll. To release it, just squeezed the front brake lever again or when driving off, just use a little more throttle than normal. It does work. I’ve found that I’ll use it when Donna is getting on or off the motorcycle or when fumbling for the garage door opener in the left glove compartment. While it’s convenient to have I wouldn’t miss it.
The list goes on but those are some of the major options or the newer ones available. I’ll go over some of the others in future posts. Now I just wish it would warm up a bit for a pleasurable ride. Here in the south we can often ride year round but you don’t really want to do that when you wake up and it’s 7º F.
Yesterday I wrote the last post of 2014 and today is the first post of 2015. We started the year off with a ride. It was a long ride but it was still a ride. It was a cool overcast day with temperatures just above 50° F but it was supposed to be sunny. My Blue Knights Chapter holds and annual meeting on New Years Day and that was our destination. It was also Donna’s first ride with Ilium Works passenger floorboards on the R1200RT. Before we were even out of the neighborhood she was saying how much more she liked them over the foot pegs. As we rode I could tell she was moving her feet more. It’s funny but on Christmas morning I took her into the garage to show her “one more present Santa left” and it was the floorboards already on the motorcycle. She actually jumped up a little saying “Oh boy, I love them!” How many wives get excited over a motorcycle accessory even when it is for them?
The meeting we were headed to was a lunch meeting at an Irish Pub. I had the lunch portion of the “Bangers and Mash”. A surprise was when I was presented a plaque for being the most active member in 2014. It wasn’t something I was expecting at all! This was my first meeting as a returning Vice President of the Chapter after taking a term off. I won’t be eligible for the plaque in 2015 because I’ll be a club officer. It was my task to record the ending odometer readings of our participants in the 2014 Mileage Contest. I can say this even thought the results haven’t been officially announced but I didn’t win. But for 2015 I’ll be eligible to participate in the mileage contest even as a club officer.
Until next time ride safe!
Well here it is the evening of the last night of the year. Tomorrow starts a whole new year. We rode over 8,000 miles last year on two different motorcycles. We started 2014 riding our 2002 BMW K1200LT and then in October we bought a 2014 BMW R1200RT. I put together a little video of our year in motorcycling. Maybe next year we’ll remember to take more pictures but maybe we were having too much fun! “At least I’m enjoying the ride!”
We hope you enjoy riding in 2015!
This isn’t really an end of year farkle but it is an end of year safety item. The new style BMW 49 liter top case has a spot at the top that you can install the optional LED brake light and then have the dealer program the motorcycle’s CAN bus electrical system to recognize the light. Let’s just say that with the price of this option that BMW is quite proud of it. To make the option work you need to have the top case that’s pre-wired for the light and the central locking system. My case isn’t. But I got to looking at where the light goes and the nearly flat black piece of plastic and thought I could do something to make the motorcycle more visible from the rear. I came up with the idea of red reflective tape. So today I took the plastic part off the top case (there are only 4 torx screws involved) and found that to get the flat part out you had to break the mounting rivets that were plastic. So what I did instead is made a template of the opening with masking tape and then trimmed it up and carefully removed my template. I then pinned a length of red reflective tape to a board and put the masking tape template right on the tape. Then with a hobby knife, slowly and carefully cut around the template. Since the template is made out of tape, it doesn’t move around on the reflective tape. Then I carefully applied the red reflective tape on the flat part. But while applying it I found that it’s not as flat as it appears and you can get bubbles along the edge at the slight curve. Patience in smoothing them out helps but I imagine heating the tap with a hair dryer would help even more. I didn’t think of the hairdryer trick until I was through. So now I have red tape up high in the top case and when headlights hit the tap it “lights up” red. Without the red tape there would just be black plastic there.
Here it is a week before Christmas and Donna and I would like to wish our readers a Merry Christmas! This year we are continuing a tradition we started a few years ago with a personal motorcycle related Christmas card. Welcome to our 2014 edition. Whichever holiday you celebrate this season we hope that you find yourself surrounded by family and friends while good memories are created. We hope Santa stops by to see you too. For some of us he came a little early this year!
Ever since Donna has been riding with me she has had a back rest or a top case to lean against for back support. For those who don’t know what a “top case” is, it’s what BMW calls a trunk. Harley Davidson calls their version a King Tour Pack or a Tour Pack (depending on the model). On our 2006 Suzuki C50T she had a nice big, swiveled back rest that she liked. On the Magic Carpet, our K1200LTE, she had that big top case with a nice, heated back rest. You know I don’t really blame her. I’d want the security of a back rest too. The R1200RT has nothing back there except a small luggage rack. BMW will sell you your choice of a few top cases that mount quite effortlessly on that luggage rack. We opted for the new style 49 liter top case that BMW began using for the 2013 model year. It took the purchasing dealer 4 weeks and a day to get it delivered and they didn’t even key it right to match the motorcycle (even though they were paid to do so). It took a trip to a second and local dealer to get the lock re-keyed in a matter of minutes.
Since the top case got here a week and half ago and a week since its properly being keyed it’s been much colder than normal here, raining here or Donna had to work. Donna really wanted the top case and its back rest to ride back there. She did ride up from Daytona Beach, FL and went on an afternoon ride without the top case but really wasn’t comfortable. Yesterday it was forecast to be about 65° (F) and sunny so we went for a ride to try out the new top case. Well the temperature even got up to 70° which made for an even better day of riding. Donna enjoyed having the back rest on the top case to lean back into. She wasn’t grabbing my belt anymore. I could see in the mirrors that she was back to resting her hands on her thighs as she rode back there. To say she was much more comfortable and at ease is an understatement. But now she says the foot-pegs feel “squishy”. But then again she did have those nice big floorboards on the Magic Carpet. Even the foot-pegs on the Magic Carpet were wide and flat.
If you’re a reader here you know that last month while in Florida we purchased our 2014 BMW R1200RT. We purchased it at BMW Motorcycles of Daytona. When we purchased it, the BMW Navigator V GPS was a free incentive for the purchase of the 2014 RT and we also purchased the BMW 49 liter top case (trunk) for the motorcycle and paid the extra to have the top case keyed to the motorcycle. The dealership did not have the top case in stock and had to order it. While still at the dealership someone from the parts department came up and told me that it would ship to them on October 21. They also retained one of the motorcycle’s keys so key the lock to be the same as the motorcycle.
Now here’s some of the differences in dealers. They also didn’t have the GPS but said their shop in Orlando did and they would have it sent over or picked up either the next day or the following day while we were still in town. Well the GPS never showed up at the Daytona dealer. After a few calls to our salesman I found out five days later that the GPS had already “been spoken for” and they’d have to order it and send it to me. The salesman or the dealership didn’t call me to tell me, I had called them nearly a week later. A second call about the GPS and now the top case was made. The GPS had shown up that day and was sent “next day” but the top case was expected “any day now”. The GPS arrived on 10/31/14, (we bought the motorcycle on 10/16/14) the next day. Out of curiosity, I checked the UPS tracking number and found it didn’t ship “next day” on the 30th but had actually shipped UPS ground on the 29th. I know it’s a popular item. Just say it might take about 10 days to get if you don’t have it. Oh and about that top case? “Maybe on Monday.” is the answer I got.
I waited a few more days to call back on the top case. On 11/05/04 my salesman and I spoke and I asked if it had actually been ordered. He said he’d check on that and “get back” with me. Five days later on 11/10/14 I called him again as he had not gotten back with me. He longer worked there. The woman on the phone asked if she could help. She remembered the sale and said either she or someone else would call me back about it. She did explain that it could be that same day (it was late in the afternoon) but would probably be the next day but shouldn’t be any later than the 12th. First thing in the morning the next day she called and said the top case was there but they needed the key. She found them in the former salesman’s desk after I told her he had told me they were there. Then on 11/14/14 the top case arrived! The key was in the lock. The key would lock and unlock the top case. But the key would not come out of the lock! No matter what I did the key would not come out. Was I supposed to ride around with a spare ingnition key in the lock? What if someone could get it out? I called the dealership. The woman who had found the case put me on hold to check what to do. Here’s the message she relayed to me, “They said to get a local dealer to fix it because it would be quicker than sending it back to them. He says it’s probably a bad lock.” That was their solution. I had paid them for the lock and paid them to key the same as the ignition key. It seems I was a valued customer to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona right up until the minute I rode off their lot.
Using a few forums and the internet I was able to get the lock cylinder out. You just have to know how and have the right tools along with access to the top case. What I found was amazing. There are supposed to be 6 tumblers in the lock. My lock had 3 tumblers installed and the other spots were vacant. I needed the proper remaining tumblers to complete the job. BMW does sell a lock set with the cylinder and an assortment of tumblers.
On Tuesday the 18th of November I went to my local dealer, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta with the intent to buy a whole new lock kit if I had to. I now knew how to set the lock and re-install the cylinder. “We’ll take care of this for you.” is what I was told. “These are the only tumblers you have?” I was told “Yeah, you can do it with three but you’re really not supposed to.” He got the tumbler kit out and then told me, “Here’s why you couldn’t get the key out, this tumbler is the wrong number. It did let you insert, lock and unlock but then wouldn’t release the key.” So in about 15 minutes or less, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta took care of the lock. Oh and the cost? There wasn’t any. And yes I even told them I had made the purchase at another dealer. They’re a dealer who really understands what customer service is.
Can you tell the difference in the dealers?
Did BMW of Daytona offer to call Atlanta to see if they could take care of it for free or bill them if there was a cost? No they sure didn’t. Have they called to see it the lock issue was somehow resolved? No they sure didn’t. As it stands again would I never go into or patronize BMW of Daytona again? No I sure wouldn’t.
But I’d spend the extra money to buy a part or supply from BMW of Atlanta (instead of online) because of the personal service they supply. They realize you’re a customer long after the sale and want to keep you as a customer. The owners, who are a husband and wife team are actively involved in their business. I took the R1200RT to them for its break-in service. But I’m regretting more and more not purchasing the motorcycle from them.
No matter what motorcycle you purchase, research the dealer as much, if not more than the motorcycle.
As someone on BMWLT.com posted; the problem was fixed by a real dealer.
I had the first nighttime ride tonight on the R1200RT. It’s pretty impressive. I had a friend and former co-worker pass away this past week and tonight was the visitation at the funeral home. We met when we were both Motor Officers. I felt it would be appropriate to ride the motorcycle to the funeral home and it seems so did some other former Motor Officers.
It was just at sundown as I left the house and was heading east with the sun setting behind me. The R1200RT has an instrument panel that automatically dims or brightens dependant on the ambient light. This feature is pretty cool and in a stretch with some street lights I could actually notice it brighten and dim. In the dark the panel was easy to see and read. The GPS seemed to be a bit dark though. On battery power, the “auto dim” feature is disabled but I’ll have to check on that when it’s powered by the motorcycle. However, when I came home and it was good and dark, the GPS screen was easier to read. The headlight really lights up the road! The Magic Carpet, our retired K1200LT had been upgraded to a nice HID headlight before we bought it. The headlight on the R1200RT is an HID according to what the salesman told us but it doesn’t seem to have that crisp, white appearance the one on the Magic Carpet did. But on a road near home I played with the high beam and was amazed at how much it light up the road and how far the light went. It was also then that I noticed the low beam had a “whiter” light compared the slightly yellow of the halogen high beam lights so the low beam could well be an HID. You never really notice the very slight yellow of good halogen lighting until you see it compared to HID.
I still have to get used to the locations of all the switches on the handlebars in the dark though. On the K1200LT the button for the hazard flashers was always illuminated when the ignition was on and because of that it was a good point of reference. I miss that benign little feature.