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New to this List


I've owned both of the bikes you're considering and also a '99 R1100RT.
Without question, the 1200 is the keeper.   It has better engine, chassis,
brakes, seat, windscreen, controls, handling, and features than the bikes
before it.  It also has electronic cruise control, which I'd never used
before this bike.  It is a revelation on long trips.  

The 1200 engine does not require constant monitoring of the throttle body
synch in order to run smoothly.  I have done all the maintenance on mine
save for the servo brakes.   I'm very picky about my valve adjustment
accuracy.   I have NEVER adjusted the throttle bodies in 43K miles.  The
bike is as smooth or smoother than the day I bought it.  It also benefits
from balance shaft technology, which helps with some of the secondary
vibrations, which get worse every time the bike gains displacement.  At 1200
CC, it needs this.  You still feel the bangs of the boxer twin when you
accelerate hard at 3 to 5K RPM, but cruising at any RPM is eerily smooth.  

You get a little vibe to the bars.  I've got bar end weights that help a bit
and usually just put the cruise control on, which is really a convenient
one-touch affair.  I always have the sideways lock-out switch set to "on" so
I can use cruise control whenever I need to take my hand off the throttle
for any reason.  No more throttle locks for me.  To get out of cruise mode,
touch either brake or close the throttle or pull the clutch.  

It's worthwhile to note that the cable mechanisms and throttle body
mechanisms have been improved significantly on the 1200 so they can be set
accurately and have a much better chance of staying where they're put.   The
low speed TB synch is constantly adjusted by a servo.  It sounds hopelessly
complex, but it just works without complaint or error.   

I did not get the radio when I bought mine.  I like having a lockable cowl
pocket for things like my bike papers and maybe a bottle of water and a rag
or two.   With the older RTs, I would buy extra key blanks, one for my
wallet and one to leave in the cowl compartment for opening the little door
while cruising down the interstate.  I could get a swallow of water or clean
my visor with this.  The location of the 1200's pocket isn't as good as the
1100/1150, but you don't need the key to open it.   

Speaking of that, one of the great little improvements in the 1200 is the
invention of a new lock system that allows you to latch the bags securely
without locking them and without the key.  It's so much easier to pack in
the morning.  It's so much easier to get something out of your bike during
the day.   I only lock the bags at night.  One great feature of the locks is
that it's not apparent to outsiders that the bags are not locked.  It's also
difficult for those untrained in new BMW bags to figure out how to open
them, locked or unlocked, so you get a small measure of security with the
bags unlocked, but latched close.   Brilliant!

I spent a couple bucks on the on board computer.  It has an outside temp
indicator with a vivid imagination.  More accurate are the MPG and average
speed calculators.   The electronic oil-checker takes some training to
master, but it's very handy.  

There has been a lot of negative opinion about servo brakes.   I will say
that the servo brakes on the 1150 are flawed in the following ways:  1. They
are very touchy when the bike is operating.  It's difficult to make smooth
stops and takes practice.  2. When the engine is off, you have to squeeze
very hard on the brakes to get them to do anything.  When you are accustomed
to the very light touch of the operating brakes and then push your
turned-off bike into the garage, the really high effort required for even a
slow-down at walking speed can take you by surprise. 3. The hand lever works
both the front and rear brakes in a proportion calculated by the system. It
works very well, but the pedal does the exact same thing as the front.
Squeeze/press them both and your bike will stop very fast, but sometimes you
just need a little rear-only braking in the soft stuff or down-hill.  This
system can't help you much there.  Get used to it.  4. The servo noise is a
little bit loud.   

Now, even with all those flaws, the system has some merit.  It will stop the
bike right now with two fingers on the lever and no feet.  Panic stop this
puppy and it will put you over the bars if you're not careful.  ABS recovery
is very good and the ABS in general is improved over the R1100 and your
R100, if you had ABS.   

The 1200 servo system has improved on all of the above flaws.   The brakes
are still powerful, but easier to modulate requiring a little more pull.
With the engine off, there is more residual braking available.  The right
side pedal now controls only the rear brake.  I rarely use this, but it's
nice to have on that odd occasion when I need rear only braking.  Finally,
the servo is quieter on the 1200.  Oh and ABS seems further improved as

The '07 RTs do not have a servo brake system.  I guess they gave in to
complaints.  I think they got two birds with one stone in that they cut some
costs on the bike while ridding it of a source for customer complaints.   I
don't know if the new brakes are more user serviceable than the servos, but
I would guess that they are.  I think the '05 has terrific brakes and would
not hesitate to buy one based on a complaint about them. The faster reaction
time, extra stopping power from the proportioning system and the excellent
ABS are big advantages.  I think more than once this system has turned a
potential incident into a non-event, but you never really know if you "could
have stopped" with a conventional system if you don't have it there to
compare.  I've ridden very fast and hard on back roads with these brakes and
find that they have plenty of feel and nuance for that sort of riding.   

I use my Big Mak flip-up tank bag from my 1100 and 1150 on this 1200.  It's
served me VERY well.  It fits on the 1200.  I have the bag one size small
than the Explorer bag.  It seems about the right size.  The RT bars are
arranged so that you will lower your windscreen on hard left turns when the
switch hits the side of the bag, but it's a small price to pay for the
convenience this bag otherwise provides.   I have the larger map pocket
attached to the top of the bag.  It's good for not only maps but holds my
iPod invisibly in a little compartment which comes with Velcro for fastening
and a little opening at the far end for a power cord.  I stick the wired
remote right on the map plastic with another piece of Velcro.   My molded
ear speakers fit into the remote where I can start-pause, volume up down,
skip song/ replay with buttons easy to reach and see.   The bag never
touches the bike and it's holder has hinges for flipping it up to get fuel.
I can stop for fuel without even putting the kickstand down and be off
freeing the pump for others in record time.   

Did I mention that the 1200 gets about 5mpg better fuel mileage than the
1150 or the 1100?  This is verified at any speed.  With cruise on at speeds
under 70mph on long runs, you can get 50+ mpg with regularity.   

Another improvement is that the bike is screwed together with stainless
steel screws.  No more rusty, rounded Phillips screws.  

The short list of things I don't like about the bike are:  

1. The styling is a little bit like the BMW 5 series car and the R1200ST.
Too many angles and shapes.  I got around some of this by getting a dark
graphite bike with dark lowers.  The body color is a near match for the flat
black plastic on the bike so the shapes blend together a bit better.  This
minimizes the over-styled broken up lines in the shape...at least for me.
I wanted gloss black but they didn't offer it.  This was the closest
alternative.   To each his own, I guess, but I'm not a fan of these bikes in

2. I like that they made the rear tire a standard sport bike size 180/40/17
because it's now very easy to buy tires for this bike.   The down side is
that I think this is too wide a tire for the bike.  Tire wear in the center
of the rear tire is a problem for every RT I've owned.  The wide rear tire
doesn't seem to help matters and I think the bike would turn better with the
old narrower size on it.  It turns amazingly well because of the weigh
reduction and chassis updates, but...

3. The fairing is a real jigsaw puzzle to take apart and put back on.  I had
to buy the CD just to figure out the order of disassembly and re-assembly.
The materials are all very high quality, so there's no fit problems or other
issues, just "Dammit, you can't get to that unless you remove this first,
and this and this."   Then you have to be careful not to put things back in
the wrong order or they won't go and you have to back-track.   The bike can
be oil and valve-serviced without removing any fairings and you no longer
have to adjust the throttle bodies often, so this is not a major issue.  The
1100 and 1150s both have difficult fairings and the front screw on each side
fairing can be quite a challenge to fasten, but they come off in basically
one piece and you get used to it.   

4. The plastic cover over the instrument panel is a bit soft and scratches

5. The look of both the large and small top cases could be better.  I have
the small one and I find it very useable, but a bit on the fugly side.  This
is a matter of taste of course.  Oh and they could be less expensive.  

Is that ALL????   I think so.  

This was going to be a short note, but I've spent my lunch hour on it.
Enjoy and then get the 1200.  


From: Jack Barnes <jbarnesvt@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: New to this list

I am in the process of trying to figure out what bike to replace my 81
R100RT with.  Based on funds available, I was considering either a 2004
R1150RT or a 2005 R1200RT.  Any thoughts from those who have ridden both as
to which might be the best choice.  I plan on having it  for at least 5
years.  I do trips in the summer and store in the long Vermont winters.




End of oilheads-digest V4 #162

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