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Upgrade to 1150RT

I've owned a 99 1100RT, an 04 1150RT and currently have an '05 1200RT.  I
also co-built a Frankenstein bike starting with a wrecked '96 1100RT and
adding a wrecked '00 1100RT.    I can give a lot of advice on accessorizing
and tweaking any of these bikes.  I'm not a professional.  I've just put a
lot of miles on 3 different RTs. 
I'm not sure why you "prefer the front end" of the 1100.  I can tell you
that the lights on the 1150 are much better.  There are two "fog lights"
that should not be used on multi-lane roads, but on two lanes, it really
helps light up the shoulder of the road for better perspective.   If you
ride at night much, you pretty much need accessory lighting on an 1100. You
can get by pretty well with an 1150.
The very best advice I can give is this.  Save a little more money and buy a
1200RT.   They're better in every way.   
If you do get an 1150, get one with the twin-spark head or, 
if you get an early 1150 or if you decide to keep your bike, take the heads
off and ship them to San Jose BMW for the extra plug and hardware.   It
virtually ends surging issues and gives you slightly better performance and
mileage while making the bike run cleaner.  This is all because you burn
more of the fuel that goes into the cylinders.  
Adding Twin Spark to your single spark bike is actually better than buying a
BMW Twin Spark machine because BMW chose to dump the extra two or three HP
you'd gain by leaning out the fuel curve a bit more, keeping the same
horsepower with a lean-burn agenda.   As a result, the Twin-Spark 1150s run
a bit hotter and have no horsepower advantage over the single spark bikes.  
As far as high-ish speed cruising is concerned, you will not notice a lot of
difference between a good running 1100 and an 1150.   
The difference between the 5 speed and the 6 speed is not significant, maybe
200 RPMs at speed.  If you're unhappy with the smoothness of your bike while
cruising, you probably need to work on the throttle bodies to get them
synched perfectly.  1100s cruise so smooth when they're set up right. There
is a lot of information about this on IBMWR.org.  
IBMWR articles I do not recommend are increasing the valve lash, running
regular or even mid-grade gas in your bike or changing (advancing) the
timing.  I do recommend 0=0, Installing GS intake tubes on RTs, careful
throttle body synching, understanding why there is a little hole in the
right side fairing for adjusting the right side air screw without removing
the fairings and checking the throttle body bearings on your bike. When they
wear out, air leaks through them and you can't synch the bike.
I would not own an 1100RT if I didn't do my own work on it. They require a
lot of tuning to keep them running right and most dealers will spend all
your money. 
Handlebar weights and a Throttle Meister or Bob's Wrist Rest are good for
long distance interstate riding.  The extra weight of them on the ends of
the handlebars help dampen vibes and taking your right hand off the throttle
when it is safe is good for preventing tendon and shoulder issues.
Handlebar risers and a good seat make a world of difference as does an
Aeroflow windscreen on an 1100 or 1150.    
But if you go back to the beginning, you'll see I recommend saving for a
1200 RT instead of upgrading to an 1150.   Why?   
1.  1150 single spark bikes still surge.  Some are worse than 1100s. The
factory twin spark 1150s run a little hot and don't run as smooth as 1100s
in some conditions.  They don't surge, though.  
2.  The servo brakes on 1150s are hyper-sensitive, the rear brake pedal does
exactly the same thing as the front brake lever.  Both are linked and
computer directed.   
3.  1200 servo brakes are less touchy but still powerful.  They have more
braking power when engine is off than 1150 brakes. The 1200 servo makes less
noise than the 1150 servo.  The 1200 rear brake pedal only operates the rear
brake. .  Front brake on 1200 is linked.  This is the right way to do it.
Newer 1200RTs have a new non-servo system.  I haven't tried it yet, but I
hear it's even better.  I like mine.  Two finger panic stops are possible
with this system yet I can come to a smooth stop with them easily.  Rear
only braking is available when I need it for soft surfaces on hills etc.
(like at many rally sites)
4.  When the engine is off, the 1150 brakes barely work at all.   This can
catch you off until you acclimate.  Pull hard enough and they'll stop, but
this is difficult to remember when you're moving the bike around in your
garage and you expect a certain response from the brakes and it's not there.
I've had a couple near drops. 
5.  The 1200 has 20 more HP.
6.  The 1200 has balance shafts that make it smoother.
7.  The 1200 is lighter and is much easier to handle at parking lot speeds.

8.  The 1200 handles better.  
9.  The 1200 has cruise control.  I laughed, but this is amazingly useful on
a touring bike.  
10.1200 gets 5mpg better fuel economy consistently regardless of conditions.
11.1200 doesn't require frequent throttle body setting.  It has a servo that
constantly adjusts the low speed synch for you.  Valve adjustment is the
same as 1100 and 1150.  
12.The cases on the 1200 don't have to be locked to be securely closed.  You
can lock the cases to the bike and not lock the cases themselves.  This is
the way I ride and park all day.  I only lock bags at night on the road.  If
you're as absent-minded as I am when packing, this is huge.  
13.The cases are smooth inside without all those indentations that make them
difficult to pack.  
14.The side cases can hold an extra large Arai helmet.  
Granted, the 1200 is a bit uglier, especially if you get a bad color.  Bear
in mind that most of the objectionable styling is caused by the contrast
between the flat black plastic bits and the painted panels.  If you get
black or grey, these panels blend together a bit and the bike sort of
becomes whole again instead of looking like a pile of confetti.
That said, I have a friend who had a 2000 1100RT he rode out west for years.
He loved that bike, but he crashed it.  He looked all around for a better
machine or something he wanted more, but he kept comparing it to his '00 RT.
After a bunch of emails from him, I suggested he just get another '00RT and
put all his accessories on it.  He made a great deal on the perfect bike the
very next week and ran the wheels off it for another couple years, putting
over 100K on it.  1100s are great bikes, but you have to get past the
surging issues and accessorize them properly.  He now rides a 1200RT and
absolutely loves it.
I don't believe that the 1150 is much of an improvement over a well set up
'99 or '00 1100RT.  I bought my 1150 because it had Twin Spark and I was
sick of pissing around with my bike minimizing the surge problem all the
time. I installed a fuel nanny on mine and it was prone to occasional
missteps, mostly because of my sub-primo installation. Also, I took an
Edelweiss tour and got money off on the 1150 in a great promotion they were
having at the time.plus money off from the dealer. 
One plus is that the add-ons that fit an 1100 will fit an 1150.  I was able
to transfer my Big Mak tank bag to my 1200 but windscreen, seat and other
stuff had to be bought new again.  
The last bit of wisdom I can impart is that you should get a good ride on an
1150 before putting your money down.   I found 6 gears to be more work for
very little benefit.  I like the 5 speed.
'05 R1200RT  Love it. 
'00 Aprilia Mille R  Love it for day rides and track schools. Bought new and
I'm still not near good enough to scratch the surface of what this bike will
do, but it feels and sounds so good (60 degree V-twin w/balance shafts) with
adequate comfort and useful mirrors.  Still looks cool. Thumps like a Harley
at low speed and has a 10,500RPM red line. Is reliable as a brick. NOT for
sale - probably ever.
Ex-'99 1100RT (traded when twin spark came out)
EX-'04 1150 RT Twin Spark (sold outright when 1200RT came out)
EX-'99 Ducati ST-4 (sold when Mille R was so much more fun and RT was just
as much fun with far more utility)
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2008 12:23:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Darryl <darryl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Advice on upgrading to 1150 RT
    I currently have a 1999 R1100Rt which I am toying with changing for an
Is there any significant difference in the way these 2 perform and more
importantly is the 6th gear on the 1150 more or less an overdrive on top of
the 5th gear that i currently have. 
In many respects i still prefer the front end of the 1100RT so the 1150
would have to be better to ride and a little more relaxed at highish
cruising speeds to make me change.
Thanks Darryl