Greg Rice - Travel_Man

Motorcycle Endurance and Rally Rider

BMW R1200RT


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In February 2016 I started looking for a new motorcycle as I purposely waited until the 2016 Gold Wings and the 2016 Yamaha FJR's were released to see if there was going to be any changes in either model. I really like Gold Wings and I have ridden a lot of miles on Gold Wings over the last 14 years, something like 450,000 miles. I think I know everything there is know about a Gold Wing including its strong points and weak points. I was disappointed when the 2016 Gold Wing was released and I told Honda sales and management that I was disappointed. I was happy to see that the 2016 FJR had many changes as it was a motorcycle that I admired from a distance. With there being no new Gold Wing for 2016 I decided to look at other motorcycles that interested me. If I am going to make a change I did not want any other large touring motorcycle as I do not believe that other than the BMW K1600 GTL that any other touring motorcycle would satisfy me. I decided to look at modern sport touring motorcycles.

Looking at more modern motorcycles ( read more safety technology like traction control ) opened up my options and meant I needed to do some research. I listed out the motorcycles that I thought would be a good fit for the type of riding I like to do. I also wanted to buy a new motorcycle that had all or most of the safety features that has made its way to motorcycles over the years.

I had been looking for many safety features like traction control, stability control and more robust motorcycle every year from Honda and I had been communicating with them for many years to try and get them to add some of the more modern features on today’s motorcycles even to a point I received a letter from the Honda legal department telling me that if any of the features I was suggesting were added to the Gold Wing it would be their idea and not mine. I am getting older and I wanted to buy a motorcycle that would help to protect me from me.

I listed out the motorcycles that I thought I could ride and went through the good and not so good of each motorcycle and I ended up with the BMW RT. I chose the RT over the BMW GTL because I did not want or need all of the power of the GTL and the RT had all of the same features of the GTL except the fancy headlight.

Once I made my choice I reached out to a good friend who works for BMW and discussed what I was thinking and my concerns regarding the cost of ownership of a BMW motorcycle. I confirmed that it was ok for me to perform my own maintenance and service just as long as I recorded the work.

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I listed the motorcycles that I thought might make a good long distance and rally motorcycle and then I worked through the list listing what would be good and bad points to me. I ended up picking the BMW R1200RT as it had all of the options I wanted and more. It also has safety features I had been after Honda for 8 years to incorporate in to the Gold Wing.


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AUX Tank Installation

I ordered a AUX tank from Mike Langford ( Maple Farkles ) as he had made many AUX tanks for other BMW riders including the RT. What Mike and I found out though was that BMW had made some changes to the RT and his normal AUX tank would not work. So we set about designing a new AUX tank for the RT. I wanted the tank to be mounted over the passenger seat and be easy to remove. I also wanted to be sure I could open the trunk completely. I did the measurements and sent it all to Mike and in a few weeks I had a new AUX tank that fit very well. Mike designed a new mounting system that worked great.

Fuel Tank Removed From The 2016 R1200RT

Fuel Pump From Inside The Fuel Tank On The 2016 R1200RT

Bottom Of RT Fuel Tank With Bulkhead Fitting

 

Fuel Tank Removed From RT

3M Reflective Tape On The 2016 R1200RT


Car Tire On A BMW RT

I am running a car tire on the rear on my 2016 RT because I like to ride long distances and I don’t like to have to change my tires while out riding. I switched from a Gold Wing last year and bought a new 2016 RT. I was having to change the rear tire before 9,000 miles on the first two sets of tires. I did not like that as I sometimes do rides longer than 9,000. I had used a car tire on my Gold Wing’s for over 150,000 miles with no issues and I really liked hoe the car tire handled on the Gold Wing.

I started looking to see if anyone was running a car tire on BMW’s and came across a couple who were using them on K1600’s but no RT’s or other BMW’s. The riders using a car tire on the K1600’s only had good comments and were happy with what mileage they were getting and the performance of the tires. The only issue was that they needed a 3/8 inch spacer between the wheel and the hub to keep the car tire from rubbing the swingarm. They all said the spacer did not cause them any issues and the K1600 still tracked straight down the road.

I started researching car tires for the RT and I wanted a 195/55R17 as I knew that tire would not need a spacer because the wheel width is narrow enough. Of course no one makes a 195/55R17 tire so I kept looking. I finally found a 195/45R-17 YOKOHAMA S.DRIVE XL that would fit and not need the spacer. I rode about 5,000 miles on this tire and it felt good except it caused the odometer to record more miles than I was riding since the diameter was smaller than the OEM tire. It also reduced my MPG’s slightly. It felt good but I did not like the tradeoffs so I kept looking.

I use a website that allows me to compare tires to get the diameter and other measurements, https://www.tacomaworld.com/tirecalc?tires=180-55r17-205-50r17

 During this time I contacted the person who made the spacer for the K1600 riders and had him make me a spacer just in case.

I finally found a nice tire that had great test and driver reviews and I ordered it. It is a 205/50ZR-17 BF Goodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S XL - UTQG: 400 AA A. I took the wheel to the local tire place and had them mount it. I mounted the tire to the RT to see if I would need the spacer and found I did need the spacer as the tire would touch the swing arm. So I put the spacer between the wheel and the rear hub and I used GSA wheel bolts as they are a little longer and would work with the spacer. The person who sold me the spacer told me this trick.

I put 37 PSI in the tire and went for some rides and I found that 37 PSI was too much pressure and I reduced it to 34 PSI and that is where it felt great. I road around 8,000 miles with the tire doing some 1500+ mile days and it really felt great and did not cause me any problems in the twisties. I was even able to drag a few things with the car tire.

I am now on my second BF Goodrich g-Force COMP-2 A/S XL and have over 16,000 miles and still love the tire and the setup.

There still was one problem.

The BMW TPMS would flash yellow with around 33 PSI and more all the time and it would turn red and be real annoying if the pressure dropped below 33 PSI like when it was cold out and or raining. On my Gold Wing I had the same issue so I reversed the programming of the TPMS sensors making the onboard system think the rear was the front and the front was the rear. This solved the issue of the TPMS light coming on with the Gold Wing.

I have the GS-911 and saw it had some TPMS learning capabilities and started asking questions could I also reverse the TPMS sensors and fool the BMW RT into thinking the rear was the front and the front the rear. Well everyone said NO!

I thought that was not correct so I started playing around and I read all of the user manuals to see how to program the TPMS with the GS-911 and I started testing. One thing I found out was that you need a TPMS tool ( I have the ATEQ VT15 ) to wake up the sensors which I had as I had to do that with the Gold Wing. You also need to know the TPMS sensor ID number which is printed on the sensor in the tire and is stored in the RT’s onboard computer. The GS-911 will also display the TPMS sensor ID.

I got everything setup and the GS-911 connected to the RT and I started the TPMS sensor functionality in the GS-911 and I saw the TPMS sensor ID for the front and rear in the GS-911 software. I took a couple photos of these numbers so I would not forget them as I needed them to reprogram the computer. I used the TPMS sensor wake up tool and then ran the GS-911 software and the sensors did wake up and I could read the tire pressure and the tire temperature.

I tried to use the manual TPMS programming functionality in the GS-911 software and program in the rear sensor ID for the front and the front for the rear but it would not take. I tried a few times thinking maybe I made a mistake. I then thought maybe I need to change the sensor ID’s to something that is not already stored into the computer so I programmed the front to 1111111 and the rear to 2222222. I then tried again to program the front with the rear TPMS sensor ID and the rear with the front TPMS sensor ID and it worked!

Now on my dash the TPMS does not light up yellow or red when I only have 32 to 34 PSI in the rear tire. I only need to remember that I have the sensors switched. The front reads 34 PSI and the rear reads 41 PSI.

I should get around 20,000+ miles out of the rear tire.

Spacer And Longer GSA Bolts Required To Run A 205/50R17 Tire

 

First Car Tire I Tested On The RT - Yokohama S.drive 195/45R17

 

 

Testing A BF Goodrich G-Force COMP-2 A/S

 

 



Bluetooth Headsets And Solutions

I was a little disappointed that BMW only provided for a Bluetooth headset capability on the 2016 RT. I really do not mind connecting the headset cord every time I get on and off the motorcycle. That being said I do like some of the added functionality a Bluetooth headset provides like intercom with other riders.

I currently use a Sena 20S headset along with a Sena SM10 to integrate other audio from things like a radar detector. I also have a Mix-It 2 to take the audio from the BMW radio to the SM10 do to reasons I will explain later.

I will be adding some of the things I ahve done to make my setup better for me.

I Bluetooth headsets are great but they have some drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks for me is that when you get a phone call ( either through the cell phone connected to the GPS or if your cell phone is connected directly to the Sena headset ) the Sena headset gives the audio priority to the phone call and blocks all other audio so you can’t hear anything else while on the phone. That may sound like a good idea but besides blocking the intercom, GPS directions and music it also blocks out the audio from my radar detector that is connected to a Sena SM10 that is connected by Bluetooth to the Sena 20S headset. So while I am on the phone I do not hear the audio from my radar detector.

On my Gold Wing I had developed a solution by tapping into the Gold Wing’s intercom with 4 different devices and I could hear everything all at once including my phone calls.

One of the solutions I have been thinking about was to buy Marc Parnes V1 Visual Alert ( very bright LEDs even in the daytime ). The one issue that Visual Alert has is that it connects to the V1 audio adapter external speaker jack and once the Visual Alert is plugged in the audio is stopped from the V1 audio adapter going to my Sena SM10. So it is one or the other, audio ( can’t be heard when on a phone call ) or the very bright LEDs.

My problem with that is I have been using V1’s for 15 years and I have gotten very used to the beeps and what they mean and how serious I need to pay attention. So I was not satisfied to only have one or the other. I started looking at how I can get both. The Visual Alert is powered by the audio adapter external speaker jack so I needed to have it plugged into the V1 audio adapter. The audio to the Sena SM10 is from the V1 audio adapter so there was no way to get both out of one V1 audio adapter. I remembered I had an older V1 audio adapter so I plugged it in line with the other V1 audio adapter and I plugged the Marc Parnes Visual Alert into it and I turned on everything including the Sena 20S headset and now have both the audio beeps in my headset and the visual alerts. Did I say those LED’s are bright.

Marc makes a very nice product.

I also contacted Sena and offered my idea of a different audio mixer circuit that would allow all audio to be heard and allow the user to select which audio input get put into the background but still there. I also suggested the ability to set the volume differently for each device connected.  .

 

 

 


 

 

BMW RT