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"In the clearing stands a Boxer....."

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by hornet, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Today I had the rare (for me) opportunity to ride a quite expensive BMW; as per....

    Will's BMW - Putty Run 5-2-12.

    My friend Will has a bung leg, and this poor beastie hasn't been ridden for over six months, so being a self-sacrificing sort of chap, I offered to take it out for a gallop.

    A total of around 600kms, from home to Bulga at the top of the Putty, and home again.

    So, what's it like?

    Well, it's a mixture of good, brilliant and disappointing.

    The good is that it was surprisingly agile in the Ten Mile; I wasn't going to ride past the Grey Gum because I wasn't sure about the bike, but having got there and learned a lot about it, I thought 'What the heck?".

    Sublimely planted in the corners, and the Telelever suspension was unobtrusive to the point that I didn't think about it till I was at Bulga explaining it to Alison. Brakes are very sudden with very little feel and feedback, but no doubting their power.

    I can see why people buy these devices to ride round the world.

    But I COULDN'T live with one round town. The reason is the power-band.

    At 80kph in 6th gear, the engine is doing 2,500 RPM. Wind the throttle on, and ..... nothing happens. Well something does happen, but only when you've waited for a thousand more revs to gather their impetus. The only way to ride it round town is to be prepared to be in at least 4th if not third. That's ok as long as you're prepared for it, but I wasn't; the Hornet picks up quite readily from around the same revs in sixth, and given the image of the BMW as a big torquey 1200CC engine, I was surprised to say the least.

    So, what did I really like?

    The electrically-adjustable screen; run it up for the long boring stretches and lower it so you can hear the revs and other sensory inputs in the twisties.

    And, fabulous seat!!!

    The instrumentation is great; ambient temperature and time is a luxury for someone used to the Hornet's basic fare :LOL:.

    What didn't I like?

    The gearbox would require a long period of adjustment (rider) coming from a UJM.

    The seat height is, err, high; I'm used to being able to plant both feet flat on the ground at the lights.

    The proliferation of controls on the handlebars is dazzling, but the classic BMW indicator separation takes some getting used to, and trying to cancel using your right thumb when your hand is at another place on the twist-grip had me LOOKING instead of doing it instinctively. (I believe later model BMWs now have the usual UJM configuration?)

    Anyway, this isn't supposed to be a detailed review, just some random thoughts.

    My thanks to Will for the loan, too :).
  2. Standard characteristics of twin vs i4. Twins are great fun. I'd have another in a heartbeat. Still, I'm a bit surprised that it had nothing at 2.5k
  3. perhaps it has quite a tall 6th gear so you can keep the revs low and eat up the miles on the highway, perhaps its designed as a sort of overdrive gear rather then a normal use gear.
  4. Sixth gear in the boxers is very tall but I'm surprised it had no pull from 2.5k revs, mine has plenty at 2.5k considering it's revving at 3200 rpm at 100 kmh
  5. Hail Satan !
  6. smee it's always possible that this particular machine is slightly out of tune too, given what you say
  7. Actually I was wondering what you wrote and attempted this on mine this morning.
    In top gear at 2500rpm the bike is a little sluggish,
    Do the same thing again but in say second or third at 2500 rpm and the bike pulls like the proverbial with shedloads of acceleration.
    In this unscientific case I assume that the very tall gearing in sixth is the culprit, 6th is only designed for speeds above 90 and I rarely ever use it around town.
  8. I'm glad to know it just wasn't me :)

    I certainly found the bike to have a lot of sting in the intermediates!!
  9. Interesting comments Paul. They actually coincide quite closely with my own thoughts when I got my R1100RT.

    I, too, was surprised by the lack of top gear stomp (5-speed box on the R11) and thought the gearbox was a bit crap after coming from my K100 (so even BMW could do better). Didn't really have an issue with the brakes, although the R11 was obviously a couple of generations older.

    And the BMW indicator bizzo is an acclimatisation thing. Weird at first, but after a few weeks you start to wonder why all bikes aren't made that way. Well, I did anyway :D.

    Dunno if the bike you rode has it but my R11 had a three position adjustable seat height. Being tall, I didn't need to set it low, but what I tended to do was set it low for winter to tuck me in behind the fairing and high for summer to get a bit further out into the breeze. A 30-second job.
  10. mate, the thing has so many buttons and gizmos, there probably IS a seat height adjuster. I didn't want to fiddle with any of them in case I stuffed something up for the guy who owns it :LOL:
  11. On the RT it was a question of taking the seat off using the key and then slotting it back into one of three sets of lugs at the predetermined heights. I have vague memories of a second step but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

    Fair enough not to want to mess with another man's motorcycle though.
  12. I checked the 'Net and opinion seems to be that the only way to get a lower seat with this model is to order the bike with either a thinner cushion (which everybody hated) or lowered suspension. There are no user adjustments.

    Just a note on gearing.

    At 2,500 rpm in 6th the BMW is doing 80kph

    By comparison at 2,500 rpm in 6th the Hornet is doing 50kph and accelerates quite readily from there (but, of course, it weighs about a third less!)

    at 80kph the Hornet is doing 4,000 rpm and just starting to fly

    So I took the Starship back to its base last night, and rode the Hornet home; it felt like a MOPED it is so much smaller :LOL:.

    Will has said that if I want to ride the BMW again I am welcome; a late-summer trip to Melbourne would be so much easier on it than on the Hornet... hmmmmmm
  13. Paul, just noticed your figures, on my hornet mine is at 100 round 38/3900 rpm [off the clocks not dyno]
    seems a bit of a difference to your figures?
  14. your's is a 900, mine's the 600... ?
  15. oh I thought yours was 900 too, there you go, one should not assume :)
  16. Its got 20hp ish at 2500rpm. Definitely overdrive.

    Dyno chart

  17. Hornet,

    I've had a couple of RT's. The seat height is adjustable by removing the seat and changing the front support, but it also responds significantly by using the ESA prior to moving off. ESA (push button Electronic Suspension Adjustment) allows preload change via the menu, and changes the ride height such that you will feel the bike lift or lower nearly two inches from one extreme to the other.

    The indicators on RT's are now the BMW standard of one selector only on the left side, no split left/right.

    Your mate's bike has the 'old' boxer donk, the current model has the HP2 which has a significant change in the torque curve. It also has a much better gearbox which does away with the BMW clunk of the older units, but whichever you use you have to accept that around town you may need to use 5th rather than sixth. 6th is really an overdrive, I wouldn't reject the bike around town just because you can't change down: look at all those coppers riding around on RTP's, they seem to manage ;)

    If he needs it ridden again, try some of the adjustments and Have Fun :biker:
  18. 6th is purely for highways at 100 kmh.
  19. Hornet, The BMW is for riding to Darwin and back, With out missing a beat, And it does it superbly.

    Horses for courses, Mate, Hahahaha