This is a gorgeous bike to look at in person. If I was going to buy any BMW, I think this would be the one. It fits taller guys well and all the adjustability is real nice. Yeah, the tank is small and it has a fwe quirks, but I could rack up some serious miles on this baby. Johnny, is the vibration as bad as you make it or are you just getting spoiled? Sean, is it bad?
Is this going to be one of those things that go away after all of the parts wear in? A bike that is designed for 200,000+ miles might take longer than 2500 to get broken in. I am curious as to how many miles you get to ride a bike to get your impression of it. What I mean is, it would be relevant to give your impression at break-in, 10k, and 30k, just to see if the bike's character changes with use/abuse. I think the bugger is too big anyways.
I don't think it's a terrible vibration, but at 84 mph in top gear, it does indeed transform into an annoyance. If you cruise between 65 - 83 mph there is still a slight vibration, but it doesn't bother me. Johnny B has more expierience on the newer 4cyl sport tourers and says that they are significantly smoother.
... among GT types it's a tad heavy, and expensive... Compare to the Blackbird (CBR1100XX).. [can we agree that it too is essentially a GT..?] A design essentially unchanged for seven years - ok, FI was new in '99 - that has the same displacement, similar ergos (even somewhat adjustable with aftermarket goodies, to include bags), 20-30 more HP, about 130 lbs less weight... oh yeah, and about $7K less expensive... Food for thought, is it not..?
So soon we get spoiled. John Burns is old enough to know about bikes without counterbalancers, Sean has probably put a lot of miles behind one of those little combination bug deflectors/helmet buffeters, or a bike with poorly placed lights and clocks and a low seat to catch the turbulence, but now it's *****, *****, *****..
Though for the money, BMW ought to have their act together a little better.
At least the ride on the "slightly improved" rolling brick didn't cause them to complain about surging. That's biggest sore point among us owners of BMWs with the CORRECT number of cylinders, of course. One problem I did NOT read in the reviews. The front and rear suspension on my particular oilhead suffered from expensive-to-cure problems at each end, namely lousy but non-adjustable damping which could best be cured with "brand O" installation. One in front and one in back. No mention or rear squat due to overenthusiastic rebound damping, or front end hobbyhorse due to flaccid low speed damping in their review. Did BMW finally see the light, or get threatened with mutiny from the factory test riders?
Also, no mention of the traditional bugaboo of rolling bricks, namely the smoke cloud you get when the top end fills with oil while the bike is parked on the side stand. Did BMW turn the engine around?
I remember when BMWs were considered to be the most refined and lightest weight large displacement motorcycles on the market. This 680 pound behemoth, with it's attendant flaws, is a sad comentary on how far BMW has strayed from the design philosophy that made their bikes desirable in the first place. VWW
Sorry, but NO bike is designed to last for 200,000 miles. With particularly good care, a well-made motorcycle can certainly last that long. However, just like cars, if bikes were so overbuilt as to go for a decade without a crazy maintenance schedule then the manufacturers would be cutting their own throats. If no one needed to buy a bike until after 200,000 miles, then there would be about 1/10 the current world's population of bikes.
No -- we can't agree to that. The XX is a nice bike. It has no bags; no heated grips; a more extreme riding position; chain drive (shafts are still a big attraction to sport tourers); almost no accessories. The XX is sort of like the ZXZZYR or whatever the hell it is Kawasaki. A Grand Tourer for the 300 mile a day Corona with lime set.
Put another $3K into a Blackbird and you get an overpriced half sport tourer that has no resale value. Try a Concours. They cost $7K and have bags and such. And that is a ZX-10 motor. Leave the XX at the malt shop with the other poser bikes.
I have an 02 K1200rs and no it does not smoke. Quite a few years ago Bmw began pinning the oil rings in a fixed pos and cured the problem of oil seeping past into the cylinders causing smoke at startup. The engine is still laid over in the same config. I've owned 9 different (street) motorcycles during my 28 years of riding and have loved them all. Each one has had its strengths and weakness. Nice thing is that we are spoiled for choice!
Picked this one up in the summer and have 12,000 miles on her without using a drop of oil.
My wife rides an R1100s and doesn't experience the surging problems that some oilhead riders are having to deal with. I had that issue on the 94 R1100rs that I owned prior to this bike but was fortunate enough to get it set up properly.
I've never been a fan of the four cylinder flying brick. In my opinion, the best of the bricks was the K75. But the fact that they have not solved the vibration problem in a bike at this price level makes you wonder what the engineers at BMW have been doing. As the owner of a VFR and someone who has spent significant time in the saddle of an ST4, I can tell you that both of these bikes are as smooth as silk at both sane and insane cruising speeds. Seems like the boys at BMW need to do a little work on the engine, especially when the Italians seem to be able to build a better sport tourer.
You obviously don't know about BMWs. The cylinder block is guaranteed to last 300,000 km, and the manual specifically instructs the user not to use synthetic oil till at least 10,000km, as it takes that long to run in. I know of some K100RTs that have over 350,000 km on them, and they are starting to get a little tired now!!
BMWs, like all fine machines, improve when properly run-in. They are built for the long haul for discerning riders who appreciate quality and unique european character. There are faster, cheaper and more entertaining bikes on the market, but no bike inspires rider confidence like an ABS equipped BMW when caught in a sudden storm.
After looking a K bike at dealer and then looking at the Aprilia Futura, I like Burns was drawn to the Futura. Especially when you are talkng that kind of money. The offset track would bother me just from a symetry thing. Do German engineers have tendency to over complicate things? But seriously how would the Honda ST and Yamaha FJ stack up. Wouldn't the K bike seem crude in comparison?
I thought that this was a very well written article. I have a 1994 R1100RS with the painted hard bag lids. The problem with them is that one only has to seemingly breath on them the wrong way and they scratch. You should put your leg over the bike carefully if scuff marks bother you. Many of the BMW riders I know would have opted for the unpainted flat black finish, if only for durability sake.
I have been led to believe recently that BMW has at least one new motor, maybe two, in the works right now. The only thing that I was told about the new bike was "lighter, faster." I just hope that durability remains the same.
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