BMW Luxury Touring Community - Site FAQ: New Owner Questions
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What the heck is CCR?
If you're new to the K1200LT and the site, there is one annual event that you will definitely want to take notice of. It's the annual Curve Cowboy Reunion. It's more than "just a motorcycle rally", it's a reunion. It's a reunion of the kindred spirits that ride this grand motorcycle, the BMW K1200LT. Through the past years, we have grown to more than just a Rally based around a great motorcycle, but rather a community of friends who share common interest across a wide range of different life experiences. As one of our members so eloquently stated, "it's the bike that brought us together, but it's the people who keep us together."

The Curve Cowboy Reunion started in the summer of 2000 when a group of K1200LT riders decided that it would be great to have a get together centered around the BMW K1200LT and our common interests. A few of the K1200LT list's enthusiastic members planned and organized the first K1200LT Rally. Based on the brotherhood and friendship that ensued, along with the spirited riding that took place, it was decided at that point to rename the K1200LT Rally as the Curve Cowboy Reunion. The first CCR was held in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on September 22-24, 2000 with 45 BMW K1200LTs, 5 other bikes, and 60 participants in attendance. The second CCR was held in Hot Springs, Arkansas on September 20-23, 2001 with 86 BMW K1200LTs, 6 other bikes, and 132 participants in attendance. The third CCR was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 3-6, 2002 with 155 BMW K1200LTs, 11 other bikes, and 248 participants in attendance...and it continues to grow each year at an amazing rate!

The 2004 Curve Cowboy Reunion Announcement can be found here.

More information about the Annual Curve Cowboy Reunion can always be found on the Curve Cowboy Reunion Website and/or in the CCR FAQ.

If you have any questions about the Curve Cowboy Reunion, feel free to post a question in the Curve Cowboy Reunion Forum, or send an email to [email protected]

This bike is too tall! Is there any way to lower the seat?
There are a couple of options here.  First, BMW sells a lower seat for the LT.  It has received good reviews from several members of the list.  However, you should know going in that the BMW seat requires permanent modifications to the bike including grinding down part of the side panels below the seat's rear section.  You can see pictures of these modifications here.  There have been many threads discussing the low seat and how to install it.

Another option is to purchase a custom-made aftermarket seat.  Some of the manufactures listed in the Accessories section on ergonomics can modify their designs to be lower than stock. 

Smoke comes out the exhaust when I start the bike after it's been parked on the side stand. Is this normal?
Yes.  The engine in your K bike has the pistons arranged horizontally and pointing to the left (when seated on the bike).  This means that the pistons are facing down hill when the bike is on the sidestand.  This can allow a small amount of motor oil to collect in the cylinders.  This is what causes the smoking at startup and it is both normal and not a problem in the least.  If it bothers you, park on the center stand.

Black smoke comes out the exhaust when I hammer the throttle at speed. Is this normal?
Yes.  The engine management computer on you LT (Motronic) strives to protect the engine during very hard acceleration by enriching the fuel mixture.  This can result in puff or two of black smoke coming out of your exhaust under certain conditions.  It usually occurs when you whack the throttle full open in 4th or 5th gear at low RPM (i.e. almost to the point of bogging or lugging the engine).  It is normal and not a problem. 

My handlebars squeak when turning side-to-side at low speed. Is this normal?
99.9 % of the LTs do this at varying temps.  From David Shealey:

"I also was a bit annoyed with the squeaking, and tried a couple of things to stop it, such as silicone spray (worked for only a few days). I had had good luck getting V-belts to stop squealing with Permatex Belt Dressing and Conditioner, available from most auto supply stores in a small spray can. I used the little tube in the spray nozzle and put a little on each side where the rubber seal rubs against the plastic fork bridge cover, and the noise went away, for a LONG time! Now, maybe twice year when the squeaking starts to come back I just put a few drops of this on each side again. Works like a charm. Use the little red tube and put it under the rubber, then work the bars back and forth to distribute it."

Only Hercules could get an LT up on the center stand! What's the trick?
Many people, especially those new to bikes with center stands, are intimidated by the act of raising the LT onto the center stand.  While it does require some care, it's actually much easier than you might imagine IF you know the trick.

The first and most important rule is to ensure that the bike is parked correctly on the sidestand to start (see above) and that it's on level ground free of sand/oil/rocks/mud/antifreeze/diesel.  Next, stand on the left side and face the bike.  Place your right foot on the center stand and lower it until it just touches the ground BUT DON'T PUSH DOWN YET!  You just want the center stand touching the ground lightly with your foot resting on it.

Now, grasp the left hand grip with your left hand and the under-seat handle with your right.  Rock the bike up until it's level while placing a SMALL AMOUNT of pressure on the center stand with your foot.  What you are looking for here is to ensure that both center stand feet are touching the ground.  You'll know the bike is centered (level left/right) when you feel both center stand feet engage the ground.  Now you're ready for the final step:

Place your FULL body weight on your right foot while your left hand engages the clutch and your right hand lifts straight up and back toward your body.  The bike will pop right up with minimal effort!  You'll know you're doing it right if a) it's much easier than you thought and b) you end the process standing on the center stand with your right foot, your left foot pointing out in the air for balance and the bike on the center stand.

My LT makes a strange whining noise at certain highway speeds that sounds like gear whine. Is this normal?
Yes it is normal.  You've discovered the special joy of the BMW K series engines known around the globe as K-Whine.  It generally gets better over time and with the use of synthetic gear oil.  The best cure, however, is to avoid the RPM range where you notice it and that is easy to do, just go faster!!

What is the best way to fill the gas tank?
The method that works best is to put the bike on the side stand (recommended in the manual) then put the nozzle in to where it rests on the vapor cup surrounding the nozzle. Pull the lever to about half-way and fill until it pops off.  Then pull the nozzle up about half inch and repeat.  Let the nozzle drain and invert the handle to eliminate any drips.  Your gauge should indicate full after this procedure.

WARNING: Do not overfill the gas tank!  You can cause the charcoal canister to flood which will cause all kinds of woe! 

How do I reprogram the alarm system?
Use at your OWN risk. An extract from the K1200LT alarm installation booklet.

First - Find the programming plug under the seat. The cable is a brown/white cable with a plug on it.
Raise the riders seat and look under the passenger seat it should be visible.  You will need to connect this plug to a ground connection (like the battery) so find/build an adaptor.  A length of wire with a small alligator clip works well

On the remote, the ridged button is the "A" button. The smooth button is the "B" button.

To Enter Programming Mode:

1) With the ignition turned off and the alarm system armed - press the "A" button to deactivate the alarm (parking lights flash once.  Within 12 seconds, ground the programming plug with your adaptor.

2) Press the "A" button twice.  You'll hear two beeps, then a long beeping tone.  The turn signals will flash twice and the LED will go off.

3) Turn the ignition on within 12 seconds but don't start the bike!  The beeper will sound three times in succession at different pitches.

The programming function is now ACTIVE:

4) Remove the ground from the programming plug.

5) On pre-'03 bikes, there are 10 channels to program using the "A" or "B" buttons.
Only 5 are used by the K1200LT - Channels 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9

You program the channels by pressing either the "A" or "B" button until you have pressed 10 buttons.

Channel Function "A" "B"

1 Beeping Tone ON Off
2 Free
3 Free
4 Free
5 Panic Alarm ON Off
6 Free
7 Tone Type Beep Steady
8 Automatic Immobilizer ON Off
9 Automatic Alarm Activation ON Off
10 Free

After the 10th choice programming is complete you will hear three consecutive beeps

6) Turn off the ignition.  The beeper will sound three times at different pitches.

Note that the system is now armed.

NOTE - If automatic Alarm activation is selected then Automatic Imobilization MUST also be set on.

Here's how many people like to set up their alarms:

1 "A"
2 "A"
3 "A"
4 "A"
5 "A"
6 "A"
7 "A"
8 "B"
9 "B"
10 "A"

And this is what it means:

1 - Beeping Tone ON
5 - Panic Alarm ON
7 - Tone Type Intermittent
8 - Auto Immobilizer OFF
9 - Auto Alarm OFF

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Looks like they did change the alarm programming sequence for '03, there are 12 settings as opposed to the 10 previously:

1 Unused
2 Unused
3 Unused
4 Unused
5 Unused
6 Panic Alarm (used to be 5)
7 Unused
8 Tone Type (used to be 7)
9 Beeper Tone (used to be #1)
10 Unused
11 Automatic Activation of Alarm (was 9)
12 Automatic Activation of Immobilizer (was 8 - note alarm and immobilizer are reversed from prior instructions)

I feel a strange vibration around 4,500 RPM. Is this normal?
Yes.  This is very normal.  It can vary by a few hundred RPM either way and is sometimes effected by mileage and/or service work on the bike.  Ex: some riders report the vibrations shifting up or down a few hundred RPM following a valve adjustment or timing change.

Don't worry about it.  Many LT owners use this vibration as a shift indicator.  Just blast through it and all will be well.

My CD changer skips on even tiny bumps. Is this normal?
No.  The CD changer should not skip except on really hard bumps.  Here's what to do if your CD player skip:

Courtesy of Ray West:

1. If you open the right side saddle bag, you will find the CD changer housed in a black metal housing with colored foam rubber insulating the changer from the housing.  On the left and right side
of the housing are four screws. The two in the front of the housing are phillips and the two in the rear are torx. Remove the four screws and the upper part of the housing will lift off.

2. The cable is in a grommet on the back-right of the housing. It is pushed into a slot and can be removed by pushing it towards the back of the CD changer.

3. Once the cover housing is removed, the top section of insulation foam will lift up. It has four locating notches on the sides to hold it in place.

4. Once you lift the top insulation off, you can pick the CD changer up out of the foam. There are two connectors on the back of the CD changer that connect it to the electrical system. Each of the
connectors just pull out of the changer.  There are no locks holding them on, just the friction of pressing them in.

5. Once you have the CD changer disconnected, lay it on the top section of foam on your work bench to keep it from getting damaged.

6. As you look at the front of the CD changer, there are brackets on the left (was missing on mine) and right sides.  These brackets are held on with two screws each which are the screws that are too long on the 99' models.  Right next to where the brackets screw onto the changer are markings of the proper screw lengths.  Mine were about 8mm long and should have been 4mm, as indicated on either side of the changer.  I used a bench grinder to grind them off the the appropriate length. If you don't have a bench grinder, I would simple purchase more screws at a Home Depot. The bracket(s) simply keep the changer from sliding in the foam.

7. The 'H' and 'V' setting is also on either end of the changer, about where the brackets mount. I don't know what the letters mean but would guess they have to do with the mounting directions of H- Horizontal and V-Vertical.  On mine, the right side was set to H but the left side was set to V.  I changed the left side to V by simply taking my finger and pushing the little round lever to the H

8. Replacing the CD changer is simply a matter of reversing these directions.

Note: The only thing to watch out for is to make sure you push the
cables into the back of the changer firmly so they don't rattle out
and make sure to put the grommet in the slot on the back of the top
cover housing before securing it with the four screws.

My AM/FM radio receptions sucks. Is this normal?
No.  With proper antenna setup, the AM (and FM) reception on the LT is pretty good.  There's a fair amount of history on this here.  Most times, the conductor at the base of the antenna mast is in contact with the inner diameter of the mount, grounding it out (There was a run of factory antennas with mis-drilled mounts that guaranteed the mast was grounded, but that was a couple model years back and has been fixed on the newer bikes).

To check: Rotate the plastic cover on the base of the mast about 20 degrees, then work upwards (it's a shallow bayonet pin/slot arrangement). Completely loosen the nut at the base of the antenna mast, then pull/work the mast out -- there's a plastic cylinder under the mast that resists removal, so it will take a bit of force to pull out, and when it lets go, the mast really "jumps" out -- so be ready.

Inspect the bottom of the mast -- the little cup on a spring attached to the bottom of the mast should be in its plastic sleeve, so that when the mast is installed, the cup touches only the tip of the antenna coax cable visible in the center of the mount.  Reinstall the antenna mast taking care to ensure the cup is properly located.

My radio display reads "NO RADIO" after it gets wet. What's up with that?
This is a very common problem that can occur when water gets into the connectors under the display.  Many times it will clear up on by itself but the best remedy is to remove the stingray and put dielectric grease on all the connectors.

Another common cause is hairline cracks in the rubber boots on the radio controls which allow water to penetrate into the display (called the Remote in BMW-speak because it remotely controls the actual radio).  Check these boots frequently.

NOTE: This problem may also result in the display showing "PHONE" instead of "NO RADIO" and/or the radio playing with the ignition OFF!

How do you adjust the speed sensitive volume control (SVOL) on the stereo?
Depress the MAN button and hold for about 4 seconds.  Display will change to display 'SVOL'.  Using the round volume/channel selector on the left hand grip, toggle through settings 1-4 and off using the '<' and '>' selections to set the desired level of volume increase.  

Note: SVOL = 1 calls for a steep increase in volume while SVOL = 4 is nearly flat.

Once you have selected the desired setting, depress the MAN button again to return to normal function.

WARNING:  If you make a change to the SVOL setting while underway, be prepared to have your ears blasted!  If you change from a setting of 4 to 1 while on the road, the stereo is going to crank itself way up!

What the heck is that little rubber tower just inside the fuel door?
We'll, here's a hint:  Look at the bottom of the fuel cap.  See that sharp pointy thing?  Stick that in the rubber tower while refueling and it will a) keep track of the gas cap for you and b) hold open the fuel door!

If you reading this going 'What small rubber tower?' then there's a good chance your Official Fuel Cap Holder has been trapped up under the fairing panel.  Next time you have the bike apart, be sure to align the tower when your re-install the right side fairing.

Where is the transmission drain plug? What size is it? Where's the crush washer?
The transmission drain plug is located on the underside of the transmission.  It is blocked on most LTs by the exhaust hanger.  The plug requires a 14mm allen (hex) tool to remove not found in the average garage.  However, if you have an AutoZone nearby they sell a set of three metric allen bits that includes a 14mm for a damn cheap price!  Many owners have gotten them there.  There are lots of other places that sell 14 mm allen wrenches or socket bits as well.  No reason to use the incorrect tool, except in a real emergency.

W.W. Grainger, short arm 14 mm, #3G662, $4.93
W.W. Grainger, long arm 14 mm, #3G732, $6.50 Lots of local sales offices, one in almost every decent sized city.

McMaster-Carr, short arm 14 mm, #7289A22, $4.45
McMaster-Carr, long arm 14 mm, #6958A2, $5.88 Online ordering, FAST delivery and very good shipping charges.

NOTE: Many LT owners doing their own service are surprised to find no crush washer on the tranny drain plug.  This is normal.  No crush washer required.  Finally, the tranny fill plug is located behind the right side drivers foot peg.  Be careful when removing the peg support, there's stuff attached to the back of it.

What is this long thin wire cable in my tool pouch?
Ah yes, another mystery from the "If only I'd read the manual" files.  That small wire cable in your tool pouch is your helmet lock.  Open up the drivers seat (You did read how to do that, right?) and loop one end of the cable on the metal hook located on the left side rear below the fuse blocks.  Run the cable through the D-ring on your helmet (or the chin bar/face shield opening).  Then loop the free end over the same hook under the seat.  Close the seat, lock your left saddle bag and Presto!  Instant helmet lock!

My bike doesn't have a skid plate. Do I need one?

Yes, it will protect the bottom of your engine against damage.  The first release of the K1200LT did not have a skid plate.  The factory later released one.  Older bikes still in warranty are eligible for the plate for free but the labor may be the owner's responsibility.  However, many owners have talked the dealer in to installing the plate for free.  The plate is not difficult to install yourself if you choose to do so.

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