Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 1:29 pm Thread Starter
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Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Or do I have a different problem looming.

What I have noticed and wanted to talk about for a while is the way it slams into certain gears.

I've been riding since about 12 years old and know how to shift very smoothly. What I have noticed is especially in 4th gear , it hits very hard in upshifts ... almost as if it had no syncros or I was just shifting without clutch.

Even my Custom Chopper doesn't hit as hard in any gear except when rev'd while shifting from neutral - first where it will slam into gear with clutch pulled .

Other gears are not nearly as hard hitting. Some seem very normal where you don't feel the shift.

Is this common or do I have another potential problem ?
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 1:38 pm
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smooth as butter to shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petre
Or do I have a different problem looming.

What I have noticed and wanted to talk about for a while is the way it slams into certain gears.

I've been riding since about 12 years old and know how to shift very smoothly. What I have noticed is especially in 4th gear , it hits very hard in upshifts ... almost as if it had no syncros or I was just shifting without clutch.

Even my Custom Chopper doesn't hit as hard in any gear except when rev'd while shifting from neutral - first where it will slam into gear with clutch pulled .

Other gears are not nearly as hard hitting. Some seem very normal where you don't feel the shift.

Is this common or do I have another potential problem ?
I've been 8000 miles since last may(I'm a new BMW rider) and the shift is really smooth. Better than my HD Road Glide was. I do notice I have a little trouble matching RPM's to MPH when I let the clutch out. I'm getting better though.

Hope you don't have a tranny problem coming.

Ride safe!


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Bought used K1200LT number 3. This one is green/teal with 31,369(now 7/29/2018 54,143) miles and is an '02. The first 2 bikes made it to near 150,000 miles.
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 2:02 pm
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Comparing to the Shadow 125cc and the Aero 1100 I previously rode, the LT is a hard shifting machine. (even if it's not as hard as the 1100RT I rode !)

BMW Gearbox are known to be NOT smooth and for their... reliability... The one on my bike shows no sign of use at 40k- but it is noisy (KLONK). Second gear needs a good upshift or it came back to N.

I rode a Yamaha 750 FZ6 this week end and it was really smooth too.

Hope this helps
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 4:05 pm
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I have changed out to synthetic transmission fluid which seems to have helped with the shifting. I also bought one of those shift lever extenders which really helped out a lot. You can also use a piece of heater hose and put it on the end of the shifter. It seems to take less pressure to shift...the shifter is not digging into your boot so much.
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 4:32 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy
Comparing to the Shadow 125cc and the Aero 1100 I previously rode, the LT is a hard shifting machine. (even if it's not as hard as the 1100RT I rode !)

BMW Gearbox are known to be NOT smooth and for their... reliability... The one on my bike shows no sign of use at 40k- but it is noisy (KLONK). Second gear needs a good upshift or it came back to N.

I rode a Yamaha 750 FZ6 this week end and it was really smooth too.

Hope this helps
That describes my 4th gear ... It surprises me because I would expect it through all the gears , but 4th is a notoriously harder "KLONK" than the others.

1st to 2nd definately requires deliberate shifting.
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 4:39 pm
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Smile Hard shifter?


Since installing Buck's kickshifter (see our Home page on this site), my shifting has been butter smooth (to quote someone else.) The only problem I have (and it's not really a problem) is that occasionally, I don't push down hard enough for the shift from 1st to 2nd and wind up in Neutral. I do that about once a week.
But in my defense, it shifts so smoothly and is so easy to shift now that I have the heel toe shifter installed, I rationalize that once a week is not so bad. In fact, I made a 1500 mile rt over Memorial day weekend and never missed a shift the entire time.
Try it, you'll like it.

(And you're welcome Buck for my plug of your product. )

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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 4:52 pm
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My LTs were not as smooth shifting as many Japanese bikes, but BMWs are not known for butter smooth shifting. I had little clunking when upshifting though, mostly when down shifting.

By the way, there are NO synchros in it, and I really don't know of any motorcycle transmissions that do have them. All motorcycle trannies I know of are "dog" engagements, where tangs (dogs) on one part engage slots in the opposing part when slid along the shaft supporting them. Synchronizers take up room not normally available in motorcycle transmissions.

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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 5:19 pm
 
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Try some good synthetic tranny oil. It will make a world of difference. It's not going to fix a problem if one is present. My 99 LT is smooth as butter. I have owned alot of bike and this is one of the smoothest bikes I have ever ridden. My 99 R1100RT was much better after the switch. The R1100 R,RT's transmissions are clunky and requires that you preload them when shifting. I like the AMSOIL Synthetic (go figure) but Mobil One is also very good.
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 5:35 pm
 
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Each and every brand of bike is either famous or infamous for their trannys. Hondas are notoriously clunky. But not as clunky as Harleys and Beemers. Yamahas as smooth. Kawasakis are almost too smooth . . . and so on.

The LT was somewhat clunky...but keeping the linkage lubed definitely helps. (Do it at every 6K service, if not more often.)

My new GT's tranny is almost laughable. Gears 1, 2, and 3 are EXTREMELY CLUNKY! While gears 4, 5, and 6 and EXTREMELY smooth and quiet. It's almost like the tranny is manufactured by two separate companies. BMW makes the first 3 gears, and Kawasaki makes 4th, 5th, and 6th gear.
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 8:50 pm
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I definitely agree that this is one of the "clunkiest" tranny's I've experienced. I have a pet peeve about things like this, and I find myself cringing at times. My biggest problem is downshifts 4th to 3rd, seems like a wide gap. Will hit false neutral at times between the two. I've owned the bike a bit over a year now, and still have not mastered throttle matched shifts consistently. I love the bike, but the clutch action/tranny would be my biggest gripe.
It's funny, I took the bike to the dealer a few weeks ago to have them check the clutch/tranny. They took it out for half hour, came back and claimed it was one of the smoother LT's they'd ridden in a while--go figure
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 9:53 pm
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Coming from almost twenty years of riding Moto Guzzis this LT tranny shifts like a dream. With many miles under my butt in big rigs in years past I think if you can keep the thought of matching engine speed with road speed, then you will find the sweet spot in any tranny without synchros. A slight bit of pre shift pressure on the gear selector seems to help a great deal also...All about teaching yourself How to ride any particular bike/vehicle without synchros. Practice Practice Practice.......

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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 1:39 am
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Took me awhile to find a smooth non-clunky shift. I found that the smoothest shifting in my last three BMW's, (RT, LT, GT) will occur in the most inspriing fashion while at rpm's over 7K and just the slightest pull of the clutch and a quick snap of the toe. If you need to ride in town shift very early at low rpm's and again very little clutch pull. Not to cast dispersions on any particular brand, but many cruiser riders shift at a much more leisurely pace.

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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 6:10 am
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I certainly agree with some of the previous posts, synthetic (75-140w) gear AND differential oil, lube ALL of the shift linkage, and shift at the "right" RPM.

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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 11:34 am
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Coming off my previous Harley Ultra Classic, my K12 is practically silent.

I do have to ensure a good tug on the lever from 1-2 however, or I get "N" at the most inopportune time!

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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 5:08 pm
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Like Darrel, I found that shifting at a higher rpm( 4-5K rpm on my bike) and just slightly pulling in the clutch it just slips into gear. Very smooth. Takes some practice to syncronize just right. I came from Harleys and we usually shift at 2-3K rpm to get the rumble and sorta lope along. And all my harleys clunked into gear. Much harder shifting than the Beemer.......

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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 7:01 pm Thread Starter
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I usually shift between 6250-7000 rpms ... As I stated before , all the gears are pretty good except 3rd shifting into 4th. That ones a clunker no matter where I shift.
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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 7:06 pm
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Guess its all what you are used to. After years of riding HD, I rarely miss a gear change. I haven't noticed any correlation between RPM and gear shifting problems.

However, I remove the shift linkage, clean it, and grease it when I do 12K services; hit the side stand at the same time.

Bob
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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 7:10 pm
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They get smoother when they break in somewhere after 100 thousand miles. Promise.



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Old Jul 18th, 2006, 11:08 pm
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Thats what we need, a thread on what brand name lubrication to use on the shift linkage. ;-o
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 4:15 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petre
I usually shift between 6250-7000 rpms ...

Did I miss something here ? 7k rpms is just before the Red line, doesn't it ? Isn't your engine screaming ?

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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 9:39 am
 
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Dry clutches like beemers, need to be worked by the engine. They don't just fall into place like most wet clutches. Blip the engine a bit when the tranny is not engaging or disengaging to find neutral or first gears from a stop. Shift to higher gears after the engine has sufficiently "pulled through the current gear"
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 9:46 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchy

Did I miss something here ? 7k rpms is just before the Red line, doesn't it ? Isn't your engine screaming ?
NOT "screaming" . . . SINGING!

No...but really. All of these recommendations, while very entertaining, are pretty much overkill. When I rode the LT, in cruise mode I shifted between 3-4.5K. In the twisties and/or Joe Rocket mode, I shifted around 7-8K.

The tranny is clunky. And knowledge is power. It ain't gonna break on ya...it's just noisy. So what?
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 12:50 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
All of these recommendations, while very entertaining, are pretty much overkill. When I rode the LT, in cruise mode I shifted between 3-4.5K. In the twisties and/or Joe Rocket mode, I shifted around 7-8K.

The tranny is clunky. And knowledge is power. It ain't gonna break on ya...it's just noisy. So what?
Finally... this was the ultimate answer I was looking for. Just ride the damn thing, noisy shift and all, the rest takes care of itself. Thanks Joe!

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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 6:12 pm
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This is my first post to this forum, so let's see if I can get it right.

I just bought an 07 LT (less than 300 miles on it) and find the shifting to be reasonably smooth and quiet. My prior ride was a 1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII for a point of reference. The Voyager was superior to the LT in two ways, engaging first gear while stopped and finding neutral while stopped. The Kawasaki neutral finder feature is almost as slick as the LT's power center stand. I find I frequently have to hold pressure on the shift lever and engage the clutch just slightly in order for it to pop into 1st gear.

Once moving though, it shifts just fine everywhere from 3,000 RPM and up.

Matt
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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 6:19 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
..engaging first gear while stopped and finding neutral while stopped.
Double-clutch and/or rock the bike slightly forwards & backwards and she'll drop right into 1st or neutral.

Do NOT stomp on the shifter, else you may experience a broken linkage!!!

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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 8:36 pm
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May not apply to your issue but I eliminated the "klonk" on my upshifts buy keeping the RPMs higher. This is especially true when the engine & tranny are warmed up. She don't like 4th below 4500.

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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 2:22 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petre
What I have noticed is especially in 4th gear , it hits very hard in upshifts ... almost as if it had no syncros or I was just shifting without clutch.
Mine does the same thing going into 4th.
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Old Jun 5th, 2016, 6:52 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

I've also found that a very SLIGHT pull on the clutch lever is the best way for a smooth jerk-free shift. This is my first bike with a hydraulic clutch, and i love it.. Just took me a while before i realized that i didn't need to pull the lever all the way in like i did with my HD.
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Old Jun 7th, 2016, 10:46 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

In a word, "No." All shifts with the exception of neutral-to-first while sitting still should be snick smooth. (Most of the time a tiny feathering of the clutch is necessary to drop into first when sitting still.)
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Old Jun 7th, 2016, 11:51 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeemerJoe View Post
I've also found that a very SLIGHT pull on the clutch lever is the best way for a smooth jerk-free shift. This is my first bike with a hydraulic clutch, and i love it.. Just took me a while before i realized that i didn't need to pull the lever all the way in like i did with my HD.
I had to chuckle when I scanned back a few messages and found that you had resurrected a 9 year old thread in which I made my first post to this forum.


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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 1:51 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

LT seems hard shifting until you master the shifting / clutch operation. It does have a unique character that requires perfect timing of the clutch / rpm's and gear shift.
I've been riding bikes for about 50 years now and when got my first LT about 12 years ago, I felt frustration with every clink while shifting up/down. After a while however, those clinks would happen only sometimes and then they would disappear altogether.
That was a good feeling that I finally got it.
I can ride and shift perfectly smooth until I start riding another bike for a while and come back to my LT - I will get a few clinks at first and then it goes away. My son tried to master it for a while, but he gave up trying - in his opinion it is impossible to shift gears on this bike without a clink.
It seems that the gearbox is extremely demanding on the shifting technique.
I tried different gearbox oil types (synthetics, and regular) and that didn't really make any difference. It felt that the synthetic made the clinking even worse.
The only thing that helped me, was patience and determination to master the shifting - miles put on the bike, especially in the city environment, really help.
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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 2:17 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjedruszczak View Post
LT seems hard shifting until you master the shifting / clutch operation. It does have a unique character that requires perfect timing of the clutch / rpm's and gear shift.
I've been riding bikes for about 50 years now and when got my first LT about 12 years ago, I felt frustration with every clink while shifting up/down. After a while however, those clinks would happen only sometimes and then they would disappear altogether.
That was a good feeling that I finally got it.
I can ride and shift perfectly smooth until I start riding another bike for a while and come back to my LT - I will get a few clinks at first and then it goes away. My son tried to master it for a while, but he gave up trying - in his opinion it is impossible to shift gears on this bike without a clink.
It seems that the gearbox is extremely demanding on the shifting technique.
I tried different gearbox oil types (synthetics, and regular) and that didn't really make any difference. It felt that the synthetic made the clinking even worse.
The only thing that helped me, was patience and determination to master the shifting - miles put on the bike, especially in the city environment, really help.
BJ
A dry clutch is different than a wet clutch as you lack the viscous drag that keeps the transmission input turning a little.

The fix for this is easy and will make shifts on the LT as smooth as most any other bike.

Simply hold light pressure on the shift lever as you engage the clutch (stopped in neutral trying to get into first) or as you prepare to change gears.

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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 6:52 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Good point, Voyager
The dry clutch is the most noticeable difference when switching from other (wet clutch) bikes to LT. But there must be something else as well.
That said, I also ride the R9T with dry clutch, but that thing is silky smooth and so easy to get used to.
The tranny on R9T seems much more friendly, even my son can shift gears very smoothly.

BJ

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Old Jun 8th, 2016, 11:25 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjedruszczak View Post
Good point, Voyager
The dry clutch is the most noticeable difference when switching from other (wet clutch) bikes to LT. But there must be something else as well.
That said, I also ride the R9T with dry clutch, but that thing is silky smooth and so easy to get used to.
The tranny on R9T seems much more friendly, even my son can shift gears very smoothly.

BJ
I have only ridden my LT and the R1200RT and found both to be similar shifting. With the technique I mentioned earlier, I found both to shift about as well as my Kaw Voyager XII. The main advantage of the Kawasaki was its very slick neutral finder feature and ease of engaging first from neutral.

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Old Jun 9th, 2016, 8:15 pm
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Blame the Germans! BMW engineers their bikes with big fat heavy gears with very few "teeth." The last a good long time but compared to Japanese bikes they don't sync together very smoothly. Japanese and the like use smaller teeth and many more of them (and we all know smaller is never better!) But with more teeth comes the ability to sync together without ever "smashing" teeth together, theres a smoother transition. I often have to let the clutch out just a bit to get her to drop into 1st gear and afterwards yes there is some clunking. Rest assured your not alone and its not a bad problem to have.
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Old Jun 10th, 2016, 11:17 am
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Re: Is the K1200LT a hard shifting bike ?

Try cleaning and lubing the shifter linkage. Go to bmw club of northern Illinois. Go to maint. Service videos. Kirk the president has real good how to videos.

2004 K1200LT. Big Mama
1999 Suzuki Intruder VL1500LC. Betty Lou.
I'm a 4 percenter.
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