Two-Up Squirrely Ride - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 8:27 am Thread Starter
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Two-Up Squirrely Ride

I love my '02 K1200 but can't figure out what is causing the "squirrely" ride when we ride two-up. I have tried different air pressures in my Metlzlers, different rear shock adjustments and don't know what else to try.

I will explain as best I can the "squirrely-ness". When starting from a dead stop it feels as if the rear end is drifting to one side like I have a low tire. Once up to speed I seem to have trouble holding a line and the bike seems to yaw and roll. I usually ride with the windscreen in it's lowest position but raising it makes it worse. I am sure it's either a problem with my specific bike (or me) because I am certain these are not normal characteristics of a BMW.

It just seems like I am fighting the bike for the entire ride and that's no fun. My GF has even commented that the K doesn't seem as stable as our Valkyrie Interstate....and that just shouldn't be right.

Here are some answers in advance:
K has less than 19k on it
I don't drink and ride (anymore)
My GF is five-foot nothing and a hundred and nothing
No extra loading in the side/rear cases
I had the FD checked at the 18k service and all was good
Metzlers almost new and in good shape

If anyone has experienced anything like this or have any suggestions as to how to correct this I would surely appreciate it.

2006 Ultra FLHTCU
2002 K1200 LTE (selling)
2000 Valkyrie 1500CF Interstate
2005 Bully (sold)

"Sand.....I HATE sand! And gravel too!"
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post #2 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 8:40 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Hi,

It sounds as if there is sometihing wrong with the frame.
If you bought the bike second hand, are you sure it was never damaged in an accident?

bruno

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K1200 LT 2006 85000km
Moto Guzzi Breva 750 2004
Triumph Bonneville 1972
Norton Commando 1976

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post #3 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 9:07 am Thread Starter
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Bought from reputable BMW dealer on consignment who had sold the bike new to the original owner. They had all the service records and the bike had a clean Carfax. I asked the owner (retired Detroit City Motorman), the salesperson and the BMW mechanic and they all said no wrecks (other than tipover) or major issues. I seriously doubt they would all lie just to sell one consignment bike. It's possible, but I doubt it. They had plenty of other bikes they could have sold me.

I appreciate your suggestion and will have another mechanic ride and evaluate the bike when I get it back to Detroit this weekend. I want to keep this bike but have to feel good about riding it....especially two-up. We have long ride plans this spring and want to take it if I can get this issue resolved.

Thanks again.

2006 Ultra FLHTCU
2002 K1200 LTE (selling)
2000 Valkyrie 1500CF Interstate
2005 Bully (sold)

"Sand.....I HATE sand! And gravel too!"
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post #4 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 9:34 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

The first few miles I rode my LT it felt wobbly and unstable unlike my other BMW's. I think she is very responsive to any input on the bars and I keep my arms completely relaxed - it's possible you have a mechanical problem but have you tried putting the cruise on and tried just resting your fingers on the grips no pressure to see if it behaves any differently. With finger tips on the bars you can grab them pretty quick if you need to.

There was a tall parabellum windshield on mine when I bought it and it was terrible in any crosswind until I put stock back on, big sail.
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Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
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post #5 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 9:42 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

I would say get another dealer to check every bearing, swing armfd pivot, and front and rear fd bearing again. Maybe the fd preload is like factory spec, No Good!
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2000 K1200LT & 86 K75 for fun again

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1994 Suzuki Intruder 1400
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post #6 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 9:50 am Thread Starter
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenkinskg View Post
I would say get another dealer to check every bearing, swing armfd pivot, and front and rear fd bearing again. Maybe the fd preload is like factory spec, No Good!
Sounds like it's headed to the dealership when I get back. Thanks.

2006 Ultra FLHTCU
2002 K1200 LTE (selling)
2000 Valkyrie 1500CF Interstate
2005 Bully (sold)

"Sand.....I HATE sand! And gravel too!"
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post #7 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 10:07 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

I would start by asking the dealer to lift the bike and ensure that both wheels spin smoothly. If the front brakes are not fully releasing I think you might experience something like what you are describing.

Then I would mark a parking lot or the tires and roll/ride the bike in a straight line and see if the tires are lined up.

That's where I would start.

2000 BMW K1200 LT (Alice)
Gone, but not forgotten:
1983 Venture Royale
1982 Goldwing Aspencade
1982 Yamaha 650 Maxxim
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post #8 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 11:32 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Put it on the center stand and grip the rear wheel at 3 and 9 o'clock positions and check for side-side play.
There shouldn't be any.
Weight the back of the bike so the front tire lifts off the ground and repeat shake on the front wheel.

Doug B.
2000 LT purchased July 2013
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post #9 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 11:40 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

No definitely not normal. The only time I really felt "squirreley" was when I had serviced the pre-load adjuster and got interrupted and left it on it's minimal setting. We went for a ride and I felt it, stopped, cranked it back to where it was and all was normal again. Strong winds can also give the feeling. Look at the motorcycle and there's no where for a cross wind to pass through.

Chris Ehlbeck
2002 BMW K1200LTE Toscana Green Retired with 85,391 miles
2014 BMW R1200RT Quartz Blue Metallic

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post #10 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 11:48 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

You've already got some great suggestions there. My $.02 worth:

The only times I've experienced this condition are:
1. When I rode with a flat rear tire, two-up. (long story)
2. When the final drive was toast. I made the mistake of riding it home, knowing the condition it was in. Even though I rode gently and took back roads, every throttle or brake input was an exciting experience. The bike was all over the place.

I'd have someone other than a dealer check the final drive. There are too many stories of dealer technicians not knowing what to look for. (sorry...) Several guys on this site can do that, if it comes to that.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #11 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 12:06 pm
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by gary45 View Post
The first few miles I rode my LT it felt wobbly and unstable unlike my other BMW's. I think she is very responsive to any input on the bars and I keep my arms completely relaxed - it's possible you have a mechanical problem but have you tried putting the cruise on and tried just resting your fingers on the grips no pressure to see if it behaves any differently. With finger tips on the bars you can grab them pretty quick if you need to.

There was a tall parabellum windshield on mine when I bought it and it was terrible in any crosswind until I put stock back on, big sail.
I'm going to second Gary on this test, be careful but you should try it, you might be used to having to provide 'positive influence' on your Valkyrie whereas the LT needs little more than your thought to guide it. I know after riding my R1200C for a while and then hopping on the LT after a hiatus I have to dial back my control inputs because it is so much more responsive.

Heavy wind will cause it to feel squirrely as noted elsewhere and I assume that you have adequately tested the various preload positions since you mentioned that, perhaps you should check and if needed refill the pre-load adjuster. Do a site search for it and you will find the document, also one of our members has a bunch of videos and one of them covers it I think. Takes about 5 minutes and makes a huge difference if you're low.

All that said, check those metzlers for cupping or uneven wear as that might cause it, they may be in good shape with good tread but if the edges are scalloped that can cause a whole bunch of stuff. Some of the highways around here are concrete paving with rain channels cut in that run the direction of travel, when I get on one of those it's always a wild ride as I think the guy you scored them in was one hand on the wheel, the other on the Jack Daniel's.

If none of these things solve it, then you do have a problem that probably should be rectified. I would think a bent frame or the like would manifest in other areas of the bike as well like the space between panels not being even/equal etc.

-Steve

2000 BMW K1200LT
2000 BMW R1200C
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post #12 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 12:58 pm
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Hi, Paul. Admittedly a WAG here, but it has happened, so is worth a check if you haven't already. First post in the following link describes the situation.
Also, if you have a chance, maybe ask previous owner if he had ever experienced the squirrelly-ness. Good luck finding the cause and cure.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/k1200lt/...ar-wheel.html?
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post #13 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 1:51 pm
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

I once ordered new Metzlers from a non-BMW dealership and I distinctly specified that they needed to be VR rated to handle the weight. The tires arrived at the dealership and I brought my bike to them. 30 minutes later I was riding off on a new set of treads. While the new tires felt smooth and much more quiet than my old ones, I did notice that they were 'squirrely'. When I got home, I looked closely at the new tires and found that they were not the correct Metzlers that I had specified.

If you are riding on the new 888's they need to be the 'reinforced' version. If you have the old 880's they should be VR rated.

Lastly, Metzlers absolutely hate tar snakes on the road. I'm not really sure where you are located, but if the road is covered with tar snakes to seal up cracks, you will experience 'squirrely' handling no matter what time of the year it is.
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Chad Albrecht
2002 Chartreuse Yellow and Black BMW K1200LT Tickets
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post #14 of 24 Old Dec 31st, 2014, 5:48 pm
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

incorrect tyre load rating for the bike,

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post #15 of 24 Old Jan 1st, 2015, 4:04 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Definitely something wrong somewhere. The LT is normally rock steady, Good luck with your issue.
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post #16 of 24 Old Jan 1st, 2015, 6:07 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Sounds to me like a worn rear tire. Flat spot in the Center.

Manfred
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post #17 of 24 Old Jan 1st, 2015, 9:25 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Chiming in,
I'm going with the tire "rating" suggestion.
Make sure the tires, especially the rear, are correct.

AND Please check the torque of the rear wheel bolts before you ride again!

Rand & Susan Hawksworth
2000 K1200LT
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post #18 of 24 Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 6:47 pm
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

I've had a non weight rated rear tire on my LT. Was on a trip in the middle of nowhere and rear was showing chords. Anyway. Had no choice but to put a Dunlop on to finish the trip to get home. The Lt was rock solid. I can think of a few things.. Bolts on rear rim aren't torqued properly. Check your final drive as stated. Check the pivot bolts are torqued proper on the swing arm. Does your rear tire have flat spot in the middle/cupped ,Underinflated?.Unless like suggested. Your not used to the LT's side wind manners. I know it took me awhile to get used to it in crosswinds and to stop overcorrecting it. The suspension is completely different from my Intruder LC.

2004 K1200LT. Big Mama
1999 Suzuki Intruder VL1500LC. Betty Lou.
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post #19 of 24 Old Jan 5th, 2015, 9:54 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Is your 5-foot nothing GF leaning out to one side to see around you?
Even though she doesn't weigh much, any movement or off axis position she takes will make an input to the LT with its high cg.
The higher cg of the LT is also why the Valk might feel more stable in comparison. The low cg and longer steering rake of my 1100 Shadow makes the LT seem "twitchy" in comparison.

Also check your tires for defects. Even though they are near new, that doesn't preclude them from being defective. Simply put the bike on the centerstand and check for run-out, both radial and axial.

Dave
-2000 K1200LT
-------------------------------
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post #20 of 24 Old Jan 5th, 2015, 10:07 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by dukey33 View Post
Is your 5-foot nothing GF leaning out to one side to see around you?
I have one teenage son who cannot sit still. He has had one very short ride on the back of my LT. Only pillion that has made me worry about dumping the bike. Of course his being 6'5" and 250lbs might have something to do with that too.
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post #21 of 24 Old Jan 5th, 2015, 10:52 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

All good ideas... However, before you march it into the dealership, find an LT driver who can take it for a brief spin. As an LT pilot, they may be able to tell you what may or may not be happenin' with your scooter. Besides, they will prolly check the ride before they swing a leg over and may find the issue...

my $.02...
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post #22 of 24 Old Jan 5th, 2015, 2:52 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by mreuter View Post
Sounds to me like a worn rear tire. Flat spot in the Center.

Manfred
I will check that...it does seem that I have a flat spot on the rear tire compared to my Valk...I'l have it looked at.

Thanks

2006 Ultra FLHTCU
2002 K1200 LTE (selling)
2000 Valkyrie 1500CF Interstate
2005 Bully (sold)

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post #23 of 24 Old Jan 6th, 2015, 10:39 am
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by rugguy View Post
I love my '02 K1200 but can't figure out what is causing the "squirrely" ride when we ride two-up. I have tried different air pressures in my Metlzlers, different rear shock adjustments and don't know what else to try.
Let me suggest a few things: keep your tire pressures at the max sidewall pressures, 42f, 50r,
check that your preload adjuster has fluid and is actually working (search the forum for 'how'), and check the steering damper for correct functioning.

Motor On ,/'


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post #24 of 24 Old Jan 6th, 2015, 6:44 pm
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Re: Two-Up Squirrely Ride

Both the Lts I've owned have been rock steady stable, all but once. A long time ago while riding through CO I hit a patch of HWY that was covered with tar snakes on top of tar snakes. The 2001 LT I was riding was all over the place, a very unnerving feeling like the bike had a mind of it's own. I've never experienced anything like it on any other ride in more than 40 years of riding, but I've never come across another piece of road with that many tar snakes either.

Hopefully you will discover what is making your bike ride like it does.

Current Bikes

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2013 Suzuki Burgman 650, Ya it's a scooter but it will do over 100 MPH
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