Sinking of the Bismark! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 8:48 pm Thread Starter
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Unhappy Sinking of the Bismark!

It happened today....the sinking of the Bismark!
After an afternoon of riding in the TX hill country with coveted cool spring temps my wife and I stopped for a nice lunch a Chilies. After we finished our meal and walked out to the bike life was fantastic.
I was parked facing down hill so I employed the reverse drive and the bike backed right up. As I sat thinking about the winding roads that were in store for us that afternoon I gave my wife the nod to get on. She placed a hand on my shoulder and the other on the top box and started to get on as she always has done. She gently started to get on then for some reason she sprang off the ball of her foot with a bounce as she climbed on....suddenly the bike leaned to the right. I got a sinking feeling in my gut....this thing is going over. If this has not happened to you let me tell you it's an incredibly bad feeling like some kind of crazy hallucination. As if in a slow motion my LT went over. I swung my leg off, maintained my hands on the bars and put all I had into keeping the bike off the pavement. I held the bike for what seemed like an eternity then mustered the strength to raise it. It took a biblical effort to get the bike up.
I felt absolutely sick...my wife felt absolutely harable. I told her to get on, this time no problem, and away we went.
I have been riding bikes for 38 years and I have always felt very comfortable on my LT I am 5 ft. 8 in. tall and have a 30 inch inseam and have never felt the least bit uncomfortable on it. My wife is 5 ft. 8 in. tall and a very vivacious 135 lbs. so not an oversized passenger. When we returned home I surveyed the bike, no damage to the front outrigger, the bag lid, or the saddle bag trim. I did get a small scuff on the brake peddle.....I was so lucky.
One thing I thought about after the incident, how would one raise the bike if alone and the bike was all the way down? The only good hand holds are the hand grips and the handle used to put the bike on the center stand. What would you do?
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post #2 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 8:52 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveL
It happened today....the sinking of the Bismark!
After an afternoon of riding in the TX hill country with coveted cool spring temps my wife and I stopped for a nice lunch a Chilies. After we finished our meal and walked out to the bike life was fantastic.
I was parked facing down hill so I employed the reverse drive and the bike backed right up. As I sat thinking about the winding roads that were in store for us that afternoon I gave my wife the nod to get on. She placed a hand on my shoulder and the other on the top box and started to get on as she always has done. She gently started to get on then for some reason she sprang off the ball of her foot with a bounce as she climbed on....suddenly the bike leaned to the right. I got a sinking feeling in my gut....this thing is going over. If this has not happened to you let me tell you it's an incredibly bad feeling like some kind of crazy hallucination. As if in a slow motion my LT went over. I swung my leg off, maintained my hands on the bars and put all I had into keeping the bike off the pavement. I held the bike for what seemed like an eternity then mustered the strength to raise it. It took a biblical effort to get the bike up.
I felt absolutely sick...my wife felt absolutely harable. I told her to get on, this time no problem, and away we went.
I have been riding bikes for 38 years and I have always felt very comfortable on my LT I am 5 ft. 8 in. tall and have a 30 inch inseam and have never felt the least bit uncomfortable on it. My wife is 5 ft. 8 in. tall and a very vivacious 135 lbs. so not an oversized passenger. When we returned home I surveyed the bike, no damage to the front outrigger, the bag lid, or the saddle bag trim. I did get a small scuff on the brake peddle.....I was so lucky.
One thing I thought about after the incident, how would one raise the bike if alone and the bike was all the way down? The only good hand holds are the hand grips and the handle used to put the bike on the center stand. What would you do?
Like this: http://www.pinkribbonrides.com/dropped.html

I always lean the LT away from my wife as she gets ready to board. That way when she steps on the peg, she helps straighten the bike back up and it lessens the chance of going over. Obviously, this requires your wife to not surprise you as she boards!

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post #3 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 8:57 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

And here is our own Munson, picking up a LT.

On His Ride,
Steve
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post #4 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 9:13 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveL
It happened today....the sinking of the Bismark!
What would you do?

Get a GT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, that is what i did. My wife and I were making a very tight, low speed U-turn and UH OH....it started going over. It took ALL of my strength to keep it from falling and as I have very bad knees, I felt my left knee POP!!!!!!!!! It took three weeks to stop hurting and is still not quite the same. I didn't drop it, but I knew that I didn't want to go through that again. So..........I traded for a GT. It is SO much lighter.

Jack Homesley
Cornelius, NC USA
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post #5 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 9:52 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

I don't sit on the bike when my wife gets on. I'm standing bracing the bike with the legs and holding the front brake on. She knows not to get on until I'm ready and hears the whine of the brake servos. I'm almost expecting her to get on funny or slip but that rarely happens but I'm ready for it.

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Last edited by Steve_R; Apr 15th, 2009 at 5:46 pm. Reason: spelling fix
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post #6 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 11:18 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

What works for me is to leave it on the sidestand. I get on first get all comfortable, give my wife the nod and she gets on. Once she is all settled I then straighten out the beast raise the sidestand and away we go.

Tom

2004 K1200LT Silver
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post #7 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 11:23 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Steve_R - Thanks for the video. Yes, that is the correct way to pick up any bike. I have seen 90 lbs women pick up H-D tour bikes. Same technique.

SteveL: Yes, that steel rod in the wing and the trim on the baggage does a darn good job of keeping the LT driver and passenger legs, plus the brake and shifter and footpegs out of harms way on flat ground. Three cheers for the BMW design team!

I almost alway extend the sidestand when my wife boards, just in case. I do stand with the bike straight up, both feet planted, wheel straight. And if it means that my wife has to walk a few feet to flat ground, she has never complained.

If you have not had a lot of experience with big bikes at slow speeds, they can be a lot to handle. However, giving up the comfort of the LT for a lighter bike is not the right answer for everybody. You will be giving up touring range and carrying + luggage capacity as well.

You did a very brave, some might say foolish thing trying to stay between 840 Lbs of BMW iron and where gravity was taking it. Oilmen have a phrase for it that amounts to "let the iron drop". I hope that all is well and you did not have the same mishap cccpastorjack did.

In general, the answer to slow speed operation of an LT is practice. Practice keeping the engine RPM up and the clutch in the "sweet spot" where the gears are just starting to engage. The engine's gyro motion helps stabilize the bike. Whether or not feathering the foot brake helps on the LT or any modern bike with linked front and rear brakes is still up for contention, but linkage is supposed to drop off at low speeds to make lightly braking the rear wheel possible. That also seems to stabilize the beast at low mph. Learning to lean (as a team) and even letting the bike lean opposite from you work for low speed turns, but like getting to the Met, practice, practice, practice.

You might want to check out the "Ride Like A Pro V" DVD. Yes, Palladino is a real ego maniac, but I think he has something to say about how to do U turns, and improve slow speed handling. Get about four to eight small orange cones with the DVD if you do, and practice at the high school parking lot, or any of that sadly growing number of empty parking lots the economy is turning out.

Bill

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post #8 of 19 Old Apr 14th, 2009, 11:30 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

I have 30-inch inseam as well. My trick to handling the bike when loading the passenger is either to let her get on first (while on sidestand) or to slide on the seat all the way forward to the tank. Same thing when coming to a stop - I always slide forward.

The seat is narrower there and I can lower my legs more, achieving sturdier support.


Now, when the bike is falling: make sure to warn your passenger and let her get away from the bike. Slow it down, but do not fight the fall - you can either get hurt or break off the handlebars. Let the bike fall.

It will not fall far and as long as your leg is not caught under the shifter or brake pedal, neither you nor your passenger will get hurt (embarrassed, yes).

Picking up the machine is no big deal. Engine protectors prevent the bike from leaning too far and a single person has no problem lifting it. Study the video linked by Voyager - Carol Yuorsky is doing it right!

I have dropped the LT a few times and never had a problem. Felt like an idiot, of course, but that is a different issue.

The major trick to picking it up (if you miss the emphasis in the training video):

- make sure the bike is in gear - otherwise it may try to roll away while you lift it.
- if the bike is laying on the right side (that is, with the sidestand away from you), make sure the sidestand is deployed. Otherwise, once the machine is up, you will not be able to park it!

Have fun and don't sweat it.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Last edited by rdwalker; Apr 14th, 2009 at 11:38 pm.
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post #9 of 19 Old Apr 15th, 2009, 12:26 am
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Side stand.
Never had a problem.
Best from warm Tucson
Bob

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post #10 of 19 Old Apr 15th, 2009, 8:19 am
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark! (Myth Busting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildBil
-------------------------------------- The engine's gyro motion helps stabilize the bike------------------------------------------------------.
Not on the LT! That only works for large V-twins, where the heavy crankshaft and flywheel are spinning at right angle to the longitudinal axis of the bike. There is absolutely NO helpful gyroscopic action on the LT for two reasons:

1- The axis of rotation of the crank and flywheel is longitudinal, so any gyroscopic action that would be there would only affect yaw of the bike, not roll.

2- Second, and even more important, the LT crankshaft rotates in one direction, the flywheel and clutch assembly the opposite direction, thus any gyroscopic action is cancelled. That is why the LT exhibits no adverse roll to one side when the throttle is rapidly advanced or rolled off, unlike something like a Moto Guzzi, or the worst of all, a Boss Hoss.

The only reason that keeping the engine RPM up helps on the LT is that small clutch changes while slipping it have better affect.

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post #11 of 19 Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:45 pm Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Thanks to all of you for your input. I have changer the procedures I use to allow passages to climb onto my LT and I think the changes will eliminate any risk of dropping the bike.

I think this was the first time I had dropped a bike with a passenger on board since I dropped my 1972 Suzuki TS-50 Gaucho with my 13 year old girlfriend on the back...the LT drop was just as embarrassing as the one in 1973.

It will take my wife a little time to get over her apprehension pertaining to getting on the bike. She does not have a fear of the bike falling and possibility hurting her but concerns that she may cause me to drop the bike and the bike to be damaged. (She loves the bike as much as I do) Time will fix this issue. Thanks, Steve
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post #12 of 19 Old Apr 16th, 2009, 1:42 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Good Luck! The only time I ever dropped mine was with the wife on board. Almost dropped it a second time out at Fort McKevitt with Wolfgang when turning sharp at low speed to park and the wife leaned (ever so slightly). She dismounted quickly and I was able to right the beast. If you use the slow speed cautions and properly educate passengers, the drop risk is low. Passenger peg force is the key. Even a small person can exert a lot of pounds of force on the peg by accelerating during mount process. It changes your balance point and more than 10 deg of list can become an upper body or total body power lift for you. So do your squats, power lifts and cleans. Just in case.

Benny C. (Central Texas)
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post #13 of 19 Old Apr 16th, 2009, 2:45 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Whenever my wife rides, I have her get on while the bike is on the center stand. After she is comfortable, I bump it off the stand and take off. Works every time and never even a near tilt.
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post #14 of 19 Old Apr 16th, 2009, 4:33 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Being a relatively new LT owner, I've had the privilege of dropping my scoot twice when the SO was no where near. First was 1 week after purchasing the darling and taking a 75 degree turn up hill from a stop light - yup, looked strait at what I didn't want to hit - hit it! second was starting up hill at a stop sign taking a sharp right - yup turned the bars before starting and over she went. When the SO mounts, she is sooooooo much smaller than me, its like a flea jumping on the back. SO reads this site.
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post #15 of 19 Old Apr 16th, 2009, 11:59 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

I don't know how you kept the beast up. I hope you didn't hurt yourself.

It was all I could do to keep the GT from going over once with the wife on board. I was pulling out of a side road onto a busy street, with a significant slope on the road. That, and the bike was having idle problems. I saw an opening, started out, and then saw a car change lanes taking my spot, so I stopped quick, and she started to go. I was able to keep it up, but I really didn't enjoy it, especially the cold sweat afterwards. On an LT, not a chance.

Not that this means you should get a GT, of course. The SO may not ride as often.

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post #16 of 19 Old Apr 17th, 2009, 6:07 am
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Don't feel bad. Me too had been ridden for 30 years, never dropped a bike before, until that day last year when I dropped the big German lady twice the same day. One on each side. The only thing I know for sure is that I cannot say it will not happen to me again.

Alain

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post #17 of 19 Old Apr 17th, 2009, 4:29 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGeo
When the SO mounts, she is sooooooo much smaller than me, its like a flea jumping on the back. SO reads this site.
My SO doesn't read this site, but I have friends who are always willing to share my comments at RTEs. I am sooo feelin' the love.

Benny C. (Central Texas)
2001 LTC Pacific Blue (Babe...the blue ox)
1986 Kawasaki Concours (Connie) sold
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post #18 of 19 Old Apr 17th, 2009, 4:57 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark! (Myth Busting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
2- Second, and even more important, the LT crankshaft rotates in one direction, the flywheel and clutch assembly the opposite direction, thus any gyroscopic action is cancelled. That is why the LT exhibits no adverse roll to one side when the throttle is rapidly advanced or rolled off, unlike something like a Moto Guzzi, or the worst of all, a Boss Hoss.
I just thought I would share an illustration to show what David is writing about.



You can see the mass of the clutch (and transmission input shaft) are rotating in the opposite direction to the crankshaft.
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Randy Prade
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post #19 of 19 Old Apr 17th, 2009, 5:10 pm
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Re: Sinking of the Bismark!

I never looked that closely at the design. That is cool!!! Oppositional torque & anti-torque for net zero effect (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

Benny C. (Central Texas)
2001 LTC Pacific Blue (Babe...the blue ox)
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