Bad riding habits for the LT??? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 12:42 pm Thread Starter
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Bad riding habits for the LT???

Hey fellas,

Well, I just finished up the task of performing a main seal / clutch change, (a big "thank you" to the guys on this site who helped me out).

Anyway, the flywheel, clutch and pressure plate were absolutely TOASTED. The flywheel as well as the pressure plate were three different shades of purple/brown/black, cracked throughout. The clutch, or, what was left of it was a shredded mess.

I'm looking for feedback on various riding styles. I cut my teeth on dirt bikes so, naturally I downshift at every stop, is this part of my problem? When I take off from a dead stop, I always let the clutch engage fully before twisting the throttle, I am aware that it takes a second for full engagement. I just want to make sure that I don't have to take on that task again any time soon.

Thanks in advance for your $.02.

Brian
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post #2 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 12:58 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

I too downshift before coming to a full stop, and I also stay in 1st gear with the clutch pulled while waiting for the light to change and never had a problem. I don't think you did anything wrong with the bike.
Did you buy it new or used? If used, it is possible that the PO used to slip the clutch...
How many miles on your machine before the clutch change?

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post #3 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 1:06 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

If you are "engine braking" by downshifting everytime you come to a stop, I would say you are putting undue stress on (and accelerating the wear of) your clutch components.

Brake pads are much cheaper than the cost, time, and aggravation of replacing a clutch. I would suggest that you should not use the engine/clutch as a braking force; when coming to a stop, pull the clutch lever in, and keep it pulled in, until you are ready to begin forward motion.
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post #4 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 2:06 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

I have used engine braking my entire riding life, with no ill effects, as I prefer to be in the right gear withing the power band to be able to react to whatever traffic can throw in my way.
I never had to replace a clutch on any of my bikes yet, but the again I never went over 100k miles on any of them either...

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post #5 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 2:12 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

Years ago I had a chance to do a day's private training with the late Larry Grodsky (Stay'n Safe byline guy from RIDER Magazine). When I asked him at a rest stop during our on road work why he didn't down shift when slowing down his reply....."brakes and labor to install them are a lot cheaper than a clutch and installation..." I was expecting some grand finesse riding technique reply.....but the more I thought about his answer, the more sense it made. Especially true on an LT.

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post #6 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 3:36 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
I have used engine braking my entire riding life, with no ill effects, as I prefer to be in the right gear withing the power band to be able to react to whatever traffic can throw in my way.
I never had to replace a clutch on any of my bikes yet, but the again I never went over 100k miles on any of them either...
+1

Same here - entire life for autos and bikes and never have replaced a clutch.

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post #7 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 3:58 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

+2 -- I always engine brake to be in the right gear, and it's saved me more than once from stupid cage drivers in daily combat commuting.

I also don't buy the excessive wear argument.

The OP's issue was obviously massive heat/massive wear, caused by either (i) massive slipping/abuse of the clutch for long periods (certainly not caused by the OP's technique), or (ii) some mechanical issue which didn't allow the clutch to fully engage.

This condition simply could not be caused by engine braking. Think about it -- the amount of friction heat generated by 3-4 downshift clutch engagements is trival; the clutch is slipped far longer (and gets much hotter, and therefore wears more) when taking off from a standing start. These clutches are perfectly capable of going well in excess of 100k miles with or without engine braking.

To counter the "brake pads are cheaper than a clutch job" crowd, my view is:

(1) engine braking clutch wear is a theoretical concern for which there not only is no proof, but no technical reason to believe it is significant -- and therefore clutch wear is no reason to not engine brake,** and

(2) bike repair and hospital bills as a result of being in the wrong gear at the wrong time costs a lot more than either brake pads or clutch jobs.

** FWIW, I believe the "no engine braking" mantra arises from racing, where there *is* good reason to only use brakes to slow a car -- but that does not mean the same rule should apply to street driving.

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post #8 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 4:54 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

I try to stay below 1,500 rpm when letting the clutch out regardless of the extra weight I have on board or the incline. So basically I slip the clutch only at low rpm's with little horsepower applied. On steep inclines I keep my foot on the brake bring the engine up to 1,500 rpm's and slowly let the clutch lever out until the engine drops a couple of hundred rpm's. Then all in one motion I'll release the foot brake roll on the throttle and let the clutch handle out all with out going over 1,500 rpm's until the clutch is fully engaged.

When shifting gears on the LT make sure the clutch is fully engaged before you roll on full throttle otherwise the clutch can slip for quite some time.

I downshift brake all the time. I just don't slip the clutch when I do it. I don't snap the clutch handle out but I do let it all the way out as soon as I can feel it engage enough to get the slack out of the drive train.

136,000 miles on the original clutch and still going strong.

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post #9 of 15 Old Apr 13th, 2011, 7:25 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

Quote:
Originally Posted by saddleman
I try to stay below 1,500 rpm when letting the clutch out regardless of the extra weight I have on board or the incline. So basically I slip the clutch only at low rpm's with little horsepower applied. On steep inclines I keep my foot on the brake bring the engine up to 1,500 rpm's and slowly let the clutch lever out until the engine drops a couple of hundred rpm's. Then all in one motion I'll release the foot brake roll on the throttle and let the clutch handle out all with out going over 1,500 rpm's until the clutch is fully engaged.

When shifting gears on the LT make sure the clutch is fully engaged before you roll on full throttle otherwise the clutch can slip for quite some time.

I downshift brake all the time. I just don't slip the clutch when I do it. I don't snap the clutch handle out but I do let it all the way out as soon as I can feel it engage enough to get the slack out of the drive train.

136,000 miles on the original clutch and still going strong.
This is pretty much how I ride also and drive my 4-wheeled vehicles as well. Having driven semis for a number of years, I always shift into the right gear for the speed and load, both accelerating and decelerating. Doing so causes no undo wear providing the proper technique is used. In 36 years of driving, I have yet to wear out a clutch in any vehicle I have owned and I have never NOT owned at least one manual tranny vehicle.

My LT has only 22K so no real test there yet, but my 1994 Chevy K1500 has 129K on its original clutch and I plow snow with this truck! My 2006 Sonata has 75K and going strong. My 1986 Jeep Comanche had 145K on the orginal clutch when the body finally rusted away so bad I had to junk it.

Keep the revs in the 1,000 to 1,500 range when starting out and a clutch should last a long, long time. I rarely get much above 1,200 RPM on the level unless I need to scoot to get out of some nuts way. On a hill, 1,500 or even more can occasionally be required.

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post #10 of 15 Old Apr 14th, 2011, 12:11 am
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

I agree with you Voyager.
A clutch is designed to handle much more engage/disengage than miles. I had a GMC tow truck, Plymouth Horizon and three bikes and never a clutch replacement or problem. Truck did not have too many miles (mainly local towing and restrictions where you could not take a tow from surface street onto the Interstate) so clutch earned its keep. Horizon 93K and taught my daughter how to drive a stick and among 3 bikes 60K total. So it boils down to how you handle your clutch or previous owner. My LT is still new and the dealer mechanics are my only concern when they test ride after servicing.
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post #11 of 15 Old Apr 14th, 2011, 10:18 am
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

+2
Quote:
Keep the revs in the 1,000 to 1,500 range when starting out and a clutch should last a long, long time. I rarely get much above 1,200 RPM on the level unless I need to scoot to get out of some nuts way. On a hill, 1,500 or even more can occasionally be required.
I had learned to take off using only the clutch . When I use to get home from work riding my motorcycle ( Work , there’s is a four letter word for ya ) . I would stop at the mail box ,& pick up the mail . I would hold the mail in my right hand , & steer with my left . I had to feed the clutch in smoothly , ..not too fast & not too slow . Because the motor was only at an idle . Basically I tried to get the clutch fully engaged as quickly as I could , with out stalling the motor . It is not a lot of fun with a stalled motor , & you only have one hand to work with . However , to keep wear at a minimum you need to get the clutch fully engaged quickly .

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post #12 of 15 Old Apr 14th, 2011, 11:20 am
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Post Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

Quote:
Originally Posted by mneblett
+2 -- I always engine brake to be in the right gear, and it's saved me more than once from stupid cage drivers in daily combat commuting.

I also don't buy the excessive wear argument.

The OP's issue was obviously massive heat/massive wear, caused by either (i) massive slipping/abuse of the clutch for long periods (certainly not caused by the OP's technique), or (ii) some mechanical issue which didn't allow the clutch to fully engage.

This condition simply could not be caused by engine braking. Think about it -- the amount of friction heat generated by 3-4 downshift clutch engagements is trival; the clutch is slipped far longer (and gets much hotter, and therefore wears more) when taking off from a standing start. These clutches are perfectly capable of going well in excess of 100k miles with or without engine braking.


I agree with most of what you said. In my earlier post, I interpreted the original poster's question as referring to aggressive downshifting. I may have misinterpreted the question.

I engine-brake all the time. If I let off the throttle at 75mph, I am engine braking. If I am motoring down a city street at 35mph in 3rd gear and let off the throttle, I am engine braking. Engine braking will do no harm or cause wear on clutch components if it is done with the clutch fully engaged or with minimal slippage, and if engine speed and road speed are fairly closely matched.

To illustrate my point :
An individual is travelling at 70mph and waits until he, or she, is 100ft from a red light and decides to rapidly downshift from 5th to or 1st gear, disengaging and engaging the clutch with 2000rpm drops in engine speed with each gear change. This results in considerable stress on more than just the clutch components. Keeping the rpm variations to a minimum will cause no damage; downshifting and engaging the clutch when engine speed is significantly less than the rpms necessary to match your rear-wheel "road speed" will prematurely wear your clutch, and contribute to other potential failures.

[/QUOTE]
I also don't buy the excessive wear argument.
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post #13 of 15 Old Apr 14th, 2011, 5:45 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

I do not do a lot of heavy, stop and go traffic. I do ride two up most of the time, but do not take off from the lights like I was in a race. I live in way-too-flat IL. I do travel to mountains every summer, and/or to the BMW MOA Int. meet since I got the bike.

But I have a 2007 so it gave up the clutch at 25k miles. It seems a lot of 2007 clutches died over the past two years. But that is a very unscientific study. And far be it from BMW to fess up if there was a problem.

I do love the bike, and so does my wife. There is nothing in the 1600's to temp us, and I soft of hope my next BMW cruiser is not the Gold Wing like many on this.

I downshift reasonably when there is time and otherwise stop with the brakes. Nothing agressive.

So what year is you bike? Or should I ask, what year was the clutch?

Bill

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post #14 of 15 Old Apr 15th, 2011, 2:21 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

Oh yeah,

My bike is an 2002 with only 22,000 miles on the clock. I bought it with only 2,300 miles on it.

I myself do alot of two-up riding with the wife packing "STUFF" in every available place on the motorcycle.

Thanks for all of your feedback. Since I have replaced the clutch, doing all of the work myself, I sure notice that I baby it since her "operation". I will however continue to engine brake as I feel much safer if I have to take control of a potentially bad situation.

Thanks again guys,

Brian
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post #15 of 15 Old Apr 15th, 2011, 9:23 pm
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Re: Bad riding habits for the LT???

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkdrmr1
Oh yeah,

My bike is an 2002 with only 22,000 miles on the clock. I bought it with only 2,300 miles on it.

I myself do alot of two-up riding with the wife packing "STUFF" in every available place on the motorcycle.

Thanks for all of your feedback. Since I have replaced the clutch, doing all of the work myself, I sure notice that I baby it since her "operation". I will however continue to engine brake as I feel much safer if I have to take control of a potentially bad situation.

Thanks again guys,

Brian
My LT is a 2007, but and also has a little over 22,000 on it. I live in northcentral PA which isn't exactly flat. So far, so good on the original clutch, but that doesn't mean it couldn't crap out tomorrow. However, I have enough experience with standard shift vehicles (minibikes to semis and much off-road equipment as well) to know that if this clutch dies before 100,000 miles it is a weakness in the clutch design and not my riding technique. I suspect my clutch will die from oil long before it wears out.

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