BMW Luxury Touring Community banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I decided to trade in my last bike, a Honda ST1300, I told my BMW sales rep that my biggest concerns were, stability, wind buffeting, and heat management. Regardless of what you may or may not have heard, the Honda ST1300 is an extremely hot bike to ride. It is, also, not particularly stable, either. After I test rode the K1200LT, it was evident that heat was not an issue, and wind buffeting, while not perfect, wasn't too bad. Stability seemed to be very good, but I only rode for a half an hour and, obviously, could only evaluate based on the conditions at hand. So, I bought a brand new '05. I have since put on 3000 miles and have had no real problems and have been happy with the bike and it's performance. That is, until today. At, approximately forty MPH, I took my hands off the bars to adjust my jacket and the bars started wobbling, oscillating, or whatever you want to call it. Putting my hands back on the bars immediately cured the problem. This is a very sensitive area to me. I almost lost my life, a long time ago, when the bike I was riding went into a full tank slapper and I couldn't bring it back under control. If you've never experienced a true tank slapping episode, it is the scariest thing that a rider can encounter other than being interferred with by another vehicle. When I got home tonight, I did a search through this forum and sure enough, there are many of you who have experienced this problem.

I don't know a lot about Gold Wings, but is there a class action going on because of a very similar problem ? I have read the wide variety of fixes that people have posted, but there is one thing I'm fairly certain of. BMW is not going to admit that there is a design flaw which could lead to this type of mechanical behavior and the lemon laws will not protect us from this problem. There is no doubt that there are many fine things about the LT, but seeing this problem, first hand, and after barely living through a true tank slapper, my confidence is shaken. If I were a wealthy man, I would, probably, trade my LT in and find another bike. But, I'm not, so I will continue to ride the one I have. It's kind of like catching your wife, who you dearly love, cheating on you. You might not divorce her, but you'll never, entirely, trust her, again.

Roy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,094 Posts
Don't take your hands off...

Hi Roy,
Sounds like you had a pretty nasty experience...
Whilst many of us have experienced the movement that you describe on our bikes...I have not yet heard of one developing into the full 'tank slapper' that you have described...

I know this sounds obvious, but I would suggest that no bike is suitable to be riden 'hands free'... I for one never take both hands off the bars whilst moving...

Cheers,

Ian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
303 Posts
wobble

Perhaps your wobble was road related. Inspect your front tire closely. My oolt
has Metzlers and are nearly worn out and I have no shake.My old bike always developed a shake after only 2k and was tire related.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
LOL! :histerica If this were really a pretty sensitive area for you, I would think that you would quit taking your hands of the handlebars at 40 mph!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,247 Posts
Yes, don't ride with no hands, good advise from above post.
Your tires can cause that, either bad balance or if your tires are worn funny due to under inflation (front under 44psi). My first set did that. Got new tires, then it stopped doing that. Kept a better eye on the pressure, and got real good life out of the front the second time around. Yes, it was at 40 mph when it did that. I always keep at least one had on except once in a blue moon when I test it, then its both hands just hovering over the handles ready to grab it. On my third set of metz, still no shake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,681 Posts
Mine has done this to and as soon as you even put one hand back on the bars it goes away, it never happens at speed for me I can set the crusie and go along at 70 with no hands and it is smooth. Most bikes will do this as you are slowing.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,886 Posts
Steering Dampener

Others on this forum have noted similar problems and I think some were fixed by replacing the steering dampener. I had a similar problem, but only at very low speeds. Found my rear tire LOW with a bad valve stem. Haven't had the problem on my 02 and can't imagine riding with both hands off of the handlebars. Occasionally I do have to set my cruse control on in order to use my right hand to turn off the heated seat. Just for a few minutes in the early Florida morning!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,341 Posts
I've found that it's the tires. They are very sensitive to balance at 40 MPH and can be either tire. At 30, 50 60 or 70 it will be solid as a rock and ride for miles without even a finger of pressure.

I'm sure it will be disputed six ways under. Lots of theories but the way I check balance is to run the LT to a constant speed and loosen the grip. If it's perfect it won't oscillate, even at 40 MPH. If it does I go back to where I bought them and have it done again.. just a little change in the placement will usually fix the problem.. However, the last front I put on I could not get the computer to give me a good ride even though the computer showed perfect.

I'm thinking of getting my own balancer so I can finish up at home. I don't want to change the tires just balance them..

However it's not a big deal once you are aware..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
some ideas for you

I can relate 100% as I was nearly killed 3 years ago before just recently getting back on and am a safety nut these days. And while I realize that riding isn't exactly good for your health, it is good for the soul so I try to be extra careful and continue doing what I've done since I was a kid, ride motorcycles. There are several discussions on this board about this topic. I approached BMW with it and they quickly said to take up the issue with the dealer. While this is a sound idea, I have to say this problem has been going on for too many years without any official response or fix. I know that this is also a problem with many other bikes and other brands, but c'mon, this is a $24,000 bike and this kind of problem should have been resolved by BMW long ago. Then again they're talking about changing the model in the next year or two so maybe that's their fix. As an 06' owner I would not be happy about that at all.

In most cases from what I've heard this doesn't show up until after 3K - 6K miles so it sounds like a mixture of tires and a very very sensitive setup. I realize while there can be a lot of variables, (balancing, tire pressure, road/tire/wheel condition, etc), still this really is a SAFETY issue. Playing with the tire pressure (40/46 on Metz 880's) and properly balance tires helped me, but there is still some shake when decelerating mostly in the 40'ish mph range. I've basically tought myself to deal with it for now though it's my biggest peave with this otherwise fantastic 2 up bike. Squeeky rear wheel is annoying but not a safety issue and I hear is fixed with new brakes.

I spoke with the service department at one of the BMW dealerships and they were very helpful although they said not all of the dealerships were on the same page because the tech info on this subject has not been filtered and passed through all the official BMW channels. From what I'm told there is a "fix" that reduces 95% of the "wobble" and has so far been covered under warranty. The part is a "fork bridge", part# 31422333365, and it's said to change the rake, maybe increasing it, although he wasn't sure by how much and how close it was to pre 05' LT's. It's easily changed out in a couple hours. My concern here was this would be changing the slow speed handling and I'm not sure if it would truely be worth doing or not.

Another thought is this. I saw this stuff this weekend and I think I may throw down and give it a try. http://www.ride-onshop.com/Products-Motorcycles.html Take a good look at this and let me know what you think. I have read that it has a secondary effect by helping to improve tire balance and reduces shaking. That is a nice feature, plus it essentially works like a runflat in case you pick up debris so you can get home or to the shop safely without blowing a tire. I'm considering raising a petition given the number of poeple with the same issue but I want to make sure it's just not bad tires on a fat bike. And while that can be, should the sensitivity level be to such a degree that the bike shakes after only a slight amount of wear? I don't think it should. Anyway, good luck and I hope this helped.

cheers ~darren
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
front wobble

Got to agree with dandiver... I've experience this on three different bikes (r1200c(new or old tires), k1200lt (brand new tires and bike), kawi 900lt (new tires and bike) but only at slow down and never on the k using the cruise at any speed (so far).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
Seattle said:
Another thought is this. I saw this stuff this weekend and I think I may throw down and give it a try. http://www.ride-onshop.com/Products-Motorcycles.html Take a good look at this and let me know what you think. I have read that it has a secondary effect by helping to improve tire balance and reduces shaking. cheers ~darren
Hi Darren, I've been running a similar product called "Ultra-seal" in my Metz's, and while its helped maintain air pressure and given me an added "safety" feeling from running a mushroom plug in the rear tyre, it has unfortunately not stopped my "wheel wobble" under the circumstances described, which is the secondary affect I was hoping for. I'll be getting a new steering damper installed soon (warranty) which I hope fixes it for good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
thanks

cws said:
Hi Darren, I've been running a similar product called "Ultra-seal" in my Metz's, and while its helped maintain air pressure and given me an added "safety" feeling from running a mushroom plug in the rear tyre, it has unfortunately not stopped my "wheel wobble" under the circumstances described, which is the secondary affect I was hoping for. I'll be getting a new steering damper installed soon (warranty) which I hope fixes it for good.
Thanks for the input Chris. Let me know how that works and if it affects your low speed handling at all since that was why they changed the rake in the first place on the newer models, to improve on the low speed handling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
Darren, it will (should) be the same part thats being swapped out as my '05 has the later rake angle change, so I expect no change in low speed handling which I'm fine with :). Just want to stop that damn wobble... :mad::mad:
Will let you all know how it feels post surgery! :rotf:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
My bike did it once, it wasn't that terrifying as quite a lot of bicycles I've ridden do this, and believe me 50 mph downhill on a bike with steering wobble and both hands clamped on the bars can be REALLY terrifying. My mates bike even continued shaking when he stopped! On a cycle its often to do with headset play although fork geometry seems to be the major factor. The steeper the rake the more prone the bike seems to shaking. I can see that this could be upsetting if you have had a bad experience before but if you keep at least one hand on the bars then theres no problem. Just watch the GP bikes today doing all sorts of shake, wobble and roll! OK so they need to have sharp handling but the riders cope and obviously theres nothing actually wrong with the bikes. I had a gearboix fault on my last BMW and even though it was a known problem BMW would never admit any liability or that there was a problem. I had the box replaced FOC but even so it was a bit of a struggle. You've no chance with this wobble thing as BMW would say you should always ride with both hands on the bars-although how you do the heated seats or radio is beyond me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,886 Posts
Radio left handed

billybiker said:
My bike did it once, it wasn't that terrifying as quite a lot of bicycles I've ridden do this, and believe me 50 mph downhill on a bike with steering wobble and both hands clamped on the bars can be REALLY terrifying. My mates bike even continued shaking when he stopped! On a cycle its often to do with headset play although fork geometry seems to be the major factor. The steeper the rake the more prone the bike seems to shaking. I can see that this could be upsetting if you have had a bad experience before but if you keep at least one hand on the bars then theres no problem. Just watch the GP bikes today doing all sorts of shake, wobble and roll! OK so they need to have sharp handling but the riders cope and obviously theres nothing actually wrong with the bikes. I had a gearboix fault on my last BMW and even though it was a known problem BMW would never admit any liability or that there was a problem. I had the box replaced FOC but even so it was a bit of a struggle. You've no chance with this wobble thing as BMW would say you should always ride with both hands on the bars-although how you do the heated seats or radio is beyond me.
Not quite the subject, but I have no problem adjusting the radio with my left hand. On the other hand, (no pun intended) try to turn off the heated seat with your left hand! Who ever decided to place the control on the right side of the seat should be up on charges.... It is not safe there. One day I'm going to move it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,345 Posts
Wobble

I've never experience any wobble in my bike but I've never taken my hands off the grips except at road speeds. And yes, 50mph on a bicycle downhill is a rush. I had some front end wobble in my Suzuki LC1500 but I find riding hands free is not comforting to me. And as far as the wife and her cheating, I take her with me..................... :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
826 Posts
dmatson said:
Mine has done this to and as soon as you even put one hand back on the bars it goes away, it never happens at speed for me I can set the crusie and go along at 70 with no hands and it is smooth. Most bikes will do this as you are slowing.
At speed (50mph +), on the highway, I can set the cruise and cover the handlebar with one hand most of the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
dandiver said:
try to turn off the heated seat with your left hand! Who ever decided to place the control on the right side of the seat should be up on charges....
in the spirit of hijacking the thread...I always get a chuckle about that switch. Other quirks that come to mind are a sidestand that becomes a sidefall quite easily, an industry leading high CG, and a windshield that reflects the dash lights at night. These things along with that switch are things that I may expect on a first generation machine, maybe. How long as this bike been around? Back to the switch, if those 'great' engineers did something that stupid with something that obvious doesn't it make you wonder about some of the important things they did not think about as well...

PS can someone tell me about the on/off switch for the cruise control. It's in a hard to get to place, and mine is quite hard to turn on (not to set). They appear to have made it such that you will never accidently turn it on, "lions and tigers and bears oh my!" I just leave it on all the time. Maybe I am wierd.

Pss I love my LT. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
311 Posts
Yes it reacts dramaticly with your hands off the handlebars which are stabilizers to this topic, Just sit on the bike in your garage then rapidly move the steering rapidly back and forth, then let go, you get the same affect, there is just alot of front end mass up front, I believe it will NEVER be a problem at any speed or any condition while you ride your bike with your hands on the grips, I totaly TRUST my k1200lt with 40,000 miles under the saddle of my 2003 k1200lt, dont worry just ride and enjoy one of the best touring bikes on the market...matthew
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,795 Posts
Roy..
It's the tires. The '05's are supposed to have a rake/trail change.. which my '05 does. Handles very well (to me) even at low speeds.. yadayadayada...

I changed tires.. no more "wobble". Cause and effect.

Now, the Stones my bike came with lasted about 3k before some "cupping" appeared.. pretty significant.... and it "alternates" from side to side of the tire.. so you have a "more-less-more" traction happening at alternating intervals on either side of the tire.. this will accelerate into a "tank slapper" if not carefully monitored.

Air pressures were monitored 'religiously' (and I know what that word entails =)... Still, around 3k the cupping was severe enough to cause the symptom you describe... so, I changed oil AND FRONT tires at every 6k... until 18k. (rear lasted 18 )

At 18k I got a Dunlop...recommended by my dealer, Lonestar BMW for the front. Today I have 21983.. that's almost 4k on the Dunlop and it has very little of the "cupping"...

What changed?

The tire and running "recommended" tire pressures of the Manufact, and I've run some long trips with far less "In-town" commuting...
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top