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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I am new to this forum though not new to BMW bikes. In the past I had a '95 R100 followed by a 2006 RT. I am currently considering buying a 2011 R1200R with under 5000 miles on it. The bike is at a non-BMW motorcycle dealer and they know nothing about Beamers. I test rode the bike and had a good look at it.
-I found no oil leaking anywhere.
-Try as I might I could not get the seat lock to disengage and could not remove the seat.
-I noticed that the fuel gauge gave inconsistent readings. It read nearly empty when I inspected the bike. But when I checked the inside of the tank with a flashlight looking for rust it seemed to be about 75% filled (and no rust...) The service department put in some fuel before my test ride even though I mentioned that it had plenty in the tank. About 15 minutes into my test ride the gauge began to read full. I know about the fuel strip problems these bikes can have.
-Another concern was that when starting the engine I needed to hold the starter button in longer than expected to get it to turn over even though the engine was warm. I wondered if the fuel might be stale or if the bike needed a "freeway tuneup."
-While trying slow maneuvers in the parking lot I noticed the characteristic clutch clunk and what I thought was a very snatchy throttle at low engine speeds. That is a problem my '06 RT never had, it was smooth as glass.
-At slow speeds I found the steering particularly heavy. I had trouble getting to full steering lock. Could that be the steering damper?

I generally like the bike and know that I can deal with it's characteristics/quirks with practice, but I am worried about buying a 9 year old bike with so few miles on it and without any warranty. Do any of you have any advice about what might go wrong with a pristine looking bike that has been ridden so little? Should I be concerned with the snatchy throttle and difficulty in starting? Will BMW fix the fuel strip if it is defective?

Many thanks in advance for your input.
Geo
 

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Hi all. I am new to this forum though not new to BMW bikes. In the past I had a '95 R100 followed by a 2006 RT. I am currently considering buying a 2011 R1200R with under 5000 miles on it. The bike is at a non-BMW motorcycle dealer and they know nothing about Beamers. I test rode the bike and had a good look at it.
-I found no oil leaking anywhere.
-Try as I might I could not get the seat lock to disengage and could not remove the seat.
-I noticed that the fuel gauge gave inconsistent readings. It read nearly empty when I inspected the bike. But when I checked the inside of the tank with a flashlight looking for rust it seemed to be about 75% filled (and no rust...) The service department put in some fuel before my test ride even though I mentioned that it had plenty in the tank. About 15 minutes into my test ride the gauge began to read full. I know about the fuel strip problems these bikes can have.
-Another concern was that when starting the engine I needed to hold the starter button in longer than expected to get it to turn over even though the engine was warm. I wondered if the fuel might be stale or if the bike needed a "freeway tuneup."
-While trying slow maneuvers in the parking lot I noticed the characteristic clutch clunk and what I thought was a very snatchy throttle at low engine speeds. That is a problem my '06 RT never had, it was smooth as glass.
-At slow speeds I found the steering particularly heavy. I had trouble getting to full steering lock. Could that be the steering damper?

I generally like the bike and know that I can deal with it's characteristics/quirks with practice, but I am worried about buying a 9 year old bike with so few miles on it and without any warranty. Do any of you have any advice about what might go wrong with a pristine looking bike that has been ridden so little? Should I be concerned with the snatchy throttle and difficulty in starting? Will BMW fix the fuel strip if it is defective?

Many thanks in advance for your input.
Geo
Hello and welcome.

  • The seat lock is tricky. If you push down hard on the passenger seat when turning the key, it'll probably go. It's kind of like unlocking forks - it has to be in just the right position.
  • The fuel gauge behavior isn't consistent with what I know to be fuel strip failure. May be the result of sitting too long or moisture on the fuel strip. In any case - the fuel strip is prone to failure and the gauge is unreliable anyway - so it's kind of a non-issue if you want an R1200R of this vintage. I think BMW replacing it depends on whether or not it had been replaced before - replacements are all automatically warrantied. Because of the large number of failures, if you have a good relationship with your BMW dealer, they may replace it for you under warranty anyway.
  • The starting lag could be a couple of things. I would start with the battery. Then the starter solenoid. Then the starter. Could be gunky fuel in the lines or a clogged up air filter. Lotsa stuff to inspect on a bike that's been sitting for awhile. In any case, it's cost of doing business on an older bike and all very reasonable to inspect/replace.
  • Snatchy throttle response in lower gears is typical of BMW hex/camheads. Seems to be some people get lucky and some don't. I had an '06 R1200R that was very bucky in first - a NineT that was less so, and two R1200R Camheads that weren't affected. There are aftermarket solutions or you could have your bike tuned/remapped professionally to even out the fuel delivery.
  • I don't think the steering issue is related to the damper - I've never noticed anything on any of my telever camheads. Might just take some getting used to on your part.
  • If you're worried about buying a 9 year old bike and concerned about out of warranty costs, I suggest finding another brand :) That said, a 2011 Camhead has a pretty well evolved engine and drivetrain - and failures (outside of the fuel strip) are pretty rare. Check for rust under the fuel cap (search this site for Abdeckring). Take a look at the shaft splines. Beyond that, if it runs it's probably a runner. Boxers are hard to kill.
 

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As above.

The fuel gauge issue could also just be that it was empty the last time the key was on. It can take a few minutes of riding for the strip to register new fuel in the tank.

I'd start with the battery for your cold start issues, then just a standard service after that (oil, plugs, air filter). Mines been sitting around and displays the same behaviour, so I'm grabbing a battery this arvo.

Steering issue could be the upper headstem bearing. Mines a bit notchy and stiff, so I'm replacing it soon. I'll do a DIY post when I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to both of you for your feedback which has been very helpful!
One more thing. Where is the power socket on these '11-'14 cam head bikes?

Many thanks.
geo
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to you all. I put a deposit down on the bike I have been looking at. After a 5 year hiatus I will be back in the BMW moto world soon.
 

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I had a 2011 Classic for a while and did notice that it took a little longer to start than normal. It actually was worse after being ridden for a while. The starter would seem to drag. Even though it never left me stranded without starting. Once you get use to the feel of the bike you will love it. That 2011 was my first BMW. I now have a 2015 LC and wouldn't trade it for anything. The R bikes are just so good and so much fun to ride. You won't regret buying this bike. Take care and enjoy the ride!
 

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One comment about the slow starting - mine used to do that, especially during the colder months (it would sort of hang for a split second while turning over and then fire up). I changed the oil for the first time a few months ago and I think the dealership must've put higher viscosity oil in there, because it hasn't done it since I changed it.

One other observation since the oil change is that I'm burning much less oil (if any) now. This is the oil I'm now using: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008MISDH4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One comment about the slow starting - mine used to do that, especially during the colder months (it would sort of hang for a split second while turning over and then fire up). I changed the oil for the first time a few months ago and I think the dealership must've put higher viscosity oil in there, because it hasn't done it since I changed it.

One other observation since the oil change is that I'm burning much less oil (if any) now. This is the oil I'm now using: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008MISDH4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Chuck, Thanks for your feed back. I assume that you have an LC model with a wet clutch? I was under the impression that the air cooled models (like the one I am buying) with a dry clutch and independent gear box and final drive didn't use motorcycle oil, but normal engine oil. Am I right about that you sages who still ride air cooled boxers?
g
 

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Chuck, Thanks for your feed back. I assume that you have an LC model with a wet clutch? I was under the impression that the air cooled models (like the one I am buying) with a dry clutch and independent gear box and final drive didn't use motorcycle oil, but normal engine oil. Am I right about that you sages who still ride air cooled boxers?
g
Your owner's manual or local BMW dealership is still the best reference for technical info for you motorcycle. Oil specs for your model are: SAE 15W-50, API SJ / JASO MA2. Any oil conforming to those standards are appropriate.

A PDF copy of your owners manual can be found here:


And if you have further curiosity on the matter, there are dozens of threads on this forum and others about which oil is the best for a BMW Camhead engine - a forum search or Google search will yield more reading on the matter than one man could ever absorb in a lifetime. I'd also exercise caution on this forum when advice or suggestions are giving by people who don't have a model/year listed in their signature.

Best,
 

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Chuck, Thanks for your feed back. I assume that you have an LC model with a wet clutch? I was under the impression that the air cooled models (like the one I am buying) with a dry clutch and independent gear box and final drive didn't use motorcycle oil, but normal engine oil. Am I right about that you sages who still ride air cooled boxers?
g
No, I'm running a 2012 R12R Classic which is the air/oil cooled with dry clutch as you mention. After a bunch of research when I first bought the bike, I found that oil recommended by a lot of camhead owners so I went with it and, like I said, seems to have improved the slow starting. As R1200N8 metioned, I consulted the owner's manual and chose the oil viscosity that corresponded most closely to the temperature ranges where I live.

I also should point out that I'm right around 18k miles on the bike so I suppose the bike burning less oil now could be attributed to the "break-in period" possibly being complete now but I still think the easier starting was likely due to the oil change.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to all of you for your help. Here are two more questions:
What is this round thing? Location is under the seat.
108403


And Is this the power socket?
108404

Many thanks in advance..!
gs

P.S. Apologies for mentioning the "O" word above...(aka oil...)
 

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The first picture shows the diagnostic connector.

Can’t help you with the second as I can’t see what the arrow is pointing to but the power socket is a Hella DIN socket and should be clearly visible at the side of the bike below the level of the seat.
 

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I'd like to tell you what it is but apparently until i figure out how to add my bike info to my signature, I'm branded as one of those 'shady' types to be cautious of ;)

I have the technical BMW manual for my '12 R1200R. It's the digital shop version which was oh so helpful when rebuilding my bike. Does anyone else have that? I can't remember where i got it, I'd be happy to share it if I was sure I wouldn't have jackbooted thugs wearing blue and white roundel uniforms knocking at my door.
 

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Bostewart, It's the shady types that make things interesting... I think you can put a signature together by clicking on account details and choosing the account settings menu.
Sharing your tech. manual would reinforce your badass 'shady' reputation, would it not?
 

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Bostewart, It's the shady types that make things interesting... I think you can put a signature together by clicking on account details and choosing the account settings menu.
Sharing your tech. manual would reinforce your badass 'shady' reputation, would it not?
The power socket is generally in the area you're pointing to in your photo. On the left hand side of the bike (facing the front) - it's directly above where the inner footpeg frame piece meets the rear subframe. It's circular, with a plastic flip up cap. There may be some other plug (I'm seeing lines running off of the battery) - pigtail for battery charging possibly or some accessory.

I'm not suggesting any specific people are shady or that everyone should feel compelled to add anything to their signature. I'm merely pointing out that this is a forum with FOUR unique engines, two transmissions/final drives, and a host of year specific differences. Combine that with a bunch of beemer smartypants who sound super confident in their answers and you easily get a situation where someone takes advice given for an entirely different bike.

The digital shop manual is too big to share here on the site (and would be a violation of the terms of the site). An official copy is available through your dealer or an "official" copy is available through popular auction sites. The name of the software - for when you ask at your dealer - is BMW RepRom.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dear all,
Thanks much again for your help! When I went back to the dealership to test ride the bike a second time I figured out that the handling problems were due to the unevenly worn 9 year old stock tires. Also they knocked off $200 more from the price because the fuel gauge is defective. Fortunately they were able to install a pair of new Metzler Roadtec Z8 Interacts (they have the BMW wheel balancing machine) and I rode it home from Pittsburgh to Rochester, NY. A great twisty scenic ride through the Allegheny national forest and other PA and NY back roads. With the new tires it floats like a butterfly. Oh, and it purrs like a tiger..... It's good to be back on a BMW.
geo
108488
 
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