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Discussion Starter #1
So after doing quite a bit of research on the 2011- cam heads and talking to BMW both here and in Germany (while I was there with my job)... I went ahead and changed the 20W50 that the dealer put into my bike at the 600 mile "Breakin" to the Castrol TWS 10W-60 super high performance oil that is used in both the BMW M cars and the HP2 boxer bike... My main concern after sitting in legendary portland traffic twice and watching the temps climb to almost the top of the graph was cooling and oil breakdown... Sure it's not necessary but then what modification we do really is? For me this is peace of mind and since I did it myself it only cost me $70... mostly for the oil. I was thinking of going to the K&N filter, but I decided to stick with the OEM BMW one.

So far, 2 days into it...the bike runs cooler, quieter and doesn't have that odor of burned oil after a hard ride... I made sure to ride it hard when I first got it to seat the rings but from talking to BMW, this seems to be more a thing of the past with hex-heads and older boxers... apparently the newer engines are build synthetic ready right after the 600 mile change... this is why the note about waiting until 6000 miles was removed from the 2012 manual.
 

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the great debate

That explains why my dealershop put synthetic in at the 600 mile service. I drained it at 1,000 and put in 20W-50 Castrol fossil oil and a K&N oil filter. Which I would have done anyway. But at least now I won't be so nervous when/if I let them change the oil at the 6k service. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
sometimes I think these independent mechanics are just insuring a future flow of work when warranties are long expired so they give out advise like this... I can't imagine why on a newly manufactured engine with todays tolerances you'd be told to run it that long? Break in on ANY engine built today should hardly be 500 miles or so.. But frankly with the quality of todays oils, even the mineral ones are going to hold up well initially.... I'm just not sure about 6000 miles between tho.
 

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I've changed my oil 3 times since getting it and I have 6k miles. My changes are more dependent on the time than the miles.. Additive packages break down long before I will register that many miles.
 

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I've changed my oil 3 times since getting it and I have 6k miles. My changes are more dependent on the time than the miles.. Additive packages break down long before I will register that many miles.
very smart, many don't know that little known fact. Same actually applies to tires as well assuming you don't ride enough to wear then out, 2-3 years is a good max life on those as well.
 

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sometimes I think these independent mechanics are just insuring a future flow of work when warranties are long expired so they give out advise like this... I can't imagine why on a newly manufactured engine with todays tolerances you'd be told to run it that long? Break in on ANY engine built today should hardly be 500 miles or so.. But frankly with the quality of todays oils, even the mineral ones are going to hold up well initially.... I'm just not sure about 6000 miles between tho.
Maybe, but won't help him much with me since I change my own oil. And this guy has an excellent reputation. But, he's old skool and probably goes on what he knows from running BMW's for 20 years or so. I agree that modern engines logically should not need those considerations, but this is an air/oil cooled engine and I understand that tolerances are a little sloppy for that reason. My Honda's and other Japanese bikes I've owned have all been "get on and twist throttle" bikes with no specified break-in period at all. And, as I have bragged about often here and elsewhere, I put 100k plus miles on my VTX and would have gone much further if my right of way had not been violated - all on Honda dino oil changed every 4k miles. ymmv
 

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I must admit confusion1 my 2012 0wners Manual states specifically not to use synthetic oil for the first 6000 mi. Unless I find myself riding in the middle of the Sahara Desert or the Antarctic, it seems like following the manual makes sense to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I must admit confusion1 my 2012 0wners Manual states specifically not to use synthetic oil for the first 6000 mi. Unless I find myself riding in the middle of the Sahara Desert or the Antarctic, it seems like following the manual makes sense to me.
you mind telling me on what page of the 2012 R1200R manual it says this?

I've looked and looked and can't find it in mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just to be clear: go here BMW Motorrad International

and download the latest manual dated Aug 2011 (0490 is for my vin number) and do a search since it's a pdf it's easy... the word synthetic only appears in the discussion about wax.

This is all it says about engine oil spec.. no mention of synthetic or not. And since some of those oils can only be a synthetic, one can infer from the chart that it's approved period.
 

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manuals... manuals... manuals...

Just to be clear: go here BMW Motorrad International

and download the latest manual dated Aug 2011 (0490 is for my vin number) and do a search since it's a pdf it's easy... the word synthetic only appears in the discussion about wax.

This is all it says about engine oil spec.. no mention of synthetic or not. And since some of those oils can only be a synthetic, one can infer from the chart that it's approved period.
Just to jerk your chain a little... The manual doesn't mention transmission oil or rear drive oil at all... does that mean I don't need them? :D

My shop put 15W-40 synthetic in mine at the 600 mile service and I trust they knew what they were doing - though I admit thinking it was a mistake until my reading here led me to the same conclusion you have arrived at, MD11... I always wondered though... what harm could come from adding synthetic from the get-go in ANY engine? Rings don't seat during break in because it's slipperier?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just to jerk your chain a little... The manual doesn't mention transmission oil or rear drive oil at all... does that mean I don't need them? :D

My shop put 15W-40 synthetic in mine at the 600 mile service and I trust they knew what they were doing - though I admit thinking it was a mistake until my reading here led me to the same conclusion you have arrived at, MD11... I always wondered though... what harm could come from adding synthetic from the get-go in ANY engine? Rings don't seat during break in because it's slipperier?
Yeah, I had to actually call the dealer to get the spec on the gearbox and rear dif... I had the dealer change out both at my 600 miles even though it doesn't call for the transmission to be done. But fluid is cheap, transmissions aren't!

On engine oil, my very thorough research on this led me to believe that BMW has every intention to go pure synthetic on their new bikes including the R1200 boxers with the Camhead engines... for sure you'll see this on the newly redesigned Waterhead. There was a major change to the engine and it's entire tooling for these Camhead (which is what we have on 2011-newer R12R bikes), and this new engine likely could run on synthetic from the getgo, but this "Breakin" oil change at 600 miles should certainly be good point to switch over... since any true breaking in of any engine should have long since happened by 200 miles, much less 600. If you have an newer Camhead engine still guzzling oil with 6 or 12,000 miles, you might want to take it in for warranty repairs on the piston rings... they long since should have sealed by then.

I mean running a mineral oil for 6000 mile intervals seems ridiculous on face value for such a high-rev engine and such a small oil filter. I can see it on a car engine, with a capacity of 6+ quarts and a large automotive filter, but unless you totally baby the bike, avoid long idling in traffic, the oil WILL break down quite a bit by the time it's changed at 6K. Synthetics hold together FAR better, especially under heat, and over time. Very importantly also, they flow far better on cold starts and that's where a lot of wear occurs.

Anyway, the way I see it.... it's your bike and do what you like with it! Just don't try to sell it to me when you're done with it! ;)
 

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I had a 2010 GS (which has the same engine as the latest R1200R), that burned a lot of oil when new, but oil consumption slowly tapered off until it was pretty minimal at around 15000 miles. This behavior was very similar to the two hex-head bikes I owned previously. That behavior didn't suggest that there is anything different about the twin cam engines and the hex head engines, as far as break-in is concerned, so personally I wouldn't be rushing to use synthetic oil in my R until oil consumption has become minimal. Incidentally, I never put synthetic in the 2010 GS, and the dealer never suggested that I should do so.

On the other side of the coin, I presently own a K1600GT, which comes with synthetic oil straight from the factory. It also used oil when new, but now that it has 28000 miles it doesn't use any at all. That would seem to indicate that engines can break in properly even with synthetic oil.
 

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I had a 2010 GS (which has the same engine as the latest R1200R), that burned a lot of oil when new, but oil consumption slowly tapered off until it was pretty minimal at around 15000 miles. This behavior was very similar to the two hex-head bikes I owned previously. That behavior didn't suggest that there is anything different about the twin cam engines and the hex head engines, as far as break-in is concerned, so personally I wouldn't be rushing to use synthetic oil in my R until oil consumption has become minimal. Incidentally, I never put synthetic in the 2010 GS, and the dealer never suggested that I should do so.

On the other side of the coin, I presently own a K1600GT, which comes with synthetic oil straight from the factory. It also used oil when new, but now that it has 28000 miles it doesn't use any at all. That would seem to indicate that engines can break in properly even with synthetic oil.
In twice the time?
 

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I sort of have to agree with the, "I'm a bit confused" crowd. That being said, has anyone heard of a boxer twin failing for engine oil issues in the last 30 + years? Just saying, this engine design is about as bullet proof as you can get, and engine oil technology is better than its ever been. I know its probably going to generate some strong opinions but are we perhaps worried about much to do about nothing?
 

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I would like to switch over to the synthetic oil, simply to run the 5W-50 oil BMW offers. My area is known for huge temperature swings (can literally go from 60 one day to -20 the next, then back up again the day after.) I want an oil that has a) Exellent flow when it's cold out (20 or less), and b) can handle riding in 110 degrees. That temp range happens within a shorter timeframe around here than most other places.
 

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I would like to switch over to the synthetic oil, simply to run the 5W-50 oil BMW offers. My area is known for huge temperature swings (can literally go from 60 one day to -20 the next, then back up again the day after.) I want an oil that has a) Exellent flow when it's cold out (20 or less), and b) can handle riding in 110 degrees. That temp range happens within a shorter timeframe around here than most other places.

Sorry, just not the way it works. -20-60 yea ok -20-110 not gonna happen.
 
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