THAT Was An Interesting Phone Call

Well, in the previous post I vented about the differences in motorcycle dealers and the trouble in not only getting my top case delivered but the key being stuck in the lock.

Earlier today, after I installed the lock cylinder and after BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta’s exemplary customer service I posted a picture on Twitter of the top case along with the text “Finally right! But with NO help from BMW of Daytona Beach but LOTS from BMW of Atlanta!”  About 2 hours later I got a call from a representative from BMW Motorcycles USA about my social media posting.  He explained that an employee whose job is to search social media sent the post to him.  First he asked if there was a problem.  Then he asked what happened and what each dealer told me or did.  Then he wanted to know what could be done to resolve the situation if it had not already been resolved.  It was a very friendly friendly and cordial phone call.  I was actually surprised and impressed by the call.  He even wanted to know if my R1200RT was a buy back motorcycle or involved in the recall.  He admitted to not having yet read all the information about the purchase but wanted to reach out to see what happened and what could be done.

I was thoroughly impressed.  BMW Motorcycles USA initiated customer contact about an issue or question they spotted on Twitter.  Some would look down on it as “big brother” watching us, but I see it as a company being concerned about a customer.  One thing he said really made sense, “We want you to know our customer service does not end with the sale, it’s actually where it begins.”

I just hope they don’t call again about this post!

Categories: General | Tags: | 1 Comment

Some Dealers Are Better Than Others

If you’re a reader here you know that last month while in Florida we purchased our 2014 BMW R1200RT.  We purchased it at BMW Motorcycles of Daytona.  When we purchased it, the BMW Navigator V GPS was a free incentive for the purchase of the 2014 RT and we also purchased the BMW 49 liter top case (trunk) for the motorcycle and paid the extra to have the top case keyed to the motorcycle.  The dealership did not have the top case in stock and had to order it.  While still at the dealership someone from the parts department came up and told me that it would ship to them on October 21.  They also retained one of the motorcycle’s keys so key the lock to be the same as the motorcycle.

Now here’s some of the differences in dealers.  They also didn’t have the GPS but said their shop in Orlando did and they would have it sent over or picked up either the next day or the following day while we were still in town.  Well the GPS never showed up at the Daytona dealer.  After a few calls to our salesman I found out five days later that the GPS had already “been spoken for” and they’d have to order it and send it to me.  The salesman or the dealership didn’t call me to tell me, I had called them nearly a week later.  A second call about the GPS and now the top case was made.  The GPS had shown up that day and was sent “next day” but the top case was expected “any day now”.  The GPS arrived on 10/31/14, (we bought the motorcycle on 10/16/14) the next day.  Out of curiosity, I checked the UPS tracking number and found it didn’t ship “next day” on the 30th but had actually shipped UPS ground on the 29th.  I know it’s a popular item.  Just say it might take about 10 days to get if you don’t have it.  Oh and about that top case?  “Maybe on Monday.” is the answer I got.

I waited a few more days to call back on the top case.  On 11/05/04 my salesman and I spoke and I asked if it had actually been ordered.  He said he’d check on that and “get back” with me.  Five days later on 11/10/14 I called him again as he had not gotten back with me.  He longer worked there.  The woman on the phone asked if she could help.  She remembered the sale and said either she or someone else would call me back about it.  She did explain that it could be that same day (it was late in the afternoon) but would probably be the next day but shouldn’t be any later than the 12th.  First thing in the morning the next day she called and said the top case was there but they needed the key.  She found them in the former salesman’s desk after I told her he had told me they were there.  Then on 11/14/14 the top case arrived!  The key was in the lock.  The key would lock and unlock the top case.  But the key would not come out of the lock!  No matter what I did the key would not come out.  Was I supposed to ride around with a spare ingnition key in the lock?  What if someone could get it out?  I called the dealership.  The woman who had found the case put me on hold to check what to do.  Here’s the message she relayed to me, “They said to get a local dealer to fix it because it would be quicker than sending it back to them.  He says it’s probably a bad lock.”  That was their solution.  I had paid them for the lock and paid them to key the same as the ignition key.  It seems I was a valued customer to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona right up until the minute I rode off their lot.

Using a few forums and the internet I was able to get the lock cylinder out.  You just have to know how and have the right tools along with access to the top case.  What I found was amazing.  There are supposed to be 6 tumblers in the lock.  My lock had 3 tumblers installed and the other spots were vacant.  I needed the proper remaining tumblers to complete the job.  BMW does sell a lock set with the cylinder and an assortment of tumblers.

On Tuesday the 18th of November I went to my local dealer, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta with the intent to buy a whole new lock kit if I had to.  I now knew how to set the lock and re-install the cylinder.  “We’ll take care of this for you.” is what I was told.  “These are the only tumblers you have?”  I was told “Yeah, you can do it with three but you’re really not supposed to.”  He got the tumbler kit out and then told me, “Here’s why you couldn’t get the key out, this tumbler is the wrong number.  It did let you insert, lock and unlock but then wouldn’t release the key.”  So in about 15 minutes or less, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta took care of the lock.  Oh and the cost?  There wasn’t any.  And yes I even told them I had made the purchase at another dealer.  They’re a dealer who really understands what customer service is.

Can you tell the difference in the dealers?

Did BMW of Daytona offer to call Atlanta to see if they could take care of it for free or bill them if there was a cost?  No they sure didn’t.  Have they called to see it the lock issue was somehow resolved?  No they sure didn’t.  As it stands again would I never go into or patronize BMW of Daytona again?  No I sure wouldn’t.

But I’d spend the extra money to buy a part or supply from BMW of Atlanta (instead of online) because of the personal service they supply.  They realize you’re a customer long after the sale and want to keep you as a customer.  The owners, who are a husband and wife team are actively involved in their business.  I took the R1200RT to them for its break-in service.  But I’m regretting more and more not purchasing the motorcycle from them.

No matter what motorcycle you purchase, research the dealer as much, if not more than the motorcycle.

As someone on BMWLT.com posted; the problem was fixed by a real dealer.

 

Categories: Accessories, General, Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

First Nighttime Ride On The R1200RT

I had the first nighttime ride tonight on the R1200RT.  It’s pretty impressive.  I had a friend and former co-worker pass away this past week and tonight was the visitation at the funeral home.  We met when we were both Motor Officers.  I felt it would be appropriate to ride the motorcycle to the funeral home and it seems so did some other former Motor Officers.

It was just at sundown as I left the house and was heading east with the sun setting behind me.  The R1200RT has an instrument panel that automatically dims or brightens dependant on the ambient light.  This feature is pretty cool and in a stretch with some street lights I could actually notice it brighten and dim.  In the dark the panel was easy to see and read.  The GPS seemed to be a bit dark though.  On battery power, the “auto dim” feature is disabled but I’ll have to check on that when it’s powered by the motorcycle.  However, when I came home and it was good and dark, the GPS screen was easier to read.  The headlight really lights up the road!  The Magic Carpet, our retired K1200LT had been upgraded to a nice HID headlight before we bought it.  The headlight on the R1200RT is an HID according to what the salesman told us but it doesn’t seem to have that crisp, white appearance the one on the Magic Carpet did.  But on a road near home I played with the high beam and was amazed at how much it light up the road and how far the light went.  It was also then that I noticed the low beam had a “whiter” light compared the slightly yellow of the halogen high beam lights so the low beam could well be an HID.  You never really notice the very slight yellow of good halogen lighting until you see it compared to HID.

I still have to get used to the locations of all the switches on the handlebars in the dark though.  On the K1200LT the button for the hazard flashers was always illuminated when the ignition was on and because of that it was a good point of reference.  I miss that benign little feature.

Categories: General | Tags: | 3 Comments

I’m Really Liking This Motorcycle!

I took the R1200RT out for a short 126 mile ride this morning.  One of the things I wanted to do was familiarize myself with the BMW Navigator V GPS system using a route I already had saved in Garmin’s BaseCamp software.  There are some differences in the way the new Navigator V and the older Garmin Zumo 220 load routes and where they keep them.  I left the new Navigator V GPS set so that it would give me prompts and directions through the motorcycle’s on-board audio system through the fairing speakers.

We’re still waiting for our top case to be delivered so this was going to be a solo ride.  Donna prefers the security of the top case and its backrest behind her plus she had to work today.

I took a short and fun route that we’ve ridden a number of times and written about here.  I have the route saved in BaseCamp as “Hillbilly Drive“.  I take GA HWY 53 across to Dawsonville where I take a nice local road back out to GA HWY 183 going towards Amicalola Falls State Park.  Before getting to the park I take GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain and through its curves before getting to Talking Rock, GA and heading for home.

It was a cool but gorgeous day to ride!  It started out right at 50º (F) and dropped to 48 going over the mountain before rising again to the mid 50′s.  I was comfortable with the liner in my jacket, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of riding pants.  I even wore unlined plain leather gloves but cheated and used the heated grips.  I had the SiriusXM radio tuned to the Grateful Dead station and my route in the GPS.  Whenever I had an upcoming turn, the audio system automatically muted and played the instructions from the GPS.  It was easier to hear the GPS than it was the music.  The R1200RT fell right into the curves!  I’ll admit that this was always a fun road on the K1200LT but the boxer twin R1200RT increases the fun factor exponentially.  I stopped for a short break at the scenic overlook.  There’s still just a little bit of color in the trees too.  But after last weekend’s winter weather there was already some sand and gravel spread on a few parts of Highway 136.  The boxer goes too!  There were some parts of the route that I’m used to downshifting from 5th to 4th on the K1200LT to get better power.  But with the R1200RT’s boxer twin you just open the throttle and it goes.

I even tried out BMW’s Hill Start Assist today just to see what it’s all about.  It’s like using a parking brake that automatically releases when you give the bike some throttle to start moving again.  When pulling out onto the main highway up there, GA HWY 515, I finally tried out another option, BMW’s Shift Assistant Pro.  Wow what an option!  Shift Assistant Pro allows upshifts and downshifts without the use of the clutch.  After pulling onto the highway and rolling I shifted into 3rd through 6th gears by revving and shifting and NOT using the clutch.  I remember reading somewhere that Shift Assistant Pro is better suited to a more performance oriented ride.

I did miss having Donna back there though.  I hope that top case gets here soon.

Categories: Accessories, Rides | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Motorcycle Goal To Aim For

The dust is settling after trading in the Magic Carpet, our 2002 BMW K1200LTE, and buying the 2014 BMW R1200RT.

I was looking at a few things and then got curious.  I know, that can be very dangerous.  You see, BMW Motorcycles USA offers a 100,000 mile award to those who can document through a dealer that you have ridden 100,000 miles on BMW Motorcycles.  The award is a nice medallion and a certificate.  Remember, this is not just motorcycles but BMW Motorcycles.  So I got curious about the mileages.  We bought our K1200LTE used and we rode 44,631 miles on it since we purchased it.  We’ve ridden our R1200RT 858 miles since purchasing it just under 3 weeks ago.  That’s a total of 45,489 miles (so far) on BMW Motorcycles.  I have only 54,511 miles to go (as of today).  I think I can do it.

Categories: General | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Motorcycle Trip That Wasn’t

We, or rather a group had to cancel a motorcycle trip that was scheduled for tomorrow.  Every fall my Blue Knights Chapter plans an overnight trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge & Resort in Stecoah, NC on their last weekend before closing for the season.  Well, that weekend was supposed to begin tomorrow but Mother Nature really threw us a curve this year.  You see, here in the southeastern U.S. we’re expecting back to back arctic cold fronts to come through.  The first one has already passed and dropped temperatures to the mid 50′s (F) for highs here.  As I type this it’s 49° F and overcast up at the Iron Horse.  Tomorrow’s high temperature is now forecast to be 36° F!  We were already prepared for cold weather and that wasn’t scaring us off.  But the second front is bringing moisture with it.  Tonight at the Iron Horse it’s supposed to begin raining and then after midnight that rain will be changing to snow.  It’s now forecast to continue snowing in Stecoah until about 5:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.  The National Weather Service isn’t saying it could change to snow but that it will change to snow.  The Iron Horse is in a valley so they won’t be hit with as much snow as the slightly higher elevations but they’re still forecasting between 1 and 3 inches of snow in the valleys.  That’s not exactly motorcycle friendly weather.  There was an idea to ride up in cars but as we get closer to the Iron Horse, the roads are more rural and less traveled.  The Iron Horse had also called our trip’s organizer concerned with the weather and guests travelling to them.  So it looks like we’ll have to wait until at least the spring of 2015 to head back to the Iron Horse.

Categories: Safety, Trips | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Break In Maintenance Time

The new R1200RT headed down to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta this morning for its 600 mile break-in service.  It’s mainly an oil changed and final drive oil change along with a list of other things they check and then reset the service reminder light (which came on promptly at 600 miles).  The fact that the motorcycle had about 840 miles at the time made no difference.  I scheduled and appointment so that I could get it done while I waited.  I had been told that the book said it was a 3 hour job but that I’d likely be out after 2½ hours.  It took them just under an hour and half.  No problems were found along with the service.  The price was exactly what I was quoted over the phone.  Now it’s time to really start riding it!

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It Made Her Giggle

We took the new R1200RT out for a ride today.  We wanted to go look at a toy hauler RV that was at an RV dealer over near Gainesville, GA.  It was a gorgeous fall day so we decided we were going to ride our new motorcycle.  Our friends, Sean and Christine were going to go with us and ride their Victory Cross Country Tour.  Time-wise the interstate was the fastest but riding motorcycles on tow lane roads is more fun!  The dealer is right off of Georgia HWY 53 in Oakwood, GA.  So we left Woodstock and headed up I-575 until it changed to GA HWY 515 just north of Ballground, GA where we picked up GA HWY53 which we would take all the way to the RV dealer.

The stretch of GA HWY 53 from Jasper to Dawsonville is a road that we have taken many, many times before.  It is a fun, curvy road as many roads are in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  We also took this route so we could compare travelling it on our K1200LT and on our new R1200RT.  The best part of today’s route was after we crossed from Pickens County into Dawson County.  We’re in the nice curvy section of road when I hear Donna giggling over the intercom.  Yes she was giggling!  She said it more fun on the R1200RT than it was on the K1200LT.  Believe me, I already knew it was much more fun!  Now you have to understand that Donna has never ridden on the back of a motorcycle without a back rest or trunk behind her (or in BMW terms, a top case) until we bought this R1200RT.  We have the top case on order but it isn’t here yet.  So there was Donna perched on the back of the BMW R1200RT, with nothing behind her, giggling away on a twisty and curvy road because it was fun.  We think we made the right decision for a new motorcycle.  Oh and know what was even better?  We got to ride the same stretch of road on the way home!  To be honest, the image below from Garmin Basecamp doesn’t do the road justice.  We ended up riding 163 miles today.  The R1200RT is now overdue for its 600 mile service and that task has been scheduled.  I wanted it out of the way before our trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground this weekend.

The stretch of road that made Donna giggle on the new R1200RT

The stretch of road that made Donna giggle on the new R1200RT

Categories: Rides | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Let Us Introduce You To…..

Okay, I can’t keep the lid on it any longer.  Let us introduce you to our new 2014 BMW R1200RT!

When we arrived in Daytona Beach last week, our K1200LT suffered a failed outer bearing on the final drive of the motorcycle.  BMW Motorcycles of Daytona was going to get us back on the road pretty quickly though.  You can read the entry about the final drive here instead of me going into it again.

We were at the dealer when we started to “What if…” ourselves.  Many of you know what I mean.  What if this happens or what if that happens?  The K1200LT had 85, 391 miles on her when we retired her.  Yes there were some maintenance items coming up due but that’s why it’s maintenance and hopefully not repair.  I had just changed the oil before our trip to Florida.

We were looking at an ebony black 2015 K1600GTL and what is now our quartz metallic blue 2014 R1200RT.  To be honest, the more we looked, I couldn’t justify the extra money of the K1600.  Besides the R1200RT is the boxer style engine.  I really didn’t like the R1200RT in the black or the matte gray they had.  But that’s just my choice.  The R1200RT was pretty much outfitted with everything the K1600GTL had too!  It has the Bluetooth audio and communications system, the heated seats and grips, cruise control, satellite radio, the ESA suspension system and so much more.  Did I say it’s got a boxer style motor?  As an incentive from BMW the purchase of the 2014 R1200RT came with the BMW Nav V GPS system.  BMW of Daytona was out of the GPS so they needed to get it from their sister dealer in Orlando.  It hadn’t arrived by the time we headed for home so they need to ship it this week.  We went ahead and ordered the 49 liter top case, which they also didn’t have and will be shipped.  It was a tougher decision to do this than we thought but we’re thinking it was a good one.

We spent about half a day riding it around Daytona Beach during Biketoberfest while visiting my Dad.  And then on Sunday we rode it home.  The top case wasn’t in yet and this was the  first time Donna would really be riding without a back rest or top case behind her for support.  Luckily, we had done like we had in the past and made the trip home in 2 days after a stop overnight in Tifton, GA.  It was really a good idea this time.  Donna really wasn’t fond of not having the top case yet.  And for me, after having the custom seat on the K1200LT the BMW seat on the R1200RT felt like sitting on a cinder block after a few hours.  I’m sure I’ll adjust to the seat.  The R1200RT gets tossed around by trucks more being that it’s more than 250 pounds lighter than the K1200LT was.  We will miss the Magic Carpet, she served us well.

In the coming weeks as we ride the R1200RT I’ll be posting more articles about it.  She hasn’t been named yet but that will come soon.

 

Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Near Disaster At Biketoberfest

Greetings from Daytona Beach at Biketoberfest!

But there was near disaster when we got here Wednesday.  We got off the highway and immediately heard a sound coming from the motorcycle as it moved.  It was sort of a “wuuu wuuu” as we rolled along.  We got to my Dad’s house and parked the Magic Carpet in the garage for the night.  The next morning I looked at the motorcycle and checked it more thoroughly.  I  found the sound was coming from the rear and  the right side, the same side as the final drive.  This could be real trouble.  I called my local dealer back home, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta for technical help.  The technician said it sounded like a final drive or drive shaft problem.  He also said to not drive it home because if that were the issue the rear end could fail or even lock up.  He even recommended taking the Magic Carpet to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona and that they had a good service department.

On Thursday morning we were at the dealer.  The service manager, Huel, said it could be the final drive.  When he found out we were from out of town he dropped what he was doing to look at it.  He determined it was the final drive and likely the outer bearing.  He wanted to know when we were heading home.  When I told him we had hoped to leave on Sunday he said he may have it fixed that same day!  The motorcycle was in the shop, on the lift and being worked on before the service paperwork was even done.  They even found an outstanding recall for the fuel line quick disconnects.  We were killing time at the dealer when in less than 30 minutes Huel came to me with some parts.  The outer roller bearing had failed but he said everything else looked good.  And as a result, the repair estimate had also dropped considerably.  The only problem was that they did not have the bearing in stock but he had ordered it for delivery the next day, on Friday.  He said “I’ll have you back on the road tomorrow morning or early afternoon.”

We got great customer service from Huel and BMW of Daytona.  But, I’m typing this on a tablet and will finish it up later with a trip report when we get home as scheduled.

Categories: Maintenance & Repair, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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