Posts Tagged With: accessories

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

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 Ride To Eat (RTE)

The couple we’ll ride with, Sean & Christine were out-of-town and came back yesterday.  What’s the first thing Donna wanted to get together and do?  Well it was to go riding of course!  Sean & Christine are now in the home stretch of being full-time RV’ers with a contract on their house and had already planned to look at campers and motorhomes today.  We’re leaning in that direction ourselves so Donna came up with the idea for a short ride to lunch for some BBQ and then back towards home to look at campers.  We met later in the morning than normal since it was a lunch ride and we headed for Dawsonville and over Burnt Mountain for lunch in Talking Rock, GA at Biguns BBQ.  This is the same short lunch ride I had led some members of my Blue Knights Chapter on earlier in the week.  But it does amaze me of how much cooler it is on the top of that mountain and it’s not very high.  Today it was sunny and it was 8 degrees (F) cooler on the top of the mountain.  We headed on to Biguns before it got too crowded and it sure did get crowded today.  After lunch it was time to head down to Camping World to do some window shopping.  Donna and I even found a real nice Class C motorhome that we really liked.  It was to the point that we were looking at each other and scheming.  We were at the point that we decided that if we could right now, we’d buy it then buy a trailer for the Magic Carpet and just hit the road.  Maybe in another year or so though.

Today was also the first day that I finally got Donna to wear earplugs while riding too.  She finally gave in!  She had tried foam earplugs in the past but didn’t like them and admittedly they did loosen up and fall look like they were going to fall out.  It was time for me to replace my ETY plugs so I just ordered 2 pair this time.  She really liked them when she tried them on when they got here and then she wore them all day today and found them comfortable.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Want The Shortest Or The Curvy Route?

Earlier in the week I wrote a post about the curvy road feature in Garmin’s Basecamp software for planning routes and transferring them to your GPS.  I said I’d play with it a bit and see how it went.  Well, I haven’t ridden a route planned with it yet but I have let the software work its magic.  I gave it a Point A to Point B route from Jasper, GA to Blairsville, GA.  I let it use the shortest route and then the curvy roads option.  The shortest route came in at 58.4 miles and an estimated trip time of 59 minutes.  The route is all on Georgia Highway 515/US 76 and it’s on a 4 lane highway with a grass median between the opposing lanes.  But, it is a nice ride if you’re in a hurry.  The curvy route was 75.8 miles and had an estimated time of 1 hour and 59 minutes to complete.  The curvy route takes twice as long to complete but sure does look a lot more fun.  I can attest that some parts of the curvy route are even curvier than the map lets on.

The shortest route selected by BaseCamp.

The shortest route selected by BaseCamp.

The curvy route selected by BaseCamp.

The curvy route selected by BaseCamp.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Would You Like Curves With That Route?

Our Garmin Zumo 220 GPS shipped with MapSource as the routing software to accompany it.  Garmin has since abandoned MapSource and began using its own software, BaseCamp, which is available for free as a download.  The idea with BaseCamp (and was with MapSource) was that you could create a trip or a route on your computer, transfer it to your GPS and then load the route on your GPS and follow it.  It is nice to do.  By default BaseCamp checks for updates every time you load it.  In BaseCamp you set options for profiles such as motorcycling, driving, hiking, etc..  With the options for each setting you can set the profile to not route you on things such as toll roads, dirt roads, avoid u-turns, highways and many more things.  I noticed a feature in the motorcycle profile that I don’t know if it’s new or I’ve been missing it all this time.  It’s a “curvy roads” routing feature.  That’s right, curvy roads for a motorcycle!  Who would’ve thought that motorcycles would like curvy roads?  Well it’s an option I’m going to start playing with and see what results I get.

The curvy roads options in the motorcycling profile.

The curvy roads options in the motorcycling profile.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Just A 228 Mile Sunday Ride

That’s right we went on a 228 mile ride today.  No it wasn’t a trip, it was a Sunday ride.  It all started the other day when I asked Donna if she wanted to go have lunch at Turner’s Corner Café at the corner of US 129 and Georgia Highway 9 today.  So we got a late morning start and headed up.  Here it is July in Georgia and the forecast was for a high temperature of 85°F, low humidity (rare) and mostly sunny skies.  I played with the GPS software, Basecamp and created a route that would take us up using some local roads we hadn’t been on before and then transferred it to the GPS.  We headed up through Canton, Ballground and Dawsonville before using Georgia Highway 400 for a short time until it ended.  After we made our turn onto Georgia Highway 115 we were only supposed to be on it for a short time before making a left turn and cutting back diagonally on some nice crooked local roads.  But the GPS showed it was 12 miles until our next turn.  I saw what I thought was our turn go past.  For some reason the GPS decided that it wanted to route us up Highway 115 to US 129 which would take us straight to Turner’s Corner Café.  No big deal, we just wanted to have lunch on the river and watch the motorcycles.  Once we got to lunch I brought the GPS in with us and reloaded the route and previewed it.  Sure enough it showed the original route.  I don’t know why the GPS didn’t use the route as planned but this is the second time this has happened.  Both Basecamp and the GPS have the same maps installed.

This was also my first day riding with a new pair of Do-It-Yourself custom molded earplugs.  I got mine from Ear Plug Superstore.  I’ve tried them before but didn’t quite get them right.  This time however I took my time and didn’t second guess the instructions and they worked.  They are harder to get in your ear but have quite a good seal.  This may sound weird but they’re both quieter and noisier.  They’re quieter in that they “muffle” sound well and I needed to turn my intercom up a bit to hear the GPS and Donna.  But they’re noisier in that I think there’s more wind noise than my ETY plugs.  But then that may be a good thing.  I suffer from tinnitus (a ringing in your ears) and if it’s too quiet, the ringing can seem louder, will be irritating and could just make you uncomfortable.  But the new self moldable plugs gave me the “white noise” effect that my hearing aids also supply and my night-time sound machine.

I figured that after lunch we’d head back home as it was just over an hour and a half ride.  But while eating Donna asked “Where are we riding after this?”  So after lunch we backtracked down US 129 a few miles to Georgia Highway 75 Alt until we made our left (northerly) turn onto Georgia Highway 348, the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.  This curvy stretch of mountain road only runs between Highway 75 Alt and Georgia Highway 180 and isn’t very long.  There are numerous pull-offs to view the Appalachian Mountains.  It’s a very fun and curvy road but there weren’t many motorcycles on it today.  At the RBR’s end we made the turn on to Highway 180 for a very short distance before heading up and over Blood Mountain on US 129 and then headed for Dahlonega and home.

So we had a great Sunday ride of 228 miles.  Oh, and along the way today the Magic Carpet’s odometer reached and passed 82,000 miles.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Little Air Pump That Can

It’s the age-old of question of topping off the air pressure of tires conveniently at home.  Yes you can always go to a gas station or convenience store to do it but everything always lists “psi cold” and the tires heat while driving or riding.  I do have a Slime air compressor that works off a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug.  It’s small and gets the job done but it’s seems noisy too.  To do the motorcycle tires I have to get each motorcycle tire over close enough to the car to use the compressor within reach of the cord and the cigarette lighter in the car.  I started looking for a compressor that I could plug into a wall outlet.  I didn’t need anything with an air tank that could power a nailer or other air tool.  I just needed a light duty air compressor to top off tires.

I found a Kobalt 120 PSI electric air compressor at Lowe’s.  It’s a handy little unit and retails for $49.98.  It runs on 120 volt AC current or 12 volts DC using the cigarette lighter plug.  The compressor has a digital tire gauge on it for checking tire pressures and has accessories for inflating sports equipment and air mattresses.  It also has grommets on the front to hold your valve stem caps.  One of the best features is that you can set the pressure you want in the tire, turn the compressor on and it will turn itself off when it reaches the pre-set pressure. No more guessing, checking, pumping and checking.  The air hose and 120 volt cord wrap around the unit and the 12 volt cord is stored in the compressor.  There’s also a compartment for spare valve stem caps, sports needles and air mattress/toy nozzles.  The 12 volt cord is more than ample to reach all four tires on a vehicle but the 120 volt cord is only 21 inches long.  I’ve checked the pressure against both an Accu-Gage dial pressure gauge and a BMW digital tire pressure gauge and it hasn’t been more than one half pound off.  I think it’ll be a handy tool in the garage.  Now I can leave the motorcycle right where it is and top off the pressure in the tires if needed.

In the video below I let 3 pounds of air from the back tire and then set the compressor at 48 PSI.  It stops when it reaches 48.

Pros of the compressor:

  • Runs off of the cigarette lighter in the car or household current.
  • All cords are retained around or in the compressor.
  • Quiet.
  • Digital pressure gauge.
  • Can be set to turn off at a pre-set pressure.
  • 12 volt automobile cord is long enough to reach all four tires.

Cons of the compressor:

  • 120 volt household cord is way too short and requires an extension cord.
  • After 10 minutes of continuous use it should be allowed to cool for 10 minutes.

No you won’t be able to completely fill and set a bead on a tire with this little gem but it’s great for everyday use in maintaining tire pressures.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Back Seat Roll Bag From Viking Bags (a review)

It’s review time again!  I received a Back Seat Roll Bag from Viking Bags to try out and review.  If you go to Viking Bags you’ll notice that most of their luggage is made for cruiser motorcycles such has Harley Davidson and the metric cruiser style motorcycles.  It looks like nice stuff too.  You’ll even notice that BMW is not even listed as one of the choices for saddlebags.  I agreed again to give a fair review so here it goes.

The bag is a cylinder and made of heavy-duty Cordura nylon.  It has a plastic insert in the bag so that it holds it shape even when empty and won’t collapse.  On each end there’s a zippered extension that lengthens the bag about 4 inches.  There’s an included removable shoulder strap and easy to install rain cover.  The zippered “hatch” to get into the bag has a mesh organizer pocket on the inside.  The bag has a carry handle.  It’s a well made bag.

When I first received the bag I wasn’t sure that I could even use it on a BMW K1200LT.  The instructions and video showed it being mounted to a back rest, sissy bar or a much narrower seat.  I got concerned.  I tried it on my top case rack and it was definitely a “no-go” as it wasn’t secure enough and moved around too much.  Since it mentioned the passenger grab rails, I decided to try mounting it to the side case/passenger grab handles on the side cases.  I decided to try it with the attached wide Velcro straps and it went right on.  I just passed the straps through the handles and back on themselves so that the Velcro would grab (just like they were intended to do).  I just took the extra and folded in and then tucked it up under the bag.  I also tried the narrower and removable straps but the bag was harder to mount and didn’t feel as secure.  I mounted it to the back seat again using the wide straps and snugged it down.  I filled it with a tool bag, towel and some other items.  I could rock the bag forward and back just a bit (hey it’s a roll bag isn’t it?) but there was absolutely no side to side movement.  I intentionally did not fill the bag all the way and filled it with heavy items to increase the chance of it moving around.  I then took the bag for a ride on some local roads and on the highway.  In my blind spot mirrors I could see the bag rock forward and back less than and inch.  The bag never moved sideways (a good thing) and the extra length of the straps never came out from under the bag and flapped in the wind.  I didn’t try the rain cover.

The bag was not made for the kind of motorcycle I was using it on but it adapted very well.  This this would be an excellent piece of luggage on something like a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, Suzuki C50T or C90T or Yamaha V-Star Silverado.    I’m sure there’s many others but I know those models have passenger back rests.  Actually it would easily fit on any motorcycle with a passenger back rest.  The bag would attach to the supports of the back rest very easily or the back rest itself and you could even use the extra supporting straps.  I can see that the bag could either sit on the back seat in front of the passenger back rest or behind it even on a small luggage rack if you had a passenger with you.  The plastic insert in the bag is rigid enough it could sit on a small luggage rack and not sag.  If I had a cruiser style motorcycle I’d be using this bag all that time as it’s that durable and easy to install.

The roll bag is available at Vikingbags “dot” com.  You can click on any of the images below for the full-sized picture.

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Review Of Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants

Earlier this week I had received my pair of Tourmaster Tracker Air Pants.  The pants have mesh panels in them to allow for air flow when it’s warm.  I got ride over 200 miles while wearing them today.  I saw reviews on several websites that the pants were “true to size” or even big.  When I took the pants out of the box, they seemed huge!  I tried them on and they seemed a bit big and made me think for a while that I should’ve ordered the L instead of the XL.  You see, I already have a pair of Tourmaster Quest pants in L and they seem snug but are cut more like jeans.  Tourmaster L says 34-36 and XL says 36-38.  I can comfortably wear name brand blue jeans with a 38″ inch waste and can squeeze in a pair of 36 so I thought I’d be okay.  These pants are also much darker in color than is shown on the Tourmaster and other web sites.

The Tracker Air Pants come with the nylon wind liner already in them.  The liner is easily removed with Velcro tabs.  I first tried the pants on with the wind liner in them and could already tell that I don’t like it.  Unless you are VERY careful putting the pants on, you will pull the liner off the Velcro tabs.  Then the wind liner looked like it was longer than the pants themselves and stuck out from the bottom of the legs.  It really doesn’t bother me though because I wanted the pants for warm weather wear as I already have cool weather pants.  The pants have legs that zip off so you can make them into shorts.  I did zip the legs off and on and it was easy to do.  Again though, I didn’t buy them to wear as shorts so doing that is something I will probably never do again.  The only armor in these pants is the CE rated armor in the knees.  The knee armor is not adjustable like it is in other Tourmaster pants, it only has the one position.  I think if I had ordered the L the armor would be too high while sitting on the motorcycle.  The pants have no back pockets.  The only pockets are the 2 zippered front pockets and the cargo pockets on each leg.  But the cargo pockets appear to be waterproof (Tourmaster does NOT advertise these pants as having a rain liner to keep you dry).  The side zipper on the legs goes all the way to the knee and the cuffs are secured by Velcro.  The zipper is covered by a Velcro secured flap which I think is unneccessary.  Unless you’re going to put the pants on or take them off while wearing boots you shouldn’t even need to use the leg zippers.  There are no belt loops on these pants and you adjust them using the Velcro strap on each side.

Now for the good part….wearing while riding.

I wore them today on a 200+ mile ride with temperatures in the mid 70′s F and a partly cloudy sky.  As soon as you start moving you can feel the air moving through the pants.  The mesh panels are on the shins, thighs and the backs of the legs.  Right away you feel the shins and I’m being a full fairing.  As your speed increases you can feel the air on your thighs.  I never did notice any breeze on my calves but interestingly could feel it on the back of my thighs.  Getting on and off the motorcycle was easy and comfortable, probably due to the stretch panel in the crotch.  I felt no binding or tight spots.  The legs did not flap in the breeze.  Are they cooler than jeans?  You bet they are!  Even when stopped in traffic they were quite comfortable.  The knee armor seemed a bit high but I was able to move around and adjust it before riding off.  I found no defects and they are well made.  Even though they are mesh, you can’t see skin through the material due to the thinner mesh lining like Tourmaster and Cortech use in their jackets.  I do think they are a very worthwhile purchase if you ride in warmer climates as they are cooler than jeans and offer more protection than jeans.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Comfortable
  • Cool
  • Knee armor
  • Cargo pockets appear to be waterproof
  • Allow good air flow
  • Cuffs are adjustable
  • Reflective piping down entire length of leg
  • Reflective piping matches pants and is invisible until light find it in the dark
  • Don’t ride up while riding
  • Don’t flap in breeze
  • Cooler than jeans
  • More protection than jeans
  • You may be able to wear over a pair of jeans

Cons

  • Wind liner comes loose
  • Wind liner appears to be an after thought
  • No belt loops for wearing a belt
  • Knee armor is not adjustable
  • No hip armor
  • Seem to run large
  • No back pockets
Categories: Accessories, Reviews | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

First Farkle Of The New Year?

Well maybe it’s not so much a farkle but more of a sticker. The local BMW Motorcycle dealer has begun selling some stickers after a few years absence. I could resist getting one. After all, the Magic Carpet is not a trailer queen!  I actually meant to put this in the New Years Day ride post but forgot.

If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand.

If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

Categories: Accessories, General | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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