Posts Tagged With: K1200LT

Florida And Back

Last Sunday I headed down on a solo trip to Florida to visit my Dad in the Daytona Beach area.  It’s a trip that’s made a couple of times a year.  The route isn’t anything spectacular as the whole idea is to get there.  As you can imagine it’s all interstate highways to get there (although we have an alternate or two) going down I-75 to I-10, around Jacksonville on I-295 (believe me, you want to go around Jacksonville and not through) and then I-95 to my destination.  See, I told you it was an interesting route.  Departure is usually early in the morning letting me (or us) arrive in the afternoon.  This trip was a little different and I left late in the morning so I’d get there in the very early evening (when I’m solo I can travel much quicker and take shorter stops).

I forget how hot south-central Georgia can be once you get south of Macon!  In southern Georgia I was motoring along in the center lane with the cruise control set just above 70 mph.  In the right lane there was an SUV pulling an open trailer and I was slowly gaining on them.  As I got closer I could see some children’s bicycles on the trailer along with what looked like some waterproof boxes.  And then I saw it.  There was a BMW R1200GSA travelling on down the road on the trailer!  I slowly pulled alongside and adjusted the cruise control to match his speed.  The driver saw me and energetically waved at me.  I waved back.  Then, I pointed to the motorcycle shaking my head and waving my finger in “no no” fashion like a parent would to a child.  He burst out laughing!  Then he shrugged his shoulders and pointed to his wife (I’m assuming) in the passenger seat, as if to say “It was her idea!”  I motioned again and she started laughing too.  It was kind of fun.  I had hoped I’d run into them at a gas stop or rest area so I could tell him something like “I was going to call 911 when I saw a BMW on a trailer because I thought it was stolen.” or “I knew Harley Davidson was coming out with 2 new models but I didn’t know they looked like an R1200GSA.”  In all fairness to this family they had Canadian license plates so it would’ve been a long family ride.  But, his wife does get major points for letting him bring the motorcycle along.

The rest of the trip went pretty much according to plan until I got to the Jacksonville area.  The skies ahead were darkening and I knew rain was coming.  I went ahead and stopped for my last gas stop on the way.  After gassing up I checked the weather radar and saw storms on a map that was only 2 minutes old.  But knowing the area and seeing the map I felt confident that by getting on I-295 very shortly and then heading south that I’d miss the storms.  Well Murphy’s Law took over.  It wasn’t long down the road when the bottom fell out with one of those good old-fashioned Florida summer thunderstorms. I was wearing a mesh jacket and my Tourmaster mesh pants.  Did you know that rain goes right through mesh gear just like wind does?  In no time I was soaked and there was no overpass around to duck under which to put rain gear on so I motored on.  The thunderstorm lasted only about 10 minutes and then I was riding on dry road again.  But I also found out that mesh riding gear also dries off really quick too.  I had 2 more bouts with the rain once I got on I-95.  After the second thundershower I just left the rain pants on and left the rain liner in the mesh jacket.  I did get pretty warm.  That last hour and half or so was the worst part of the trip and got me to my Dad’s much later than expected.

Once there it was the typical visiting my Dad.  I always knew that my Dad had originally enlisted in the Marine Corps at 15 years old during WWII and was sent home when it was discovered.  One rainy day over lunch on the water, and a beer in my Dad, I got the full story.  It was the summer of 1945 and he was 15 years old and falsified his age to join the Marines.  The Drill Instructors had been coming in since the beginning and telling them that if they were not old enough to be there to step forward.  The Boots (recruits) would even be pushed onto to bunks or onto the floor.  They were several weeks into Boot Camp and he figured they were on to him.  So when they said to step forward if you weren’t old enough, he did, along with a guy across the aisle too.  They were both ushered off and interviewed separately by the Drill Instructor.  My Dad said the Drill Instructor asked him what he wanted to do and what he thought should be done to him.  He said the demeanor was now different, apparently since he now knew he was speaking with a 15-year-old boy.  My Dad said they were halfway through with Boot Camp and he felt he had a duty to complete it.  He was sent out to rejoin his platoon and complete Boot Camp and wasn’t treated any different from anyone else.  He said that Parris Island was packed with Marines who had already completed Boot Camp and were continuing their training right there while they were living in “tent cities” while the Boots were in barracks.  One day the platoon was gathered and they were told that a “secret bomb” had been dropped on Japan, that the one bomb had leveled an entire city and it was hoped it would end the war.  It was years later when he learned that after Boot Camp that their training was for the invasion of the home island of Japan.  There were told only it would be the fiercest fighting ever faced by the Marines or the Army.  They continued to train.  Japan surrendered and they continued to train.  My Dad graduated Boot Camp and turned 16 years old at Parris Island.  It was October when he was summoned to the Company Commander.  He was told that a relative had written a letter, presumably to a Congressman or Senator that he was too young to enlist.  The war was now over and he was being given a General Discharge under “Honorable Circumstances” with the reason for the discharge being a Falsified Enlistment.  The Honorable Circumstances meant that he could re-enlist when he was old enough, which he later did.  That lunchtime conversation made the entire trip worth while.

"The Loop" in the Daytona Beach area.

“The Loop” in the Daytona Beach area.

A few days later I rode “The Loop”, a short ride that begins in Ormond Beach and goes along the Halifax River and then through two state parks.  Once in the parks you ride though some beautiful marsh land.  A portion of the ride is on the thin strip of land between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean.  You’ll ride with very large and expensive homes on one side of the street and cinder block bungalows on the other.  As you right between those houses the road is covered by the branches of trees.  I suppose you could ride along the stretch of Highway A1A along the beach that parallels the river side, but you’ve already ridden along the beach to get there.  No beach riding on this ride.  Portions of the ride make you feel like you’re in a remote wilderness.  The ride gets its name from beginning and ending at the same intersection, hence “The Loop”.  Oh, and the trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona!

I had planned on leaving late in the morning on Friday as I had done to get there.  My hope was to come through Atlanta after rush hour.  My Dad then figured that it was Friday and if it rained in Atlanta I may not miss rush hour.  So it was decided that I should be on the road by 6:30 am.  I was on the road at 6:20 am.  And as luck would have it, I got stuck behind a large crash on I-75 approaching Atlanta.  I took me well over 30 minutes to travel 2 miles.  That extra time put me going right though Atlanta at the beginning of a Friday afternoon rush hour.  My Dad’s idea would have had me at home before rush hour even began.  Oh well.

I made it back home to Donna and the dogs.  Now we’ll be getting ready for trip that Donna and I will be taking next weekend to Maggie Valley, NC.  We don’t know yet if we’ll ride some on the Blue Ridge Parkway or if we’ll go to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum.

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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 Brake Repair From Hell

Back on the twenty-fifth of May the Magic Carpet developed a leaking rear brake line that was later tracked down to being the hose from the rear master cylinder to the metal brake line going to the ABS unit.  On the twelfth of June we went to the dealer fully expecting to have to order the offending part.  Well we got lucky and they actually had the part.  I got the repair under way on the thirteenth of June.  Yes on Friday the thirteenth!  I removed the body work that hadn’t already been removed to locate the leak, removed the old brake line and then managed to get the new line in.  The hard part was getting the new line in!  There was absolutely NO pressure on the rear brake pedal.  But by opening the system, I knew I had introduced air into it and it needed to be bled.  I was beat and done for the day.  On the fifteenth I tried bleeding the system no avail (I later found I wasn’t patient enough).  I was flustered and asked for help on bmwlt.com for what to do.  An experienced “wrencher” on the K1200LT suggesting back flushing the line using the #3 bleeder with a syringe and a piece of tubing to fill it.  I already had those from my last brake repair!  It still wouldn’t bleed.  I took a few days off from the project because it was frustrating me.  Then another “wrencher” suggested that at this point since all I wanted to do was get the air out, was to connect the tubing to each of the 3 rear bleeders from the ABS unit back into the brake reservoir so that the air would come out and I would just recycle the brake fluid.  I would worry about a more thorough bleed and flush after this.  I now had pressure on the brake pedal!  It took a lot of time to get that air out too.  That was on Saturday the 21st.  We had decided that if I didn’t get this done by Monday we were sending the bike to the dealer to let them figure it out.

Now it’s time to explain a BMW servo assisted (power brakes like a car) integral ABS (adding “braking system” to ABS would be redundant, like VIN number) unit in layman’s terms as easily as possible.  The integral part means that pressing the rear brake pedal will not only give you rear brake but will add front braking with pushing harder.  When pulling the front brake lever you will also get rear braking as you pull harder.

  • There are a total of 4 circuits.
  • The front wheel circuit goes from the ABS unit to the two front calipers.
  • The front brake lever is for the front control circuit from the lever to the ABS unit.
  • The foot pedal is the rear control circuit going from pedal to the ABS unit.
  • The rear wheel circuit goes from the ABS unit to the rear caliper.
  • There are 6 bleed valves on the ABS unit (3 for the front and three for the back), one bleed valve on each of the front calipers and two bleed valves on the rear caliper.
  • The reservoir for the rear brakes feeds both the ABS unit and the rear caliper
  • The reservoir for the front brakes feeds only the front calipers while the master cylinder on the handle bar supplies only the ABS unit.
  • All lines meet at the ABS unit in the middle.

Confused yet?  A diagram really helps though.  For the home mechanic to do this it really is a two person job.

Yesterday, on Sunday, we bled and then flushed not only the rear system but the front system as well.  I figured since I was in there I’d do them all.  It’s also much easier to do the control circuits on the ABS module with the battery removed from the motorcycle.  To do the wheel circuits you need the battery installed because the ignition has to be on (but bike not running) because you need the servos the flush from the bleeders on the calipers.  As expected it took some time to do the rear control circuit.  Donna was my “beautiful assistant” manipulating the brake pedal and brake lever for me.  The front control circuit went quick and the fluid didn’t even look that dark but now the whole system has new DOT4 brake fluid.  While the Magic Carpet was still naked, I took her for a short test ride and got no brake warning lights or leaks.  I put the brakes through a workout, even intentionally activating the ABS a few times.  I got her home and then put all her clothes (body work) back on.  I did lose 3 torx screws for the body work in all this though, but that’s no big deal.

Now it’s time to start riding again!

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They Had It In Stock!

We headed down to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta today to order the brake line I need to replace.  I’ve found that quite often brake lines may not be in stock and need to be ordered, taking about a week to get.  Can you really expect a dealer to stock the individual brake lines for the models of motorcycles they’ve made even in the past 10 years?  I was fully expecting to have to order the part.  There was a little computer trouble at the parts counter when the guy helping me unexpectedly says “Hey!  It says we have one in stock!”  He goes in the back and a few minutes later comes out with the brake line and the miscellaneous washers to go along with it.

While we were there Donna disappeared and then called me over to show me what she “fell in love with”.  What she found was a 2014 K1600GTL Exclusive edition.  Maybe I should’ve gone alone?

 

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Old And Leaking

Our BMW K1200LT is a 2oo2 model.  She was built to last.  Two years ago we had a leaking front brake line that I replaced and then bled the brake system.  A while back I wrote that it looked like there was another brake line leaking, this time the rear brake near the brake pedal.  Today I started looking for the culprit and it is indeed the rear brake line near the master cylinder.  Once I had removed the body panel so I could see better, I was able to push on the pedal and then get some brake fluid to collect at the ferrule where the hose goes into the master cylinder.  That’s some leak.  The brake reservoir was also sitting right on the minimum line too.  No wonder I got a flashing brake warning light.  So now I know what part I need to go to the BMW dealer and order and then replace.  Then it’s time to flush the brakes again.  At least I noticed it at home and not out on the road somewhere.  I’d rather not have to check out the BMWMOA roadside assistance towing.

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Pancakes On The Porch

Sean & Randy return with the jumper cables.  Don't they make a cute couple?

Sean & Randy return with the jumper cables. Don’t they make a cute couple?

Yesterday, members of my Blue Knights Chapter were going to meet for what’s called “Pancakes on the porch” at Rider’s Hill in Dahlonega, GA.  A group of us were scheduled to meet in Woodstock and ride up there.  We prepared to leave and one of the motorcycles, a 2002 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic wouldn’t start.  Randy was quick to begin getting the seat off and trying to diagnose his issue.  Sean and I decided a push start might be in order.  Let me tell you, pushing a full dresser touring bike and its driver is a chore!  The bike almost started but we ran out of hill.  So more tinkering was in order.  The lights would light but it seemed there just wasn’t enough juice to turn the starter.  Someone spied an auto parts store just down the street and Randy got on the back of Sean’s Victory Cross Country Tour and they returned from the store with a set of motorcycle jumper cables!  Now it got even more interesting.  Sean started getting tools out to access the battery on the Victory which was down low, in front of the engine, behind some body work.  The other motorcycle, a Harley Davidson Road King also required tools to remove the seat and then get to the battery.  Now on Randy’s Ultra Classic I had just watched him remove his seat and get to his battery without using a single tool.  So I moved the K1200LT, raised the seat (by releasing it with a knob in the side case) and there was my battery!  Just like the Ultra Classic.  Well no joy, it wouldn’t jump-start.  Then the jokes started.  “Hey Chris, use your smartphone and Google “Harley won’t start”.  There shouldn’t be too many hits!”  But Sean had Randy try to start the bike while he hit the starter with a pair of pliers.  It cranked right up!  A stuck solenoid on the starter seemed to be the issue.  So it was off to Rider’s Hill.

We got to the Hill and enjoyed the dinner plate sized pancakes with friends.  Randy’s Ultra Classic started up and he headed for home, not wanting to push his luck and to do some diagnostic work about his starter.  For many of us the ride to Rider’s Hill was the ride for the day.  Donna and I along with Sean and Christine on their Victory had already made plans to head to Camping World in Oakwood, GA to look at motorhomes and to have the hot dog and hamburger lunch they were offering.  It was a nice ride down there.  We had lunch and then looked in some really nasty used motorhomes!  I’m not kidding.  They could’ve at least cleaned them before offering them for sale.  But that aside, we then headed for home.  I heard from Donna, “You’re not going to put that jacket on are you?”  It was hot and I gave into her suggestion.  But now hindsight showed I was probably warmer WITHOUT the cloth, vented motorcycle jacket!  I pretty much expected that.  But the four of us did stop for ice cream on the way home so that made it a little better.

We pulled into the garage at the end of the day and noticed a few drops of liquid under my right foot peg.  Closer inspection showed it to brake fluid that was leaking.  So it looks like I’ve got a repair in my very near future.

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Why Is There Brake Fluid On The Floor?

If you ride long enough, sooner or later something breaks down or needs repair, no matter how much preventative maintenance you do.  Yesterday was one of those days.  We had been out riding and I parked the Magic Carpet in the garage when I noticed 2 small clear drops on the floor under the right side and under the driver’s foot peg.  Funny, we hadn’t ridden through any water.  I came back in and put the motorcycle up on the center stand as I normally do.  A while later I noticed 2 more drops under the foot peg while the motorcycle was on the center stand.  Now I was really curious and felt the drops (no I didn’t taste them) and they were indeed clear and very slippery.  Brake fluid was my immediate and apparently correct thought.  The rear master cylinder (not reservoir) is mounted to the rear of the chrome plate that the driver’s right foot peg and the rear brake pedal are fastened to.  You also remove this plate and move it out of the way when filling the transmission oil.  I sat on the floor and undid the 3 allen bolts and 2 torx screws that held the plate in place and looked behind it.  Sure enough it looked like there was fluid leaking from the brake line attached on top of the master cylinder.  I couldn’t see much further without removing more bodywork and decided that was a chore for another day coming up soon.  Now that I had a general idea of what was leaking I checked the parts fiche at Pandora’s European Motorsports in Chattanooga, TN for an idea of the cost of the line and any other parts needed.  Let’s just say it could’ve been worse.  In fact it’s not shocking at all.  I’ve replaced a front brake line before so this is nothing new for me.  As it was the last time, I’m hoping the hardest part will be flushing the servo assisted integral ABS brake system.  Hopefully one day this week I’ll remove the body work and get in there to get a much better look to see exactly what needs to be fixed or replaced.  I’m hoping that like the last time it will be a relatively easy fix.

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Three States And One State Three Times

We took a short vacation on the motorcycle that took us through three states and through one of the states three times.  We left Georgia for our first destination in South Carolina where we stayed for two days.  Then we left South Carolina going through Georgia to head for our next destination in Florida for a few days.  Then we finally left Florida to head back into Georgia.  This time the Magic Carpet was our transportation to our destinations.  Once we arrived there were no plans to ride anywhere.  The bike got us from to each point on the leg.  At least it’s more fun than a car!

On the first day we left home in Georgia for our first stop in Beaufort, SC in the Low Country.  About half our ride was along Interstate 20 East heading from the Atlanta, GA area to the Augusta, GA area.  The forecast called for a distinct chance of rain showers for that part of the route but we were very lucky to get just a few drops of rain on the windshield a couple of times.  It did look ominous for a while when the sky ahead turned dark and cars approaching on the other side of the highway all had their headlights on but somehow we dodged the rain.  The temperature stayed in the mid 50′s° (F) the entire day, forcing us to keep the liners in our jackets.  After lunch in Augusta it was just a short hop over the border into South Carolina to get off the highway in North Augusta, South Carolina.  We were now ready to head south-east on SC HWY 125 which is also known as Atomic RD.  You see, SC125 goes through part of the Savannah River Plant.  The Savannah River Plant is a nuclear plant but it’s purpose is not power generation but making things that go BOOM.  The stretch of SC 125 that meanders through part of the plant is a two lane stretch of about 25-30 miles through forest and has no intersections.  There are a few plant entrances but no intersections.  While we didn’t see any 8 foot tall grasshoppers we did see a few streams with warning signs that said “Caution: Stream Temperature May Change Rapidly”.  The fence lining the highway had the nice government “No Trespassing” signs.  There were plenty of signs telling us not to stop except for an emergency.  I found it amusing to see a sign about a historical marker a half mile ahead and sign under it commanding “No Stopping”.  After the plant it was time to head for US HWY 278 and some of the small rural towns of South Carolina.  It wasn’t long before Interstate 95 came into view but we were going to go under it and keep going.  As we got deeper in the Low Country we could notice small fields of water and marshes along the road.  Even while still a good distance inland, these marshes were controlled by the tides.  It was also starting to get very windy while the sky was clearing.  Live oaks with Spanish Moss began to form a canopy over the road.  It wasn’t long before we were in Beaufort and checking in at the Best Western Sea Island Inn on Bay ST.  Beaufort is a low country town very near the coast and is situated nearly equally from Charleston, SC as it is from Savannah, GA.  It is also the county seat for Beaufort County.  The town is loaded with ante-bellum homes built in the mid 1800′s.  If you want to buy one, a small one could start at $750,000.  We’ve learned that Beaufort was also an area were freed slaves were allowed to settle before the Civil War.  The freed slaves could own businesses, buy property and had their own bank and churches.  If you consider that this was South Carolina before the Civil War it was actually pretty amazing.  The Magic Carpet stayed parked and resting during our two-day stay.  Everything we wanted to do or see was right along Bay ST and a short walking distance.  The hotel has 5 of its rooms overlooking Bay ST.  Our door opened to a view through the trees of the Beaufort River and the downtown city marina.

After two days in Beaufort it was time to pack the motorcycle and head for our next destination in Port Orange, FL near Daytona Beach where we’d be visiting my Dad.  I had planned a route that would take us in a south-west direction on state highways before we reached Interstate 95 which we would be using this time.  Although we did get some nice scenery on the two lane highway in the low country and crossed the Broad River.  It was still quite windy too.  There were quite a few times that our heads got tossed around by wind and even began activating the VOX on the intercom.  We stopped for gas just north of Brunswick, GA and were also able to take the liners out of our jackets.  From there is was all interstate on I-95 into Florida, through Jacksonville and on into Daytona Beach and Port Orange.  On both our ride to Beaufort and to Florida it was nice that we could get a late start in the morning and be at our destinations in the mid afternoon.  It’s a good thing we didn’t plan on any sight-seeing or riding or riding while in Florida as one day was high winds and rain.  But we spent time with my Dad and helped him out with a few things.

After a few days in Florida it was time to head back north and in the direction of home.  Donna had once again decided that since we would be on the boring highway that she wanted to stop for the night somewhere in south Georgia and then finish the journey home the next day.  It also gave me the chance to take her on different route home that she hadn’t ridden on before.  I took us up to Ormond Beach where we then used FL HWY 40 to head west to the middle of the state and got on Interstate 75 near Ocala, FL.  FL HWY 40 is nice mostly 2 lane highway going through the Osceola National Forest.  Our normal trip home would be I-95 to I-295 to I-10 and then I-75 into Georgia and all the way home.  The trip on FL HWY 40 takes us up I-95 a very short distance and FL 40 to Ocala and then I-75 all the way home.  The mileage of the two routes are nearly identical and the route on FL 40 is about 15 minutes longer but worth every minute of it.  Somewhere north of Ocala the odometer on the Magic Carpet rolled over to 80,000 miles too!  Again we were dealing with wind strong enough to toss our heads and loud enough to activate the VOX on the intercom.  We headed up to our stop in Tifton, Georgia for the night.  Although we picked the hotel for its close proximity to being able to walk to any number of restaurants we decided to stay in the room and order pizza to be delivered!

Tifton is nearly the half way point for us.  So we could once again get a late start in the morning.  It also gave us a chance to let the sun warm the day up.  Another advantage of Donna’s idea is that it guarantees that we should miss rush hour traffic while going through or around Atlanta.  Her way also got us home at just after 1:30 in the afternoon.

The Magic Carpet now sits in the garage with more than 80,000 miles on her odometer and she’s ready to go out again!

Categories: Daytona, Rides, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Oils, 3 Changes

There are three separate oil changes that periodically need to be performed on a BMW K1200LT.  There’s motor oil, transmission oil and final drive oil.  The motor oil service recommendation is every 6,000 miles with 20W50 while the transmission and final drive recommendations are every 12,000 miles with 90 weight GL5 gear oil.  So guess what?  I figured out some time ago that every other oil change all three oils get changed and today was one of those days.  The motor oil and the final drive oil are a snap to do.  But I hate doing the transmission oil.  It’s just that it’s a pain to do with parts to remove and hard to get to.  You usually end up getting the old oil on the floor because you can put the pan under it and have to fashion some sort of funnel.  Mind you, BMW probably sells a nice, expensive part just to do this.  Today I was prepared and put a very large piece of cardboard under the motorcycle and then put it up on the center stand.  I fashioned a funnel out of one my empty oil bottles lengthwise and about ½” tall so that it was flexible enough to bend and thin enough to be able to reach the recessed drain bolt.  This time it worked like a charm and I even get very little oil on the cardboard!

The motor oil would’ve been due during our upcoming trip and looking back on the mileage, the final drive and transmission probably right after the trip.  But I may as well get all of my laying on the garage floor done in one day and keep with the every other change philosophy.  I found no metal flakes on the magnetic drain plug for the final drive and only the dark sludge that’s expected.  The magnet on the transmission drain plug also had no metal flakes or shavings (even though the manual says a few are acceptable), again another thing good sign.  The gear oils were both still a dark golden color this time, yet another good sign.

Another service date out of the way!

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Tire Time

Two things always bring up debate between motorcyclists and they are tires and oil.

It was time for a new rear tire on the Magic Carpet.  My tire of choice for it is the Bridgestone BT020 Battleax (with the proper load rating of 79V for the K1200LT).  So once again it was time to call Ken’s Motorcycle Tires in Woodstock, Georgia.  I don’t even shop around anymore.  Ken usually comes pretty close to meeting any online prices and with the mounting discount on tires purchased from him along with the great personal service, you can’t beat it.  Here’s a prime example:

  • I called Tuesday and ordered the tire (he normally doesn’t have tires in his small shop for a BMW K1200LT) and was quoted a price of $151.14 for the tire.  Because the rear wheel is so easy to remove on the K1200LT I was going to bring just the wheel in and was quoted a price of $10.00 to mount the tire.  Yes, $10.00.  Mounting when bringing in the motorcycle is approximately $40.00.  The tax and fees pushed it to a whopping $14.81.
  • On Wednesday they called that the tire was in and to set my appointment to have it mounted.
  • On Thursday morning I went and had the tire installed.  It took all of less than 15 minutes!
  • Just out of curiosity when I got home, I checked 2 online retailers who normally have good tire prices and they did, $164.00 at one and $153.00 at the other.  This was for the same tire.   Ken charges significantly more to mount tires that are not purchased from him.

We put 14,674 miles on the Bridgestone that was just replaced.  I knew there were some miles left on it but with an upcoming trip I figured it better to replace the tire now when I could instead of when I had to.  Ken said there was maybe “1,000 to 1,500 miles left on it” but agreed riding local is one thing and on a long trip is another.  Our trip looks to be about 1,100 miles at minimum and that’s just to the destinations with no extra riding.  I think it was a wise choice to change it now.  I mean what if I put another 4oo miles on it before the trip.  Maybe we’ll see about breaking in the new tire this weekend.

Categories: Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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