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Slow speed issues

Discussion in 'R1200RS Versus The Competition' started by Twistyguy, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. Twistyguy

    Twistyguy New Member

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    Hey Guys
    I’m interested in getting an RS. I currently ride a 2011 R12R Classic which I love. But it has weird electric gremlins and I’m ready to move on. I ride aggressively in tight twisties, but often travel quite a distance to get to the mountains. I think the RS would be a good fit for me, but I’m concerned about a report by Ken Condon. His review article on the RS notes some awkward slower speed handling, even compared to the RT and the R. http://www.ridinginthezone.com/review-2017-bmw-r1200rs/
    What is your opinion on its handling at slower speed like hairpin turns? How does it compare to the wet head R or the camhead R in slower speed handling? I think it does have more rake and a longer wheel base than the R and even the RT, no? Makes it more stable at higher speeds but less flickable. I’m also thinking of a KTM 1290 Super Duke. Anyone with experience on that bike. It’s certainly not as good on the interstate, but probably better in the tight twisties.
    Thanks.
     
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  2. slippery

    slippery Member

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    The RS is as good as you will get as an all round sport/tourer. I experienced some true hairpins in Germany this year and the bike was fine, Probably the only restriction on tight turns will be in your head !
     
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  3. Dorschdn

    Dorschdn New Member

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    ^ This

    I've been on our anual trip to the alps and dolomites with 3 bikes (SV 650, MT-01, and the RS) and I had no problem at slow speed handling with any of them > it's all about skill and in your head > there are driving reminders about these facts ...
    Some of the Honda Goldwing drivers (with pillion) out there in the alps ...
    ... no further words ... :D

    Back to topic:
    I don't think anyone can answer this question for you, because of personal preferences (what is awkward handling for you and what for a professional tester) and differences in experience and skill.
    My advice would be to get a R1200RS, find a big parking lot, perform slow speed maneuvers and then decide how you feel with that bike.
     
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  4. Richard230

    Richard230 Well-Known Member Contributor

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    My 2016 RS handles tight turns much better than did my 2007 R1200R. My 2007 bike just felt really weird on slow speed turns to the point where it actually scared me. Installing a 1/2 preload spacer on the front shock's spring really helped out with this issue, but the RS is still much better on tight turns, in my opinion.
     
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  5. Twistyguy

    Twistyguy New Member

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    Thanks for your input! I'll take another test ride with that in mind and compare it to the R.
     
  6. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    First of all - welcome to the forums. :)

    Judging by your screen name and the focus on twisties in your post, I have concerns that the RS is the bike that you will love to take to the twisties. I say this because it is almost invariable that those who say they love the twisties like to ride those twisties at some speed other than slow. You yourself say you "... ride aggressively in tight twisties ..." so this bike is wrong for that.

    Condon states "The RS handles sweeping turns, both smooth and bumpy quite well, but when the it comes to tight, slow hairpin turns the RS felt cumbersome". I have encountered a few tight hairpin turns, and while it is no little roadster at handling them I would not consider the RS as "cumbersome" and I am by no means an expert rider. You just have to slow down to the speed that the road dictates. He goes on to say "And slow speed maneuvers had the bike feeling unbalanced." I have one word for that - balls! When I took mine of a test ride I had the slow speed manoeuvers down pat in the first 20 minutes! That was one of the endearing features of this bike. If he had his beautiful wife on the bike then why comment on the slow speed turns at all. Only a positive or neutral comment would be useful with a pillion on the bike. :rolleyes: Didn't bother to read any more of his article ...

    Consider for a moment the most aggressive professional riders - they don't ride sport tourers when they are riding the curves aggressively. There are also no hairpin turns on race tracks, maybe for good reason.

    So to answer your specific questions of which I have experience - being a boxer it handles beautifully at slower speeds, on any shape of road, hairpin turns being no exception. AAMOF it is better than most on harpins for that reason. This video features all RSs and there are a couple or hairpin turns in it also. This is the first time I rode this road and the hairpins encountered were not anticipated but the bike handled it well despite the rider.



    Regarding the steering geometry and wheelbase, here are the tech specs from BMW:

    RS
    Wheelbase 60.2" (1,527 mm)
    Castor 4.5" (114.8 mm)
    Steering head angle 62.3°

    RT
    Wheelbase 58.5" (1,485 mm)
    Castor 4.6" (116 mm)
    Steering head angle 63.6°

    R
    Wheelbase 59.7" (1,515 mm)
    Castor 4.9" (125.6 mm)
    Steering head angle 62.3°

    2011 R12R Classic
    Wheelbase 58.9" (1,495 mm)
    Castor 4.7" (119 mm)
    Steering head angle 62.9°

    Ride it yourself and then decide.
     
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  7. ray2

    ray2 Well-Known Member Contributor

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    My bike's almost exclusively used for touring. I make my routes to maximize time in turns and my average speed is only 50 mph for the life of the bike.

    Loaded up, I've run through plenty of first-gear switchbacks and decreasing radius turns without problems. I've also ridden the RT and K1600GT, and I'm not clear to what the reviewer might have been referring.

    I'll make the point that like most bikes, it handles better on the gas and at higher RPMs.
     
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  8. Bob Ain't Stoppin'

    Bob Ain't Stoppin' Member

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    I think a lot of the differences in low speed handling can be attributed to the front tire. Both profile and pressure. Low pressure equally lousy low speed handling. And different tire brands have different turn in feel.
     
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  9. terry847

    terry847 Active Member

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    Sorry Wayne, but I don't agree when you say that this bike is not the one for you if you ride aggressively in the twisties. I have ridden mine on "The Dragon", The Pig Trail (along with other twisty roads in Arkansas/Missouri) and some very twisty roads in Northern Georgia and it does very well at a quite aggressive pace. The bike is a Sport-Tourer with the emphasis on Sport. Just sayin.
     
  10. Leif the Lucky

    Leif the Lucky Member

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    I have experience with both the R12RS and the 1290 Super Duke R, as each has been in my garage about 2 years. The RS is my favorite BMW (6 owned over 23 years - R,K,F). On the other hand, the Super Duke is the most entertaining bike I've ever ridden (to include 2 other KTMs and a number of Ducatis & Triumphs). I ride pretty much exclusively in the Appalachian mountains which provide a variety curves and surfaces. Either bike can handle these mountain roads quite well. The Super Duke will initiate turn-in quicker but is a little less stable at really slow speeds when leaned over. My RS is very stable when leaned over - fast or slow. I have met Ken C. and he is a great rider. Maybe there was a set-up issue with his RS (mine has the base suspension, DTC, and Ride Modes Pro). Test ride each bike for an hour and you should know which is best for you. Realize the KTM has considerably more power on tap and there is an associated 15-20% mpg penalty. When you test the KTM keep it in Street mode (it will still be plenty quick) -- riding the street in Track Mode can get you into trouble in a hurry as the electronic "nannies" are much reduced. The Super Duke is a naked bike which has pluses and minuses. For me the RS is a fine all-around bike, but the KTM is a really, really nice machine.
     
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  11. swedkg

    swedkg Active Member

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    What is the definition of a tight, slow hairpin? Like 20-30 km/h?

    My daily commute is speed limited nowadays limited, since I became a regular sponsor to the local police department. So I decided to use the cruise control and get into the corner without brakes or disengaging the CC. The RS handles beautifully. If you decide that you have to move your body into the corner, relax on the pegs and use your outer elbow to hold yourself onto the tank, it will not disappoint. It not a super-sport, but it can get you easily to the mountains so you can play with it.
     
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  12. wessie

    wessie Well-Known Member

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    My first decent trip on my RS was to the South of France where I rode up Mont Ventoux and around the Gorges du Verdun. The RS coped admirably.
    Hairpin bends are all about confidence and technique. My friend rides an Electraglide and a Goldwing, 2 up. He coped fine on some tight hairpins in the Jura Mountains last summer and in the Austrian Maltatal not so long ago.
     
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  13. GordonH

    GordonH Well-Known Member

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    My experience so far is that the RS is one of the most agile "bike bike" that I've owned (on par with my 1150R, perhaps better at low speed as it has less driveline shunt and better clutch control) - far more than any sports bike. It's handled mountain passes and switchbacks, 35% gradients on hairpins, lane splitting in heavy traffic and feet up u turns at walking pace without breaking a sweat.

    You really need to take a test ride and judge it for yourself.
     
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  14. dkjkwood

    dkjkwood Member

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    I live within 20 minutes of some of the best twisties in the Appalachians. I'd argue that the RS is perfectly suited to riding the curves like a demon. I've owned or ridden most of the sport touring bikes on the market and the RS truly shines when leaned over making sparks. The suspension is fantastic, the bike is lighter than other sport tours on the market and it has fantastic torque. I didn't like the way the bike handled on the stock tires, wasn't bad, wasn't great. Much better on a set of PR4GTs.
     
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  15. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Of course I agree with you Terry. The RS is excellent in the twisties, but I suspect that there are better bikes than the RS for tight twisties, like the OP seems to like to ride. Bikes with shorter wheelbases and steeper fork rake that naturally like to fall into turns would be better. But these bikes would be crap going straight for longer than 5 minutes. No, the RS with its great engine braking, slipper clutch, quick shifter, low CG, etc. (not to mention the cornering TC and ABS if fitted) make this a very capable sporty sport tourer. That's why we have it, right. ;)
     
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  16. ray2

    ray2 Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Oh no.... GG..., hard to believe this came from you. Time to get you onto the track. You ride well. This bike can make you feel like a pro in the tight stuff.

    Now that I'm finally more comfortable, quiet, and smooth on this bike, I find the bike leans over what seems at times impossibly far, and if the exit is in first or second gear, I can gracelessly crank the throttle and the electronics always gets me the promised controlled wheely as I run the gears up without any coordination of left and right hands.....

    My traditional bike skills might be deteriorating, but I'm riding on the road almost as aggressively and certainly more consistently in the tight stuff, as I ever have on a lighter sport bike without the electronics.

    (Now, of course, the S1000RR is a different proposition, and I'm still trying to figure out how to get some luggage on it.)

    OK - that sums up the thread nicely.
     
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  17. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Varies but you'd have to ask the OP how tight of a hairpin he'd like to ride slowly. :) Al I know is with the great fuelling this bike has I can feather throttle and clutch at pretty much any speed down to zero, so that takes care of the slow speed handling for me. As for going fast in a hairpin ... I have nothing at all to prove and will take it as fast as is safe and the conditions allow.
     
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  18. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    So I test rode a Yamaha FZ10 some time back. Have a video of it although not in the twisties. As far as geometry is concerned that bike should be pretty good in the twisties. Not so sure about the slow speed turns (throttle can be hypersensitive) but it does like to turn in easier than the RS. But canyon carving is more than just geometry, of course. :)
     
  19. AZGeek

    AZGeek Member

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    I'm concerned about this reports as well --- mainly the fact that he is doing a review of the bike while riding "mostly 2 up". Like you, I am also in research mode and this is one review I will ignore (regardless of Ken's riding experience) because I don't ride with a passenger. I've seen better reviews and testimonials from the owners on this forum. just sayin... ;)
     
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  20. Twistyguy

    Twistyguy New Member

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    First, I want to sincerely thank all of you for your honest opinions. As I'm sure you know, you can only get so much from a 15-20 minute dealer test ride. So I wanted to ask guys who've really spent time on the bike their opinions.
    Concerning the definition of a hairpin turn--I think I have to describe my riding style first. I ride very fast on straightaways between curves, hang off the bike early before the turn and trail brake hard into the turn. It's basically Lee Parks Total Control technique. The idea is to actually keep the bike as upright as possible through the turn to maximize the contact patch while smoothly decelerating into the turn and then smoothly, but aggressively accelerating out of the turn, stabilizing the suspension. While I consider myself a fairly fast rider in the twisties, I actually think I take curves slower than most fast riders because I trail brake fairly hard going into the turn. This greatly minimizes risk, and maximizes control and fun.
    So, my definition of a hairpin turn would be one requiring a significant use of the brakes to safely negotiate the turn. I absolutely love my 2011 R12R in those situations. It's very stable when I hang off in tight turns. I'm hoping the RS is similar to that. I've heard that with D-ESA the suspension is quite stable--like that of the telelever. I'm hoping the geometry of the RS lends itself to a stable turn in at slower speeds necessary in tight turns.
    I test rode an R tonight and loved it. Unfortunately the local dealer didn't have an RS in stock, so I'll have to go to another dealer to try it out.
    Thanks again for everybody's input.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017

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