Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

800 S. Francisco St.
Mission, TX

Our website is all about motorcycles, especially BMW cycles. We cover rides in the Southwest and Mexico, motorcycle modifications and review motorcycle products. 

Big Bend National Pk.jpg


Filtering by Category: "BMW"

BMW R1200RT and BMW K1200S - A Dilemma

Tomas Perez

The RT in high places...

From Merriam-Webster:
3. a :  a problem involving a difficult choice...

I've had a perfectly good BMW R1200RT since 2010.  I purchased the bike new without a test ride. It was not my first boxer BMW although my last boxer was a 1984 R80RT.  The 2010 was a new model year with engine and body changes.  It was too many positive changes to pass up.

I've always liked the boxer engine.  It has some weak spots but the basic design also has some positive attributes.  And there seem to be many others that feel the same way to the point that BMW boxer has been in production for 90 years.  Even more revealing is the fact that production stopped once but public demand brought the bike back to production.

What I like about it is the simplicity of the engine, low center of gravity, the unique shape and sound of the engine, and the way it feels while under power.  It's hard to describe but it's like a lazy lope at normal highway speeds.  Push it hard and you get a vibration from the engine but it's the low frequency type that does not bother you as much as a high frequency type vibration.  At higher speeds - in the order of over 85 mph - and that vibration is worse.  The times I notice most are when I fall behind a riding group and I'm running much higher than normal speed in an effort to catch up with the group.  But keep in mind that the other 99% of the time I'm one with the bike.  

For the highway I find the RT hard to beat.  Starting with the lower weight as compared to other touring bikes and adding the range that the bike has makes for a very good touring bike.  I have gone 265 miles at high speeds and over 300 miles at lower speeds on a tank of gas.  I can carry 10 days of clothes and camping gear on the bike without too much trouble.  I have also set up my bike with music and GPS navigation which makes long distance travel that much easier.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not all a bowl of cherries.  I've had my share of the typical BMW problems but the basic machine has been very solid.  By the way, let me add that I still don't understand why BMW took so long and in some cases never added some of these problems.  My problems on the RT were the handlebar switches and one fuel strip gone bad.  All things considered I obviously like the RT since I still have it and don't have plans to replace it any time soon.  

But then this year I find this hardly used 2008 BMW K1200S stored in an enclosed trailer.  It had a dead battery and a flashing brake failure light which normally indicates a non functional ABS system.  We put a new battery in it and it starts up right away.  The sound alone was impressive.  Did I mention that it had a Remus muffler on it.  That makes a big difference.  I decide to take a test drive.  Since the bike had hardly been used in about 5 years I was careful and concerned about the test ride.  In addition, it not being my bike I was very gentle with it - no hard acceleration nor hard braking (also had that blinking brake light to worry about).  I did not even check the tire pressure and I also did not check the suspension settings but in spite of this the bike handled very well during my short test ride.  Just months earlier I had purchased a Honda VTR1000 (Super Hawk).  It's Honda's copy of a Ducati - at least as far as engines go.  It's a V twin (90 degree), carburetors, chain, choke - you get the idea... old school hot rod.  In addition it came with a set of carbon fiber mufflers that when I added them it made the bike sound that much more like a hot rod bike.  The bike also had suspension and carburetor work that resulted in a nice total package.  It's about the same horsepower as the RT but it's much lighter and smaller.  I like the handling a lot but the riding position is rather sporty.  

BMW 2008 K1200S 
After test riding the K1200S I could easily see that this bike was in another class.  I know that the Honda is a 1998 and the KS a 2008 but it goes beyond that.  I was forcing myself to stick to the Super Hawk as my hot rod bike with zero intentions of using it for touring.  I liked the basic elements of the Super Hawk and did not want something too close to the functionality of my RT.  That is also the main reason I never considered the GT as another bike.

After riding both bikes for a month I decided the KS would be my second bike.  Now that I have ridden it more - a total of 3000 miles - I am liking it even more.  Although I never meant for it to be used for touring I have added a tail rack to it and use my BMW Sport Bag on it as well as a small waterproof bag.  I added a Ram mount on the battery cover so that I can mount my Zumo 660 but instead I have been using my iPhone for music and GPS.  Having both of these very nice bikes reminds me so much of John F. Kennedy.

I've ridden both bikes back to back to back on the same day.  They are so very different yet I love the way each rides and handles.  That is my dilemma... which will be my main bike?  If I ride one of them for an extended period (days) I look forward to riding the other bike.  My logical side of the brain also tells me that I don't need anything more than the BMW R1200RT but then the K1200S stirs the soul.  There are many times that I ride the KS in a very civil way felling secure that if called upon the bike can do so much more.  Getting on the expressway via an access road is a joke for the KS.  It's just so easy to merge into the flow.  Of course right after that I have to let up on the throttle because I am normally way beyond the speed limit.  It's exactly like they say - the acceleration is intoxicating.  About 10%... maybe more like 5% of the time I tell myself that I need to sell the KS before I get in trouble with it.

Sunday morning breakfast run

Getting back to John F...  My good ole dependable RT is my Jackie Kennedy...  the KS is like... well... like Marilyn Monroe.

For now... I'm keeping both...


BMW K1200s - New to me Bike

Tomas Perez

I'm a touring bike type of guy.  Well... maybe sport touring type of guy with much greater emphasis on the "touring" part.  But being a technical type of guy I also realize that everything is relative.

Rolled out of trailer and waiting for a new battery

I've been a fan of the boxer engine for a long time.  I like the way they propel the bike down the highway.  I don't know about the newer boxer engines but the older engines had this awesome burbling sound as they passed you on the highway.  In addition, the vibration of the boxed engine is a low frequency type (compared to 4 and 6 cylinder engines).  It doesn't appear to bother a rider as much as a high frequency buzz.  It's a win-win for a touring rider that spends many hours on the saddle.

But then there are times that you simply want (or need) pure unadulterated power.  At times, while on the RT, I miss the power of a modern 4 or 6 cylinder engine.  Don't get me wrong - the new RT is powerful and fast.  The RT is like two different kinds of bikes.  You have the old man touring mode where you shift at 4K at the highest and the engine never gets close to 6K rpm.  But if you press it beyond 6K rpm it's like a different animal.  On top of that it handles so well that experienced riders can hold their own in most cases.  

Disclaimer - I do not fall in that group...

 A step brother to the RT boxer is the K-GT touring bike.  I recently test drove one and it brought back memories of past sporty touring bikes that I've owned.  The search was on for a K bike.  I didn't want the GT because it's too close to the function/purpose of my RT.  I first looked at the R but found it a bit too raw or naked for my taste.  I then found a very low mileage 2008 K1200s that fits the bill between a tourer and plain bike very nicely.  It's a brute but at the same time can


replace my RT as a touring bike.  The KS strikes a nice balance between a hot rod and a sophisticated long range bike and being a BMW it also has character (some of it good, some of it bad).

My first gas stop.  I was glad to put fresh gas in the bike.

I've ridden the bike 300 miles and it seems like I am adjusting to the riding position.  The proof will be when I use it on 100 to 300 mile rides.  My RT is still my long range tourer and the Super Hawk is better around town than the KS.  My evaluation and ride reports on the K1200s will follow after I added more miles.  I just got it titled, tagged, and insured yesterday.  By the way, insurance for the 2008 K is double what I pay for the 2010 RT.  It must be that 167 HP, 96 ft/lb of torque and 11,000 rpm redline.  In the background of the photo above (gas station photo) you can see some of the vastness of Texas.  It's ideal for a bike like this.  It was so hard keeping it under 75 mph on my way home.  Once, while merging into the interstate, I looked down after shifting though all 6 gears and see 100 MPH on the speedometer.  I'm sure I was shifting at 50% of red line!

Cruising home somewhere on highway 77

Very clean bike.  Cleaned up but not detailed yet...

Bike ready for a run (disregard old sheepskin - it has the low seat)

Update: 2013/07/19:

 The gas tank had so much vacuum at my last two fill ups that I had to use a screwdriver to break the gas cap loose.  A few days later and although the gas tank was still nearly full I decided to investigate and look for the cause.  Tracing the vent line coming off the top of the tank I soon discovered a double kink on it.  It was totally blocked off.  Since the bike is hardly used I am suspecting that this might be a factory error.  It was a simple matter to reroute the line and all is good now.  Since the gas tank was removed I decided to look at the ABS module.  My "brake failure" light has been on most of the time.  It was fairly simple to remove the unit.  It has four brake lines attached on the top, three bolts holding the unit on the bike, and two wire anchor points on the sides of the module.  The unit is off for a rebuild right now.  Update will follow as soon as I get it back.

Line now free flowing

Update: 2013/07/30:

 In a total of 8 days I shipped out the ABS module and got it back after it was rebuilt by Module Masters.  I installed it the same day I got it and my ABS is fully functional again.  The repair was done at a fraction of the cost of what the dealer wanted to fix the ABS.

Update: 2013/08/15:

I took the bike to a BMW dealer to get to bulletins (recalls) done on the bike plus a software (included a fuel mapping upgrade) flash.  The result of the update is better mileage, smoother idling (still not perfect), and much better in town riding when in 2nd or 3rd gear and RPMs less than 3,000.

Update: 2013/10/07:

I got a pair of used Helibars and installed them on the KS.  It's a minor change to the stock bars and they look totally stock but you do notice (feel) the change on long trips.  I did have to modify the left bar a bit to get a better OEM fit of the switch gear.  The standard mounting holes place the switch gang rotated too much in the clockwise direction.  For example the left turn switch was directly under the bar.  The right side can be adjusted but the left side has mounting screw holes to hold the hand grip in place.  What I did was drill another hole slightly CCW from the existing holes.  The photo below shows what I did.  The shiny area around the hole is where I chamfered the hole slightly.  It's a very nice (actually better) fit now.

Helibar Mod

Thanks for reading,


BMW Motorrad Sport 2 Bags - Comparison

Ricardo Perez

Large BMW Motorrad Bag

My brother and I just happen to have the two BMW Motorrad Sport 2 luggage bags so here's a side-by-side comparison of the two. The obvious difference is the size, but there's more to it than that.

Size: The bigger tail bag is 55 liter capacity while the smaller one has a capacity of 30 liters and can expand an additional 6 liters for a total of 36 liters. For us non-metric guys that about 14.5 gallon capacity in the larger one and 9.5 in the smaller one. The larger one will easily fit a helmet and more stuff.  I was able to fit my Schuberth C3 in XL size in the small bag.  It's a snug fit but it fits even without expanding the bag.

Pockets: The larger one has two sealed zipper pockets on the sides. I use one side pocket for my wires, phone, connectors, sunglasses case, etc. and the other side pocket for my tums, sun screen, vitamins, BMW MOA directory, etc. There is a neat smaller rear pocket where I keep my important papers such as title, registration, and insurance as well as gas receipts. Then there are two other pockets on front and back which hold the carrying handles, but they are zippered so they can hold my Plexiglas cleaner and towel and other stuff that you don't need on every stop. On top is a clear pocket for a map. It can hold two unfolded sections of a typical highway map (ie - Texas map) so that's neat. It's also neat to see a map other than my Garmin Zumo screen, kind of a kickback to the old days when paper maps were the only thing and it's nice to glance at the map to see what's in the area that you might want to visit. This is my favorite pocket. I also stick my State and National Park permits in there so they're in plain site for the rangers. Last, but not least is the biggest pocket which is the main storage. You access it by the double zippers that open the flap where the map pocket it at, but it's not part of the map pocket so that stays undisturbed. Inside is enough space to easily hold a sleeping bag, shaving kit, rain gear, cold riding gear such as a heated vest, with plenty of room left over for a few days worth of clothing. It's also has a neat bag type strap that you can pull shut, like a laundry bag, which is an added protection against rain water. I took it out on a short trip across west Texas and we had a slight rain, but nothing to really test the water resistance of the main compartment or the side pockets. I would venture that they are fairly good. During this three day trip I had everything in this bag and left the side saddle bags for my tool kit, air pump, and for storing my helmet during restaurant stops.

The smaller bag has five pockets.  Each side has thin pockets that can hold smaller items.  On one side I carry extra straps and at times a small 4 oz flask (for emergency use only) and the other side I normally carry my phone and an extra handkerchief.  There is additional room in each of these pockets.  The back of the bag - the side facing to the rear - has a small pocket that holds a phone or multitool.  The remaining small pocket is on the lid of the bag, i.e., the top of the main compartment.  It's the largest of the smaller pockets.  I carry papers and other small items in this pocket.  It gets used at nearly every stop.  Then there is the main compartment.  Like the larger bag this compartment also has the waterproof draw bag inside.  Each side of the inside has a cord loop so that you can tie the waterproof bag out of the way thus keeping the top open for easy access.  I have yet to use the draw string.  All the pockets are water resistant.  The small bag holds much more than I thought it would.  In the main compartment I carry a micro cloth, Corbin seat cover, rain pants, rain jacket, BMW mid weight waterproof gloves, windbreaker, baseball cap, water bottle, and an extra item or two with still some room to spare.  My logic is that if I hit rain while on the road I only need to access this bag and do not have to deal with the saddle bags.

Zippers: The zippers are rubber lined self sealing so as to resist water penetration.  As stated above, all pockets are water resistant with the main compartment having a waterproof liner inside which is attached to the bag.  It stays in place but can be tied wide open to allow fast, easy access to the main pocket.

Reflective Material:  Reflective material exists on both sides of the bags and on the rear facing side also.

Straps & Mounting:  The Sport Bag 2 comes with three sets of straps.  There are 2 long, 2 medium, and 2 short straps included with the bag.  You can probably make either of the longer straps work but I use the two small straps and two medium straps regardless if I mount the small bag on the passenger seat or the luggage rack.  They are the perfect size for mounting on my RT.  If you mount the bag on the seat the bag has a backrest built in that works rather nicely but it looks much better mounted on the rear rack.  In addition, because of the straps on the bottom that hook on the back rack, it is in my opinion that it's a much more secure mounting.

Workmanship & Materials: The bags look first rate.  I have over 3,000 miles on the small bag and it looks new and once mounted I have not had to adjust any straps.  The bags carry a 2 year BMW warranty.

Conclusion: The larger bag is great for long trip simply because of the additional capacity and I would definitely want this bag on those week-long trips. The smaller bag has the advantage of being mounted on the passenger pillion and serves as a nice back rest whereas the larger one cannot be mounted there because it will rub on the saddle bags. The larger bag also obscures a small part of your rear view vision. The smaller bag just looks neat and sleek and the bigger one looks like what it is, 'a big bag'. So depending on your riding style you have two good options.  I (tsp) replaced my Touratech Flat tank bag with the small Sport 2 Bag and really like it.  Where the tank bag had everything mixed together in one compartment I can now separate those items into 5 different pockets thus all my common use stuff is much better organized.

tsp rating: ********** 9.5/10   (Down pour testing pending)

Small Bag

Large bag

Small bag

Small bag

Small BMW bag with the medium Wolfman bag

Motorrad Large Luggage Bag
Where Am I?
Big Bag with Map in Top Pocket

Side Pocket

Small Motorrad Luggage Bag

Top Carrying Handle

Smaller Bag Padding To Lean On
Large Bag

My New Ride: BMW R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

Ricardo Perez

2013 BMW R1200RT - 90th Anniversary Edition

Had one of those milestone birthdays and my wife gave me a gift to remember, a 2013 BMW R1200RT - 90th Anniversary Edition bike. The bike is still on some container ship coming from the motherland to NYC Port, due there on 02/18/13 and then at Lone Star BMW in Austin about a week to ten days later. I'll followup with pictures once we pick it up.

Here's my birthday cake!

Corbin Seat on My BMW R100RT

Ricardo Perez

Corbin Saddle
As I continue with my restoration project of my 1979 BMW R100RT I replaced my seat with a new Corbin Touring saddle. When I purchased the bike it had America's ugliest saddle, one hand made by a boot maker somewhere in south Texas. I replaced that with an old custom made cafe racer styled seat which was a much better look than the original, but still not too comfortable for extended rides. My brother has always used Corbin saddles and I like the fact that they are leather instead of vinyl.
The Corbin website has exactly what I needed, a touring model seat for my vintage 1979 bike. The fact that they still carry a saddle for an old BMW and had one in stock was enough for me. It's listed at $399 and I ordered it and within a few days it arrived at my office.

I was expecting some degree of work in making the seat fit, after all, we're talking about a 33 year old bike, but the fit was perfect. The cafe style saddle I had on was rubbing on the tank so I had to use a color matched, specially fabricated material (duct tape) to keep that seat from scratching the tank. Well, that can come off with the Corbin seat allowing just the right "gap" between the seat and the tank. I had ordered the cowling that goes under the seat from Maxx BMW and had it painted before the seat arrived so I was a little concerned that the saddle may not be a good fit or that the holes on the seat would not align themselves with the cowling, but everything fit perfectly. The hinges also fit perfectly as did the plunge bar that locks the seat in place.

True to the story line, the seat is "firm" and it takes some riding to "break-in" the seat. I've only about 500 miles on the seat so I'm of the opinion that I've got another thousand miles or so to get through the "break-in" period. My seat already feels much more at home on it than when I first got it and it's starting to feel "just right".

Perfect Fit At Tank
The seat not as wide as the Corbin on my brother's 2010 RT, by about three inches, but for a guy my size it seems to be just right. I'm 5'10" and weigh 172lbs with a 33 waist. Of course, riding the 2010 RT is a joy and the seat is very nice. A seat that size on the R100RT would make it look disproportionate to the slender 100RT design.

On Cowling
Here's the writeup from Corbin, "Maximum comfort and classic looks. This model is extremely popular on RT models for two-up distance riding. Ergonomically engineered platforms provide deep supportive bucket and long range comfort. Sculpted to eliminate hot spots and provide better weight distribution for longer riding range.
Accepts a removable backrest in the passenger AND rider's positions for added comfort and security (requires hardware #OPL). We offer a variety of backrest styles to suit your taste and the amount of support you desire. Corbin backrests install easily with a single bolt and are adjustable to provide a tailored fit to your copilot's posture.
Inside, our Comfort Cell foam material provides a firm, resilient ride that lasts. Our foam won't break down like the stock pad so you remain in comfort all day. Although Corbin seats feel firm at first, it is this firmness that allows the seat to support your body over the miles.
Includes genuine leather seating in your choice of colors and styles. Leather will provide a luxurious perch that breathes with your body and will break in along with the foam shape for a personalized fit. Be sure to care for your new leather saddle properly with a good conditioner like our Saddle Cream. This will help it to age gracefully and remain weather resistant.
Mounts up easily to your BMW dual cowling and includes new hinges and adjustable latch pin." 

Schuberth C3 Review

Tomas Perez

Schuberth C3 - The World in black
This is a short review of the latest Schuberth C3 helmet.  My recent helmet history starts with the C1 that I replaced in late 2005 with the tri-colored C2 in black, white, and silver.  I chose that color because it matched my 2003 Honda ST1300.  In July I broke down and purchased the C3 World in black mostly because my old helmet was showing signs of wear on the form area around the bottom of the helmet.

The decision to buy came about because several sources told me that no discounts were offered on the new helmet so when a vendor advertised 15% off on all orders over $300 I pulled the trigger.  In addition I was preparing for my yearly long tour.  I wanted the new helmet for the ride and it served as a good 4,400 mile test ride.  I don't recommend taking a helmet that is only 2 days old on an extended ride but it fit me rather well even when brand new.  By that I mean that it was a firm fit but not too tight.  The helmet broke in even better after about 3 days of riding.

Size - The C1 and C2 are both XL.  I tried the Large size a couple of times but it simply was too tight on my face. The C3 is the same size as my older helmets.  Schuberth helmets run on the small size.  All my helmets prior to the Schuberths have been Large.  With the Schuberths I had to go up to XL.

Comfort / Features - First positive impression was the weight, or lack thereof, of the C3.  After so many years with the C2 I noticed the lighter weight of the C3 every time I turned my head to check traffic.  Second, the center chin bar release button makes opening the helmet a one handed operation.  The C2 requires 2 hands to open.  You can open a C2 with one hand but it's not easy.  Opening the C3 with one hand is a natural action.  Third, dropping the sun shield is easier on the C3.  If you grab the chin bar with your left hand your thumb falls on the sun screen lever.  Fourth, I noticed a better upper vent air flow.  Not much better but better nevertheless.  I need to add that the face shield seems to stay open at higher speeds better than the C2.  Once again, it's not a big improvement - just slightly better than the old helmet.  The inside head liner is better on the C3.  It has much better padding.

The one item that I am negative on is that the chin strap rides all the way back under my jaw and sometimes it pushes against my throat.  I have to grab the strap and pull it forward every so often.  If I rotate the helmet back on my head the problem does not exist but it doesn't feel as natural on my head(at least not yet).

I'm neutral on the chin strap racket attachment system.  On the C2 you could adjust the strap for size and it always clicked into place whenever you locked the chin strap.  I found myself setting the C3 a little too tight and had to adjust it while under way.  I'm learning the number of clicks that I need to hear or feel for a proper fit.  The C3 method might be a better solution if you use different types of helmet liners making it easy to snug up.

I'm also neutral on the face shield sealing.  Once during my 10 day tour I got small water droplets inside the shield while riding in the rain.  I'm neutral at this point because this happened only once.  I'm thinking I did not seal the shield properly that one time.

Wind Noise - Much better than prior helmets.  I find myself doing more riding with the bike windshield down and the helmet face shield closed.  The helmet is quiet if you are in a steady stream of air.  Have your head in turbulence and it's no longer quiet.

Quality - Top notch.  The helmet and face shield construction shows attention to the details.  The helmet has ridges in front and back and the face shield has little triangular bumps along the top edge.  I'm sure these are the result of wind tunnel testing.  The paint job is awesome.  I got the black for the looks and it kind of matches my bike.  The white would have been better choice because I live in a very hot climate.  Another reason for not choosing white is that one of my riding friends has the White The World and I didn't want to copy him.

Cost - Expensive.  The model I got cost $749.  The solid colored models cost $699.  Recall that I got 15% off plus free shipping.  I might add that my second choice helmet cost $650 at the dealer.  I justified the extra $50 and then upgraded my order another $50 to get the World model.

Notice - I regret not installing the fog shield for my trip.  I could have used it when we hit rain.  I'll update this review once I try it out this winter.

TSP Rating: 4.5 (1-not recommended to 5-recommended)


BMW 1979 R100RT: Part III - Test Ride

Ricardo Perez

Fuel Line Filter
I finally got a chance to take the bike out on its first maiden run; a short 85 mile ride. I've had the bike put back together for a few weeks now, but every time I'd take it out the carburetor float bowls would start leaking, usually within five miles of taking off. I would just pull over and take the bowl off, let some gas run through the needle valve and pop it back on. Good to go for another four or five miles!
Of course, the inside of my gas tank is rusty and it sitting at the painter's for over a month sure didn't help. I know I've got to treat that tank, but it seems no one sells the solution I'm looking for in South Texas (it's a water soluble thing called Evaporust). Well, it finally dawned on me that I should just put in a pair of small and inexpensive fuel line filters. I picked up two of the smallest I could find at Autozone for $4.99 each, cut the fuel line, and popped them in. Took less than five minutes. My brother said he did the same thing years ago with his Honda CBX (six cylinder) and said that after the filter clogged the bike stalled on him on some lonely highway. He just punched a hole in the filter with a screw driver and kept on riding.
We left Saturday morning for a breakfast run to San Isidrio, Texas. Those fuel line filters worked like a charm. About 35 miles down the highway I opened up the throttle a bit and went from a pedestrian 65mph to 85.3mph according to my Garmin GPS. I know it's accurate because it's been certified by radar in the Texas Hill Country.  According to the local Sheriff in Camp Wood he said he clocked me at 65mph in a 55mph zone and I had my cruise control set right at 65mph, on the Garmin not on the speedometer.
The bike ran great, smooth and once it warmed up it shifted smoother and just ran better. It idled perfectly at 1,100rpm and should do much better once I get the carbs tuned. Of course, the bike feels much taller and nimbler than my Harley Ultra Classic. I did notice a little wavy (loose) feeling in the rear section as I held the bike at 85mph. I'm not sure if that was because of the wind or some mechanical issue. At 75mph it was totally smooth; at 65mph it was smoother, very quiet, and felt like it could stay at that speed forever.
Once I got home the only noticeable problem was some gear oil weeping from the gear shifter shaft entering the transmission. Maybe that's due to my replacing all the fluids with synthetic oils and perhaps I should go back to the old dino oils. I'm ordering the new seal and that should take care of that problem. I also felt that the saddle just wouldn't do on a day-long ride so I may look at getting a Corbin saddle to replace the custom job on there now.
Conclusion: Yes, I'm very happy with the bike and just want to keep tinkering with it.

BMW Motorrad All Around 2 Rain Gloves

Ricardo Perez

BMW Motorrad All Around 2 Rain Gloves
I've got plenty of gloves, but only two favorites, these rain gloves and my BMW Motorrad Air Flow II. The Air Flow are just about perfect for South Texas' one season, hot! The rain gloves on the other hand are like the forgotten step child, just sitting around in my luggage waiting for that rare rainy day. So when they do get out they love it and show that by taking on any rain storm. We've ridden in some heavy rain storms, but I've never had a problem with getting my hands wet or cold. The double Velcro closures helps keep those cuffs from being too wide open and makes it easy to slip your rain gear sleeve right over the cuff without it becoming a major struggle.
These gloves have an outstanding reflective strip running along the entire length of the glove which really helps you be a little more visible especially at night and that's always a safety plus. These gloves are soft and the fingers are pre-curved so keeping a grip on the handlebars is less fatiguing on long rides. Of course, these gloves are bulkier than your average summer riding gloves; therefore, not as comfortable, but they do a great job of keeping your hands from getting too cold. These are not winter gloves and you'll feel the chill once you're riding in temperatures below the mid-forties unless you've got heated grips.
Rubber Visor Wiper
Far and away the greatest feature is that little rubber visor wiper on the forefinger. It's only on the left hand, the non-throttle hand, which makes sense. My little squeegee has saved my life more than once. I sit behind a fairing, but in a frog choker it doesn't much matter, you're going to get lots of rain on that face shield and that squeegee works like a charm. Riding in the Southwest now means we share the road with all those oil fracking tractor trailers and on more than one occasion I've had them splash me with a great mix of water and mud that totally cuts off your view, but thanks to that squeegee I've been able to just wipe away the grime and restore my vision.
Everything else on these gloves is typical BMW Motorrad quality. The leather is soft, fingers are pre-curved, palm is double padded, and outer palm is breathable Cordura 500 textile.
I'm not sure how many riding seasons I've had these gloves, but they remain like new with no noticeable wear other than on the useless label that I keep forgetting to remove. Anyway, those labels, three of them are sewn in so well that it would be wise not to rip them off, but carefully cut them off with a knife or scissors.
Double Layer Palm
The nice fleece-like material inside the glove makes it difficult to put your gloves on once your hands are wet which is often the case in my situation since I seldom stop before it starts raining. I always believe that I"ll squeeze in-between those clouds and avoid the rain! Of course, putting on any gloves with wet hands is always difficult. I've learned to push my hand inside the glove and set my fingers all the way inside the glove by pushing the glove between the fingers against my mirror stems (or brake/clutch levers). Of course, the best thing is always to put them on before you hit that rain.
So even though they mostly sit in my luggage bags the times they do come out is great. We've gone more than a few hundred miles in and out of rain and they have yet to let me down so I'm sold on my rain gloves. I never leave home without them.

Soft and Comfortable After Many Miles

Size 8/8.5

Double Velcro Closures

Rubber Visor!

Velcro Closures

Cordura 500

BMW 1979 R100RT Project: Part II

Ricardo Perez

Work In Progress!

  Well I finally got my parts back from the paint shop. I worked on it a full two days, the second joined by my brother who helped me out quite a bit. It still needs the pin-striping work, but I got so impatient with the long wait on the paint job, five weeks, that I  just told him that we'd do the pin-striping later. 
Well it looks a lot better than it was back on February 29th when I bought it, but it still has a long way to go. Hopefully, I can now take my time with anything I tackle next knowing that I can take it out for a spin at any time. I plan on taking it on our maiden voyage this week, maybe doing a hundred miles or so to see how it handles and holds up. I have yet to get it up to it's sweet spot which I'm told is somewhere around 4,500rpm? Here's some of the basic things we've done to date on the bike. First off, we removed that very ugly seat, old styled fog lights, passenger riding pegs, and the Reynolds rear rack. We have new Metzelers on both front and rear, new front brake pads, new fork seals, new progressive springs in front forks, new progressive shocks, new push-rod seals, valves adjusted, carburetor float and needle valve, new clutch cable, new air filter, new oil filter, all the fluids changed, replaced seat with older seat more to my liking, new fairing mirrors, new front fork fender brace, and side reflectors on front and rear. Replaced many screws, nuts, bolts, etc. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but there's still lots to do. 
Putting on the fairing can be a little hard, especially if it's just one person, lots better if you have help. I'm telling myself that now I'll go back and redo everything, but at a slower pace just to make sure I've got everything right. I'll make sure that every screw is the right one, and new without mixing some new with old. The important thing for me is that it run well enough that I can confidentially take it on an out of state ride this summer. 
New Fork Brace & Reflectors

Looking Good!

Needs Pin Striping

Ready to Roll

Grip Buddies Review

Tomas Perez

Original Beemer Buddy
Updated... (see bottom of article)

I got these grips mostly to make the grips a bit thicker than stock - not so much to reduce vibration.  To this end the grips feel just right when I'm wearing Summer riding gloves.  With winter gloves the grips feel a bit fatter than what I want.  I also got a chance to use them in cold weather.  The heat transfer seems to work fine in both low and high heat settings.  I guess they help with vibration also but I can't tell if they help in this area.

My weak points with the grips is that they look like an add-on item.  In addition they are a wrap around product not a slip on product therefore they have a seam the length of the grip.  The instructions say to place the seam where your hand and fingers don't touch it.  Good advise of course and that also places the seam near dead bottom for each grip.  The additional advantage is that you can't see the seam in that location.  My problem is that I still know the seam is there (it's like an OCD thing for me).  I'm also wondering how they will hold up with wear and tear.  My original grips were showing signs of wear with 24,000 miles.  Neither is an expensive item to replace.

The seam
The cost was $19.95 plus shipping and purchased here.

Update - 09/17/2012
After my long tour this Summer the Grip Buddies took a beating.  The ride was 4,453 miles in 10 days.  I am guessing I had 3,000 miles on the grips before my ride.  As a future point of reference I am at 33,000 miles on my bike.  The photos below tell the story.  The foam is cracked on the right grip and is wearing off on two different areas on the left grip.  I still like the grips but keep in mind that they seem to have a rather short life.  Not too much to complain about for a $20 (plus shipping) item.  As a point of reference the stock grips showed a little wear with a total of just over 20,000 miles.

Left grip - front view

Left grip - rear view

Right grip

Update - 04/08/2013
I removed these grip buddies this week.  Bike was at about 38,900 miles.  The wearing you see above was not too big of an issue with me.  The reason I removed them was that the left side grip was always rotating on the grip.  It's weird that the right side (throttle side) that is always being twisted did not move much but the left side did.  I think it was tension that was on it as I held the clutch in.  Anyway, I got tired of fixing it on the road so I removed them.  Rating changed to reflect this issue.

Rating=5   Scale 1-10 with 1=lowest rating (save your money), 5=average, 10=An excellent product.


Headlight Upgrade Review

Tomas Perez

Tail of the Dragon ride

I'm always for more light while riding at night in country roads.  The reasons being both my aging eyes and the fact that I do a lot of country riding on Texas roads and highways.  We have lots of deer, javelins, feral hogs, and even cows and horses that can get out on the road.  This review is the beginning of the changes to my BMW R1200RT lighting system.

I used the OEM headlight bulbs on my bike until the first burned out after about 18 months.  I was at a bike rally and many miles from home so I had no option for a major upgrade but I did want something better than stock.  I found an Auto Zone store in a small town and found the Sylvania SilverStar Ultras on sale.  The RT uses two H7 bulbs for low beam and one H7 for the high beam.  It took me about an hour in a hotel parking lot to replace the first H7 with the new Ultra bulb.  The second bulb took me about two minutes to replace.  If you plan to replace the bulbs on your BMW RT take the time to find out how the bail wire hooks up in it's locked position.  That can save you a ton of time.

The Ultra seemed to be better than stock but this review is for the Osram H7 Rallye 65 watt bulb.  I got two bulbs from Candlepower for $36 and free shipping.  This bulb is rated at 2100 lumens and 500 hours.  The stock bulb is rated at 1400 lumens and the same bulb life.  I first replaced the left side bulb and wanted to compare that to the right side.  I could tell the light was brighter for the Rallye bulb when I pointed the lights at my garage door but the comparison was difficult because the light pattern of the left and right side bulbs is different.  I went ahead and replaced the right side bulb.  I also used one of the old Ultra bulbs for the high beam.  That set me up with the 65 watt rallye bulbs for the low beams and an Ultra for the high beam.

I went for a ride immediately after I finished the install.  The difference is not an obvious change in lighting.  I had to ride some country roads that had no lighting to notice what seemed like greater range.  Using the high beam did seem like an obvious improvement.  Once I turned around and headed back home and only using the low beam is when I started to notice the difference.  Side lighting was better than before and what I really noticed was that on roads I regularly traveled I was seeing and reading road signs much sooner than before.  It was also easier to read street names.  I always had a problem with this with the old lighting whenever street names were posted higher than normal.  The old light pattern seemed to miss them.

I'm happy with the upgrade.  It is an improvement but I hope the extra heat from these bulbs doesn't do any damage.  Also, I'm still considering doing the HID upgrade but for now I'll run this setup.  These bikes have great lighting and now it's even better.


'79 BMW R100RT: Third Day Progress

Ricardo Perez

New Mud Flap & Renewed Plates!

I've had the RT now for about two weeks, but yesterday, a Saturday, I had time to work on it for the third time. This time I installed a new air filter element; changed the oil and oil filter; changed out the transmission fluid; and the rear end fluid. I used Mobile 1 VTwin motor oil and Royal Purple 75W145 for the transmission and Mobile 1 75W145 for the rear end. All the plug bolts were fairly frozen on so it took some doing to get them loose and the old oil filter was the wrong one so it was tough getting it out. BMW makes a filter that is two piece so you can install and remove it without having the frame interfere like it does when using the one piece type. I don't know how they got that filter in, but I had to tear it to get it out.
We adjusted the idle speed to just over 1,000rpm so as to make sure that the oil light didn't come on as it was doing when the idle was at about 750rmp. I also used some de-greaser to clean up the rims and the disc brakes. I lightly sanded the front discs and the breaks seem to work much better.
We took the bike for a short test run and it's running smoother and shifts better. We're still getting some oil weeping from the pushrod entry point into the block and from the oil pan gasket, but those seem to be very minor and can get to them on our next work day.

1979 BMW R100RT Motorcycle Video

Ricardo Perez

Okay, here's a short video of our first day's work on the bike!

Well it's day two with the Beemer. Today we replaced the float and needle valve on the left side; replaced all the fuel lines; installed a new clutch cable; replaced saddle with one I picked up for $75; replaced some old 50 watt driving lights with my Hella DE Xenon HID Micro Lights; inflated the tires to proper levels; emptied gas tank and replaced it with new gasoline; installed my Garmin Zumo 550 brackets and cradle; installed a battery charger pig tail; and did a ten mile test run. Brick by brick it'll come together. It's already running great considering how it was running on Wednesday when I purchased it. More to come later!

Purchased Rare Find: 1979 BMW R100RT

Ricardo Perez

 That 1979 BMW R100RT that my brother Tomas, pictured above, found under a tarp in McAllen, Texas is now my new bike. Yesterday, being leap year, seemed like a great day to buy a good looking motorcycle. It was only about seven miles from my house so riding it home I never made it past fourth gear, but I could tell that this bike has a lot of life left in it. It was a great price and the doctor owner said he'd like to see it go to a good home. It came with the rare air pump and original tool kit.
The odometer is not working, but the seller said that it can't have more than 40,000 miles on it because he hardly ever rode it. Overall the bike looks good and except for a few minor dings it's in great condition. My brother and I spent the day just tinkering with it and here's what we've jumped into:
We drained the tank and will be getting some fresh gasoline tomorrow. There was water and trash in the gas so we're glad that was covered;
I pulled off an old add-on stop light that was not working;
I removed those huge driving lamps and hope to install a set of HID lights I've got in my workshop;
We washed it twice to knock off old dirt, grease, and spider webs;
My brother removed the speedometer to check it out and clean the lens from the inside. Only problem with odometer is that the gear that turns the numbers slides off the worm drive that turns it. It seems as though it should have a stop or something at the opposite end to keep it from sliding away from the worm gear, but it conical shape at the end makes it hard to add any kind of "stop". Any ideas are welcome.
Greased all grease nibs;
My brother fixed the wind shield knobs that were not working thus not allowing us to adjust its height;
Before we drained the gas we had added some "sea foam" to get the water out;
I removed the seat to check for the standard pegs so I can start looking for a replacement "stock" seat;
and we tinkered with other odds and ends.
We still need to work on the clutch since first gear take offs are somewhat abrupt unless you really give it some gas and slowly engage the clutch.
Tomorrow I'm going over to check out a friend who's got a stock seat that may fit my bike. Then there's lots of little things that need attention, but overall this is one great bike in my opinion.

Reads 37,858

Wheels are dirty, but in fine shape with new Michelins 

BMW Motorrad RainLock 2: Motorcycle Rain Gear Review

Ricardo Perez

Rain & Mud
UPDATE No. 2: The RainLock 2 size I purchased is size "L" (large). I"m 5'10" and weigh 175.  I use a size 40 coat size and the rain jacket is just about perfect for me, but it can't be any smaller without restricting my arm movement and tightness on the upper back shoulders. I figure an XL would work on me as well, but it might be a bit loose. The pant's waist are about 30" with the elastic un-stretched and about 38" stretched to the max. My waist is 34" so they fit just right over my jeans. The inseam is only about 30" but the measurement from the waist to the crouch is 15". I have a 31" inseam, but these rain pants cover my entire jean without it ever riding up. I rode in a hell of a rain storm and never got wet on my way to Big Bend National Park a couple of weeks ago.

UPDATE No. 1: Rode through heavier rains on May 10, 2012 using my RainLock 2 and stayed perfectly dry. It was a real down pour as we rode to Big Bend National Park we had rain off and on for over 400 miles and at one time, near Dilley, Texas it was very heavy rain, missing some serious golf ball size hail by about five minutes. Bottom line: I stayed nice and dry, the hood sure does help by keeping water from running down the back of your neck and onto your back. This stuff works!

My one-piece BMW Rain-Suit now has about 10 years on it and it's beginning to crack in places so I decided to use my wife's (snug fit) Tour Master two piece rain gear on a recent rainy ride. I opted for the Tour Master simply because it's so much easier to maneuver into and out of compared to my one-piece rain-suit.  My BMW one-piece can get unbearably hot and even in mild temperatures you can break into a good sweat. After about a 265 mile, mostly in rain and drizzle, I discovered that my (wife's) Tour Master pant's inner lining had started to flake away especially at the knees (flex point) leaving me fairly wet from my knees to my boots.
We were at the local Boerne BMW dealer Northwest of San Antonio so I decided to try on the Motorrad RainLock 2; both pants and top. I immediately liked the idea that it's a two piece since there's plenty of times when you want to wear one, but not necessarily both at the same time. The pants are good to use in very light mist or when it's too cool not to have a protective wind layer and the top is good to wear over your jacket on dry cold days. Of course, the other obvious benefit is the ease of getting into the pants and top as compared to the one-piece suit.
Motorrad claims that this suit is breathable. I don't know how they accomplished that, but if it's true then it's a great milestone. It was too cool to be able to tell if it's really breathable on my return ride, but I did ride in temperatures from the high 50's to the mid 70's and never noticed any discomfort although that feeling of comfort may have been caused by my mind telling me that I better not complain about the rain gear after paying a hefty price. The pants were just under a $100 and the jacket was about $130.
Here's what BMW Motorrad says about this gear: " The two-piece rain suit is breathable and keeps out all wind and water. Design, material and fit are all intended for bad weather conditions - including the non-slip material in the seat area. The bright colors and large reflective panels make riders more visible, and therefore safer. All in all, this combination is ideal for taking the worst out of whatever the weather throws at you."  Materials are 100% nylon with waterproof coating; five-layer laminate construction and breathable.  The jacket has collar with adjustable hood built-in; elastic cuffs with velcro fasteners; zip fastener with waterproof storm flap at front; two waterproof front pocket zippers. The pants have a non-slip material in the seat area; heat resistant material in the inner leg area; outer opening zip-fastener at the side, running vertically upwards from the ankle; velcro adjustment mechanism at ankles. It come is sizes S to XXXL. I'm a 34 waist and over my jean I have about another two inches of waist expansion so sizes are more "european" than "american" so if your 35" waist I'd opt for the XL and so on. My rain coat fit just right over my leather jacket (with pads) and I'm a size 40 or 41 jacket size. Jacket is a little hard to put on over leather since nylon just doesn't slide over leather.
I wasn't too crazy of the orange color, preferring a bright yellow, but apparently BMW Motorrad only has one color per year and this year it's orange. It's bright enough to be seen in a heavy rain so that's what counts. There's large reflective panels and that's also a plus. We rode about 50 miles in the rain on Friday afternoon and about 30 or 40 on Saturday (mostly light drizzle) and I stayed totally dry. My flexibility was also good, I could turn my head and upper body to check for traffic without feeling strapped to my rain gear. I also used the hood to keep rain from dripping down my helmet and onto my back.  The non-slip bottom on the pants really work. My seat is plastic covered, but with these pants you never get that uneasy sliding around when its really wet. The boot openings are large enough to get the pants on without much trouble. Of course, like all nylon gear it's best to be seated when putting them. I hate to think what could happen if you're standing and lose you balance while trying to put those pants on.
My brief ride tells me that I'll be very happy with this outfit and like lots of Motorrad clothes it's very well thought out and quality made.

Breathable Material!
Elastic Straps At Mid-Section, Waist, & Hood

Front Zipper Covered by Overlapping Velcro Closing
Collar Straps Shut/Open

Lots of Waterproof Zippers

Hooded Zippers

Large Sleeve Openings

Large Boot Openings/Heat Guards/Elastic Bottom Straps

Things That Work (for me)

Tomas Perez

Motorcycle Content

Updated: 2012/07/23

These are things that I have gotten or use with my motorcycle.  I have another posting for the same thing but featuring items that are not motorcycle related.  This is not meant as an all inclusive list.  There is no way that I can try all boots, jackets, lights, etc.  In addition, I want to keep the review as short as possible with, in some cases, a link to a detail review.

Motorcycle Gloves - With many years of riding I've had a lot of gloves but I did start out using non motorcycle gloves.  I'm a hard fit for gloves.  Normally I have to try on a lot of pairs before finding something that fits me somewhat well.  My last four sets are the best I've had.  I live in Texas - it gets real hot here therefore my main gloves are summer gloves.  I had the Tourmaster GX Air for summer and an old pair of HD winter gloves that I only use if it is very cold.  A couple of years ago I replaced the GX glove with the Held summer glove (don't recall the name but similar to the current Air).  Last week I purchased a middle weight glove and I really like them.  I am thinking I can retire the heavy, fat finger HD gloves and use the BMW Allround 2 gloves.  I rode several hours in the rain and I never got water inside of the gloves.  The Allround 2 gloves retail for $75.  The Held was about $80 but discounted at a motorcycle dealer in central Texas.  Conclusion: Held for the summer and the BMW Allround 2 for cold weather and rain.  Looking to try out the BMW AirFlow II gloves whenever the Held Air gloves give out.  They are showing some wear after about 20K miles of use.
Update - 2012/07/23 - Got the Airflow II gloves on 7/18/2012.  My first impressions after just 265 miles of use: Plus: These are the best fitting gloves I've had.  They fit great just wearing them on the hands and also while wrapped around the grips of the bike but maybe that is because the 8/8.5 gloves were a little too tight and the 9/9.5 fit just right around the palm but some of the fingers were a bit too long for my hands.  I'm hoping they don't get too loose after I break them in.  Minus: Compared to both the Held and the GX air gloves these gloves flow very little air.  Instead of an open mesh feel I would say these gloves are breathable.  Stick your hands out in the air stream and air is felt on the back of the hand and the fingers (nothing on the palm).

TM GX Air (Summer)

Held Air (Summer)

BMW Allround 2 (Mid weight)
Notice 2 straps and reflective strip

The Harley winter gloves

BMW Airflow II gloves

Power Distribution Panel - There are several on the market that you can choose.  I am using the Fuzeblock.  I liked it because I can select between switched and unswitched for each circuit that I need.  Everything I've added to the bike that requires power is control via this unit.
Link: FuzeBlocks

Power Amplification - Disclosure: I have only used one type of amp - the Amplirider.  This amp runs off the bike's 12V supply, has 3 source inputs, and a remote volume control.  The main thing that I like about this unit is that I have used it for many miles and years on my prior bike and had zero problems.  I purchased a new one for my new bike.
Link: AmpliRider Amp

Boots - I use a true motorcycle boot plus have two casual type boots that I use both on and off the bike.  My official bike boots are the Sidi Way Rain street boot.  They are light and totally waterproof.  For local riding I just got a pair of Timberland PRO non-steel toed work boots.  They fit me very well, are very comfortable and are also waterproof.  The other pair I use for local rides and casual use is a pair of Bates GX-8 waterproof boots.  The Bates is a tactical type of boot so they are made to walk and work on for hours at a time.  The Bates have a lace up system and a side zipper for easy on/off.  The Bates and Timberlands are both about $120.  Both are first class boots but may not protect your feet as well as a true motorcycle boot.  For serious riding I use the Sidi boots.  By the way, get a few pair of really good socks.  You will be surprised how big of a difference good socks can make.  The Smartwool socks are reviewed in this blog.

Ear Bud Speakers - After trying many I am happy with the S Plug ear buds.  They fit well, easy on, don't fall out, and have good sound quality.  I have the single speaker ear buds.  Cost - $140.  Not cheap but I think they are good.  I've had them for over a year and still going strong.
Link: S Plug Ear Buds

Jacket - I started with the full Tourmaster jacket with the winter liner.  This jacket was just too hot for summer riding so I got the Tourmaster Intake.  The Intake is a big system with two different liners - one for rain and the other for colder weather riding.  After using that jacket for a number of years I decided to go with the BMW Airflow 4 jacket and Tourmaster Sentinel rain jacket to make the Airflow a 3 season jacket.  The Airflow is expensive but very well made and it just hangs on you so well that you forget you are wearing it.  Not nearly the air flow of the Intake but I think that is a good thing.  I think too much air flow can dry you out faster than normal.  The Airflow seems to manage the air going into the jacket very well.  My record high with this jacket is 113 F.  Review pending.

Additional Brake Lights - Several around.  I got the P3 lights and like them. Very bright with a flash mode when the brakes are first applied.  The flashing lasts about 4 seconds.  When the LEDs are on normally the LEDs have a flicker to them.  The flicker mode can be switched off if you don't want that feature.  Details in a future review.

Pants - This past winter (2011) was my first time buying true motorcycle pants.  Only used them one time so review will have to wait. They are the Olympia summer riding pants with inside rain liner.  I have used the liners as rain pants with good results.
Update - 2012/07/23 - I got to try these pants on a two day ride this Summer and really liked them.  They are much cooler than jeans in temperatures from 88 to 98.  I want to know how they handle 105 to 115+.
By the way, don't use a leather belt for touring.  I know use a web belt that is both strong and is not damaged by water.  The time will come when you either ride in the rain without your rain gear or your rain suit will leak.  A wet leather belt is hard to deal with and it remains that way for a long time.

GPS - Zumo 660.  Expensive but fairly good and made for motorcycles and comes with the hardware to use in your car also. Review here: Zumo 550 & 660 Review

Seat - After 15,000 miles on my RT I bit the bullet and got the driver Corbin heated seat.  It's my third Corbin - I like them.  Seats are very personal.  Try as many as you can before you decide if you are thinking of buying an after market seat.  IMO it took about 4,000 to break in the seat (factory I think says 1,500).  One reason I choose the Corbin seat for the RT is that I had the Corbin with the Smuggler trunk on my ST1300 and really liked the trunk.  I may at some time add the trunk to the RT.

Headlight Upgrade - I added a little more power to the H7 headlights by using the Osram H7 Rallye 65 watt bulbs.  The Osram puts out 2100 lumens compared to 1400 of the stock bulbs (50% increase) and they have the same bulb life of 500 hours.  Review here: Headlight-Upgrade-Review
Update - 2012/07/23 - I did the HID upgrade for my upcoming long summer ride.  Much more light but not a perfect implementation IMO.  Detail review pending.

To be continued...

Rev'It Functional Under Garment Liners For Motorcycle Riding

Ricardo Perez

Rev'It Jacket Fleece Inner Liner

My review of Rev'It liners.
Weather is turning a bit cooler and on a ride to Austin we stopped at Lone Star BMW on Lamar Street to check out riding gear. Early Friday morning the wind chill was in the 30s so we naturally gravitated to the cold weather gear. I wanted something that would keep me comfortable, but not feel restricted in my movements. That's sometimes hard to do when you've layered so much clothes that it makes it difficult to move. I'm a warm bodied person so when it's below 72 degrees I start to layer on clothes. If it's really cold I typically wear, in order, a tee shirt, a long sleeve nike athletic shirt, a long sleeve shirt, my harley heated vest, my jacket liner, and my heavy leather jacket. That's a lot of stuff and if it's below freezing I'll put on my one-piece BMW rain gear over all of that. I end up feeling like the little brother in the movie "Christmas Story" when his mom wraps him up before he steps outside.
Although by mid-morning the chill factor was in the upper 50s, much better riding weather, so I did away with all layers except for my nike athletic long sleeve shirt and my new Rev'It liner under my leather jacket. I also wore the pant liners. I was perfectly comfortable and able to move freely without all my usual bulky layering.

Rev'It Pant Liner
Rev'It Liner
I have Harley Davidson long under pants, but I've never been totally happy with the fit. It seems that the upper section just sits a bit too low for comfort. I tried the Rev'It pant liner and it's a good fit especially under my jeans. The fit and finish of both the jacket and pant liners are top notch. The pant liner's front section is a heavier wind blocking material than the rear leg portion so it makes a very comfortable sitting position. The elastic waist band is just right, not too wide or too narrow, in my honest opinion, and the leg bottoms are nice and snug so they don't ride up on you.
Fit and finish on the jacket liner is very good. It's zipper is good quality and at the top of the zipper is hooded so that you won't be chaffing your chin on the zipper. That's a nice touch that you won't really notice until you're out on a long ride. Other nice touches include overlocking seams, moisture wicking function, elastic, and the slit pockets. The jacket liner also has a nice longer tail so you won't be getting a cold draft coming up your backside. It has two large zippered pockets which come in handy. Overall the vest is tight fitting, water-repellent, and body-warming.  The Rev'It membrane is laminated between two layers of fabric, the outer layer is a stretchable fabric and the inner layer is a soft fleece. I rode over 300 miles with both liners and they were very comfortable.
I'm 5'10" 173 lbs and a size 41 on coats and wear a 16.5 X 33 shirt (large) so I purchased both jacket and pant liner in size "large". The fit is snug and not loose as it should be, but keep in mind that this is a European company from the Netherlands so fit is more typically smaller than US cuts.
Rev'It Collar
The tag says it can be washed, but I haven't tried that yet. Overall, I am really pleased with the comfort of both liners. They performed really well and the fact that it's breathable doesn't leave you feeling clammy so on a scale of one to ten, I'd give these liners a nine. The only negative is that the pant liner comes without a fly opening so that's a small inconvenience, but I'm sure it not there by design to keep that wind chill out. Seem like Rev'It is out to make a mark with top of the line riding gear so in my opinion they're worth checking out next time you're in the market for a good light quality liner for cold riding season. I'm always on the lookout for "functional" riding gear especially living in South Texas where we can have 30 degree shifts within the same day.

Summer Riding Gloves - BMW Motorrad Air Flow II

Ricardo Perez

BMW Motorrad Air Flow II

After years of riding I finally decided to fork over some serious money for a summer riding pair of gloves that might last more than one riding season. I settled on the BMW Motorrad Model: Air Flow II. It doesn't look as cool as many of the perforated leather gloves I've worn, but I decided that I was tired of wearing out a pair of gloves more quickly than I cared for. The Air Flow II cost $105 which is between twice to three times more than I'm used to paying for a pair of gloves so it was tough decision, but I finally pulled out that plastic card. I purchased the gloves in March of 2010 and I've logged enough miles with them to give an honest personal opinion on these gloves. I think their great and absolutely the best pair of gloves I've ever owned. I've used most brands except for Held which I have heard are very good. I've even used several types of work gloves from Home Depot and Tractor Supply and they hold up really well, but lack much of the cooling effects we really need in South and West Texas. 

Surprisingly, although these gloves don't look "cool" they are as cool as any perforated leather gloves I've used. Unlike the perforated type, these gloves have held up remarkably well. It doesn't take me long to wear a hole in either my thumb or palm section on most gloves, but these gloves look as good as they day I bought them and they actually feel better now that I've broken them into the shape of my hands. 

Given the current condition of my gloves they will easily make it through my third summer and that will easily triple the typical lifespan of all the other "summer" type gloves I've ever owned. 

The gloves are made of both high grade doubled leather in the inside hand section and an AirTex high abrasion-resistant DynaFil® with a light, air-permeable mesh structure with completely free air through-flow.  The upper hand has Cordur® sections and the fingers are perforated between each other. There is a velcro width adjuster and a great finger wiper. They also carry a two year warranty, but I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds like I can return them if they rip anytime within a two year period. 
Bottom line is that these gloves are well worth the cost in my honest opinion and they're worth checking out. The fit and feel is excellent for me which is sometimes a challenge for me to find a pair that fits well. 

From the Archives: 2005 BMW K1200LT vs 2005 Harley Ultra Classic

Ricardo Perez

Here's an article from 2005 comparing the BMW LT and the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic: 

2005 K1200LT vs. 2005 Harley Ultra Classic
I am sitting at home waiting-out Hurricane Emily with not much to do, consequently, as promised, here’s my not so professional comparison of the two motorcycles. I’m doing this because some of the forum members asked me to do this. It’s only my personal opinion and it’s not to start some long drawn-out debate on the issue.
I’ve had the Ultra about two weeks and have a little under 1,000 miles on it. As some of you know from my earlier posting, I came to the decision of buying an Ultra without much thought process in making the decision. Here’s a summary taken from that posting of what led to my decision,
My '05 BMW K1200LT 
Well, I'll be signing off the forum, at least as an LT rider, this week. I rode up to Austin to get my new non-working CB radio replaced, but when I got to the dealer I was told that they assumed that it was the relay that was bad on my new CB radio so they had ordered the relay, but not a new CB radio which meant I had to stay overnight to see if they could get one in overnight. I was understanding, but told them that I had to get back home and I wasn't about to make a third trip (660 miles round trip) for the same problem. So I had them remove the CB and credit my account the $768.61 for the CB, Antenna, and Installation. That's about five trips (not including the routine maintenance trips for the 600, 6K, and 12K) that I've had to make for little things (slave cylinder, clutch, communications system, windshield motor, CB, severe front tire cupping, etc.) so all in all, I've traveled about 4K miles or 30% of my riding just for service. I got my bike and took it about a mile down the road and traded it in on a HD Ultra Classic (there's also a dealer about 7 miles from my home). Of course, had I seen a Honda, Ducati, or any other dealer along the way I would have stopped and traded. Impluse buyer is a bad thing. This is my first non-BMW bike (riding since the 60's)...the ride's not as bad as I thought it might be, not as smooth, quick, or powerful as the LT and I miss my LT brakes, but it sure is easier to handle than the LT (imho) and riding two-up doesn't create that LT stress of having to really focus on my stops, go, and turns (granted that's caused by my lack of skill). Maybe I'll get a GS for solo riding? Anyway, I'll miss all the great input from most of you and the expert knowledge you shared with me. Maybe we'll see each other down the road as I putt-putt along. Thanks, and Happy Trails To You!
My brother, an old BMW and currently a Honda ST rider, showed up at the house as soon as he heard the news that I had a new bike. When he walked in I was at the kitchen table checking out the tool kit which comes standard with the Ultra. They look okay, but not exactly what I would call “Snap-On” quality. Right away, my brother says, “Isn’t it thoughtful that Harley makes every combination wrench capable of opening any ‘long neck’ beer bottle!” Without skipping a beat, he added, “I suppose this was included as a complimentary gift”, as he eyed the unopened bag of Pork Rinds on the table. I’m the kid brother, and like my older brother, I grew up only on BMW bikes so his comments were “textbook” and about what I expected. Of course, his critical comments didn’t stop him from taking it on a ride. He called about an hour later saying he stopped at his house for a bit and would bring the bike back in a few days. Later that evening, when he finally returned the bike, he admitted that he’s fond of anything with two wheels, including the Ultra!
So, what do I think? What follows is my personal opinion and there may be some truth in it, but don’t count on it.
Type of Riders: Most of the LT riders I know (not too many) are in technical professions such as engineering. Harley Ultra riders, unlike popular opinion, are not marauding crusaders looking for the closest topless bar, but more like your typical dentists or gynecologists.
Seat: The LT seat is too narrow up front and I get that “monkey butt” feeling after a few hundred miles. The Harley seat is much more comfortable. Advantage to the Ultra.
Sitting Style: The LT sitting style, like all BMWs, is very upright compared to the Ultra. The Ultra is more laid-back with your feet forward. I still get on the Ultra trying to look for the gear and break pedals in the BMW position. I’ve only taken two rides over 300 miles, but both times I haven’t found myself squirming around the seat with the “monkey butt” I get on the LT stock seat. The forward feet configuration is also fairly relaxing on those long rides. I give the edge to the Harley.
Controls: The controls on the LT are much more ergonomically situated compared to the Ultra. The Ultra controls are in about the same place, but I really liked the turn signal controls on the LT. A neat feature on the Ultra is self-canceling turn signals. Of course, with the Harley you don’t find yourself fumbling around for the windshield control either! I do like the Harley rocker controls on the fairing; they seem to be in a logical place and are easy to rock on/off as needed. Edge goes to the LT.
Foot pegs: Not a good comparison since the LT has pegs and the Ultra has massive floor boards which seem to have enough room to carry a case or two. The boards are mounted on some type of springs so that you get no vibration. They’re neat, advantage Ultra.
Windshield: I had the tall windshield on the LT and although I’m 5’10” I still found it to be too tall even at the lowest position to get much air in “stop and go” riding. The motor went out on the LT and had to be replaced under warranty (still an extra 660 mile round trip return to the dealer to get it replaced since no part in stock). The Harley windshield is a good height, but it’s a fixed windshield without the convenience of being able to lower/raise it. Advantage LT.
Gauges: The LT digital display is good, but the LCD is hard to see in the sun which, except for this hurricane pause, is plentiful in south Texas. The Harley has analog type display for speed and RPMs and LCD for Radio. I measured the accuracy of each speedometer against my friend’s GPS (riding side-by-side) and the LT was about 5mph off (reading 80 at 75) and the Harley was accurate (reading 70 at 70). The low fuel, oil, and fuel injection lights on the Harley are very small and hard for me to see (I wear glasses) compared to the LT. I give the advantage to the Harley because I appreciate an accurate speedometer.
Trunk & Side Bags: The Ultra has much more space than the LT (haven’t measured it, just eyeball judgment). I like the Ultra top case. It has lots of room and is much wider than LT trunk so it’s much easier for me to find stuff. I’ve taken the LT trunk off (with Ztechnik rack) and it weighs exactly 30lbs. I don’t know how much the Harley trunk weighs, but it’s construction is not double walled and has to be much lighter (good for keeping that low center of gravity [cog]). The Ultra comes with bag liners as standard equipment. Of course, the central locking system is great on the LT. The locks on the Ultra do they’re job of keeping things closed, but they don’t seem like they can keep any determined thief from easily breaking the lids open. Edge goes to the Ultra.
Gas Tank & Refueling: The LT tank is holds about a gallon and half more than the Ultra (5 gallons) so you travel further than the Ultra on one tank with the LT. The gauges
on both the LT and the Ultra (analog) seem to be accurate. I’ve taken both to near fume levels and both read accurate. Of course, as mentioned above, the “low fuel warning” light on the Ultra is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Refueling the Ultra is much easier than on the LT. Both bikes have the lid and then the screw-off cap. As you know, the LT is on the right side and I always found it a bit troublesome to stop by the pump, with the pump on the right side also, take off my helmet, putting it between the handlebars and the “on/off” key then remembering that I need the key to unlock the lid (small inconvenience which can be avoided by thinking ahead). If I remembered to get the key first then I had to be careful when swinging the handlebar to the left so I can open the gas lid without dropping the helmet. Once the lid is open the little rubber thing that is suppose to hold the gas cap while refueling never really held it in place. The Harley presents none of those small inconveniencies since the lid and cap are in the center of the tank so you can park on either side of the pump and it’s easy to fill it to the brim. Edge to the Ultra.
Fairing: The LT glides through rough winds and it really takes high speed curves well. The Ultra with its “batwing” fairing mounted on the front handlebars and forks is not as stable at high speeds and I found when taking a curve at over 70mph you really need to pick a line and stick to it otherwise I get an uncomfortable wavy feeling. The Harley with the “batwing” fairing and it now comes with new little clear plastic wings for added wind protection. Additionally, it also has the “lowers” for fuller wind coverage. The LT is one piece and great protection (I haven’t hit a hard rain on the Ultra, but it can’t be as good as the LT).Edge goes to the LT.
Lighting: The lights on the LT are anemic (I had the Xenon HID lights added) and the Ultra’s “Spot” lights are very good for stock stuff. Taillights are about the same, but I haven’t given them much thought. The LT floor lighting is very nice, but not essential to me. Edge goes to the Harley.
Side-stand: The LT side-stand is not much to brag about, but then neither is the non-existing center-stand on the Harley. The electrical stand on the LT is great, but to me a little too low, esp. when traveling in Mexico with all its topes (speed bumps). The Harley stand is very sturdy, sturdy enough for my wife to get on the bike with the side-stand down and not have me cringe. It also leans way over, kind of scary way over, but it sits fine and won’t roll off the stand, either forward or backward. It doesn’t look like the wind will topple the Harley. Those two things are welcome additions, advantage Harley.
Heat: The Harley does put out some noticeable heat in city traffic, but that a good thing in cold south Texas! Advantage goes to the LT.
Dropping: I rolled the LT down twice, once on each side the first month I got the bike, but the damage to the bike was only some small scrapes on the “wing” plastic and it was on the underside where it wasn’t noticeable (side bags did not touch). I haven’t dropped the Harley (knock on wood), but it has a roll bar on the “lowers” and rails around the saddle bags, but it sure doesn’t look like it can handle any type of drop without significant damage. Advantage LT.
Brakes: I miss my ABS and power servo brakes on the LT, although the Harley does stop much better than I thought. Big advantage to the LT.
Front Fork: The LT handles better up front, but the Ultra doesn’t give you that sick feeling in your stomach when you press the front brake lever going at a slow speed and having your wheel turned. Advantage to the Harley.
Suspension: It’s much better on the LT. You feel the bumps and those uneven asphalt to cement seams on overpasses. Advantage to the LT.
Tires: Since I had severe cupping on my stock stone which caused a frightening front end wobble (with hands off the handlebars), I give the advantage to the yet (only 1K miles) untested Dunlops. Advantage to the Harley.
a) Standard: The Ultra comes with the bag liners and that’s very nice. I had to purchase the Kathy liners for the LT. The LT came with a tool kit (I’ve heard that they are no longer standard equipment) and the Ultra also has a kit. I don’t think either one is top quality. The LT had the tire repair kit and the Harley does not. The Harley has the CB (with antenna) as standard on the Ultra Classic and it’s not on the LT. I’m sure I’m forgetting lots of things, but if they don’t come to mind then they can’t be that critical. Advantage goes to the Ultra.
b) Optional: To me the LT comes about as loaded as you can get a bike except for the lights. The Harley stores I’ve seen can turn the Ultra into a solid piece of chrome with only bucks getting in the way. I don’t like the fact that everyone pushes the Harley upgrade (at least Stage I: new air intake, computer chip, and exhaust for an extra 2HP maybe at the $700 range) before you even get out the door. Edge goes to the LT.
Power: Of course, the LT. I don’t know if I’ll get that Stage I yet on the Harley. The stock engine seems like it can handle most things. Being from the BMW family, I’ve keep the rpms over 2K so as not to lug the engine. It doesn’t give you that great Harley “potato” sound with the engine revved up a little, but I can’t think of anything worse than lugging an engine.
Acceleration: Here again, the LT. I’ve only taken the Harley to 85mph and it’s okay, but seems happiest at 70mph.
Smoothness: The LT. I always thought the Harley was a very rough ride just from seeing guys at stops with all the vibrating, but amazingly, the Ultra is smooth enough for me at highway speeds.
a) Slow speed handling: To me the Harley is miles ahead in this department. Compared to the LT, the Harley is like riding a bicycle. Edge Harley.
b) Fast speed handling: As mentioned above advantage to the LT.
c) Riding two-up: The Harley is much easier to me. My wife noticed right away that I was much less stressed out on the Harley than the LT, especially in stop and go traffic. Advantage Harley.
d) Non-paved roads: The little I’ve done on the Harley is enough to give the edge to the Harley. It feels a little more grounded. Edge to the Harley.
e) Two-up comfort: My wife says the LT is more comfortable. She told my son that riding on the LT is like riding in our Mercedes, but that the Ultra is not bad and, “hey, it a motorcycle, adapt and get used to it”. What a gal! Advantage to the LT.
f) Overall feel: The LT is a beast to stop and go, you get used to it, but you never dismiss it. The Harley is just the opposite; it’s easy to stop and go, esp. two-up. The LT feels long on the road and the Harley feels short and stubby
(whatever that means). Consequently, the LT ride is smoother with turns and leaning feeling a bit more solid than the Harley which feels quicker. To me, this is a toss-up with the slow speed feel going to the Harley and Highway speeding to the LT.
Appearance: The Lt looks sleek and modern and the Harley looks retro. Having taken the Tupperware off numerous times I know it’s a pain which you don’t have with the Harley. Conversely, it’s a pain to wash the Harley (haven’t done it yet, but it looks like it is) compared to the LT. It’s all a style thing so it doesn’t matter which I think is better…it’s more of a trying to compare apples with oranges.
Conclusion: Well, grasshopper, would I do it again? I never really ridden a Harley too much and I really was amazed at how easy it handles compared to the LT in traffic and in stop and go situations. Sure it’s not as sleek, powerful, or smooth as the LT, but when I get up in the morning and say, “let’s go for ride” without thinking about it, where as in the past, I would really think of “a ride” as an event which I had to “think” about and think about where I was going and what obstacles I would encounter. That intangible is worth making the move.
I know I’d still have the LT if I could get local service, but I can’t and a 600 mile ride for service and to be told “we don’t have the part in stock” is not too practical for me. I’m still going to look at the GS for riding to the Big Bend country which I visit a few times a year!
My '05 Harley Ultra Classic
…gotta go, water’s rising and I have a leak in the sunroom!

My Review: BMW RT vs Honda ST

Tomas Perez

2003 ST1300

2010 R1200RT

I decided to review the Honda and BMW sport touring motorcycles after riding the Honda ST1100 and ST1300 for about 11 years and then replacing the 2003 ST1300 with a 2010 BMW R1200RT. I wanted to wait until I had some miles on the RT before I started this project. I'll be comparing the 2010 RT to the 2003 ST1300 I had. Starting with the front of the bikes and working my way to the back...

Please note that a 2010 ST1300ABS is essentially the same as the 2003 ST1300ABS.

Headlight - The RT has got very good dual H7 powered headlights and a third H7 high beam. The ST has a pair of special H4 bulbs that only Honda sells. Most tourers put in higher powered H4s in place of the OEM bulbs. I did that on both my STs with good results but I still think the stock RT headlight is better. Winner RT.

Dash - Slight edge to the RT. The BMW dash just looks more professional and the LCD display is easier to read in most daylight conditions. I also like that you can check remaining range whenever you want on the RT. The ST displays remaining range only when it goes into reserve. Both fuel and temperature gauges appear to be very accurate. Winner RT.

Mirrors - Let me rate these on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 5 (very good). I would rate the ST mirrors a 3 and the RT mirrors a strong 4. Both are positioned perfect for protecting the hands from wind, bugs, etc but the ST mirrors show too much of your hands in most conditions. I found myself dipping my head in order to get a clear view of whatever was behind me. Not so on the RT. Both offer a clear view (little to no vibration). Winner RT.

Seat - This item is so subjective and no two riders will have the same impressions on any motorcycle seat. I replaced the stock ST seats (both 1100 and 1300) with Corbin seats. The Corbin was much better than stock and better than the RT OEM seat. I am forcing myself to like the BMW seat since it has the heated option at a cost of $350. Nevertheless I may upgrade in the future. Winner RT (comparing stock seats).

Transmission - Both bikes have top notch transmissions. I'll give the nod to the RT for smoother shifting and 6 speeds. In my opinion the ST is geared slighter lower in high gear. I find myself looking for another gear while on the highway. The RT seems to be geared perfect for highway cruising but first gear is very tall (high). It idles in 1st gear at about 8 MPH. I've never found a false neutral on the RT in just over 10K miles and I expect the RT transmission to get even better as I add miles to the bike. Winner RT.

Brakes - Both bikes were equipped with ABS and both are awesome. Slight edge to the Honda for the ABS. You never know it's there until it's needed. Winner ST.

Suspension - I liked the ST setup but the RT has the electronic suspension option (ESA II). I like being able to change the settings from normal to comfort for the highway and then to sport if the going gets twisty. And you can do that while riding. Preload on the RT has to be set via switch while you are stopped. Setting are 1 up, 1 up with luggage, and 2 up. Riding the BMW with paralever and telelever suspension is a unique experience. I like it. The 2010 has ESA II which addressed several concerns with the older system. Winner RT.

Cases - Both are very good and can hold a full face helmet. I give the edge to the RT because you can leave the bags unlocked plus they have 4 latching points. Also the RT looks a lot better without the bags. The ST does not have a clean look when the bags are off. Winner RT.

Tank (mileage) - The ST1300 has a 7.3 gallon tank and the RT has a 6.6 gallon tank. I modified the ST with a K&N air filter, Two Brothers mufflers, and a Turbo Tom fuel pressure regulator. Those changes made the ST much better and increased my mileage. At low speed the RT has better mileage. At high speed the ST was better. Slight edge to the ST but both bikes can do over 300 miles on a tank on a good day. Winner ST.

Fairing - BMW did it right with the new RT. The ST is good but the RT offers better protection and less wind noise. In addition, I can have the windshield lower and still have the wind stream go over my helmet so I don't have to look through the windshield. Winner RT.

Weight - The BMW is about 120 pounds lighter ready to go. One of the reasons I purchased the RT over another Honda ST or BMW K bike. Winner RT.

Options - Hands down it's the BMW. I ran out of money before I ran out of options for the RT. Winner RT.

Engine - Like them both - a lot - for different reasons. The Honda V-4 is simply awesome in the way it delivers its power. Riders talk about sweet spots for cruising. I like to say that the ST's sweet spot is 60 to 110 mph. It will cruise at any speed you want very easily and the engine pulls from about 2,000 rpm on. I do a lot more shifting on the RT. Going down a road or highway I say the ST is best for 5 to 25 mph and the RT is better for 25 to 75 mph and the ST taking over again at speed over 75 mph. Both engines are very smooth. The Honda does kick out a lot of heat whereas the BMW has nearly zero heat hitting the rider. Nod to the Honda engine. Winner ST.

Handling - Once again - subjective but the total package of the BMW makes for the better ride. I find myself using the RT for short, around town trips. I normally would not do that with the ST. Lots of factors involved - lower COG, lower weight, suspension bits, brakes, etc. The total package goes to the BMW. Winner RT.

Dealer Network - No contest! My Honda dealer is about 5 miles away - the BMW dealer is 265 miles away. Winner ST.

Cost - I think the ST cost me $14.5K in Nov 2002. The base cost for the 2010 RT is $17K and a little over $21K with the options I added. Winner ST.

Reliability - Honda makes good stuff. In 50K miles I had 3 things go bad on the Honda - oil leak (within a week of purchasing the bike), bad CPU that gave a FI fault (took the dealer a year to fix), and a brake valve (drove 600 miles with only the front brake). In 10K miles the BMW electric windshield refused to go down. I'll have to give this one to the Honda. Winner ST.

Throttle Response (update) - The ST had some reported issues with throttle response and a lean spot that was there to meet EPA regulations. I never really had much issues with this but did have a few times that the throttle response was rather abrupt. It wasn't often and only lasted a half second but it did happen. Going from the ST1100 to the ST1300 it is the one thing I noticed the most (besides more power and better brakes). The RT on the other hand has been perfect on throttle response so far and it is the only bike that I have had that just seems to get better overall as I put miles on it. Winner RT.

Body Panels (update) - This may seem like a trivial category but it was such a pain taking the Honda to the dealer for any type of service. Whenever the dealer had to remove a panel I never - I repeat - I NEVER got the bike back in the right order. I know that this is more a dealer issue than a bike issue but it created a number of problems in either case. For those of you that don't know, the bike uses at least 3 different panel screws plus plastic rivet type locks in other places. The plastic locks don't last too long and the metal screws have different size threads, different lengths, and different size shoulder depth! And some are Phillips and others Allen. Some black and some alloy. It's a mess. The problem with the dealer was so bad that I got to the point that I was stocking my own set of panel screws and they are not cheap! And yes I reported it to the main guy and yes I showed them what went where and yes I even loaned them my service manual. The 2010 RT has only one type that I know of. I haven't taken off all the panels yet but the ones I've had off are all the same size, color, wrench size, and they are all Torx. In addition, the panels on the RT just fall into place - no bending or twisting of panels to get them to pop in place. Winner RT.

Both bikes are awesome to ride and when I purchased the ST1100 I thought it was the perfect touring motorcycle for me. But overall it's the RT for me. Too many things that I like about it. The lighter weight and lower center of gravity makes it much easier to move around and ride at slow speed. The handling is top notch, the range is very good, brakes are great, weather protection is one of the best, good set of practical options, good cases, etc. In addition, I wonder how I rode for so many years without a cruise control. It took me about 3 months to get used to it but now I use it whenever I hit the highways. I also really appreciate the gear indicator on the dash. It's amazing how many times I glance at that whereas on my prior bikes I tried shifting again - either up on 5th or down after I was in first. For some strange reason the RT is just a pleasure to ride. I look for excuses to ride.

Kind of long winded but I wanted to cover the main areas of each bike. In any case... both bikes are awesome.

Update 2012/1/10 - Honda is selling the ST1300 again.  Price seems to have gone up to $18,230.  That's getting up there with the BMW RT cost.

2010 R1200RT