Running-In

With only 105 miles on the clock after the weekend trip to Angry Minge, running-in for 310 to 745 miles was going to take quite a while over the winter period.

But family staying over rectified that: when they left, they left behind their suitcase with a load of stuff in it that they needed, and a cunning plan was hatched, given a look at the weather forecast for the following day which was showing dry and bright but quite cool.

Perfect!

We tried to get the carry-on into the top case, but its wheels prevented that, so instead we filled the top case liner bag with the contents of the suitcase, wrapped up warm in our Klim jackets, Keis heated vests (and gloves for Alison)  and our ‘proper’ riding trousers.  Mine are now a bit loose but will probably still do the job, but I am contemplating buying the matching Klim Latitude trousers in the New Year as you can at least cinch the waistband up a bit (I’m currently around a 33″ waist, so I fall between two stools in terms of waist size).

Herself was also trying out her new Shoei Neotec 2 crash helmet that we bought at the NEC motorbike show last week (with a price reduction because they’ve just updated it).  It’s a flip-front style which she prefers for getting it on and off and which should also allow her to be able to take a drink on the bike once I source and fit a suitable cupholder and strawed water bottle.

Shoei Neotec 2

Shoei Neotec 2

With everything switched on we set off nice and toasty warm despite the temperature being an indicated 10-13ºC and supposedly with around 10 miles’ ‘buffer’ on our journey distance before we’d run out of petrol.  Or at least that was the plan.

It transpires that ‘making good progress’ gulps down the fuel and the dire reserve fuel warning light came on a few miles short of our destination so we popped into the next petrol station on our route to fill up.

We’d been chatting away merrily on the Cardo PACKTALK BOLD (why is the name all capitalised?) but I wasn’t receiving navigation prompts or indeed hearing music through the Cardo from the bike, despite it being paired and connected. Oh and saying “Hey Siri! Play some music” to the Cardo meant that the iPhone dropped both the Bluetooth and the WiFi connection to the RT – I have no idea why the Connected App has to connect that way for maps to be cast to the RT display when Apple CarPlay should be set up on BMW’s bikes as well as their cars – and took a while to reconnect, but at least it did all by itself.

Within two hours we were in Somerset and enjoying a cuppa before heading back.  The lights were excellent but then it was only dusk rather than fully dark when we got back.

So we’re now up to 311 miles – just within the lower limit for its first service – but I’ll probably wait until the New Year for that, when they can also look at why the emergency SOS system is now producing a warning.

As to the lack of voice prompts, the RT was paired with my iPhone 15 Pro  and with the PACKTALK, which was  then paired with the iPhone on channel 1 and the RT on channel 2.  The Cardo and my wife’s identical unit are on a mesh intercom system which works fine.  I’d previously paired her Cardo with the RT, but then she’d have to listen to the satnav and my choice of music rather than hers. so I deleted that pairing.

This morning I spent some time in the garage resetting the Cardo pairing completely. I then only set the pairing between the RT and Cardo on channel 1, ignoring the iPhone which I’d left paired with the RT.  And it seems to work: satnav voice prompts now work and I can play music from the iPhone via the RT to my Cardo.  Sadly the volume dial only brings up the middle setting but doesn’t actually adjust the volume, so I have to do that manually on the Cardo.

Here’s a gratuitous photo of the RT parked on the (vacant) neighbour’s drive – as in, there’s no neighbour yet, rather than they’re a bit vacant – while it was parked there for a delivery of a fridge/freezer to the man cave.

Parked Up

It’s Arrived!

After an anxious couple of weeks checking the weather forecasts today was the day to go and collect the RT from Bahnstormer at Alton.

We drove over to Bahnstormer in the Abarth for midday and after doing a bit of paperwork it was time to bring it home. Oh there was a bit of trying on a helmet we’d seen for Alison and paying for the top box liner bag.

It was the first outing for the Klim Latitude jacket and some new Alpinetstars gloves as well as the GoPro Hero 12 Black that I’d bought.  I should have checked that the GoPro was properly mounted before setting off, so the footage is looking down too much; lessons learned.

Once home, I had to try putting it in the man cave alongside the Kawasaki ZRX1200R that I’d moved slightly towards the gear wardrobe but was pleased to see that the RT fits in really nicely.  Getting it onto the centrestand is an absolute doddle too.

Man Cave

Man Cave

Once safely parked up, the fettling could begin.

First up was fitting the tails for the Optimate charger to the battery which meant taking off a couple of panels and routing the cables under the seat.  I also fitted the Apple AirTag somewhere on the bike as well…

Then it was time to fit the Wunderlich Vario clutch lever: set to short to (hopefully) stop the empty fingers on my gloves from being trapped by the clutch lever when I engage it.  I also fitted the side stand extender plate to give the foot of the side stand a little more area and to stop it  sinking into any soft surfaces.

Then I thought I should fit the adaptor ring to the tank for my old tank bag but I do like the look of the filler cap and ring, etc. plus on full lock the bars would clash with it.  The RT also has a lockable compartment in the fairing which is big enough for the sunglasses, ear plugs, latex gloves and Ibuprofen that I usually have in the tank bag, so I decided against fitting it after all.

So it now has 24 miles on the clock and I need to run it in for a few hundred miles.  Tricky in the winter in the UK, especially as we’re still effectively living on a building site with all the mud that goes with that.

All The Gear, etc.

With the new RT on its way and with plans already made for a couple of long rides in 2024 – well, three, actually – it was time to consider what kit we’d need to update and/or put in place.

The RT is intended to be used as a workhorse, so my trips will be working trips for my photographer and nascent videography ventures, so one of the obvious choices was a new camera.  The other videos on my YouTube channel over the last few years (not counting the early ones with camcorder footage) have been shot using a Garmin VIRB Elite, but although that’s great for capturing video with all the GPS data embedded, it’s quite old now and bulky and the tech has come on in leaps and bounds.

So whilst I will still use the VIRB for pushbike stuff, for on-bike/in-car footage I’ve sourced a GoPro Hero12 Black Edition which I will be mounting – initially at least – on my Arai Quantic helmet.  The RT’s setup means that I would need to do some mods to the handlebar bracketry to mount it on the bars, but maybe that’s for a second camera in due course?

In the meantime, we also wanted some up to date protective riding gear.

I went to Gran Canaria at the start of October with some friends and was riding a Ducati Multistrada hired from the lovely people at CanaryRide and it was waaaay too hot as there was a calima and I was wearing my old Alpinestars leather jacket, which is black and padded.

Now I used to have some Triumph leathers that were water-resistant to go with some Rukka Ceres shorty gloves, but when I got killed (temporarily) by someone knocking me off my Triumph Sprint GT1050 my jacket had to be cut off and due to two of my fingers being “de-gloved” the resultant mess in my Ceres gloves was not for the faint-hearted to deal with so again they were disposed of in A&E.

So that just leaves my venerable old Rukka Gore-Tex jacket: totally waterproof, removable lining, but next to no ventilation.  Similarly Mrs Me also has a nine year old Dainese textile jacket and trouser combo that is also great for cold and wet but not so good for dry and hot conditions:

I’ve been researching jackets for quite a while now and the Klim ones looked exactly what we needed, but which one to go for in their line-up? Well I don’t need to go top of the range touring with the Kodiak as I already have a duck down jacket that might do well as a mid-layer and of course both of us have heated Keis waistcoats with accessory sockets on the RT to match. So the best choice looks like the latest version of the Klim Latitude for me and the ladies’ version, the Klim Altitude, for her.  And of course I needed replacement waterproof gloves to go with my Alpinestars race gloves for guaranteed dry days, so a pair of Alpinestars SMX-1 waterproof shorty gloves have been sourced as well, all from SPORTSBIKESHOP online.

Of course as the RT is white with grey or black bits, the Klim gear and gloves are similarly coloured: “Cool Grey” for the jackets and black and white for the gloves.  I’ll let you know how we get on with them in due course.

It’s Bought!

The dirty deed has been done: having decided on the configuration I wanted I spoke to three dealers to get an idea of price and delivery as I really wanted delivery in March 2024 so it would be a ’24’ numberplate when I come to sell it on later, maybe.

BMW are bringing out a 1300cc engine this year but if the roll-out goes according to the 1250 release schedule, it’ll be R1300GS in 2023, R1300GSA in 2024 and R1300RT in 2025.

I’d already planned a Eurothrash in 2024 as we’re giving up our house in Fuerteventura this year so we can then travel freely in the EU without needing to worry about the 90/180 Schengen rule that the absolute shitshow of Brexit forced upon us.  I could take the ZRX but that’s not really a grand tourer like the RT is, or indeed my previous Triumph Sprint GT1050 that some tosser wiped out with me on it.

I think all three had their eyes on the same physical bike that BMW were bringing in to the UK at the end of this month, so all three were offering a deal on the basis that next year prices were bound to go up and I would be unlikely to recoup the additional cost when I come to sell the RT as a ’73’ numberplate rather than a ’24’ numberplate (which is all a bit immaterial while I own the RT as it’s going to have the 8000RM vanity plate on it anyway).

So yes, a 2023 BMW RT 1250 RT LE in “Alpine White 3” is coming my way with Active Cruise Control, additional fog lights and the large 49L topcase with integrated brake light fitted.

It’s going to be registered on 30 September (if it arrives by then) but as I’ll be out of the country I won’t be collecting it until November.

And yes, it was Bahnstormer at Alton who got the deal after they’d kindly lent me one for an extended test ride back in 2021.

MoT 2023 and the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

We’re approaching MoT anniversary, so I thought I’d get in there early and book the ZRX in for an MoT at a local bike shop, A Force Motorcycles in Aldershot.

I trotted up there yesterday and a thorough MoT test was carried out … with Blue Rex’s first ever failure!

The Clear Alternatives LED rear light illuminates red (and amber with the integrated turn signals) but does not shine white light down onto the numberplate, so it’s a fail. There is what appears to be a small pilot type LED which might perform that function, but the general consensus appears to be that there isn’t one. I may be able to bodge something together, but in the meantime, I rode home and then took off the rear seat cowl – revealing a missing bolt to hold the rear mudguard and under seat plastic in place, so that was replaced. I then disconnected the LED light and refitted the OEM red one (having popped to the local Jet petrol station to get a couple of 21/5W tail/stop lamps) which I keep with all the other OEM parts I’d taken off*.

I also fitted the marginally larger numberplate – I think it’s the same sized font, but just more space around it – which was the other fail item – and then this morning popped back for a free retest and pass certificate.

Mileage this year is 19,621 miles, up 159 miles from last year.

*Now we’ve moved out of London, I’m expecting to do more miles on Blue Rex, such as last weekend’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Guildford & Surrey Hills, so I’ve removed the “spools” and refitted the grab rails for Alison.  Next job is removing the rear sets and refitting the standard footrests.

Here are some photos from the DGR:

Hog's Back Brewery

MoT 2022

Whilst I was in the USA doing the Pacific Coast Highway in a 5.0L V8 Mustang Convertible, I thought it was long overdue for Blue Rex to have some care and attention, so it was off to Larry at PDQ to give it a good fettle and its MoT.

And it really was a good fettle: the old Datatool alarm was finally consigned to the bin, as was the battery. The carbs were basically overhauled and a couple of pipes and o-rings were replaced. There was a new chain and sprocket set. There was a new set of tyres to replace those that were on there that were many years old and had all the grip of Donald Trump.

It was then MoT’d and it passed with a mileage of 19,462 which was 40 miles up from last year’s and was basically the mileage out of London to PDQ.

Whilst at PDQ, Larry whacked it on the dyno to see how it measured up, some 11 years after the team at PDQ had breathed on it. 154.89bhp at 10,100rpm (158.37bhp) and 90.5lb/ft of torque at 7,830rpm (91.5lb/ft), 2011 figures in brackets.

2022 Dyno Results

It’s a new dyno – so not necessarily a true like-for-like comparison – but it’s still close to what it was putting out before, which is pleasing.

Larry was also kind enough to grab a socket and a screwdriver to swap out my Pazzo Racing clutch lever for a shorty one when I collected it.  A previous problem with trapping the gloves over my non-existent fingers when pulling in the clutch…

I used my disabled person’s Freedom Pass to get there, so it cost me nothing and the ride back was lovely: back in a little over an hour (with a fuel stop) thanks to filtering and people working from home.