Thursday, November 20, 2014

The BMW S1000R: Adaptation

I’ve only ticked over around 2,000kms on the S1R (BMW S1000R) now, and I'm slowly adding to that number day by day now that I have left full time work and gone freelance.

I’ve worked and planned hard to get here too, both my bikes are paid for, I don’t have any pressing bills and now is the time to take a risk and do something for me.


I’m sick of office life and working for the man, no matter how cool he is, I needed to get out. So I did.

But back to the bike. It’s been sitting in the shed for the last 3 or 4 weeks while I putted to and fro the city for my last few weeks work and this week being my first, I’ve been out on it almost every day trying to get a few kms under my belt.

I’ve spent a bit of time getting it right too, which was holding me back. Namely the height of the bars and the stock seat which like any stock seat just doesn’t cut it for me and my boneless arse.

Funny story about the bar risers first up. So I ordered them before I even got the bike, and they arrived from Germany via Wunderlicht dealer here in Australia Pro Cycles around the same time funny enough, and I thought, hey I can do this, it’s just four torx bolts after all.

So I carefully mapped out my action plan and within 5 minutes the bars were off, resting on a strategically placed towel, allowing me to see the markers to get them centred again, place the risers on top of the triple clamp and voila! Risers installed.

But something didn’t look right. Actually, nothing looked right.

They didn't line up properly, they left whopping big gaps between risers, bars and triple clamps and it all just looked wrong. But I couldn't put my finger on it. So I snapped this shot on my phone and shot it to Big Steve, (my voice of pragmatic reason when it comes to mechanics).

He shot back straight away. 'Dude, they are upside down' I still ccouldn't see it. I just couldn't damn see it. I feel stupid, angry, frustrated, I knew he was right but I ccouldn't see it. Then it dawned on me. Like a bolt of lightning I saw it.

Upside down. I had put the risers straight on top of the triple clamp and just put the bars back where they were, effectively raising nothing but the height of the bolts. I laughed until I couldn't breathe. I couldn't believe I would do something so stupid. Steve was beside himself and threatened the social media post tagging me with the image I’d MMS’d, forcing me into a back pedalling panic and the admission that I would eventually, one day, write this post. Here they are installed in minutes, the right way round.


Instant improvement. I’m more upright, less raked over the bars. That embarrassment over with, I wasn't quite finished yet. The seat. On a day off prior to the official departure, I decided I needed some corners. And a long ride in the saddle to see how I coped with the seat. I was also contemplating a trip to good ole hometown SA to visit my brother and I knew I was going to need SOMETHING to get me through until the Sargent Seat arrived, and so I organised a custom-made matching blue/grey lambswool seat cover. Yes, one of those. The minute I got it home and fitted it, I literally scoffed out loud. Here was this beautiful machine carefully crafted to mechanical perfection by Bavarian geniuses, and I gotta slap a lambswool seat cover on it for my precious derrière? My immediate reaction, text Big Steve.  

More lols. More ransom demands. More holding my sides, splitting with laughter.

Needless to say that seat cover sits in the garage and will most likely NEVER get used. The impatience of it all. I couldn’t wait and I couldn’t bear riding another 100kms on the stock seat. 3 weeks later and my Sargent Seat is here. I was so excited I immediately checked the weather and booked in a 200km round trip to try it out. Ballarat and back. From Melbourne it’s a boring slab down the highway with nary a thing in between but 110kms open roads of bumpy shittiness.

The perfect test run. Fighting nature the whole way, I battled a strong headwind the whole way keeping me hanging on and leaned over, then once there, rather than taking the Maccas default stop and smashing some fries and a burger, I jumped straight off the freeway and back on facing the way home with the wind to my back. The next few paragraph should be read in one breath, fast, with no punctuation.
‘cruising at a 110kmh (70mph) blip the clutch disengage the cruise control down a gear onto the off ramp pin it to the T junction coming up fast and jump hard on the pegs and clutch down 3 gears into 2nd and back on the gas smoothly into a slow hard right hander back up with the quick shifter, 3rd, 4th, back down to 3rd keeping the revs high for the merge lane right hander onto the freeway straighten a little then PIN the throttle WOT traction control and ABS activated there is no front wheel lift just absolutely gut wrenching acceleration that stretches my arms and almost rips me from my (super cushioned, mega soft magic pixie foam) seat and I am farken FLYING the shift light solid white click click still WOT up into 4th using the quick shifter and I am doing 1x6kmph in less than 4 seconds off the gas tap the rear brake to straighten up and out onto the freeway 115km on the speedo, tap the cruise resume and assume the position.'
Nothing to see here.

Back to the bike and adaptation.

Out of the box this bike is pretty damn close to not needing a thing. I got the Akra shorty for the looks and the sound, no so much the performance, included with the trade deal on the Multi. Winning. First 1,000km service was free too. More winning.

I also forced the dealer to throw in a set of BMW Motorrad touring bags. Just the soft type, I squeezed a Tank Bag and a Rear Seat cut out soft bag which when combined together will stash more than I need for a weeks worth of travelling should I need it. They are waterproof and plain black without too many fancy logos emblazoned across them so I’m happy on that front.

 I had to put the bars up an inch just because I have monkey arms and as described above it was both funny and a revelation at the same time. The seat was a no brainer. Sargent Seats are just that good. This is my third seat and I have found them to be nothing but endless pleasure for your booty. The S1R Sargent Sport Performance seat is exactly the same as the S1RR and despite a long 6 week wait for it to be manufactured, it is worth the wait. I can sit on the bike for 2 hour stretches and be completely rested with no sore flat arse syndrome whatsoever. The secret I believe is the patented Atomic Foam. I’ve tried to get it before and you just can’t, they have it all stitched up (lol).

Back to the zorst for a second though, because there is that thing about the Cat that everyone hates. It is a massive big lump of a thing but for the first time I can think of I am in no hurry to remove it. After a lot of forum reading and research the jury is in, and it just isn’t worth the mega bucks to remove it with a full system at this point.

The only real gain is a weight saving and that really comes into play on the track if you ask me and my semi-intermediate riding ability. But I do not like looking at it. So I got this groovy (cheaper than most) exhaust cover from German manufacturer TecBike.

It cost me $200 landed direct from Germany to Australia and arrived within a week, but I haven't fitted it yet. However it covers that cat nice and fits nice aesthetically speaking with the look of the bike. Small, aggressive, black, naked. Like!

Levers got wiggled around a bit too, I found that the clutch was a bit low for my liking, shame however that you cannot adjust the reach on the pull at all, you can dial in the front brake with the standard rotary adjuster, but not so on the clutch. Seems an unusual omission to me. And that leaves me with the last thing I’d like to play with.

The footpegs. I really am trying to make this bike into an Adventure bike with sit up and beg bars, low pegs and a comfy seat which I know it isn’t, but also as my mate The Experimental Ghost says, 'make your bike fit like a comfortable pair of jocks.'

So I’m trying, but again after much research and forum reading I am discovering that this might not be an easy solution so for now I am just riding it as much as possible and seeing if these are all just adaptation issues. The first time I rode the Multi I remember thinking, shit the rake on this thing is massive and that front suspension dive is tragic, but once I got used to it, not many of my mates could catch me in the twisties on that thing! It’s all about setup and adaptation.

I can’t wait for my next long ride.

Until then moto-heads. Stay upright.