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My "range" report on BMW Rockster

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by fnfalman, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    The bike is solidly built and slightly hefty at around 530-lbs wet with a 5.something-gal tank (include reserve). It's fuel injected but still have a "non-choke" for cold days. From what the BMW guys are telling me it's not a choke, but you use it like a choke. Ooooookay.

    The bike is equipped with ABS and it works really well. The brake system itself is very impressive without the ABS. Stops this heavy bike on a dime. Two issues: not very good feel on the brake and it's very sensitive. For a street bike it's not bad, but for more aggressive riding, it's probably going to take a lot of practice to get used to the way the brake works. It's a partial integral brake with the hand lever operate both front and rear and the foot lever operates the rear only. It's obvious that the BMW engineers had put some thoughts into this. I like this setup. You can use the rear brake for low speed maneuvering and pre-cornering or even trailing braking. The hand lever has four positions in order to accomodate various hand sizes. I have small hands and set mine at the lowest setting. It really helps not having to reach too far for the lever.

    Clutch lever also has four positions like the brake lever. It's hydraulically operated but it's not that light. Interesting... I'm still getting used to the bike so I haven't mastered the smooth shifts yet except when I get lucky a couple of times. The gear lever requires a firm push. It's not hard, but it's not smooth and light like a Jap bike either. But it clicks in place nicely. Frankly it reminds me of the BMW car's manual.

    I'm not brave enough to do any aggressive riding on it yet, but I can tell the difference in the sportier suspension setup over the standard R1150R. The riding position is also more forward and crouchy than the R1150R. I need more exercise because my forearms are sore from holding up my weight.

    I guess I'm lucky because the factory seat is comfy for me. After an hour's worth of riding, my ass feels no pain or cramp.

    Throttle is rather abrupt. Even with the dual spark design, it's still pretty abrupt. Gotta be real careful with the wrist management. It's a torquey engine, that's for sure. Loafing around at 50-MPH in 6th gear is no problem, even when need to do some passing.

    Wind is a MoFo!!! I'm gonna need a wind shield. I feel too floaty at 70-MPH+.

    Hate the stupid signal lights. I don't mind the left button for left and right button for right. But they also have a cancelling button which is placed on the right and it's really hard for the thumb to hit. I don't know why you can't just tap on the same signal button to deactivate it. Or better yet, go with the Jap's style of putting the whole shebang on the left! It's self-canceling, but it only works sporadically.

    Overall, I'm pretty happy with the purchase. Maybe in a few years, I'll upgrade to the K1200S with its 167-HP inline four engine. But right now I like this bike a lot. It's a good compromise between a sportsbike and a cruiser. I like the way the flat twin vibrate at low RPM and smoothing itself out when the rev goes up. It beats the hell out of a V-twin configuration. Lots of people were wondering about the boxer setup as well. I was asked, even by, motorcyclists, whether or not the protruding heads are some sort of blowers.;f

    Chicks seem to dig the paint scheme, which isn't a bad thing.:cool: But almost universally people couldn't believe that it's a BMW.

    PS I forgot to mention that the rear view mirrors work quite well. I can see directly behind me with the right one and the left one covers the left lane perfectly.
  2. k12lts


    Mar 18, 2004
    Congrats on the new Rockster, I did a demo ride on one last fall and really liked it. I've been on BMW bikes since 1985 and currently ride a K1200LT.

    The BMW twins like to keep the revs up. Follow the break in instructions but don't lug the engine. Keep the rpm above 2000 and save 6th gear for 60+ mph.

    The new power assisted brakes are so good that it's hard to get used to. Go out to an empty parking lot and play with the ABS so when you use it in a panic situation you will know how it reacts.

    After you get used to the turn signals you will really like them. The thumb cancel gets to be second nature. The self cancel is speed sensitive. The faster you are going the quicker they will cancel, in town at slow speeds they stay on longer. If you don't have the four way flasher option you can hold down both buttons at the same time to activate all the signals to get other drivers attention when you have to slow down in a construction zone.

    Keep the tire pressures up. The tires will last longer and handle better too.


  3. Texas T

    Texas T TX expatriate CLM

    Jan 25, 2000
    These are probably the same kind of riders that look at a Yamaha V-Star and ask "what kind of a Harley is that?". ;Q
  4. quinch

    quinch Turgid Member Millennium Member

    Aug 9, 1999
    I don't have that Rockster, :( but it sounds like your just getting used to the bike.
    A little time, and all the details will come together!

    Sounds like a great bike, thanks for the review. ;c
  5. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    The more I ride it, the more I like it over the standard R1150R. I'm not a wild, MotoGP type, but I do appreciate the extra sportiness in the suspension setup. Though it is a bit of a pain because I have to do a lot of things to get the seat height down.

    Right now, I ride with the BMW Low Seat which dropped the standard height of nearly 33-inches down to around 31.5-inches. I also have the front and rear suspensions set on soft so that the bike sinks down more. At 5ft6, it's a real pain in the;B to ride sports bikes.

    In its current setup state, I can sit with the ball of both feet on the ground or the left foot solidly on the ground and the right foot up on the peg. I'm getting used to the heft of the bike, so it's not too bad except when you want to back up into a parking position.

    I plan on getting the Works low suspension next. It's about 1.2" shorter than the standard suspension. And I'm getting Z Custom Leather to make me a riding boot with .5" lift. I should be able to put both feet on the ground with all these things done to the bike and me, but I still don't think that I would have enough leg travel to back the bike up while sitting in the saddle. I'd still have to hop off and manually wrestle the bike in place. Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do.

    I can also possibly drop the height down another .5" or more if I were to send the BMW seat to Sargent and have them reupholster the seat. The problem is that the damn seat is pretty comfortable for me right now. While Sargent seats and reupholstering services are second to none, if they were going to do an extreme reduction on my seat, it might not be too comfortable for a moderate haul.

    Sometimes it sucks to be short!:soap:
  6. quinch

    quinch Turgid Member Millennium Member

    Aug 9, 1999
    Tell me about it! 29" inseam. I've got stumpy legs.
    That's why my daily rider is a cruiser!

    That works suspension sounds like the ticket. If you can get the balls of your feet on the ground, an inch or so should be all you need.
    You could also look for a narrower seat, that would make a big difference without sacrificing padding.