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Re: ** 2002 R1150RT -- List of recommended mods **

Hello Doug,

On 12/29/03 12:07 AM, Doug Nelson doug.nelson@xxxxxxxxx wrote:

>I'm new to the list (two days old) and can take responses offline to save
>What is the group's conventional wisdom regarding recommended mods for a
>2002 R1150RT?
>1)  Suspension:	Stock suspension seems fine.
>			Any advantage in an upgrade to
>			Ohlins?
>			What changes in handling does it
>			bring to the bike?
>			Any other vendor recommendations?

New Ohlins are on my radar when finances permit. I've spoked with at 
least a dozen people who have Ohlins on BMW bikes, both to replace old 
worn OEM shocks, and to replace good working stock shocks. They all 
describe a "night and day" difference in handling. Specific differences 
include (but are not limited to):

 o Better handling of harsh bumps ('stock shocks used to hurt my
   back when going over a jarring bump, but not with Ohlins)

 o Much more adjustability to your own comfort level than stock

 o Bike feels more sure-footed when on uneven pavement, especially
   when turning, and even more so at higher speeds while turning
   (aggressive riding).

 o You have an opportunity to get springs whose rates perfectly
   match your typical riding scenario. For example, if your weight
   is 220 lbs, and you typically ride 2-up with a 130 lb pillion
   and no baggage, you can get springs that are ideally suited for
   your bike with that specific passenger and baggage load.

These attributes are not unique to Ohlins, though. Fox, Works, and Wilbur 
shocks have all been praised on this list and others. Speaking only as a 
"wanna get Ohlins myself" guy with no personal experience on them, the 
information I have gathered seems to indicate that a BMW rider will 
experience a noticeable and considerable improvement in handling by 
getting premium third-party shocks. It's arguable whether Ohlins are the 
"best", or even if many riders will be able to tell the difference 
between Ohlins and good premium shocks from another manufacturer. All 
things considered, they're still on my "wants" list.

>2)  Exhaust:	I've had TwoBros exhaust on other bikes and
>			liked the improvement over stock.
>			TwoBros claims that "To make installation even
>			easier the catalytic eliminator exhaust system
>			includes an oxygen sensor bung to accept the fuel
>			injection systems oxygen sensor.  There is no
>			need to readjust or tamper with the FI mapping.
>			Simply install the system and go."
>			True?
>			Any performance problems created / 
>			eliminated with the exhaust upgrade?

Every manufacturer claims that their custom exhaust will give you instant 
horsepower. Vanderlinde, the brand I have on my R1100S, allege +6 hp on 
their chart, and independent garages have got the same results, and yet 
some independent garages don't get the same results, so it shows you that 
simply changing the exhaust will not give you an appreciable increase in 
power. Even if the alleged increase in power is realized, you certainly 
won't feel it in the seat of your pants (98 crank hp in an R1100S + 6 hp 
= 104 hp, or an increase of 5.8%).

The more realistic promise if weight loss, but considering the cost of 
third-party pipes, you would be better off to go to the gym and lose 10 
or 15 lbs (and get "ripped" in the process). Third-party pipes will 
definitely change the sound. To some people, that's important. For me on 
my R1100S, I wanted a more "Ducati-esque" sound and got with with 
Vanderlinde pipes. I found Staintune and Two-Brothers to be too brittle 
to my ears. Unfortunately, I believe Vanderlinde does not makes pipes for 
the RT.

>			Any other favorite exhaust system
>			vendors?  e.g. Staintune

In my case, Vanderlinde. But I believe they only make pipes for the S and 

>			Does this upgrade void any 
>			factory warranty?

According to my BMW dealer, BMW will not repair your bike under warranty 
if the failure is caused by a non-BMW component. If you have a good 
relationship with your bike shop, the warranty work will likely be 
honest. If there is an adversarial relationship, they may find 
"connections" that seem rather border-line, and this may manifest as 
denial of warranty work due to non-BMW components.

You really need to decide why you are considering a non-stock exhaust on 
an RT. I got my exhaust changed on my S because I wanted a bike that 
"sounds like a bike" (I still get compliments about my awesome sounding 
BMW from other riders, BMW and not). I got what I wanted, and it cost way 
too much to get it. I'd do it again, though.

If I had an RT, I'd leave the exhaust stock.

>4)  Air filter:	On previous bikes, I've upgraded to K&N.  
>			They don't seem to make one for the
>			R1150RT.
>			Any changes in air filter that make
>			sense to do along with the exhaust
>			system upgrade?

List wisdom says K&N offer no advantage over a stock OEM filter 
(providing you replace your filter as recommended), and there are reasons 
to believe that the K&N does a lesser job at keeping the air flow into 
your engine as clean as an OEM filter. It sounds like you are looking for 
ways to increase performance. True?

If so, the least hardware-intensive way to do this is to get a Fuel 
Injection remapping computer (such as a Cobra unit) and apply a 
performance fuel/air curve. This will reduce fuel economy, but provide an 
additional kick you will be able to feel. Beyond that, hardware mods are 
needed such as hotter cams, higher compression pistons, or 
turbo-charging. In each case, you never get "something for nothing", and 
you will definitely loose some of the "easy to ride" nature of a stock RT 

In my anything but humble opinion, the stock BMW boxer engine has 
characteristics that make it suitable for every day riding, long trips, 
and a good long life. In order to get these, BMW has been conservative on 
the power output. If high power output is a primary goal, then another 
bike would make a more suitable mount than a BMW boxer.

>5)  Dual plug:	Is it worth the $1,500 (or so) that it will cost to
>			make this mod?

It all depends on what you want to achieve. If you have a problem with 
surging, there are cheaper ways to address surging, but at the cost of 
increase fuel consumption. The dual-plugging will do several things:

 o Eliminate surging

 o Eliminate slight roughness when accelerating gently at lower RPM

 o Lower the idle RPM

 o Lower emissions

 o Very slight increase in power output, and an opportunity to
   experience a very slight increase in fuel economy.

It's not an inexpensive proposition, but users who have had it done are 
exceedingly happy about the change.

- -Steve

 Oakville, Ontario, Canada
 2000 R1100S/ABS, Mandarin