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RE: 2002 R1150RT - Recommended Mods

>>My experience with Two Bros exhausts is that they are too stinking loud for
touring.  I have a friend with 2 Bros on his RS and the exhaust noise is
louder than the wind noise at speed.   It really gets annoying, not just for
the rider, but for the riders behind the rider.   Staintune and some others
have a better sound, in my opinion.<<

I have a Two Brothers on my RS and while I won't deny it is a touch loud, I don't find it a problem while touring.  The wind noise on an RS (with either the stock windshield or an Aeroflow) is enough to mostly mask the exhaust note at steady state.  Open throttle certainly has a bark, but the guys I ride with claim they like it.  I like it for the weight loss, price (less than $400 from Pipe City including shipping), and the lack of a CAT since I run without a CAT code plug.  GUARANTEED no surging with this setup.

- -----Original Message-----
From: owner-oilheads@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-oilheads@xxxxxxxxx]On
Behalf Of Tom Brown
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 8:41 AM
To: BMW Oilhead List
Subject: 2002 R1150RT - Recommended Mods


>1)  Suspension: Stock suspension seems fine.

I agree.  The 1100s had a really cheap suspension that went marginal at
about 10K miles.  The new Showa suspension is much better.

>Any advantage in an upgrade to

Not enough to justify the expense.  I had the Ohlins shocks from my old
1100 RT converted for use on the 1150, but I don't think the Ohlins are much
better, if any.

>What changes in handling does it
bring to the bike?

On the old bike, the Ohlins were much more comfortable and the wheels stayed
planted better on bumpy turns.  This becomes a big improvement when you
learn to take advantage of the difference.   I would put this far down the
list on an 1150, however...not good bang for the buck.  DO NOT buy Ohlins
shocks from an 1100 and expect them to fit on your 1150.  They are very

>Any other vendor recommendations?  Wilbers suspension costs a bit less than
Ohlins, is also rebuildable and has full adjustability front and rear...
Compression damping as well as rebound damping, ride height and preload
adjustment.   Ohlins has a remote preload adjustment just like the OEM BMW
shocks, which I like very much.

>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."


>Any performance problems created /
eliminated with the exhaust upgrade?

My experience with Two Bros exhausts is that they are too stinking loud for
touring.  I have a friend with 2 Bros on his RS and the exhaust noise is
louder than the wind noise at speed.   It really gets annoying, not just for
the rider, but for the riders behind the rider.   Staintune and some others
have a better sound, in my opinion.   I go plenty fast with the stock
exhaust.  If you're looking for ultimate speed, you really need to buy a
Hyabusa with some bags and risers.   There is a company that makes a turbo
kit for R bikes...I think that's ridiculous.

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

Staintune and the conservative Remus setup (not titanium) are both good.
I'd stay away from CAT removal. Emissions tests are coming soon.   The EPA
just put out press releases about motorcycles being dirtier than cars...It
won't be long.  That's why BMW went to all this new FI and dual plugs.

>Does this upgrade void any
factory warranty?

Only if you have a problem that can be traced back to the modification.
Burnt valves might qualify or burnt pistons due to lean running.

>3)  Brake lines: On previous bikes, I've upgraded the brake lines
to stainless steel and liked the improvement over

>What's the group's experience on this?

>Any recommended vendors?

On a standard ABS system, stainless lines are worthwhile.  On a servo
system, you're asking for a heap of trouble, especially if you try doing
this yourself.   If you have a dealer that's really confident and has
experience with this, go for it, but the new servo brake system is really a
challenge to bleed and service with all stock components.  Introducing air
into the system for any reason is going to mean a world of fuss.  I'm not
going there.  Let me know what happens.

4)  Air filter: On previous bikes, I've upgraded to K&N.

They don't seem to make one for the

Sure they do.  I have one.  Wanna buy it cheap?   The air box on these bikes
is the limiting factor, not the air filter.  If you put a different filter
on, you get the same amount of air...unless you start modifying the air box.
This brings other challenges like more noise, the possibility of sucking
water while riding in a deluge, running the bike too lean...stuff like that.
Again, if you want to piss with all this stuff for a marginal gain in HP at
the cost of some running smoothness, go ahead.   I'm not going there either.
Tried this on my 1100 and found it to be not worth the time.

Any changes in air filter that make
sense to do along with the exhaust
system upgrade?

If you do these things, you'll probably also need to change the FI for a
richer fuel curve.   There are guys who may be able to help with this.
Techlusion comes to mind.  I have one of their older FI boxes that extends
the "open" signal on the FI nozzles.  It's adjustable many ways and might be
the ticket for this sort of setup.

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

YES, dual plugging is a good thing.   On your 1150, it will add a bit of
power, smooth out response and eliminate all of the surging.  It's $485
(from memory) plus freight to and from California for you heads.  You can do
the labor of removing the heads or pay your dealer or mechanic to do it.
Either way, it's not rocket science.  A competent mechanic can do it by just
following the manual.  San Jose BMW does the drilling and tapping work and
provides a kit with everything you need to wire up the second plugs.   I'd
do this if I had your bike.   My experience with my '04 dual plug 1150 has
been very good....and my bike is optimized for lowest emissions, so no power
gain, but yours is not, so you should get some benefit from burning all the
fuel that's pumped into the cylinder instead of merely most of the fuel.

Other mods I like:

Seat:  Sargent is the easiest.  If you have patience, try Bill Meyer or Rick
Meyer or Russell.

Wind screen:  I still like Aeroflow.  They are BMW guys and they really test
their products.  Their new RT windshield looks to be about just what I'd
want.  They are also thicker than they used to be.  Many people think this
is better.   I went with Cee Bailey's this time.  They're a larger company
that makes aircraft windscreens and has branched into the moto business.
I've now purchased two different Cee Bailey's oversized screens for my bike.
My winter screen is + 4.5" high and +4" wide.  It is a Type 3.   It works
well for keeping cold air off your shoulders in winter.   My first shield
was also a Type 3, also 4.5" high, but 2" wider instead of 4".  It's OK
Neither of these screens are what I consider ideal.  I think they're both
too tall.  3.5" taller than stock is probably right for this bike.  My
screens must be set so low to not buffet that they are not ideal.   I
definitely recommend the Type 3 over any of the Type 2 screens.  I first
bought a Type 2 "Euro" screen and sent it back.   It was never quiet at any

Bar-Baks:  You need these, at least, if you get a Sargent and want to do big
miles.   I had trouble routing the brake line, but my dealer was able to do
it without removing any lines.  They work fine on the 1150...They're the
ones from my 1100.

Top Case:  I know they're ugly, but they hold my helmet and gloves and first
aid kit and balaclava in winter and they don't make the bike wide in back.
They also are better at high speeds because they fit inside the air stream
unlike the system cases on the sides.   The disadvantage is that they are up
high and shouldn't hold much weight because they'll affect handling a bit.
I usually leave mine mostly empty and use it for convenient helmet storage

BMK Tank Bag:  From www.cyclegadgets.com   If you get the Explorer package
for the RT, you'll get the mounting kit and the Explorer bag for one price
and save a little.   I downsized my bag to the next smaller size and I'm
happy.  Explorer was too much.   I also got the aluminum mounting plate and
the map pocket.   The map pocket is the best.  There's a compartment under
the maps that's custom made for a CD or MP3 player.   Wire the remote
control out to the top of your tank bag and Velcro it on.  Plug your ear
plugs/earbuds in there and you're good to go.

Ear protection:   I've found that Sony Ear Buds work great on an RT with a
good windscreen.  These bikes are quiet enough to go all day with this setup
and not need more ear protection.   Used them for several years on some
really long trips and still like them.   Last year, I bought some molded ear
plugs from Hoon at a BMW rally.  They really seal out the sound and the
music is terrific through them, but sometimes I feel too isolated with those
things and I just switch back to the ear buds.  You can hear what's going on
outside and don't feel like you're in an isolation chamber.   Don't get any
ear buds besides Sony.   I have no affiliation with them, but I've tried
many other brands at much higher prices and they can't touch the sound

Do not get the factory radio.  That locking faring pocket is just too
valuable.  Put your insurance card, a bottle of water, a rag and anything
you'd like to lock up in there instead.   Keep a key blank in there so you
can access it while you ride.   I've worked out a procedure that allows me
to clean my helmet screen while riding.   1. Open compartment.   2. pull
rage and stuff between seat and crotch.  3. remove water.  4.  Pour water on
rag.  5. Replace water.   6. use wet part of rag to clean screen.  Use dry
part of rag to wipe screen.  7. Replace rag and lock compartment.
Practice this in July on a desolate road with a lot of bugs, not in traffic.

If you don't go for the dual plugs, learn about 0=0 and proper valve
adjustment and throttle synching.  This will smooth out your bike immensely
and stop nearly all surging.

- -TB
Had:  R1100RT - Traded with 62K miles
Have '04 R1150RT w dual plugs and servo brake system

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