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Home Repair/Maintenance


The factory DVD is indeed intimidating.  There are some jobs on the RT that
I will not do.  Not because I couldn't if I applied myself, but because I
have a life outside of motorcycle mechanics and a dealer 2 miles from my

One thing BMW boxer engines all share is supreme ease of access to the
valves.   This means learning and doing the valve adjustment procedure is
something most decent mechanics can accomplish.   The other easy one is oil

My 1200RT is an '05 model.   It has servo brakes.   The servicing of those
brakes is not as straightforward as conventional brakes, but it can be done
by a home mechanic with just a few special items.   One is a funnel type
device, the other is a turkey baster for pulling old brake fluid out of the
reservoir.   You don't need to concern yourself with this because BMW has
wisely decided that the servo brake system is not worth the trouble and
expense.   I like mine, but you won't miss it.   

The good news is that BMW has put Teflon covered braided lines on their
brake systems now.  The change interval has been raised to two years on this
service.  I take mine to the dealer for that.   

I'd look carefully at this bike before deciding that changing the clutch is
an easy task.   The whole drive train needs to be removed and putting it
back on involves some careful alignment procedures.  This is not a Kawasaki
wet clutch.  Maybe it should be, but it's not.   

There is a new DVD out on hex head bike service.   Since this is the second
time I've mentioned this, I'm actually going to come up with the name.
"R1200 Maintenance" by JVB Productions.   There is no phone number on the
disc I have in front of me here, but this DVD has been discussed on other
forums and I'm sure you can find it by doing a Google search on JBV
Productions or R1200 Maintenance.   

The sections of the DVD are as follows:  1. Introduction 2. Removing Gas
Tank  3. Changing the Oil  4. Replace the Transmission Fluid  5. Changing
the Final Drive (not as straightforward as one would think!)  6. Valve
Adjustment  7. Air Filter Change  8. Brake Bleeding (This covers the servo
brakes.)  9. Replace Alternator Belt  10. Fuel Tank Install  11. Fault Code
Read  12.  Throttle Body Sync.  

The DVD is very well done and there is good explanation of all the tools
needed.  It's a normal sort of guy doing this work without the benefit of
any prohibitively expensive BMW tools.  I think he uses a special device for
servicing the servo brakes, but this is a BMW part number that you can order
for under $50.   These procedures constitute everything needed for major and
minor inspections for your bike.   

I'd forgotten that there is also an 1100/1150 DVD as well.  It covers all
the things in the 1200 disc plus "Spoke Check" for people with spoked
wheeled GS's.

I can tell you that I've never synched the throttles on my 1200 RT in 40,000
miles.   I just do a very careful job of getting the valve adjustments
perfect.  The low speed sync is handled by a servo feedback unit that
constantly adjusts.  The high speed just doesn't seem to go out unless the
valves are adjusted sloppily.   Get the clearances the same on both sides,
especially the intakes, and it's not necessary to adjust the throttle synch.
I think the new cable system must be beefier than the old bikes. This is far
different than the 1100/1150 bikes.  Throttle sync was a major issue for
smoothness on the twin spark 1150s and for smoothness and help with surging
on the single spark 1100/1150s.   

One of the reasons I've never synched the throttle bodies is that you really
have to remove a lot of stuff from an RT to get to them.   The other reason
is that they just don't seem to need it.  My bike runs very smoothly.  Don't
fix it if it ain't broke.  Especially if you might make it worse and it may
take you an hour to get near the adjustment.  

You will need to buy more tools, unfortunately.   Your American, Metric and
Witworth wrenches will be of little use.   There are still a few uses for
metric Allen and conventional wrenches, but most of the fasteners have
changed to Torx.  I bought a nice set of 3/8" torx sockets for my ratchet
and it seems to have everything I need.   There is a BMW motorcycle tool kit
for the RT available from the dealer.  It's not bad.  Very compact and
enables one to do a lot of things on the side of the road.  I bought a
canvas roll up tool pouch for my tools and added small vise-grips, a
telescoping magnet, a small flashlight and some feeler gages to my kit.  I
also carry a small air compressor and a tire plug kit.not the mushroom type
but the older "twisler" type.looks like Twisler licorice but it's brown
instead of red.    They just work better for me and I can buy them at truck

You've chosen your first BMW well.  It's a terrific bike, as I'm sure you've
discovered.   I've changed my windscreen to a Cee Baileys and put handlebar
risers on it.  I had put peg extenders on, but I have fairly short legs
anyway and found that I was more comfortable without them.   I'll let them
go for $50 including UPS to the first person who asks.  

The only other tweaks are the Big Mak tank bag from my 1150.  I found a way
to mount it on the 1200 and it works fine.  I use an I-pod and molded ear
plugs for music.  I have a Gadget Guy mount for my Zumo GPS.   It's not
cheap, but it's completely bulletproof and has room for more items if I get
ambitious.   I have a slick setup for my Valentine.  It's buried in the
fairing just to the left of the headlight.  I have dash readouts running for
that to the bottom of the dash on the left side of the bike.  The circuit
has a Bluetooth sender for a Legal Speeding helmet LED.  This goes off when
the detector sees something.  I can glance over to the dash indicator and
see if it's serious and take appropriate action.   It works well.  I have a
dash switch to turn the whole thing off.  That's where the radio buttons
would normally be if I had a factory radio.   Instead, I drilled the plastic
blank for a small round black rocker switch from Radio Shack.  It works
perfectly and looks stock.  


Hello everyone,

Let me start by saying I've recently purchased my first BMW, an 07 R 1200
RT. I've been riding for about 35 years and the RT replaces a 2001 Concours
that I put 52,000 trouble free miles on.

I've got the BMW repair manual CD and I've been looking at some of the
service procedures, realistically, how much servicing is it possible for an
owner to do on these machines? Way back in my early riding days I worked as
an M/C mechanic for a few years and have done all my own maintenance since,
currently have a platform lift in the garage with a full array of tools,
American, Metric, as well as Whitworth/British Standard to support the three
Nortons I also own.