Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Long Term Test: 2007 BMW K1200S Post #6

Update #6
Current mileage: 28,929

Oh the horror! After nearly 10k miles and over 3 years of ownership, I finally had my incident with the big Beemer. Of course, it would have occurred during a two-up ride with my wife, but luckily, it was a rather minor drop. What happened was that we were stopping at the intersection of Glendora Ridge Road and Glendora Mountain Road and I had ridden the bike onto a dirt embankment to try to turn it around. It was a bit steeper than I anticipated and misjudged the amount of clutch slip for the slow maneuver. Before I knew what happened, the weight of the bike had teetered dangerously far to the left and at what was basically a standstill, the Beemer tipped over onto its side like a wounded buffalo. Luckily, we both jumped off before the bike hit the ground, and the presence of the frame sliders meant there was basically zero damage, except to my ego. The only signs that something had happened was a slight bit of scuffing on the left frame slider and a bit of dirt trapped in the left side mirror housing.

Of course, I did not realize just how heavy the bike really is until I had to pick it up off the ground. Rather than risking my back, I opted to do my best power-lifter impression and put my back against the bike and push with my legs, getting the bike, laden with the top-case, up onto the side stand without issue.

The aftermath of the drop
Coming up soon, the K1200S is up for another service visit, meaning I will get a few outstanding issues addressed. Key among those are a couple of outstanding recalls, but also an ongoing battery issue that continues to prove problematic. It had been a long while, but the bike has started again to exhibit some difficulties starting when the motor is hot. Researching the problem online seems to indicate that this not an uncommon issue for the K1200S and is largely the result of excessive resistance that builds up in the wire leading from the battery to the motor. That added resistance prevents the starter from pulling the amperage it needs from the battery to crank the engine over, resulting in a stranded rider until either the wire cools down sufficiently to reduce the resistance or an outside source of power is introduced to overcome the resistance. Even with the AGM battery and regular use of a battery tender to keep it topped up and conditioned, the added heat of being in a much warmer climate seems to be causing the issue to reappear.

This past fall, I got stranded after a gas stop, the battery refusing to crank the bike over even though I had just spent the last 30 minutes riding through traffic. Despite being only a few short miles away from my destination, I ended up having to reschedule my appointment and pay to get a tow-truck to give me a jump.

To avoid the chance of getting stranded going forward, I have purchased my own version of what the tow-truck driver used to jump the bike: a 12,000 mAh lithium ion battery pack with alligator clips for attaching to an automotive battery. This rather inexpensive item, purchased online for less than $40, has already saved me more money than I spent on it since I have already used it twice to jump the bike after it refused to start following short stops in warm weather after lower speed riding. While looking for a more permanent solution is certainly an eventual priority, I think that I am actually quite pleased with the temporary solution I have come up with for the moment, especially since it doubles as a battery pack to charge my devices, including my helmet communicator.

With warmer weather still on the horizon, I am looking forward to getting in some more serious mileage, hopefully in the form of a few longer road trips.