BMW K1600 Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Techmeister
Joined
·
1,468 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I periodically go back to school - especially when I need to tweak my slow speed skills. Today I ran a basic class hosted by FishTail in New Hampshire.

My takeaways are this:
1. As good as I think I am I suck.
2. The Grand (and I presume all of the K's) have a very short clutch throw and a very reactive throttle; even in Harley [rain] mode.

I have struggled to find the precise dance of clutch/throttle/rear brake on this bike, and I now know it is real by watching several others working their respective bikes. I found the short clutch made for some very interesting reactions and required a lot of concentration to manipulate. By this I mean the friction point becomes quickly engaged fully. I also felt the throttle reacted quickly. I went from 900 idle to 2500 RPMs with very little movement of my wrist; the net effect was I rev'd up a lot needlessly.

I found I had to leave the throttle closed and actually use my rear brake quite a bit to keep my speed down too with the clutch out.

All-in-all these are just characteristics of the platform and I need to become familiar with it for what it is. I can say that a slow speed course - especially an advanced one - is very challenging on this bike.

My freakin' forearms are on fire tonight. Clearly I need to practice more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Yeah these aren’t so easy to maneuver at very slow speeds like some other larger bikes. Imo it’s the clutch. I just can’t get it as smooth as say a Goldwing. Maybe it’s me? Smoothest is when I can engage clutch faster rather than slowly
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
592 Posts
I’m scheduled to take a 2-day Motor Authority Course at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC in a couple of weeks, so I’m sure I’ll have similar experiences, although they use various GS models for training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
I also am heading to the Bmw school soon , one day course for me ...
But soon I hope to take a course up in the Vermont area w “ Ken Condon classes “
His u tube videos a.ready proved helpful
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
So these all slow speed drills? Ain’t nobody doing track schools with these machines? ?
 

·
Techmeister
Joined
·
1,468 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
So these all slow speed drills? Ain’t nobody doing track schools with these machines? ?
Absolutely. In my case, I chose the slow-speed school intentionally because of my desire to perfect my skills handling a beast (not my own). At the same time, there is also a high-speed school on the race track. That course is also in my future.

My feeling is that any idiot can ride fast (albeit not correctly). How one commands the parking lot says a lot about their skill set.

Ride slowly, my friends.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Other bikes like HD and Goldwings seem to have a larger friction zone than these BMW's. That is more of the issue than the throttle response in my opinion. The BMW clutch is closer to flipping a light switch OFF/ON where some other bikes are more like a dimmer switch. So it's easier to use the friction zone and not even use a throttle on those bikes. If that makes sense. You can certainly get used to it and increase your skills with more practice like you say and I agree whole heatedly with you about riders being able to master the slow speed maneuvers. They make better fast riders. You can't ride fast well until you learn to ride slow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,124 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: J-Luv and Revilok

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
Other bikes like HD and Goldwings seem to have a larger friction zone than these BMW's. That is more of the issue than the throttle response in my opinion. The BMW clutch is closer to flipping a light switch OFF/ON where some other bikes are more like a dimmer switch. So it's easier to use the friction zone and not even use a throttle on those bikes. If that makes sense. You can certainly get used to it and increase your skills with more practice like you say and I agree whole heatedly with you about riders being able to master the slow speed maneuvers. They make better fast riders. You can't ride fast well until you learn to ride slow.

Your comments about the clutch on a Harley-Davidson used to be true, but not since they have switched to their own home grown hydraulic clutch. They have a very small grey area now similar to our K1600's, but it is quite far out requiring close to full finger extension for some people. Adjusting the clutch lever to come "in" a little is not an option on Harleys unless you purchase an aftermarket clutch lever. I for one greatly dislike the new Harley-Davidson hydraulic clutch because it requires almost full finger extension for me.


I have made the foolish attempt a few times at taking my K1600 through a police slow cone course and it's an exercise in futility. The K1600 was never meant to make 18' and 17' turns in quick rapid succession. It will do alright in a single tight turn, but don't try to force it back quickly in something like a double 360 degree pattern or what we call a "W" pattern which is three 18' 180 degree turns in back to back fashion. You will soon learn just how heavy a K1600 is to pick up.


The other thing that fights us in making tight maneuvers on the K1600 is the throttle. All you have to do is just "touch" the throttle a little bit and it almost immediately leaps from idle to about 2000 rpm's which is way too much power. I am most successful if I leave the throttle at idle and regulate my power via the clutch and feathering of the rear brake. Feathering is the key word here, not standing on it. Once you get good at doing this you will be amazed at how far this bike will lean over and how tight it naturally turns. Unfortunately you have to realize part of the learning curve will most certainly include a few drops, but that's the price you pay. Good guard bars are a must have item for this. Just remember even a little bit of positive power to the rear wheel will help you avoid falling over.

Taking a slow speed riding course may not sound like a lot of fun for the "go fast" crowd, but the techniques learned at slow speed will make you a much better rider and more confident rider. No more two feet down to stop or take off, no more looking like a goose coming in for a landing and no more walking the bike at slow speed. It's a great feeling when you master something as simple as slow speed riding.

Rick H.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Your comments about the clutch on a Harley-Davidson used to be true, but not since they have switched to their own home grown hydraulic clutch. They have a very small grey area now similar to our K1600's, but it is quite far out requiring close to full finger extension for some people. Adjusting the clutch lever to come "in" a little is not an option on Harleys unless you purchase an aftermarket clutch lever. I for one greatly dislike the new Harley-Davidson hydraulic clutch because it requires almost full finger extension for me.


I have made the foolish attempt a few times at taking my K1600 through a police slow cone course and it's an exercise in futility. The K1600 was never meant to make 18' and 17' turns in quick rapid succession. It will do alright in a single tight turn, but don't try to force it back quickly in something like a double 360 degree pattern or what we call a "W" pattern which is three 18' 180 degree turns in back to back fashion. You will soon learn just how heavy a K1600 is to pick up.


The other thing that fights us in making tight maneuvers on the K1600 is the throttle. All you have to do is just "touch" the throttle a little bit and it almost immediately leaps from idle to about 2000 rpm's which is way too much power. I am most successful if I leave the throttle at idle and regulate my power via the clutch and feathering of the rear brake. Feathering is the key word here, not standing on it. Once you get good at doing this you will be amazed at how far this bike will lean over and how tight it naturally turns. Unfortunately you have to realize part of the learning curve will most certainly include a few drops, but that's the price you pay. Good guard bars are a must have item for this. Just remember even a little bit of positive power to the rear wheel will help you avoid falling over.

Taking a slow speed riding course may not sound like a lot of fun for the "go fast" crowd, but the techniques learned at slow speed will make you a much better rider and more confident rider. No more two feet down to stop or take off, no more looking like a goose coming in for a landing and no more walking the bike at slow speed. It's a great feeling when you master something as simple as slow speed riding.

Rick H.
Very well stated.

I still have my 2018 FLTRXS and I have installed the AIM Light Force clutch slave cylinder and it not only greatly reduces the force needed at the lever but it moves the friction zone closer to the grip. Plus on the new 2019's they have changed the damper spring which moves the friction zone close to the grip. Even though the zone is not quite what the cable clutch used to be I still feel it is still a bit larger and easier to manage at slow speed maneuvers than the Beemer. You are correct about the throttle but having a slightly larger friction zone would certainly help with the sensitive throttle. This is a BMW Forum so I will not continue to go on about this but I wanted to bring it up just in case there are more members with both bikes and they had not heard of this mod for the HD. They can easily find it with a simple google search.
 

·
Techmeister
Joined
·
1,468 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
On the subject of the high-speed school; my understanding this is about finding the line and rolling the throttle. Outside-inside-outside, find the apex and how to roll the throttle and how to trail brake; please correct me if wrong.

The slow speed schools are about the relationship of clutch/throttle/rear brake, and of the use of balance and counter steering. The clutch range on this platform is very short; I wonder if this is software adjustable? Clearly, engagement pressures are variable and controllable. Why, using better software, cannot these clutch throws be manipulated?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,275 Posts
.
2. The Grand (and I presume all of the K's) have a very short clutch throw and a very reactive throttle; even in Harley [rain] mode.

I used to be an MSF Instrutor. My wife was my "Cone Bitch" (her choice of moniker). Becaue I was a Military Instructor, the participants took the basic course on their own bikes (as opposed to range bikes, which we didn't have) and almost every class had that one guy who claimed they were unable to do the slow-mo maneuvers because their bike was too big or too heavy.

When that would happen I would load the wife on the back of the K11LT and we'd demo the maneuvers 2-Up. That opened more than a few eyes... To say we were smooth and precise together on that bike would be a big understatement.

Not so much on the K16.

The BIGGEST problem I have with the K16 doing slow-mo maneuvers is not the width of the Friction Zone, rather it is the random nature of the Friction Zone. It moves... Sometimes fullly engaged is right near the grip and before the lever is even half-way out, sometimes it is near the end of the throw and my fingers are nearly fully etended before the clutch is fully engaged.

There seems to be no correlation between the position of the Friction Zone and anything else I can narrow down. Not ambient heat, not engine heat, not ride length... Nothing. Sometimes it moves as quickly as being totally different from one traffic light to the next.

Until/unless I can get a grip on this Friction Zone issue, I will never be as good on the K16 as I was on the K11.

The good thing is that the K16 has so much low-end torque that in "real world" applications you can put it in 2nd gear and just let it idle. You can do pretty much anything you want with little concern of stalling the motor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,124 Posts
I am most successful if I leave the throttle at idle and regulate my power via the clutch and feathering of the rear brake.
Yes, this is the correct technique, for any bike. Some bikes make this easier, and some don't, but if you can master this, you can do it on any bike. The K16 has so much torque that idle works well, for other bikes you have to keep the revs up and steady, then use the clutch to add speed and the rear brake to slow. And yes, a light but confident touch does it...

Taking a slow speed riding course may not sound like a lot of fun for the "go fast" crowd, but the techniques learned at slow speed will make you a much better rider and more confident rider.
Agreed. Anyone can go fast, but it takes skill to go slow, and that skill easily translates into being safer at speed...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Revilok

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,124 Posts
The clutch range on this platform is very short; I wonder if this is software adjustable?
Nope, the clutch is purely hydraulic. The throttle is wired, meaning you can adjust sensitivity through software (Rain, Road, Dynamic).

As mentioned above, there are aftermarket companies that make replacement slave cylinders with larger bores that can give a lighter or more progressive clutch feel. I know they do so for the K12/13 bikes, but I haven't heard of one for the K16 bikes.

Then again, I haven't really looked into it, as my '13 GTL clutch seems plenty smooth and progressive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Learning slow speed manoeuvres and doing track days are all excellent training, no question. But I think the best kind of training isn't currently provided and is more applicable to real world scenarios. For example, if a course were designed where the rider is going fairly fast and leaning into a corner, and pop-up obstacles that simulate the sudden appearance of a deer or oncoming car could be used, it would provide the best training because it's in those real-life scenarios where the margin of error is so small, and where minute alterations would have to be practiced over and over to gain the skill required to hopefully avoid a collision. Those real-world scenarios scare the crap out of me because I realize I'm ill-prepared to realistically handle them.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
43 Posts
“Taking a slow speed riding course may not sound like a lot of fun for the "go fast" crowd, but the techniques learned at slow speed will make you a much better rider and more confident rider. No more two feet down to stop or take off, no more looking like a goose coming in for a landing and no more walking the bike at slow speed. It's a great feeling when you master something as simple as slow speed riding.”

I could not agree more. I am very fortunate to have a franchise of “Ride Like a Pro” very local to me. I took their course the first time in 2010 when I jumped from a Honda 750 to a Kawi 1400 and quickly realized the need for some low-speed skill enhancement. I got so much out of the class that over the next 8 years I took it three more times, each time dragging along friends who I knew really needed it too. In total, I got 6 of my friends to take the class and every single one said they only wished they had taken it 20 years earlier! Combine comparable training with Total Control or a non-sport bike track day or any of the other great training opportunities and you can really boost your riding skills and confidence level.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top