Rider, Lover, Consultant... In that order!

2002 BMW R1150RT

One day in the summer of 2001 I'm sitting on my Harley Fatboy somewhere in Arkansas after riding about 600 miles and thinking, "Damn! I need a bike I can ride 24 hours a day." After getting back from the trip, I started thinking about the qualities of a good long distance mount. There were several manufacturers that built touring rigs, but the short list only has Honda and BMW. I wasn't ready for a Goldwing or 1200LT. I wanted something sporty enough to lay over in the twisties yet comfortable enough and reliable enough to ride as long as I kept stopping for gas. It boiled down to two bikes - The Honda ST1100 and the BMW R1150RT. I chose the R1150RT because of the added options it had over the ST1100 at the time. Namely, power windshield, adjustable seat, 6-speed tranny, heated grips and because I thought the BMW had a better linked ABS braking system. The new ST1300 will be some stiff competition, but it's going to have to be REAL good before I would even consider parting with 1150. We'll see.

The next thing I know I'm sitting on an 1150 at BMW Fort Worth and telling Perry, "Yep. I want one. Let's make this happen." He had just received a few 1150's and we walked out back to check them out. When I saw the dark blue model I told him to uncrate it and set it up. It was love at first sight - and it still is. I picked up the R1150RT on June 20, 2001 and it's been nothing less of a torrid love afair since. This page is being used to document that affair. Enjoy.

Here are a few select shots of the bike:

click to enlarge

Here are some of the changes I made to the bike:

Aeroflow Tall Windshield
  After running the Bun Burner Gold and riding through some cold weather, it became obvious that I required a little more protection than the stock windshield provides. While I had already ordered the Aeroflow before the trip, I didn't receive it until after the trip. Actually, my dealer called the day I left. Go figure.

The windshield is considerably bigger than the stock and provides a bigger pocket for the rider. Definitely a good buy. I could not locate them on the web. Check with your dealer.

BMW Comfort Seat   I endured quite a few miles before I convinced myself that a more comfortable seat was warranted. While I got on the list for a custom Russell Day-Long saddle, my dealer gave me a great deal on a BMW comfort seat. The comfort seat is by far better than the original stock. Especially so if you're a little wider than most. The seat retails for around $175 and is worth the price.

Check with your dealer.

RAM Mounts
  I'm using RAM Mounts for the Streetpilot. I was going to use one for the Valentine until I found the shelf. These mounts work on all kinds of bikes, but they work well on the 1150RT as the base mounts into the stearing column by replacing one of the stock screws. They utilize rubber balls and grabbers which can be positioned in practically any way you wish. The rubber ball/grabber mechanism helps isolate vibration as well. Very good mounts.

I bought mine from Cyco Active.

RCU Shelf
  During my typical Monday afternoon visit to my dealer's I was looking for some way to mount the valentine above the instrument cluster. Greg mentioned that he got in some shelfs that were custom made for the 1150RT. I took one look at it and realized this was exactly what I've been looking for. The search was over.

Check with your local dealer about the RCU Designs Shelf. Or you may order online from BMW of Salt Lake City.

Custom Wiring Harness and Fuse Box

  I needed a way to supply my new gadgets with power from the bike. I could either tap into the stock wiring and/or fuse box or build a custom wiring harness and add my own fuse box. I selected the latter as it would allow me to add gadgets without touching the stock electrical system at all. Plus, I had total control on isolating gadgets on their own circuits so troubleshooting would be easier.

The harness is made of heavy 12 guage wire. One end has battery connectors. The positive wire on the opposite end has a battery connector that goes to the fuse box. I spliced in 6 smaller (18 guage) ground wires to the end of wiring harness to accommodate up to 6 individual components. The ends of these ground wires have bullet-style connectors. Every connector is coated with Star Brite's Liquid Electrical Tape. The entire harness has been wrapped in 3M Temflex Rubber Splicing Tape. This not only binds the two wires together into a single line, but also provides another layer of protection and insulation.

The battery connectors are connected to the battery (imagine that) and the wiring is then routed along the stock wiring route and into the radio case where the fuse box is located. I converted the radio case to a storage compartment. The positive wire is connected to the fuse box. Each component's wiring harness is then routed to the radio case where one end goes on the fuse box and the other plugs into a ground wire.

See your local Home Depot and/or Fry's Electronics for the necessary wiring and connector materials. I found the fuse box at a Napa Auto Parts store.

Valentine One Radar Detector

  While I don't condone speeding in unsafe conditions, I similarly don't condone getting a ticket while speeding in safe conditions. Enter the king of all radar detectors - the Valentine One from Velentine Research. If you're looking for the best, look no further.

I modified the direct power adapter that comes with the V1 so I could plug it into the custom wiring. I attached a bullet connector to the ground wire, removed the inline fuse connector from the positive lead and attached a slip connector to the end that fits directly onto the fuse box. This wiring was routed to the radio box.

To protect the V1 from the elements, I bought an electronic enclosure from Fry's. The crevices will be filled with silicone and the wiring will be routed through the front of the enclosure. Additionally, the front panel was replaced with a clear plastic panel. This allows me to see the display while ensuring the unit is fully protected from the elements.

See Valentine Research for more information.

Garmin Streetpilot

  A GPS is quickly becoming standard equipment in the long distance riding community. I bought one from a fellow rider. I'm still learning the ins and outs and the real value-add of a GPS unit.

I modified the power cable similarly to the Valentine harness.

See Garmin for more details.

Saeng Strips
  Saeng strips are rubber edging for the windshield. Essentially it provides another 1.5 to 2 inches to your windshield. If you're looking to add just another inch or two to you windshield, this product may the answer.

See Saeng/TA Corp for more details.

Russell Day-Long Saddle

  I researched everything from Russell Day-Long to Sargeant and the Mayer Brothers. The bottom line is that nothing beats a day-long saddle - especially for those folks who require a heavy-weight suspension. The Mayer brothers were a close second.

The day-long feels absolutely wonderful. I haven't broken it in yet with a good long ride, but I should have that fixed soon. I dig the look on the bike too.

See Russell Cycle Products for more information. Rocky Mayer is at Bill Mayer Saddles and Rick Mayer is at Rick Mayer Cycle.

Driving Lights   I finally decided on a set of PIAA 1100 driving lights and the EZ-Mount from Cycle Gadgets. There is no drilling required to install the mount or the lights. The mount is a stable platform for the lights and extremely well made. Cycle Gadgets sells the complete kit - lights and mount plus a modified harness specific to your application. The cool part is the kit comes with a very nice and thorough color instruction book and photos. Very clean install and the folks at Cycle Gadgets were a big help.

CG has another style mount called the Martin Fab Bracket that mounts low on the forks. I'm considering mounting some PIAA 1400 fog lights with a dual switch so I have independent control over each light. This will allow me to focus the light so it lights up the immediate roadside. The independent control will allow me to keep the right-side lit while dimming the left for oncoming traffic.

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