Saturday, March 15, 2014

BMW Launch, Hawes & Garmin

Today we visited the BMW launch event at Williams BMW in Manchester. It was very busy but we were able to get a look and sit on the new S1000R. I was also able to get to grips with two other K1300s bikes and found both of their throttles to be smooth in operation. Mine has a real bad notchy feel as you initially turn the throttle. Could this be one of the cables or the grip itself? When I install the new audio wire for the SatNav comms, I think I will have a look at this and the throttle bodies again. This time I will also take the airbox off and actually look inside the bodies at the butterflies as well.

Helen on S1000R After a free coffee and a Bockwurst in a bap with headed for Clitheroe and the Yorkshire Dales. We had a run up to Hawes and back on our usual route via Sabden, Sawley, Wigglesworth, Settle and Ribblehead Viaduct. We stopped just outside Horton-in-Ribblesdale at our usual tearoom stop. We prefer to stop here these days as it is usually very quiet and the owner is very welcoming. No major issues to report, the K1300s performed brilliantly with no hint of a sticking throttle. Helen was a bit rusty at first, but soon got the hang of her S1000SX. We had a nice quiet ride, more cars than bikes were out today around the Dales.

My first opinion of the Garmin 350LM is a good one although there are things that I don’t like. Currently the unit is mounted a little bit too low for me and I find I have to really take my eyes off the road to see it. Obviously when I get the sound working I won’t have to do this as much. But I think I will install my other Ram Mount double ball clamp bracket as it is a little bit longer. The SatNav is very easy to use with a glove and ever button/icon I pressed on screen I hit first time everytime. It followed the route I had plotted on Basecamp to the letter and when I made a slight detour it was able to recalculate a route to get me back on track, without backtracking. One slight annoyance is that it gives you the distance to your final destination not one of the set points I had made on route. This information is stored on the trip/stats screen instead, which is a quick button press away though. I don’t like the 3D map view the Garmin uses I much prefer TomToms approach. Also TomTom gives you a much better idea of the severity of corners, Garmin seems to flatten them out more. I did notice that some sharp turns it actually thinks are junction turns and navigates as such. Not sure what the vocal command is though as I don’t have sound yet. I will have to wait till I have sound enabled to my helmet before a can make a proper judgement on the SatNav overall.


Friday, March 14, 2014

MOT & Garmin SatNav

I took the K1300s for its MOT yesterday to Bikes and Beyond in Shaw. I chose this place as it is run by bikers and also enabled me to give the bike a bit of a run on the way there. The throttle behaved perfectly on our drive and also just before I arrived for the MOT. However the problem did rear its ugly head during the MOT test but he passed the bike anyway and just said keep an eye on it (it was only catching slightly and not sticking for long). Then once I had got home I again was unable to replicate the problem.

Once home I decided to connect the SatNav up to the Bluetooth module of my Autocom unit. The SatNav found the Bluetooth module and connected. However I then found a massive issue with the SatNav. The volume was far too low and there is no way of adjusting it on the SatNav, it says to adjust the sound on your headset. Erm well you can’t do that on the Autocom system, TomTom allow you to change the volume. This is a massive glaring oversight on Garmin’s part, if I had known this I probably would have gone with the TomTom Rider instead. Fortunately the Garmin does have an audio jack at the bottom of the unit so I will be able to hardwire the sound into the Autocom.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Garmin SatNav Mount

While I had the K1300s apart on Sunday it was the ideal time to install the Garmin SatNav mount on the bike as well. The way the cable fits into the mount isn’t very easy to remove once installed, so the install had to be a permanent one really.

Garmin Cradle The new Garmin SatNav is now a 5V unit (USB voltage) so to power it from a 12V system Garmin have supplied a 12V to 5V step down unit with a built in noise filter. This unit is not small and as other owners have reported, it may not be easy to find a suitable place to install it. This is certainly true on the K1300s as most of the space is filled up on this bike, especially if you have most of the extra toys fitted. Thankfully having the fuel tank out enabled me to find a suitable spot that this box just fitted into. I managed to install it between the frame and the ABS unit on the left side of the bike in front of the seat just under the fuel tank.  The cable was also long enough to connect to the spare socket in front of the Garmin 350LM battery, (designed for the BMW SatNav) then route back down to the install location I had found and then back up to the mount location. I installed the new Ram Mount and cradle to my current yoke ball mount. The new cradle and SatNav fits better than my old one and doesn’t obscure the clocks at all. I also tested it with my tankbag fitted and although it is close, I was able to find a position that didn’t interfere with the movement of the handlebars from lock to lock. I am very happy with the install and just have to now setup the bluetooth with the Autocom and go out and test it.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Big K Throttle Issue

Well on Sunday after my rideout on the ZX-9R I decided in the nice sunny weather to pull the K1300s apart and have a look at the throttle bodies.

I removed the fairings and the fuel tank, not too difficult of a job in the end. I then actuated the throttle twist grip  while looking at the throttle body end. The return spring and cable fully return to the home K1300s Stripped downposition every time and it doesn’t appear to stick at all. Now if this is returning then I would guess that the butterflies are returning also. The plastic part that is know to fail on K1200s seemed to be in good condition. So I really don’t think that the throttle bodies are the issue and the twist grip doesn’t seem to stick either. Unfortunately due to it being SORN at the moment I can’t take the bike out for a spin to check whether it does it when the bike is moving and warm. I guess I will just have to take it for the MOT and hope it doesn’t occur during the test and then leave it until it becomes more apparent.


Monday, March 10, 2014

First Run of 2014

I went out yesterday on the ZX-9R for a quick run around the Yorkshire Dales. It had to be the ZX-9R as the K1300s is currently SORN awaiting a MOT.

Usual pre winter ride checks, oil chain and pump up tyres etc. The back brake was dragging a lot due to the pads having not moved on the disc in months. I rode slowly around the estate and activated the back brake to clean it up and promptly locked it up and had a minor rear wheel slide. Anyway that seemed to do the trick and it was fine after that. I filled up with fuel and then joined the motorway and did a few more controlled braking cycles to clean things up. All seemed well with brakes and bike so I was happy to continue my ride.

I headed over to Hawes on the usual roads, M66/A56 towards Clitheroe. Then minor roads to Settle via Sawley and Wigglesworth. Then the usual B6479 to Ribblehead Viaduct and then the B6255 to Hawes. It was quite overcast and cold and the road in places was still a bit damp and greasy. The road surface in generally was in good condition and seems to have survived all the rain, plenty of waterlogged fields though. On arriving in Hawes I stopped at the Penny Garth CafĂ© for a much need coffee. It was quite busy for 10:00am in the morning in March. 

After the coffee I left Hawes on the A684 and headed over to Sedbergh. This stretch of road was particularly damp and greasy in places. At one stage as I applied power to pass another biker the rear stepped out slightly as it lost traction. Thankfully the ZX-9R isn’t too brutal and it is easy to regain control in such situations. I arrived in Sedbergh in no time and then joined the A683 and headed south towards Kirkby Lonsdale and Devil’s Bridge. A vast amount of ZX-9R on Waddington Fellspeed camera signs have been erected along this stretch of road over the winter. Presumably this means that they are now using a safety camera van along this stretch of road at times. Anyway I didn’t stop at Devil’s Bridge as it hadn’t been that long since I was at Hawes. It looked fairly busy but not stupidly so. I then turned onto the A65 and headed towards Skipton and turned off at our usual spot to go passed Stocks Reservoir and through Gisburn Forest. Then joined the B6478 and headed for Clitheroe via Slaidburn and Waddington Fell, where I stopped briefly to take a photo. I then stopped in Clitheroe briefly to refuel before heading home, arriving home in time for lunch.

The ZX-9R performed reasonably fine today although there seems to be a flat spot between 5000 to 6000rpms. Above 7000rpms it really pulls fine, will need to have a look when I do the 16000 mile valve check.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Post Winter Update

Well I thought I’d better put an update on the blog just so it doesn’t look like we have dropped off the face of the earth.

Well not surprisingly given the excellent weather of late, we have not been out on our bikes at all this year so far. There have been a few days were we could have gotten out but on those occasions we were busy doing something else that needed good weather to do. Also because of the bad weather I have not had a look at the K1300s and its slight sticking throttle issue. This fault has also meant that I haven’t had it MOT’d so as the tax was running out I have had to declare it SORN at the moment. I think next time I tax it I will only get six months to avoid having to SORN it again.

I also haven’t done the valve check on the ZX-9R yet either but that isn’t mega urgent and so can wait till later on in the year. Another job I also have to do is install the old Autocom unit onto Helen’s new Z1000SX, I have looked at the installation though and know exactly where and how I’m going to do it. The radio thankfully just fits under the seat and I have already installed its cable when I had the seat unit apart to install the new luggage racks.

For Christmas we decided to buy ourselves a new SatNav for the bikes. The car one that we have used previously did the job but has started having issues recently. The two main issues are that the internal battery is completely shot. This means that if the power connection to it comes loose for even a second it switched off and took a good 30 seconds to come boot back up. This caused us massive issues when we where away in the Vosges last year. The other issue is that for some reason when using the Bluetooth option to link the sound up with the Autocom the SatNav kept crashing, it never did this on the VFR so I don’t know whether the SatNav is at fault or it is a strange issue with the BMW. Anyway we decided to get a bike specific SatNav this time and so opted for the Garmin 350LM. It isn’t as feature rich as my car SatNav but is obviously waterproof and the screen is friendlier for gloved hands. Initial thoughts are that the mounting system is excellent (well they are RAM mounts) and the Garmin will suit are needs perfectly. The other added bonus is the Basecamp software, which will be good for planning the routes on. It looks like what route you plan on Basecamp the SatNav will follow to the letter. This didn’t always happen with the car SatNav as it would sometimes change the route between waypoints on the fly. Once we have tested the Garmin on the bikes I will be able to give a better more rounded review in the future.