Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 2011 Newsletter

Club Meeting

Please come join us for second annual club holiday gathering and meeting at The Harp Restaurant on Saturday, December 17th, 4:30 p.m.  The Harp Restaurant is located at 1432 South 3rd Street in Wilmington.  We have previously enjoyed several great meals at The Harp, so I hope you have marked your calendars and will be able to join us.

Unfortunately, The Harp Restaurant could not accommodate us due to other large party bookings.  We will now be meeting at The Mad Boar Restaurant in Wallace, NC on Sunday, December 18, at 12 Noon.  The Mad Boar is also expecting several large parties in our meeting date, but has said they can accommodate us.  To ensure they set aside enough room for us, if you believe that you will be attending, please let me know by sending me an email at, so I can give the restaurant an idea of how many to expect.

Upcoming Meetings

Here is list of the dates for our upcoming club meeting in January through March.
  • January 7th, Location to be determined (Changed)
  • February 4th, The Boundary House Restaurant in Calabash
  • March 3rd, Location to be determined

If you cannot remember the date for the next meeting, remember that our upcoming meeting is always posted on the Announcements page of our club web site and also on our club's Google Calendar.

2012 BMW RA National Rally

The BMW RA Chartered Clubs Coordinator, Michael Johnson, has sent me a document with information on  lodging at the 2012 BMW RA Grand National Rally site that is located at Cooper Mountain, Colorado. This rally site is above the 6,000 foot elevation in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado for cool night sleeping with pleasant days to go exploring the surrounding area. The BMW RA has three designated camping areas. The main one is at the base of the resort. It is a soccer field and totally flat.  At the soccer field is also a big parking lot for RVs or trailers that do not require electrical hookups.  Bathrooms are located there.  Camping will be allowed there no earlier than the Wednesday before the rally.  On Thursday of rally week, available camping will also be available inside the ski resort.  The document that the BMW RA provided is available here on our Google Documents page.

International Motorcycle Shows

The 2011-2012 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows have begun!  The closest show for our area will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center during the weekend of February 24-26, 2012.

View Larger Map

This will be a very location convenient location for many of us, being only a three and half hour drive from Wilmington.  I have already been asked by several club members whether we will arrange for a group ride to this event.  As the show date approaches, we will look into whether the weather will cooperate and if there is still interest in doing this.

If you will be unable to attend the Charlotte show, other nearby International Motorcycle Show will be held in Washington, D.C. on January 13-15, 2012.

Web Site Changes

Speaking of our club web site, if you have recently visited the web site, you probably have noticed that it looks a little bit different. I have been working on renovating the club web site to give it a "cleaner" look -- larger fonts and narrower columns to make the everything easier to read, reorganizing the information pages, and restructuring the overall site to make it more usable on mobile devices (i.e., smart phones).

This remains a work-in-progress, so let me know if you would like to see a specific feature changed.  I hope soon to try creating a photographic header for the web site.  If you have some good panoramic-style BMW motorcycling photos that you want to share, send them to me and maybe you will be able to see them there!

The web site is also now linked to our Google+ page for the club.  If you are a Google+ user, I urge you to begin following our club Google+ page to see the most up-to-date information.

Cardo Scala Rider G4 Mod

I have been using a Cardo Scala Rider G4 Bluetooth headset for a few months, but was never completely satisfied with the volume of the helmet-mounted speakers.  Here is a link to a short article I have written describing a modification that I had made to my G4 headset to allow me to use ear buds instead of the standard speakers.

Graphic Artist Needed

Our club needs a logo!  If any of you have graphics skills and want to create some sample club logos for us to use, please consider contributing a little of your time and talent.  We need a rectangular-shaped logo that can be used within the BMW's guidelines for officially chartered BMW clubs (which we are by being a BMW MOA chartered club).  If you are interested in trying your hand at the project, please contact me at for information on the dimension guides that must be used.

GPS Tip of the Month

If you are a Garmin nuMaps Lifetime Subscriber, it is map update time again.  The City Navigator North America NT 2012.30 update has been released and can be downloaded from  Once again the map update is too large to load the entire lower 48 states into a Zumo 550, so be prepared to free up some space on your GPS receiver before you update.

2012 Motorcycle Racing Season

The schedule for the 2012 motorcycle racing seasons for MotoGP, World Superbike, and AMA Pro Racing are starting to be established.  The latest provisional schedules have been published on  It looks liek we have another exciting racing season ahead as we cheer on the BMW Motorrad and Italia BMW racing teams in World Superbike, as well a BMW-powered race team in MotoGP.

Challenge Rides

Our club continues to hold several ongoing challenge rides, as an inducement for everyone to ride and explore the state.  If you are in need for an excuse for a nice day ride, or perhaps seeking ideas for a weekend trip somewhere, take a look at these challenge rides.  These challenge rides include:
I have set up a Google spreadsheet to keep track of the progress of each club member who has submitted their results thus far for the North Carolina State Historic Sites Challenge Ride.  This Google spreadsheet can be viewed here.

Watch soon for similar Google spreadsheets for our CountyCourthouse Challenge Ride and NC State Parks and Recreation Areas ChallengeRide.

Membership Directory

I am also working on migrating our membership listing from a document-style list to a Google spreadsheet.  My hope is that everyone will find the new format easier to quickly browse when you want to find information on another club member (like their email address or the type of bike they ride).  You can see the draft Google membership spreadsheet here.  This is a work-in-progress and it is available, in its current state, for you to see here.  If you see any of your information that needs to be updated, please let me know!

I welcome any suggestions or comments that anyone may have.

See you next month.  Until then, ride safe and ride far!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ear Bud Modification for Cardo Scala Rider G4 Headset

A few months ago, after performing considerable online research and talking with club members, I purchased a Cardo Scala Rider G4 headset to have a wireless connection to my my Garmin Zumo 550 GPS receiver.  For some time, I had been using a wired hookup between my GPS and my favorite ear buds (Etymotic ER-6i's, which are unfortunately no longer being made), but I really wanted to "cut the cords."  If feasible, I also wanted a headset that would also allow me to receive phone calls while riding.  One week out of every five, I am on-call for work and have been very hesitant to ride for fear of missing one of these work-related call outs (missing one could result in time off-without pay).  After considering both the Sena SMH-10 and Cardo's Scala Rider G4, I settled on the G4 headset, especially after positive recommendations by fellow club member and G4 user Paul Winter.

The G4 kit consists a base unit, which you attached to your helmet using either a clamp fit, or if necessary, with an adhesive mounting pad.  The standard base includes a boom-style microphone and two small speakers with Velcro backing to mount inside the helmet.  

The standard base unit should work well in most full face and three-quarter face helmets.  For those with very tight –fitting full-face helmets, an optional base is available with a wired microphone instead of the boom mic.  The transmitter/receiver (shown below) mounts to the base by sliding into the base.  

The transmitter/receiver uses a Bluetooth connect with your GPS or cell phone.  Unlike many older Bluetooth headsets, which are mono audio, the Scala Rider G4 supports stereo Bluetooth.  This is a great improvement if you are a rider who likes to listen to music or XM radio from your GPS, while riding.

Placement of the base unit's speakers inside your helmet is critical if you want to have sufficient volume for clear communications.  The speakers need to be mounted such that they are directly over your ears when the helmet is being worn.  Speaker placement is probably less of a problem if you do not wear ear plugs while riding, but is very important if you do wear ear plugs and this is something that I always do.  I was never completed satisfied with the speaker volume and began to explore ways to use ear buds with the Scala Rider G4.

I saw a post on where an individual, Eileen Kelleher (aka JetGrl), had modified her G4 base to replace the helmet-mount speakers with a 3.5mm stereo plug for ear buds.  I learned that the base unit, which you mount to your helmet, includes a small circuit board to which the speaker leads are soldered.  It turned out that Eileen Kelleher had been offering her services to make the same modification for a few other ADVRider inmates.  (Members of the ADVRider forum are referred to inmates in this asylum.)

Not being an experienced user of a soldering iron and not being inclined to destroy my base unit's circuit board, I contacted Eileen, shipped her the base module, and in slightly more than one week, I received my modified base module.  If you are soldering-challenged like me, her $35 charge (which included the return shipping) seems very reasonable.  Installation of the 3.5mm plug makes for a very clean configuration, as you can see from this photo.

Having tested the modified unit using my Etymotic ER-6i ear buds, the output volume is significantly improved.  The only initial criticism was that the volume adjustment increments were not quite incremental as I would like when using the ear buds versus when using the speakers.  Fortunately some experimentation with setting the audio output level on my GPS versus the audio output setting on the Scala Rider G4 eventually arrived at very satisfactory sound output level and the level control desired.

The Scala Rider G4 is an excellent Bluetooth-type headset that I can strongly recommend.  If you have been less-than-satisfied with the G4 speaker volume, of if you prefer using ear buds while riding, making the ear bud modification to the base module can significantly improve the headset's functionality.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

East Coast Timing Association Event in Maxton

October 29, 2011
By Dick Williams

I made it to Maxton this past Saturday on what turned out to be a cold, blustery day, where the wind chill factor keep the temperature “feel” in the 40’s for most of the day (despite the cloud cover lifting in the afternoon). My conclusion, after spending about four hours (divided between the start line, the finishing line and circulating among the waiting racers) is that, although watching was fun, participating would have been much more fun.

Since the only racing that I have personally witnessed has been at large, professionally run facilities, I was not prepared for the quaint, almost folksy feel to the event. Access off a secondary highway (about like NC 133) was via a dirt/gravel road that connected to some partially paved areas that looked like the streets of an abandoned housing subdivision. Scattered here and there were people with trailers, campers and RV’s. A badly decomposed secondary runway ran in parallel to the “track”, a longer runway of about 2 miles in length no longer used to support airplanes. Along the secondary runway were arrayed the dizzying variety of vehicles and their drivers, all lined up and creeping towards the start line. This line up of vehicles was at least ¼ mile in length, representing an average wait time of 1 hour or so.

To keep things in perspective, the East Coast Timing Association (ECTA) does in fact have rigid safety rules that are strictly enforced (I found this out the hard way when I got too close to the starting area on my K12GT). Starts were done professionally, and only one vehicle was allowed on the runway at a time (they were properly spaced). All of this spit and polish when it came to safety just seemed a little odd when juxtaposed against the semi-abandoned airfield with muddy, decaying roads and unpicked cotton fields on all sides. It was a far cry from the pristine conditions at VIR or Daytona. So, too , were the riders and drivers who wore all manner of racing “get ups” (evidently all ECTA sanctioned). Although leathers were required for the bike riders, which gave them somewhat of a uniform appearance), the auto vehicle drivers at one extreme looked ready to step into a NASCAR (full flame retardant suit, head sock, helmet, driving boots, etc.) while those with much slower production vehicles were wearing almost ordinary clothing (with a helmet being their only really distinguishing characteristic).

The key to land speed racing is that all vehicles, in a sense, can qualify to do it. The question is simply how fast can you make the vehicle (with a given engine displacement, state of tune, etc.) go from a standing stop to the one mile mark. I did not study the rule book carefully, but there are literally dozens and dozens of racing classifications for all manner of vehicles. By way of illustration, I saw everything from showroom stock vehicles of all vintages to airplane-like vehicles with aft-mounted parachutes that are always pictured on the Bonneville Salt Flats (200 + MPH).

During my time at the track, the fastest motorcycles (most stock, or slightly modified, versions of the Suzuki Hayabusa) averaged in the 180’s. However, the fastest vehicle that I saw run that day was a specially modified race bike that cleared the traps at 226 MPH. Watching these machines pass by at those speeds had an air of unreality to it, as if one were watching special effects in a movie (most commercial jets are not traveling that fast, either on takeoff or landing).

One special treat of the day for me was watching a number of members of a vintage motorcycle club racing their 100cc to 200cc machines. While a few of these were roughhewn vintage race bikes, some (like a his-and-her pair of BMW R27’s) were beautifully restored with flawless paint and detailing. At one point, I stood at the starting line and watched with a certain amount of bemusement a vintage race bike rider (who must have been at least 70 years old) crouch expectedly at the starting line on a tiny 175cc race prepared Honda, blipping his throttle in anticipation of the start. I remember thinking that he could not possibly go more than 70 MPH on a single cylinder machine like that. To my absolute amazement, his terminal speed was announced as 104 MPH!

It was indeed an historic occasion, given that Maxton field is being turned into a special area for training antiterrorist units of the military, and ECTA racing there will evidently be ended forever. The transformation had already begun to take place with dirt roads named (“Baghdad Avenue”), artificially created earth embankments, and what appeared to be fortifications of some kind. In the future, all ECTA events are being moved to Wilmington, Ohio. I cannot believe what I missed out on for the last 10 years, or that I will have to journey 600 miles to see the next one of these.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 2011 Newsletter

Happy Halloween, everyone!

November Club Meeting

After the weather-related postponement of our October club meeting, I concluded that it was time to resume our winter "weekend club meeting schedule."  Hopefully this schedule will make it easier for you to attend a meeting, if you are reluctant to ride at night.

For November, we are going to try something different in terms of scheduling our meeting.  Our club meeting will be held on Saturday, November 12th, 4 p.m., at the PT's Olde Fashioned Grill, 1437 Military Cutoff Road in Wilmington.  The meeting will be held, rain or shine.

View Larger Map

If the weather cooperates (i.e., no rain), I am planning a back road ride that will leave at approximately 2 p.m. time to be confirmed) from Buy & Go Exxon, 808 North College Road and will end by approximately 4 p.m. at our club meeting at the PT's Grill on Military Cutoff Road.

The currently planned dates and locations for the next few club meetings are now posted on the club calendar.  You will also find an announcement for each month's meeting on our club web site.

December 17 – The Harp Restaurant, Wilmington
January 14, 2012 – The Mad Boar, Wallace
February 4, 2012 – The Boundary House, Calabash
March 3, 2012 – TBD

October Meeting

As mentioned earlier, the threat of rain and an after-dark ride back to Wilmington caused me to postpone  our October 10th meeting.   Instead, we met at Yacht Basin Provisions Company the following Saturday, October 15th, for lunch.  We had an extremely light turnout  – I assume everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather that weekend.  Thank you to those of you who were able to come for lunch, and to those who joined me in the ride afterwards.

Trip Reports

Well some of our club members have taken some trips over the last month or two, and we have trips reports to tell you all about it.  Tony and Jill Barcia have attended both the Return to Shiloh Rally, held in Tennessee on September 30-October 2, and the Beemers and Biplanes Rally held in Virginia Beach, VA on October 7-9.  Jill Barcia has submitted a great set of trip reports for each event, including some terrific photos.

In addition, Paul Winter, Jerry and Barb Dockery, and I attended Unrally X held in Little Switzerland, NC in August.  You can also read my trip report about my Unrally ride with Paul.

2012 BMW RA Rally

I have heard a rumor that the 2012 BMW Riders Association National Rally may be held, once again, at The Biltmore in Asheville, NC.  The source of the rumor, which I would characterize as fairly reliable, did not provide a specific date for the event.  An official BMW RA rally announcement has not been posted, thus far, on the BMW RA web site.  Stand by for further updates.

10/31/11 Update:  The BMW RA has now officially announced the 2012 National Rally will be held June 14-17, 2012, in Copper Mountain, Colorado.  This information comes from Michael Johnston, the BM RA Chartered Club Coordinator.  (So much for the previous "reliable rumor.")

2011 BMW MOA Mileage Contest

If you are a BMW MOA member, here is another reminder that the 2011 BMW MOA Mileage Contest ended on October 9th.  The Mileage Contest Ending Form was provided in the October issue of the BMW Owners News, and can also be downloaded from the BMW MOA web site.  Your form must be signed by two BMW MOA members in good standing, or by a club officer.  If you need your form signed, contact me at to make arrangements.  All mileage forms must be mailed (postmarked) no later than November 14, 2011.  Be sure to list our club on your Ending Mileage Form (we are Club #306, Coastal Carolina BMW Riders Club).

Article on Road Debris

I recently encountered an interesting article on the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (MSTA) web site about group riding and whether or not, during group rides, riders should point out road debris to trailing riders in the group.  The author cites an article by the late motorcycle safety instructor Lawrence Grodsky about pointing at road debris as you pass by (e.g., with your foot), presumably to help those following you. The author observes that in most of the cases he observed, the act of ‘pointing’ at some passing debris served to increase rather than decrease the hazard it represented.

Those of you who have joined me for one of our group rides have probably seen me, at one time or another,   point to road debris to alert those following me to the potential hazard.  However, during my riding years, I have never considered that doing so my actually be counter to the safety of those following me.

I am not saying that I agree or disagree with the author's views in the article, but it has caused me to reconsider the practice.  So what do you think?  Does the act of ‘pointing’ at passing debris serve to increase rather than decrease the hazard it represents?  Post your thoughts as a comment to this newsletter.

Deal's Gap Article

Club  member Jerry McCumby passed along an interesting article, posted on a Miata car forum, about Deal's Gap.

This article discusses the 10-mile segment of U.S. 129 that stretches from U.S. Highway 411 to the Calderwood Dam,otherwise known as "the dragstrip to The Dragon."  The Dragon is one of those roads that many motorcyclists believe has to be ridden at least once.  If you have never visited The Dragon and Crossroads of Time store, it is worth a visit, but be aware of the law enforcement in the area.  Also, being a U.S. highway, be aware of the potential for truck and RV traffic on this section of road.

GPS Tip-of-the-Month

I have recently begun making the transition from using Garmin's Mapsource program to their BaseCamp software.  As I have previously mentioned, Garmin has announced their intention to discontinue development and upgrades of the Mapsource software and instead focus their future efforts on BaseCamp.

The PC version of BaseCamp is probably not as developed as it should be when the Garmin programmers decided to release the current version.  BaseCamp manages your GPS data in a very different way compared to Mapsource,and learning its idiosyncrasies can be difficult.

A very helpful resource for learning BaseCamp (and one that I wished had been available to me when I made the transition) is a BaseCamp Wiki started by several members of the Garmin user forums.  The Wiki moderators have assembled an outstanding tutorial to help the novice BaseCamp user get started.  You can find this BaseCamp Wiki at

I encourage you to try the BaseCamp software.  It has some interesting features and will continue to improve as Garmin release further upgrades.

2012 International Motorcycle Shows

The dates for the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows has be announced.  The Washington, DC show is being held the weekend of January 13-15, 2012.  The closest show for our area is moving from its  previous location (Greenville, SC) to the Charlotte Convention Center on the weekend of February 24-26, 2012.

If you have never attended an International Motorcycle Show, you owe it to yourself to do so at least once. You find more information about these upcoming shows, including ticket information, at

BMW Scooters Coming

When I attended the 2011 International Cycle World in New York City earlier this year, in addition to the new K1600LT, BMW also had a new concept scooter on display.  A few pictures of the scooter are posted in my Picasa photo album from that trip.  We it appears that BMW plans to bring those scooters to market.  Bob's BMW recently posted a short online article about these scooters.  On will be powered with a standard gas engine, based on the F-series engine, while the other will be electric powered.  You can briefly see the Concept e scooter in this Youtube video.


I end this month's newsletter with a link to an interesting video of three riders during their ride through the Hattah Desert in Australia.  Who says a BMW R1200GS cannot be ridden like a dirt bike?  I hope you enjoy watching this dirt riding demonstration.

See you next month.  Until then, ride safe and ride far!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beemers and Biplanes Rally

October 7-9, 2011
by Jill and Tony Barcia

The Beemers and Biplanes is held in Virginia Beach and sponsored by BMW of Hampton Roads. It is about 300 miles to Virginia Beach and we were able to do a loop there and back which included visiting two Historic Sites on the Coastal Carolina BMW challenge. They were Historic Edenton and Historic Bath. Also very close to the route would be Roanoke Island Festival Park and Tryon Palace. We took Route 40 up to the Mad Boar and headed toward Kinston, Greensville, Elizabeth City and the horseshoe route to Virginia (avoiding the Currituck ferry). The way back was basically Route 17.

The rally included two dinners, coffee all weekend and camping for 3 nights. Both dinners were filling and delicious, the one on Saturday night was catered with crab cakes, chicken, shrimp, baked potatoes and lots more. The poker run on Saturday was to benefit Wounded Warriors and included admission to the air show at the Virginia Beach Aviation Museum.

The campground is located right across the North Carolina Border near Currituck. In addition to the tent camping there are economy cabins, luxury cabins and RV sites. Both cabins had air conditioning and the luxury had bathrooms. On the grounds are hot and cold showers and indoor bathrooms as well as a camp store with ice, drinks and food. The 110 attendees had no problem finding tent spaces within walking distance of the beautiful beach where there were spectacular sunsets. The permanent structure pavilion was ideal for watching the Friday night movie (Fly Boys) before going to the Air Museum the following day. It also was the central location for registration, dinners and closing ceremonies. Breakfast was provided by a church group on Saturday morning next to the pavilion and coffee and donuts for Sunday morning.

The two hour poker run crisscrossed the North Carolina/Virginia border and took us through many of the low lying coastal roads, many quaint villages and seaside estates. The ride ended at the Aviation Museum where a WWI airshow was happening. This airshow included reenactments with soldiers from Germany, Italy and America camping in tents. During the show they rode out on a 1918 Harley Davidson with a side car, set up anti-aircraft weapons and proceeded to shoot down the biplanes and triplanes flying over the field.

The museum is privately owned by one man and contains 40 to 50 restored aircraft all in flying condition. This included WWII planes which are flown at other events. Aside from the show there is a large museum with several unique historical pieces from the wars (motorcycle in a can). There was also a fully restored WWII military BMW motorcycle with sidecar and utility trailer. Upstairs there is a history of the lives of these aviators. The museum is open daily with airshows scheduled on various weekends.

Return to Shiloh BMW Rally

September 30 through October 2
by Jill and Tony Barcia

Return to Shiloh in western Tennessee is hosted by BMW RAMS based in Memphis (Rider Association of the Mid South) is held by the Tennessee River at Pickwick Dam in the TVA campground.

We trailered our R75/5 "toaster" along with our dog stopping in Murfreesboro, TN on Thursday night and arrived at the campground on Friday morning. For those who don't want to camp there are motel rooms in Savannah, TN about 12 miles away and in a Comfort Inn 5 miles away in Mississippi.

On Friday afternoon we rode the motorcycle to Shiloh National Military Park about 15 miles from the campground. Expect to spend 3 to 4 hours driving the 12 mile tour through the battlefield where 23,000 civil war soldiers died during the two day battle at Shiloh. Along the tour route are many monuments erected by the states and 20 strategic tour stops and a 35 minute movie at the visitor center.

There are many local restaurants (good food, inexpensive) in Counce a small town five miles from camp, a restaurant at Pickwick State Park and a hotel/restaurant "Botel" right on the river within walking distance of your tent. The Botel had draft beers for $2 all weekend for rally attendees. Both mornings there was a $5 pancake breakfast provided by the boy scouts.

Saturday there was a motorcycle show. The Vintage, over 40 years category winner was a 1941 R12 which had been ridden 200 miles to the rally and beat out several R26 and R27's (one in immaculate condition). The Vintage 20 to 40 year winner was a 1983 R100RT, beating out the three Toasters (one of which was ours). Other categories were classic, modern, side car, rat and "other" brands.

Saturday evening was the award ceremony, prizes, a live band and included in the registration fee, a delicious BBQ dinner. Thoughtful extras such as hot, fresh coffee all day (wonderful on crisp cool mornings and afternoons) and a long power strip for electronic devices.

It was a great rally, well organized (265 attendees) and everyone got a plastic mug and rally pin.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 2011 Newsletter

October Club Meeting

Our next monthly club meeting will be held on Monday, October 10th, 6:30 p.m., at Provisions Yacht Basin in Southport.  Provisions is located at 130 Yacht Basin Drive.

As reminder to everyone, the currently planned dates and locations for our club meetings the remainder of 2011 are posted on our club calendar.  With each month's meeting announcement on the calendar, you will find information on location and meeting time.

  • November 12 – PT's Grille, Military Cutoff Rd (Note the change of this meeting date)
  • December 17 – The Harp (Note the change of this meeting date)

September Meeting Photos

The threatening weather kept attendance down to only a dozen at our September club meeting at The Harp Restaurant.  Those of you who could not attend missed some great food.  Fortunately, you are not completely out of luck – we will also be holding our annual Holiday club meeting at The Harp on December 12th Saturday, December 17th, so mark your calendars now.

Here are a few photos from the meeting, which are also posted on our Google Picasa page.

Video-of-the Month

For this month's video-of-the-month feature, we have the BMW stunt bike team performing at Miller Motorsports Park during the World Superbike round.  Amazing stunt work  -- on BMWs -- you need to see these guys!

Motorcycling Podcasts

I know that a few club members are frequent readers of some motorcycling forums such as,,, and, to mention a few.  For those of you who use ipods or other MP3 music players, another great way to get some motorcycling-related news is through podcasts.  Here is a brief summary of several podcasts that are available.

Rear Wheel Flange Cracks

If you own an R1200GS or R1200GS-Adventure motorcycle, I urge you read this discussion on the forums and then go and inspect your rear wheel hub.  A number of R12GS owners are discovering cracks in their rear wheel flanges at the bolt holes where their brake rotors mount to the hub.  

And in case you still do not see the problem.

So far, BMW has not issued a safety recall for this problem.  Regardless of whether you remove your wheels yourself for tire replacements, this is a good reason to do so as a safety check.  This problem also illustrates why it is important to properly torque your wheel lugs.  Check your bike soon so you do not get a nasty surprise!

BMW Bulb List

Some time ago, I stumbled upon a handy listing of the bulb types used by the various BMW motorcycle models.  I have turned that bulb chart into a Google spreadsheet and published it for anyone who may want the information.  The BMW Motorcycle Bulb Chart is now available as part of our club's Google Documents collections.  If you identify any corrections or additions, please send them to me at

GPS Tip of the Month

This month's GPS tip is about Points-of-Interest, which are often referred to as "POIs."  POIs are a very feature of most modern GPS units.  Some GPS receivers come preloaded with sets of certain POIs, and many GPS receivers are capable of being loaded with POIs by the user.

While similar to Waypoints (in terms of representing a location), POIs do not count against the maximum number of Waypoints that can be stored in the unit.  In addition, POIs can include other useful information that cannot be included in a Waypoint, such as an audible alarm when you approach within a specified distance of the POI, a photo of the location, and additional information such as a description (like business hours, telephone numbers, etc.)

POIs represent a collection of related locations.  Examples of POIs would be the locations of the red-light cameras around town, the ATMs for your bank, etc.  There are several excellent web sites that provide downloadable POI files for a wide variety of places.  You may want to visit POI Factory (my personal favorite) or GPS POI US to see what is available.

POI files are easy to load on your GPS unit.  Usually, all that is involved is to copy a POI file (A specifically formatted file that has the file extension .GPI) to a specific folder on your GPS unit or to a folder on a memory card which can be inserted into your unit.  For example, on the Garmin Zumo 550 series units, the POI folder is located on the unit in the \Garmin\POI folder.  If an SD memory card is used in the GPS, the POI files can be loaded in the \Garmin\POI folder on the card.

If you are a Garmin GPS user and want to create your own POI files, you must use a free Garmin software program called POILoader to do this.  POILoader can be found on under the Support | Mapping Programs section.

One useful set of POIs that come preloaded on the BMW-branded version of the Garmin Zumo 550 are the locations of the BMW dealerships throughout North America.  While several web sites offer downloadable POI files of the BMW motorcycle dealer locations, most seem to be out of date, include dealerships that have moved or closed, and are missing dealerships that have recently opened.

As an aid to our club members, I have assembled a new POI file for the U.S. BMW motorcycle dealerships.  The locations have been generated using the BMW-published listing of U.S. motorcycle dealerships and cross-checked with available dealership advertisements published in the BMW MOA Owners News magazine.  This POI file is available for download via the link below:

I plan to continue updating and refining this listing, and will eventually post an expanded list that also includes the Canadian dealerships.  Meanwhile, if you discover any errors or omissions in this POI information, please send me your updates (and comments) care of

Riding Technique

Generally, BMW motorcycle riders take their craft pretty seriously.  Most of us are constantly looking for ways to become better and safer riders.

I have recently been reading an ongoing discussion about riding technique on which prompted to suggest a couple of good motorcycle riding technique books for you to add to your motorcycle reading list.  Usually the first two books I suggest are Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist 2 and David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling (now available in a Kindle edition).

David Hough's book is full of real world examples of hazardous riding situations and suggestions on how these can be handled.  This book is a great way to quickly acquire year's worth of riding experience without having to actually subject yourself to those "lessons learned" situations.  The book is drawn from his  columns which were published in Motorcycle Consumer News  and later in BMW Owners News.

Keith Code's book is incredibly valuable in describing how you should and should not ride a motorcycle.  While his discussions on technique are focused on race track situations, the principles he describes are just applicable everyday street riding.  If you can learn to overcome the survival reactions that he discusses in the book, you will be a much better and much safer rider on the street.

I keep both of these books in my personal motorcycling library and try to refer to them regularly to refresh myself about the good habits I should try to maintain and dispel the bad habits that inevitably creep in.  If you do not already own copies, I encourage you to purchase your own copy and read both.  It is time well spent and provide a great excuse to go riding and practice what you have learned.

2011 BMW MOA Mileage Contest

The 2011 BMW MOA Mileage Contest will be ending on October 9th at midnight.  No matter how many (or how few) miles you managed to ride this season, be sure to submit tour Ending Mileage Form.  The Mileage Ending Form can be found in the October issue of the BMW Owners News, and it can now be downloaded from the BMW MOA web site. [Update]

Be sure to list our club on your Ending Mileage Form (we are Club #309, Coastal Carolina BMW Riders Club).

2012 MotoGP Schedule

The provisional calendar for the 2012 FIM MotoGP World Championship has been released.  The schedule is as follows:

Date, Grand Prix - Circuit
15 April, Qatar* - Doha/Losail
29 April, Spain (STC) - Jerez de la Frontera
6 May, Portugal (STC) - Estoril
20 May, France - Le Mans
3 June, Catalunya - Catalunya
17 June, Great Britain - Silverstone
30 June, Netherlands** - Assen
8 July, Germany (STC) - TBC
15 July, Italy - Mugello
29 July, United States*** - Laguna Seca
19 August, Indianapolis - Indianapolis
26 August, Czech Rep. - Brno
16 September, San Marino & Riviera di Rimini - Misano
30 September, Aragon - Motorland
14 October, Japan - Motegi
21 October, Malaysia - Sepang
28 October, Australia - Phillip Island
11 November, Valencia - Ricardo Tormo – Valencia
* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
*** Only MotoGP class
STC (Subject to the contract)
TBC (To be confirmed)


We use Google's services to run our club's online presence (i.e., our email, documents database, web site, and this newsletter), and all currently remain free to use.  Google has recently opened their social networking service, Google+ (sometimes referred to as G+), for anyone to join -- an invitation from another Google+ user is no longer required!

Currently, about one half dozen club members are Google+ users.  There are many purposes that our club can use Google+ for (keeping you posted with real-time updates, setting up club get-togethers for rides or meals, technical support, and much more), but we need you to join Google+.

I encourage you to give Google+ a try -- it's a lot of fun (and free).  You can join by visiting  If you decide to join, send me you Google+ ID and I will add you to my personal G+ circle for our club members.  And once Google allows organizations to officially join Google+, I plan for our club be there too.    Until then , I  hope you will join Google+.  See you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 2011 Newsletter

We have an abbreviated newsletter this month, but please watch your email for an announcement later of a club ride-to-eat event later in the month.

September Club Meeting

Our next monthly club meeting will be held on Monday, September 12th, 6:30 p.m., at The Harp Restaurant (a repeat location requested by a number of our members).  The Harp Restaurant is located at 1432 South 3rd Street in Wilmington.

The currently planned dates and locations for our club meetings through the end of the year are posted on our club Google calendar (but are always subject to change).  You can also continue to find an announcement for each month's meeting on our club web site or in the Beemer Ramblings newsletters.

August Meeting Photos

Many club members endured another hot summer evening's ride to join us at our August club meeting at Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Club members John and Whetsel are moving to Japan for a long-term (three to five year assignment) as part of John's work.  The August meeting was the Whetsel's last with us before leaving.   John is reluctantly planning to sell his R1200GS since it is proving too difficult to ship and store the bike in Tokyo.  John and Amy have promised to attend a club meeting when they manage to arrange a state-side visit to our area.  Please join me in wishing them well.

Photos from the meeting are posted on our Google Picasa page.

Video-of-the Month

For this month's video-of-the-month feature is a visit to BMW's motorcycle assembly line in Berlin, Germany.  I think you will will find this to be an interesting video.

Unrally X Trip Report

The Unrally X, which was sponsored once again by, was held at the Little Switzerland Inn on August 8th through 11th.  Club members Paul Winter, Jerry and Barb Dockery, and I were able to attend and enjoyed a delightful break-from-the-heat while staying up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I hope to be posting a trip report soon (as soon as I recover the photos and wite-up from a hard drive crash) and will add link here to the report, when available.

September SBK and MotoGP Events

The World Superbike and MotoGP racing seasons continue, and more events are scheduled for broadcast on SpeedTV during the month of September.  Here are the broadcast dates and times for the events that have been announced, thus far, for SpeedTV:

FIM Superbike
Germany - September 4th, 2 and 3 p.m. (Races 1 and 2)
rebroadcast September 6th at 3 and 4 a.m.
Italy - September 27th, 12 Noon and 1 p.m. (Races 1 and 2)
rebroadcast September 28th at 3 and 4 a.m.

San Marino Grand Prix - September 4th at 8 a.m.
rebroadcast September 7th at 3 a.m.
Aragon Grand Prix - September 18th at 8 a.m.
rebroadcast September 20th at 2 p.m. and September 21st at 3 a.m.
Japan Grand Prix - October 2nd at 2 a.m.
rebroadcast October 2nd at 5 p.m.

Be sure to watch the World Superbike events and cheer for the BMW racing teams.

A Great One Lost

The motorcycling world is mourning the loss of Claudio Castiglioni, the man responsible for the resurgence of Italian motorcycling brands Ducati and MV Agusta, who has passed away.  You can read about it in this article.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

August 2011 Newsletter

August Club Meeting

Our next monthly club meeting will be held on Monday, August 8th, 6:30 p.m., at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, in the Mayfaire Shopping Center in Wilmington.

View Larger Map

Five Guys is located at 6801 Parker Farm Dr # 125, in Wilmington.  As usual, we will have dinner around 6:30 p.m., but you are invited to come early to chat in the parking lot while we wait for everyone to arrive.

Be sure to mark your calendar now for our September 12th meeting.  And remember, the currently planned dates and locations for upcoming club meetings are posted on our Google-hosted club calendar. You will also find an announcement for each month's meeting on our club web site.

July Meeting Photos

Many club members persevered through a hot summer evening's ride to join us at our July club meeting. We enjoyed some great barbecue at Jackson's Big Oak Barbecue in Wilmington. Here are a few photos from the meeting, which are also posted on our Google Picasa web page.

Ride-to-Eat Event

On July 2nd, we held a "beat the summer heat" breakfast ride to The Purple Onion in Shallotte. We had a very good turn-out (about 16 by my count) for this ride-to-eat.  It was great to see everyone who was able to join us.  Here is a slideshow of photos taken during the get-together (also available on our Picasa web albums).

If the current heat wave continues, we will be scheduling another breakfast ride later in the month of August.  Details will be announced later, both as an update to this newsletter and via email to our club members.  Stay tuned!

BMW MOA 2011 - Bloomsburg, PA
by Jill and Tony Barcia

We left for the MOA on Wednesday taking two days to arrive. Wednesday we did some interstates to get to Skyline Drive and went to mile 55 to Big Meadows Campground. At the campground there is a visitors center, campstore, amphitheatre and big camp sites with picnic tables, fire rings and cool nights. Thursday we decided we had enough 35 mile driving so we got off skyline drive at Luray and continued on Interstate 81. Our cool day and night on Skyline Drive were over as temperatures soared to 97 and maybe above for the rest of the weekend. We camped inside the "gates" of the fairgrounds where chartered clubs had reserved spaces (we were honorary members of Riders Of Knoxville). Chartered clubs can reserve spots in premiere places (i.e. near the fairground bathrooms, the vendors and food concessions). To make it even better we were right next to the big Motorrad truck and all the 1600GT and GTL's. Very convenient for getting in line for the demos.

To repeat, it was a hot weekend but there were cooling tents and water sprinklers all over and a wonderful stream down the road to swim in. The food vendors were exceptional and plentiful (no lines for food) and we found lots of clothing to buy at the merchandise vendors (in air-conditioned buildings). We did three demo rides (two up) two on the GTL and one on the GT. Motorrad brought 7 GT's and 21 GTL's so there were plenty of chances to get a ride. The ride started out on the interstate to get a feel for the bike, then proceeded to some state roads and ended up on some very curvy back farm style roads which allowed us to really explore all the handling and acceleration capabilities of the new BMW. It is by no means a luxury touring machine like a Goldwing or our LT. The GTL's no longer have an adjustable seat and all of the ones at the rally had the lowest position seat which made the ride uncomfortable for someone Tony's height. The GT seat was adjustable and much better. The passenger seat was exceptional as it put the passenger (me) in a position where I could see the road and not the helmet of my husband. These two new machines definitely have all the acceleration and handling capabilities for any road conditions. Unfortunately, they are not in the same category as the classic LT. While I enjoyed riding both of these machines I don't think I will be owning one in the near future.

The vintage bike display was outstanding with many pre WWII totally restored bikes. Interestingly enough, there was only one "toaster" and it was modified with a new exhaust and suspension. Lots of R69 and R69S models for viewing. There were even a couple of WWII German military bikes on display.

Downtown Bloomsburg was charming with its old buildings and beautiful fountain in the middle of town. Unfortunately, they weren't prepared for all the bikers to eat dinner (although I think that is because there was plentiful food at the fairgrounds and the organizers and town people counted on that). MOA organizers provided shuttle buses into town (and to the offsite camping and lodging) for those who didn't want to take their motorcycles.

The closing ceremonies were a bit long and dragged out but the execution was exceptional. There were two wide screen monitors projecting videos and what was going on at the stage (we were in the grandstand of the fairgrounds) and a "show" with flame throwing cars. Something which was new to us. After about the 4th go round of the cars the stands probably heated up 10 degrees (remember it was 97 to begin with). We had a wonderful time at the rally saw three other Coastal Carolina BMW members - Gerry Dockery, Lance Bedwell and Benton Blalock.

[Editor:  You can also enjoy some photos taken by Tony and Jill Barcia, which have been posted to our Picasa web albums.]

GPS Tip of the Month

This month's Tip-of-the-Month is a suggestion for those of you who are Garmin GPS users.

For both Windows-based computer users, Garmin offers two desktop computer programs for planning your routes, managing your waypoints, and downloading your GPS tracks. One – Mapsource – is the program that is probably most familiar to the majority of Garmin GPS users. The other program is called BaseCamp, and has been the program that Mac computer users have had to use.  For Windows PC users, Basecamp has usually been viewed more as a program suited for use by hikers and bicyclists because of its support for offroad tracks, etc.  And historically, Garmin has not done the best job updating Basecamp with the enhancements and bug fixes provided to their Mapsource users.  

Well it looks like things are about to change. If you read the and Garmin GPS forums, you may have recently noticed many discussions about a new, beta version of BaseCamp that has been available for end-users to download and test.  Garmin has been actively developing this new version of BaseCamp and has publicly stated that, going forward, BaseCamp will become Garmin's most-modern desktop mapping program and that Mapsource probably not be actively enhanced/updated. 

Well the big news is that Garmin has just released the official new BaseCamp software, for both Windows and Mac users.  While the changes, versus Mapsource, are too numerous to discuss here, one of the most significant changes that Mapsource users will notice is you will use and manage all of your mapping data (waypoints, routes, and tracks) in a single "library" instead of numerous, separate data files.  This will not be a change for our Mac users of Basecamp.

If you are currently a Mapsource software user, you may find that it will take you a bit of time to learn your way around the new Basecamp software.  Nevertheless, the new Basecamp software is very interesting.  I encourage you to download a copy and try it, especially since Garmin indicates Basecamp, not Mapsource,  will be the software package they will be developing, going forward.

You can download a copy of Basecamp from the, under the Support | Software page.

Video-of-the Month

Encountering Road Rage seems to be a increasing frequent problem, and is especially a hazard for us as motorcyclists.  This video illustrates just how much of a problem it can become, particularly when we do not think about how our riding actions may be perceived by other drivers.  The situation shown could have had a very unhappy ending.


Google Plus

Google has finally unveiled their social networking system, called Google Plus or Google+.  Like its competitor, Facebook, Google+ is a system for sharing information with the people you know.  Unlike Facebook, Google+ offers much more control over how you can share with your family, friends, and others.

I managed to acquire an early invitation to Google+ and looks like it could be a great tool for communication between our club members.  Google+ provides another way for me to share club-related information with participating club members.  Google+ can also be a great way for our members to organize rides with each other, or to seek help from other club members with your motorcycling questions.

Since Google+ is currently in what is being called "field testing," you can only join by receiving an invitation from another participant.  If anyone in the club is interested in trying Google+, send me an email and I will send you a Google+ invite.  To participate in Google+, you must open a Google account and have a Google email account (both are free!).

I encourage you to try out Google+, and hope you enjoy and find it as useful as I already have.

VIR AMA Race Cancellation

The AMA Superbike race scheduled for August 12-14, 2011, at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) has been cancelled by the track.  Unfortunately, AMA will not be able to replace the race with another event.  For those interested, a SpeedTV article discusses the fallout following VIRs cancellation of the event.  This is very sad news for  motorcycle racing fans in our area.  Hopefully VIR will be able to get their house in order and host another AMA event next year.

August SBK and MotoGP Events

The World Superbike and MotoGP racing seasons continue, and more events are scheduled for broadcast on SpeedTV during the month of August. Here are the broadcast dates and times for the events that have been announced, thus far, for SpeedTV:

Czech Grand Prix - August 14th, 8 a.m. (rebroadcast August 14th, 5 p.m.;
  August 16th, 1 p.m.; and August 17th, 3 a.m.)
Indianapolis Grand Prix - August 28th, 2 p.m.
FIM Superbike
Silverstones - July 31st, 2 and 3 p.m. (Races 1 and 2)
  rebroadcast August 3rd at 3 and 4 a.m.
FIM Supersport
Silverstone - August 2nd, 2 p.m.
  rebroadcast August 4th at 3 a.m.

Be sure to watch the World Superbike events and cheer for the BMW racing teams.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

July 2011 Newsletter

July Club Meeting

Our next monthly club meeting will be held on Monday, July 11th, 6:30 p.m., at Jackson's Big Oak Barbecue. Jackson's Big Oak BBQ is located at 920 South Kerr Avenue in Wilmington.

View Larger Map

As reminder to everyone, the currently planned dates and locations for our club meetings through September are posted on our club calendar. You will also find an announcement for each month's meeting on our club web site.

June Meeting Photos

We had another great turn-out for our June monthly meeting at Fishy Fishy Café in Southport. The location allowed everyone to enjoy some good seafood and a wonderful view of the Southport boat harbor. Here are a few photos from the meeting, which are also posted on our Google Picasa web page.

Ride-to-Eat Events

On June 12th, we held another of our ride-to-eat events. This time we visited Southern Exposure Restaurant in Faison to enjoy Sunday brunch.

Five of us from the Wilmington area (Becky Hucks, Bill Murray, Eileen Sahlin, Bill Traina, and Paul Winter) made the ride together, and Jody Hudson rode from New Bern to also join us.

For July, since a number of our members may be planning on attending the BMW MOA International Rally July 21‑24, 2011, we will hold a club ride-to-eat event on July 2, 2011, to avoid conflicting with everyone's MOA Rally travel plans. To help avoid the worst of the daytime heat, this will be an early morning ride for breakfast. This time, we are heading for The Purple Onion in Shallotte.

View Larger Map

We will meet at the Purple Onion at 8:00 a.m. for breakfast.  Anyone from Wilmington who would like to like ride together can meet me at the Magnolia Greens C‑Store/BP Station located at the corner of Highway 17 and Grandiflora Drive (i.e., at the entrance of Magnolia Greens in Leland). We'll pull out at 7:30 a.m.

by Dick Williams

Editor -- Many BMW enthusiasts have been anxiously awaiting the release of the new K1600GT and K1600GTL, which is replacing the much-loved K1200LT. Last week, club member Dick Williams was visiting Capitol BMW in Raleigh for service work and learned that Capitol BMW has made the decision to purchase a K1600GTL as a demonstration bike. Dick was given the opportunity to take the demo bike for a ride and has provided a summary of his test ride impressions.

Dick Williams' Review

I was in Raleigh at Capitol BMW (attending to a recall matter for my K12GT) and discovered that they have a K16 demo bike. I ran it over to Fuqua and back on a totally unsupervised basis. Greg Murphy, the sales manager, explained that Capitol made a commercial decision to purchase the demo bike (even though the model is in such great demand) because Capitol management believes that only a demo ride will convince all of the "fence sitters" out there.


• Engine...turbine-like reving...good torque but power still builds with revs...pulls to redline but redline is lower than on K12GT.

• Exhaust note...sporty, Formula 1 car sound...sounds especially good at high rpms.

• Transmission...smoother shifting than on K12GT but not as smooth as K12LT...still some occasional "clunking"

• Driveability...less driveline lash and bucking with on-off-throttle response than K12GT but more than on K12LT...acceleration from low rpm in high gear exceptionally smooth/linear (better than both K12GT and K12LT)


• Engine Heat...admittedly, it was in the nineties when I did my demo run, but I could feel a bit of heat coming off of the GTL's motor, even at moderate cruising speeds...on my K12GT, I do not get this at all...perhaps the larger opening in the GTL's plastic body panels accounts for the any event, my tolerance for any kind of engine heat in the summwer is quite low.

• Wind Protection...although adequate with the stock windshield in the fully raised position, wind protection is not as good as on an RT equipped with a Z-Technik after market windshield and is a far cry from the K12LT...this will likely be an after market item.

• Seating...the rider's half of the GTL seat has almost no is almost laughably indequate in comparison with K12LT...even the K12GT seat has more padding and comfort...the seat is scooped out in the shape of a banana and produces a "sit in the bike feel"...however, my rear end began to fatigue even on the short ride to Fuqua and back from Capitol BMW...Capitol BMW's sales manager acknowledged this as a "miss" and predicted that the after-market seat makers will likely step in to fill the far as the passenger seating is concerned, this proved a pleasant surprise...while the broad, well-padded seat is not quite on par with the K12LT's, it is better than both the GT's and RT's passenger seats...but, having said that, the backrest portion of the top case may be a little intrusive for some passengers...BMW seems to have tried to design in both lumbar support and support at the back of the upper arm area, but because the padding is very firm (in typical Teutonic fashion), it is unclear what the effect would be on a long trip...I predict frequent K12LT passengers, who are used to arm chair comfort for their backs, will not like it.

• Handle Bar Grips...these are hard and quite thin in circumference...very un-BMW like...with my summer riding gloves on, they felt strangely unfinished and tacky...I was amazed by how much more comfortable my stock K12GT grips felt on the way back to Wilmington...if the after market produces replacements, I bet they will sell like hotcakes.

• Throttle...this is a new electronic affair without traditional cables...the combination of the freakishly smooth engine and this new throttle produces a strange disconnected feel a little bit like that in a car...the motor revs when you twist your wrist, but there is no resistance or vibration...I suppose some will consider this a new pinnacle in refinement...however, for me it subtracted a bit from the overall motorcycling experience...although the GTL made my already pretty smooth K12LT feel like a Harley, I am not sure that I am ready to be quite so isolated from what I have come to expect in the way of motorcycling sensations.

• I have to say that I was flatly disappointed...the much bally hooed in-dash GPS is just too far away for me to comfortably read and is subject to sun glare...on my 40-minute ride, I could only really see it about 25% of the time...the situation would likely be different at night or on a cloudy day, but to me this is a small another department, the speedometer and tachometer, though "space age" in design seem to me to be a step backwards in readibility...they are really small, allowing for little gradation, and therefore only give a general idea of MPH and RPM's...since, as mentioned above, the GPS is difficult to read, at times I only had a general idea of how fast I was going...give me the old white and black color scheme on large analogue dials any day.

• Multi-Controller...this all-in-one system will appeal to computer wonks and gadgeteers, but did not quite win me over...I found myself worried about "modes", control wheel angles, etc. when I should have been paying attention to the traffic and road conditions..this system requires a steeper learning curve than I am prepared to deal with.

• Other controls...again, I have to register my general disappointment...BMW is in downsizing (read cost-cutting mode) again and has produced a set of miniaturized controls for this new GTL that would look more at home on a machine costing thousands less...while I was able to work the tiny new turn signal switch (with some difficulty) in my summer riding gloves, I have no doubt that I would have greater difficulty while wearing my winter gloves...this also goes for cruise control, high beam/low beam, windshield, etc., all of which are now positively me the control set up on most BMW's (large, tactile and easily manipulated with all manner of gloves and hand sizes) is something to be proud of, both ergonomically and seems to me that BMW has lost its way in this area.

• Finally, just a word about the GTL's exhaust note...although I have placed this in the "likes" column, there is one small caveat...unlike any BMW with stock silencer I have ever ridden, you can hear the GTL's exhaust note even when cruising at highway speeds...some folks may not be put off by this, but one of the things that I love about my K12LT and K12GT is that the exhaust note becomes inaudible at highway speeds, giving a feeling of effortless contrast, the Moto GP sound of the GTL is always there, either louder or less loud, kind of like the Mustang GT do not so much feel that you are "gliding along" as "motoring along".


• It seems to me that BMW has created a fine new motorcycle, but with many characteristics that will not appeal to traditional BMW riders. Perhaps BMW is produced this one, not so much for its hard core riders, as for a larger audience (in the same way it did for its S1000RR superbike).

• As should already be abundantly clear, I do not believe that the K1600GTL will cause much of a stir with hardcore K12LT riders and their passengers...although billed as a "luxury touring" bike, it does not really fit that niche very cannot go head-to-head against the Honda Goldwing and the K12LT in amenities (since it lacks things like, in the K12LT's case, a first class audio system, CD playing capability, 4-speaker surround sound, a reverse gear, hydraulic center stand, map reading lights, automatic foot lights, etc.)...rather, it is in a new segment that should be called "luxury sport touring".

• I believe that folks who are currently riding RT's (especially those who ride two-up) who want more power and more refinement will likely be more attracted to the GTL than, say, a K12GT or K12LT rider will be. In this sense, BMW may be "cannibalizing" its own sales...a precursor, perhaps, to eventually discontinuing the RT all together?

• I likewise believe that current K12GT riders may be attracted to the new K1600GT, since the demise of the K13GT, but may be put off by some of the design changes that I mentioned...I will have a better idea about that after riding the new GT, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

Video-of-the Month

This month, I am sharing two related videos. Each May, the Isle of Mann TT is held. During the event, several hundred thousand spectators, mostly motorcyclists, come to the island to watch the racing. If you have never seen any of the racing action for the Isle of Mann TT, I recommend you watch a few minutes the next time it is shown on television (it is usually shown on the HDTHR cable channel sometime during the summer). The winners are now averaging 130 mph as they race through the streets and country roadways of the island.

This month's video contribution shows a few minutes of community policing on the Isle of Mann during the event week. This YouTube video is about 8 minutes long and is a lot of fun.


During week of the Isle of Mann TT, spectators are given one day (known as Mad Sunday) when they can ride the race circuit on their bikes. The second video shows a BMW R1200GS rider on a portion of the 37-mile circuit. While riding through the villages, riders are expected to follow the speed limits, but once on the countryside roads, anything goes!


GPS Tip of the Month

This month's Tip-of-the-Month includes an update and a tip.

The update: If you are a lifetime Garmin nuMaps subscriber, a new map update is available for you to download for your GPS unit. The latest map set is Verison 2012.1.

This month's tip is called "Save Your Tracks!" Most GPS receivers make a recording of the path you have just traveled. This recorded path is sometimes referred to as a "track." As you explore area roads on your weekend rides, when you return home, be sure to connect your GPS unit to your desktop computer and download the recorded track information. This is a great way to keep and accumulate a collection of roads you have ridden, and is an especially good way to archive those really special back roads that you just discovered during your ride.

Your GPS unit's track recording is also a great way to have a record of your ride during an extended journey. Some units, such as Garmin's Zumo series GPS units, can record several week's worth of travel information. When you return home, you can use the recorded track information to view your journey in Google Earth, or even "geo-tag" (embed location information into) your digital photos from the trip. (This might be the subject of a future how-to article).

There are several web sites where motorcycling enthusiasts post their ride tracks so others can benefit from and enjoy some good roads. I recommend you visit SundayMorning,, and and check out their collections of roads/rides.

BMW MOA International Rally

This year's BWM MOA International Rally is being held July 21-24, 2011, in Bloomsburg, PA [Google Map Link]. If you have plans to attend, I encourage you to share your plans with your fellow club members using our 2011 BMW MOA Rally Information Document (a shared Google Document). If you are looking for someone to share the ride with for the trip to and/or from Bloomsburg, a camping or hotel room-sharing partner, etc, this is a good way to connect with folks.

July SBK and MotoGP Events

The World Superbike and MotoGP racing seasons continue, and more events are scheduled for broadcast on SpeedTV during the month of July. Here are the broadcast dates and times for the events that have been announced, thus far, for SpeedTV:

Dutch Grand Prix - July 3rd, 4 a.m. (rebroadcast)
Italian Grand Prix - July 3rd, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (rebroadcast July 5th, 1 p.m.)
German Grand Prix - July 17th, 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (rebroadcast July 19th, 1 p.m. and July 20th, 3 a.m.)
Laguna Seca (USA) Qualifying  - July 23th, 11 p.m.
Laguna Seca (USA) Grand Prix  - July 24th, 5 p.m.
FIM Superbike
Czech Republic - July 10th, 2 and 3 p.m. (Races 1 and 2)
  rebroadcast July 13th at 3 and 4 a.m.
FIM Supersport
Czech Republic - July 12th, 2 p.m.
  rebroadcast July 13th at 3 a.m.
Be sure to watch the World Superbike events and cheer for the BMW racing teams.