BMW R1200RT - 2015

Page Links: MaintenanceKardan – New TiresTPMIntercom

R1200RT at Front Door
R1200RT at Front Door

I wanted a “Touring” bike to replace my previous “Sport” model. Touring with a Pillion (back seat passenger) is so comfortable on this bike.


2018 Annual Inspection
2018 Annual Inspection

Yes, to work on today’s cars and bikes you digital tools. The GS-911 diagnostic tool from Hex-Innovate in South Africa connects right to the bike. Really well-made piece of kit!

While doing the annual inspection (here it’s an oil change), I connect the GS-911 to the bike’s data buss and download all the sensor readings (and look for any errors). When finished, I reset the service interval.

I also carry the tool when I travel as it can communicate via WiFi with a phone app. That way I can diagnose the error if I run into a mechanical problem.

GS911 for BMW
GS911 for BMW

Kardan - Universal-Joint Drive Shaft

Drive Shaft splines
Drive Shaft splines

BMW issued a Service Action on the driveshaft. And while this is directed towards the GS variant, many RT’s experienced problems.

Now, this bike lives in an insulated garage (never freezes) and is seldom ridden in rain. I did not expect any corrosion, but better to be SURE.

The bike is ridden often but for short distances so has only 9000 miles.

Besides, after 9 years, new shaft lube cannot hurt!

(Pictures show condition before any cleaning)

Rear splines before cleaning
Rear splines before cleaning
Shaft Tunnel
Shaft Tunnel

Inspecting Kardan Shaft – ALL OK!

Followed instructions in the BMW repair manual

–> TIP: Plug the hole in the rear drive  after removing the speed sensor!

The shaft was stuck on the rear drive splines so it was easier to remove the rear to separate the shaft. Normally, you just let the rear rotate and the shaft pops off)

The shaft showed zero signs of any corrosion. The universal bearings were smooth and seals showed no leakage. Splines showed no obvious wear. To me, it looked like NEW! I sprayed the entire shaft with LPS 3 Rust inhibitor.

Re-inserting the shaft in the tunnel is a bit fiddly. I used a long and thin piece of wood to lever the end by the engine. I lubed the shaft and splines beforehand.

-> TIP: Ensure that the ring inside the shaft seats properly. Visually CHECK that the Shaft covers the Splines!

Lube and Sealant
Seal bellows to rear
Splines and Universal after Cleaning
Reinstalling Kardan
Inserting Kardan to Engine
Inserting Kardan to Engine
Lubing Shaft and Sealing Bellows

New Tires

R1200RT Rear Tire
Original rear tire with 5000 miles

In preparing the bike for the 2021 season, I decided that the tires — original Continentals with 5000 miles — probably should be replaced.  I didn’t realize the extent to which these modern tires, with rubber of varying hardness, wear so unevenly.

The rear tire didn’t LOOK BAD!

But then the front tire held a secret! Over the winter it was losing air a lot faster than the rear. Jacked it up and found several bubbles.

Time for NEW TIRES!

Front tire had several bubbles hard to see.

New Tire Woes...

Getting new tires is easy.

  1. You can take it to a dealer (for me an hour away)
  2. Or do it yourself. (my path here)

I decided on Michelin. Revzilla had good prices on Pilot Road 5 with just 3 day delivery.

BUT… while I have the tires off, I should also replace the TPM (tire pressure monitor) as the internal, non-replaceable battery is now 6 years old. I don’t want to unmount the tires later if the TPM quits.

BUT… If I replace the TPM, how do I reprogram it? Ah, the GS911 can handle that.

OK, BUT then how do I SWITCH ON the TPM while it sits in a stationary bike?

$8 will buy you a EL-50448 that you hold near the wheel rim and it “activates” (= switches on) the TPM sender. NOW the GS-911 can read it.

TPM on Wheel
EL50448 TPM Activator

Almost ready….

Getting the tires off and on will be easier with a proper tool like this Motion-Pro Bead Breaker.

To static balance the rear tire you will need a special adapter to fit the (82mm?) hole in the wheel. BMW makes one or you can buy one from Marc Parnes who produces a professionally machined CNC part. Considering the quality of his work, I also got his wheel balancer.

Yes, I replaced Marc’s ORIGINAL thumb-screws (see photo) with socketed allen screws to eliminate any asymmetric balance.

Motion Pro Bead Breaker
Motion Pro Bead Breaker
BMW Rear Wheel Adapter
BMW Rear Wheel Adapter
Marc Parnes BMW Tools

TPM - Tire Pressure Monitor

TPM Exchange….

I follow the same guidelines for bikes as working on aircraft: Keep the manual open. BMW shows how to remove the front, and rear wheel, plus change the front and rear tire.

Before we remove the TPMs, we first use the activator to turn it on, so the GS911 can read the current IDs.

Install the new units and then repeat the process. The GS911 learns the new IDs and programs these into the computer. Your bike then recognizes them and displays the readings on the screen.

Original RDC IDs
Original RDC IDs
GS911 New Sensor IDs
GS911 New Sensor IDs

Balancing Tires….

I’ll let you figure out how to mount the tires. Yes, you will need a sizable quantity of cuss words, but when done, you can get on to Balancing.

I’m using the custom-made balancer, but any static tool will work as long as you have the adapter for the rear wheel. The front axle fits on the existing balance shaft.  I suspect the tire balance is more accurate than the tire wear! But the precision bearings allow for minute adjustments. 

Balancing rear wheel
Balancing rear wheel

Video showing the sensitivity of the high-quality balancing tool.

The Test-Ride was startling. It felt like a brand new bike. Tires tracked positively into every curve. Ride was again silky smooth.

Intercom - Sena S20

Sena Intercom
Sena Intercoms mounted of left side of helmets

An Intercom changes the entire biking experience. Hands-free chatting between driver and passenger.

AND… if you travel with other bikers, the whole group can be linked.

It’s been over 6 years sine I first installed the Sena S-20 Bluetooth headsets and they have performed flawlessly. A battery charge lasts the whole day and the biking trip becomes a pleasure when you can chat without screaming! The intercom also delivers all the expected audio info such as GPS directions, music and hands-free telephone.  

A Custom Interconnection Method

I wrote this section because I was not happy with the way Sena suggested linking the phone to the Intercom.

SENA: In their method, the phone is linked directly to the Sena Intercom. An incoming call then rings in your headset. I don’t want unnecessary interruptions if I need to concentrate.

CUSTOM: So in my method, an incoming phone call appears as a call record on the GPS screen. You can just glance at it (if you want) and to answer,  just touch the screen. It’s hands-off from there.

LINKING:  The difference lies in pairing the Phone to the BMW Navigator V (or VI) instead of to the Sena. The navigator talks to the Sena anyhow, but this way, an incoming call does NOT audibly interrupt you. This also changes the source of the music, etc. So you have to decide.

(See diagram I made up to match the Sena instructions style)

Sena connection diagram