R100RT handling in cross winds

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Gian4, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Gian4

    Gian4 Adventurer

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    Hi all
    Picked up a 1995 R100RT last Nov. Living in upstate NY I could only put a few hundred miles on her before having to put the bike up for the winter. Woke her up and took it out for a spin the other day. The day was very windy gusting 20 to 30 mph. In the cross winds this bike was a bit of a bear to handle. This is my first fully faired bike. It also has the BMW top box and BMW saddle bags. My question is....Is this a normal issue for this model bike or is there likely a handling issue that needs to be addressed? The bike seems stable on less windy days and was stable into head wind. I've been riding for over 30 years and I know stiff cross winds are no fun but I don't have past experience on faired bikes to compare too. Bike also has a parabellum wind screen and works shock.

    Thanks
    Gian4
    #1
  2. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I have an R90/6 with a Hannigan fairing. This would be comparable to a RT or even worse than the RT. The fairings do sail a bit in cross winds and going around trucks can be tricky. Maybe you get used to it. There have been times in high winds that I felt I had to slow down a little.
    #2
  3. AK Bob

    AK Bob AKAM

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    I have been on the same bike for the past 27 years, and in some pretty zippy side winds. One night along the Columbia on the WA side in particular comes to mind. Yea it was blowing like a ... No trouble riding it at all, running the speed limit.
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  4. More_Miles

    More_Miles ├╝ber-n00b

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    I find my 83 RT with stock wind shield handles cross winds fine. No large steering corrections needed, and what is needed is usually fairly easy to do.

    Head winds now... Catch a gust and it feels like I just hit a puddle of molasses!
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  5. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    I recently went from a Vetter Windjammer fairing to a Hannigan ST and the "sleeker" fairing makes a LOT of difference in winds at highway speeds. With the Windjammer I had to make frequent of "body english" corrections, physically leaning the bike into the x-winds. But the first thing I noticed with the Hannigan is all that is needed are subtle reflexive counter-steer corrections. Wind or not, a fairing makes highway speeds more comfortable because of reduced buffeting.

    --Bill
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  6. kadesean

    kadesean eyesuck

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    The fairing is most of your issue, you'll have to get used to it to an extent. That top box isn't doing you any favors either, I might consider removing that unless needed on a trip.
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  7. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Losing the top box should help. Lot of side area there and if you have weight in it then higher center of gravity. The parabellum is a high screen, right? More side area to catch the wind.

    If the bike is nice and stable without high winds then there are no handling issues.

    I'm riding an RS, my second faired bike (the other was a year stint on a K100RS). The thing is more stable in crosswinds than my open 75/5. It's spooky, big winds will try to blow me off the bike but the bike itself doesn't move. I'd ridden the /5 for hours on end half hanging off the seat with the bike leaned over into the wind. Tiresome. The RS is everything I hoped it would be.


    But the RT is taller, you sit more upright, bigger sides.

    You should develop some cross wind reflexes eventually. Keep your downwind arm a little stiffer.



    More speed may or may not help a bit.
    #7
  8. Gian4

    Gian4 Adventurer

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    Thanks to all for the input. The parabellum is a taller wind screen and I wondered about the top box being an issue. I'll have to try it on a windy day without the top box and see if it makes a difference.
    Gian4
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  9. RagerToo

    RagerToo vroom vroom

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    Researching my '80 R100T last year I read a cycle mag article about it, and the writer mentioned slightly poor handling in cross winds. As compared to earlier BMWs. (Just a bare bike, no fairings)

    I scratched my head and asked a good friend, with much more riding experience, what that was all about. '80 is one of the first years for the cast aluminum wheels. Things that make you go 'huh'.
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  10. R100LT

    R100LT Chasing 11

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    Everything is relative I guess.

    I love my RT fairing. There is one particular spot that I ride along that is straight and flat on the highway up to Perth that runs parralel to the coast. On somedays there is a nasty cross wind . It really doesn't matter if I am on my RT , RS ... Top box or not .... Those gusts will push me sideways ...I have had other bikes in front me from full tourers ( ie Goldwings and HD's etc ) to naked Sports bikes .... And we all get hit by it .

    Only advice in those occasions is to back off a bit .
    #10
  11. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    I ran an R80RT for a while. It was reasonably good in windy conditions; quite a lot better than some I've ridden. BMW did their homework fairly well on the fairings. Side bags and a top box tend to alter the handling of any bike in a cross wind. Lots of people tend to just keep them on, loaded or not. I found that removing the top box made the biggest difference when things got "puckery."

    Initially, there is a tendency to tense up and fight the wind in gusty conditions. This is exhausting. As with riding on sand, loose gravel, or mud, it's a better plan to keep a relaxed but aware stance. Give yourself more room to correct. For example, if there is a cross wind from the right, favor the right side of the road, so you're not unintentionally blown across the center. If it gets hairy enough, stop and wait it out. Winds tend to be at their highest during the warmest part of the day, although there are many other factors involved, such as front passage. Sometimes, waiting an hour or so will make a huge difference.
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  12. homere

    homere Been here awhile

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    Try it with the bags and top box removed, they are a big problem in heavy cross winds.?
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  13. Gian4

    Gian4 Adventurer

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    Thanks guys I really appreciate you all taking the time to help me out here. That's why I love the motorcycle community,whether on the road or across the on line world you meet great people always willing to help out.

    Gian4
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  14. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    I have ridden an RT for over 30 years, in all kinds of weather conditions. Something I learned back in 1979, when I picked up my first RT from the factory outlet in Munich. The BMW technical representative went over the bike very thoroughly prior to letting me take it for a ride. He explained every little detail along with some handling techniques that they has worked on, particularly in respects to the fairing and crosswinds. He also stated that top boxes were not recommended for these bikes.

    The RT and RS fairings were designed to catch a cross wind and use it to it's advantage. The bike will want to lean itself into the wind. Those little wingy type things that stick out front above the cylinders along with the curved under belly beneath the headlight were designed in the wind tunnel to make the bike catch and control winds.

    Now that all being said, and 30+ years later, people today do not have the advantage of being able to talk with people that were there when the bike was originally designed. And, a lot of people that are buying these old bikes, are used to more modern and totally different designs of bikes. The design of the RT and RS are such that they have a forward bias in the weight distribution. They are not neutrally balanced. Then you add on the design of the fairing that the faster your go, will give you even more down force on the front wheel, thus lightening the back one. Put a top box on the back, that will catch wind like a sail, and what happens? The back end will twitch around like a dog's tail.

    So, the best recommendation I could make is to get rid of the top box and learn to allow the bike to have it's own head in a wind, to a point. I have always used light hands on the bars and slight body movements to correct direction in a wind. Never found the bike to be difficult to handle in any steady cross wind. Now full blown gales and heavy 50 MPH wind gusts do cause problems, and you probably should be seeking shelter at that point anyway.

    Oh, and one other point that keeps coming up. Somebody stated that BMW used cast aluminum wheels starting in 1980. This is totally false. The Snowflake wheels are Cast IRON.
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  15. 100RT

    100RT Long timer

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    WRONG again...mine are cast alloy of some sort and non magnetic. My 81 R100RT is a handful in a cross wind and also behind big trucks on the interstate. I have no top box.
    I have put thousands of miles on this bike and it handles worse then the 03 RT in similar conditions, but offers superior protection from the elements.
    #15
  16. patrkbukly

    patrkbukly 52 Weeks of warm

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    You just taught me a few things. Thank you for that. Good stuff. I have owned R100Gs for a longtime but only recently started riding a 1980 RT and love it. But your info helps a lot AND is consistent with BMW wind technology even today.

    Thanks again.:clap
    #16
  17. RayB

    RayB Been here awhile

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    You put this in there as a joke right?
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  18. robtg

    robtg Been here awhile

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    The cast iron snowflakes were only on the coal fired, steam powered airheads. I'm sure that information is on Snowbums site.:D
    #18
  19. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I'd like to buy a pair of cast Iron Snowflakes if anybody has any extras they'd let go for a song. I plan to put them on my R90/5 that I am customizing into a MicroWave Oven style Touring Bar Bike.
    #19
  20. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    it's a bit of weidness from BMW itself. Look on some of the online fiches. The wheels are listed at cast iron. I haven't looked in my SNAB but I bet it's there too, it's what the fiches come from. Methinks something got lost in translation.
    #20