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Old 11-22-2010, 08:57 AM   #1
lwm OP
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clutch in police boxers

I was getting coffee and the local police commander walked in behind me so I bought him a coffee and talked bikes.

They have moved from boxers (r1100 whatever the police model was) to Honda ST1300's. The main complaint with the boxer was the dry clutch, he said they are constantly replacing them.

What I don't get is why they burn through clutches all the time. He said something about them always being on the clutch lever and slipping the clutch and I'm wondering why - what's different about being a cop that makes you slip the clutch more?
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #2
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Lots of slow speed maneuvering, lots of stop and go.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwm
I was getting coffee and the local police commander walked in behind me so I bought him a coffee and talked bikes.

They have moved from boxers (r1100 whatever the police model was) to Honda ST1300's. The main complaint with the boxer was the dry clutch, he said they are constantly replacing them.

What I don't get is why they burn through clutches all the time. He said something about them always being on the clutch lever and slipping the clutch and I'm wondering why - what's different about being a cop that makes you slip the clutch more?
Riding the slow cone patterns can cause a lot of clutch slipping and wear. Also if you are accelerating hard and slipping the clutch that can smoke them too. Usually it is caused by revving the engine too much and/or using the rear brake to fight with the engine along with slipping the clutch to get through a pattern. Not very smooth looking and hard as hell on the clutch...especially the r1200 for some reason.

Either way, it is most likely incorrect technique that I think harkens back to the KZ1000/Harley days where you could do that. Riding the BMW's takes a lot more finesse, IMHO, and a lot of agencies do not realize the cause of the wear or train enough maybe? When we first got the BMW's we had the same issue, but eventually figured it out. One of our newer guys once got 3k out of a clutch, but on average it is 15-25k, which isn't too bad I don't think.

Seems like ST people/converts always quote the clutch issue as a big problem with the BMW, but ST's have problems too. They are easier to ride though, turn pretty sharp, and initially cost less. We have looked at Honda's, and the new Kawi, but decided to stay with BMW's. BMW comes from BMW ready to work with factory lights, siren, second battery, basic wiring, warranty and field tested. Everything looks integrated because it is. Not so much with the Honda's...lol. Like everybody who owns a motorcycle, what you ride is probably what you feel is best.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:26 AM   #4
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Deeve,

PM sent.

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Old 11-22-2010, 09:33 AM   #5
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Folks that fry boxer clutches would cook the clutch out of any manual transmission car as well..........Not understanding that the clutch should spend almost all of its time either in or out, limiting the in between, is bad for any dry clutch.......And is totally unnecessary, if you learn proper technique.
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:04 AM   #6
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I'm kind of curious what constitutes "proper technique" with the dry clutch BMW, vs. the wet clutch found in most other bikes.

I know the wet clutches hold up better to feathering (slipping or as the MSF calls it, the "friction zone"). Being in an oil bath cools them while being operated in this mode.

So what is the proper technique for low-speed maneuvering, cone patterns and tight u-turns? I was taught to use the "friction zone" on the clutch, while feathering the rear brake. Even on my Burgman 650 with its electronic CVT automatic transmission, getting the right combo of throttle feathering and a touch of rear brake drag will get the wet clutch into the slip zone and makes low speed maneuvers a snap.

What's the right technique for the dry clutch in the boxers?
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwm
What I don't get is why they burn through clutches all the time. He said something about them always being on the clutch lever and slipping the clutch and I'm wondering why - what's different about being a cop that makes you slip the clutch more?
My $0.02: R1200RTs are geared very high. If a rider doesn't use the right technique, the RT's gearing causes the rider to slip, slip, slip. I eventually put a ceramic clutch in my RT, but that's a different story.

I was very pleased when I switched from an RT to a GSA. The GSA's final drive ratio makes it easy to get the beast rolling, even with my perpetually sloppy/lazy technique.
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuke
I'm kind of curious what constitutes "proper technique" with the dry clutch BMW, vs. the wet clutch found in most other bikes.

I know the wet clutches hold up better to feathering (slipping or as the MSF calls it, the "friction zone"). Being in an oil bath cools them while being operated in this mode.

So what is the proper technique for low-speed maneuvering, cone patterns and tight u-turns? I was taught to use the "friction zone" on the clutch, while feathering the rear brake. Even on my Burgman 650 with its electronic CVT automatic transmission, getting the right combo of throttle feathering and a touch of rear brake drag will get the wet clutch into the slip zone and makes low speed maneuvers a snap.

What's the right technique for the dry clutch in the boxers?
From what I see it is a combination of slipping the clutch too long with higher revs. You can really ride these bike great, but have to make adjustments to how you ride. My advice is to do most of your braking as you enter the pattern, trailing off the rear brake as you start the lean then smoothly add power via the clutch with low revs through the "apex." As you straighten out and stand the bike up give it more power with the clutch all the way out. What I think gets guys in trouble is that they add power too late in the turn after the bike starts to lean over more and they look at the ground. Keep your head up, eyes where you want to go and give smooth power. The revs really only need to be just above idle...about 500 to maybe 1000 rpm. What the clutch will do is keep that chunk chunk chunk effect away as the motor lugs. Very fine adjustments to the power delivery and clutch will yield great results without the stink of burning underwear...lol. If you are nearby someone riding this way you can hear the clutch engaging and disengaging as they ride through the pattern. I would say that your clutch hand feels like it is moving in and out maybe 1/4 inch. Your are right at the engage/disengage point. It is a lot harder to explain rather then show or coach someone. Anyone in the Hillsboro Oregon area is welcome to get ahold of me...I can maybe get one or two of you out to watch our monthly training and see what I mean. It's always good for a show anyway!

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Old 11-22-2010, 12:11 PM   #9
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On another note, we got lazy and would ride into pattern pretty hot, using the rear brake to trail it through the sharp tight turn then snap out of it. What we found is that the R1200RT ABS system will release the rear brake, stand the motor up and shoot you out of the pattern. Doesn't happen with everyone, but those pushing the envelope can get it to happen. Real world application it is very unlikely it will happen, but I know of one rider who says it did while turning around on a street.

BMW refused to fix the problem stating that we were riding the motors beyond their mechanical ability. I saved the letter from BMW NA just for giggles. It is kind of funny that we are riding it beyond the machines ability, yet it is doing it. :) Since BMW does not say why it is occurring, the consensus is that with the bike leaned way over and the bars locked over front tire is moving faster then the rear. If it gets to a certain point the ABS thinks the rear tire is locked up and releases the brake. I believe it should be able to be fixed by a software change, but should and could/can are different.

Anyway, we are changing the way we train so that that type of maneuver is reduced. The other option is to pull the ABS fuse during competitions, which I do not like the sound of. These machines really are IMHO the best Police Motor out there. Comfortable, well equipped and one of the only two motorcycles specifically designed for police service by the manufacturer. That and they look better then anything else out there too!
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:35 PM   #10
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I have a buddy who is the fleet manager for a law enforcement agency that rides R1150RTPs. They are ridden in a small city with lots of stop and go. He says they do go through clutches much quicker than expected. He doesn't know the cause, but suspects it is more technique driven than a design issue. (He owns and rides an R1100RT) He has contacted BMWNA about it and they tell him that there is no mechanical issue and basically just keep doing what you're doing.
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4wheeldog
Folks that fry boxer clutches would cook the clutch out of any manual transmission car as well..........Not understanding that the clutch should spend almost all of its time either in or out, limiting the in between, is bad for any dry clutch.......And is totally unnecessary, if you learn proper technique.
Maybe so, but what the OP was asking was about police bikes. If you have ever seen any of the demos these guys (cops on bikes) do, you HAVE to use and also SLIP the clutch. Last week-end I went to the state championship for police riding, I saw all types of bikes running the courses. The hardleys did the best, by far.


How would a ceramic clutch do?

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Old 11-22-2010, 05:40 PM   #12
Miles Tugeaux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kawidad
I have a buddy who is the fleet manager for a law enforcement agency that rides R1150RTPs. They are ridden in a small city with lots of stop and go. He says they do go through clutches much quicker than expected. He doesn't know the cause, but suspects it is more technique driven than a design issue. (He owns and rides an R1100RT) He has contacted BMWNA about it and they tell him that there is no mechanical issue and basically just keep doing what you're doing.
Ha! I'm new to BMW's, so forgive me if I'm off base here, but that reply sounds like "There is nothing wrong with our product. Keep doing what you're doing and we'll keep selling you clutches."

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Old 11-22-2010, 06:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Miles Tugeaux
Ha! I'm new to BMW's, so forgive me if I'm off base here, but that reply sounds like "There is nothing wrong with our product. Keep doing what you're doing and we'll keep selling you clutches."

MT
how many union electricians does it take to change a light bulb?



100






100?





wtf, u got problem with that?








lol, bmw's answer.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles Tugeaux
Ha! I'm new to BMW's, so forgive me if I'm off base here, but that reply sounds like "There is nothing wrong with our product. Keep doing what you're doing and we'll keep selling you clutches."

MT
There really isn't anything wrong with a dry clutch, but some low speed riding techniques that you use with a wet clutch will not be conducive to long clutch life.

Some folks only know one way to ride slow... put the engine in a comfortable RPM range, give light pressure on the rear brake, and modulate the clutch inside the friction zone for speed control. That works well with a wet clutch and/or with a bike where clutch replacement is a 30 minutes job. It doesn't work so well with a BMW dry clutch.

There are other ways to ride slow that aren't hard on a dry clutch. See deeve's postings in this thread.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:14 PM   #15
Miles Tugeaux
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I would say that your clutch hand feels like it is moving in and out maybe 1/4 inch. Your are right at the engage/disengage point.
DAVE
Dave,

Would it be somewhat correct to say that, for power/speed control, the wet-clutch bikes tend to use the clutch like a volume control, where the Beemers use the clutch more like an on/off switch?

MT
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