04 BMW Rockster - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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04 BMW Rockster

I'm about to take the plunge and get an 04 R1150R Rockster. I'll see how I like the BMW and if it goes well I'll be letting go of the Vee. The Vee has been a great bike and has done everything I've asked of it (some things better than others) and not had any issues in the 8000 miles I've had it but I have found some weaknesses. 80% of the riding I do is commuting and it does a great job at that.
Probably 15% is long distance interstate hauling and about 5% is two up. Those things it does not seem to do as well as I would like.
I've really been wanting ABS also.
It doesn't hurt I think this is one of the most badass looking bikes out there.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 08:08 PM
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To each his own!


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2013, 11:02 PM
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Your photo doesn't do it justice--unless the bike has faded. They're beautiful in copper or green. And usually I prefer simpler color schemes.

I rode one a few years ago and it shook too much for me at certain RPMs, for example top gear at just over 65MPH. Maybe that was an individual bike thing, and maybe it could have been fixed.

I mostly liked it, but if I had to choose between them, it would be the Versys. Maybe an R1200R, but they're kinda expensive.

I'd want to avoid a BMW with servo brakes. Don't know if the '04 has them, but I'd check first. They work fine for some people, but some people who have issues with them really seem to dislike them.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
Your photo doesn't do it justice--unless the bike has faded. They're beautiful in copper or green. And usually I prefer simpler color schemes.

I rode one a few years ago and it shook too much for me at certain RPMs, for example top gear at just over 65MPH. Maybe that was an individual bike thing, and maybe it could have been fixed.

I mostly liked it, but if I had to choose between them, it would be the Versys. Maybe an R1200R, but they're kinda expensive.

I'd want to avoid a BMW with servo brakes. Don't know if the '04 has them, but I'd check first. They work fine for some people, but some people who have issues with them really seem to dislike them.
It's not a great picture, the previous owner took it. It does have servo brakes, they seem to work well but man are they irritating with that whinning sound every time you pull the lever. A requirement of mine when I was shopping for a new bike was ABS. The Rockster was sort of a whim, I didn't set out to buy one but after seeing one, and then sitting on one, and then riding one, I couldn't resist. What a fantastic riding motorcycle and the seating position is absolutely perfect for me. That said, either the Rockster or the V has to go, I don't have room for two, I still haven't decided which one I will keep yet. As nice as the Rockster is to ride, I think the V is easier to own, it's cheaper to maintain, cheaper to ride, and oddly enough, it runs better. My Rockster needs some attention, cold morning starts are a bitch, I've got to sit in the garage and baby the throttle for 5 minutes before it'll run without stalling. My V has never stalled, doesn't matter how cold, I can just push the button and go.
The V handles very well but seems "twitchy" compared to the BMW. At speed the BMW is rock steady, you lean it into a turn and it stays right where you put it, you could get up and walk around on the seat and the BMW would just finish the turn without your help while the V kind of needs your constant attention to finish things. At slow speeds the V wins hands down. The BMW's 1st gear is just way too high for my liking and the turning radius is just not as tight as the V, makes tight parking lots a bit more challenging but maybe the V has spoiled me with how easy it is to ride slow.
For what I do, mostly commuting, I'm still undecided which one to keep, the BMW is riding joy and the V makes alot more sense.
On a side note, I don't know how you guys with side lid saddlebags do it, they suck. I'm really loving my top loading E21s on my V. The factory BMW bags, while good quality and pretty spacious, have side lids and I'm already sick of doing the "stuff and quickly shut, repeat until my crap isn't caught in the lid" routine. Oddly enough, it may be the luggage that decides which bike I can live with, how dumb is that.
I see the new V has ABS option. Hmmmmm.....

Last edited by ray h; 10-17-2013 at 07:25 AM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 06:49 AM
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if I were you I would check the availability and cost of major parts before deciding. BMW has been crazingly expensive. here in morocco and europe. somethime you need to buy the whole set instead of replacing the faulty part only. the mechanics here confirmed it me and yet they charge a lot cheaper than dealers...


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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if I were you I would check the availability and cost of major parts before deciding. BMW has been crazingly expensive. here in morocco and europe. somethime you need to buy the whole set instead of replacing the faulty part only. the mechanics here confirmed it me and yet they charge a lot cheaper than dealers...


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There are no BMW dealers or mechanics around me (within 60 miles) so I've already decided if I keep the BMW I'll have to do my own maintenance and repairs, fortunitely the Rockster seems to be easy to work on with just basic tools.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 08:17 AM
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Very nice - enjoy!!
A humble suggestion for what it's worth. I picked up a leftover 2012 Concours 14 a few months ago since I wanted something more comfy than the Versys for the interstate (which I do quite a bit of). I held off on selling my Versys and am glad that I did. I do love the Connie - but when I get back home, I can't wait to ride the Versys again. It's my go-to bike for commuting every day. Easy to move around and park, quick to maneuver in traffic, and just plain fun to ride! Getting a second bike gave me a new-found appreciation for my Versys.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Very nice - enjoy!!
A humble suggestion for what it's worth. I picked up a leftover 2012 Concours 14 a few months ago since I wanted something more comfy than the Versys for the interstate (which I do quite a bit of). I held off on selling my Versys and am glad that I did. I do love the Connie - but when I get back home, I can't wait to ride the Versys again. It's my go-to bike for commuting every day. Easy to move around and park, quick to maneuver in traffic, and just plain fun to ride! Getting a second bike gave me a new-found appreciation for my Versys.
I know what you mean. I rode the BMW to work a couple days last week and couldn't wait to get back on the V. then I rode the V a couple days and was looking forward to getting back on the BMW.
I wish there were two of me, I would go on a ride, just me and myself and switch motorcycles a couple of times on the ride.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 09:23 AM
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My Rockster needs some attention, cold morning starts are a bitch, I've got to sit in the garage and baby the throttle for 5 minutes before it'll run without stalling.
You're using the fast-idle lever? I seem to remember the Rockster has one for cold starts. Used the same as a choke.

The issue with the servo brakes isn't about how they work in normal operation, it's when they have a problem.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davidg View Post
You're using the fast-idle lever? I seem to remember the Rockster has one for cold starts. Used the same as a choke.

The issue with the servo brakes isn't about how they work in normal operation, it's when they have a problem.
I have the fast idle lever up most of the time because it'll idle low or stall with it down. It also seems to run rich with it up. Even with it up, I have to be careful giving it any throttle when it's cold or it'll stall, then it won't want to start back up. Seems like it floods when cold. Really strange behavior for a fuel injected engine. It acts just like a carbureted bike. Man, EFI has really spoiled me, messing around with the choke and being easy on the throttle when cold used to be common and expected on bikes I grew up on.
I've read of some of the issues with the servo brakes, doesn't seem to be all that bad. I've also been reading up on final drive failures, with so many BMW bikes with servo brakes and final drives operating around the world, the problems don't seem to be real prevalent.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-28-2013, 01:51 PM
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It sounds to me like the BMW isn't really running right if you need to have the enricher on just to ride it around. As you're the head mechanic in the service dept. you'd better get on that.
You know the V is a better bike for the kind of riding that you do most. You know it's easy to live with. But you like the way you feel when riding the BMW. Love has a price.
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