"Gather 'round, lads.... gather 'round"...
Burt Lancaster / The Crimson Pirate (1952)

Around the 1st or 15th of each month, when I deem you are worthy, we put out our cheesy newsletter to inform the masses as to what's happening in the BMW K12RS/GT/S/R world and of course... Pirates' Lair. How else are you going to find out? If you want to subscribe and have these sent via e-mail to your home or office just let us know at pirate@acelink.net .. otherwise you'll get 95% of it here. Why only 95%? Because I tend to tell the brutal truth as I see it on many issues/products and while I don't mind spewing "my opinion" into your home, office or cell, I have no desire to slam, insult, or malign any company, individual, competitor in public.. unless they blatantly deserve it.

While I do try to add a little humor in every newsletter, some of my language may offend the mild mannered or meek, amongst us. If you are offended easily I suggest you look elsewhere for your written info-tainment. So it is written.. so let it be done....

The Latest Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter: March 2007 Issue

Fellow esteemed and quasi-esteemed motorcyclists.... ..A famous (and slightly edited ) movie moment to start the day.....

Tarmac - Pre-Dawn: Walking out the President scans the motley collection of planes; old, new, high-tech, low-tech. He knows he must address the pilots before the final attack.

General Grey: Beggars can't be choosy, sir. Nodding in agreement, the President walks among the rank and file. Slowly they turn their attention to the President.
President Whitmore: Good morning. [the PA doesn't work. Turns it on]
President Whitmore: Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. To read the Cheesy Pirates Lair Newsletter. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!" We're going to live on! We're going to survive! We're going to ride our motorcycles. Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
[Crowd cheers] ...The President turns and walks over to an Officer holding a flight suit. General Grey confronts the President as he begins to disrobe.
General Grey: Mr. President, just what do you think you're doing?
President Whitmore: I'm a pilot, Will. This is where I belong.

President Thomas Whitmore / Bill Pullman... Independence Day 1996

News From The Two-Wheeled No-Spin Zone...!!

Vanson Leathers: Ordering Custom Garments.. Be Afraid! .. A Tale of Lies, Woe, and Despair!"

In our August 2006 Cheesy Newsletter, I gave a raving endorsement of Vanson Leathers. Since then, I have changed my opinion about one aspect of the company and I feel it's my duty as an honest pirate (oxymoron?) to bring my new opinions to light.

In my initial article I should have mentioned that at that time, I had never actually ordered a "custom" jacket or pants from them. At the time, I had only bought multiple garments off the rack and had always been 100% happy with the product and fit. My trip up to Vanson Headquarters almost a year ago was made for no other reason than I wanted a custom pair of pants made and I wanted their seamstress to measure me live and in person so I could make sure that I got what I was wanting. As it turns out.. after almost a year, this simple task has turned into a seemingly never-ending nightmare due to Vanson's stupefying incompetence.

While I will NOT go into every mind-numbing detail as it makes me cry and my 'nads shrivel, I will give you the big ugly of how bad their "custom-order" customer service is and how bad I was treated. You may want to sit a spell .. and/or take a vicoden.

After a long flight and a short drive in a rental car I walked into the Vanson facility in late July 06 and was personally measured for a pair of custom fully perfed pants by their seamstress and was assured I'd have them in time for the Deals Gap Rally which was a full 7 weeks away in late Sept. She took a gazillion measurements which made me feel like the trip was well worth the money. Boy was I wrong. I called at 4 weeks before the rally.. 3 weeks... 2 weeks and each time I spoke with Pauline, their customer service rep and I suspect... a graduate of Mr Haney's School for Lying Liars. Each time she swore she'd get back to me with an update and delivery date. She never called back. Lied to me 6 times in a row... She was always convincing with her warm sounding "truthiness" and apparently I fell for it every time..

At 1 week before the rally I called again (trying to be nice) and again was assured by the diva of deception, Pauline that they would be in my hands before the rally even if she had to deliver them overnight personally via her Hoyt Clagwell tractor. At two days before the rally, Robert (a higher up suit) called to say that there was no way they'd be in my hands in time so they'd send me a loaner pair to use until I had my custom pair. Geeezz. I could live with that.. I'm a reasonable pirate. Sure enough, a loaner pair arrived the next day that was too small by 2" at the waist. Doh! A valiant effort but no cigar. The rally, the riding season, and an Iraqi dictator come and go. A month later my pants show up missing all the inner material and the velcro that secures it. I ship it back at my expense. Two weeks later the same pair shows up but I notice that the rear zipper is missing so again I ship it back at my expense.Where is their quality control person? Do they have one? Do they have a death penalty for murder in Massachusetts? Another month passes and my custom pair actually shows up and.... drum roll please.... the waist is 2" too small .. Geezus Christ!! So.... I ship them back again at my expense.

It's unbelievable that a company that's been around as long as these guys could be so apathetic as to the satisfaction of their long-term customers. I'm not used to being lied to with such gleeful abandon (except by politicians and my third wife) and I will not soon forget. Repeated calls asking to speak with the owners went unanswered although Pauline swears she's given them our messages. The moral of the story is.. If you can buy Vanson clothing off the rack... you'll not be sorry. Quality is second to none.. but if you need custom gear made.. you might want to look elsewhere.. I will.

Postscript: On Feb 12th apparently hell actually froze over as yes... I received my pants..(pic at right)... and they are absolutely perfect. Only SEVEN months!!

click for larger image

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ESA Replacement: Bend Over and Take It?

OK.. In case you didn't know, (and your gonna hate hearing this) word on the street is that replacing your foofoo ESA system will cost you an ass-bitin' $3000. Yikes!! Thank you Germany! Payback for WWII?

So what to do besides cry like a girl? Fear not!! I spoke with my good buddy Klaus at Wilbers USA today just to find out the situation and here's what I came away with.... At the moment you can replace the ESA factory shocks with Wilbers or one or two other brands and they will work fine.. You'll get no dash warnings (or so I was told) and the aftermarket shocks will work BETTER than the generic ESA most of us have, although all shock functions will have to be made by hand.. Duh, ...but here's the problem.

If you disconnect the factory shocks and install Wilbers, Ohlins, etc, when you go to a dealer for whatever reason and they hook up your bike to their diagnostic equipment they will instantly get the ESA malfunction/error warning and they can go NO further with diagnostics or repair until the ESA wiring harness is hooked back up to the factory shocks. Essentially.. their system will freeze. This means.. you'd need to carry the original shocks to the dealer with you..or if you were traveling, you'd need to carry them around with you or you couldn't get any work done to the bike.. Isn't that a pisser??

The good news is.. Wilbers is working on some kind of plug-in gizmo that will trick the BMW diagnostic equipment into thinking the ESA is connected and working properly...solving the aforementioned problem. This little device will come standard with replacement Wilbers shocks for us ESA guys. He also mentioned that unlike the K1200RS, they would offer a fully integrated rear unit similar to the one pictured at right.

So bottom line.. you can add any aftermarket shocks you want to your K1200S (or other ESA infested bike) right now, but you will have that diagnostic problem. I've been told that they would notify me when they get these kits available.

Wilbers Rear Shock

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What's New In the K1200RS/GT/S/R No-Spin Zone

I should note that as the RS and 02-05 GT has been discontinued, I receive less and less news of any new products for them.. I mention this as a few semi-loyal subscribers have accused me of abandoning our roots.. Not true.. I only report what's going on.. Don't shoot the messenger.. I will NEVER abandon the K1200RS crowd. It appears that the times.. they are a changin.' Deal with it. Also.. a special thx to www.I-BMW.com, www.K-Bikes.com , and www.BMWK1200S.com for the information & pictures I regularly pilfer from these chat sites..
1. Do you find yourself sliding forward when coming to a stop? Scuffing up your tank with your clutching knees?? Don't have enough grip on the tank when corner carving? Your wife sliding off the bike during late night garage sex? If you want grip AND protection.. here's a nice idea.. Gripster Sport Grip Skins by Tech-Spec Products. I have the snakeskin version on my R1 and it works great.. especially during the garage sex. Tech-Spec offers kits for the K1200S, the new GT, the R1200RT, and various other bikes. Unlike the STOMP products which are clear, ugly as sin, and harder to get off than a 'luded out nun, the Tech-Spec material is black, feels like a thin rubber, and is manufactured using a Releasable / Reusable adhesive. Cost for the kit is about $45 and worth every penny/doubloon/shekel. My personal thumbs up.

2. We've heard that a new 8.0 version software upgrade for the K1200S, K1200R, and K1200GT is imminent. It's already available in New Zealand.

3. There's some out-of-the-box thinking coming from EZ Tuning (of Germany) for the K1200R.. I can't understand a thing on their website, but the pictures are very impressive. Sleek exhausts and what looks to be an MV Agusta F4 tail section modified to fit the R..and we all know the R's tail is an abomination. Impressive and probably insanely expensive.

4. Do you want to film your track day sessions? or a run down the Tail Of The Dragon at Deals Gap? or a little discrete garage porn? You'll find the best selection of helmet mount cam accessories at www.Twenty20camera.com They not only offer a huge selection of helmet camera goodies, but they are glad to answer any questions and even offer advice as to filming and or camera selection.

What's New at Pirates' Lair?

1. Last month I announced to the world that we have a new K1200R product page on our website for the K1200R naked bike sickos.. The news for this month is.. I just added another product page for the new K1200R Sport!! WooHoo.. We'll be adding lots of new "R Sport" goodies (as well as K1200R goodies) in the upcoming months so stay tuned. I really like the new "Sport." If you have any suggestions of products you'd like to see or nekid pics of your wives or girlfriends..forward them my way.

Click Here for the K1200R Sport Section.. If You Dare!

2. Speaking of K1200R goodies.. Doing track days? Deals Gap warrior? Alcoholic? We have ordered our first batch of Frame Sliders from R & G Racing for the K1200R and R Sport. Each kit comes with very detailed instructions for a chimp-easy install. Those should be in any day and you'll be able to find them on our K1200R product page or our K1200R Sport product page

3. How's it hangin?... er... I mean your exhaust canister. We just received our first shipment of Pack Parts Carbon Fiber Exhaust Hangers for the K1200S, K1200R, and K1200R Sport. These were designed for Laser canisters, but will also work with any Remus with only cromagnon-level Dremel mods needed.. No idea if these will work on other brand canisters, but in theory.. they should. For a pic of one on my own magnificent K1200S, Excalibur... Click here. These look expensive and like everything else made of real Carbon Fiber.. they are.. Is your bike worthy?

4. We are evaluating a small Super Loud Stebel Air Horn which may fit the bikes with limited mounting room like the K1200S. We've been selling the Stebel Magnum, which is about 30-40% louder than stock, but I'm on a quest to find something louder.. safer.. and with bigger breasts. Stay tuned.

5. One thing we have never sold at Pirates Lair is a full sized tank bag. Well.. that may change soon. We are currently evaluating the sweetest looking German tankbag I've ever seen. It's designed to fit the K1200RS, K1200GT, K1200S, K1200R, and R Sport. It comes with a quick-release gas-cap mounting system.. no straps.. no magnets.. no adhesive panty strips.. The tankbag itself never even touches your gas tank due to the gas cap mounting system, but instead hovers over it with about 1/4" clearance so there's no worries about scratching your paint. Rain cover is included as well as quite a few accessories. Have NOT decided if I want to carry all the accessories or just offer the basic bag and then a complete foofoo electrified package with GPS/cell phone/jacuzzi mounting parts... Trust me.. this bag is cooler than freon.. and most know that I HATE tank bags..I deem this one worthy. Stay tuned.

6. Here's the latest on our upcoming R1200RT Stealth Backrest...FYI.. The project is running behind, but we're making progress.. Just last week I approved a final design and ordered (4) test units which I'll send out into the field for a month of real-world testing. As you may recall from last months cheesy newsletter, I had come up with a new mounting system that would allow the customer to bolt our bracket to the R1200RT rack in about 30 seconds.. . Cool, huh. If all goes well I should be able to put them in production in late spring. The only bad news I have.. (besides the delays) is that the price of stainless steel has gone through the roof.. No idea on final pricing.

7. Insane Sale Notice!!: Two Brothers Exhaust Slip-Ons for the K1200S, K1200R, and R Sport. Two Bros gave us a rare deal if we purchased a quantity so we're passing on the savings to our quasi-esteemed customers. We are offering $160 off retail on our C-5 Oval Slip-On Kits while they last. These kits include the connector and all mounting hardware. I currently have a (3) left in stock. If you choose not to use the PayPal buttons on our web page, call Amber at 828.628.7093 EST and she can take your order over the phone with the sale price.

Here's what we have left....
(1) In Stock / C5 Lg Oval Slip On - Carbon Fiber Retail $650 / Sale Price $490.US (Fed/Ex Ground Included) ! Super Sale Price!
(2) In Stock / C5 Lg Oval Slip On - Titanium Retail $650 / Sale Price $490.US (Fed/Ex Ground Included) ! Super Sale Price!

8. I bought a Yamaha R1 a few weeks ago for track day use.. So I said to myself.. "What can I do to make this purchase a tax write-off? Obviously..Design something for the bike and in the mean time..sell something for the Yamaha crowd!! So.. this just up... Yamaha R1 Two Brothers Exhaust M-2 Slip-On's

9. We should have some of the new Ilmberger Carbon Fiber Solo Seat Cowlings for the K1200S any day now.. It's cool.. it's beautiful.. it's expensive!

Rally News/Info: Down The Road: 2007

Texas Hill Country K12 Roundup 2007: April 23rd-26th (Contributed by James Myrick aka James of Texas over at www.I-BMW.com )

Well Partners, the Texas Hill Country Roundup 2007 is upon us. The official dates are April 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th. It will start on Monday and end Thursday. This year we will have two dinners that will be outside on the patio, overlooking the Guadalupe River. You can get additional information on www.I-BMW.com, under forums-Rallies-THCR2007. This year registration and the 2 dinners are $50.00 per person.
It will be held at the River Inn Resort in Hunt, Texas. A one bedroom is $55.00 plus tax, some do have sofa sleepers and they all have a refrigerator and microwave.

You can secure your reservation with AMEX, MasterCard or Visa....7 day cancellation policy. Please call 1-800-841-0501 and talk with Cindy, Michelle or Brenda and tell them you are with the BMW motorcycle group. (NO on-line reservations available) Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm cst. Sat. and Sun. 9am to 4pm CST, only. We have taken the whole facility which is less than 50 rooms. So, it's first come, first serve, please reserve your room now. Deadline for liability wavier and registration will be on April 6th, (Good Friday). There will be no late registration or paying for dinners at the Roundup.

Also, there will be a Pre-THCR07 Gathering, April 20th, 21st and 22nd in the Big Bend Texas area. Information available on I-BMW.com.
So, there you have it folks. Lets get together, ride, eat and enjoy what the Hill Country has to offer. Hope to see you soon.

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Blue Ridge Parkway K12 Rally 2007: May 17th - 20th, 2007 (Contributed by our good buddy, Sir Tim Hudspeth aka CBNFVR over at www.I-BMW.com )

Where: Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Pkwy mp 86, Virginia
When: May 17th thru 20th, 2007 (Thur – Sun)
This is the weekend after Mother's Day, before Memorial Day, and well after the Georgia Mtn Rally.
Call Peaks of Otter Lodge for reservations @ 1.540.586.1081 • 1.800.542.5927 • Fax 1.540.586.4420
Note: Specify one bed or two. !! Blue Ridge Parkway info and maps can be found here and here

Don’t know what BRPR is? It is us. Real people, riding and laughing for three days. Rain or shine. If you don’t have a good time,.sell the bike. FYI.. I'm already booked!

Alternate Lodging (info only) :
Super 8 – Bedford
Days Inn – Bedford

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35th Annual BMW RA International Rally: June 7th-10th, 2007

We just got the official word.. The 2007 RA International Rally will be held here in Asheville, North Carolina on June 7-10th. The location is set for the Biltmore Estate .

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2007 Deals Gap K12 Rally: Sept 27-29 (Contributed by our good buddy, Sir Tim Hudspeth aka CBNFVR over at www.I-BMW.com )

Tapoco Lodge at Deal's Gap again for 2007, Sept 27th - 29th. It won't hold us all, so make plans now! Amber and I are already booked!!
No sign-up sheet . Just reserve a room and be there! If you were there this year and didn't sign up for 2007, call Tapoco NOW before someone else gets your room. Most of us from this year already have a room reserved, so it's not too soon to plan.

Friday noon meal (at 1:00pm) will be at the Troll Restaurant in Helen, Ga (under the bridge)
Saturday noon meal (at 1;00 pm) will be at the Bistro, Telico Plains, Tennessee (western end of the Cherohala)

As usual, Fri and Sat evening will consist of tall tales, video worthy of Americas Most Wan.. er Funniest, and food in the Lodge. No set times.

Alternate Lodging in Robbinsville, NC. Microtel Motel.
Closest dealer (err, one in Knoxville yet?) Touring Sport BMW Greenville, SC

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How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle

No contributions this month.. .but it wouldn't hurt to re-read the ones we have!!! Could these tips save your life? Dare you NOT look?

If you'd like to help others by contributing a How-To-Survive on your Motorcycle, How to Survive Deals Gap, or any How-To link.. First... check out the tips we already have and if you have something new... just send to me and if it's worthy... I'll add it.. Remember.. we're all in this together.. so use deodorant.

BMW How-To Section

Nothing new this month..

Pirates Lair Cheesy Newsletters .. Past Issues