'round, lads.... gather 'round"...
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 email@example.com .. 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. Also... something to keep in mind... My language in the email subscription version may offend the meek. Subscribe at your own risk. The on-line version is a bit more... PC..
Lastly, our subscriber newsletter also has all our specials listed.. sales, blems, close-outs, scratch & dent items, etc. If you'd like a list of our current specials, just email me and I'll make it happen.
The Latest Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter: November 2009
|Fellow esteemed and quasi-esteemed motorcyclists.... ..A famous (and slightly edited ) movie moment to start the month.....
|In the police interrogation room, the resident criminal psychologist grills the man who claims to be from the future.. Kyle Reese...He finds the story he's been hearing nothing more than great sci-fi...
Dr. Silberman: Why didn't you bring any weapons, something more advanced? Don't you have, uh, ray guns? Show me a piece of future technology.
News From The Two-Wheeled No-Spin Zone...!!
Picture Of The Month! Western Beauty!
Every month customers send us killer photos and I see no reason to keep them to myself so what better way to say thanks for sharing than to post them in this Picture of the Month spot..
If you would like to contribute your own"worthy" shot for our newsletter, here's what I'll need. First.. just email me 1 or 2 of your best digital shots. It'll need to be at least 800x600 in size or larger and preferably A. Of a BMW K1200S, K1200RS, K1200R, R Sport, or any model year K1200GT and B. In focus.
2009 I-BMW. com's
10th Annual Deals Gap K12 / K13 Rally: It Made Me Wet!! (Sponsored by www.I-BMW.com )
The only negatives for the rally weekend were a few velocity awards, the aforementioned Biblical rains, and one pretty hairy crash by an attendee. He sustained only minor injuries and actually showed up at that nights festivities, despite his destroyed GT. Next year's DGR has already been scheduled. See details in our 2010 rally section below. Hope to see you there. I'm already booked.
Thx to Tim (Cbnfvr over at I-BMW.com) for stepping up to the plate yet again and arranging the digs on short notice. I've posted what few rally pics I could come up with in the Pirates Lair Photo Gallery. Look for the album cleverly titled.. the Deals Gap Rally 2009 Enjoy.
Product Review: SpeedyHitch Camera System!
If you own a trailer you know that hooking it up is generally a total PITA. It's rarely easy if you are alone. You back up and get close.. you get out and look.. you get back in... you back another 6 inches.. you get out and look.. you get back in... you back another 2 inches.. Geezz.... So what to do? There are a few products on the market that help including those yellow aligner balls or the florescent sticks you stick on the trailer hitch and/or ball which help you line up things while backing. That's what I've been using for the last 5 years.
In today's hi-tech gadget obsessed world are you surprised that somebody came up with a portable wireless video cam and monitor just for this purpose? The SpeedyHitch Camera System which I purchased from Hard Line Products is the latest to hit the market. It makes hooking up or backing into tight sheds or garages chimp easy. No more dented license plates. No more dinged bumpers. No more crushed lawn furniture. No more flattened Dachshunds.
The Speedy Hitch is a no-brainer operation... sort of. The small camera mount has a magnet on the bottom which in theory should attach virtually anywhere to the back of your car, truck, SUV, or trailer. You aim it down at the ball. The magnet is plenty powerful so it doesn't matter where it's located although the closer the better. The handheld receiver with the full color monitor can either be held in your hand, laid on your dash, or just set on the console beside you. You back into place and viola!.. You're done. You remove the rear camera, store it in it's handy case and you're off. Simple, easy, as it should be... sort of.
Before I go any further, I should preface this review by saying that I am NOT a gadget freak. I don't care a thing about phones that take pictures. I don't own an iPod or iPhone. Never owned a Blackberry. I don't use bluetooth in my helmet or listen to iTunes when I ride. I don't need no stinkin' "App" to tell me if it's gonna rain. IMHO.. most technology distracts one from experiencing the simple things in life. Going into this review I was skeptical as to if I thought a gadget like this would be worth the $200 asking price as I'd been doing just fine with my cheap florescent sticks stuck to my hitch and balls. I could do a "balls" joke here.. but I won't. Too easy.
After charging the batteries in both the camera and the hand held receiver I was kinda excited to try the little gadget.. However.. I immediately ran into a problem.. My Ford Explorer has no metal on the back for the magnet on the little camera to attach to. DOH! Didn't see that one coming.. Not sure what the body panels and rear door are made out of but it's not metal. So what to do? I pondered the predicament for a few moments and then.. an epiphany. If I removed the plastic license plate cover...permenently.. I could just affix the tiny camera to the metal license plate. A minor inconvenience, but it worked like a charm. I also tried the camera on my wife's Ford F-250 pick-up. Plenty of metal on it so the camera would mount anywhere. After just one use of the Speedy Hitch, which cut the time to hook up the trailer by 2/3rds.. I was impressed.. Amber, who always has trouble hooking up her horse trailer due to the high gate on her pick-up, loved the little camera. She even found another use for it. She can put the camera inside the horse trailer and keep an eye on her horses while she's driving. Cool. This alone is worth the price of admission to her.
While I really like this product... I feel it's only fair to point out a few minor turds floating in what would have otherwise been a delicious punch bowl of technology.. First... for whatever reason.. no A/C charger comes with the kit. Only a cigarette plug for car charging. It worked just fine, but WTF? Second.. Do you see the little black antennae sticking out the back of the camera in the pic (above right)? That little sucker doesn't slide in or fold up. It's just sticking out of the back waiting for you to snap that sucker off in a moment of ineptitude. They should have made that retractable. Third.. A little windshield mount would have been nice like you can get with any GPS. And finally Fourth.....see that little bag that comes with the kit? For whatever reason.. the damn thing won't hold everything unless you cram it all in there risking damage to the pieces. Let me reiterate.. WTF? I'll have to find a larger bag just so I can keep it all together in my glove box without damaging the camera.
There is an FCC warning in the instructions about spying on people with this thing. (and I'm surprised my sick yet inventive mind didn't think of this..) Neighbors, friends, family, strangers, ACORN employees, that honeymoon couple in the tent just over from your campsite, or the sexy sister-in-law who unexpectedly shows up on weekends who casually let slip that she always sleeps in the nude. I initially didn't realize that the little camera can be removed from the mount (it's about the size of a large lipstick tube) and placed anywhere. The range on this thing is 300 ft and as it automatically switches to infra-red when it's dark... Woohoo!!.. er I mean... of course.. peeping is wrong.. and unfortunately ..illegal... I'm just sayin.'
IMHO.. This little device is one of the coolest accessories anyone who trailers often can own. Is it worth $200? If you trailer just once in a blue moon.. probably not. If you trailer often.. absolutely. Is the device a "must have?" That would depend on your circumstances and your life philosophy. It'll save you time and make things a lot easier.. no doubt about that. On a rainy day it could make the difference of you getting a little wet or soaked. Is it better than those florescent sticks stuck on your hitch and balls? Yes.. not that there's anything wrong with having things stuck on your balls. IMHO.. the SpeedyHitch Camera System is da shizzle and would make the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for the person who trailers often. I actually mailed Hard Line Products a check for my demo unit and added them to our product line. We have them here.. . Here are a few features they have listed on their website...
|* Full color LCD 960 x 240 monitor
* Works day and night with infrared technology
* Excellent Resolution
* Reverse option imaging for easier backing
* Magnetized camera mounts almost anywhere
* Use for tight RV spaces so you don't hit something
* Includes 12 volt charger and rechargeable battery.
* No wiring necessary. Just plug and play!
* Optic range of Camera is 300'
* Range from Camera to Monitor is 45'
* Includes carrying cases & spare battery.
* No wiring required ready to use
* No flattened Dachshunds
Inconceivable Clear Alternatives Turnaround: Surviving the Cliffs of Insanity
|About 18 months ago Frank and staff started seeing quality drop on many incoming shipments from the Chinese manufacturing facility. Frank immediately contacted the owner of the plant who denied any problems, but agreed to look into it. That phone call triggered a series of events. Shipments dropped off to almost nothing overnight. Repeated phone calls to the Chinese plant went unanswered. Frank flew over there, spoke with all parties involved, then decided to pull the business from the facility and move it to another. The owner of the first plant didn't like the idea of his cash cow moving elsewhere so to make things "inconvenient" for Frank.. he offered to sell him his own molds and inventory for $40K. Frank reluctantly agreed even though it was his own product trying to avoid legal action in foreign courts. This is where the story gets really ugly.
As soon as Frank agreed to the $40K.. the owner of the company upped the price to $250K.. Basically.. full blown extortion. Time to lawyer up. Days.. weeks.. months passed. Seasons changed. Clear Alternatives was basically dead in the water. While all this was going on.. the Taiwanese owner of the factory was clandestinely producing parts from the Clear Alternatives molds and not only trying to sell them as their own design to foreign companies, but he was contacting US vendors trying to sell them through the back door by-passing Clear Alternatives. To make things worse..this guy was trying to get his own foreign patents on the molds that Clear Alternatives already had US patents on. This guy was a piece of work! When the Chinese lawyers and courts got through talking ....Frank got his molds back, all inventory, and a huge legal bill.
The good news is..Clear Alternatives is back in business. Their all new manufacturing facility is up and running at 6 times the capacity of the former plant with better quality materials and welds. Parts are flowing. We actually got a shipment last week and more are on the way. Woohoo! If you have had parts backordered from Pirates Lair or "lessor" vendors, you can expect relief sometime very soon or so I'm told. As Paul Harvey would say.. "and now you know.. the rrrrrest of the story."
Postscript: I later heard that the aforementioned Taiwanese businessman was offered one of the vacant Czar positions in the Obama administration.
Product Review: Microtec ECU for Ducati 1098 / 1198
I hear a lot of complaints from our Ducati customers saying that I don't devote enough time to Ducati products. This is a valid point although I defend myself by pointing out that less than 5% of our biz is Ducati related.. With that said.... this one's for you, Duc boys.
My 2008 1098 has had the dreaded low rpm stumble like many others since I installed Quat-D slip-ons last fall.. The bike would stutter and stumble like Foster Brooks on a bender... stalling at the worst times.. Sometimes when pulling out in front of fast moving traffic.. Yikes!.. I've had to rev the engine and slip the clutch just to take off for the last few months.. A royal PITA. I tried a few cheaper fixes but nothing helped so last week I broke down and bought the 1098 version Microtec ECU from the Ducshop. I had hoped it would be a plug-n-play affair with a standard slip-on map installed. I had hoped it would be a miracle cure for all my problems.. stalling.. sputtering.. balding.. a Democratic congress, etc.. but that was not to be. Once installed with the generic map, even though my fingers were vigorously crossed, the bike still had the low end problems. Drat! I knew going in that there was a possibility that I might have to have a new map made. Guess it was in the cards. So what to do? Rather than take the bike to the "locals" who can't even cure a fogging dash ..I decided I had to suck it up and get experts to work on my bike. When I think of Ducati experts.. I think of the Ducshop.. located just outside of Atlanta. These guys are legends.
I called Thursday and made a plea to Mark (big Kahuna at the Ducshop) to squeeze me in ASAP and inferred that my sanity depended on it which was not that much of an exaggeration. I had heard that wait times for an appointment was at least 4-8 weeks... After a few minutes of back and forth wordplay with perhaps a tad of begging thrown in for good measure.. Mark just said.. "How about tomorrow early?! Damn! Rather than risk losing another once in a lifetime opportunity...like the time I almost slept with twin sisters but didn't because I stupidly misread their subtle signals, I told him "Sure!! Can do! I'll be there!" Friday morning I broke precedent by getting up at and ungodly 6:45am to make the 4 hour drive to Atlanta. FYI.. I haven't gotten up that early since Pterodactyls ruled the skies!
I arrived around 11:15am and the guys immediately made me feel at home. Offering me a couch to nap on while Mark worked his magic on the bike. I passed on the couch and instead went out to my SUV, folded down the rear, and took a multi-hour nap. Woke up.. went to get a late.er... lunch.. came back and read for a while until I was informed that Optimus Prime.. the name I bestowed on my 1098, was ready. It was about 3PM. Mark told me that all went well.. all the low end demons should be vanquished and added that he dyno'd me at about 4 more HP.. Kewl.
Now that it's all done and the bike is running like hot buttah.. even though my wallet is still warm to the touch ($1100 Microtec ECU + $320 dyno time & labor+ $100 gas R/T to Atlanta, + $100 for 2 lap dances at Atlanta's Cheetah Lounge)... I feel like my doubloons were well spent.. For the first time since I've owned the bike .. I'm really, really happy with it. IMHO..the Microtec is worth every penny.
What's New In the K12 / K13 No-Spin Zone
|I should note that as the RS and first generation 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. "I Can't Get No..." As per the blurb above... If you've tried to order parts from Clear Alternatives over the last year you probably ran into problems, excuses, silence, or the proverbial brick wall. You would think that Rahm Emanuel was at the helm. The good news is.. things are about to change. Their all new manufacturing facility is up and running at 6 times the capacity with better quality materials. If you have had parts backordered from Pirates Lair or "lessor" vendors, you can expect satisfaction sometime in the very near future..
2. R & G Racing (in the UK) is already working on slider kits for the upcoming BMW S1000RR... They should be available in late November.
3. Lots of 2010 K12/K13 Rally info coming in..The next Blue Ridge Parkway Rally, Deals Gap Rally, and the Sierra Gold Rush Rally have all been scheduled for 2010. For the latest scheduled K12/K13 rallies... check out the K12 / K13 Rally / Event
News : Down The Road: 2010 section below.
4. Frank Cheek, founder of the nation’s first motorcycle-only campground and resort, died Sept. 30 at his home in Suches, Georgia. He was 81. Cheek started Two Wheels Only, nestled in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, back in 1982, when touring motorcyclists often found “No Motorcycles Allowed” signs at the gates of campgrounds. Vaya con dios, Frank and our heartfelt condolences to Franks family..
5. This news from the front... REMUS will not offer a Full Carbon HexaCone Exhaust for the K1300S.
6. Looking for something really unique for your K1300S or K1200S? Aren't we all.. A Belgian customer just forwarded these links to some Euro Blinker Bling... Thought I'd share... For the K1200S and for the K1300S The price for these BMW Lighted Emblem Badges translates out to around $145US. Over the top?
7. Wunderlich has a new License Plate Relocator Kit available for the K1200S/R/R Sport. Kinda pricey at $114.US.. Ouch! However.. everything I've bought from them has been top quality.
8. BMW Press Club Pics of the S1000RR! These pictures are very detailed and of high quality. They can be enlarged keeping the ability to check out the smallest machined parts on the bike. Also many pictures of the full bike in all colors! When the link come on you need to scroll down thru the German verbiage to get to the pictures.
9. Can I get an "Amen"? Thinking about purchasing some R & G Sliders for your K12 or K1300?? Wondering if they're really worth the money? I got this testimonial a few days ago from David B of Vero Beach, Florida..
|10. One of the best sport touring magazines on the market is Backroads. I read them for years before I started running a monthly advertisement. Got an email from my good buddy, Brian Rathjen (the publisher) the other day touting a new feature on the web version of his magazine... Thought I'd share. It's called flip page technology You have got to check this out.. 1. Go to their website here.. 2. Click on the link that says.. "Current Issue Now Available On Line." Once you get there.. you can literally flip through the pages like any other magazine.. enlarge to read, etc.. Clink on any advertisement and it'll take you to that website. How cool is that?! Not much impresses me these days, but the flip page technology does. Mongo like.
What's New at Pirates' Lair?
1. Sign of the Apocalypse? Pirates Lair will be closed from December 1st-8th for a long overdue vacation and mental renovation. This will be the first time we've shut down completely in almost 2 years. Deal with it. FYI... I'll try to check in remotely with my laptop while out of the country. Zero idea if I'll have internet access as we will be in a jungle region of a third world country. Will address all issues, orders, emails, fan mail, etc upon our triumphant return around December 9th. "Courage."
2. Weepy News for Power-Hungry K1200RS Owners: The K1200RS/GT Cam Kit from Rhinewest Performance, Inc. has been discontinued as of 9/30/09. This kit was the #1 aftermarket performance enhancement for the venerable RS. They told us that they just sold their last kit and would have to order 50 more kits for a new supply and as they don't sell many... it's simply not gonna happen. Truly and end of an era. The good news is.. they will continue selling their power chips for a while longer.
3. The long awaited second coming of the Laser Stealth HotCam 2 is still a no-show. We now hear late November. Sorry.. don't shoot the messenger. I hear the delay is somehow related to the Bush administration. I'll start taking orders again as soon as they have cleared customs and are available. .. and not before.
4. I now have R & G Racing Slider Kits for the K1300S in stock. Unlike the round K1200S version frame sliders.. the K1300S kit features Aero shaped sliders. We have sliders for the frame, shaft, forks, and engine case. Well worth the money for some peace of mind should you go down. Trust me.
5. Got a light? After waiting over 7 months.. we just got a shipment of BMW K1200S / K1200R Clear LED Tail Lights from Clear Alternatives.
6. How To Survive On a Motorcycle: New Large Group Riding Section Up! As most of you should be aware, our How To Survive On a Motorcycle page has been growing over the years with safety tips and related contributions still coming in from all over the world. I've had dealers, ride instructors, and even manufacturers contact us and ask if they could purchase the tips or at the least.. print them out for clients. That's why they are there people.
A few weeks ago I was approached by a fellow rider, (Harry Crawford) asking me why I don't have a section up for Large Group Riding. I told him that the majority of our clientele don't ride in groups and the subject has never even come up. I added that IMHO.. that's primarily a "Harley" thang. However.. he was right that tips for riding in large groups are important so I have just added a new section at the bottom of the How To Survive On a Motorcycle page for Large Group Riding. While I may personally look down on such aberrant behavior, I do realize that a certain segment of the motorcycling community actually likes this sort of thing so I'm putting my personal prejudices aside to post tips for this crowd. I'll also add that I do NOT necessarily agree with any of the posted tips in the new section and in fact, some of them I may disagree with, but as I said... it's an alien concept for me to begin with. Be aware that 100% of the contributions for this new section will be from riders who regularly ride in large groups and sound like they know what they are talking about. None of the tips will be from me although I will moderate and evaluate tips as they come in. All of our initial tips were furnished by the aforementioned, Mr. Crawford.. He did admit later that he does in fact ride a Harley.. not that there's anything wrong with that.
As with any other tips you read in this or any other section of our web site, please use your own personal judgment when riding rather than blindly following anyone else's lead or opinion. Your safety is your responsibility. Nobody else's. You are NOT a Lemming. Saavy? If you want to contribute your own riding tips to this Large Group Riding section, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
K12 / K13 Rally / Event News : Down The Road: 2010
* NEW* 2010 Blue Ridge Parkway K12 / K13 Rally: May 13-16, 2010
Where: Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Pkwy mp 86, Virginia
* NEW* 2010 Sierra Gold Rush K12 / K13 Rally: Sept 12-15, 2010
Where: Sonora Days Inn, Sonora, California
A pre-rally is planned in Downieville, CA at the Riverside Inn: Rooms are reserved for Sept. 8th through 10th. September 11th will be a travel day to Sonora, an easy and beautiful day's ride south of Downieville. Lodging here is very limited... there are only a handful of rooms available, so if you plan to attend the pre-rally you should make your reservations immediately. Tell them that you are with the I-BMW group!! If they are booked up when you call, there is other lodging available in Downieville, and everything is within walking distance:
For booking at the actual Sierra Gold Rush Rally call the Sonora Days Inn at 209-532-2400. Tell them that you are with the I-BMW group. If you talk to someone who is clueless about our group, ask to speak to Tracy. We have rooms reserved here for Sept. 12th through 15th, with the 16th optional. Make your reservations now!
* NEW* The 11th Annual Deals Gap K12 / K13 Rally: Sept 23-26th, 2010
Be sure to mention i-bmw group / If you have any issues.. ask for Sue. This motel won't hold us all, so make plans now! I have.
On A Motorcycle
If you'd like to help others by contributing a How-To-Survive On A 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.
We get a lot of requests for specific articles and/or reviews I've written in the past. Rather than fry my aging brain trying to remember where they are on our multi-thousand page website.. I have decided to list the "worthy" ones here. Most of the links are to past newsletters.. Some are to full web articles. Remember, I'm no expert on anything except perhaps cunnilingus so the opinions within the archives are only my own. Saavy?