Take me home, El Capitan!

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

Around every other month, when I deem you are worthy, we post our cheesy newsletter to inform the masses as to what's happening in the BMW world and of course... Pirates' Lair. How else are you going to find out?

Warning: While I do try to add a little humor in every newsletter, some of my language may offend the mild mannered, politically correct, liberal, or meek amongst us. If you are offended easily I suggest you stop reading here and look elsewhere for your written info-tainment.

FYI.. our subscriber version newsletter has been suspended as of June 1st, 2013. As much as I've tried to conjure the time to keep them flowing... I've come to realize that there are simply not enough hours in the day and something (other than my sanity and last remaining hair follicles) has got to give.. However.. our on-line version will continue ad infinitum. If you'd like to be notified when each new newsletter is posted, just email me with your request and I'll make that happen.  I will continue to email each of our former subscribers a notification of when a new newsletter is posted. Enjoy!

Prepare to be boarded!

The Latest Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter: November 2013 Issue

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

Loki, the rogue demigod from Asgard has declared war on Earth. His plan for world domination seems all but certain although the Avengers are putting up a hell of a fight.. During a lull in the battle, billionaire, philanthropist, Tony Stark.. aka Ironman confronts Loki in his penthouse apartment.

Loki: What have I to fear?
Tony Stark: The Avengers. It's what we call ourselves, sort of like a team. "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" type thing.
Loki: Yes, I've met them.
Tony Stark: Yeah, takes us a while to get any traction, I'll give you that one. But let's do a head count here: your brother the demigod; a super soldier, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend; a man with breath-taking anger management issues; a couple of master assassins, and YOU, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them.
Loki: That was the plan.
Tony Stark: Not a great plan. When they come, and they WILL, they'll come for you.
Loki: I have an army.
Tony Stark: We have the Cheesy Pirates Lair Newsletter...
Lokiyeah.. that only comes out every other month...
Tony Stark: You're missing the point! There's no throne, there is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it's too much for us but it's all on you. Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we'll avenge it!

Loki ... Tom Hiddleston / Tony Stark ... Robert Downey Jr / The Avengers (2012)

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

Picture Of The Month! Majestic Hwy 1! (Click Image for a Larger View)

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..

Our November POTM was contributed by my good buddy Charlie Wickliff .. aka Kneedragger. He says of the shot... " This shot was taken somewhere along Hwy.1 between Ragged Point and Big Sur, a little before noon, about 65 degrees, taken with a little Sony point-n-shoot, blissful state of mind... nirvana..."

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 1024x768 in size or larger and preferably A. Of a BMW K1200S, K1300S, K1200RS, K1200R, R Sport, S1000RR, K1600GT, GTL, or any model year K1200GT or K1300GT and B. In focus.

Click for Larger Image

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2013 I-BMW. com Deals Gap Rally: One For the Books! (Promoted by www.I-BMW.com )

The 2013 I-BMW.com Deals Gap Rally was again the center of the known universe last week. One would think after 13 straight years of our DGR gatherings that I'd be sick of them, but that simply wasn't the case. In fact..if was a stellar event with arguably the best weather we've had in the last 5 or 6 years.. Whoever chose this weekend deserves a pat on the back... Low 80s in the day / 60's at night with not a drop of rain and once the fog burned off... sunshine aplenty. I'm guessing about 30 people showed this year including many "dinosaurs." On the flip side , I was kinda shocked at how many of our past regulars were absent. They were missed. But what really made the event was the hordes of new attendees...New blood to keep the tradition going. The group that blew in from Louisiana were a great bunch and definitely fit in with the rest of us former hooligans.. For Photos of the Event.. Click Here.

Thursday 3rd: I arrived at the Fontana Resort Thursday around 3pm to perfect weather. Feeling good... Feeling relaxed. I checked in, was assigned my room and immediately had words with the manager. When I arranged the rally a year ago, at my request they said they'd put all the early reserved guests together in the main building so we'd have all our bikes in the same spot.. Sweet!. While I was the first person booked, at check-in they informed me that my room was waaaaaaaaay down the hill in the building marked "Bumfuck Egypt." WTF!!?? Apparently they lied to me and gave almost the entire upper building to the people attending the "Crossfire" car rally.. They did admit that the Crossfire people book 2 YEARS in advance so they get their pick of rooms. Rather than go postal, I tried to remember I'm here for a good time.. Not to incur more stress or commit any more felonies... I flow with it....

I unloaded my bike, unpacked, suited up, then hit the road to Deals Gap proper. Just 48 hours prior, I had installed new Michelin Pilot Power 3s and wanted to break them in on the magnificent Hwy 28 before Saturday's riding festivities with the boyz. Got to the Tail of the Dragon and found my buddy Bill Morgan people watching.. We talked a while then both headed back to the Fontana. Later I heard that he had just lost someone dear to him and I didn't see him again the entire rally.. Not sure if he left or not.. My sincere condolences go out to you buddy. I got back to the resort around 5 then hooked up with the gang at the resort's Wildwood Grill.. It's my least favorite place to eat in all the world... Have never found anything on the menu that didn't taste like total crap... I order their "Dam Burger." It's horrible. How on earth can you remove all semblance of flavor and moisture from a burger that's 2" thick?? After this culinary debacle, I make a mental note that for the remainder of my stay I'll buy my food elsewhere even if it's from a vending machine...FYI, I've complained about their food to the manager the last 2 years in a row..and this year will be no different. For the Full Rally Report. Click Here..

Show me more, Captain!

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New Product: BrenTuning BMW Flash Tuning Handheld

Getting your overly complicated, Cab-Bus infested, modern BMW to run absolutely smooth as butter ie.. like virtually any Japanese motorcycle is a challenge. Especially if you've made modifications to the exhaust or air intakes. There are a few options on the market that claim to let turn your bike into a lean mean fighting machine. Some deliver.. some not so much.. Most people have heard of the virtues of Power Commanders. I'll bet they haven't heard of BrenTuning.

BrenTuning has a solution for those looking to get a complete custom ECU re-flash onto your BMSK+ BMW motorcycle. Their Flash handheld device connects right to your diagnostics port and flashes the supplied custom tune to your ECU modifying over 20 key tables for performance enhancements and restriction removals. This is very much unlike other units that are a fuel piggyback system that forces the bike into closed loop. They retain the open loop for better drivability/fuel economy.

According to Bren Tuning, their device enhances every aspect of the ECU from fuel aim to part and full load ignition, factory throttle restrictions/delays, torque targeting. Each tune is custom written to your bikes modifications, octane, and driving style. The handheld was designed to be very user friendly. After receiving the unit you will connect it to the bike and have it read out the ECU. Once that is complete you will email them the file that the handheld downloaded. In return they will email you a custom tune that you will flash onto your bike by re-connecting the unit to the bike. Each handheld holds 4 tunes. 1 stock and 3 custom files (i.e. tune only, exhaust + tune, and race gas).

Have I tried one of these devices? I wish.. In this Obama economy I can't indulge in frivolities like fancy software fixes, really "sticky" tires, or 4-ply toilet paper, but I hope to eventually. The Bren Tuning Handheld sounds much easier than going the PC route which involves dyno, screaming engines, and hours of shop time. I have been reading reviews of the flash device and they seem to be across the board good. Bren Tuning supports virtually all the latest BMWs..

Be All You Can Be!

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Product Review: Booster Plug

If you've been riding motorcycles long enough you know by now that there are products on the market that are worth every penny...(ie Throttlemeister or HID kits) and then there are those that are as useless as Nancy Pelosi (ie.. deer whistles, X-ray glasses, and stoplight magnets). In the old days when you bought something.. you took your chances. These days we can do a quick Google search and get the 411 on virtually any product in mere seconds.

I'd seen the Booster Plug (sold out of Denmark) advertised in various venues and always thought it might fall into the "snake-oil" category. Why my skepticism?? I'd read both good and bad reviews of the product. Even on the same model bike, so excuse me if this 40 year rider is leery of a simple $150 plug-n-play sensor that will make all my rough idle gremlins magically go away simply by tricking the engine into thinking the universe is somewhat different than it actually is.

The company never makes bold claims that it'll transform your bike into a lean, mean fighting machine like a Power Commander or Bren Tuning , but rather.. their claims are for subtle yet distinct improvements in low rpm engine management.. Their website says....

- Improved and softer throttle response.
- Harder acceleration.
- No more low speed surging.
- Stronger and more reliable Idle.
- Reduced puffing in your aftermarket exhaust.

Booster Plug

About a year ago the guys that make the Booster Plug sent me a freebie kit for evaluation... I never opened it until this last week. There were multiple reasons for my apathy... My 2006 K1200S runs pretty damn good for the most part except for a slightly erratic idle and... I simply didn't think tearing my bike open just to fix a slightly bad idle was worth the effort when I could spend that same time actually riding.. and honestly... I'm just tired. I've been working 60-70 hour 7 day weeks non-stop due to Obamunism so when I get a spare hour or two I like to sleep or ride. I thought about sending the unit back to the manufacturer rather than let it sit in my shop collecting dust until two weeks ago. After installing a new Laser exhaust on my bike I noticed my already erratic idle had gotten a little worse. Hmm... What the hell..Why not? So last week on a rare slow day, I installed the Booster Plug. The results were surprising.

First..The instructions look nice and professionally made, but were about as helpful as Stevie Wonder playing first base. I'm the kinda guy that needs lots of pretty pictures with arrows pointing to vital areas. Similarly.. that's also how I like my porn... I'll admit the install is a simple plug-n-play affair, but honestly I would have never found the "G-spot" where it plugs in without consulting some how-to's other installers had posted at www.I-BMW.com. The one page instruction sheet shows a schematic of where the part plugs into the bike, but I couldn't tell if the drawing shown was for my K1200S or a Hoyt-Clagwell tractor. They make it sound chimp easy with simple worded lines like.. "Remove the gas tank"... "Locate the sensor".. For me... it wasn't that simple for a first timer dismantling his complicated ride.. I'd never taken my gas tank off, but after some fumbling with various fasteners, sticking my hands into the wrong holes, some sweat and determination I muddled through. Not unlike my first sexual experience.. I took pictures of how the gas tank comes off with all the hose and electrical connections if anyone is interested.

Once I actually found the plug under the air box, it was indeed plug-in-play although removing the holding clip on the oem sensor then re-installing the new one was an exercise in patience. The procedure (which is in a tight area surrounded by vacuum hoses) really requires the hands and dexterity of a 5 year old idiot savant. Once I had her plugged in I ran the 2' sensor wire to the inside of my right air-intake snorkel and zip-tied it to the frame. Simple. Re-assembly took 15 minutes ...Maybe a little longer as I took some time to clean where the sun don't shine while I had her clothes off. All in, I think I had the Booster Plug connected and bike assembled in about an hour. I could probably cut that time in half if I did another.

Upon start-up it's obvious my erratic idle problems are 80% better. Not perfect but a world of difference.. . I'm already happy and I haven't even rolled the bike off the stand. Riding with the Booster Plug proved uneventful. My bike ran perfectly before the install and perfectly after... It seems like I have less back-firing on deceleration and a much more stable idle when coming to a stop after a heavy handed run. Not too shabby! I'm thinking that this little device would be ideal for anyone installing a new exhaust or slip-ons as that's usually the culprit for bottom end fueling issues... It certainly was with mine. Are my idle problems gone? No, but they are so much better that the cost of the device seems reasonable for the improvements I received.

As for the mixed reviews I'd come across.. I have a theory about that... I think that many are buying the Booster Plug and expecting a noticeable performance enhancement and when they don't see it they spew verbal venom all over the www, when in reality.. the product isn't even made for that. Surprisingly.. I'm happy with the result. Will I be carrying it on our menu?... Maybe in the future. I'll probably study the results for a while before I decide. IMHO the benefits of the Booster Plug will be somewhat subjective. Some will notice more improvement than others. Some will have their problems solved. Some won't. I like sure bets when taking somebody's hard earned doubloons..

What's New In the BMW No-Spin Zone

I should note that as the K1200RS and first generation K1200GT have 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 sites..

1. A customer of mine in Europe just turned me on to a new KBike chat site..They appear to be the Euro version of our own I-BMW.com . Seems like a nice bunch of blokes... Euro KClub.com

2. We used to sell PIAA lighting kits for the K1200RS and GT, but those were discontinued a few years ago by the manufacturer.. Not sure why.... We sold a lot of them even at the hefty price of $360, but they were most excellent and I had some on my own K1200RS... Just found a similar kit on the market by ClearWaterLights.com Actually.. they offer quite a few bike specific kits.... While the website isn't crystal clear.. it looks like the kits start at $399 and go north from there ....Honestly.. If I had another RS... I'd probably bite the bullet and spend the doubloons.. These look like you could see them from Mars...

3. In case you don't have one.. here's an on-line pdf of the K1300GT Owners Manual

Click Here To See More... If You Dare
4. Those who missed the 2013 I-BMW Deals Gap Rally should be kicking themselves in the cajones... not an easy thing to do, btw.. The weather was perfect.. the riding sublime.. the crowd fun.. the women loose. Rather than whining about what could have been.. you might want to start thinking about next year's event which I've already arranged for October 2nd-4th, 2014 at the Fontana Resort near Robbinsville, NC. This year, all rooms were booked and many had to scramble to get rooms at nearby motels. I signed the contract with the Fontana Resort on 10/15 so everything is all set up for our group of misfits to start calling and making reservations. FYI.. yes.. I got the same rates as last year. Just call 800-849-2258 (option 1) and tell them you are with the I-BMW group and please remember to request the main lodge so we can stay together unless you prefer a cabin.. See full 2014 DGR rally details and booking information in rally section below.

5. Has anyone noticed Escort has a new "supposedly" top of the line radar detector.. the Passport Max..? If I'm reading their spiel correctly.. it coordinates in real time with other people's radar detectors in the area. Dayum!! But before you put your Redline, V1, or 9500ix on eBay.. you may want to wait a while.. I did some research and read tons of professional and amateur reviews... Most say it's not much (if any) better than the 9500ix or Redline. It's heavier.. larger.. some say flimsy. I think I'll wait a while before I upgrade. Just sayin.

6. If you've burned out the parking light bulb on your K1200S or K1300S... here's an LED replacement bulb that is both SUPER Bright and CanBus compatible, I know because I just installed one on my bike... Check out the 194 CAN Bus LED Bulb - 5 SMD LED Wedge Base Tower bulb from www.superbrightleds.com or you can go to their site and do a search on part# WLED-NW5-CBT. Cost is $5.95 + shipping and worth every penny.


What's New at Pirates' Lair?

1. About a year and a half ago, one of our customers ordered one of the high-dollar, super-light Shorai batteries from us. These suckers are unbelievably light and so is your wallet post purchase.. He called last week and the battery was dead.. Wouldn't hold a charge. I figured since they have (or at least I thought they had) a killer warranty, Shorai would simply ship him a new battery replacement with a call tag for his bad one... That's what should have happened. Long story short.. they kinda dicked him around and eventually agreed to ship him a remanufactured battery at 1/2 the cost of a new one. Obviously my customer wasn't happy.. nor I. If I can't count on our suppliers to back their products.. especially top-of-the-line products... I'm not gonna deal with them. With that said.. starting immediately, we are dropping the entire line of Shorai batteries from our product line.

2. During the month of December, Pirates Lair will be giving away a Free Pirates Lair Kickstand Pad with each order to every customer currently serving in the military... If you are on active duty, just ask and you shall receive. This is our humble way of saying "Thank you for all you do, soldier..."

Click Here for Full Web Page.. If You Dare

3. We just got our first shipment of Oberon's K1300S / K1200S Touring Footpeg Kit from the UK and they are already sold out. These imported billet aluminum peg kits (from Great Britain) are sleek, attractive, and durable. While we plan on keeping silver in stock, we can special order these in Blue, Red, Black, Gold, or Titanium. Expect about a 3 week wait on colors. Our kits come complete with (2) front and (2) rear pegs and all necessary mounting hardware to make your K13/K12 stand out in a sea of mediocrity. They are machined to precise measurements and is a direct replacement to the existing footpeg - No mods necessary. Chimp easy install. Chimp not included.

4. One would think I'd be used to disappointment... Obama is still president. Our country is divided and headed toward socialism. Business is still down 50% under the "bamster".. Lost my retirement money and hopes of building our dream house when the economy collapsed a few years ago. Haven't had a vacation in years. Just lost my doctor of 10 years due to Obamacare and my insurance rates are set to double. I generally feel like I'm in an episode of Debbie Downer. Waaah Waah.. Then out of the darkness.. a lifeline. About a year ago I jumped through all the hoops and got the contract for being the lone US importer of Laser Exhausts (based out of the Netherlands). Woohoo!! I was counting on this venture to pull Pirates Lair back from the financial brink and maybe.. just maybe.. back into the black... I spent weeks creating web pages... Spent thousands of dollars in advertising... Took a week arranging the complicated banking/wire transfer payments to the Netherlands... and now, after only one year, I'm dropping their products from the menu and severing all ties with the company. Why? Where do I begin?... For now lets just say that IMHO they are either the most apathetic vendors we've ever dealt with or the most inept. I'll post a full story in our year-end December issue.. and it won't be pretty. Bottom line... Laser Exhausts are off the menu... permanently.

Click Here To See More... If You Dare

K12 / K13 / K16 Rally Event News : 2014

The 15th Annual I-BMW Deals Gap Rally: October 2-5th, 2014 NEW!

Where: Fontana Village Resort
Nearest town: Robbinsville, NC
When: October 2nd-5th, 2014 [Thur-Sunday]
Reservations: Direct 800.849.2258

Geezz. Have we been doing this for 14 years? I've had marriages that didn't last that long. I have negotiated the same room prices for 2014 as last year. Rooms w/ 2 queen beds/ns: $85+tax - 6 2br cabins with 1 queen and 2 twin beds/kitchen/ns: $159+tax. Call 800-849-2258 option 1. (If you are booking a room, remember to request the main lodge.) Cabins will be Azalea cabins. Reservations for blocked out rooms will end 45 days prior. Saavy? Be sure to mention i-bmw group when booking. Amber and I will be there. Neither of us will be wearing panties.

...and don't forget... Pirates Lair will be offering your choice of either Pirates Lair Plundering hats, Pirates Lair tees, or $25 gift cards to anyone who achieves a "velocity award" while in transit to or from or at the rally itself.. If we don't reward bad behavior... who else will?? Arrrrrrg.

Be there!!!

NOTE: I-bmw.com is not an official sponsor of any posted events. Event participation is the sole responsibility of the attendee. Motorcycle riding is potentially dangerous and can result in personal injury or death or lots of velocity awards.. You and you alone are responsible for your own safety. Ride within your own ability. It's called.. "personal responsibility."

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How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle

We have a new contribution this month. Our last safe riding tip # 163 was sent in by Dwight Manuel of Asheville, NC! Thx, bro. Could his tip save your life? Dare you not look?.

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.

Pirates Lair Sacred Archives

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-hundred 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?

BMW How-To Section

We have a new contribution for our How-To section is..
How-To Remove the ESA & Install Wilbers Shocks on a K1200S contributed by Curt (aka McFly) over at I-BMW.com. Thx, Curt.

Picture at right Courtesy of Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss, Jr. / Model: Ms Melissa Haro

Click For Larger Image.. If You Want a Chub..

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Pirates Lair Cheesy Newsletters .. Past Issues