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.. 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. Our email database is 100% secure. Stored in a lock box formerly owned by Al Gore. Never shared or sold to third parties. Never perused by the NSA. Your name and email address will be safe with us into infinity and beyond.

Prepare to be boarded!

The Latest Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter: Sept / October 2014 Issue

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

Tonight Only: Dr. F. Fronkensteen  in "THE GREATEST DISCOVERY SINCE FIRE" Presented in Cooperation With T N S (Transylvanian Neurological Society) A "SOLD OUT" Performance. Inside the audience is filled with elderly scientists, their wives, and the curious from the upper crust of society. A spotlight hits the stage as Dr Freddy Fronkonsteen dressed in tails addresses the eager crowd. Inga, his assistant in a formal, and Igor -- in "something" -- wait excitedly behind the curtain.

Freddy: And now, my fellow scientists and neurosurgeons...I must ask you to...suspend belief. For up until now, you have seen the Creature perform the simple mechanics of motor activity.  That this Creature was an inanimate blob, which I endowed with the secret of life -- yes!...in all honesty -- that showed some measure of skill on my part. But for what you are about to see next...we must enter -- quietly --into the realm of genius.  I say this modestly, only because I am, myself, as in awe of the gifts I possess as if I were observing them in some other person.  I think of them, only, as a loan.  Grateful, of course...that my credit is good. Thus, with the accumulated knowledge of Chemistry, Electricity, Neuro-surgery, and the Cheesy Pirates Lair Newsletter...I now present what was once an inarticulate mass of lifeless tissues. Ladies and gentlemen... Mesdames et Messieurs...Damen und Herren...The Creature!

A spotlight hits the darkness next to him. And there --In top hat and tails-- stands the Monster. He is heavily made up.

Freddy:   (singing..) ..If you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you...
The Monster accompanies the music with short, simple "Soft Shoe" steps.
Freddy: (singing..) ...go where fashion sits.........................
The Monster: "Poo -- tmmm anngh ma Ritz!"

Freddy / Gene Wilder.. The Monster / Peter Boyle... / Young Frankenstien...1974

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

Picture Of The Month! Halton Ferry Scottsville, Va! (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 Sept/October POTM was contributed by our good friend Wes of Gloucester, Va (aka..Capnrip over at I-BMW.com). He says of the shot... "This was taken last fall on a much needed escape from work. Is at Hatton Ferry on the James River at Scottsville, VA. Just a cheap Nikon. The area floods a lot, after hurricane Agnes my bike would have been under 17' of water there. It was a really nice fall day, slightly overcast which makes for better pictures. Went out to see the leaves changing. Weekday so had the place to myself. There are train tracks just out of the picture, coal train came by so I had lots of time."

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. C. No GS's for Gods sake.

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Product Evaluation: Rowe Electronics PDM60 Power Distribution Module

I have a few aftermarket gadgets and accessories on my K1200S. Well.. maybe more than a few. Not like the GS guys, but more than the Sharper Image. Enough to worry about overloading the entire CanBus system and potentially catching the attention of the Department of Homeland Security. Recently while hunting for an un-used switched wire for my latest electrical add-on, I ran into all kinds of woes. Every time I tapped into a wire I'd short out another accessory.. Try this wire and I blow my radar detector.. Try that wire and my PIAA lights stopped working.. Try that wire and my Auto Suck stopped sucking. It was a cascading effect. No matter how much rum I consumed.. the problems just wouldn't go away. I seemed to have run out of usable "virgin" wires... So what to do??

A few years ago I received an evaluation package from Rowe Electronics.. Their PDM60 Power Distribution Module. It was very well made and the company had a great reputation, but I just didn't think there was a market for such devices. And frankly, I though it was a little too complicated for those (like myself) who are just one chromosome above a feces flinging chimp on the evolutionary scale. I looked it over then sheepishly sent the demo back (unused) and didn't think much about it until this last week. In my current predicament.. the PDM60 was starting to make sense. In fact.. the solution to all my wiring problems. I decided to take another look at this device.

"more power, Scotty!"

After multiple back and forth emails with Rowe Electronics resident PDM60 guru Blake Costello, I was assured that the install and use was a lot easier than my inner demons were leading me to believe. I should add that those demons have led me astray many times through the years... but I digress. I explained my fears of wiring. He calmly assured me that putting all the foofoo features aside.. the initial install really consists of just 3 wires. A ground.. a hot wire (which goes to the battery), and a switched wire. That's it! He was even working on a simpler version of their instructions for those (like me) who are not electrically inclined.

A few days later the PDM60 was in my hands and I was ready for the install. In the interim I had done my prerequisite anal retentive research as to where I was going to install it ...ground it... and where I'd run the switched wire. Surprisingly, the install took less than an hour. Running some of my accessories to it proved effortless. While the default setting worked flawlessly for me, the PDM60 is also programmable for those with special needs or requirements. You can program it for circuit amperage limits, circuit triggering methods, circuit delay activation, delay off settings, world domination, and I think it even whistles Dixie. While I'm sure many will appreciate the flexibility this device offers, I just wanted my stuff to power up. Simple needs for a simple man. One cool feature the PDM60 has ... it waits 8 seconds before it turns on my accessories as to not tax the battery upon start-up. Clever. The PDM60 provides 6 individual circuits with a total load handling capability of 60 Amps. That should be enough even for the GS guys...

Now that it's installed, I'm convinced and enlightened. I'm also kicking myself for not installing one sooner, but better late than never. My life would have been so much easier if I had installed one of these years ago when the bike was a "virgin." For a serial accessorizer like myself.. this device (I now understand) is a prerequisite. As Allah is my witness,... my next bike will have a PDM60 installed during the first week of ownership.

Postscript: After the success or my recent install I have decided to carry the Rowe Electronics PDM60 Power Distribution Module from our website. How could I not? I now see and understand the need for such a device and think my customers will too. I'm a convert. Late to the party, but a convert nonetheless. This is one bad-ass little device...and it's made right here in the USA.

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Product Evaluation: CustomLED's Blinker Genie

I get a lot of requests for front accessory lighting for the BMW K1200S and K1300S and unfortunately we don't have much. Not for lack of trying. Other than installing an HID kit or adding the butt-ugly MotoLights... the options on the market are few. Years ago I had asked Run-N-Lites to produce a front lighting kit for these bikes, but after a valiant attempt.. they simply couldn't do it. I suspect due to the complexity of the bike. Up until recently I had given up hope on finding something worthy.... That is until a customer pointed me towards the Blinker Genie made by Custom LED.com.

Basically... the "Blinker Genie" is designed to allow single filament turn-signal light bulbs, single intensity LED assemblies, or any two-wire indicators to function as both running lights AND blinkers - at full brightness! Simply connect your two-wire incandescent or LED indicators to the Blinker Genie, and your indicator bulbs/LEDs will now stay on constantly as running lights, and blink when you engage the blinkers! Viola!! All for $24.99 + shipping... Sounds almost too good to be true. We shall see..

I ordered the kit off their website and in 4 days it was in my grubby little Luddite hands. As per the previous product review, I may play a motorcycle accessory guru on the internet, but in reality my wiring skills are just above that of Ren and Stimpy. It should be clear to all by now that I have a deathly fear of wiring anything on my CanBus infested bike. I wasn't really sure I could even do this install so before ordering I studied the on-line instructions, prayed to my respective gods, then had in-depth discussions with a buddy of mine who seems to know more about wiring, electricity, and current than Nikola Tesla. In theory...the installation seemed to fall within my range of understanding and ability.

Blinker Genie by Custom LED

Install, while not hard, is not even close to plug-n-play. I thought I'd be able to do the install just by popping off the inner fairing covers. That turned out to be only wishful thinking. In reality I had to remove all the forward body and gas tank panels (except for the headlight cowling) in order to get to the wires I needed to access. Once you get her panties off.. wiring takes some time, but minimal brain drain.  Even with some problems I encountered, I did the install in under 2 hours. Quick release fasteners on my bike helped cut the time down.

In the Blinker Genie kit you get a left and right side Genie and generic instructions which are mostly adequate even for those with a chemically diminished intellect. Each Genie has (3) wires coming out of one side and (1) wire on the other. (Pic above right) I won't go into specifics on the actual install, but here's wiring/installation diagram that makes the procedure relatively painless..They tell me these will install on virtually any motorcycle.

My initial plan was to change my incandescent oem bulbs to LED bulbs. I should point out that I'm NOT a fan of LEDs. Generally they are not as bright as incandescent bulbs and they are waaaay more expensive, but they have obvious advantages. 1. LEDs will last a lot longer than the oem incandescent bulbs. 2. LEDs put off less heat and I was a little paranoid that the oem bulbs might get too hot and cause a Chernobyl meltdown inside the enclosed blinker housing.

Plan in hand, I ordered 4 different types of LED bulbs from 2 different companies, tried them all, and didn't like any of them. Actually.. I was kind of surprised. While they were supposedly the best and brightest LED bulbs available.. none were as bright as the oem bulbs. That plan out the window, I ended up sending all the LED bulbs back and re-installed my oems. Just to allay my fears of turning my bike into a two-wheeled Hindenberg, I drilled 4 or 5 small holes in the back of each blinker housing to allow for some ventilation. Install complete. My dislike of LED's reinforced. Time to ride.

Results: The Blinker Genies with the oem bulbs offer better visibility during the day and stunning effect after dusk. About the same as car running lights. You notice them during day light hours, but they really "sing" when the sun goes down. The front of my bike is easily much brighter than before and now has the "triangular" light effect that "experts" say is necessary to get the attention of oncoming drivers. In a word... the best $30 or so I've spent in years. I'm very happy with the results. And did I mention they are made right here in the USA??!

Will I carry the Blinker Genie from our website?? Probably not. I would anticipate numerous phone calls from frustrated customers needing wiring help with installs. I know for a fact that there are other Luddites out there who can barely discern the business end of a screwdriver and I simply don't have the time to help all of them.. Also.. I'll imagine profit margin on an already inexpensive item must be miniscule. Not to give up so easily, I did speak with the tech guys at Custom LED.com and they offered to make us a plug-n-play kit if I could provide oem connectors... Unfortunately.. BMW does not sell those to the public at any price. Bummer as I could sell a boat-load of them. In a nutshell.. I love this product.

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. The new MadStad Adjustable Windshield System for the BMW K1200S (2005-2008) and K1300S (2009-present.) provides smooth airflow, no turbulence and a quieter ride guaranteed according to the MadStad Engineering website. The newly developed MadStad system consists of 3 parts: the windshield, the adjustable brackets and the mounting base. Cost is $269.95- $289.95 depending on whether you order the 18" or 20" version.

2.We just found out that the 100HD-MZ Kisan Tailblazer (which rapidly flashes your LED taillight when you apply the brakes) does fit the new water-cooled R1200GSW and Adventure. .

3. Here's something new and interesting.. Have you seen the Bunker Park & Roll... ? Not only does it make moving your bike around in your shop or garage easier, but it serves double duty as a theft deterrent. Not cheap at over $1000 but I have to admit.. I like it!! While they are European made, I see a lot of US distributors listed on their website.

MadStad Adjustable Windshield System for the BMW K1200S

4. If you are one of the many unlucky K12 owners who've experienced an ABS module failure and faced a $2500-3000 bill, here's some encouraging news for you. A customer of mine found a source that can rebuild these devilish assemblies for around $300 and offers a 5 year warranty. Check out ModuleMasters. You are most welcome...

5.. Hornig of Germany has been doing a lot of work with the BMW S1000RR..Their complete S1000RR conversion page is up offering lots of goodies for the bike. .Here's a nice screensaver of the Hornig S1000RR If interested any any of their swag.. let me know.. We carry the entire Hornig product line via special order. Just sayin.

6. If you've been thinking about adding some LED bulbs to your K1200S / K1300S front blinkers but weren't sure what to order ..Click here.. This is the 194 CAN Bus LED Bulb - 13 SMD LED Wedge Base Tower / Part# WLED-x13-CBT. These LED bulbs aren't cheap, but are bright and fittingly sold by the good people at www.superbrightleds.com . These particular LED bulbs are almost as bright as your incandescent oem bulbs, but should (in theory) last 5 times as long. Remember to order white bulbs if you have Amber lenses. Amber bulbs if you have clear lenses. Duh. And yes... they are Can-bus compatible..

Just how bright are you?

7. Heard some interesting news today... Ironically it comes just before next weekend's DGR.. The Topoco Lodge.. site of the first ten I-BMW Deals Gap Rallies is closing...or has already closed..

As most of you know.. it was bought out in 2009 by some guy who decided to make it an "upscale" resort to draw in a "desirable" kind of clientele.... The new owners poured truckloads of cash into the place.. remodeling all the rooms and cabins... building covered areas for parking... opening their own pizzeria and bar... etc etc... What they also did from day one was make it clear that motorcyclists weren't welcome.. WTF!? The Topoco used to host numerous two-wheel groups besides I-BMW. For those unfamiliar with this place.... they are right in the middle of a motorcycle Mecca. It's the closest resort to Deals Gap and the infamous "Tail of the Dragon." Does that sound like good business since? In the middle of a poor economy they shunned two-wheeled guests and wouldn't even allow them to stop in and eat at their restaurant. Dumb. I remember having words with the new owner at that time telling him IMHO it was a stupid, misguided business model.. He blew me off saying.. "we'll see." I guess we did.

The place is currently for sale.... Wish I had the investment money... Turn it into a motorcycle friendly resort and the new owners will be making money faster than the Cali Cartel.

Shoulda coulda...

What's New at Pirates' Lair?

1. In our last newsletter issue I was asking the question "can the K1300S taillight be installed on the K1200S??" As everyone knows.. the K1300S tail is absolutely stunning.. the K1200S.. not so much. Unfortunately there is no plug-n-play wiring harness available for doing just that on a US spec bike ..I had asked the good people at WhiteLights of Germany to come up with a kit... Bottom line.. they tried and failed... Not gonna happen. However.. they do have a plug-n-play kit for installing the European K1300S tail light on a European K1200S.. Little good it does us here in the USA... Any of my Euro customers interested, let me know and I'll put you in touch with them...

2. Our R1200GSW Stealth Backrest project is finally near the testing phase. The (6) pre-production test units should be in my hands in a week or so before being sent out into the field. Our testers will spend about a week or so road testing and evaluating and if all goes as expected.. they'll go straight into production. I've got a stack of pre-orders an inch thick so this should be one of our best sellers if early interest is any indication. Full details and pics should be in our next newsletter. If you are interested in one of these.. email me and I'll put your name on our notification list. There will be no obligation to buy.. I'll just keep you in the loop.

No more baboon ass for me..

3. We just found out that the 100HD-MZ Kisan Tailblazer which rapidly flashes your LED taillight when you apply the brakes does fit the new water-cooled R1200GSW and Adventure. and we have them here.

4. Michelin Pilot Sport 3 Update: Thought I'd check in with a mileage update on the Pilot Power 3s. I just finished off my first pair and the results are astounding.. At least to me. I got 3780 miles out of the front and a whopping 5000 miles out of the rear... I've never gotten anywhere close to this on a dedicated sport tire... On a bike as heavy as a K1200S, I'm truly amazed. Just installed my second set.. I love these tires....

5. NEW PRODUCT! Are you turning your ride into a Frankenbike with splices and wiring and electrical tape stretched all over creation? I was until recently... I had run out of switched wires to access for my latest add-on obsession.. So what to do?? Rather than wasting more prayers to a deaf god, move into the 21st century with the PDM60 Power Distribution Module. No more blown fuses, tangled wiring, overloaded circuits, CanBus related power interruptions, confusion, frustration, or erectile dysfunction.. The PDM60 is fully user programmable. With the PDM60 you get six power circuits and 60 Amps of power handling capability. That's enough to handle all of your accessories.. radar detector, lights, horns, heated gear or grips, Auto Suck, GPS, cell phone, etc, etc... CanBus compatible.. Easy 3 wire install. Not cheap, but worth every doubloon. We now have them on our menu.. and yes.. these are made in the USA!! (see my review above)

6. We just heard from Ilmberger of Germany.. They say their Ilmberger KHO.101.K130S.K - K1300S CF Rear Hugger will fit the special edition HP. We have those here.

Click Here To See More... If You Dare

I-BMW Rally Event News : 2014
NOTE: I-bmw.com is not an "official" sponsor of any of the following 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."

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

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!!!
I-BMW DGR Group Notice 8/2: The block of rooms I reserved and our group discount expired on 8/2... Meaning... the resort is NOT holding them for us any more and regular pricing now applies. DOH! As most of you know.. the resort is ALWAYS sold out for the week we choose as leaf peepers come from all over.. as well as the Crossfire car rally which holds their event there the same weekend... If you are planning on attending the aforementioned 15th Deals Gap I-BMW Rally and staying with the rest of us at the Fontana Lodge October 2-5, 2014 ... you should book ASAP in order to secure a room or cabin. Consider yourself forewarned.

I-BMW Rally Event News : 2015

The First 2015 Australian I-BMW Rally: March 14-16th, 2015

Where: Meet Friday arvo/evening the 13th of March at Jingellic Pub/Hotel
Address: 3149 River Road Jingellic, NSW 2642
Nearest town: Jingellic, New South Wales
When: March 14-16th, 2015 (Arrive on and meet Fri )
Reservations: Tel: 02 6037 1290

All rally details including detailed maps showing the daily routes, lodging, etc... can be found at I-BMW.com Motorcycle rentals are available out of Sydney and Melbourne with quite a few BMW's on the menu. Costs are about $200-300+ a day plus insurance, deposit etc. The tentative (and fluid) plan is for 3 days riding together through and around the snowy mountains. This rally will make I-BMW history... and it's been a long time coming.. Be a part of (hopefully) a new tradition.. and watch out for the 'roos.

2015 I-BMW KHCR: Aug. 6-9th, 2015

Where: Blue Licks Battlefield State Park
Address: 10299 Maysville Rd, Carlisle, KY 40311
Nearest town: Maysville, Ky
When: Aug. 6,7,8, and 9 (Arrive on Thur, play Fri and Sat and depart Sun )
Reservations: 800 443-7008

For reservations call 800 443-7008. There is a restaurant on the grounds. The rooms will be held until July 7. The site is roughly 15 miles South of Maysville Ky on us 68. It is 42 miles North of Lexington Ky on us 68. It is 78 miles East of Cincinnati Ohio. 114 miles East of Louisville Ky and 104 miles West of Huntington W.Va. Ridge land abounds with nice roadways and long views.

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How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle

We have no new contributions 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 this month.. Check out K1300S ROWE PDM60 Install
contributed by K13Mike from Calgary, Alberta., Canada . Mike is a regular over at I-BMW.com . Thx, buddy.

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

Pirates Lair Cheesy Newsletters .. Past Issues