Kawasaki Goes High-Tech

Kawasaki is reported to be working on some high-tech additions to the Concours14/GTR-1400 for the upcoming model year.

Kawasaki HUD System
Kawasaki HUD System

They won’t be officially unveiled until later this year.  I don’t know when.  It was supposed to be at the Paris Motorcycle show in October, but that event has been canceled.

Anyway, the new additions include an infrared night vision system, and a heads-up display for riders.

The heart of the system is a pair of infrared cameras mounted on the front of the bike. They allow the rider to “see” about 300 meters ahead of the bike, which is well beyond the viewing distance provided by the headlights. Not only will the system be able to find a heat signature before the rider is able to see it, but it will also provide an audible alarm to the rider. This will keep focus on the road rather than the gauge cluster.

Aside from the night vision the Kawasaki Engineering team is also working to design a helmet mounted heads up display. If they are successful, it could be mean riders will rarely have to look away from the road to check their speed or whatever they are monitoring at the time. The current design is mounted on the exterior of the helmet, rather than being part of it, meaning it could quickly become a popular aftermarket accessory.

It’s also supposed to have a bluetooth hookup to the helmet HUD, so there won’t be any annoying wires or whatnot.

Maybe I should reconsider an earlier post.  If you’re gonna have the heads-up display, and the infrared night vision, you might as well spring for the Batman suit after all.

The Exploding RT, and Boxer Rumors

A reader from South Africa–isn’t the web just amazing!–has sent in an interesting story about his horrific run of bad luck with the R1200RT, and he also asks me an interesting question.  I thought I would address him in a new post instead of the comments.

Hi Dale,

I am a 54 year old bike rider now and in October/November 2006 I purchased my first R1200RT, strickly ran in the bike as recommended, at about 5000 somthing km while running flat out (230km/hr)up a long hill, at sea level, the engine blew up, right hand cylinder it later turned out. BMW Motorrad led me to belive that it was my fault to an extent, they offered me their demmo RT with 355km on the clock at nost cost although this was a 07 model. I completed the running in procedure to 1000km and proceded to enjoy the bike. Planning on doing a long trip with the ODO at just less than 10,000km I had it serviced for its 10K. 3 days after this service and still not on 10K, running the same hill also flat taps as previous the engine blew, again the RH cylinder with identical damage as the first. After a big fight and quite a lot of money I got a new 09 RT full house, ran it in as previous, blew this motor at less than 3000km, only difference I was on a different hill. Yes, the same cylinder with identical damage as the previous 2 bikes. Completely dishartened as I truely love this machine, I had it repaired kept it for a month after which I traded it in on 1200GS. The GS is a different beast, also good but nothing like the RT. Anyway in this time I found out that BMW are bringing out a new RT,to be released in Germany Nov/Dec this year, it’s apparently top secret, I’ve tried searching the web for any bit of info without any success, I’m waiting in anticipation for it as I know I will have it. Perhaps you know what BMW are doing and could advise me!

Also please advise if you know about other RT owners blowing their motors, especially the R/H cylinders.

Regards
Deryck Siddons
South Africa

Your story is horrific, Deryck.  Actually, it sounds outlandish, because I’ve never heard of the RT, or any other of the boxers, having a problem with the cylinders blowing.  Now, if you’d told me that your final final drive started spewing lubricant and bursting into flame, I’d have nodded my head and said, “Yeah, that seems to be going around.”  There’s been a lot of controversy over BMW’s final drive in the 2005 and 2006 models, and whether there was a fundamental design flaw that BMW refused to acknowledge, but quietly fixed.  But I’ve never heard of any sort of problem with the boxer engine, which is, after all, going on its ninth decade as BMW’s banner power plant.

Indeed, here in the states, we have something called the Iron Butt Association (IBA), where motorcycle riders take their bikes on a ridiculously long trips in a ridiculously short time.  The three big IBA events are the SaddleSore 1000 (1,000 miles/1,600 km in 24 hours), BunBurner 1500 (1500 miles/2400 km in 24 or 36 hours), and the 50cc Quest (coast-to-coast in 50 hours).  In the last Iron Butt Rally (11,000 miles/17,600 km in 11 days) in 2007, 5 of the 72 participants who completed the Rally were riding R1200RTs.

So, you seem particularly unlucky.  I suggest that you not take up piloting helicopters.  Or skydiving.

I’m just saying.

The New BMW R1300RT?
The New BMW R1300RT?

As for rumors of a new R-Bike from BMW…well, I wasn’t going to actually write anything about this, but I actually have heard something about a new R1300RT.  As far as I know, the only place where this has been reported is at a French motorcycle news web site called MotoStation.  Back in February, they reported that BMW was working on a new R1300RT for release in June 2010.

They even have a photoshop of the new bike…and you can believe as much of that picture as you please.

Interestingly, they also say that the R1300RT will switch over to the same type of boxer motor as that which powers the current HP2 Sport, with its two camshafts, instead of the current single camshaft.  That should up the horsepower to around 130HP, with…oh, let’s call it 95-100 lb-ft (13.1-13.8Kgm) of torque.  More or less.

Whether all this is real or not, I really can’t say.  You know how some of the motorcycle web sites are.  In the UK, MCN has been predicting a new model of the Honda Interceptor (VFR) every year for five years.  They’ve become a joke because of it, at least on that issue.

So, yes, there’s rumored to be a new 1300cc boxer for the RT in the works at BMW for next year, which is to say the 2011 model year.  Whether those rumors are true, I really can’t say.  MotoStation is the only place that’s reporting this, and they haven’t made mention of it again since February.  If it’s true, then they’re doing a good job of keeping this hush-hush in Bayern.

I am, however, deliriously proud of myself for converting the English measurements to the heathen  metric system for you.