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2008 BMW K1200S, non-ESA unit.
I bought it as the K1300 was being intro'd, and all the ESA units in this paint scheme were gone. I decided, for once, form over function. Plus the only feature of ESA that really grabbed me was the soft mode for those choppy highways. This one rode better with non-ESA in more situations, while the ESA unit seemed too soft in normal and far too stiff in sport for some of the roads out here. At the track, I'm sure it's a different story. But I commute, so any track manner improvements are secondary.
In retrospect, the 2nd ESA feature that should have grabbed me would be adjusting for a pillion. SWMBO and I ride just about every weekend and I have to turn up the rear shock to keep the centerstand from dragging in the more contorted sweepers (which freaks her out, yet another reason to avoid it). During the test ride, I have to admit, it didn't feel like there was much difference on the S or the GT in 1-up vs 2-up mode, which is one reason I didn't sweat it.

Farkles (you think you haven't done anything, then you look at the list!)

  • Metzeler Z6 tires, Michelin Pilot Sport 2s..
    • A huge improvement over the factory BT014s, both in handling (dry and especially wet) and wear (rear, front is similar at ~7K)
  • Center stand (great when I really need one, otherwise, first BMW I rarely use it on)
    • Pro
      • Do you need to ask?!?
    • "Con"
      • I've dragged both sides several times on Palomar (great sweepers) with a pillion unless I turn up the rear shock. Then it doesn't drag. Oops!! ;-)
  • Factory side cases
    • Pros
      • The bags expand to be much larger. I can put a fullsize helmet in a bag no problem (turn a Schuberth Concept C1 on its side, it fits just fine). I actually love these cases (wish they were waterproof)
      • These are very nice in that they are not wider than the bars. Lane sharing friendly for sure!
      • Scuffing from tagging them with your boot isn't readily evident, as it was on my K1200RS or R1100S.
    • Cons
      • You need two hands to open or close them
      • They are not waterproof by themselves at the closure (hence the inclusion of waterproof bags)
  • Remus carbon fiber slip-on
    • Pros
      • throttle/FI behaviour in tight corners is soooo much better
      • much smaller and lighter than stocker
      • easier to keep clean than stocker
      • must have taken all of 10 minutes to install it
    • Cons
      • Seems to cost appx 1mpg, but due to throttle behaviour improvement, it'll stay
      • Louder than stock (for most, a pro). Sounds good, street legal, but attracts more official attention than I prefer
      • No heat shield on the pipe just behind the right peg. At stops, I have heated up my leg, boot soles, and my cold-weather pants. No permanent damage... yet.
  • SW Motech Alu-rack (for topcase)
    • Pro
      • Good looking, attaches firmly, robust-feeling, thick top plate
    • Cons
      • Rubs the plastic surround around the taillight, so pulling it when I eventually sell the bike will be prohibitive from a looks perspective. It may have to be sold with the bike.
  •   Givi topcase (model escapes me)
    • Pros
      • Since the JC Whitney case is not pretty enough for the K, I sprung for the Givi. For more than 4-5x the price, I was not overly impressed in its functionality, but it's pretty enough that I run it on the bike much of the time (ok, it's a topcase and not pretty on that bike, but it works!). I love having the storage when I need it (Costco runs!). It usually stores my after-gym helmet.
      • When I put too much stuff in it to close it, a small bungee works great to hold the lid down and retain the contents (Costco again!)
      • The extra reflectors actually make me feel better/more visible on foggy mornings/evenings (plenty on my commute throughout the year)
    • Cons
      • To be honest, my JC Whitney topcase on my Husky is much better value. The Givi lid is very thin material, so dont' expect to install any Bungee Buddies. 
      • The Givi has a complex latching mechanism which I've managed to jam closed by over-packing the case. After 10+ minutes of futzing with it, I gave up and decided to futz with it later that day. The 600 miles in between apparently packed things down enough that I was able to open it pretty readily at the end of the day. Jamming is not possible to do on the JC Whitney.
  •   Autocom Pro-M7
    • Clear communication at "any" speed. Any sane speeds on open roads anyways... I've had this unit on 3 different bikes.
  •   Valentine V1
    • Hard mounted with the remote display, I never leave home without it
  •   Throttlemeisters
    • lovely craftmanship
    • Incredibly useful on long trips
  • Garmin Zumo 550 
    • I should have bought one of these when they came out. Bluetooth via my NCom N-103, I can ride all day and get directions (as long as I'm just using it for directions)
  • Trapster.com 
    • POIs for Garmins. Huge benefit. Saved me multiple fixed speed camera tickets in AZ. Get it.
  • ETI 35W HID headlight from Pirate's Lair - My install tips here (and link to HID bulbs on Pirate's)


  • 600 mile service - day 13 & approximately 700 miles. Got an EWS error as I left, SA told me not to worry about it. Next AM, dead bike.
  • Fill in other services here - note, all engine/tranny services through North County
  • 3,800 miles - Tire, Rear Z6 tire at 3800, San Jose BMW Motorcycles, tech chingered up the wheel, then tried to blame me hitting a pothole because the wheel was so bent (more than 1" of runout). Turns out their balance machine is pretty bent, wheel was minimally tweaked and just at the spot in the rim. Promised me a new wheel, then changed their minds. Had to fight to get a new wheel, then finally got an OK but only after I ship them mine. Since that took from October through nearly January, there is NO WAY I can send them my wheel and expect to get a new one, as promised, in a timely fashion. I'm never going there again. Good job, Chris, you lost a customer.
  • 6,000 service - North County BMW
  • 12,000 service - North County BMW
    • included front brakes, wow $198 for Brembo pads. Note to self, try EBC HHs next.
  • 18,000 service - North County BMW. Valves did not need adjusting.
    • When cold, at the stop sign at my work, bike stumbles hard on acceleration, have almost dropped it more than once (not really, but I could!). Upgraded to 13.1 (?).
  • 19,600 Tire, Rear - Diablo Supersport, DIY. Not a happy rain tire. Gets greasy when run hard on a warm day (Mt. Palomar). Not a fan.
  • 20,230 - service complaint, since SW upgrade, bike hesitates after steady cruise/slight coast around 4-5K RPM. MPG is terrible, lost 3mpg average immediately after service. First 4  days after 18K service, stalled when coasting into stop signs/red lights in N/clutch in.
  • 20,438 11/29/09 Tire, Front - Diablo Supersport, DIY
    • check front brakes again in 500-1000 miles
    • front tire wearing pretty evenly
  • ~24,000 Brakes, Front - EBC HH. When they say "break them in for 250 miles", they are NOT kidding! But working great now that they're broken in!
  • ~24,000 service - North County BMW
  • ~28,000 - Tire, Rear - Michelin Pilot Road 2CT. $153. Schwing! New rear brakes, EBC HH
  • ~28,000 - Added Garmin Zumo 550 with ZTechnik mount and Touratech locking mount.
  • ~29,000 - Tire, Front - Pirelli Diablo Sport (last one from a set of 3 Cycle Gear had on monster sale).
  • ~33,000 Service (oil, but whatever the computer tells me to do, I do!) - North County BMW
  • ~33,500 - Tire, Front - Michelin 2CT Pilot Road 2 (PR2)
  • 34,648 - Tire, Rear - Michelin 2CT PR2. Holy cow, more than 6K on this tire? That ridiculously good on this bike given the amount of grip and my riding style
  • ~36,000 - 36K service, another oil change, clutch safety start switch (not warrantied? Really?), headlight-mounted running light bulb - North County BMW
  • ~39,500 - Tire, Rear - Michelin 2CT
  • 41,240 - front tire - Dunlop RoadSmart. Front still had decent tread in the middle, but was thin on the sides from my sport path to work and I had an 1100 mile road trip coming up.
  • 42,300 - HID install (see farkles above)
  • 44,650 - Rear tire - Dunlop RoadSmart. 
  • 45,000 - Front RoadSmart due for replacement. Only 4K miles, half of what the Michelins return, plus it's skittish in the wet. Last one I'm buying, front or rear.

Non-Warranty items

  • ~12k - low beam headlight bulb
  • ~24k - low beam headlight bulb
  • ~36K - clutch safety switch, headlight-mounted running light bulb

Warranty items

  •   EWS - day 14 & approximately 700 miles. Day after the 600 mile service (of course).
  •   front rotors - 11,500 miles
  •   front headlight surround (peeling silver paint at the black/silver junction) - 11,500 miles
  •   SW update to 13.1, then 13.2 for driveability issues (see Services)