Staying Cool on a K-bike

By Don Eilenberger
September 1998

OK.. you will NEVER be "cool" on a K-RT or K-LT except in the middle of the winter.. it just ain't gonna happen, but you can make it so you won't pass out (comfortable) while riding (I did come VERY close more than once, and was ready to sell the bike after the ride down to Fontana last year - high 80's low 90's and humid.)

Things to do:


K-Heat-Guards. Made for the K100RT/LT. Don't know about other models. At the time I ordered mine - only the K100RT/LT ones were available. There may be other K models available now.

The K-Heat-Guards are molded plastic inserts that close the space between the fairing knee-pads, the bottom of the tank and the angled frame tube towards the rear. They force the heat from the engine rearward.

What's good about them: They fit fairly well as they came, but I (natch) made a few small mods to them. They do what they claim to.

MODS
The left one is held on by the four screws that hold the ignition coil cover on (which is different on the K75RT). It has a hole in it for your accessory plug, and another one could easily be added. Made no mods to the left one.

The right one is held on by two screws into an L bracket that takes the place of your alternator cover. It also has a recessed part that fits right where the lower cover screw goes - but it isn't drilled. The instructions are to leave the screw out.. but:

Mod 1 - I replaced the lower cover screw, and made a hole in the recess big enough to go over the head of the allen screw. Helps to position the bottom of the heat-guard.

Mod 2 - there is a tab with a hole in it that goes behind the upper forward mount for the bikes side cover. On mine - it tended to pull the side cover out of the mount (the mount is just a big grommet).. I used a fine bladed hacksaw and removed the tab..

Mod 3 - I worried a bit about air-supply to the alternator. The stock alternator cover has some slots in it - in the area where the fan on the front of the alternator could draw air into the alternator. I added a slot - about 1/2" x 2" in the same area in the K-Guard. I do have the ability to very accurately monitor my battery/charging voltage (digital voltmeter built into the bike.. something for another FAQ).. and the charging voltage (which would be effected by temperature - higher temps = less volts) has not been effected. When the bike is cold, the alternator puts out 13.7 V max (spec) and when it's warmed up - it's putting out 13.56 V - which is fine.

My ratings

OK - possible downside? The K-Heat-Guards DO push a lot of heat out around the battery. This could effect the lifetime of the battery since they don't like heat. I have check a check on the fluid level and have not had to top it up.. this after several longish VERY hot rides (on one - which Barry Blank was on with me - it hit 96F on the NJ Turnpike near Trenton NJ - on the way back from Square Root).

The upside - I survived the ride! And have not gotten sick from the heat this year (did once last year!)

Frank Glasmer (who is in Mississippi) reports that his K75RT runs cooler (guess they may make K-Guards for the K75RT!) if he takes the right side heat-guard off. His side cover is cooler. My side covers DO get quite hot - but with the Russell seat - I rarely come in contact with them - and if I do - it's through my Stitch. Hasn't been a problem so far.

Where to get the K-Heat-Guards (FAQ stuff!): They are made by a mom/pop sorta business. Husky Mountain, PO Box 593, Kingston, TN. 37763. Phone number: (865) 376-4968. Tell'm HI for me! Cost was about $75/pair. Took several weeks to get them, but they may have them 'stocked' now. Also a website at http://hometown.aol.com/bmwkguard/

Other stuff you could/can do:


Windshields - there is a later model BMW windshield with 'winglets'.. this helps a LOT with a Stitch - if you put the winglets in what looks like a backwards position (big side facing forwards). Pushes LOTS of air right at you - and if you unzip the Stitch a bit - right into the Stitch. I had to tighten the pivot screws on the hinges a bit on one side so it would stay in this position. Works great. Cost - zilch!


Make CERTAIN that the sealing gaskets around your fork legs have been removed and replaced with air-scoops. BMW parts - a retrofit for the heat and also to help cool the fuel tank. Cheap too.. the scoops are only about $4/each.


Baker WindWings - these are winglets that mount to a bracket and are mounted to your fairing somewhere around knee level. I haven't tried them - but may if I see some for sale someplace. I have heard reports that these also help a lot.

Where to get Baker WindWings - I think Tucker-Rocky stocks them so most any moto dealer should be able to order them for you. They do have (I checked once) a model specifically listed for the K-RT/LT. Seem to remember cost around $50/pair.


Finally - I've also found that moving my hands out towards the barend-weights, and having my Stitch sleeve openings more or less max-open, directs air right up my arms and inflates the Stitch! (Must look like the Michelin man!) VERY nice! Also no cost. Would be nice to have some way of directing air at the hands and sleeves when you want it (the K-RT wind protection is sometimes TOO good!)

 

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