Sportboards - Floorboards for BMW R1150RT
I never thought much about floorboards one way or another -- I just
assumed it was part of the cruiser thing. Then I got a chance to
ride a brand-new Yamaha Road Star a couple of months ago, and I have to
admit, I really liked it.
The floorboards were part of what made
the bike seem so comfortable; not having to keep your feet locked in one
position is really kind of nice.
Room to move your feet around is
kind of like having a nice, big, wide saddle that you can move your butt
around on -- it's always nice to have more options for body positions
But, after the cruiser ride was over, I quickly forgot about the
floorboards. Other than the R1200C, there was no place for
floorboards in BMW-land...or so I thought. One day I opened up my
email and there was a mysterious photo of a "Sportboard" on an
Hey, it looked pretty cool! Howard Carte at Ilium
Works wanted to know if wBW
wanted a set of Sportboards to review.
I said "sure!" and quickly called up fellow BMW2 (BMW
Bikers of Metropolitan Washington) club member John Nickum to see if
he'd be interested in "volunteering" his shiny black R1100RT
for the cause. We
picked a Friday that turned out to be a wonderful surprise day for
winter -- sun shining and temperature in the low 60's.
Let's first take a look at how to install them, then we'll give you our
John and I
opened up the box from Ilium Works and it was immediately apparent how
the Sportboards were supposed to fit. To be honest, we hardly read
the instructions -- we just skimmed through them for a couple of seconds. These
things are really easy to install!
First, you need to remove the stock footpegs. This is fairly easy:
remove the clip that holds the locating pin in place, then remove the
spring (blue arrow) that keeps the footpegs located in the horizontal
position, then pull the pin and the footpegs come right off.
|You'll end up
with this -- the machined boss where the stock footpegs are located and
where the Sportboards have to go.
|Here's all you
need to do the job -- the Sportboards come with new locating pins;
cotter pins and the Allen wrench. All you need is a pair of needle nose
pliers to bend the cotter pins.
|All you have to
do is slip the Sportboards into place, drop the supplied locating pin down
through, and insert the (supplied) cotter pin through the bottom.
It's a bit tricky to get the cotter pin bent properly -- it would be
nice if the original BMW clip would fit, but then I suppose you'd have
to pay for a custom-machined part when a stock hardware item works fine.
To keep the Sportboards from flopping
around, tighten the set screws with the supplied Allen wrench. We
found that they loosen up pretty quickly, so this would be a good place
to use some "blue" thread locking product.
Once the set screws are tight, the Sportboards felt very solid and
stable. John and I stood up on them and they didn't move at all.
Here's a photo that compares the size of the
stock footpegs to the Sportboards. The Sportboards aren't like the
big monster platforms that you might see on a cruiser (I guess that's where the "Sport"
comes from) and they complement the styling of the RT-series bikes very
The finish on them was a very close match to the original
BMW finish on the aluminum side panels.
Here are a couple of photos
to give you an idea of foot location in relation to the brake and shift
The boards really do look like they could
have come from the BMW accessory catalog. John and I were curious
as to whether the width of the boards would affect his ability to reach
the ground when stopped, but as it turned out, that wasn't a
problem. John reported that it didn't take him long to get used to
the Sportboards -- he took it easy at first to learn the location and
the relationship of his feet to the shift and brake controls.
We're a bit uncertain about how the width of the boards might affect
lean angle, but most RT riders aren't really carving up the turns, so I
suppose it's not an issue.
After living with the Sportboards for a while, here's John's report:
Installation: The boards are EASY to
install. It shouldn't take anyone, even with minimal skills, more
than 1/2 an hour to complete the job.
Left Board/Shifting: It took some
time to adjust the old brain to the new angle of the board relative to
the shift lever. It helps to stretch the Achilles tendon
beforehand as the angle of the board to the shift lever is more acute
than the standard foot peg. I found up-shifting quite easy but
down-shifting requires lifting your boot toe up more to make contact
with the lever. I made the adjustment rather quickly without
Right Board/Braking: The same
angle/board/foot problem exists it on the right side as the left and
seemed for me to take longer to adjust to the proper braking pressure
for the rear brake. I'm one of those that learned in MST class to use
both brakes, even with ABS, and my habit continued for this test.
Because of the angle of the board to the brake lever a softer touch is
required to produce the same results as with the foot pegs.
"Cruisability": These boards are
really comfortable! I never thought I would say that about a Harley type
product but for long cruising trips the Sportboards would be great. My
legs were much more relaxed, which I think would help curb fatigue. Like
sitting in a LazyBoy chair, almost?
Foot Down Maneuvers: The thing I
was worried about most, putting my feet down at stops and having the
boards in the way of my legs/feet, was not a problem. I quickly
adjusted to a little wider stance which actually improved my stability.
The boards do hinder maneuvering the bike back and forth with your feet
a little but not what I expected.
Potential for bottoming out?: I'm a little concerned about bottoming out for the more aggressive
rider that the boards would scrape/bottom out on the roadway if the bike
was leaning over too much on twisty roads (like Harley's do with BMW
riders). I couldn't tell how close I was to the road when leaning
over but it worried me a little.
Shake-down: The Allen bolts
really need a coat of "Loctite" (or other thread locking
compound). The bike's vibrations loosen them and I tightened them
upon returning. Not much, but once they are set and tight they should
Center Stand: We found that with the Sportboards installed,
placing the bike on the center stand can be a bit difficult. When the center stand comes up under the bike, the
flange arm, used to place the bike on the center stand with your foot,
just about disappears between the inside edge of the floor board and the
bike. It is very difficult to position your foot to push the center
The only thing I could do, after placing the bike on
the side stand, was reach down with my hand to start moving the center
stand toward the ground and then place my foot on the flange arm.
A bit tricky and requires hand/eye coordination? There is a tab on
the center stand that you can catch with the toe of your boot, but
depending upon the type of boot you wear, you may not be able to get
enough leverage to hold the center stand down hard enough to rock your
bike up on it.
Removal: The only thing I have to add is taking the boards off
(easy) and putting the bike's original pegs back on (not easy!). It is difficult lining
up the pin through the bottom spring and bushing to get the cotter pin
back in place. This makes it difficult to just add or subtract the
boards from the bike for touring trips. A quick disconnect would
be better to interchange the two but that would increase the price even
John and I both like the Sportboards. They install easily,
have a good appearance that is compatible with BMW standards, and they
are very comfortable. We would both definitely like to have the
floor boards for long trips and live with their minor disadvantages.
However, we believe you may have to be a serious long-distance rider to
justify the cost. The Sportboards retail for $399.00.
If you are going to do a lot of long-distance riding -- and I guess
that's what the RT's are for -- than the Sportboards may be just the
thing to give you that extra bit of comfort.
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Review: Sportboards -
Floorboards for BMW Motorcycles by Ilium Works
Retail Price: $399.00
|Fits: 1996-2000 BMW R 1100
2001-2002 BMW R 1150 RT; 1998-2002 K 1200 LT, R 1200 C
and K 1100 LT models. Made
Comments: Easy to install;
comfortable for long distance riding; allows varied foot placement
to help prevent fatigue. Price may be an issue; potential for
awkward foot placement with some foot/shoe sizes.
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