Whenever you throw your leg over a bike that isn’t your own, there is always a few minutes needed to become familiar with the proportions and controls of the foreign machine. Getting a sense of the clutch release point, brake feel, throttle response and riding position may all differ from what you have been accustomed, but they slowly become second nature after enough seat time is logged. One such control that strays from this rule of thumb is the turn signal operation of many BMWs.
We recently learned at Motorcycle.com that BMW will now be standardizing their indicator switches in favor of a more ‘Japanese’ configuration which seemed to delight everyone but faithful BMW owners.
My experience with the former setup had be honking the horn on every left hand turn for the first 30 miles and had me looking downward, away from the road to find exactly how to cancel the indicator switch. Knowing full well that the turning signals of beemer bikes are a significant point of contention, I must say that I enjoyed the placement of the switches once I became accustomed to them. I do however feel that they should be self cancelling, like Harley-Davidsons for instance, instead of having that signal kill switch. Much like my brother-in-law, the signal cancel switch is pretty much a waste of space that could be better occupied by something, anything really.
Knowing many journalists, some will likely complain about the homogenization of the industry, with BMW being a culprit due to their abandoning of a unique feature in favor of a standardized setup. Only time will tell, but while BMW is attempting to appease their critics, there are some things that will never change.