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Harsh Shifting?
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 I only do it on up shift's. You put "up" pressure on the sifter first then clutch and throttle as normal. When I was a kid we would up shift without using the clutch at all. In that case, say you already riding in 1st. and are rolling on the throttle, you put up pressure on the shift leaver to go to 2nd. then when ready just roll off the throttle (no clutch usage) and the trans will shit to 2nd. 
Can you explain preloading a little more?? I don’t understand what you mean. What are doing physically with the shift lever?? 
Just over 100k on '00 K1200LT, '02 R1150R to a bout 65k, '04 R1150R to 44k and now R1200RT on all all I used the preload shifting, no clunking method. Just my personal experience, try it out I may not be for you and for some it will.
Not sure I understand the "pre-load"... you mean put pressure on the shifter w/o shifting??
 In shifting my old '74 R75/6 from 1st to 2nd, it is "clunky"!  I found that if I double shift: light touch into Neutral, and then lift again to go into 2nd, I get a smoother result.   
regards from a newbie,
Gunnar Holmes
I have or owned 2002 R1150RT, 2004 R1100S, and R1200RT and all of transmissions felt/shifted the same.  They are not always silky smooth every shift and sometimes will clunk.  Some old timers will tell you that a BMW transmissions and engines are not broken until 20K miles.  Actually, think there is some truth to that in my opinion as I saw the earlier BMWs running better after 20K miles.  New RT has 13K.  In regard to the shifting, a true synthetic transmission oil does make for a better shift.  I have been told never to use a synthetic product in the final drive as it can or did cause problems in early model drives.
Try preloading the shift, kind of like when doing a power shift without using the clutch. For this you do use the clutch and throttle as normal, but ahead  of that sequence preload the shift leaver. This will help smooth out the last bit of systematization within the transmission.  Works on up or down shift but will take a few tries before you get it. I discovered this on the K1200LT, it had a big clunk 1st. to 2nd. too.
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