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post #1 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 11:00 am Thread Starter
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Am I crazy

Well it looks like I am finally going to get my second motorcycle. The first was a Honda 125 or something like that over 25 year ago. I have not ridden since.

Am I crazy to get a K1200LT as my first motorcycle in over 25 years. I have no riding experience in that time. I will be taking a riding class and my wife and I do not plan any major trips until late March.

I read about how heavy it is and I will never be able to pick it pick by myself if it goes over.

I simply love the bike. It has everything I think I could ever want. Some honest feedback would be welcome. If you think this is a bad idea, would you please recommend other BMW options.

Thanks,

Louis
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post #2 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 11:53 am
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Going from nothing to an LT has been done, but it is challenging. The LT is a large beast and would not be my first choice for a starter machine. You definitely need to take the MSF course and get some training under your belt before you pull the trigger on any bike purchase, regardless of model. Once that's done I would recommend something smaller to get up to speed on as a learning tool. A Suzuki SV 650 or GS500 would be good optiosn since they are plentiful in the used market and can be picked up at a low cost and sold for a decent return. ONce you get your "bike legs" on something a little less challenging (2-6 months, maybe) then move up to the LT. I think you will find this a much more pleasurable path in getting to the LT and truly enjoying it as your main steed.

And +1 on what Dave Dragon said - ATGATT!!

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post #3 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 12:14 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llanda9
If you think this is a bad idea, would you please recommend other BMW options.

Thanks,

Louis
Louis, this a bad idea. Unless you have the coordination skills of a teenager you've got a lot of learning to do before you will be safe to carry a passenger on this big beast.

I see you live in Denver and you don't plan any trips until March. What I don't see is hope you can spend any time to gain skills in the winter months.

Learning to ride on an LT can and has been done. I firmly believe that most beginning riders will be so far behind the learning curve when riding any 850 lb machine that they will not acquire the skillset to be fully comfortable and safe.

I have know many riders who got the Harley bug. They ride frequently but only within a certain narrow range of capability. In heavy traffic, curves, speed, rain, and gravel they come completely derailed. They never had the chance to explore the capabilities of their machine because they remain intimidated by it.

I recommend you go out and find a used mid displacement bike (I don't mean a 1,000cc cruiser either) and learn to ride the hell out of it.

A good BMW option is the F650 or an older airhead. Concentrate on reasonable size and light weight. Used bikes are great choices because you don't lose much or anything in resale.

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post #4 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 12:18 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llanda9
Well it looks like I am finally going to get my second motorcycle. The first was a Honda 125 or something like that over 25 year ago. I have not ridden since.

Am I crazy to get a K1200LT as my first motorcycle in over 25 years. I have no riding experience in that time. I will be taking a riding class and my wife and I do not plan any major trips until late March.

I read about how heavy it is and I will never be able to pick it pick by myself if it goes over.

I simply love the bike. It has everything I think I could ever want. Some honest feedback would be welcome. If you think this is a bad idea, would you please recommend other BMW options.

Thanks,

Louis
Yep, you are. So am I. I went 40 years.

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post #5 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 12:34 pm
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No, you are not crazy. It is just not a good ideal. There is not much I could add to the advice that you are getting here. Just slow down a little. Take a few smaller steps. In the end you will be glad you did.
Two years from now I will be looking for a 07 or 08 LT with less than 10,000 miles. I may know where to start look. Kola1
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post #6 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 12:53 pm Thread Starter
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Hey thanks for all the feedback. It is all very helpful. So let me ask this question, would something like a R1200RT be any better for me as a beginner or am I really in the same boat?

My wife wants comfort, of course. I really don't care about the radio or CD changer for that matter, but those heated seats and grips do sound nice.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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post #7 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 1:20 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llanda9
Hey thanks for all the feedback. It is all very helpful. So let me ask this question, would something like a R1200RT be any better for me as a beginner or am I really in the same boat?

My wife wants comfort, of course. I really don't care about the radio or CD changer for that matter, but those heated seats and grips do sound nice.

Thanks again for all the advice.
The RT is only about 200 lbs lighter then the LT. I would suggest somthing smaller. I too rode as a youngster then took 20 years off. I got my legs on a 2002 Honda Shadow 750 ACE, road it for 3 years then got the LT. It still took about a year to get Lt down.

Stevie Shreeve
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post #8 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 1:55 pm
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Get the motorcycle class done, buy a cheap beater bike, get some seat time. March is not far away so get started as soon as you can. It sounds like you will need some two up seat time. Try not to open the R series vs K series can of worms. Later put your leg over each series and you will know the right series for yourself. Kola1
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post #9 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 2:04 pm
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The trouble is all "comfortable" bikes tend to be larger, heavier bikes. And once your wife is on the back, it will be larger, heavier still.

If you are set on BMW, I'd suggest you get an R1200R to learn the ropes. Then, after 6-12 months, get the K1200LT.

Better yet ... get a cheaper, used Japanese bike to learn on, because there is a good chance you will dump it at some point. Remember that you are going to trade up anyway.
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post #10 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 2:15 pm
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Talking Since you asked............

Quote:
Originally Posted by llanda9
Well it looks like I am finally going to get my second motorcycle. The first was a Honda 125 or something like that over 25 year ago. I have not ridden since.

Am I crazy to get a K1200LT as my first motorcycle in over 25 years. I have no riding experience in that time. I will be taking a riding class and my wife and I do not plan any major trips until late March.

I read about how heavy it is and I will never be able to pick it pick by myself if it goes over.

I simply love the bike. It has everything I think I could ever want. Some honest feedback would be welcome. If you think this is a bad idea, would you please recommend other BMW options.

Thanks,

Louis
Louis,

You have been given some really good advice by the gang here. Certainly we love these big fast toys. Reality check here is you are playing with your life.

Good luck with your decisions.

Since you asked, I have four suggestions.

1. Go to a school where you ride a smaller bike and learn how to manage your planning and riding skills. No other traffic or people with cell phones trying to kill you. I have attended Skip Barber, Track Time, and Bondurant. Every school session helps me improve my skills and stay alive on the road.

2. Do not buy the bike unless you buy the safety riding gear. With your lack of recent experience, the probability of you going down is really high. Too many riders buy an expensive bike, then they skimp on the gear that saves their ass when they go down.

3. Ride a smaller, lighter bike for one season. If that goes well, then get the LT. You will get your riding legs and develop your confidence. So much is at stake when you go out on 2 wheels, especially when you are not an experienced rider.

4. Be certain your life insurance is all paid up and you specify uninsured motorist. Too many of our gang get whacked by those with no insurance.

As a rider since 1971 and a person who works in the motorcycle industry, you are interested in a darn fine machine. This thing is top heavy, darn heavy, and really fast. Get your mind ready for it.

Rob Nelson

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2006 K1200GT [now lives in Wisconsin]
Grey Goose
2002 K1200LTC [now lives in Georgia]
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More than 132,000 (recently corrected higher) motorcycle riders have died in traffic crashes since the enactment of the Highway Safety Act of 1966 and The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. Be careful out there.
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post #11 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 2:17 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kola1
Get the motorcycle class done, buy a cheap beater bike, get some seat time. March is not far away so get started as soon as you can. It sounds like you will need some two up seat time. Try not to open the R series vs K series can of worms. Later put your leg over each series and you will know the right series for yourself. Kola1
All you will need is a summer on a small beater to sharpen up your skills. When I got back into riding, I bought a 1970 Honda 350. After two months I sold it for almost what I paid for it. It gave me the skills to handle a much bigger bike. Ron
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post #12 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 4:42 pm
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I, along with others, questioned my sanity too when I started riding at age 60. I took the MSF basic course, rode an F650GS for a year, took the MSF Experienced rider course, traded the 650 for an LT and I'm loving it. That's what worked for me and allowed me time to work on skills and build my confidence level. You'll have to decide what's right for you, but don't get more than you can truly enjoy.

Ray

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post #13 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 5:39 pm
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You might be crazy but that is a different post. The LT is probably too much bike for a novice, you will drop it at least once probably more and that does tend to get expensive. I recently went from the big heavy bikes to the RT1200LT, much nicer to move around and handle, but still a lot of bike for a beginner. I as others, would suggest you take the MSF and get a used mid sized bike to hone your skills, this may save you life and your wallet. Good luck on your choice!
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post #14 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 5:43 pm
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Hey All!!!!

Wipatters a fine member of this forum bought a LT from another rather obscure member who goes by the name of "Joe" or something like that. Anyhow it was his 1st bike..............it can be done-but WOW!!!

Mike
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post #15 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 5:50 pm
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I had not ridden for 28 years when my son in law got me back into it by leaving his Harley Soft Tail with me when they got transferred out of the country. After about 4,000 miles on that, my wife made the big mistake of telling me: "You should not put so many miles on Chris's bike, maybe you should get your own." Good wife, gonna keep her.

That was several years ago, and I searched around and discovered the LT, search was over! Of course I dropped two dealer demonstrators, with my wife on the back, the SAME DAY! Gratefully she still let me get one though. The Harley did not prepare me for the Telelever suspension, which I later learned makes it imperative that you keep the front wheel absolutely straight ahead for the last couple feet of a stop! That is the biggest contributor to dropping the LT of all.

It is a pretty big step to start out on the LT after a long layoff without at least a couple thousand miles on something intermediate. I do not agree with anyone that says get a SMALL bike to start out on though. Anything under a heavy 650 up will do practically nothing to prepare you for the LT. Even the Harley did not prepare me for the slow stops! However, the LT handles MUCH better doing anything other than the walking speed stuff.

If you have your heart set on an LT, it CAN be done, many here have done it, including a couple of women. Just be very attentive and read up on the slow handling pointers here before starting out. It will be a bit of a handfull at first, but you will learn quicker than you think, and after a couple thousand miles you will wonder what all the fuss was about. Your call if you want to do it that way or spend time and money on an interim bike first.

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post #16 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 6:41 pm
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It can be done. The LT is only a handful when you're going under 5 mph.

However, I wouldn't take a passenger on it until you have several thousand solo miles under your belt. You want to be completely adept and competent on the bike before you shoulder that kind of responsibility. At least I would.

Cheers,
-joel
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post #17 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 6:53 pm
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I basically did what you propose, and I would advise against it.

Beginning 2 years ago at age 48 (with no previous riding experience) I rode a Honda 650 Shadow for 3 weeks, then bought an LT. I should have ridden the 650 for several months -- or, if I couldn't wait to move up to a BMW, I should have gone to an F650 or maybe the R12R as someone suggested.

In summary: yes, it can be done. It just doesn't seem advisable. Start smaller, take your time, rebuild your skills. Please buy (and WEAR) good-quality protective gear. Good luck!

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post #18 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 6:59 pm
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Start with a GS then buy a LT. You will want a GS alongside the LT.

Neil '00 K1200LT '08 KLR
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post #19 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 7:05 pm
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The biggest problem you will have will be dropping the LT.
And you will.
I would think about the reasons you want the LT and look
around a bit. It is a very heavy bike and hard to go slow on.
Start with something cheaper/smaller and practice going slow.
Anybody can go fast.

Hello 07 R1200S
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post #20 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 7:06 pm
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Basically

I agree with all that has been said here. However, perhaps you have exceptional coordination and judgement and enough physical size to handle this bike even as a beginner. But if not, you might well get discouraged with the wonderful art of motorcycling if you begin with something as challenging as an LT and that would be too bad. I think whatever bike you get you should plan on taking both the beginner and experienced rider courses offerd by MSF.

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post #21 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 8:02 pm Thread Starter
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I would really like to thank everyone for your comments. They are greatly appreciated.
1. All the arguments are sound for not getting the K1200LT right of the bat.

2. Rest assured that it is my sincere intention to take the follow up riding course regardless of the bike I choose.

3. ATGATT. Did I get that right? It would never have crossed my mind to do otherwise.

Thanks again for the help. I will decide on a bike in the next three weeks. If anyone is interested I will let you all know what I get.
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post #22 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 8:32 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llanda9
I will decide on a bike in the next three weeks.
Will you be buying in the next three weeks? The reason I ask is I notice you are in Denver. Shouldn't you be skiing until March/April?! I imagine this would be a good time to buy, but other than that, what's the rush now?

Please don't take this the wrong way! Personally, I think if you were a good rider before, the RT would be fine. Just get some solo time before taking passengers.

Ted

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post #23 of 35 Old Nov 27th, 2007, 10:02 pm
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+++++++++1 to everything above.

First, read the book "Proficient Motorcycling", by David L. Hough. When you're done, re-read it. Then read "More Proficient Motorcycling", by David L. Hough. These books will clue you in A LOT about what you are facing. The author makes the same recommendations that you have seen here, and there are many other important tips.

In one ERC class that I took, the instructor pointed out that 70% of all motorcycle accidents happen to first year riders, and 70% of first year rider accidents happen to first three month riders. That applies to you.

In More Proficient Motorcycling (pp. 240-241) David Hough points out that an accident is twice as likely for EXPERIENCED riders who have less than six months experience on a new or different motorcycle compared with twelve month's experience. The rate drops to 25% of the six month rate after 48 months.

Give yourself a chance to get familiar with your next bike before adding your wife, but you should also practice together in a safe place. She has her part to learn, too.

About the K1200LT or the R1200RT - If you were learning to fly, you wouldn't start on a 747, would you?
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post #24 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 5:08 am
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Minority opinion

If you have shopped around and the LT is the bike you really want, I say go for it.

Are you in reasonably good shape, no knee or hip problems? Reason, you will find yourself "catching" the LT on occasion while you are learning its behavior. And you will very likely drop it duing slow maneuvers and need to pick it up again.

However, if you are reasonable and cautious (which your posts make me think you are), you can learn the LT without going through the babysteps of another bike. And you may find learning it fun rather than a chore like some have suggested it will be.

One of my riding buddies who had never ridden before got an LT as his first bike. He rides it well and I never heard him express any regrets, actually he is now on his second LT.

Rider training, AGATT, a few thousand miles riding solo are all good suggestions.

Have fun with your decision.
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post #25 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 6:14 am
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Well many years ago, I had ridden a Yammaha 350, Honda 125 and 750F2 then had not ridden for about 25 years. Then 5 years ago my wife said it would be a good time if I wanted to get another bike.
Went and saw the LT, had a little test ride in a carpark, and then rode it home, at night, some 200kms. Coming out of the place where I bought it was down a little laneway, up a hill to a t-intersection where I had to stop, and then pull up onto a secondary road with a fair amount of traffic. Was very pleased I did not stall it or drop it. By the time I got home I was quite comfortable with the weight and the handling and really glad I bought it.
Yes I have dropped it a couple times since, but that was after owning it for 4 years, and they were all while not moving.
So take the riding course as you have only been on a 125 before, it will certainly help refresh the skills. But as to whether you go straight for the LT, that will be up to how game you are.

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post #26 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 8:02 am
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To add to the others.... one fellow here that I haven't seen post is a guy who took the MSF basic class and then got an LT. He's doing fine as far as I know. Yes, it can be done. I would hope that you have strength and coordination. Take the MSF class BEFORE buying ANYTHING. I teach the classes and am constantly amazed at the folks who drop a LOT of money in big bikes before they know if they can ride the thing or not. Some of them find out that it doesn't work. Some find out the hard way.

Yes you can buy anything you want for a first bike in the good ol US of A. that doesn't mean it should be done. Many folks realize that after taking the MSF basic class that the small bikes are even a handful, if you;re not up to the task.

So by all means, get into a class FIRST. See how you do. If you ace it and feel really truly comfortable, then make the decision. Sit on a few LTs. Lean them side to side, feel that weight. Make sure it can fall over w/o damaging anything adjacent. If you buy it, be aware that is a relatively high powered, advanced machine. Concentrate on learning to ride it and ride it well. Then, to speed the learning curve a bit more, take an ERC alone before putting the wife on. Maybe in the spring. Then make a decsion on riding 2 up. Don;t get yourself in any tight situations on the LT until you are completely comfortable with it. especially parking lots or loose surfaces at slow speeds.

At this point, if you;ve made it this far, you might be to a point to turn on the radio or start pushing the extra buttons that are on an LT. So far you should have been concentrating on the RIDE. : )

I'm always concerned when a new rider wants to make a big leap.

Please please please be careful and make careful decisions.

The F800s look like a lot of fun to me. And they are lighter bikes to learn on if you are determined to make it a BMW. I agree with others about the SVs and such. Maybe the new Kawi Versys, 650 Vstrom, etc. Cruisers are okay, too I guess. All of those bikes will go 2 up and can be outfitted to ride long distances. Have to be creative at times.

Good luck and keep us posted throughout your experience. Sounds like you'll be LTing before too long.

Randy
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post #27 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 9:21 am
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I understand your excitement. It is refreshing to see that. But, not a good idea to start with an LT. I bought my LT from someone that did just what you are pondering. It sat in his garage unused for almost two years after he dropped the bike 4 times 2 solo and 2 with wife in tow. He hadn't ridden a bike in almost 30 years. He got a bug up his butt and decided to buy one without even test driving it. Bad move !!!!

I also agree with the fact that you should take an MSF beginner course. I had been riding for 10 years in the 70s and 80s. I stopped riding for 15 years and then wanted to start again. I owned another smaller bike (honda 750 Magna) for 3 years before I test rode the LT. It was a handful.. But, after several years or ownership, I love it. Even after that time, I must concentrate at slow speed. A combination of the servo brakes, telelever suspension and the weight make it a chore to handle at slow speeds.

It would be good for you to become comfortable with servo type brakes and also the telelever suspension. You may want to consider something lighter that will benefit your skills before even attempted to test ride an LT.

I know that there are those that have done what you are thinking about, but I wouldn't.
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post #28 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 11:50 am
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Everyone is different and their abilities are so also.
I had an '84 750 Nighthawk back in 85 that I sold after a year. Spent the next 20 years on 4 wheels, then a little over a year ago, got a 2002 LT and have had no problems. I had taken the "M.O.S.T." course back when I was in the AF and took the MSF basic course when I got the LT.
It can be done if you are confident in your abilities...but not OVER confident.
One good thing about taking all that time off from cycling is that hopefully you have forgotten all of the bad habits you learned when you were younger.
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post #29 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 1:01 pm
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My story goes pretty much like how Rando, (post #27) describes. Took the MSF course, after a 20 year lapse from riding. Bought an 05 LT in May and so far so good after 4,500 miles. Looked at "smaller" bikes and the LT felt the best. I am 6'4 and 285lbs. I looked and felt uncomfortable on smaller bikes. Thanks to all the good tips and advice on these forums it has'nt been too bad of a learning curve. I just took baby steps and kept pushing. Every ride is practice for me. Have been riding solo. Just now am starting to use the tunes and various comfort features. As everyone says the more you ride her the better it gets. She's an amazing machine! Planning on the ERC class in spring and go from there.
Good luck on your new adventure! Be safe..........
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post #30 of 35 Old Nov 28th, 2007, 9:27 pm
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Go get yourself a KLR 650, a great bike to relearn and sharpen your skills and a perfect bike for Colorado. Take the MSF course. If your wife wants to ride then she can have the KLR after you. You can buy them for cheap and then sell it for what you paid. If you do go for the LT first then find some (LT) people that would be willing to take you out and give you some instruction. While your getting used to it take off the top box this will make it handle better and feel lighter. Good luck.

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70' Honda CB350
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post #31 of 35 Old Dec 4th, 2007, 6:55 pm Thread Starter
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Location: Denver, CO, USA
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Just wanted to let everyone know.

1. Took the MSF class and passed with flying colors. It was a great two days.
2. I have "all the gear and will wear it all the time." My jacket is even bright yellow.
3. Picking up a 2006 R1200RT tomorrow. It is so wonderful to ride. For all those who said it, yes the LT would have been a bit too much.

I would add a picture, but I can't seem to figure out how.

Thanks again for everyone's help and advice.
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post #32 of 35 Old Dec 4th, 2007, 7:21 pm
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Location: Pasadena, CA, USA
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Good Luck and Enjoy

I was in the same position you were a year ago almost to the day. The best thing to do now is to ride as much as you can. I understand you may be limited due to your local weather, but if you can get away for multiple day rides you will be doing yourself a huge favor. As soon as I got my RT I went on several ALL day rides (6 - 8 hours) and many multiple day rides (longest was a 4 dayer). Maybe you can ride out on a good day and get to some better riding weather.

It is a beast but the more time you have in the saddle the more proficient you will be. Yes I did drop mine in the driveway - the kick stand flipped back up instead of staying in the down position and I literally had to walk it down after the momentum took over.

Buy head protectors - first thing. They saved the heads from getting scratched. Plastic can be repaired and painted but you do not want to scratch up those cylinder heads. I am looking into the Wunderlich protection bars similar to the GS Adventure bars. Now that I type this - I am definitely getting them.

Anyhooo - enjoy enjoy enjoy. If you ever come out to Pasadena, give me a shout and we will take a ride over the Angeles Crest Highway!

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." - Declaration of Independence
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post #33 of 35 Old Dec 5th, 2007, 6:49 am
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Location: Chesterfield, MO, USA
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The Honda 1100s are pretty easy to ride, but can handle 2 up riding.
The Aero is a pretty decent bike you can find pretty reasonable, and won't take a bath on it when you move up.
I started with a 1100 Shadow Spirit. It was very easy to get around on. No issues with low speed handling and could run down the highway as fast as I wanted to go. When I would pass the 18 wheelers is when I knew I needed a larger bike.
Every bike is fun and you get the pleasure of upgrading a few times. I went from the 1100 to a 1800 Honda then to the LT.

08 R1200GSA
04 K12LT (Sold)
97 R1100GS (Sold)
SS1000--IB # 32778
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post #34 of 35 Old Dec 5th, 2007, 7:43 am
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Location: Lake Worth, FL, USA
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I had not ridden in more than 30 yrs when I had a Honda 350. I'm now 55 and I always promised myself that I would ride again so about 4 months ago I took the class and got my endorsement. Well I couldn't wait to get a bike and after looking at HD's and Hondas I was reminded of the BMW. Had friends who always rode BMW and I always liked the bikes. I hadn't found this site yet so did not have such a great resource to draw from but off I went looking at the different models.

I stumbled onto a 2000 LT that I fell in love with. I live in West Palm Beach (So. Florida) and the bike was in Tampa 250 miles away (rideable). The price was right and I bought it not really knowing what I was in for. Flew to Tampa and rode the bike back. Needless to say I was very intimidated by it's size and of course within the first mile it started to rain. And not just a drizzle but the typical SoFla torrential downpour for the first 100 miles.

Well, I've come a long way with that bike. Just passed 3K miles and I can say that I absolutely love the bike. I get better with it every day. My stops are smoother and once I laid it over in a slow 2 up turn (she went down soft and slow) I got over the fear of dropping it and I have never looked back.

I do wonder if a GT would have been a better choice for me to start but I'm glad that I have my LT. She is beautiful and it suits the type of riding I want to do, 2 up touring. And I have the great support of everyone here to help me every step of the way.

< - - - Norm Ruest - - - >

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2000 K1200 LTC Canyon Red
MOA# 145086

“Its unexplained, because they haven’t explained it. Maybe they could explain it, but they've tried and they can't, because it's unexplainable.” - Ruest
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post #35 of 35 Old Dec 5th, 2007, 10:32 am
Ted
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Merry Christmas!! Congrats & ride safe!

Ted

Camarillo, CA
2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200S - Red
2007 R1200S - Black - Sold
2003 K1200LTC - Silver - Sold
IBA# 16554

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