Join Date: May 2007
Location: El Paso, TX, USA
A retrospective comparison underway
In 2007, I purchased my 2003 K1200LT and relinquished my 1996 K1100LT as a retirement present to myself. Wound up with a steep learning curve in the transition, but have had a series of great tours since then. I did obtain a 1991 K75RT for in-town travel, as it was a bear manhandling the K12 at each end of short trips.
After a great 8 day ride in the Canadian Rockies that required a 1600 mile tow up to and back from the rally point in Wenatchee WA, I started to pursue another option: staging a bike up there with my riding friends (who would exercise the bike in my absence). Found a 1993 K11LT that was originally owned by an Iron Butt rider who rode it until 2008, and then put it on the market with all the after-market mods he had made to it--multiple lights, a sophisticated CB-based comm system, Russell Daylong, GPS, Works shock, and all sorts of small but useful mods.
So the question I'll be exploring as I continue to ride my K12 and get more time in the saddle of the K11 is this: given my riding interests and styles, which bike better meets my needs and what is the impact of the changes made to create the K12? At the moment, I have some biases: the weight of the K12 has always been a problem for me, and it's getting worse as I get older. I initially liked the option of removing the top and side cases from the K11, an option not available on the K12 (and that's something that contributes to the weight problem). And while the ABSII option on my original K11 saved my butt in a confrontation with some deer, the Integrated ABS on my K12 is a constant threat to my wallet, as the dealer, after doing a brake fluid change, has twice told me that it doesn't pass the diagnostic and may require the $3K controller change at some future point. The K11's ABS 1 isn't as sophisticated, but it's still operable and I hope sufficient for my needs as a geezer rider. I like the accuracy and constancy of the cruise control on the K12, but the K11 has Throttlemeisters and that allows me the wrist relief which seems to be the most common use I make of cruise control. I have Mik-o-pegs on the K12; I'm not sure how I'd mimic that benefit on the K11, but their benefit largely lies in allowing me to stretch my legs and relieve cramps from time to time; perhaps I'll figure out a way to do that on the K11. I remember being intimidated by getting through the tupperware to the innards of the K11; that was nothing compared to getting through the K12's tupperware.
There'll be other aspects for comparison that will reveal themselves over time. And I'll continue to be an enthusiastic rider of the K12 down here in the Southwest--where long distance riding is a necessary prologue to interesting rides--and merely hope to illustrate how solid basic BMW technology is, how the K11 was incrementally improved by the innovations in the K12 and thus to suggest how future K-LT's may only be incremental improvements on the K12.
Details of the K11 purchase: 91K miles, $3K
El Paso TX