I have been reading all the glowing reports on the GT, and the local dealer had an open house this weekend (new owner), so I signed up for a ride.
Followed one of the owners for about 30 minutes on a nice demo route, a little freeway, and quite a bit of semi-residential twisties around Mount Helix here in San Diego.
My first bike ride in a little over a year and a half, after my last big accident, so started out a little tenderly, but after just a couple miles it was all coming back to me, and I started riding just about like I always did (except for the crashes of course
Had a real blast on the GT. No high speeds, maximum about 70 on the freeway, but the twisties were great. The bike really loves to turn! The LT was no slouch, but I can see how the GT could get addictive.
I was really surprised at the clunking transmission though. HARD clunks in at least the first 4 gears, 5th and 6th did not seem so bad.
(Mother Of All Brakes). I had never ridden a power brake LT, mine was a 2001, so I was not quite ready for the first stop. 2 fingers on the front brake, and it was all I could do to keep from sitting on top of the tank. HOLY COW. I know I would get used to it, actually did pretty well before the end of the ride, but that certainly can be a heart stopper if you are not expecting it. I did start using the rear brake mostly, only holding it at stops with the front brake most of the time.
Not sure I would take this bike on the types of long distance rides I was doing on the LT though. Even with the ESA on one up Comfort mode it rode a little harsher than the LT did. May change my mind if I rode one for a little while and got used to it, but the wind noise was a little worse at 60 MPH, and I would likely have to add something like Bar Backs to get the bars back another couple inches. They were in the high position, which was just about right for me, but a little to much forward lean for my body.
Loved the footpeg position though! I never liked foot forward position on any bike, and the LT was very comfortable for me. The GT is farther back, but not drastically so. The only problem I had was finding the brake and shift levers. Further down than my LT trained feet were expecting.
All in all, I have to agree that this would be one helluva fun bike to own. And as Joe said, even the kinda ungly side panels are not an issue when you are sitting on the bike.
POWER? Oh yeah! Loved that. Wondering why the bike needs a 6 speed tranny? I think it would outdo the LT using only 2nd and 5th gears. 5th gear roll-on at 60 MPH was about like downshifting the LT to 3rd!
However, for me it will likely be a used LT when I get the green light to start back, unless the new LT is out by then. I loved the power of the GT, so hopefully the new generation LT will be similar. But, if and when I do get another bike if I decide that Long Distance riding is not what I want to do again, then the GT would fit the bill nicely.
When the ride was over, I stopped the bike and was feeling around for the side stand, had a hard time finding it, so looked down, still could not find it. Hmmm, what is that little black toothpick sticking out in FRONT of the foot peg? Yep, that was it. I expected it to be behind the foot peg.