1986 miles, the rockies, and one helluva motorcycle - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 18 Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:53 am Thread Starter
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1986 miles, the rockies, and one helluva motorcycle

I'll fish out the details for you later tonight or tomorrow.

Here are the highlights:

Trip Total: 1986 miles
Freeway miles: about 1000
Mountain miles: 986
Top Speed: Let's just say I matched the fastest I ever went on my MV Agusta
Average speed for the entire trip: 63.8 MPH
Average MPG for the entire trip: 47.8 MPG (including the ride out, the ride back, and riding in the mountains)
Longest mileage on a tank: I chickened out and bought gas at 280 miles (22 miles after the reserve light came on at high altitude)
First word said by the few people who took it for a spin: "FUCK" with a big smile
Best "but" answer: Sure, it's ugly, but that's not why I bought it
Best thing about the bike: Power and handling when riding the "real" twisties
Worst thing about the bike: Tie - windshield and seat (but the seat seems to be getting better -- or my ass is getting used to the seat)
Interesting things about the bike:
  • It loves 90 MPH.
  • It loves 5000+ RPM.
  • Only a woman could love 4900 RPM, but it's a very narrow band buzz +-50 RPM at 4900 RPM.
  • Anything under 40 MPH is a chore in terms of throttle control.
  • Yes, Margaret, the front wheel does come off the ground when you shift down twice and pass 3 semi-trucks.
  • Letting the engine coast at certain RPMs feels like it's "necklacing" (almost like there was slack in the timing chain and it was rubbing against the inside of the case)
  • MEZ6 tires are GREAT!!! And look like I might actually get some miles out of them.
  • The stock exhaust is very quite -- sewing machine quiet, until you open her up. And then -- growl!
  • 600-700 mile days are a breeze, but I do need a different windshield.
  • You get the strangest looks from sportbikes when you pass them with side cases and the 49 liter topcase.
  • You get the strangest looks from Harley riders when you blow by them at more than double their speed (mostly you see them shudder in fear as you scare the crap out of them)
I'll post more details later.

Again, if you have any specific questions about the long distance touring aspects (or anything) on the K1200GT, just ask.


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post #2 of 18 Old May 22nd, 2006, 8:29 pm Thread Starter
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I promised a more comprehensive review, so here it goes.

First off, let me say, WHAT A BIKE!!! This bike outclasses all three of my previous BMWs (K1200LT, '01 K1200RS, and '02 K1200RS). This bike is such a level above the previous generation LT/RS/GT that it isn't even comparable. Between the power and handling, there is no way to have a fair comparison. Aside from styling and seat, it beats any previous BMW K1200 in every category.

Okay, enough of the standard "this bike is the best motorcycle I have ever ridden in 35 years of riding".

The 1000 mile trip to and from the mountains:

This bike is quite the tourer on the freeway. This motorcycle loves 80-90 MPH. Makes for light work of those long stretches across the western US. 70 MPH seemed to be a chore. I was just in a place on the power band where the buzz was at its worst. And I mean it is a very narrow band. 50 RPM one way or the other and it's gone. 68 or 72 MPH felt fine. It seems like as the bike breaks in, this buzz is going away, but it's still noticeable.

I think my butt finally broke in the seat, as I found it acceptible over the 600 mile ride. Note that I said acceptible, not comfortable. I'll probably be looking for an aftermarket seat. And since I am so tall, the stock high screen just isn't working for me. In the lower position, the wind blast hits me in the neck. In the high position, the buffeting is annoying. The electric control makes it nice to move to that "perfect" position, but I think it will take an after market screen to fix this issue. I'll be talking to Tom at Cee Bailey's next week.

We broke the trip out over an afternoon and the following morning. But the return trip was 660 miles, about 500 on the freeway. 10 hours and 36 minutes in the saddle. No issues. As long as you stay out of 4900 RPM, it's great. It's no LT in terms of comfort, but it sure makes up for it in every other category.

986 miles in the mountains:

This bike was built to ride the twisties. The ESA and Hossack suspension make for an awesome combination. The bike takes the corners like it was on rails. Mountain roads with sharp corners and steep transitions are what this motorcycle craves. The rear tire is scuffed from edge to edge, and I have yet to touch down the footpegs. Through the tightest of turns and the fastest of sweepers, you feel like you are part of the bike, not just a rider of the bike. Decreasing radius turns were not a problem. Provide more input into the turn, and the bike responds crisply and immediately. The bike transitions effortlessly in any series of s-turns. In fact, effortless is the word that best describes how this bike rides. You give it input in terms of steering or throttle, and it just does it. The bike almost feels like it is anticipating your every move.

This bike really shined on the road between Red River and Questa. 13 miles of perfectly cambered sweepers. Leading out the group on Friday, I was able to go almost the entire 13 miles uninterrupted by other vehicles. I've ridden that same stretch of road on the LT, and it's easy to get in over your head. No such feeling on the new GT. Same goes for NM 502 between the Espanola cutoff and the Y-split to White Rock. There are a series of uphill s-curves. The new GT takes these corners with such ease that it just begs you to test your limits. The Metzeler Z6 tires are so sticky, even the tar snakes couldn't deter the agressive lean angles in these turns.

NM 4 from White Rock to Jemez Springs allowed the GT to show its truest colors. Power delivery was perfect for passing those series of slower vehicles and climbing those steep uphill switchbacks. NM 4 provides everything from winding sharp corners to well cambered sweepers. Coming across the "top of 4" and into the Valle Grande, I announced on the radio to the rest of the group, "welcome to the Valle Grande International Speedway". You come out of a set of s-turns into a 3 mile gentle left curve. Let's just say that an undisclosed speed was attained, but it wasn't until I checked the GPS later that I found out what it really was. It sure didn't feel that fast at all -- it was rock solid at all speeds. No vibrations, no wobbles, no instability, nothing that inspired anything but confidence. I could go on with stories of NM 518, 94, 434, 120, and 442. 986 miles of mountain, canyon, and river roads provided nothing but riding bliss.

I tried various pre-load settings on the ESA. One up, One up with luggage, Two up. The pre-load must be set while standing still. Once in motion, you can shift between comfort, normal, and sport on the fly. You'll know when you forget to change from comfort to sport in the twisties, or sport to comfort on that rough stretch of road. Very nice feature. I found that at my weight, the one-up with luggage seemed to work out very well. The one-up only setting seemed to feel kinda mushy. The two-up setting felt a little stiff. And sounding like goldilocks, the one-up with luggage setting was just right.

Other things I noticed:

Windshield - only in the lower to middle positions was the airflow bearable. In these settings, it sent the air right down at my neck, but anything higher caused buffeting that was too annoying to tolerate. An aftermarket shield will fix that.

Heated Grips and Seat - when we hit the 28 degree mark yesterday morning, the heated grips and seat were a godsend. They heat up very quickly and in the high setting were almost too hot. The low setting made it very comfortable once the temps were above 35.

Tankbag - BMW finally makes a functional and useful tankbag. Even though the sealing mechanism for the map pocket is a little weird, it is very functional. Basically, you roll up the end to the velcro and seal it down. I am sure it is quite waterproof. Also, BMW has made the interior of the tankbag water resistant. It's hard to explain, but it's like they placed the waterproof liner inside the tankbag instead of the Chicane method of sewing in an integrated raincover.

Luggage - the system cases are right off the R1200RT. The new system is so much better than before. Taking the luggage off and on the bike is a breeze. No mistaking the fit and risk melting your luggage. The indicator for open/closed is idiotproof (and trust me, I've messed up my share of older system cases).

Seat Adjustment - the seat adjustment is quite easy. No guessing if you have the slot aligned (like the old RS/GT). You can move from high to low in a matter of seconds. Release the pillion seat, move off the driver seat, slide the bar to the high or low position, and reinstall the driver and pillion seat. I rode out to NM in the high position, and returned in the low position. I am 6'3" and found the seat much more comfortable in the low position. I don't get it either, but it worked out that way.

Top case - the 49 liter topcase is HUGE. I think it holds more than the LT topcase. The mechanism is just as simple as the new system cases. Easy on/easy off. And as advertised, the topcase will hold two full face helmets -- even a Schuberth.

Horn - you'd think on a bike this big, someone would put a horn that makes a more macho sound than the european "meep meep". I just ordered a Stebel horn from Pirate, so we'll see how that turns out.

Well, that's it for now. The next trips are Arkansas in June, AZ/UT/CO in July, and CCR in GA this August. If I'm lucky, I should have about 15K on the bike by the end of the summer. I'll keep y'all informed on how the bike performs for the long run.


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'04 Sprint RS Caspian Blue

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post #3 of 18 Old May 22nd, 2006, 11:22 pm
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Sounds awesome man! I'm so glad you're happy with the bike.

I'd love to do a side by side comparison between our bikes. I can't get the sh#t eating grin off my face either.

I was laughing to myself reading your comments on the heated seat and grips (which I LOVED on my LT). I may add the Yamaha kit for the grips but heating the seat on the FJR would be extremely redundant (even on the '06 which really does manage the heat very well) ;-)

Todd R.
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post #4 of 18 Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:54 pm
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Just wanted to say how much I actually hate you!!


Any questions?????


Want to talk jealousy????


I willingly share my wife, and I can't even get a ride around the block?

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post #5 of 18 Old May 30th, 2006, 6:48 pm
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Ditto On That. Getting My 600mi. Done Then Off To Colo. But Not On Freeways. Can't Wait. This Ride Is Unbelieveable. The Lt Will Sit In The Garage
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post #6 of 18 Old May 30th, 2006, 9:23 pm
 
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El Jeffe

Great review. I know I can't stop the posts so maybe I can try to quit reading them, LOL. I'm starting to want one but I don't need one yet...... yet.
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post #7 of 18 Old May 30th, 2006, 9:31 pm Thread Starter
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post #8 of 18 Old May 31st, 2006, 10:35 am
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"GT? No, GEE!"

Ok, Jeff, we get it. You like the bike.

And after reading the write up in Rider last night, I now know that BMW brought it out to compete with, and dethrone, the FJR1300 (or so Rider says.) Well, I don't know but the few (7 at the crank) more horses and 3 less ft pounds of tork cant bring me to trade my $12k, 125 hp on the ground, FJR for a GT. Like BMWHD said, I have to chip the smile off my face with a hammer each time I ride the FJR (and mine is an '04 cooker.) Dont get me wrong, I like my LT just fine but it is a Luxo Tourer and cannot be compared with either the GT or the FJR.

I do think BMW got it right with the motor and the suspension on the GT, now to see if Yamaha will see it as a threat to the FJR. I dont think so but what do I know?

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post #9 of 18 Old May 31st, 2006, 1:42 pm
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These threads are so interesting to me since I love BMWs and really enjoyed my LT. I'd might be on a GT now myself if cost was no option.

I can't wait to see a real bake off between and '06 FJR and the GT. The '06 FJR is damn near a completely new bike with all the changes and it addresses just about every single nit the owners of the original ever brought forward. It really is nothing short of amazing how well Yamaha responded to the desires of the owners community. Other OEMs could take a lesson.

It's not just the cost difference that decided me in favor of the FJR. There's the very real matter of BMW dealer support. In the Dallas area, there are only two options and each has serious warts. I do a lot of my own service but the fact of the matter is I feel better knowing I can rely on the service department of a good dealer if I get in over my head. Yamaha has many more dealers here and nation wide.

Overall maintenance cost was another big factor in favor of the FJR for me. Especially if you have the dealership doing the work. Between the ESA, new motor, and servo brakes, I felt like the GT had the potential to cost more to own long term.

Todd R.
Grapevine, TX USA

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'06 FJR1300A

"You will now be thrown into the Obamaucracy. In his belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly taxed to death over the next four years."
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post #10 of 18 Old May 31st, 2006, 5:26 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhd
It really is nothing short of amazing how well Yamaha responded to the desires of the owners community. Other OEMs could take a lesson.

I'll tell you what, that definitely played a part in my decision.

It blows my mind how Brand Blind some folks get. The FJR boards are full of BMW nay sayers, poo pooing the GT without so much as a test ride. Conversely there are BMW fanatics that wouldn't ride a Yamaha if it was given to them. It's just asinine as far as I'm concerned.

Dave Hoogerland

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post #11 of 18 Old Jun 4th, 2006, 10:56 pm
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Did BMW happen to clear up the speedometer inaccuracy on the new bike?

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post #12 of 18 Old Jun 5th, 2006, 12:03 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhd
These threads are so interesting to me since I love BMWs and really enjoyed my LT. I'd might be on a GT now myself if cost was no option.

I can't wait to see a real bake off between and '06 FJR and the GT. The '06 FJR is damn near a completely new bike with all the changes and it addresses just about every single nit the owners of the original ever brought forward. It really is nothing short of amazing how well Yamaha responded to the desires of the owners community. Other OEMs could take a lesson.

It's not just the cost difference that decided me in favor of the FJR. There's the very real matter of BMW dealer support. In the Dallas area, there are only two options and each has serious warts. I do a lot of my own service but the fact of the matter is I feel better knowing I can rely on the service department of a good dealer if I get in over my head. Yamaha has many more dealers here and nation wide.

Overall maintenance cost was another big factor in favor of the FJR for me. Especially if you have the dealership doing the work. Between the ESA, new motor, and servo brakes, I felt like the GT had the potential to cost more to own long term.
If price and ongoing cost is the criterion measure, then the FJR wins hands down. No reasonable argument can be made to the contrary. My FJR was about half the price of what I paid for the GT, and I got a 3 year maintenance plan from my Yamaha dealer that I'll use up in a year or year and a half with my BMW dealer. My extended warranty on the FJR is longer, cheaper, and backed by Yamaha versus a third party, versus my BMW extended warranty.

Another message read:

"It blows my mind how Brand Blind some folks get. The FJR boards are full of BMW nay sayers, poo pooing the GT without so much as a test ride. Conversely there are BMW fanatics that wouldn't ride a Yamaha if it was given to them. It's just asinine as far as I'm concerned."

Couldn't agree more. Guess that's why I have 6 bikes, but 5 brands.

I got my 05 FJR late last summer, but still had time to do the well publicized heat fix and get in 6000 touring miles before ski season set in. I got my GT a few weeks ago, and just returned from a 3,000+ mile tour from Denver to Atlanta and back. Rode the FJR on a day ride again today. Since both bikes are in my garage, I feel I'm a little qualified to say this (all my own opinion only):

The FJR is a great bike. I bought it in 2005 when I decided that it was the best sport tourer available. It tours and handles great, looks great, and I am anticipating high reliability given my experience with Yamaha products in the past. I also like the size of the dealer network, knowing there are lots of Yamaha dealers across the country.

Having said that, the difference in the riding experience, and capability of the two machines, is significant. The GT is a far more capable machine, particularly on any road with a curve and/or porr surface. The ESA system that BMW has put on this machine, combined with the suspension system, provides a riding experience that cannot be matched by the FJR; even if the power delivered by the two engines is considered equivalent, the smoothness of the GT is significantly greater than that of the FJR. Design apperance aside, the fit and finish and attention to detail on the GT is superior to the FJR (just consider little things, like the luggage locking arrangements). This isn't a slam on the FJR, just a nod to the GT.

At twice the price + cost (based on what I paid for each), is the GT twice the bike of the FJR? No, not in my opinion. Is it a significantly better motorcycle? Yes, in my opinion, it is. Doesn't diminish the value and performance of the FJR to say this - it's still a great bike and I'm keeping mine; it's just (to me) the way it is. If you ride an FJR, and like it, what difference does it make whether the GT is or isn't a superior bike anyway? Buy and ride what you like, IMHO.

What's assinine to me is when folks have to find ways to slam the other guy's ride to make themselves feel better about their own......

The Touring Professor

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour
2007 Honda Gold Wing
2004 Honda Rune
1999 H-D Dyna-Glide Conv.
1996 Porsche 993 Turbo
1991 Acura NSX

Gone But Not Forgotten:

2006 K1200GT
2005 Triumph Rocket
2001 K1200LT
2002 K1200LT
2003 Hayabusa
2002 1800 VTX
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post #13 of 18 Old Jun 5th, 2006, 12:40 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringProf
If price and ongoing cost is the criterion measure, then the FJR wins hands down. No reasonable argument can be made to the contrary. My FJR was about half the price of what I paid for the GT, and I got a 3 year maintenance plan from my Yamaha dealer that I'll use up in a year or year and a half with my BMW dealer. My extended warranty on the FJR is longer, cheaper, and backed by Yamaha versus a third party, versus my BMW extended warranty.

Another message read:

"It blows my mind how Brand Blind some folks get. The FJR boards are full of BMW nay sayers, poo pooing the GT without so much as a test ride. Conversely there are BMW fanatics that wouldn't ride a Yamaha if it was given to them. It's just asinine as far as I'm concerned."

Couldn't agree more. Guess that's why I have 6 bikes, but 5 brands.

I got my 05 FJR late last summer, but still had time to do the well publicized heat fix and get in 6000 touring miles before ski season set in. I got my GT a few weeks ago, and just returned from a 3,000+ mile tour from Denver to Atlanta and back. Rode the FJR on a day ride again today. Since both bikes are in my garage, I feel I'm a little qualified to say this (all my own opinion only):

The FJR is a great bike. I bought it in 2005 when I decided that it was the best sport tourer available. It tours and handles great, looks great, and I am anticipating high reliability given my experience with Yamaha products in the past. I also like the size of the dealer network, knowing there are lots of Yamaha dealers across the country.

Having said that, the difference in the riding experience, and capability of the two machines, is significant. The GT is a far more capable machine, particularly on any road with a curve and/or porr surface. The ESA system that BMW has put on this machine, combined with the suspension system, provides a riding experience that cannot be matched by the FJR; even if the power delivered by the two engines is considered equivalent, the smoothness of the GT is significantly greater than that of the FJR. Design apperance aside, the fit and finish and attention to detail on the GT is superior to the FJR (just consider little things, like the luggage locking arrangements). This isn't a slam on the FJR, just a nod to the GT.

At twice the price + cost (based on what I paid for each), is the GT twice the bike of the FJR? No, not in my opinion. Is it a significantly better motorcycle? Yes, in my opinion, it is. Doesn't diminish the value and performance of the FJR to say this - it's still a great bike and I'm keeping mine; it's just (to me) the way it is. If you ride an FJR, and like it, what difference does it make whether the GT is or isn't a superior bike anyway? Buy and ride what you like, IMHO.

What's assinine to me is when folks have to find ways to slam the other guy's ride to make themselves feel better about their own......

With respect (and I'm serious about that, I value your opinion), any comparison between a pre-'06 FJR and the new GT really is apples to oranges. The changes to the '06 FJR significantly up the bar in terms of suspension, fit, finish, and comfort.

I spent some significant time pouring over a GT this weekend and IMHO there is not a significant different in fit and finish between my '06 FJR and the GT. Also, I don't get the luggage comment. The FJR bags are about as good as it gets.

But in the end, I'm with you. Both bikes are exceptional and there's really no need to bash either. I just enjoy the healthy debate.

Todd R.
Grapevine, TX USA

'78 R80/7
'06 FJR1300A

"You will now be thrown into the Obamaucracy. In his belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly taxed to death over the next four years."
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post #14 of 18 Old Jun 5th, 2006, 1:05 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reid
Did BMW happen to clear up the speedometer inaccuracy on the new bike?
According to elJeffe...yes!
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post #15 of 18 Old Jun 5th, 2006, 1:14 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhd
With respect (and I'm serious about that, I value your opinion), any comparison between a pre-'06 FJR and the new GT really is apples to oranges. The changes to the '06 FJR significantly up the bar in terms of suspension, fit, finish, and comfort.

I spent some significant time pouring over a GT this weekend and IMHO there is not a significant different in fit and finish between my '06 FJR and the GT. Also, I don't get the luggage comment. The FJR bags are about as good as it gets.

But in the end, I'm with you. Both bikes are exceptional and there's really no need to bash either. I just enjoy the healthy debate.
With respect (and I'm serious about that, I value your opinion), any comparison between a pre-'06 FJR and the new GT really is apples to oranges. The changes to the '06 FJR significantly up the bar in terms of suspension, fit, finish, and comfort.

*** I agree that the changes to the 06 FJR are an improvement. Having ridden one (non-AE model), I maintain my position related to how the two compare; respectfully.



I spent some significant time pouring over a GT this weekend and IMHO there is not a significant different in fit and finish between my '06 FJR and the GT.

*** as I implied in my comments, YMMV.

Also, I don't get the luggage comment. The FJR bags are about as good as it gets.

*** The bags are as good as they get. My comments related to the faring glovebox having to have the ignition on and the transmission in neutral to open it, and that the only way to open the panniers is to use the ignition key. I admit readily, however, that my one experience with an 06 FJR was so brief, I did not pay any attention to whether these details were changed on the FJR from my 05. If they were, point taken. If they were not, I contend that the option of having the bags locked or open on the GT is much less of a PIA.

But in the end, I'm with you. Both bikes are exceptional and there's really no need to bash either. I just enjoy the healthy debate.

*** me too!

The Touring Professor

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour
2007 Honda Gold Wing
2004 Honda Rune
1999 H-D Dyna-Glide Conv.
1996 Porsche 993 Turbo
1991 Acura NSX

Gone But Not Forgotten:

2006 K1200GT
2005 Triumph Rocket
2001 K1200LT
2002 K1200LT
2003 Hayabusa
2002 1800 VTX
1999 HD Sportster
1988 HD Softail Custom
1975 Yamaha 100cc
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post #16 of 18 Old Jun 5th, 2006, 4:22 pm
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Great comments

I agree with pretty much everything said here, even without riding a GT. I love my FJR ('04) and fixed the glove box lock and the pannier lock situations. The fit and finish of the FJR is not as good as the LT (my comparison Beemer) but I believe the dependability is better. I've had a bunch of Beemers and everyone of them had at least one warranty issue in the first 30k. I'm rapidly approaching 30k on my FJR and not a single issue that was not rider/owner induced and not one warranty issue. Had valves checked at 26k, no adjustments needed. Other than that (and wrecking it in Grapevine Texas, now on my list of places not to visit) just change the oil, filter, routine lubrication, and ride it.

BUTT....my wife would kill me if I rid myself of the LT. She does not like the pillion on the FJR. And I use the LT for a 50 mile rt commute because not only does it have music, heated stuff (not necessary now...) but also because it is getting better mileage than the Feejer. And then there is the KLR650....but that is another (bike) story.

Great exchange, now gotta check out the '06 FJR and see if it is really as good as everyone is saying....still probably wouldn't trade my '04, at least not yet.

Just old, clutchless and clueless
Russ Locke
Lakehills, Texas
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post #17 of 18 Old Jun 9th, 2006, 3:57 pm
 
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Used to love to blow the bandanas off the Harley guys passing them at the speed of sound on my old K12RS! Glad someone else feels the same way!
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post #18 of 18 Old Jun 12th, 2006, 9:19 pm
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10
TouringProf:

Thanks for your review of both bikes!!!
CrazyOlMan is offline  
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