Originally Posted by rammer
Hello. I would like to thank every one for such great information here. I am looking for a touring bike and have looked at the Ultra Classic, Goldwing and the LT. I love the LT and Iím going to look at a 03 but now have concerns about getting one. It seems like the LT has its share of problems. Failed rear ends, Poor headlights, Failure of rear gasket and a side stand that wonít hold up the bike. Are these problems in just a small percentage of bikes? Donít want to buy a bike and spend thousands on repairs. Thanks
Hello back atcha. Welcome to the major website for LT riders, along with some forums for sibling Beemer models. There is just a ton of info scattered around here, and more'n a ton of folks who will answer your questions 'til you run out of 'em.
Coupla points: "Failed rear ends". Of the model years that gets the most attention when one fails, that would be '99 thru partial '02. One hand count for the '03 model years, so far. '99-'02 failure rate wuz in the vicinity of 4% of bikes stateside. And of course, that 4% gets talked about far more than the 96% still goin'. That's just the nature of the good, the bad and the ugly. My opinion is on the optimistic side - ride it; if it fails fix it; life is getting shorter every day!!!
"Poor headlights". Older model bikes need a headlight upgrade; usually done by the installation of an HID unit. If you're regularly riding at night, then that should be one of the first mods to do. And some folks, me included, add auxilliary lights (Motolights, PIAA lights, Hella lights, etc ) since we like to be seen both during the day and night, and don't wanna overdrive/outrun the stock lighting at night. They fill an aftermarket niche for not only some BMW model scoots, but others as well. You'll have to hear from the folks that are running '06 model LTs as to whether BMW AG has improved the stock lighting sufficiently to not require upgrades; but since you're looking at an '03, and if planning on any night riding, then those options are available for you.
"Rear gasket"? Not a big failure rate there, I don't think. When one does, it makes the news, butt again, looking at the probability of 20,000 LT units or more in country, the failure rate is pretty low. I know we don't want it to happen, but if one dwells on it, it becomes destructive to enjoying the ride and the trip. Me - I'd rather worry about the cages sharing the road with me than whether or not the rear gasket is about to puke. That's just me - and yup, Toad has had the final drive; the rear gasket; the clutch; the clutch slave cylinder; and the reverse module - all puked during our 110K miles of smiles. And we're gonna go have some chicken wings tomorrow about 200 miles from home and we're gonna concentrate on motoring safe and enjoying the ride.
"Side Stand". You wouldn't park a manual transmission cage in neutral facing downhill without the emergency brake on or the tranny in first gear -- the LT's emergency brake is first gear engine compression, or a strap around the handlebar brake lever. I'm still amazed that the sidestand will hold up the weight of this bike and others of similar poundage (altho I guess it's only holding a portion of the weight, given the tire's supporting roles), butt still, they do get a workout.
OK, that's enough from me. Those are my thoughts on the subjects, and other's opinions will run right or left, or straight down the fairway. Hope you settle on the bike that's right for you and one that gives you pleasure at the end of every ride. Ride safe.