K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 11:44 am Thread Starter
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K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Ok, I've had my LT for a couple of years now.

I negotiated a cross country ride, lots of 400-1200 mile 3 day weekends under my belt. And while I enjoy the bike over 5 MPH, its low speed manners suck!

This is what I'm dealing with; 2000 K-LT, started off with 23k original bike, dealer serviced. I started with 880's (hated them) tossed those tires and have gone with Storm-2's (mucho-better) now with 35k miles.

I still have the same wobbly steering @ 0-5 MPH, the bike feels like the handlebars are not solidly connected to the front wheel.

Now myself riding solo, its not a real big deal, but 2-up with luggage it becomes a unstable beast. Loaded in stop-n-go traffic its a solid handful and not fun at all.

I have been riding all kinds of motorcycles for 40 years with much more than 150k miles on 2 wheels. I like the comfort for 2 on this beast when moving over 5 MPH, but its getting to the point that I'm almost ready to give up on the big K-LT and look at other touring bikes.

Any suggestions?
Thanx!


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post #2 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 11:50 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Could the lower ball joint be bad, the fork bridge to frame need tightened or possibly the steering dampener need rebuilt?
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post #3 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 11:59 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBevans View Post
Ok, I've had my LT for a couple of years now.

I negotiated a cross country ride, lots of 400-1200 mile 3 day weekends under my belt. And while I enjoy the bike over 5 MPH, its low speed manners suck!

This is what I'm dealing with; 2000 K-LT, started off with 23k original bike, dealer serviced. I started with 880's (hated them) tossed those tires and have gone with Storm-2's (mucho-better) now with 35k miles.

I still have the same wobbly steering @ 0-5 MPH, the bike feels like the handlebars are not solidly connected to the front wheel.

Now myself riding solo, its not a real big deal, but 2-up with luggage it becomes a unstable beast. Loaded in stop-n-go traffic its a solid handful and not fun at all.

I have been riding all kinds of motorcycles for 40 years with much more than 150k miles on 2 wheels. I like the comfort for 2 on this beast when moving over 5 MPH, but its getting to the point that I'm almost ready to give up on the big K-LT and look at other touring bikes.

Any suggestions?
Thanx!
It is not something you are going to be able to "fix", only survive.

You know the drill if you have had it that long.

The rules are keep your head up and looking straight forward and bars straight and stop in a straight line whenever possible. She does like her naps.

Make your pillion sit still when not moving or moving slow

Load low and find places to ride where you don't have to go 5mph or less.

I ride 2up almost all the time and yes, it can try your patience keeping her up if walking the bike forward in slow situations.

Can you flat foot her at a full stop? I can just barely.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #4 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 12:05 pm Thread Starter
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

All possibilities, but at 23k miles should ball joints get loose?
A defective dampener, yeah possible. Hmm...

Nothing has changed (gotten worse) since I bought my bike that had just had a 24k mile dealer service, just an unstable beast in stop-n-go stuff.

Who rebuilds these dampeners?

Thanx!

Quote:
Originally Posted by St0rm1 View Post
Could the lower ball joint be bad, the fork bridge to frame need tightened or possibly the steering dampener need rebuilt?


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post #5 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 12:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

All great thoughts! Yes, sometimes we forget the rules, Lol!

Yeah, I can "just" flat foot it solo or 2-up, my shock is cranked up pretty good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
It is not something you are going to be able to "fix", only survive.

You know the drill if you have had it that long.

The rules are keep your head up and looking straight forward and bars straight and stop in a straight line whenever possible. She does like her naps.

Make your pillion sit still when not moving or moving slow

Load low and find places to ride where you don't have to go 5mph or less.

I ride 2up almost all the time and yes, it can try your patience keeping her up if walking the bike forward in slow situations.

Can you flat foot her at a full stop? I can just barely.


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post #6 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 1:02 pm
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBevans View Post
Ok, I've had my LT for a couple of years now.

I negotiated a cross country ride, lots of 400-1200 mile 3 day weekends under my belt. And while I enjoy the bike over 5 MPH, its low speed manners suck!

This is what I'm dealing with; 2000 K-LT, started off with 23k original bike, dealer serviced. I started with 880's (hated them) tossed those tires and have gone with Storm-2's (mucho-better) now with 35k miles.

I still have the same wobbly steering @ 0-5 MPH, the bike feels like the handlebars are not solidly connected to the front wheel.

Now myself riding solo, its not a real big deal, but 2-up with luggage it becomes a unstable beast. Loaded in stop-n-go traffic its a solid handful and not fun at all.

I have been riding all kinds of motorcycles for 40 years with much more than 150k miles on 2 wheels. I like the comfort for 2 on this beast when moving over 5 MPH, but its getting to the point that I'm almost ready to give up on the big K-LT and look at other touring bikes.

Any suggestions?
Thanx!
Mine idles at 7.5 mph in first gear so riding at less than 5 isn't a problem.



And mine handles pretty well even slow, but then is the later model after the front geometry and tire construction changes.

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post #7 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 2:18 pm
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBevans View Post
All possibilities, but at 23k miles should ball joints get loose?
A defective dampener, yeah possible. Hmm...

Nothing has changed (gotten worse) since I bought my bike that had just had a 24k mile dealer service, just an unstable beast in stop-n-go stuff.

Who rebuilds these dampeners?

Thanx!
I'm no expert as I've only had my 02' for a few months now. She came to me with 38,000 miles on her clock and I had to do some upkeep maintenance which made me read alot. I pulled my steering dampener off and changed out the fluid myself. The seals were fine but the fluid was old and the rubber bushings dry rotted. It isn't hard and only takes 30 minutes or so with no special tools, at least once you get it off the bike. I believe you can find few dampeners for sale cheap if you don't want to mess with rebuilding or just changing the fluid.

I've noticed a "floating" feeling of my front tire around >60 mph. Reading online about others who have had the problem a good majority seem to be a tire issue or the ball joint. The mileage is around yours and well over mine. It's almost like a few bikes may have had a bad batch of ball joints or they wore out prematurely. Others seem to never have the problem. It's a fairly easy check to see if it's wore out. Put it on the center stand and have the front tire off the ground. Push on the forks front to back and see if you feel or hear anything unusual (popping, clicking, catching, etc.) that might indicate an issue.

It could just be a matter of it being a tall heavier bike that takes extra concentration at less than walking speed. I haven't had many problems at slow speeds but I have dropped it when she stalled and nearly dropped her when the passenger was fiddling around and leaning to one side.
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post #8 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 2:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Great food for thought.

Many thanks, I'll check out the LT front end this weekend.
As I stuck this thing in the garage last year because of this issue. I've ridden my other bikes since.
But I recently rode it up to northern Oregon, where I'm working this summer for a weekend ride, and a short 700 mile ride brought those feelings from my coast to coast ride back to me.

I'd rather not buy another bike for my 2-up riding as the LT does get the job done and is very smooth burning the miles off...

Quote:
Originally Posted by St0rm1 View Post
I'm no expert as I've only had my 02' for a few months now. She came to me with 38,000 miles on her clock and I had to do some upkeep maintenance which made me read alot. I pulled my steering dampener off and changed out the fluid myself. The seals were fine but the fluid was old and the rubber bushings dry rotted. It isn't hard and only takes 30 minutes or so with no special tools, at least once you get it off the bike. I believe you can find few dampeners for sale cheap if you don't want to mess with rebuilding or just changing the fluid.

I've noticed a "floating" feeling of my front tire around >60 mph. Reading online about others who have had the problem a good majority seem to be a tire issue or the ball joint. The mileage is around yours and well over mine. It's almost like a few bikes may have had a bad batch of ball joints or they wore out prematurely. Others seem to never have the problem. It's a fairly easy check to see if it's wore out. Put it on the center stand and have the front tire off the ground. Push on the forks front to back and see if you feel or hear anything unusual (popping, clicking, catching, etc.) that might indicate an issue.

It could just be a matter of it being a tall heavier bike that takes extra concentration at less than walking speed. I haven't had many problems at slow speeds but I have dropped it when she stalled and nearly dropped her when the passenger was fiddling around and leaning to one side.


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post #9 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 2:55 pm
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
Make your pillion sit still when not moving or moving slow
Easier said than done! No matter how many warnings I give a pillion, especially my spouse, they NEVER sit still when I need them to... My LT is for sale because I can't flat foot it, and don't want her taking any more naps! I am going back to an RT, even though I love the LT ride!.

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post #10 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 3:17 pm
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

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Originally Posted by biometrics View Post
Easier said than done! No matter how many warnings I give a pillion, especially my spouse, they NEVER sit still when I need them to... My LT is for sale because I can't flat foot it, and don't want her taking any more naps! I am going back to an RT, even though I love the LT ride!.
That is a shame. There are some things you can do to lower her a bit.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #11 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 5:34 pm
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

The steering damper has absolutely no effect at low speeds.
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post #12 of 18 Old Jul 7th, 2016, 10:13 pm
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

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The steering damper has absolutely no effect at low speeds.
Unless the shaft is binding in the bushing and impeding movement of the steering. Low on the likelihood list though...

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post #13 of 18 Old Jul 8th, 2016, 1:00 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Find another member close enough and ride their bike and compare the ride. I would think a dealer would be able to find the problem. Lots of great help here before you try the stealer. Might help to give your general location. Good luck. No flatfoot here.

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post #14 of 18 Old Jul 8th, 2016, 7:17 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Another option before giving up on the LT is you might want to upgrade to a 2005 - 2009. They have a longer rake and from what I've read handle better at slow
speeds. Just a thought. good luck

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post #15 of 18 Old Jul 8th, 2016, 7:32 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

If you put the LT on the center-stand and jack under the engine enough to just get the front wheel in the air, do the forks turn freely side to side, but particularly when in or near the straight ahead position? Any significant friction or binding can cause very strange handling at both low and high speed as your steering corrections tend to overshoot due to the stiction. Those of use who have ridden bikes with standard front suspension know what happens if you get the preload too high on the steering stem bearings.

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post #16 of 18 Old Jul 8th, 2016, 10:12 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBevans View Post
Ok, I've had my LT for a couple of years now.

I negotiated a cross country ride, lots of 400-1200 mile 3 day weekends under my belt. And while I enjoy the bike over 5 MPH, its low speed manners suck!

This is what I'm dealing with; 2000 K-LT, started off with 23k original bike, dealer serviced. I started with 880's (hated them) tossed those tires and have gone with Storm-2's (mucho-better) now with 35k miles.

I still have the same wobbly steering @ 0-5 MPH, the bike feels like the handlebars are not solidly connected to the front wheel.

Now myself riding solo, its not a real big deal, but 2-up with luggage it becomes a unstable beast. Loaded in stop-n-go traffic its a solid handful and not fun at all.

I have been riding all kinds of motorcycles for 40 years with much more than 150k miles on 2 wheels. I like the comfort for 2 on this beast when moving over 5 MPH, but its getting to the point that I'm almost ready to give up on the big K-LT and look at other touring bikes.

Any suggestions?
Thanx!
That doesn't sound normal. I've had an 02 and 06. There was a noticeable difference when I first got on the 06, but neither exhibited a disconnected feeling between the bars and front wheel.
They are not that tough to ride at low speed when maintaining confidence and using proper clutch control when necessary.
Sounds like you better have someone check out the front end, better safe than sorry.

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post #17 of 18 Old Jul 8th, 2016, 11:03 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

Had cupping in my tires, replaced with Avons, very good

Also damper was shit, replaced with adjustable one, helped a lot.

May rebuild original some day, but made adjustable one very tight and it is good, dampens out the wobbly roads.

Also were your tires balanced well, I heard of some gs ppl saying idiots balanced new tires with old weights left on, and it messed up tires for good

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post #18 of 18 Old Jul 8th, 2016, 11:11 am
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Re: K1200LT 0-5 MPH Stability

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Originally Posted by jenkinskg View Post
I heard of some gs ppl saying idiots balanced new tires with old weights left on, and it messed up tires for good
They must not have done a very good job of balancing if it messed up the tires. If it was actually balanced, having more weight spinning on the wheel should not in itself have an adverse affect on a balanced tires. Still, it sounds like a bad practice if it was actually being done. If I don't get my own balancer and take it somewhere, I will make sure I pull all the weights before leaving it with them.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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