Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 10 Old Apr 6th, 2017, 9:28 am Thread Starter
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Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

Greetings BMW LT community. I have been lurking as I am thinking about the purchase of a used LT. My last bike, bought new was a 100th anniversary HD Road King Classic.

I have found a couple of LT's that are close to the same miles, but a 4 year gap in model years. I would like your thoughts...

2005 LT """mechanic's special" at a dealer. About 50k miles, but "not regularly maintained" by the original owner. Sales dept. reports the owner claimed there was an oil leak. Service department has not evaluated the bike, would need to do so before I move forward as I have learned from reading through prior posts this could be a substantial problem. This is fairly simple since the bike is at a reputable dealer.

2001 LTC with 55k miles, one owner with regular maintenance. Final drive replaced (new), no other major problems. Weep hole not addressed and original brake lines (I should be able to handle that).

The '01 is interesting in that the maintenance is better understood. Would have to arrange for a mechanical evaluation, and the distance from a dealer is substantial. Owner is prepared to take it to a shop for evaluation. In both cases I am remote, so would need to rely on shops to evaluate.

Are there any distinct advantages related to model year of the 2005?

Thanks in advance for sharing your perspective.
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post #2 of 10 Old Apr 6th, 2017, 10:04 am
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?


Please check your forum Private Messages, pardon spelling - i.e. "braided" SS brake lines


Come ride with me;

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2006 R12GS 100K miles, current ride
1972 R60/5 Toaster 44K miles, current ride
2002 K12LTE 58K miles, SOLD
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post #3 of 10 Old Apr 6th, 2017, 10:47 am
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

Boonies, if you have to ask if you can handle doing the brake lines, then you might want to reconsider the LT. They are great bikes but there are also some things that can bite you and if you have to take it to a dealer every time it needs maintenance, I would hope you have deep pockets.

Take a look at Kirk's DIY videos and then assess your personal skills against what you see being done. If you are pretty good with a wrench, then you can probably do most of it yourself. If not, then you may need some help for some of it.


An 05 mechanics special screams ABS issues and they can be very expensive to repair. An oil leak is always bad on an LT because it is normally something to do with the trans or real main or clutch housing O-ring and it is an involved process to go in and fix them. Those types of leaks typically eventually involve the clutch and oil contamination. Even if it is only the breather tube leaking, it isn't easy to get to that. The 05 is less likely to have a final drive issue than the 01 but it isn't immune so still a concern. We have a guy ( saddleman) who rebuilds them so you don't have to tackle that one yourself should you have that issue.

The 01 with the replaced FD is a good start. Still subject to the same failures of oil leaks and definitely the brake lines need to be replaced. ABS issues are not catastrophic on the 01 as can be with the 05.

Watch the videos and see if you think you can handle some of these jobs or maybe you have a friend who is good with a wrench that can help you if you need it to keep costs down.

Good luck with your decision. The LT is a wonderful bike with a couple things that can be expensive to fix if and when they happen.

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 10 Old Apr 6th, 2017, 2:14 pm
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

Unless you can do the repairs all yourself, the BMW stands for Bring More Wallet. And if you CAN do all the repairs yourself, it'll quickly become Builds Motorcycles Weird.

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post #5 of 10 Old Apr 7th, 2017, 8:32 am
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

I say this every time a person is looking to purchase a LT. It is paramount whether a mechanic or not to buy an LT that has been meticulously maintained with all records showing that all required maintenance has been done on a timely schedule. Even if you are a mechanic, the frustration of trouble shooting, the high cost of parts and the aggravation of working on these beasts may not be worth it. Most people buy bikes to ride not wrench on. So to minimize the possibility of issues do your homework and do not let a low price and/or mileage suck you in. Sometimes to few miles can be as bad as to many. If you can find a competent BMW mechanic familiar with LT's (good luck with that), have them look your potential purchase over first. Also test ride the bike and if the seller in anyway is not forthright and seems to be not providing answers then run away. There are a lot of butchers that own bikes, that do maintenance and install accessories in a haphazard fashion which may compromise the bikes mechanical worthiness. There are also lots of LT's on the market that I'm sure have been taken care of, take your time and find one of them.

PS they are fantastic bikes, Good Luck
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post #6 of 10 Old Apr 8th, 2017, 11:39 am
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

I certainly hope all the negative Nellies haven't scared you away. You cannot beat the LT for the price they are going for. I would definitely pass on the "mechanics special." If you want the later model find a different one. You will note that this forum is just like any other, because most people come here to get problems solve you will find a lot of negative crap. Look a bit and you will find the positive.

There are a few notable differences in the '05 and later bikes. A bit more HP, different geometry that was supposed to address the low speed handling issues, better headlight setup and nicer driver information center. However you give a little up as well. That geometry change means slightly less high speed handling, (but we're not racing these things) (Okay, maybe a few are,) and you're not supposed to put radial tires on them. As far as I know the low speed handling improvements haven't improved the drop ratio. There are a few minor styling changes as well.

You have to decide for yourself what suites you. I have a 2002. There have been occasions when I wished I had another few horses. I really like the headlight and DIC setup on the newer bikes, but I ride daily, my bike is my commuter, my grocery getter, my stress relief and my pleasure ride. I wish I could afford multiple bikes to fill different roles, but since I can't, the LT is the bike I chose to have. Because I ride daily rain or shine in traffic, in Utah where the worst drivers in the U.S. are and I believe radials give me better grip, I will stay with the older model.

Remember 99% of what you are going to read here is personal opinion. Like they say, opinions are like . . . So your best bet is to look at a few, try to ride a couple (maybe rent) and make up your mind on your own opinion, it's the only one that really counts.
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post #7 of 10 Old Apr 15th, 2017, 7:03 am
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

Here's another "POSITIVE" post for you. I WAS a 35 year Harley rider before i decided to switch to BMW., and as i tell everyone, i've never looked back. Have always been a cruiser/touring rider. Switched 2 years ago to an 1150RT,(2002) and immediately fell in love with the German engineering. I did miss the comfort of the touring bike, so after much research, decided on the LT. Have had it for exactly 1 year now, and have put on over 17500 miles on her. (Yep, i'm a rider, not a Poser).
Anyway, as far as i'm concerned, i would go for a newer Lt. From everything i've read, it seems most of the issues had been solved with the newer LT's. In all the miles i've had mine, I've absolutely had NO problems with it at all. Sure, I had some very minor things such as the Cruise control malfunctioning (a simple switch cleaning fixed it), but i was fortunate that the previous owner had done all the upgrades such as fuel lines, etc. The Headlights are big plus on the newer bikes, as is the nicer display center. I've had no problems with low speed maneuvering, (but i'm a big guy at 6'2" 225 and used to heavy bikes).
It seems that every negative issues i read on this forum pertains to 2005 and before, so that gave me a clue to try and find a newer one. The prices all the way up to 2009 are very very reasonable. Keep looking, and i'm sure you'll find a good one.. Just talk to the seller, to find out anything you can about the bike, and you'll be fine. And Please try and do as much maintenance as you can by yourself. You'll learn the bike, and appreciate it much more so.
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Palm Coast, FL.

2006 K1200LT (Love it)
2002 R1150RT (Sold)
2007 Harley FLHTCU (sold at 137k Miles)
1999 Harley Night train (blew the eng at 150k miles)
1986 harley Davidson FLTC (Sold When assigned to Europe
1982 Harley Wide Glide (sold)
1981 Kawasaki k1000LTD (sold)
1980 Triumph Bonneville (sold)
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post #8 of 10 Old Apr 15th, 2017, 3:42 pm
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

I am a past Harley Davidson rider (Ultra Classic) which was a very comfortable bike, but the handling of the LT along with so much better braking makes the LT my choice by far. I am 70 years old and usually ride 15-20K a year. Mine is a 2002 model but at one point in time I owned a new 2005 but went back to Harley Davidson. Long story short I think I just wanted to trade bikes. Anyway, I had an accident with the Harley, car ran me off the road but the bike and I both survived with minor damages. I repaired the bike then sold it and found a one owner 02 LT in good shape at a wonderful price and could not be happier. I really can't tell that much difference in 05 and newer and the older LTs. I did like the power center stand, but they seem to give problems. Find an LT that catches your fancy and do not look back. I have a couple of friends that are good wrenches so that helps me since I am not a mechanic. Good luck in you pursuit.
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post #9 of 10 Old Apr 15th, 2017, 5:40 pm
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

I guess I'm a fuddy-duddy when it comes to this bike. I'm at 19,000 on my K1200LT since buying it with 40K 11 months ago. In all honesty, if I wasn't in a Motolease contract and could get out of it without losing my left testicle in the process, I'd be swapping it for either a K1600LT or a Goldwing GL1800. I find the bike is just not 100% fit for me and my iron butt riding style. I'm not knocking my bike, as the only things I've had to do are replace the steering damper, rebuild the electric centerstand, change all the fluids, spark plugs, air filter and tires. I like to run 1,000+ miles on a weekend, and this 05 just absolutely kills my knees and a$$. Granted, the only upgrade I have done so far is an AirHawk seat pad, but that doesn't account for the low HP, high CG and lack of options available for the bike. I'm fairly certain that in two years time I'll either be on a Wing or a K1600, but that's just me.

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post #10 of 10 Old Apr 15th, 2017, 7:32 pm
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Re: Looking to buy..also. Model year comparison?

Stock BMW seats are not for everyone, especially me. Both of my LT and GTLE OEM seats were agony after about 45 minutes in the saddle. Russell Day Long cured both problem seats... Even with an Airhawk, if the seating position is wrong, you're going to be uncomfortable. That is why Russell requires pictures of you in the riding position and at a stop before they begin their magic.
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'16 K1600GTLE
'07 K1200LT (sold 9/24/16)
'74 Suzuki GT750L (long, long gone)

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