As many at CCR know, I picked up a large screw in my rear tire on the way in to Russellville. I plugged it and we rode Wednesday, but the tire lost 5 psi that day and my wife Linda wasn't comfortable riding on it so I decided today to seek out a new tire. Since the nearest BMW dealer appears to be in Little Rock, I decided to start with Honda of Russellville since they are literally next to the hotel.
Honda of Russellville was very accommodating in regard to our tire situation. They believe they can have one in tomorrow around 10:00 and will mount it if I remove the wheel from the bike, which is easy with the LT rear wheel. So, hopefully, we are back on the road by noon tomorrow with a new tire.
My opinion of the BMWMOA Platinum road service plan (administered by Nation Safe Drivers) is not nearly so positive. What a run around they gave me and the dealer to get authorization to replace the tire under my coverage plan. We spent over an hour on the phone in a total of three phone calls to get replacement authorization to get my $250 coverage. The phone reps did all they could to find a way to deny my claim and really inconvenienced the Honda parts man who was really trying to help get me back on the road. What a complete lack of customer care and service.
Since we were stuck at the hotel, I asked about a Wing test ride since they have about 20 Wings in stock. They said sure so we rode a Red DCT Tour 64 miles up route 7 to Jasper for lunch. The DCT isn't bad, but takes some getting used to. Not sure if I would want one. The Wing has good power, much better down low than my LT, but nothing like the mighty K1600 BMW.
The bike feels much smaller than my LT and handles similarly. Responsive, but not really nimble like the K1600. The suspension is soft and underdamped. So, the ride is cushy, but not as controlled as my LT and not nearly as good as the K1600's ESA. The brakes work very well, nearly equal to my LT. The wind protection was as good as my LT and better for Linda than the LT as she sits lower. And much better for her than the K1600.
The seat was firm for me, but Linda said hers was like a concrete bench. And she felt more out in the open as the backrest is much smaller than our LT and the passenger grab handles are nearly under the seat and hard to reach. The storage is really poor. A full face helmet will not fit in the side cases and only one will fit in the trunk. Fuel mileage seems poor as I used more than half a tank in 128 miles. We left with 3/4 tank and were on the last bar when we returned. Although, I decided to fill the bike since we took it so far, and the pump kicked off at only 3.92 gallons in a supposedly 5.5 gallon tank. The filler neck is quite odd and let's the nozzle go deep into the tank so maybe it wasn't really full.
The dash is nice, but our high-viz yellow jackets glared badly on the flat plastic dash cover and Honda still has way too many small buttons that are hard to use with gloves on. BMW's controls are much easier to use and the K1600 "whiz wheel" works all the time where Honda's joystick wheel only works when stopped. All-in-all, a nice machine for a solo rider or maybe weekend trips, but for a couple that really wants to travel, you would have to tow a trailer. Not a bike we will likely buy anytime soon. Need to try the K1600 Grand America, but probably will stick with the LT a few more years. After all, it is the Ultimate Luxury Touring Machine.
I will say that Honda of Russellville has great prices. They are the #1 Wing dealer in the US selling 2-300 a year. They are a volume dealer with volume pricing, but even at $25K, the Wing just isn't the bike for us. It is selling well initially for HoR and the salesman told me that 95% of their sales are DCT models. He expects Honda will drop the manual transmission in a few years if this sales ratio holds.