Originally Posted by Keithb
I've been a Gold Wing rider for 15 years and I have a few questions/concerns about the LT
1. How many other riders have done this switch?? for those of you that have, what do you like better about the LT and what is not as good with the LT??
*Raises hand* I had a GL1500 for nine years and a GL1800 for two before I bought my 2000 LT in February of this year. I had wanted an LT when I bought the GL1800, but the wife decided she liked the back seat of the wing better. Now that I have the LT, she is quite comfy on the back of it. (She should be riding her own bike, anyway!) Although the LT is heavier, I prefer the handling even over the GL1800 which handles much much better than the GL1500. The Beemer has a little less useful luggage capacity than the GL1800 which has MUCH less useful capacity than the GL1500. Most of my riding is commuting on the freeway. Both bikes are competent for this. I think it comes down to a personal preference.
2. I do a lot of riding pulling a trailer ( 7 -9k a year). Can the LT handle this?? the Wing has almost 30% more torque and a 30% larger engine-- yes I know the LT is almost the same in horsepower. What issues have you run into pulling a cargo trailer??
Can't speak to this. I never pulled a trailer with either bike. I can tell you the LT has noticably less bottom end torque than the GL1500 or 1800. You have to keep the revs up a bit more when starting, especially fully loaded from a dead stop. You could bog the GL down to 300 or 400 RPM and it would chug along. The BMW will stall earlier. but if you carefully add revs and ease the clutch out, you should be fine. Maybe someone else who pulls a trailer can give some more useful info... and say how much this shortens the life of the clutch, if any.
3. The BMW calls for premium fuel -- how many really use the hig grade stuff?? is it really needed. what kind of real world gas mileage do you get??
I haven't tried mid-grade yet. I probably won't. The BMW has a higher compression engine. I'm going on my experience with my Mercedes E320 which also has a very high compression engine. I tried a half a tank of mid-grade once and it coughed and sputtered hideously until it got a full tank of premium again.
4. The maintanence is easy and fairly cheap for a wing -- gas/ oil / tires ( for the most part ) How much do you spend on maintanence for the LT?? and how easy is it to do yourself??
Of course, with either bike, the time-consuming part is getting all the plastic off. On the Wing, most of the panels just snap on or snap together. On the LT, there are dozens of torx-head screws that hold the panels on. I've only had them off once, and that was with the guidance of a couple other riders who had done it several times before. First and foremost, get a battery-powered screwdriver and a torx bit of the appropriate size. Maintenance costs will be some higher. MCN had a good head-to-head comparison of the costs. Notable was the valve inspection interval. One cost more than the other, but had to be done less frequently, so it was close. BMW says to replace the brake and clutch fluids annually(?). This is overkill in my opinion. But I've only had the bike a couple of months, and all the service was up to date when I bought it, so I can't speak to the consequences of skipping any maintenance intervals.
5. What are some of the other pro's and con's betweeen the two touring bikes -- I know this is a BMW site and I'm sure I will here a lot of the pro's, but be honest and let me know what you don't like with the LT also. I know each brand/model has had it's issues-- like for the wing the frame reacall and the ECM to stop the overheating ect...
Read through this site and you will find out what the chronic issues are with the LT. Remember that you mostly hear about the bad news, not the thousands of trouble-free miles. Final drive failure seems to be one of the most common and disabling problems. But still relatively rare. What I like over the GL1800 is the handling, the looks, the adjustable windshield, and the stereo. With both the GL1800 and the LT, you get a good fuel-injection system, so you do not need to let the bike warm up before riding off. For commuting, this is vital.
To me, the GL1800 was a schizophrenic machine. Why would you find an aluminum perimeter frame and non-hydraulic valves on the same bike with a gas-charged damper on the saddlebag lids and a computerized idiot reminder that the trunk lid is open?
6. What options have you added and which oines do you like and again which ones do you wish you would have saved some money??
The only thing I've added is an HID low beam. The wing (even the GL1500) has better lighting than the LT. I have a peg lowering kit and PIAA lights that were on the bike when I bought it.
I want to add a rack once I find an affordable setup that holds more than a cheese sandwich. I'm gonna pull out the CD changer and use an MP3 player instead for trips.
By the way, I was severely disappointed in ALL of the Hondaline accessories I got on my GL1800. The heated grips sucked. The trunk light was worse than useless. The rack was an overpriced joke.