Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Guilford, CT, USA
Hey, Chuck, welcome to the site (wherein all things LT are revealed and there is a supportive community of other riders who love this bike), and welcome (back) to the wonderful world of motorcycling. Sounds like you paid your dues, man, so enjoy one of the rewards.
Good choice to take the instructional class to prepare yourself for riding. Personally, I would not plan to take the advanced classes yet. The important thing will be to begin to master the basic skills and knowledge on which everything else rests. The classes will give you a good start on that, but in the classes you will be riding a much smaller motorcycle with a much different "feel" than the LT. So, once you have finished the classes and are licensed I would suggest that you start out riding the LT simply to get its "feel." Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
1) Initially the LT might "feel" top heavy. When you get above 10 mph or so much of that heaviness goes away.
2) The LT likes to be reved up. Keep it above 3000 rpm (some people would say even higher), and it is more responsive.
3) The brakes on the LT are magnificent, and it has ABS and interconnected front/rear circuits (Integral brakes), but by the same token you want to spend a lot of time getting to know how they feel and react.
4) Straighten out your front wheel before coming to a stop, and keep your head up and your eyes looking at the horizon. If your wheel is turned to left or right when you stop, the LT will lie down in the middle of the road like a tired elephant. Many of us have dropped our LTs in this manner. If you look down at the road or even the bumper of the car in front of you, will be more likely to turn the wheel slightly. If you come up to a stop sign or a red light and you want to turn left (or right), you will be likely to begin that turn as you stop because you want the bike to be oriented to the left (or right). You can orient the bike while you are slowing down, but if you stop without the front wheel being straighted out you are going to drop the bike. If you are going around a rotary, if you make a U turn, if you circle an object in a parking lot, if you turn into a parking space - if you are making ANY kind of turn and you stop, sing a lullabuy to the bike because it will lie down. What to do if you are in a turn and suddenly need to stop? Straighten the front wheel and use the brakes as necessary. It takes getting used to.
5) Many people recommend using both brakes as necessary to slow down, and then use the rear brake alone to bring the bike to a stop.
6) If the bike starts to lie down, let it go and step out of the way. Dropping the bike will not hurt it. Trying to stop the bike from dropping will hurt you. It weighs 850+ lbs and you have no leverage when it starts to go over.
7) Check out your regional forum, post an introduction there, and, if you are so inclined, see if there are others who will ride with you as you get to know the bike. It is MUCH easier for another set of eyes to identify little things that you may want to work on.
8) Ride and enjoy. It's a marvellous machine and will show more and more of its capabilities over time.
By the way, there is a wealth of knowledge available in earlier threads for folks who are new to the bike. Just click on the "Search" function on the blue bar and type in something like "advice for newbies" or "new rider advice" and you will find tons of other suggestions. Best wishes.
'99 Canyon Red K1200 LT - Buddah Bike