First impressions riding an LT long - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 20 Old Jan 6th, 2008, 9:03 pm Thread Starter
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First impressions riding an LT long

I have read, with much interest, passionate posts by many folks here about how they feel about riding their LT. These feelings almost always very strong range from love to strong dislike. From the few posts of the latter, it almost seems to me that the issue is the operator rather than a defect or other in the machine.

True, the LT is bigger and heavier than a majority of the bikes (other than HDs, GW, etc of course) out there. Then there is that different fork geometry that changes riding behavior significantly. One area that the fork affects is during slow speed braking if the wheel is not straight, a handful of front brake can impart a side load that promotes instability. So keep the wheel straight, and use more rear brake at parking lot speeds. Right?

Im coming off many miles (just 8K this past 9 months) riding solo and 2-up on my Honda ST. I consider myself an above average rider and nothing more. I ride defensively and I ride year round. Yes, I have dumped bikes. Most have been in the 750cc range until the ST the biggest and heaviest bike Ive had. Wonderful bike really. But I digress.

When I took the test ride, I didnt yet know about this BMW LT forum/user group and the gold mine of information it contains. ANYBODY considering riding, even just a test ride, needs to check out this forum. I know, Im preaching to the choir but if there is just one other soul out there that is about to do what I just did consider an LT he or she must take a long test ride first on this site. I did and am very glad I did.

After taking my first 150 miles on my new (to me) 1999 LTC over two days this weekend, I admit that its not your average ride. No, the bike is different. In fact, in just a weekend, the bike was never the same. Similar to the chameleon, the bike changed before me going from a land yacht to, well something much smaller. Going from something sort of imposing to one in which, hey I want to ride this baby!

The first 100 or so miles was really nothing more than cruising down the cold Interstate highway with seat and grips on hot and my Tourmaster heated jacket liner and gloves on high it was mostly between 36 and 40 degrees and Im not that warm-blooded. It was a good introduction though. Nothing too challenging. Mostly getting to know how it takes the concrete slab (very well thank you). Check out that power windshield! How about that cruise control! I was too busy to even think about the radio.

Now there is a toll booth. Must keep front wheel straight and remember there is a rear brake. Neutral. And produce the toll ticket and money. Ok. Then lots of traffic to my exit. Im getting annoyed at the pokies, getting out of the way of the chargers. Not thinking too much about what to do with the bike. I just seem the be doing it with much problem. In fact, its f-u-n.

Now hit the exit, five miles of heavy traffic to home. Im getting so good low-speed handling in here. I remember to keep my head up bike tends to go where you look. Keep front wheel straight when stopping.. Both feet down. And when I steer it into the driveway, I keep it in first gear and put the side stand down to shut it off. I let out the clutch and let it drift back an inch or so until it stops on it own and then rest it on the side stand. Dismount. (Oops forgot I was plugged into my heated gear, It disconnected fine so no harm, no foul.) Up on the center stand (Ive been able to do that for decades on any bike just make sure both feet of the center stand are in contact with the ground before you lift up step down.) I made it home!!!

Day two (today) its warmer and the roads are drying from the overnight rain. Today, I want to take a route I like that passes horse farms and out of the way country roads. A fair amount of curves and gentle ups and downs. Many stop signs (but not too many). Im starting to come to a stop with my left foot down only and my right foot operating the rear brake. Shifting takes a bit more foot effort than my ST but when I am not lazy, it rewards me with a clean shift. The fuel injection is smooth. The bike is smooth! The bike is getting more docile.

This day, I have done some more reading up on the sound system. Thanks to this site, I was provided a link to a early posting that has the pages for the sound system manual (my bike was missing this manual) and I am cruising with tunes!

I pull into my work parking lot (no working today) just to rehearse the ritual of pulling up the bike parking area and test out the reverse assist. Hmmm thats different. It works and I back up into the space without fanfare. I shut it down like I should (in first gear, side stand down, etc.) and put it on the center stand. Hey Im getting the hang of this bike!

Take a layer of clothing off and back on it doing some parking lot riding. Out one lot exit and back in the next one. I see two cars with what seems to be young drivers at the wheel and mom or dad perhaps riding along to help them do there parking lot practicing. Today, we all are students.

Back towards home I ride. The bike has become smaller. Not as top heavy. I stop for fuel my first time with it. Do all the proper stop and shut down procedures without issue. Fuel hose on the right. I put about 4.5 gallons in it. Start it up, reset the average speed and MPG reading and ride the remaining mile to home. Someone is in the drive way so I take her over next door and ride her up on the sidewalk and ride it in front of the house and shut her down. After the driveway is clear, I ride take her up and into the garage without much thought. This bike has changed it is not so huge or so imposing now.

But wait! Did I say the bike changed. No it never changed did it? What changed was the operator - me. I learned, and applied (as best I could) some of the important things that can make for a better experience.

So a big thanks to all of you here. Your words of wisdom, of your trials and tribulations, and the generosity of taking time out to put some of it down here was most helpful to this boy.

And almost forgot. I really like the LT and eager to learn more how to ride it better.

Jon

2011 R1200RT - not named yet

2005 K1200LT Blue - "Sapphire" - gone
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post #2 of 20 Old Jan 6th, 2008, 9:34 pm
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I gotta tell ya, Jon.

It just keeps on keepin' on --- better and better!

You gotta pretty good handle on what to do and what not to do, and practice, practice, practice will favor the 'to do' list. BTW - you prolly know this already, butt the Experienced Rider Course (ERC as it's known in most places) is a great venue to polish up on those self-taught skills during the year; and to identify and eliminate some of the nits that can be habit forming, butt shouldn't be part of our repertoire. Don't know what is available in PA, butt worth checking on it, if you have the opportunity. Ride safe. Hope to see you on the forums often.
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post #3 of 20 Old Jan 6th, 2008, 10:59 pm
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Thumbs up Great way to start the New Year

Good luck Jon. As weather permits, ride safe.

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post #4 of 20 Old Jan 6th, 2008, 11:24 pm
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Jon

I have done many miles on many models of HD and sampled many other brands including several wings... But I must say that of the Flagship Touring Vessels out there the K1200LT is the only one I feel confident sticking with the pack of young ung rice burners dragging their knees I occasinally hook up with. There is no way I would even attempt on an Ultra or Wing the kinda cafe-in I occasionally do on my LT.

If Bentley bought Lambourghini... and made motorcycles... well you'd probably have an LT

Did a 7,000 mile ride this last summer and the day after I got back I wanted to go back out...

STAY ALERT and ride like you are INVISIBLE, even when they are LOOKING RIGHT AT YOU!

IMHO

Mike Gregg
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25K and building Fast
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135,000 and she treated me right.

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
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Last edited by BaronVonGregg; Jan 6th, 2008 at 11:32 pm.
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post #5 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 12:36 am
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hahaha.. too late now, the "Black Forest" is in your blood... intoxicating... yes, spiritual sorta...

So, just remember these "checklists" you mentioned in your post... repeat them at each application opportunity... and you'll excel...

Welcome aboard!

If you think this board is worth it, join up.... keep the fires burnin!

...............
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post #6 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 7:44 am
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Don't forget to buy that EZ pass. Makes it so much nicer to breeze through the tolls! I have mine inside the tank bag, cloaked in a black pouch as not to attract unwanted attention. Works great!

If you don't have them, the Motolights were the best "safety" lighting add on, we had installed on our 99LT.

Hope to get some riding time in tomorrow. STILL have ice in the driveway....
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post #7 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 8:23 am
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Welcome!

You have done it right. I found this site late in my LT ownership.
Many a day I kick myself for waiting so long to find and join this site

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post #8 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 9:39 am
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Looks like a good couple of riding days lined up here for you! Nice weather for January here in PA. Every time out is a practice session, sounds like you're off to a great start. Good Luck with your LT!
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post #9 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:26 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yechave
Don't forget to buy that EZ pass. Makes it so much nicer to breeze through the tolls! I have mine inside the tank bag, cloaked in a black pouch as not to attract unwanted attention. Works great!

If you don't have them, the Motolights were the best "safety" lighting add on, we had installed on our 99LT.

Hope to get some riding time in tomorrow. STILL have ice in the driveway....
Hi! I have EZ-Pass and it sure is great, but it's already assigned to two cars and my other cycle (the ST). I don't know if I can add a fourth vehicle. If not, may have to just get another. Also, I like the idea of putting it in a tank bag. I didn't know that it was "cool" to put a tank bag on an LT! (wink) Actually, I like having a tank bag on any bike I ride.

I am not familar with Motolights. Are they for the front, or the back?! Reason I say that is because I have a "Back-off" tail lamp modulator thing that flashes the brake lights on my ST - definite eye catcher.

Rode it in this morning to work. It was a nice ride.

Jon

2011 R1200RT - not named yet

2005 K1200LT Blue - "Sapphire" - gone
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post #10 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:29 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfell
hahaha.. too late now, the "Black Forest" is in your blood... intoxicating... yes, spiritual sorta...
Wundervolles Stck deutsche Maschinerie!

2011 R1200RT - not named yet

2005 K1200LT Blue - "Sapphire" - gone
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post #11 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 4:41 pm
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Like many of you I have ridden a lot of miles on a lot of different bikes and the LT is the only one I've ridden that after riding 700 miles, I want to keep riding. I suppose as long as my knees hold up I'll be able to keep doing this. The LT is not only comfortable to ride, but it keeps you entertained on long runs. Had 2 GW's and would literally start to fall asleep at times on long rides. The LT has some faults, but it is still a truly great motorcycle and great looking.
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post #12 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 5:24 pm
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Good to read all this. Thank you Jon. Maybe it is like beer or scotch where there needs to some time spent to acquire a taste for it.

I have caught some grief from a couple of my riding Buds for getting this beast but it is the best touring bike out there. It gets my bride and her stuff to where we want to go in comfort and has a perky young heart for when riding one up and the devil makes me do it pops out..... Much more agile and fun in the Mountain twisties than the Road King and I dearly loved that bike.

I say this in all truthfulness the more I ride it the better I like it has held up for over a year so far. 5,000 miles in 9 days last summer and looking at a 3,000 mile run over a four day weekend this spring. I could leave on it today!!!

Gene
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post #13 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 5:36 pm
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Jon,

I had a very similar experience when I bought my 2002 LT in September. One of the first rides I took was from Reno to my folks place near Chico in Northern Cal. Got to ride both Hwy 70 through the Feather River Canyon and Hwy 49 that day. 2 of the prettiest mountain highways anywhere.

When I started out the bike felt big and imposing. By the time I got to my folks place I was amazed how much smaller it felt. By the time I got home that night the thing felt like a sport bike.

Next morning on the way to work I had to beat down the urge to just keep riding toward the mountains. Heck, it's only 30 minutes to Lake Tahoe.

Like others have said, it just keeps getting better.

Enjoy!

"Don't do anything you'd be embarrassed to explain to the paramedics."

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post #14 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 6:01 pm
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Thumbs up Thank you Jon!

Well written Jon!


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post #15 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 6:55 pm
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Jon,

I bought my 2005 K1200LT about 3 weeks ago, and had very similar experiences. Each day I go out, the bike gets lighter, lower, and generally a bit smaller. I feel the top-heavy comments I read about here are really more apparent (by appearance) than actual. In fact, since I live in New York City, and have to deal with getting out of a below ground garage, and city traffic to get out in the country, I especially noted that as soon as the bike is rolling, it is amazingly balanced. As an example, making a left turn in the city, going almost zero speed while I allow a pedestrian to pass, I have no wobble or uneasy feeling of any unsteadiness at all. It is perfectly balanced which is saying a lot for a bike of this size.

I got out yesterday for a scenic ride along the Hudson, about 65 miles north of the city-temp about 36 but pretty comfortable with all of the protection on-board. As you described, I pulled into empty lookout parking lots and practiced "Ride Like a Pro" DVD low speed maneuvers. handled very well.

Good Riding,

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post #16 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:10 pm
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I now have six plate numbers listed for my "FAST LANE" Mass TPK, (EZ PASS). Only one unit. Would not leave home with out it!!

Do a Search on MOTO LIGHTS. Good for day time running light front end protection. Also great at night with a stock low beam. Install a low beam HID kit for night riding. Do a search on HID to read all the positive comments from the group buy a year or so ago.

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post #17 of 20 Old Jan 7th, 2008, 10:26 pm
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PIAA Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsd-tourteam
Hi! I have EZ-Pass and it sure is great, but it's already assigned to two cars and my other cycle (the ST). I don't know if I can add a fourth vehicle. If not, may have to just get another. Also, I like the idea of putting it in a tank bag. I didn't know that it was "cool" to put a tank bag on an LT! (wink) Actually, I like having a tank bag on any bike I ride.

I am not familar with Motolights. Are they for the front, or the back?! Reason I say that is because I have a "Back-off" tail lamp modulator thing that flashes the brake lights on my ST - definite eye catcher.

Rode it in this morning to work. It was a nice ride.

Jon
I love my PIAA lights. They are tucked up under the fairing out of the way. Motolights are on the forks and look like a growth on the fork tubes. Also you can get a built in switch on the turn signal cancel button. You hit the cancel button, PIAA's on, hit it again PIAA's off.
http://www.piaalights.com/

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post #18 of 20 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 6:31 pm
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Re: First impressions riding an LT long

Jon,
I really appreciate what you said, having just purchased my first LT ('02) also. Going from an '86 Wing to the LT....what a difference! During my first ride I too sensed the bike becoming less of a beast to be tamed and more of an extension of myself. I won't go so far as to say Man and Machine becoming One, but it sure began to feel better as I rode. I echo Jon's thanks to all who have contributed their thoughts and experiences here. I've been looking in on this site for a while and just joined today and am looking forward to learning much from all of you.
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post #19 of 20 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 9:42 am
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Re: First impressions riding an LT long

Jon and company -
I can echo Jon's sentiments and experiences, since I've had my LT for two weeks now. The more you work at learning to manage this machine, the better you get at it.

One note about this board. I can't say enough about how much help the members provide, from "rants" to "wisdom". Many of us "LT Noobs' will avoid making costly mistakes, simply because we spent some time here. At least this one will. Thank you all

Jon -- great post!

Now to get the 85 K fired up....its been sulking since its new stablemate has arrived!

RickG
'07 K1200 LT
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post #20 of 20 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 10:02 am
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Re: First impressions riding an LT long

Great write up and it really is the way we transition to the LT.

Even after many miles on a Road Glide I was not prepared for the LT's girth and sleep disorder. Thank goodness I already was used to a fixed fairing.

I have to say I love the bike and this forum. The help and knowledge helps us newbies adjust to the LT.

I pretty much think this will be my last bike. I paid cash for it and think at this point I will do what I have to to keep it on the road. Even though I bitch and moan about it's reputation for repeatable and specific system failures, I still cant see any other bike for me. And I still ride the hell out of it.

Best thing is you don't see a lot of them and you have to admit she is a looker.

Again, great sharing of your transition to the LT

Lee
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