Tough First Day - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 1:15 am Thread Starter
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Tough First Day

This should probably be attached to one of the dropped LT threads but here goes.

Just picked up my new-to-me 2005 K1200LT. Been working on this purchase for several months and I was very excited about getting my hands on it, and very apprehensive at the same time. I've read just about everything in the previous and current forum and was trying my best to put it all into practice. Bottom line is I became a three time member of the "dropped mine" club today. Very discouraging. Two were in traffic and the third was out in front of the house coming off the center stand.

This first was caused by a stall as I was trying to get going from a traffic light. Sort of bucked me off and I lost it. Got right off to the side and used all the advice I'd read and propped it right back up. Proceeded to fumble with the starting-shifting process while the side stand was down. Just too flustered I guess. Eventually took off and things went fairly well from there.

Parked in the street front of the house which is slightly crowned toward the 8 inch curb. As I rocked it off the center stand I misjudged the slope and it plopped over on its right side with the top half of the bike over the sidewalk. The handle bars, seat, and rear handles were all just inches off the sidewalk. I had no idea how to right it from this point. Luckily some neighbors saw it and rushed over to help.

Third incident was approaching a stop sign. Head up, handlebars straight, ... flop. I don't know what went wrong there. Got off, put myself in position and it just wouldn't budge. I think there was a bit of a slope in the direction of the fall. I had negotiated the intersection successfully earlier in the day. Luckily several people jumped out of cars and came to my aid to get things moving again.

Big lesson for the day - people are awesome. Nobody really gave me a bad time and most were very patient with the situation. I feel like I was on the receiving end of some very good karma and I need to fill it back up. I'll certainly remember today for many years on the road and try to pass what everyone did for me today. Worth all the scratches to see this today.

Biggest lesson from this group - let 'er go. As much as it was against my instincts, I knew from what I read here that nothing but serious hurt can come from trying to stop the big bike from going over. I am hurting tonight from all the attempted lifts, but I think I'm better off that I could have been.

Today I had to ride way over my head. I needed to get the bike from the dealer to home and then down to AAA for the registration. Now I can concentrate on practice and learning to ride at a much slower pace. Turns out though that most of the stuff I was worried about was no problem. I could see how easy it would be to go wide on a turn or some other situation, but all in all it is the low speed balance that I need to work on now.

To that end, what are some recommendations on what to do? I'm thinking of getting to a parking lot and just practicing taking the bike up to 30-40 mph and bringing it to a stop. Would taking the top case off help the learning curve? Any other tips on getting the bike on it's wheels in some of the situations above? I am getting a huge complex about dumping the bike somewhere and just not being able to get it going again.

I've taken the MSF course and plan to take the Experienced Rider Course when I get some of these basics down. This is my first bike and we've had the "LT as a first bike discussion" back in the old forum.

Thanks to everyone who has shared their story in the past. It definitely helped me remain calm and focused throughout the day knowing I wasn't alone in my experience. Thank you.

Dan
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue

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post #2 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 1:26 am
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Good that you did not get hurt and did not hurt the bike significantly. I ordered the replacement tip over wing covers from MaxBMW for $19.40 each. A good and relatively low price for BMW parts.

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post #3 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 1:47 am
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Hi there, whew tough day!

Carpark and lots of slow speed practice is a good idea. Just make sure it is an open carpark, not undercover with lots of posts in the way. Taking the topbox off will not make much difference I would not think, and better to get used to it with it on.
This was quite a good discussion on slow speed handling, here http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2772.

Good luck, hope you enjoy your bike as much as everyone else here does.

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post #4 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 1:49 am
 
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Cool Getting it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can enyone tell me if you can pick up the bike by puting it in reverse and cuting the bar's all the way lift and push the starter to right itself????????
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post #5 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 2:06 am
 
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I'm very concerned about your safety!

I'm not going to sugar coat this, but I say it with respect to your safety... and I'm very concerned about your safety after hearing about your experiences today. This should never have been your first bike! Absolutely never would I recommend this bike as a first bike to anyone! This is not a bike to learn on... you need to be experienced with so many facets of riding before considering this size of bike; it's tall and top heavy proportions - it requires a lot of attention.

What I suggest at this point... put the new LT on a battery trickler and store it. Buy something that's light-weight, smallish in size, used and inexpensive, with low-horsepower, that you can throw around and learn on; even damage if neccesary. A dirt bike would work great for this training and could be used away from traffic. Take a class where the bikes are provided in the course. Do not get back on the LT until you get more experience on another bike or bikes! Moreover, you may get the LT stood up and rideable within a few days or weeks, but you will not know what to do in an emergency situation or be able to do it fast enough to avoid injury.

Your dealer was irresponsible for letting you ride away with that bike today... at the very least they should have insisted on delivering the bike to your house, so that you could safely approach the bike in due time. Capitalism got in the way of doing the right thing here.

It sounds like you were lucky today and minor damage was done to your bike and your ego... you were lucky today in my opinion. BUT, In fact, today you decided to learn how to ride a motorcycle by flying a jumbo jet instead of a Cessna. Go back to the drawing board and approach this hobby more carefully, so that you can enjoy it for many years to come. Goodluck.
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post #6 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 2:07 am
 
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Just ride it a lot, preferably in low traffic areas for a while. Tough first bike, but you said you knew that. Every stop sign used to be a traumatic event for me, but you get the hang of it. Took about 12K for me to feel reasonably comfortable on it. Stick with it.
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post #7 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 2:10 am
 
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You cannot right the bike by using the reverse function, it's an electric function (not powered by the motor itself) and does not have the power to do so.
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post #8 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 2:35 am
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I've read that taking the top box off has made a world of difference for some folks. It reduces the top weight considerably, lowers the center of gravity and can only improve your chances of success compared to your very tough first day. I'd take it off before I rode another foot If I was you...

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post #9 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 2:51 am
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Smile Not the best 1st bike

I could not agree more with Jerrod. I've taught my 3 teenagers to drive a car in the last five years. Sure they were nervous, unsure, no confidence and had lots to learn. That is why their 1st car was a Saturn four door. I don't see how learning to ride a bike is any different. It's all about confidence. I went through 3 bikes in 4 years before I made it up to my LT. Maybe I am over cautious. I've seen this question asked before on this forum about guys asking if they should take the plunge and go with the LT as their first bike for them and the Misses and I'm constantly mystified by the number of responses that say "go for it". Com'on, I've not seen a missed opportunity to point a finger at the new rider on a brand new Road King who falls down at the gas pump. The LT is a big bike! They really don't come any bigger. With that mass comes the need to respect it and how she handles, corners, parks etc. Just my two cents and I don't mean to hijack but IMHO, we could do more to encourage new riders to grow into the LT. How many of you had a Kenworth as your first car?? If the original poster is more than a newbie, my apologies on this rant.

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post #10 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 7:49 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graydude
I could not agree more with Jerrod.
I can agree with that, also, but only because I did the same thing as you! (i.e., jumped into the LT early in my riding experience) I did buy a small, lightweight bike to practice on, get ready for the MSF course, and to gain some basic proficiency. It was a Honda VLX 600, but there are a thousand choices out there if you go that route.

I only had the Honda for 1 month before I bought the LT; probably a little premature, IMO, but it still made a positive difference.

I came close to dropping it 3 or 4 times; stopped it each time, but at a price -- sore back muscles, etc. You've seen the discussions where folks have seriously hurt their backs trying to print a tip-over.

Lots of parking lot practice works well, but a smaller bike for a few weeks is worth the investment too.

Howard Schisler
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post #11 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 8:25 am
 
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The LT is one of the worst choices for a first bike. Someone mentioned the Road King experience dropping it a the gas pump. At least the center of gravity is so much lower and the seat height inches lower on the Road King. But, we've got to go with what we have. Just get on some back roads and ride. The most dangerous thing is sudden stops or turning too quickly. Always look ahead of you - NEVER LOOK DOWN -. Good Luck in your riding experience and be careful. Even though you made it through 3 drops in one day, that scares the heck out of me.
Leon
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post #12 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 9:08 am
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Hello, everyone:

I read this thread and remembered my first day on Mein Byk. This behemoth was my first bike and I don't regret it. I took the MSF course and got my endorsement before buying the bike, but I had a friend of mine trailer it home for me on the day of my purchase, as coming home from the dealer would have put me on an Interstate and a turnpike...not the thing to do on your first ride out in real traffic. I did test ride it before buying it, and I felt safe. When I got it home and off the trailer, I went out for a ride and dropped it at the end of my street. I picked it up and got back on. Next drop was several weeks later with my friend on the back. It stalled on take off, just like it did for Dan, and TIMBERRRR. Two guys from the car behind me helped me and we got back on...yes, we, not just I. My friend decided to put her life in my hands again. No other problems that day. I suppose this confession means that we all have or will experience a drop. Whereas I agree with the advice given by some folks that one should start with a smaller, lighter bike, I feel it is dependent also on the rider's ability to learn the art of riding a heavy bike. I feel I am a quick learner. I'm able to feel where my vehicle is in relation to my body and can even detect nuances, such as a slightly underinflated tire, just by the way the vehicle behaves. If this is true for Dan, then it may not have been such a bad idea to hop on the LT. Certain techniques are learned and become automatic as time goes on. One that has helped me a great deal is putting down my feet just as the bike is coming to a stop. I brake with the rear first, then add the front and release the rear as I'm coming to a stop. By then, both my feet have come down and acted as "landing gear" to balance my now stopped bike. Yes, the MSF course states one should keep on leg up, and I occasionally do, but that is after I have stopped in the manner described above. In putting up one foot, I find take off is much easier. Otherwise, I instantly retract the landing gear as soon as the tires are moving. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we as riders learn certain "tricks" to keep our bikes and ourselves upright. Dropping the bike is embarassing, and may be dangerous, but it's part of the experience. I support Dan's plans to go to a parking lot and practice. I would caution him to walk the course first to make sure there is no dreaded dirt or tiny gravel on the pavement, especially in areas not usually traversed by cars; that debris can make feet slip and bikes tumble. Keep the handlebar straight when coming to a stop and take your time. One final note is that even after getting used to the weight of the bike and getting to the point where pegs are scraped in turns and gravel is managed without much ado, I dropped the bike in a parking garage when a woman was driving up the ramp as I was attempting to turn around and head down. The downward direction was to my right and I was going to cross over into her path while making the slow turn to head down. I made the fatal mistake of stopping with the handlebar turned to the right. You know the rest...down she went onto her right side and downhill on the ramp. The woman saw me go down and drove off. I extended the sidestand, did the old leg press and somehow got it back up by myself. Got on and rode home. No damage, except to my pride.

Joe
05 Ocean Blue LT "Mein Byk"
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post #13 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 9:08 am
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I doubt if you can use the reverse to right the beast. The engine has to be running for reverse to work and if the bike is on her side I would not want to be running the engine.

Brian
Fanwood, NJ
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post #14 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 9:13 am
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Good for you...

First, congratulations for having the courage to post this... a 3 time dropper, first day.. wow.

If anything, I'd have to ask your experience level. Not to insult but to help. Although I've ridden for 38 years, I even dropped "the beast" once.

You've probably already taken the MSF course or ridden for some years, so here are some "reminder points"...

Were you wearing good riding boots?

Did you keep your toes pointed out slightly? (hard to stop the shifting weight with your foot pointing directly forward)

Did you try to hold the bike up with your upper body/arms or legs? I find I can use the inside of the leg to support the weight much easier than using my arms alone.

Practice.. yup.. practice holding the bike up.. gently tilt to each side. Work with foot placement... try to keep yourself in the seat. Learn where the bike becomes almost unmanageable... but try to stop leaning it before you pass the point of "no return" and gravity wins.

Remember, keep your eyes up and looking forward... you will go to the ground if you look there... you will stay upright if you keep your eyes up, usually.

Practice putting bike on and off centerstand. Again, use your "center mass" to manage the bike. This machine will slam you if you try to use your arms only...remember to keep your front wheel pointed straight ahead. The slightest pressure either side will turn the wheel and shift the weight... gravity will get you.

Practice starting and stopping gently then increase speed. Try to never stop this bike when leaned. Plan to straighten the bike the last few feet before the final stop... keep looking up!

...............
J.M.J...
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post #15 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 9:22 am
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Coming off the center stand

One thing I forgot to offer as advice is my technique for coming off the center stand. I keep my hand on the front brake and as soon as I feel the bike start to come off the stand and the front tire touch the ground, I brake. Keeping the handlebars straight, both feet on the ground and looking forward keep me vertical. No harm comes to the bike, as once the center stand is off the vertical it retracts. Again, it takes practice. Hope this helps.

Joe
05 Ocean Blue LT "Mein Byk"
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post #16 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 10:01 am
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I agree with Jerrod, but the bike has already been purchased. Experience will get you what you need. Go out to the country and practice.
I've ridden all of my life and after 30K have dropped the beast 3 times myself! I don't know if my 5'6" frame has anything to do with it? The first time the bike has 000000 miles on it and I was bringing it off the center stand (2003), other time I "thought" that I had the side stand down all the way! Bike rolled forward and down the beast went! Last time I stalled the bike.

Ride the bike, "be the bike", ride, ride , ride! You'll enjoy.

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post #17 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 10:05 am
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In case it hasn't been said yet, I never take the beast off the centerstand without sitting on the bike. It's easy and with a good push just plops down on two wheels and rolls a little. Taking the thing off the centerstand while not on the bike is difficult at best. If the LT was a woman she would be what is referred to as "high maintenance" requiring your attention at all times!

Brian
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"Explain it to me once more: WHY do I have to "Press 1 for English"
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post #18 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 10:31 am
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Brian
You are so correct. I tried to take mine off the center stand using the technique outlined in the owner's manual and she went over on her right side. Now I sit astride her and never had the same problem. Once in a while I might need a push if I am facing a bit uphill.

Dave
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post #19 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 11:16 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dglenn1
I feel like I was on the receiving end of some very good karma and I need to fill it back up.
Wow! If that's "good karma" . . . well I'll just stick with Jesus! Thank you very much.

My advice: Buy some CHEAP insurance!!! In the form of a $500 to $1000 used bike. Perhaps a Kawasaki Ninja 500, or the like. Put a couple thousand miles on it, then sell it for what you paid for it. Then continue with the LT. Who knows? You just may want to keep the little starter bike for around town.

Good luck . . . er . . . karma . . . or what-have-you.
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post #20 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 11:28 am Thread Starter
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Thanks ...

for all the great input. I sincerely appreciate the replies and take all the criticism and responsibility for making the LT my choice for first bike. Your motives are genuinely appreciated and understood. I considered it very carefully and started a thread about it on the old forum as one of my research points. I won't go into the logic for my decision because I could never defend it. It was a personal decision and I'll never get the forum in general to agree with it, and there wouldn't be any point in it anyway. I bought the bike from a private party and had it shipped to my local dealer. I'll start another thread and relate the experiences of the purchase, lot of lessons learned in there! The dealer really didn't play much of a role in me riding off with it.

I've been turning over each situation overnight.
I think the stall was due to me dragging the foot brake too much. A habit I felt myself doing throughout the day and was working to correct. The ground was level and the bike seemed to pick right up turning the bars into the drop, grabbing the rear handle and pushing up with my butt on the lower edge of the seat. It was also early in the day and I was fresh and pumped with adrenaline.

The other two can be traced to sloping ground. We have lots of situations here where the ground slopes perpendicular to the direction of travel. It is rather ironic, on the last drop I was concentrating, "Look straight ahead, firm complete stop, left foot down ..." WHAM! I should have been checking out the ground a lot more closely and aimed for the right foot, it was higher, very slightly, but enough to make a difference.

The situations all had minimal hazards to myself other than self inflicted strains trying to right the bike. Traffic was stopped or very slow and none of my drops had any forward motion in progress when I went over. My gear is an Aerostich Darrien jacket and pants, good hiking boots with the laces secured, Baehr Silencer II helmet, and gloves.

Regarding the highway and traffic. I felt VERY secure here. Once I was over 3MPH I was fine. I had to make several U turns and even a 270 out on my narrow street to put the bike in my garage. Maneuvering is fine.

The purpose of this thread is to look for a couple of inputs
1.) Expanded advice and recommendations for righting the bike in the situations above. A) Slightly sloped in the direction of the fall so your fighting more gravity than usual. and B) Falling against a curb and not physically being able to get under it.

2) Are there any modifications I could do to the bike temporarily that would provide some temporary wider margin of tolerance on the tip angle such as removing the top case? (Been answered very well so far I think.)

3.) Best types of practice I could do in order to quit inconveniencing the public with my learning curve.

Thank you all again,

Dan
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue

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post #21 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 12:54 pm
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Dan, just one more voice to add to the crowd: you may well hurt yourself or someone else. I agree with others about storing it for even just 2-3 months, get/borrow/rent a mid-size bike (say in the 4-500 lb range), and ride it under every conceivable condition, parking lots, etc. Then move up.

It sounds like you are serious, diligent, and conscientious. But you may have erred in starting out with this bike. Maybe you will be ok just carrying on, but the stakes are very high.

Good luck with whatever you decide - it is a great hobby.
post #22 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 3:43 pm
 
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Dan,

First, congrats on your new ride!

Second, I am glad you weren't hurt!

Third, I would SERIOUSLY recommend you take others advice and start on a smaller bike. I have a GL1800A (Goldwing) and I couldn't in any faith recommend a bike in its class (like the K1200LT) to a newbie. These bikes are just TOO heavy.

But, since you have it, I would recommend you do a LOT of parking lot, slow maneuvers to get used to how the bike handles. Also, practice breaking and turning in the direction you mostly have problems with.

Ride long & safe.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Shane
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post #23 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 4:07 pm
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Dan,

you definetly beat my first day. I dropped mine only once (50 km from the dealer, on a restaurant parking lot, lots of audience / helpers.) Although LT was my first own bike, too, my second drop was about 15.000 miles later.

I don't want to suggest that buy another (smaller) bike but I strongly urge you to spend a tank of gas on some parking lot and just do the slow speed riding over and over until the bike no longer leads you but you lead the bike.

Best regards and be careful

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

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post #24 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 4:10 pm
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Nice post, Dan. Don't sweat the dropping your bike. As you see, there is little damage incurred, it is at very slow or no speed. I did fine for the first couple of weeks, but have dropped it probably a dozen times; mostly in the dark and in gravel, but not all. Now its been a couple years since the last one. Contrary to some of the posts, I don't consider it a safety issue, but a royal nuisance!

You'll gain expertise, though, only if you practice. The parking lot is your friend. I took two classes on handling this year, and after both, came away feeling much better about my abilities, and I'd recommend an ERC anytime. However, do I practice much since then? Hell No! Should I? Yes...its even free! Go practice, and feel good about yourself; you've got the nicest bike in town!

Pete Jessen
CCR 02, 03, 04, 08, 10
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post #25 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 4:16 pm
 
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U are not alone

Hey Dan,
I brought mine home after a six hour drive on Friday. Pulled it out of the Trailer and set it on the sidestand...( I neglected to notice that the bike was facing downhill). I went to the tailbox, opened it, and slammed it close. As I slammed it I felt it move forward...knocking the sidestand back up and I watched it lay on its side....the old "sinking feeling"....but I sure got a quick lesson that I wont forget! Ride Safe,
Ron
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post #26 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 4:55 pm
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I've noticed that my bike has less stability when I inflate the tires to 42/48lbs.

Therefor I speculate you might find getting use to your LT with the tires slightly under inflated. The down side is if you put a lot of miles on the tires that way, you will ware the outside ribs and cause premature feathering. But, it should help you get used to starting and stopping in an unused parking lot.

Other trouble spots are getting stuck in traffic while turning into a parking lot or gas station etc where there is a slight increase in road height. Front tire winds up being higher than the back. The same for turning into or across a ditch in-between the road you are on and another road or parking lot.

Parking in a shadow can obscure that the surface slopes down to your left.

Getting off a paved road onto an earthen shoulder, heart stopping.

practicse using the ABS brakes (on a straight road with out traffic).

You can pick up an LT by locking the handle bars in place, with the front tire facing up, and picking up the handle bar, Use your legs, not your back.

Carrying a passenger is OUT until you can ride without thinking about what you have to do.

Of course, getting on a dirt road is probably not a good idea for now, especially if there is any sand on the dirt road.

Bob
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post #27 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 5:39 pm
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Bob - gotta disagree with you on lowering the tire pressure. Even my SO can tell when my tire pressures are low on the LT, because it gets squirrely when I come to a stop. I'm not yet a member of droppers anonymous with the LT, but I've come close. I'm usually very particular about checking tire pressures, but the couple times I didn't, I was having trouble at stops. Put the pressures back up (I run 40/48), and it was much easier to keep up at a stop.

I've owned several LTs, and I do find the Integral ABS models harder to make a smooth stop at low speeds. No problem with either when moving rapidly, and the Integral system is very powerful, but I find its so touchy that if I hit the slightest bump just before the wheels stop, my fingers squeeze the brake just hard enough at that last second, that it stops before I was expecting. Its not the linked brake thing (my ST11 has linked brakes, no problem there), its that the Integral's brake controls are too touchy. I'm not going to get rid of my 2004 LT over it - but would prefer the earlier brake system if I had a choice.

Does anyone know of a way to de-sensitize the Integral's brake control? I have no trouble with the foot pedal sensitivity - just the hand control.

For the record, I've dropped the ST11 a couple times, so I'm not a virgin...

Don Ferrario
2004 K1200LT
2002 ST1100A

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post #28 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 5:46 pm
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Put your feet down before the bike stops at traffic lights.....these bikes are deceiving when stopping... because you don't feel the front end "sinking" like on most other bikes that cause you to reflexively put your feet down before the suspension rebounds.

If its got tits or an engine you're gonna have trouble with it

05 Graphite K1200LT
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post #29 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 6:24 pm
 
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Just remember that any time you stop, keep the handle bars near (perfectly) straight before you come to a complete stop. This will keep the bike from leaning after it stops. I swear that at anything over 10 degrees off of vertical will make it is difficult to hold up. Braking to a complete stop into a turn is tricky and should become much easier if you practice it. Just remember to turn the handle bars straight before you stop! Another thing that I've "experimented" with is when to put your feet down. This may sould silly, but with the LT I think that it's rather important. I usually start taking my feet off the pegs just before the bike comes to a complete standstill (bike in vertical position). Too early and your feet ride backwards on the ground without giving you a way to support the bike. Too late and its a balancing act. I usually start "stretching" my legs out straight as I'm coming to a stop and then have my feet just near the ground as I come to a complete stop. This has been working pretty well for me as I haven't dropped it is quite a while. I feel your pain as I dropped it several times in the past within the first few weeks of ownership. I believe that practice (will) make perfect as long as you are conscience on what to do as you come to a stop each time. I still don't feel that I've mastered the tight turn radius issue. This is also something that you must be aware of. A tight turn will leave your handle bars turned very tightly to one side as you propigate a very slow turn. If you slow down too much into a turn, coming to a stop, you will be in a very bad situation where your handle bars are turned tightly and your speed too slow, leaning to the inside. This is a high probability "drop" situation. The counterintuitive answer in to throttle out of it. This is where parking lot practice will help you out. Don't give up! I bet that within a few weeks of practice, your drop issues will be a thing of the past.
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post #30 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 6:39 pm
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get something to practice on

I totally agree with Jerrod!!! Having an LT for a first bike is like getting your learner's permit and jumping in an 18 wheeler!

Glad that you were not hurt. Get a smaller ride to practice with and help get your confidence back! The drops stay in the back of your mind for a long time and will make you "tense-up" every time you get on.

Get into a big (EMPTY) parking lot some weekend and practice doing large figure 8"s Concentrate on control and gradually decrease the size until you can do them in the width of the street.

Slow ride practive works very well too. When you can stop the wheels without putting your feet down, you're there!!!! TAKE YOUR TIME good luck
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post #31 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 7:16 pm
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Yeah, they are fairly easy to drop. Fortunately, most of us get the hang of the big girl quickly. That doesn't mean it will never roll over and play dead again though. After 50k miles of experience I still managed to drop it twice on the same day (thought I was over that phase, oh well).
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post #32 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 7:56 pm
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Thumbs up Practice Makes Perfect

I have to say that I have been riding for over 30 years and find that riding this size motorcycle takes all my concentration and experience. I can't imagine what it would be like as my first bike. I would probably get very discouraged and never ride again. You don't want that to happen. Motorcycling is meant to be enjoyed. You have your work cut out for you, but with a lot of practice and patience you can overcome the stress that this bike can cause. I have had my LT for 5 months and truly love the bike. However the first weekend trip with my wife I dropped it at a stop sign. The stop sign was at a road that was tilted left to right and I was going to turn left. I didn't try and stop it and just left it go over. My wife was very upset and was scared to get back on for the next 3 days. I hope she is over it. The bike is big and heavy. I found that by taking some of our items for the trip out of the top box and put in my brothers, it helped. So I realized that when loading the bike with a passenger and enough items for 3 days requires some careful packing. Keeping the top box light is a big help.
The more I ride the bike the more confortable I become. It is by far the best motorcycle made. I commute back and forth to work which consists of many red lights so it is good practice. I am 5'9" and 165 lbs so I need all the practice I can get.
Don't give up on riding because of your first day. You need a lot of practice in a parking lot away from traffic and obstacles. Seek out an experienced rider to help. It will take a while but will be worth it in the long run.

Be safe and enjoy

Steve Myers
2000 Champagne
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post #33 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 9:56 pm
 
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I don't think I've seen this many post in this short of time. It's seems obvious that you do not plan to give up on the LT so I'll add one thing. Parking lot practice and lots of it has been said. To add to that short periods of parking lot practice. Don't get to tired or you will add to the scratches.

Good luck,
Rick
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post #34 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 10:26 pm
 
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I like Joe's post the best!
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post #35 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 11:26 pm
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Really Bad First Day

August 8, 2000. A life changing day. I picked up my '00 12LTC. I'm Not a Rookie on Motorcycles. This was Bike #33 in a fascinating collection of English, Japanese, Spanish, Czech, American, Italian, French & German experiments in the 2 Wheeled Art since 1962. Half were wrecked and the rest just wore out. Anyway, I had to show the LuxoTank to my buddy who is My Moto Adviser. We went for a little ride and stopped for an errand or two. I parked the LT on the side stand and dismounted. Well the damned thing rolled a bit forward and was going down, but not before clipping my right calf with what I think was the bumper strip on the side case. EEK, That hurt. I had the sensation that this was more than just a bruise and right away went to my Long Time Doc who gave me an XRay and an exam and he said that this was a nasty bruise but not a broken bone and I might have a bruised nerve and here's some Vicodan and Ice it and keep it elevated and see this here Neurologist cuz the nerve thing might be a problem. Next day I went to this here Neurologist who looked at the WAY PURPLE bruise and said "Holy Shit, You've got COMPARTMENT SYNDROME". This is an EMERGENCY. He said this was the beginning of Gangrene and Blood Poisoning. He said to Hop on over to the EMERGENCY ROOM and a Vascular Surgeon would be waiting for me. Doctor Bob, the surgeon, looked at my leg and said "Holy Shit, you've got COMPARTMENT SYNDROME " and By the way we may have to AMPUTATE your leg. EEK! Well, I rallied my friends and lovers and gave them the lowdown just before they carted me to the OPERATING ROOM. Well, in the surgeon’s wisdom he gave me a SPINAL TAP ANASTHETIC so he could talk to me about my situation and well, they did a bit of FILLETING and a lot of HUMMING and HUMMING and then this sawed off ASSHOLE in an Operating Room Costume stops by and starts telling these REALLY CRUMMY JOKES for about 10 minutes. The GIGGLES were a nice relief from the HUMMING but WHAT THE HECK is going on with my AMPUTATION? Well this SAWED OFF ASSHOLE asks what’s going on here and DR BOB gives him the lowdown on the COMPARTMENT SYNDROME thing and DR SAWED OFF gives a big HUMM and says to DR BOB……. Naw, don’t cut his leg off….. clean it out, tape it up and I’ll take care of it. YOW! Asshole is not what Dr Sawed off was….He's DR Jerry Kaplan is/was head of the Alta Bates Burn Unit in Berkeley and specialized in SEVERE WOUNDS. 4 surgeries later and the removal of my right anterior tibial muscle and a bit of Physical Therapy and PERMANENT HANDICAPPED PARKING RIGHTS and some RETRAINING cuz there was a good chance I may not have been able to continue in my career as a Location Sound Recordist……. Cuz now I have a goofy knee lift stride that is kinda gimpy and not strong enough to push me up mountains like I used to do. As a result of the "Bruise" I got my Licks up in High Definition Engineering and have worked on “Star Wars”, “Spy Kids”, a bunch of Hollywood TV Stuff. GOD, I LOVE MOTORCYCLES.

BTW….. the LT has about 70,000 miles on it now…… would have been more but I was laid up for half a year.

Make sure you Check out those bruises...... COMPARTMENT SYNDROME is one evil nightmare....... Google it

Dave Lezynski
Oakland CA
2000 LTC
2000 Aprilia Pegaso
2004 Aprilia Scarabeo 500
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post #36 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 11:28 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
You can pick up an LT by locking the handle bars in place, with the front tire facing up, and picking up the handle bar, Use your legs, not your back.
Bob
Very interesting lifting technique. This is how one person showed me how to lift it that was helping me on my final drop. I hadn't read that one before and it was part of what prompted me to post. I thought there might be some more interesting techniques out there. This might have worked in the situation I was in when the bike fell next to the curb. Can the handle bars take the load without damage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BecketMa
Carrying a passenger is OUT until you can ride without thinking about what you have to do.
Bob
Goes without saying. My kids, the neighbors etc. all want to take a ride and I've set expectations somewhere in the June timeframe. Same with any type of commuting which is my goal. I'm targeting my re-entry to traffic sometime after we get daylight savings back. It'll be parking lots and cones until then, maybe some very local errands.

Dan
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post #37 of 57 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 11:52 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisin92
I have to say that I have been riding for over 30 years and find that riding this size motorcycle takes all my concentration and experience. I can't imagine what it would be like as my first bike. I would probably get very discouraged and never ride again. You don't want that to happen. Motorcycling is meant to be enjoyed. You have your work cut out for you, but with a lot of practice and patience you can overcome the stress that this bike can cause. Steve Myers 2000 Champagne
I am not discouraged in the least. Overall I had a great day. I really can't wait to get back out there on the bike. If it weren't for the traffic I was holding up at the intersections I could have found the humor in the situation. I must have looked fairly clueless out there and I imagine I gave some people a dinner story or two. I loved riding the bike and the post is aimed only at solving my little stopping problem and looking for better ways to lift the bike besides prevention. The rest of the riding I did went quite well including some city traffic, 65 MPH on the freeway in light traffic, and a few tight U-turns.
Thanks, Dan

Dan
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post #38 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 12:24 am
 
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the LT can be a tricky beast to ride at slow speed... untill you master it.

one big thing i can share with you about the LT brakes is the ABS is sensational... but it will be your undoing at speeds less then 20 kmph if used incorrectly.
Use the rear brake when going at car park speeds, i learnt this some time ago on my handa CBR250RR in 1997. Try this on the LT with the front brake and you can kiss the front end good bye as it dissapears under you ,and you wind up on the deck.
You have a mighty challenge in front of you grasshopper and if it was me, i would definatley not be getting something like the LT for a first bike. For me my LT is my fourth bike. Started with a Honda CBR250RR for 3 years (loved it, had a ball on it) Honda VFR800 for 5 years, BMW K1200RS for 2 years (infact owned the VFR and the RS at the same time) and finally sold the VFR and RS to get my LT.
The bikes have taught me disipline, riding skills, braking skills, touring do's and donts, pillion passenger do's donts, traffic management dos' donts, power management with the throttle, how a bike should handle, what it feels like when the tryes pressure is incorrect, incorrect settings on the dampers/springs, blown fork seal leakage and how its affects handling, how to dismantle forks and reapir them (the VFR800. i blew the fork seals, then spent a week in my dads shed after work dismantling the front end, rebuilding it and putting it all together again), the joys of l-o-n-g d-i-s-t-a-n-c-e travelling (went round australia via highway number 1 in 2002, covered 17,922 kilometers in 9 weeks), saftey aspects with regards to motorcycle gear to wear/not wear, and introduced me to many many people all over the world via web sites like this who i have gleamed buckets of advice from over the years on riding techniques and technical information on the bike i was riding at the time.

You have a jiant learning curve infront of you in the LT.

It was me, i would not be chosing the LT as a learners bike, but you have...

I wish you the very best of luck.

But i leave you with a thought

When we start riding motorcycles we start with a full bucket of luck/karma and a empty bucket of experience.
You need to get the bucket of experience filled before the bucket of luck/karma runs out.


Happy riding
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post #39 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 1:22 am
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Take off the top box, it makes the bike feel less top heavy and you will have a tendecy to put stuff in it and make things worse. I ride four bikes off and on and when I ride anything after the LT I swear that the brakes have gone away. The LT brakes are so powerful and will get you into trouble at slow speeds as many have said already. You have to be ready when coming to a stop and be aware of where your going to stop, I have almost droped it several times stopping at an intersection with tire ruts from trucks, so look at the road ahead of you and pick a good line when stopping but don't look down look ahead of you. Don't be afraid of slipping the clutch in slow speed turns or using the brakes and clutch at the same time. Some people just dump the clutch and go or pull in the clutch and then it's all brakes. If you have any friend with dirt bikes ask them to take you out to a nice dirt field and show you how they use the throttle and clutch/brakes to control the bike. I would agree with most that you should get a smaller bike to practice on. If you have scratched up the chrome on the rear bags BMR makes a rubber strip for $24 (a set) that covers the scratches and looks good to. Good luck.

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14' KTM 1190
03' KTM 450 EXC Dually
72' Honda SL 100
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post #40 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 8:28 am
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Dan, i did the same thing you did. I hadn't ridden a bike in over 25 years and those were small dirt bikes, then I go and buy a K1200LT. Big difference from a 125cc dirt bike. I also took the MSF coarse and passed no problem, once again on a 125cc bike. But thats where the similarity ends . First I had my dealer deliver the bike to my home, from there I could practice on the bike at low traffic times of the day and I mean practice and practice. It was almost a year before I finally rode it to work (on matter how much pressure I got from the guys at work to ride in so they could see it) and the practice continued mostly early morning rides with no traffic (4:00AM on Sat. & Sun.) until I was comfortable with everything about the bike, panic stops, slowroll stop and go's you get the picture. Then it was not until the following year that I rode 2- up. Thank God I have a patient wife !! Do I regret taking so long ? Absolultly not, let common sense guide you not your ego. It's one thing to go down by yourself its totally something else to do it 2- up.

Just to set the record straight, yes I have dropped mine 4 times to be exact, but never in traffic or 2- up. Twice in the driveway and twice in the garage taking it off of the centerstand. Does'nt happen any more thanks to alot of PRACTICE.

One more thing if your like me and have to put the bike up for long periods of time (snow and ice) when you put it back on the road, take it out and re aquaint yourself with the bike as 4 months of not riding will create alot of rider rust.

Good Luck,

Pat Rourke
White Lake,MI.
2002 K1200 LTC, Champange

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post #41 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 10:51 am
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Well I think Dan has got the right stuff.
Not many people would admit to buying an LT as a first bike and then dropping it on the first day out.
So did I !!.
Centre stand isn't a problem as it's hidraulic.
Go for it Dan, after a while everything else will look too small or fast to be riding.
All I can recommend is to look at the horizon when coming to a stop, keeping the front wheel as straight as possible.
And when she goes, just let her go.
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post #42 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 11:03 am
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Quite a thread with a lot of opinions. Low speed definitely takes some finesse with this bike that other bikes don't require. Buying a smaller lighter bike won't teach you that only the LT will. Now driving at high speeds (>10 MPH) that's different story. Here's my .02cents worth:
1. Lots of parking lot practice. Stop, go, low speed turns, etc..
2. Make sure your foot wear has very good grippy soles. Traction, especially in gravel or leaves can be a drop saver.
3. Concentrate with every stop. Now is not the time to be cavalier.
4. Don't even think about replacing the damaged tip over covers or chrome pieces on your saddle bags for a year.

Good luck, you have a bit of an uphill battle, but it is no insurmountable.

Adversity builds character.

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My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
'06 Toyota Landcruiser (black again)
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post #43 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 11:34 am
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Dan

At 6'7" I have a different set of problems to you, but the thing about lights and stopping etc isn't really a problem to me.

But having a bad back and being tall, I can't pick the bike up and have to have help. While puzzling out a way to solve this (I've dropped it 3 times) - still no solution, I have put on nearly 100,000 miles, some of them in remote country on dirt roads, by myself. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Ralph
Located: Auckland, New Zealand...
but I left my biking heart along the Scenic Byways of America.....

"Come fill the cup that clears
Today of past regrets and future fears." ....Omar Khayyam
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post #44 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 11:56 am
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Docwagner is giving you good advice. I came from a Nomad and I have dropped mine four times. I don't think a smaller bike will help you learn the LT. It would help you learn to ride, but you already have a bike, so you might as well learn ride the what you have.

I went from a wreck years ago and not riding for 20 years to the Kawasaki Nomad. It weighs in at about 800 lbs too. And I dropped it several times. Big deal! You get up, upright the bike, and laugh at yourself. Then laugh again. This is fun stuff and and unless you hurt someone even the accidents can be laughed at. I laugh now about that wreck years ago. I thought it was bad then and would want to repeat it, but after all these years it isn't that big of a deal.

Like they say. Don't sweat the small stuff! And it really is all small stuff.

Go ride, learn, and be safe.

Enjoy,

Lewis

Last edited by km5bh; Dec 11th, 2005 at 12:01 pm. Reason: can't spell
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post #45 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 2:46 pm
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Get rid of the top box

My suggestion to anybody that needs to become familiar with this bike is to spend the ten minutes it takes to remove the passenger back rest/top luggage box. The bike is SO much more user friendly with the extra weight removed. Sure made it easier for me to get used to the characteristics of such a large bike. I also have a YAMAHA fj1100. The K1200LT was a huge difference.
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post #46 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 4:35 pm
 
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LT down ?

I've had mine for a year now. My previous bike was a 1986 Goldwing. I had that for 15 years - and I never dropped it in all that time. The first month that I had my LT I dropped it twice: once in a gravel parking lot, and once in the garage trying to put it on the mainstand after riding for 5 hours. Now I'm very attentive to detail when I'm not moving: the secret is just not let it start to tip over. This bike must be kept perpendicular to the ground at all times....AT ALL TIMES ! Once it starts to go over....that's all she wrote. May as well step back and watch. Once you achieve the state of mind of "perpendicular at all times" - you've got it licked.
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post #47 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 8:06 pm
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<Can the handle bars take the load without damage?

First time I dropped mine was into my HD. I simply forgot to put the side stand down.

I tried putting my back against the bike and pushing against it to "walk it up."
No luck.

I called the dealership, asking for advise. Shop manager suggested I lock the handle bars, and pick it up.
It worked.

I've had to pick her up twice now. Once on each side. Both times in my garage.

I've seem posts wondering if picking it up by the handle bars might cant the handle bars where the risers are mounted into the frame.

Both times I've dropped her, I have been alone. She either stayed down, or I picked her up.

First time she was down for a few hours. When I got her up, and started her, she blew tons of smoke thru the exhaust until the extra oil that had collected in the cylinders burnt out. Good thing I knew why she was burning oil.

I always park facing up an incline, in first gear. I let out the clutch to see if she will roll back a little, before I put the side stand down. Never had a problem.

I live on a dirt road; have to stop on the dirt road to get my mail; I am always careful when I stop my bike and lean her onto the side stand. Sometimes I simply have to go down the road a little more to find a safe place.

Around here, there are many signs besides the road saying Do Not Enter When Flooded. This also means that sand and rocks will be on the road after it rains. A real killer at the bottom of a hill with a turn. We never know how long it will take for the county to clear the sand and rocks off the road.

When I lived in NE, I had to worry about wet leaves in the fall, and black ice in the winter.

MCN has a good section every month about danger situations we should look for.

Keep us posted or we'll wonder if y'all are OK.

Merry Christmas
Bob
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post #48 of 57 Old Dec 11th, 2005, 10:09 pm
 
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My 2 cents..Just joined the 3 drop club yesterday on a trip down to PHX..I know what the problem is but I still did it..Keeping it perpendicular at all times..and not stopping in a turn with the front brake..all three times that I dropped it was with the front brake being engaged..this last time I just reflexed when this car started moving as I was turning slowly into a gas station..I can handle the bike but I just wasn't thinking ahead to avoid the situation I found myself in at the time..when it comes to stopping, I've found that keeping the deceleration as smoothly as possible makes it real easy..just a smooth easy application of the brake to a dead stop with the wheel straight takes care of it for me..the only way to handle it is to ride it..Experience is the best teacher..as the others have indicated, take your time and practice every chance you get..things will come round eventually..Good luck and stick with it.. this bike is worth all the trouble when things go right..Oh, I got mine in Aug of this year and have 9,000 miles on it now..

Last edited by bmwusmc; Dec 11th, 2005 at 10:16 pm.
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post #49 of 57 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 7:28 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dglenn1
Goes without saying. My kids, the neighbors etc. all want to take a ride and I've set expectations somewhere in the June timeframe. Same with any type of commuting which is my goal. I'm targeting my re-entry to traffic sometime after we get daylight savings back. It'll be parking lots and cones until then, maybe some very local errands.
Dan - I must admit that when I first glanced at this thread, I thought "damn, guy dropped the bike three times in a day - wrong bike for him." Honest, those were my first thoughts. I took the time to read through the thread and you're getting some great advice from other folks about how to manage - either practice on a smaller bike, or practice practice practice on the LT. I do think anyone can master the LT in time, but it is not a small bike. My advice? Practice. Think about what you're doing when you start and stop. Eyeball an intended stopping point and think about where you'll put your feet. Consider the camber of the road. Net/net - you'll figure it out, don't get too discouraged.

But... I've got to say I'm shocked that you're considering giving rides to anybody - kids, neighbors, whomever. I know you're thinking that you'll give rides when you're better acclimated to the bike, but know that a second person is inputing a shitload of variables into your riding experience. Best case they just sit still and don't try to help you by leaning - you still need to accomodate the additional weight and how it effects starting and stopping. Worst case you need to be able to counter the movements they're going to input by not sitting still. I've been riding since I was a kid, and seriously long distance riding for about five years now - and I think long and hard before giving anybody a ride. It's not that I'm not comfortable with my ability as a rider, it's just that I'm not comfortable with their ability as a passenger!! It's also very rare that you'll have proper riding gear for a "let me take you around the block" passenger. You really gonna go out and get a properly fit helmet and all the rest just so the lady next door can spin around the block with you? I doubt it.

Enjoy your new LT - the confidence will come. But think twice about passengers...

danbrew

(oh yeah, i've dropped a bike or two now and again myself...! there's two types of riders - those who have dropped and those who will...)
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post #50 of 57 Old Dec 12th, 2005, 8:51 am Thread Starter
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No passengers before my time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danbrew
<snip> But... I've got to say I'm shocked that you're considering giving rides to anybody - kids, neighbors, whomever. I know you're thinking that you'll give rides when you're better acclimated to the bike, but know that a second person is inputing a shitload of variables into your riding experience. <snip> danbrew
Thanks for the reality check. I might be too optimistic in my time frame for passengers, but riders are way down on my list of things to learn. I've heard some great advice here and my current time goals sound optimistic in comparison. I'm adjusting my expectations based on what I am reading. I plan to start with my wife whenever we are ready and take the experienced rider course together when that time comes. Thanks, Dan

Dan
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