Decisions -- LT vs RT - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 12:59 pm Thread Starter
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Decisions -- LT vs RT

Hello! Just joined this forum. My brother and I have been Harley riders for years and years. He will be retiring within the next year and asked me to help him look for a touring motorcyle. His girlfriend is uncomfortable riding on his Big Dog, and they would like to do some touring once they have more time after his retirement.

I began looking into Goldwings and BMWs (in addition to Harley Baggers), and he is very interested in an R1200LT. However, from reading many posts from the experts on this forum, I've read about a number of issues: issues with slow speeds in parking lots and gas stations; trunk locks that break easily; rear drive problems; etc. But, I've also read all of the wonderful things about the comfort once you're on the road, the ease of handling, the comfort for the passenger, etc.

I've also read through many of the posts for the RTs.

Given that he will ride as a single rider at times; but, also given that he is looking for a touring bike that will be comfortable for his girlfriend; and, given that there are a lot of good things also said about the RT in terms of touring; would your inclination be toward the LT or RT?

Any help you can provide will be especially useful. In terms of being out on the road, it seems as if the LT really has all that he would want. But, face it, we do park in parking lots, back the bike out of garages, ride slowly into gas stations, and want something that is reliable without a lot of little things (and, sometimes, big things) becoming troublesome. Perhaps it's just because of the number of posts on the LT forum vs the number of posts on the RT forum, but it seems as if more problems have been identified in terms of the LT than for the RT.

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 1:10 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Welcome. I'm new here as well. Having recently purchased an LT, after one ride, I can say that the ride is nice. Performance on the road was good as well. The low speed/parking lot, issue is definetly a concern. It seems to be one that escalates as the steering angle increases. The center of gravity being high combined with the short wheelbase makes it very challenging to find a comfort level in short/slow speed turns.

My suggestion, don't get comfortable! Just be ready to maintain a high level of concentration and hope for the best.

Now thats after only two days, 381 miles on the bike. At which time the engine blew!

Hassiling with BMW now to either have a new bike, as as agreed upon, or a full refund.
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post #3 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 2:00 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

After almost 3 years of agony with my new 2006 HD Ultra Classic and every imaginable problem you can have, the LT is a great bike. I took a big loss to make the HD go away and now I just ride. Any bike can have problems, sometimes it's a matter of luck. But it would take a lot to prove to me that Harleys don’t have more problems percentage wise than all other bikes combined. If you have been riding Harleys all your life, statistically you will probably have less problems with a BMW.

That being said the LT is a heavy SOB. Slow speeds are a little tricky but nothing you can’t get used to. Think of it as a car with a wide steering radius. You learn very quickly not to make U-turns on side streets. The bottom line though is that for long rides with someone on the back, the LT may be impossible to beat.
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post #4 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 2:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Thanks for your comments. Didn't mean to imply that Harleys are free of issues or break downs. Any bike has its quirks. But, there did seem to be issues regarding the LT that I would not have expected for something with the initials BMW attached to it. And, due to the low center of gravity, I've never encountered problems with slow speeds, parking, moving in and out of a garage, etc.

However, being a (little) older than a few years ago, comfort is more of a primary consideration than it once was...especially for the passenger. As you who have made the switch from Harleys to BMWs can attest, Harleys are not really the most comfortable ride for long distance. And, I've read that both the LT and the RT are good touring bikes.

That's why the interest.

Thanks again!
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post #5 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 3:17 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I am 59 and have ridden Harleys my whole life...till...last Fall!
The LT is the most comfortable Touring bike I have ever ridden!
And just for arguments sake...I went and rode a Wing, Yamaha, Kawasaki...none of them compared to the two up touring characteristics of the BMW K1200LT!

The bike in a heavy cross wind is a dream compared to the ULTRA!!
The slow speed maneuvering is a bit upsetting at times...but only when riding two up! Other than that it is a breeze.
As for drive issues...blah...blah, etccccc
Do I wish there weren't any...you bet! But it won't stop me from ridding till she breaks or I turn her off!!

It is a mechanical machine....they ALL break down sometime, somewhere! Just like all the other brands...I just happen to like the BMW logo a little bit more!

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post #6 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 3:28 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I currently have a HD and the LT. I've had zero problems with either bike. I absolutely love my HD, and will ride it whenever I go solo. That said, taking a trip with the wife, on the LT, is a rider's dream come true. I've had a GW, and it was fine, but I'd take the LT over the GW (personal preference). I test rode the RT about a month ago, and it did nothing for me. Your brother will just have to suck it up and go riding. Sucks to be him, huh?
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post #7 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 3:32 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyBoy
But, there did seem to be issues regarding the LT that I would not have expected for something with the initials BMW attached to it.
I agree. That is why I made the following post "What were they thinking" soon after getting on the LT.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36377
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post #8 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 3:43 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Ditto what GolfGuy said.

The bike before the K1200LT was a HD Road King Classic. Loved it. One or two up.

Am now 58 and have had an '06 K1200LT for about a year and a half. Love it more one up or two up. Either way are much more comfortable rides. Three friends and I did 5,000 miles last summer in nine days in rain, heat, and wind thru mountains and deserts and loved it. The first 1500 miles was in less than 36 hours for the Iron Butt Association.

What little issues you may have in the parking lot are more than made up for on the road with a solid comfortable ride. I love taking the twisties on this beast. My first caution to a HD rider is the high center of gravity and the brakes on the LT work. Most of my riding even in the mtns requires only one finger on the brake lever. I rarely brake with my right foot. You do not have to.

The RT has less capacity for gear and toys...

Gene
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post #9 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygret
I agree. That is why I made the following post "What were they thinking" soon after getting on the LT.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36377

I hear you. The seat on my2000 HD Road King sucked as well as did the handle bars. To me any way. I am 5'10" and 29 inch inseam. I put a Mustang Seat and Police (either RK or Ultra can not remember) handle bars and they did the trick.

I do not have any trouble with the LT seat or mirrors. Can sit stopped with both feet flat on the ground unless one side bike has ground lower than the other. Most of the time I ride with the seat in the raised position. Coming from Harleys the biggest issue for me was the feet position but fixed that with highway ottomans and Mick-O-Pegs. These let me get my feet out a little further from the European under your butt position.

Gene
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post #10 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 5:00 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

If your going to tour the LT is the ticket. I ride mine everyday as well to work and with practice the slow speed stuff isn't an issue for me. Also taking the ERC class helped with all of that.

The RT is a fine machine and I would like one as well but if the girlfriend rides on the RT and the LT she will most likely pick the LT.

The other thing to remember is that most of the time on a forum you will hear about issues not always all the goods unless you dig.

I am on my 2 LT and my wife and I love it and my wife will not let me have anything else.

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post #11 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 8:08 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I'd suggest taking an advanced rider course with the new bike. It would help you sharpen yor skills and give you a chance to learn how the bike behaves, in a controlled environment. Especially true for your brother coming off a Big Dog. Its a totally different style of riding. No matter how long you've been riding it would help you.
It all comes down to personal preference. Either bike would be an immense improvement for a passenger. The RT is more spirited, while the LT is plusher.
I ride an '07 HD Road King everyday for work( sucks in the rain but the city pays for it and I get to ride). I just picked up an '05 LT because I wanted something more comfortable and reliable than an HD. I scored big on both points, especially comfort. Smooth, quiet and vibration free. No bone jarring jolts from the suspension. The only real problem I have is keeping it at legal speeds. Its so smooth and quiet I've found myself enjoying the ride only to look down and see I'm doing 80 or 90. And that would be two up with my girlfriend on the back. No muss no fuss, all day power.
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post #12 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 8:48 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Thanks for all of your comments. I'm going to Portland Motorcycle tomorrow to talk to them about the LT. Need to see how sharp of a pencil they have. Also, think I should take it for a test ride. It seems that for 2 up, the LT is probably the way to go. And, I know that it is what he is really looking for. If he wants mean, he has his Big Dog. But, he really is looking for a tourer that he and his girlfriend will enjoy after retirement and while touring around the US, Canada, and wherever the wind decides to take them.
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post #13 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 8:55 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I've been to Portland Motorcycles, and I don't know that I'd go back. Their idea of a test ride is 3-4 miles accompanied by one of their sales people. "Kiwi" was enough to drive me out for good. Went to Eugene, BMW of Western Oregon, to test ride the RT and Josh Spoor just pointed me to the twistiest road he could find and sent me on my way. Were I to buy, it would be there. Nice folks. Just my 2 cents, and I'd like my change in cash please
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post #14 of 26 Old Jul 11th, 2008, 10:34 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

When you test ride the LT or the RT just don't ride it like a Harley. Both bikes like RPM and the LT is a complete different bike when you take it above 5K. I have a friend that just sold his 04' RT and got a 08' Road Glide with ABS and loves it. If your a dirt bike rider the slow spped handling will be less of a problem and after you practice the slow speed stuff for a while you forget what every body complains about anyway!

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post #15 of 26 Old Jul 12th, 2008, 6:00 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I have both an RT & LT. They are two totally different motorcycles. Your brother will need to make some up front decisions as to what his primary purpose in owning a motorcycle is before he can make a rational choice as to what motorcycle to buy.

Same goes for potential problems too. Both the LT & RT share a few issues. Everyone that has had a failure complains about the final drive, but personally I think the complaints are well out of proportion to those that have no problems. So, I would not let that worry you so much unless you buy a used motorcycle with no warrenty. If you do that, you should be prepared for potential issues. Just as you would with a used car too.

As for the two motorcycles, the RT is more sport orientated that the LT. The LT is a touring motorcycle with the ability to do mild sport riding. I don't care what anyone else says about the LT's sporty nature. It is not, and never will be, a sport bike! It may surprise you with what you can do with it, but it is not a sport bike. Nuf said about that.

The RT also weights about 300 pounds less than the LT. Makes a BIG difference in the handling. Particularly at low speeds. But the RT is not a long distance touring bike either. You can do it. Just like you can do it on any motorcycle. But the comfort level is going to be much lower.

My wife likes the RT for local (read twisty) roads and short trips. Less than 2 hours total ride time (one way). She prefers the LT for long distance and highway miles. The LT causes a particular discomfort (all mental) because she is seated higher than the driver and feels like she is going to be bounced out/off of the motorcycle. A Backup backreast has helped some in this area, but new Wilbers shocks (when I can afford them - too many other things going on right now) will help more.

I ride my RT when ever I can. I prefer it to the LT for one-up riding. No doubt in my mind it is the better one-up motorcycle. For long distance two-up riding though, the LT wins in all categories.

So, for your brother, I suggest he start with what he wants to do first and how he plans to ride. Then decide one-up (RT) primarily, or two-up (LT) primarily, and go from there. Even the RT at its worst will be more comfortable than most HDs. So, if his girlfriend made it on that, the RT will be much better.

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post #16 of 26 Old Jul 13th, 2008, 1:12 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I own both a V-rod (my 3rd) and an '06 LT. The V-rod is one-up around town, but mainly purchased for a custom project I've always wanted to do.

I'm also 6'4", and have no problems at all with the LT - parking lots or anywhere else. Over the past 40 years, I've ridden almost everything, and, as benefits my age , have formed strong preferences... having said that, the LT, with proper mods offers more places for my feet, and ability to change knee angle, than any current bike available (again - for me).

Indeed, many bikes have floor boards & road pegs (so does my LT), but none offer me the height that I prefer. The RT has two big things (heads) in the way, and using an OB rack (J-pegs & the RT equivalent) doesn't work for me.

So, like expensive shoes, you have to find what fits you....
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post #17 of 26 Old Jul 13th, 2008, 11:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Just wanted to say thanks to each person who took the time to respond to my initial post. I talked quite a bit to my brother about your comments and about what he is looking for. He's not really looking for a 1-up bike...he has that with his Big Dog and he's going to keep that. He's looking for a luxury comfort 2-up touring bike. Given that, he did decide to go with the LT, and I'll be picking up his new 09 LT in a couple of weeks. Again, thanks for all of your input. We both really appreciate it!
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post #18 of 26 Old Jul 14th, 2008, 4:29 am
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

That was easy....... I did not get to post anything.

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post #19 of 26 Old Jul 15th, 2008, 9:14 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Definitely the RT. I sold my 2006 LT and got a new 1200RT. It is much more fun and doesn't have the inherent problem of a high center of gravity and poor slow handling ability that the LT has. Good luck!!
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post #20 of 26 Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:22 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

My first BMW was an LT, and my wife loved it (this from a person who was even scared to be on a bike). Traded it for an RT thinking that the lighter bike would be more maneuverable and still comfortable for my wife. SHE HATED IT AND WOULDN'T EVEN RIDE WITH ME ANYMORE ON THE RT. Went back to get another LT and it was true love all over again.
The LT is a little bit of a handful at slow speeds, but just respect that fact and you will be OK, otherwise handles every bit as good as the lighter RT in my opinion.
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post #21 of 26 Old Jul 16th, 2008, 10:43 am
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

I bought a new 2006 K1200LT in August 2006, took the Advanced Rider Safety Training at 600 miles, and initially thought this was the worlds most topheavy, ungainly, torque deficient bike.

You just have to give yourself time to get used to this bike. I worked very hard at not dropping it at low/no speed situations, and haven't so far. At the 2000 mile mark the difference between torque and horsepower began to dawn on me, and if you twist that thing on the right handlebar and step on that little lever under your left foot, you can outperform most of what you see on the street. I don't do that often, as I try to be nice to my machines and not abuse the moving parts (part time multiengine/instrument flight instructor). Above 3 mph, the LT feels like a sport bike, and I ride it year 'round 87 miles a day to and from work from 28F to 102F (I don't ride when the conditions are right for thunderstorms, black ice, or snow). The VERY high CG is a plus in crosswinds, and has outstanding ground clearance in corners (less when two up at MGVW). The bike doesn't wander on milled asphalt roads or bridge grating. 90 mph feels just like 40 mph, and I can't even tell my wife is on the back the 1% of the time I go out two-up (and she is not 130 lbs. anymore). Of course two up at stop lights, you have to watch your balance closely. I'm 5'6", with a 28" inseam, but most of the accounts of low speed tipovers I've read about seem to have no correllation to rider height.

If I had to do it all over again, I would buy an LT again, except without hesitation this time. I forgot to add a note about comfort; I'm almost 67 years young, and I've got no complaints in that department. Just the usual long-distance hamstring cramps from the feet-under-the-butt riding position, but I can take care of that with a stand-up on the pegs, or stretching my legs (one at a time) out in front, with my heels on the rubber side bumpers. I also include leg extension and leg curls in my resistance training regimen.

Look for my avatar in all the usual places for more technical observations that I have posted. If you pay attention to the dates, you can see my gradual transition from a whining cynic to an LT fan.
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post #22 of 26 Old Jul 16th, 2008, 4:30 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

If I really thought my wife wouldn't ride with me if i bought an RT, I would get one in a minute. Seriously though, I had an Ultra Classic when I purchased my LT three years ago, and I kept the Ultra for a year, thinking I would ride them both. After I purchased the LT, I hardly ever rode the Ultra again, except to go to HOG functions. I sold it last spring, and every time I ride my LT, I like it more and more. I now have roughly 35000 miles since I got the LT. I personally think it handles better than any big bike I have ever ridden, except perhaps in a parking lot--and even there, I think the knock on LT's at the low speed is a bit over played. It is all a question of getting use to the way the bike handles at those speeds and in those spaces. I have ridden RT's, but I don't like the boxer engine all that much. I might consider one if they put the GT engine in it.
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post #23 of 26 Old Jul 16th, 2008, 4:44 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrlakin
I have ridden RT's, but I don't like the boxer engine all that much. I might consider one if they put the GT engine in it.
Man, a K1200RT would be great!

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post #24 of 26 Old Jul 24th, 2008, 12:50 am
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

New to the forums here. I must admit my humility upon reading of all the 6.1'-6.3' riders that frequent here. Never, in all my wordly experience, have I come acrost such a disportionately large segment.

If only all those Harley riders, that pass my empty garage , knew that the mere ownership of a high priced maintenance expensive, scooter was such a joy to ride.

Hmmm... I wonder if thats why I see so many Harleys on the road around here
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post #25 of 26 Old Jul 26th, 2008, 1:39 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Just purchased a 2001 LT never owned a touring bike before.
I test drove the GW1800, BMW LT, RT and large Y. Knew a touring bike was the way to go. After talking with bike owners, started to gravitate toward the LT. For handling, I dont think you can find a better bike than the BMW. For reliability and bullet proof bike, go with Honda. Its all about the chips and how much you are willing to spend. I must admit, the LT has the thing locked with the looks department, glad the design hasnt changed. Drive em and pick one you like. The RT is an awesome bike too but not sure it is as comfortable for your passenger. This BMW touring bike community and forum has great feedback, the senior members are like big brothers. Good luck.
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post #26 of 26 Old Jul 26th, 2008, 2:17 pm
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Re: Decisions -- LT vs RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyBoy
Hello! Just joined this forum. My brother and I have been Harley riders for years and years. He will be retiring within the next year and asked me to help him look for a touring motorcyle. His girlfriend is uncomfortable riding on his Big Dog, and they would like to do some touring once they have more time after his retirement.

I began looking into Goldwings and BMWs (in addition to Harley Baggers), and he is very interested in an R1200LT. However, from reading many posts from the experts on this forum, I've read about a number of issues: issues with slow speeds in parking lots and gas stations; trunk locks that break easily; rear drive problems; etc. But, I've also read all of the wonderful things about the comfort once you're on the road, the ease of handling, the comfort for the passenger, etc.

I've also read through many of the posts for the RTs.

Given that he will ride as a single rider at times; but, also given that he is looking for a touring bike that will be comfortable for his girlfriend; and, given that there are a lot of good things also said about the RT in terms of touring; would your inclination be toward the LT or RT?

Any help you can provide will be especially useful. In terms of being out on the road, it seems as if the LT really has all that he would want. But, face it, we do park in parking lots, back the bike out of garages, ride slowly into gas stations, and want something that is reliable without a lot of little things (and, sometimes, big things) becoming troublesome. Perhaps it's just because of the number of posts on the LT forum vs the number of posts on the RT forum, but it seems as if more problems have been identified in terms of the LT than for the RT.

Thanks for your help!
Dear friend,
After many years riding bikes as a hobby (1 Suzuki, 3 Yamaha, 1 Harley, 1 Honda) I've finally arrived to the "BMW way of riding".
I've a R1200RT brand new, wich I've bought 3 months ago, and shows already 11.000Kms, due to my first a trip - Lisbon-Berlin (3 days), and Berlin-Lisbon (2 days).

In the last day of that trip I´ve departed from a town between Paris and Orléans by 6:00am and arrived at my home in Lisbon, at 22:00pm, after 1.850 Kms (16 hours) on the top of the RT.
Conclusion: Excellent machine for travelling.
Very well balanced frame, very good brakes, very good 2-cylinder engine, very good wind (and rain) protection, and... fantastic comfort and handling. The ESA device is absolutely sensational and effective.

I don't think I could make such a long distance with any of my previous bykes.

When maneuvering at very slow speeds, like when parking, you only need to pay attention to the size of your legs. If you can reach the soil with both feet, no problem. If you have some difficulty in touching the floor with both feet, pay attention to the balance, plan ahead your manoeuvre, and make it very slow to avoid loosing the "equilibrium".
After all, is the same with every bikes and you'll feel at home after the first week.
Don't worry.
The RT is excellent in all aspects.
I've have recorded in my GPS a top speed, in German highways, where the speed is not limited (probably you didn´t know these fun news... eheheh), the RT reached 220kms/ hour, metered in my Garmin Zumo.
What else would you need?

The LT is the admiral vessel, even better in long distance travelling, but less flexible in the city traffic. Of course.
These are the main differences, I suppose.
Best,
AT

Last edited by antoniotorres; Jul 26th, 2008 at 2:24 pm.
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decisions decisions tmgs K1200LT 2 Jun 13th, 2007 7:16 pm
Decisions . . . decisions ! Seagull K1200LT 21 Aug 6th, 2006 12:33 am
Decisions, decisions birdman K1200LT 13 May 4th, 2006 5:05 pm

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