I've been riding for 30 years and got my LT just over a year ago. I have 3,500 miles on it. I dropped it twice in the first couple weeks before I came here and found out why - yes, the reason I dropped it was clearly explained - that's how good this place is for these questions.
Since EVERYONE has covered almost every important point here, I'll add two more tips and reinforce the others:
First of all, all except the 1,300 mile tour was ridden as a commuter bike in Los Angeles. I figured this would be the best way to get good at this beast.
Tip 1. While learning 2up (read: on the tour), I had to make a couple of U-turns. What'd I do? I had her get off. She (like myself) is a "better-safe-than-sorry" kind of person. I don't get embarrassed, ego deflated, etc. etc., so I don't care. I don't want to drop it, so if it looks stupid for her to get off, neither of us cares. Once I can U-Turn like a pro, I'll practice with her.
Tip 2. I NEVER use the front brake under about 5 or 10 mph. I dropped it by using the front brake while the wheel was turned. The rear brake is linked and I've pulled it to a stop from 80 mph just to see what would happen. NOTHING! Rock solid. Since using only the rear brake at slow speeds makes the bike try to stand up straight, why not? There've been times when I've used the front brake when going slow, but it's about 1 out of 100 stops, and only when the front tire is pointed straight. I'm now consistently making smooth, graceful, confident stops. This only in the last month or two.
Continuing on with confirmation to above tips:
Strange but true; the bike stops before it leans. It's fun! Get the bike to stop then move a couple mm to the side you want to put your foot down on, and it will slowly, gently tip in that direction.
I've found my smoothest stops are when I very gradually bring it to a stop. Then the bike nicely halts and requests you put your foot down. Very graceful.
I got good at this because I'm forcing myself to use the above tip - keep your eyes way up. Try stopping both ways. If I'm looking at the car in front of me at a light, the front wheel weaves from side-to-side. If I keep eyes up, it stops in a straight line - most of the time. Now I'm working on always keeping my eyes way ahead, be it corners or whatever. It's not easy as I've been doing it the old way for 30 years - there were no classes, schools, or books about motorcycle riding back when I learned, so a 30 year habit is hard to break (after a couple years of trying, it's really starting to get natural).
I too, bought the Motorman DVD (http://www.ridelikeapro.com
) and I've been practicing that. It's saved my bacon dozens of times. You have to learn how to work the rear brake, throttle and clutch at the same time to get this bike to do what you want it to. But like others above, I can ride it all day next to a person who is walking. Watching Paldino on his metric cruiser and his friends on Harleys do all this stuff was impressive, but I dismissed it because "you can't do that on an LT." Then one of his buddies does it all on an LT! I was pissed
. I have RLAP 4 and 5. They are both different. The LT guy is on 4 but not on 5. I was annoyed 5 came out soon after I bought 4, but once I watched it, I see there is A LOT of different stuff and now I'm glad I bought both.
I, too, have started to drop the bike but a quick grab on the front brake allowed me to stop it and lever it back up. HOWEVER, this is not the norm and if you read this board enough, you see dozens of people telling you (here's tip 3): NEVER try to hold this bike up if it starts to go over! It's designed to lay down with very little damage, and the damage you could do to yourself can be lifetime damage. The black covers on the tip-over bars are cheap. I scratched the chrome strip on the saddle bag - which is expensive, but once I replaced it I put the BMR black rubber strips from Rafi on them and that's that.
My other bike is a Kawasaki Ninja 1200 (ZX-12R). A rice rocket of the first order. Although it takes about 5-10 minutes of riding after a switch (from day to day), I've been amazed at how my riding has improved on both bikes (from riding the other), although again, most of it is solo. IT'S FUN to hang off an LT
Lastly, I have a low seat, heated, black, from a 2004 and previous LT. I'm going to put it in the classified section but if you or anyone else is interest, it'll be $100 plus $20 shipping. It's in perfect condition. Anyone who's interested should PM me.