Hello Chuck, and welcome.
You and I have a couple things in common, Airheads, and Yamaha Venture Royale.
The K1200LT is light years ahead of the Venture Royale. Take the Venture comforts, blend in some BMW Airhead handling.... well, you know....
I have a 2000 KLT with almost 70K miles on it. Very happy with it and wouldn't trade it for a newer one.
If you are willing to do your own maintenace (yes you can, it's not hard, just a little time consuming) the LT isn't that expensive to own.
Everyone loves what they own. I like the early bikes for the ease of brake servicing (later models with integrated brakes are more complicated to service).
A 99 or 2000 with low mileage will give you your best buy IMO. There are a few issues with some of these bikes, but all of those issues have been or can be resolved by referring to information on this site.
Final drive, hot weather hesitation are a couple of concens with the early models. Neither of these issues would deter me from getting another one of these bikes.
Later models introduce a little more power, integrated braking, power centerstand. If any of these are important to you, look to later model years.
There'll be other suggestions. Have fun.
Addendum: You CAN do all your own service. My KLT hasn't been in a BMW shop for years. Even the valve checks and adjustments are within the reach of the DIYer. The only concern was with checking the bike's computer (Motronic) with the dealer's computer (MoDiTek), but that changes with the availability of the aftermarket GS-911. There is a registry of folks who own the GS-911 so you are bound to find someone who is willing to help with that.
Originally Posted by cjlipps
Greetings to all. I am in the market for a K12LT and need some purchase advice. Just discovered this forum and thought it would be the place to ask.
I have been on bikes for about 38 years and have owned many airhead BMWs. In search of a good, comfortable two-up bike I bought a 1989 Venture Royale at the recommendation of a friend. After getting it into tip-top running condition my wife and I came to the conclusion that it's a nice bike but not quite the ticket. We borrowed an LT (2003) from a friend and after a couple of hours on the bike we've decided it IS the ticket. Now I have a nice Venture Royale for sale.
My questions are these: Are there any years of LT to be avoided and why? Is there a particular "upgrade" year that I should seek and newer? (Wasn't 2005 a year of change?) I am used to doing all my own maintenance and I know this would change with the LT but are fluid and filter changes, battery service and wheel removal DIYable? How much attention do the fuel injection and the ABS systems need? Are valve adjustments for the professionals only? I am on a budget and seeking the best bike for the money. Prices seem all over the map. Can anyone make sense of this or is it a simple condition and location situation?
Sorry for all my ignorance. Just trying to make an informed decision.
Thanks in advance.