Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Wilmington, NC, USA
Re: LT to RT
Can't disagree with the opinions of folks who've tried both - I haven't.
But I do own an 08 RT and we ride 2 up regularly for day rides, not for multi day runs. So here are some RT comments.
First, the RT needs an aftermarket windscreen even for the rider to provide decent protection,
That helps the passenger a lot, also. I've tried the one from National Cycle (Z Tech?) that is on the bike and the Cal Sci, another good choice but not polycarbonate.
My passenger never complained about the stock seat and 49 l box setup on mine but the bike now has heated Sargent seats that are better. Many RT riders complain about the stock RT seat and change it out.
We ride in any temp with heated gear when called for. She plugs into a "direct to battery" plug I installed to get around current limits of the factory provided outlets. (They're ZFE controlled, have a 10 A total limit that is less than 2 Gerbings draw). Note this if you use heated gear. Not sure what limits if any the LT has.
We use the Scala Rider bluetooth sets in Shoei 1100, don't worry about music, and have no issues with banging heads.
Bike works fine 2 up but no twin will match a 4 or 6 for freedom from vibrations. However, the RT is very smooth when properly tuned though susceptible to additional vibrations if not well synched. Neither of us notice vibrations at speed. No buzz fatigue on the RT - I sometimes do 500 miles/day solo.
My passenger is not large - only 5" 3" and not at all pudgy. A larger passenger will have less space and add more weight with more impact on handling. The RT ESA is pretty decent if you go back and forth from solo to 2 up a lot.
No doubt the LT is more plush for passengers and I'd pick it for anything more than day riding for 2. But that comes at the expense of a lot of bulk, more mechanical complexity, etc.
Comes down to how much you want the smaller bulk and handling properties of the RT vs how plush stuff needs to be for your passenger. Mine used to ride little bikes in Thailand in Peace Corps and thinks the RT is pretty plush but she's never been on an LT to compare.
And frankly, I wouldn't buy an LT - too big for my tastes. I also rejected the K-GT for weight issues and the preferred simplicity of my RT though I have owned 4 cyl bikes in the past. No doubt the LT is a good bike - but it is also time for it to be updated. A 6 cyl one would be very interesting and I suspect BMW is going to have to bring it a bit closer to a Gold Wing to get an increase LT sales without going all the way to "car on 2 wheels".