Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Maryville, TN, US
New LT vs. 00 LT
My local dealer sold a new LT to an elderly chap and in just 23 miles he managed to drop it twice and get himself hurt. Apparently, his family told him to get rid of it so he asked the dealer to come and get it. As he lives some 50 miles away they asked me if I would like to go get it and ride it home for them. Never one to turn down a ride on anything, I jumped at the offer. Yesterday after close of business, the manager drove me the 50 miles in the company truck and dropped me off. The bike didn't suffer much damage from the two drops; in fact, it would be hard for the average passerby to even notice the small scratches on the pannier chrome and tip over bar covers. However, in their haste to get it back home, someone came to the hapless rider's aid with a trailer to take it back to his house and the trailer was just an inch or so too short so when they closed the tailgate, it took all the chrome off the back of the trunk as well as most of the paint to boot. I guess the cure was worse than the disease?
After doing a pre-flight walk around, I determined that all the fluids were good and the bike was road worthy. At least from a visual standpoint. A quick thumb of the starter and the new LT fired to life. It slipped into gear and down the driveway I went. I should say that since the shop was closed they allowed me to take it home and bring it in this morning so I ended up getting to ride the new bike slightly over 100 miles. 4 times the mileage the original owner managed to put on it. Am I lucky or what?????
Pulling out on the country road I tried to lower the windscreen down and noticed that it wasn't working correctly. I pulled into the first filling station I found and checked it out. Whether it came from the factory this way or whether someone tweaked the windscreen trying to get it up and tied down in the trailer, but the pin on the upper left hand windscreen support had worked itself loose and the windscreen was moving around. I managed to get it down into place but didn't monkey around with the windscreen anymore.
On the road over to the interstate I couldn't help but notice how much stronger the new LT was and how smoother the transmission seemed to be. Once on I-40 headed east I ran the speed right up to 80 and set the cruise control and settled in for the next 50 mile run. One thing that didn't improve in the last 10 years was the saddle. Both the 00 and 09 makes me bum sore after just a few miles and the last half of my interstate riding was done while squirming in the saddle. Also, I seemed to feel engine heat on my left leg which I didn't understand because the fairing seems to be identical on both new and old. (Returning it to the dealer today I felt the engine heat again. Puzzling.) Off the interstate I took my new ride down a slower 4 lane with moderate traffic and several traffic lights. In the stop and go traffic I noticed the temp didn't climb as rapidly toward the red as my 00. I guess 10 years worth of water jacket corrosion and 84,000 miles worth of wear can be somewhat of a contributing factor. The final 10 mile stretch home on 2 lane US 411 was in the dark but I was pleasantly surprised by how improved the new Xenon lighting was. With my old LT I could turn off the headlights and wouldn't know it if the PIAA lights are on. With the new LT I don't think PIAA/Motolites would be necessary for illumination; for defensive lighting perhaps, but not for illumination.
The only negatives I could find in my 100+ mile test ride was:
A) Saddle not improved at all from the 00.
B) Heat coming off engine blowing on left leg. It did it both days with varying heading in relation to the surface wind. I don't understand how it got out from under the fairing; but it did.
C) I'm not sure if this is related to sitting in the showroom for so long, or from being dropped and manhandled, but the worst thing about this ride was the brakes. The servoed brakes work just as they do on my 02 RT. I don't have a problem with the electric servoed brakes at all. But on this LT, every time the brakes were applied with any speed at all, the handlebar would jerk to the left. It didn't matter whether the brakes were applied with the hand lever or the foot lever (since they're linked, it really shouldn't). When the brakes were released, the handlebar would jerk back to the right. I certainly did notify the dealer and they will have them checked out prior to anyone else riding the bike.
The bottom line: I have read folks on this forum extolling the virtues of the 05 and later LTs. I always thought they were full of prunes. There couldn't really be that much difference between the pre and post 05. Now that I have ridden one for 100 miles I guess I'd be on that bandwagon now too. The slow speed handling was, in my opinion, greatly improved and the engine was unbelievably strong. And the bike had only 23 miles on it. Imagine after 12-15,000 when it starts to limber up. So the unbeliever has been converted! BTW, there is now a very good, extremely low (127) mileage 09 1200LT for sale. No intercom, but it is wired for the GPS. Flashlight is still in the oddments box too.