Re: Help for a newbie
I have had an 07 LT for about 4 years now. There are a few things to remember. In buying, insist on a long test ride and be sure to check 1) Reverse 2) Radio 3) any oil leaks 4) Smooth shifting, 5) Windshield control works.
The LT is a big bike. With a full 6 gallons of fuel, its about 845 lbs. before you get on it. Keep that in mind. With any large, liter+ bike, you need to think about foot placement - avoid oil, sand and soon leaves. In fact, avoid the entire right shoulder area for a while.
If you have not ridden a large bike before, consider listening to somebody who has. The Palladino "Ride like a Pro" DVD might be at your Public Library, but it can be found and ordered on-line for a few saw-bucks and gives you many strategies for low speed maneuvers.
Consider wearing All The Gear All the Time (ATGATT), but especially helmet, gloves and motorcycling boots, especially ones with good traction in oil and grit. They are a good investment.
These are the things I wish that I knew the first year I had the bike.
0. Take a look at all of the controls on the left and right handlebar. There's Cruise control, electric windscreen control, audio controls, lights, CB PTT button, Computer controls, maybe NAV III, and alarms. In other places there are seat and grip headers. Either 1 or 6 CD changer. Now forget about all except for the turn signals for the first few hundred miles. Get the feel of the bike, and try to get in most of the time alone until you get used to starting out, cursing, stopping. parking, and everything which may take a bit of time to come back and some adjustment to BMW's way of doing things.
1. Keep the RPM up when you are driving slow, especially in parking lots. It helps keep the big girls stable.
2. New transmissions and new clutches tend to shift harder than wall warn ones. It is a try clutch, and it does not "slip" well if you pull the clutch and stop the transmission. The LT tranny likes a bit of pre-load pressure on the shift lever and slides into gear going both up or down. Its is a bit piece of iron and you do not want to be in neutral frontally searching for first at the bottom of a turn in a sloping parking lot.
3. its over eight hundred pounds of iron. If its going down, unless you are wearing a cape, you are not going to be able to stop it. If you made a mistake, so what. Do not try to pay for it with you back or legs. Like they say in the oil rigs, let it go.
4. The good news is that the rubber wing up front and the plastic bags in back will hold the bke up and protect rider and passenger on most surfaces. Don't panic. Don't make a habit of it, but at very slow speeds, you will probably not get a scratch. You won't win a media from your passenger, but you will come out okay. It was designed to take the 1266 lb. max. load.
5. Enjoy it. The bike was so well designed and balanced, that you can almost drive it like a car, and you can change lanes at speed with just a small shift in your saddle position. Its pretty dull that way. Lean into those curves like it was a CB 350, and it will hang into turns with you and beat out most of the bikes on the road.
6. When you stop, keep the front wheel as straight as possible when you hit the brakes. If you have it too far to the left of right, you may not stay up.
7. When you park, like any manual transmission vehicle, park it in 1st gear. Most of us end up in first gear and drop the side stand to shut down the engine. Let the bike rolls forward or backward as the slope dictates until the transmission stops the directional motion. You will probably find the side-stand short, and the lean a bit extreme at first. It will not topple over, and if you leave it in gear, it will not roll off the side stand. The designers went a little bit overboard making the side-stand as short as possible. You just have to treat it like this.
8. Even the 1600 GTL will be beat out by a Gold Wing and any 2 cylinder bike from 0 to 30 or so. Its just the way BMW sets up their gears. The sweet spot for the K1200 engine is around 4000 RPM. That is about 35 in 2nd, 55 in 3rd and 70+ in 4th. 5th is a nice gear for saving a little gas on the Interstate.
9. Always fuel up on the side-stand. It keeps gas out of the overflow when you put all 6 gallons in. And hold onto the nozzle and point it straight down when filling up. It keeps the nozzle from bending the strip that measures the gas in the tank.
10. Use warm water to clean the windshield. Most window cleaners will fog the plastic. Most soap will not hurt it, but rinse it quickly.
Farkles: The most common ones are lights, like MoToLight.com has to help the bike at night, especially on the pre 2006 modes, with HID replacement headlights also popular. Disks or pucks to beef up the side stand cross-section are common, as hot summer asphalt and dirt take a load of weight. Depending on your inseam, J-pegs or Mik-o-pegs are pretty common, and XM/Serious radios are common.
My wife loves to ride on the back. She liked the air, the view, and the ride. She has called asleep back there on a couple of long trips and had threatened to put velcro strips on the back of my jacket to hold her Kindle so she can read on long trips. Its that smooth on the highway.
Avoid sand and gravel roads. There are no 850 lb. dirt bikes.
I run mostly premium gas, although the fuel cover on my 07 says it will run on 89 Octane, which is mid-grade most places. The only time I don't are in small towns where I get the feeling that premium may have been in the ground for about 6 months. Its a judgement call.
You will get slightly better milage from non-ethanol fuel, but its fairly scarce. I would not worry about getting the best milage. Trading it for speed is a lot more fun.
I live in No. IL and do not ride every day. My wife and I put about 8,500 miles on it each Spring, Summer and Fall. With the versatile windshield, grip and seat warmers, and the two vent windows to adjust airflow, we usually start when the snow stop and go until early December. Having grandchildren has taken a bit of time away from riding, but the wind and weather resistance BMW designed into the bike has given some of it back.
07 K1200LT Biarritz Blau
80 Yamaha XS850 Black - retired in 06
Last edited by WildBil; Aug 9th, 2011 at 10:48 pm.