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post #1 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 12:08 pm Thread Starter
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Help for a newbie

Hi All,

I'm thinking of getting back in the saddle after a 15 year break. The 1200lt has just about all the "got to have"s my wife and myself came up with. I've been reading reviews and the one thing that's got me worried is the rear drive issues some riders experienced. Is it a frequent problem? Your thoughts...
I've been looking at a couple of good deals on 03 and 04s in the 7500-8500 range.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 12:50 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFly62
Hi All,

I've been reading reviews and the one thing that's got me worried is the rear drive
Thanks.




Sorry, couldn't resist.....I'll go back to my room now.............................



...........
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post #3 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 12:53 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

i think on this forum you are hearing from a small percent of k12lt owners and a small percent of them have problems with the rear drive. many more that never have problems. being mechanical it;s possible it can fail but so can any other part. i would not let that stop me from buying one.
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post #4 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 1:15 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFly62
Hi All,

I'm thinking of getting back in the saddle after a 15 year break.... The 1200lt has just about all the "got to have"s my wife and myself came up with... Your thoughts...
My thoughts are, I don't think I'd want to jump on an LT after being out of a motorcycle seat for 15 years. Even seasoned riders here on the forum have noted that it took some getting used to the top heavy feel and the super responsive brakes. I'd probably buy something smaller first and spend a year or two on it. YMMV though.
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post #5 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 2:03 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFly62
Hi All,

I'm thinking of getting back in the saddle after a 15 year break. The 1200lt has just about all the "got to have"s my wife and myself came up with. I've been reading reviews and the one thing that's got me worried is the rear drive issues some riders experienced. Is it a frequent problem? Your thoughts...
I've been looking at a couple of good deals on 03 and 04s in the 7500-8500 range.

Thanks.
I've pretty well been in the saddle full time for 33 years. This bike took a little getting used to. If you rode a significant amount before your break, I think a season on something to get your legs back might be a good plan. The LT is top heavy and requires some careful handling early on. You get used to it after awhile, but probably not a good machine to just jump on and ride. Another thing you need to be aware of is the power assisted brakes. They can grab in a hurry, and don't have the same kind of feel you find on other motorcycles. Also, when the key is off, the brakes are almost non-existant! It only took one episode parked in my sloped driveway to remember to turn the key on before moving this beast lol.
DO NOT GET ME WRONG, this is a great bike, and even though I have had some mechanical problems with it, I would not give it up. Every motorcycle out there has a weak point somewhere in its design. But I do strongly suggest getting some time in the saddle on something else before hopping on one of these.
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post #6 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 2:21 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

FWIW - I too started riding again after a long break of 12 years and went with the LT. Between two LTs I have over 100K miles without rear drive problems. Initially after a few months I was ready to get rid of my first LT but folks on this forum convinced me to take some time, practice and get used to the fat lady’s what some call peculiarities. There are lots of good LT riding tips on this forum. Best one I heard was ride her initially like you’re on slick. It won’t take long and you’ll learn and love her.

Doug Sorchilla
La Quinta, CA
2012 K1600 GTL

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post #7 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 2:32 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Just throw a leg over her, drop the reins, and dig the spurs in. The best way to find out is just do it.
Cautous is one thing but to be afraid is nonsense.
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post #8 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 2:51 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Don't let the fear of failure bind you. Use the force luke. Really your looking at the right range of LTs the 03s had less FD failures than the early LTs. Prepare for the worst then don't worry about it. As far as getting back on the bike, yes, it is big an heavy, and it took me a few rides to get used to it before I took my SO on it. This site is full of hints and tricks, to keep the bike upright and running. Keep on reading and don't dwell on the negatives. Might see if you can get into a local bmw club too. I've had BWM motorcyles for the least time but done most most of my riding on them. What took me so long?

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post #9 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 5:15 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

I was off the biking almost 20yrs . When the kids were out of school I bought a slightly used 2003 ltc . She was a little intiminating at first , last bike was a 1974 BMW 90/6, about 400lbs more and power brakes were took a little getting youse to but I'm not sorry at all that I tackled the Beast!!


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post #10 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 6:22 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Oh how I wish I'd have had a LT earlier in life! She's like dating a girl you're afraid to ask out,finally you get up the courage, the first date is somewhat awkward, the second date is better but you're still not convinced this is the girl for you,third date you discover subtle hints of things you never even imagined, forth date you're dying to figure out the magic that is becoming so transparent underneath you and by the fifth date you become one of us- absolutley sure you'll never have another!!!!
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post #11 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2011, 10:44 pm
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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.

wild bil
07 K1200LT Biarritz Blau
80 Yamaha XS850 Black - retired in 06

Last edited by WildBil; Aug 9th, 2011 at 10:48 pm. Reason: typos
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post #12 of 18 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 11:30 am
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Re: Help for a newbie

+1 Wildbil
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post #13 of 18 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 4:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Help for a newbie

Thanks for the help guys!
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post #14 of 18 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 7:42 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

I bought a 2003 LT with 18k miles about 5 months ago--looks like new. My last bike was an R60/5 that I bought new and put about 150k miles on. I haven't ridden much for the past 15 years. I read this forum thoroughly before buying the LT. Some of the posts tended to scare me off a little. All of the posts about the whole centerstand thing bothered me, as well as the slow speed tip over stories.

However, the bike is not an issue at all. Sure, it is heavy, so take it easy at low speeds. At speed, it rides like it is on rails, and seems to get better as you go faster. Putting it on the centerstand is no issue at all, assuming that you have ever done it before. The more I ride it, the more I love it. So, don't be scared off, just be a little conservative for the first few rides and get the feel of the bike. If you are an experienced rider, you won't have any problem with the LT

Lawrence W. Gray
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post #15 of 18 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 11:34 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Unless you are a big guy (long legs) put the seat in low postion, keep the front wheel stright in stops and know you won't be the frist to drop the Big B*TCH (twice for me) some times she just wants to take a nap. The ride and the throttle is worth the work it is fun. I was away from bikes for 25 years and got back in but I did work my way up, DR 650, RS1100, then an LT just how it worked for me. Lots of smiles per mile. Ron

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post #16 of 18 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 11:55 pm
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Re: Help for a newbie

Yep, I came from an '88 K100RT, it took me 20 seconds to become smitten, 20 minutes to start overtaking, then rode 2000 Km's in the next 2 days, love it. It will make you smile, I guarantee it. Buy an '05 or later if you can (jut my advice after some research), and like me, your wife will love it. Make some checks of the rear drive magnetic drain plug as soon as you get one, and read the posts from CharlieVT here. More people post about the failures than those who worry about posting about lack of problems (naturally). Ride with confidence. I wonder do they fall over the opposite way in the southern hemisphere ?
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post #17 of 18 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 6:13 am
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Re: Help for a newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by K100Dennis
I wonder do they fall over the opposite way in the southern hemisphere ?
Always on the RH side..... in my experience... unless someone backs into it, then she'll go over on the LHS.

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post #18 of 18 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 6:53 am
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Re: Help for a newbie

Unless the side stand is up. She can go either way under this condition! BTDT!!! I have never (at least so far) dropped the bike while moving even slightly in a forward or reverse direction. As soon as you pick up your feet she is stable.

The Jerry Palladino Ride like A Pro videos are very good for building confidence in slow speed maneuvers. The NUMBER ONE tip I got from the videos is to look where you want to end up. Turn your head and fixate on where you want to be when you make that sharp radius low speed turn and that's where you'll end up. Every time! Take your eyes off the ball, even for a moment, and you will wind up somewhere other than where you want to be.

As others have said, there is no other ride quite like that of an LT. She can make you look GOOD in the twisties. Heck, she makes you look good at a stoplight!

I envy you getting to take your first few rides on the bike. It's still awesome but never quite like those first few rides.

Loren

Quote:
Originally Posted by cws
Always on the RH side..... in my experience... unless someone backs into it, then she'll go over on the LHS.

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