Originally Posted by davewrit
okay, I've owned many bikes over the years from Aprilia's to Zundapp's, including a much loved airhead R100RS.
I am in my late 50's and my wife is right behind me. She is pushing me for a more comfortable bike than my Ducati ST3, and while I love it - she is right. After lookiong at a number of bikes, riding an H-D (hated it) and a couple of Wings (nice but sterile) we started to look at K1200LT's. Haven't ridden one, but heck how bad could it be, right?!
My concern after scanning this forum is all the problems. From final drive problems (even a registry!!) clutch slaves that take out the clutch, electrical problems, etc. - is this a bad move? My Ducati has been unbelieveably reliable - something I would think of the BMW, not an Italian.
Should I limit my searches to certain model years? Any and all advice will be appreciated. I was all ready to buy a pretty pristine looking 2000 with ~12k on it, but now I am really gunshy.
I am a little schizophrenic when it comes to my 2007 LT which I bought new. I really like most things about it such as handling, power, braking, features such as power wind shield, center stand, heated grips and seats, etc. There are a few things I don't like such as the too tall first gear which makes starts going uphill quite a challenge, particularly when two-up and fully loaded. Also, the lack of low-end torque is inconvenient for a luxotourer, but one adapts to the need to keep the revs up.
The things I don't like are the lack of dealers. My nearest one is 110+ miles away and I had an experience there a couple of years ago that has caused me to not return and I can't recommend this dealership. The next closest one is 120 miles away.
The accessories and parts costs are crazy.
Simple maintenance items such as air and fuel filter are half day jobs if you are experienced at tupperware R&R. You have to strip the bike and remove the fuel tank to change the air filter!
What insane Bavarian engineer dreamed up that design? This was a 10 minute job on my Kawasaki Voyager XII if I moved really slowly.
I have only 26,000 miles and thus far have escaped most of the well-discussed issues such as trunk latch, slave cylinder, final drive, etc. However, I think my luck is running out. This spring when I was readying the bike for the season, I noticed that the front of the torque link boss on the FD (not sure that is the official terminology, but it is where the torque links attach) was covered with a film of oil. I cleaned it up well and started riding. The bike had about 22,000 on it at that point. Within a thousand miles, the oil was all over the place again. I contacted a well-known BMW expert, Tom Cutter of Rubber Chicken Racing Garage fame, and he suggested removing the synthetic oil and replacing it with Castrol Hypoy C and refilling with 220 cc rather than to the bottom of the fill hole as per normal. The dealer had filled both the transmission and FD with synthetic at the 12K service. Tom said this often will slow or stop the leak. So, I did this and cleaned out the boot well per Tom's suggestion, but the leak persists. I can't say it has gotten any better, but it also appears to not be getting worse at the moment. However, every 500 miles or so I have to clean off the oil to keep it from dripping on my garage floor.
Then, while changing out the engine oil and the transmission fluid a few weeks after doing the FD, I found that the entire underside of the transmission and intermediate housing were covered with oil and dirt. So, I am not sure now if the leaks are from the FD, the transmission or both. Anyway, I cleaned everything up well and have kept on riding. I haven't pulled off the covers to have a good look at the underside of the transmission lately, but I suspect it is oil covered again as I often smell gear oil after a ride. Surprisingly, after 4,000 more miles this year the clutch is still not slipping. However, I have to believe that is in my future.
I also don't like the intense maintenance required. The list of required maintenance has to be at least twice as long as for my Kaw Voyager. Things like having to flush the ABS brakes every year for the wheel circuits and every other year for the control circuits is just ridiculous. Can you imagine if cars required that?
So, I currently have mixed feelings about BMW in general and the LT in particular. I love the riding experience, but I dislike the amount and cost of maintenance required to enjoy that experience. The trouble is, I see the LT as the least of the evils at present. There are very few choices in the luxury touring market and I really don't see myself on a GW which is the only real competition. However, when I have to either shell out $2,000 to have my clutch replaced and seals repalced or spend a couple of weekends of my time doing the job myself and sitll probably spending $600 for parts, I will likely move on to something else. Just not sure what at this point. I am not that enthralled with the 1600 and if I go the sport tourer route I will likely get a Concours 14 where I have reasonable maintenance and a dealer within 30 miles. If the C14 just had cruise control...
So, I can't offer you anything to help make your decision easy, but hopefully I at least gave you some things to think about so that your decision is informed. The LT is certainly an intoxicating ride and that is likely what causes the diehards to put up with all of the cost and reliability issues. Any lesser bike and folks would run not walk away after the first $2,000 repair. And don't kid yourself, if you have a major failure with this maching (clutch, ABS, etc.) you will shell out $2K or more OR spend a lot of your personal time in the garage rather than riding. Just some food for thought.