OK...So now I get it!
Bought an 05 after Christmas but had never ridden an LT or even heard the power plant. So I picked it up this last week end and it was windy (25mph) and 64 on Sat and windy and 45 on Sun.
After reading everything I could on this website this past winter the biggest thing that had me concerned was all of the talk about dropping the bike. I spent my early 20's riding fully dressed bikes Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, HD and never was skittish about the size, weight, not being able to see your front tire when cornering, etc. and kept trying to tell myself I have had a ton of experience, don't freak.
While the bike is heavy it is quite easy to balance even at slow speeds. I guess if I drop it I drop it but I was needlessly concerned about the slow speed maneuvering. Within ten minutes I felt very comfortable with the slow speed characteristics...it is true...it's like riding a bike, it came back to me very quickly.
I went straight to the Interstate to see if my dreams would come true and I was impressed especially in light of the wind and it was lateral. The first thing that came to mind was the road condition and all of the nasty winter cracks we have in the roads right now and how the bike just stepped across them without a twitch. I had the mono-shock set in the middle and it was perfect. Next, the wind was nasty and of course I had to lean with what it was giving me, but holy crap, I loved the extra weight now. I was not dancing all over my lane at all and was quite comfortable with it. Not bad first impression in light of the conditions and not being on a bike since October let alone this new beastie!
I now understand what George Jettisons car ride to work must have felt like! This bike almost feels like a Mag-lift high speed train with an electric motor. I said feels like, but I like the sound of the exhaust. Sounds like a bike!
So I put on a couple hundred miles on and on Sunday I was really impressed with the heated grips. Thankyou God!
After all of the reading about the high speed handling characteristics I have to admit I moderately dialed it up to 100 and this bike is built for speed and stability. Very cool. However, at 4,000 rpm and 80 mph on the speedo, I was still being passed on the I...so what is the speedo off? 5-6 mph at that speed?
The braking was just about getting the feel. These brakes really will grab you if you have the touch of Frankenstein. I found that the initial grab of the brake slowing down from highway speed was very kind and easy to feather. It is much more touchy though when you get down to creeping speed as you approach a stop sign, etc. But again, just like the weight issue at slow speeds, if you have any coordination at all, then use your freekin balance and your eye hand coordination with a little touch.
All of the electronics were as advertised. Great reception and range on the radio, CB works great, intercom as well. No static or any of the other head aches I've been reading about over the winter.
I have the tall wind shield and like it. With an open face helmet I liked being able to hide behind that tall shield and I don't mind the distortion at all.
Scared the little neighbor girls when I waved at them and gave them a honk on the horn....yikes! Glad it doesn't have that little pussy buzz my japanese bikes have.
Now for the handling. WOW! By Sunday I had all of the confidence in the world in what the bike would do, scuffed in the tires etc. and to be honest I thought the comments about the center stand scrapping was for the nut jobs that trust their tires and public roads way too much. But I can see it would be easy to get carried away and end up scrapping the stand and not being a total nut job.
I lived on my bikes in HS and college and did MX and have a list of crazy things I've done when on a bike, usually involving too much speed and air time, but now at the sane age of 47 I was reading about the "center stand scrappers" and just chalked them folks up as crazy. Well, bet I scrape that center stand sooner than later cause the bike feels that stable.
Loved the push the button an lazily ride the center stand up...loved that one in the parking lot with people watching. I felt like a kid again when we were the first ones in the subdivision with a remote control the size of cigar box for the TV. I'm sure I had the proverbial "watch this " grin on my face when I deployed it.
And the reverser, another stroke of genius! At first I was a little leery about going backwards with one finger on the starter but then again, I said just concentrate on the balance and let the freekin bike do the work.
At my age I am all about comfort so here is where I have to dick around with my body and getting comfortable. I'm 5'11" 205lbs. 31" inseam and my freekin knees are just screaming at me 45 minutes after leaving the dealer. The bike is just awesome but my gal darn feet are behind my knees and it is stretching my patella tendon. And my hip flexors are not too far behind also in pain.
Get off the bike and start adjusting, got the drivers backup back rest adjusted, better. On the bike again so let's try the Jpegs. Ouch! My God, it's like someone put foot rests on a Hippo! Can I spread my legs any further and not be considered the other white meat? Yikes!
Let's try it again on Sunday with a little prep. First I stretched for 10 minutes before getting on the bike, took some Aleeve before I got on the bike, and put the seat on the high setting. Much better. I still believe that I would like to move my feet at least even with my knees or slightly in front of would be great, but it doesn't sound like the after market stuff gets you more that a 1/2 inch further forward. Looks like I'll just have to get my dimply white butt in better shape and start my golf stretching exercises now to get my legs and back some flexibility.
But I just love this DANG BIKE!
P.S. 15 minutes into the ride and I see the third biker of the day coming towards me is another BMW. An older one I think an R...(the one with two opposing cylinders? I'm still learning my BMW speak) and while I am doing the ultra cool low hand palm up conservative "what's up waive"...the dude let's go of his left grip and gives me a HUGE FIST PUMP SKYWARD! Don't now if it was cause he was diggin my new bike, or that I was a fellow BM'er, or just that it was finally friggin 64 degrees and we live in WISCONSIN!