OK...So now I get it! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 9:59 am Thread Starter
 
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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.


First Impressions

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.

Ergonomics
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!
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post #2 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 10:12 am
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Vance, thanks for taking the time to share all your good news and info. Welcome to this site.

I'm still laughing at some of the insights and details you provided. You have a real sense of humor.

I'm with you, age-wise, comfort-seeking-wise, and every other -wise.
Check out Suburban Machinery's footpeg lowering kit. Gives you 1-2" more forward placement of your feet and a more-relaxed knee angle.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #3 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 10:22 am
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Smile

Vance,

Welcome to the Amazing LT world! My findings on picking up my 05 last week were much the same as yours!! We are about the same size and I immedately put the seat in the high position and my first ride was 660 miles home in 30 degree wet & dark weather in the Pacific Northwest.

I plan on installing a set of Ottomans myself, but having a bad back I have diligently practiced leg/hamstring stretching 1-2 times daily for some time now and it makes a world of difference when you are confined in that seat position.
I did not have to stop anytime on my trip back except to refuel !!!

The power is effortlessly Turbine like and I did find myself reaching for a 6th gear. I have owned 2 Goldwings previously and a bunch of HD baggers, neither could compare handling wise with this bike @ speed !! I have my suspension tuned to 75% stiff and 37/42 PSI as I am an aggressive rider as well. I have not touched down on anything yet.

I do wish the handlebars turned further left & right as making a U-turn
on a narrow road will put you in the ditch rather quickly !!!


I hope to have lots Miles & Smiles on my 2wheeled 747!

Good luck with yours!

47+ Yrs Daily Motorcycle Street riding for Therapy

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour

2007 Black Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom - Sold
2007 Red Moto Guzzi Norge 1200 - Sold
2005 LT Dark Graphite - (Sold)
2005 PearlBlue FJR1300 (Sold)
3 BMW's, 8 HD baggers, 3 Goldwings & 860K + miles later
*Ridin steady since 1973

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post #4 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 10:32 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vance
use your freekin balance and your eye hand coordination with a little touch
That about says it all. The bike is great, once you understand exactly what it is and you aren't afraid of it. They can sense fear and uncertainty, you know.

The speedo is 8-10% off. The easiest way to fix that is to open up the instrument cluster and move the speedo needle over a notch or two. That will make it slightly off at real low speeds, but much more accurate at highway speeds. Or just get a GPS and read your speed that way.

And the Suburban Machinery foot peg relocators will help your leg position, but at the cost of even more reduced lean angle (more scraping). You have to decide whether it's worth the trade off.

Otherwise, Just Ride It.

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 63K miles
'03 Anthracite Metallic K12LTC, 66K miles
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#143, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032


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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #5 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 10:40 am
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Congratulations Vance !! You will love the LT. I lowered the pegs with the Suburban lowering kit (1.75" lower and forward) and it helped some. Other than that, I'm comfortable. Good luck!

ps. you WILL drop it! Might as well get it out of the way now then you don't have to worry about it later when it's inconvenient!

Brian
Fanwood, NJ
2003 K1200LT Anthracite

"Explain it to me once more: WHY do I have to "Press 1 for English"
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post #6 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 10:52 am
Ted
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vance
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!
Exactly! I tell folks "she flies low!"

Nice write-up & welcome to the club!

Ted

Camarillo, CA
2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200S - Red
2007 R1200S - Black - Sold
2003 K1200LTC - Silver - Sold
IBA# 16554

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post #7 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 11:39 am
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Welcome...Great write up. I use the Suburban's and Mic O Pegs, they make that 45 day ride a lot more enjoyable.

Airborne "Never Forget"
Vonore, TN

2003 LT-E "HLZ BNZ"
2004 Rune "PNS EXTN"
1970 ZA-50 "JR"

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post #8 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 1:51 pm
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Cool

Loved the humor, Vance. You've got my vote for the Comedy Channel.
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post #9 of 9 Old Mar 14th, 2006, 3:51 pm
TMH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vance
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.
This sure is strange but true. I rode m/c's in College, but had taken a 10 year hiatus from riding after "the accident". During that time I did a lot of bicycling, both street and off-road. And virtually always with clip-in pedals.

When I got the riding bug again, I was a little leery of immediately jumping on an R1100RT (the bike I was looking at buying at that time) as a first ride after 10 years out of the saddle. So the dealer where I was taking the test ride let me first ride an F650. No problems with that bike, so off to the R1100RT. No problems there, either. Wow, those BMW engineers really know how to optimize a low CG: This huge bike feels easier to ride (even in traffic) than the old Japanese 650's I had been riding 10 years ago.

Well one thing led to another, and ultimately I recently took my first ride on an LT. This was after I had been using my R1100RT-P as a daily commuter for the previous 8 months. Yes, I stopped once during my test ride with the front wheel a little turned, and knew never to do that again (although I didn't drop the bike). But after that I have had absolutely no issues with slow speed handling. The LT went home with me that afternoon.

And the only reason I can really think of (other than being a generally big guy) is the finesse and balance skills I developed while bicycling. Especially when clipped into mountain bike pedals, on a trail surrounded by sharp rocks, and with nothing but hair protecting the integrity of your skin on your bare legs!

So it may seem strange to say that skills developed riding your 30 pound mountain bike are directly translated to handling an 850 pound behemoth like an LT. But I am a true believer that simple bicycle balance skills directly and significantly improve low speed handling skills, even on large, heavy motorcycles.

Tom

2009 R1200GS-ADV
2005.5 KTM Adventure 950
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