Impressions of the bike. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 1:09 am Thread Starter
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Impressions of the bike.

Hi everyone,

Wanted to write and get some feedback from long term owners of the LT.

So I've been riding the bike for about 2 weeks now.

Last monday night was the first time I dropped it. Had to stop at a stop sign on a steep hill, I think I was in the wrong gear, started to slide backwards & it fell on the left side. A guy stopped & jumped out of his car (he used to own an LT) & helped me lift the bike & get going.

Then tuesday I had my driving test at the DMV, it was raining. Tried to take the test, the circle the CA DMV asks you to turn the bike within is too small (in my opinion), the bike takes up 95% of the circle. Maybe it is me but I just don't see how such a bike can turn in such a small circle, I tried & the bike slipped & fell again.

No damage was done.

Today I did a freeway ride, it was raining a bit then just cold.

The windshield gets fogged up so I had to keep it down (to see better), which defeats the reason for the windshield.

Is there a way to keep the windshield unfogged (so I can see thru it when it is fully raised)?

The tires are inflated but I seem to feel every bump in the road and it made me feel vulnerable.

When I was in my 20's and rode my Kawasaki 550LTD (no windshield), often without a helmet at 95 mph, I didn't feel so afraid or worried. It was a big bike but nothing compared to the LT. I could lift the Kawasaki by myself.

In a way the size of the LT is an advantage because it is easier for cars to see you, but it constantly remind me how big and heavy this bike is and that I might lose it at anytime.

I assume these feelings will change as I ride it more ?

Also as far as making U turns with this bike....I notice that my U turns are HUGE in radius.

I am afraid of turning the handle bars all the way to the Left or to the Right that I will drop the bike with such an extreme turn. And advice on this or a technique ?

Thanks for any feedback or help.
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post #2 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 1:27 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

It gets better and easier the longer you ride her. Took me 5K to get used to the weight and top heaviness at parking lot speeds. Best mod I ever did was replace the stock shocks with a custom Willbers setup at the Beemer shop in Santa Cruz. The next was to go with the Avon Storm II tires, much smoother ride. And we can't forget the Russell Daylong seat. With these changes I was able to get over the fear of her falling over while riding the twisties which in turn allowed me to improve my riding skills. So get out there and ride but during the nice weather.
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post #3 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 1:58 am Thread Starter
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Thanks for the reply.

All these changes you talk about cost money :-)

Not sure how changing the seat or the tires gets you over the fear of dropping the bike, can you elaborate please?

Thank you.
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post #4 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 3:20 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

there is a link at the bottom with some info on being a rider on the LT and it mentions the U turn issue, but basically you have to keep the RPM's up. He say's 2500 which is probably right as I never look at the gauge when I do it. Then slip the clutch as you make the turn. This works for me. As to the seat I have an 02 I bought new and still have the stock seat. As I weigh 270 lbs it's not the greatest seat but it works okay enough that I never bought an aftermarket seat. There is data on this forum about pads and stuff, For tires I used the Avons once and didn't like the mileage I got so I went back to Metzlers. You might need to change your springs on your shocks which is a poor mans way of improving the ride. There is a bunch of threads here about changing to Hyperpro Springs. Welcome to the club and the bike is an awesome ride once you get to know her.
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post #5 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 3:51 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Being new with the bike I would NOT try to do the road test on the LT. Borrow a smaller bike, ride the test and then practice practice practice. It does get easier. The single most important thing to do is look at where you want to end up and not at the road in front of the bike. It will go over every time if you do.

If you can turn around in a 2 lane street that should be good enough for everyday riding. It takes a little practice but you will get there.

Loren

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post #6 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 5:01 am Thread Starter
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Thanks everyone.

Few things I should mention (just from reading the responses I got):

I am not a large guy, so the weight of the bike is an issue. I am 6ft tall and lean at 150-155 lbs. And while I am (I think) very strong from years of Karate training, I still don't think I can lift this bike by myself when it goes down. Luckily both times it did go down there were people around who were kind enough to come help.

I have no issues with the seat (I think it is stock), other than I would prefer it if it was a bit lower....it is at the lowest setting.

Yes I am taking the driving test on a smaller bike. The LT is simply too big.

As far as U turns: 2500 RPM, I assume you mean in 1st gear ??

Wouldn't that be too fast for the turn ?

I guess one question that wasn't answered & I am somewhat afraid to try is this:

If you're making a tight U turn, would you turn the steering all the way to the end (all the way to the left) or would the bike tip over ?

Most of these issues I noticed more when it's raining/wet roads.

Thanks everyone.
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post #7 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 5:09 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Here's a lft technique - http://roadstarclinic.com/content/view/82/123/
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post #8 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 5:28 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Good day and welcome to the forum. Glad to know that you gave us your height and weight...and more importantly, you are taking the test on a smaller bike. The LT is too much of a bike to take the test on if you haven't ridden in a while and two, you don't have too many miles on an LT. Your long legs will go a long way (no pun intended) to hold the LT up.

My comments are:

1. Replace the rear spring on the bike with hyper pro springs -- I also heard the front spring does wonders for the LT too. BTW, I sent my preload, spring and shock (keep it altogether) to Epmperf.com and Klaus (the owner) told me the shock was fine but the spring needed replacement. Does wonders for the ride. Total cost was less than $200.

2. Check your tires...I changed my tires at 8,000 miles (when I bought the bike due to the cupping of the front and wear on the rear) this was probably the single most improved thing I did on my bike when I bought it. The bike was much quieter and rode wonderful w/ the new Metzlers (sp).

3. Keep the front and rear tire pressure to 42 and 48 respectively.

4. Consider a bak-up back rest. I heard a lot of good things about it -- although I bought one, it didn't work for me. With my back padded riding jacket, the back rest pushed me too far forward and caused my sciatic nerve to act up -- I literally had to get off the bike every 60 minutes on a five hour trip.

5. Go to a local school and set up cones and do all your weaves.

6. Take a motorcycle safety course. I bought my LT in March of 2010 and took the safety course 30 days later. The course is designed to help you learn about turning, stopping, etc. This course will do wonders for your confidence.

7. Ride, ride and then ride some more. Riding on a freeway does little for your ability to handle an LT -- take the LT on some back roads where you have to start, stop and turn.

I hope this helps...

Glenn
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post #9 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 5:29 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

The 2500 rpm that they are referring to is with you slipping the clutch in first gear. As for turning the bars to the stop.....it is really more of a bike lean than sharp bar turning.

If you have motorcycle police in your area, have one of them show you their technique. They are experts at U turns in their work and just watching them will give you the idea. Go to a parking lot with lots of room and gradually work the lean and radius until you feel comfortable.

HTH,

Ron


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747,891 miles on touring motorcycles since 1990

IBA 45658 MOA167437

2000 LTC 90,600 miles KIA (new)
2003 LTE 164,188 miles Silver (Purchased with 1687)
2008 R1200RT 176,196 miles (Purchased with 16458)
2017 R1200RT 96,669miles (new)
Total BMW miles 509,508
1982 GL1100 rode 84108 miles (bought with 12012 sold 96120)
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post #10 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 5:32 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Stick with it........and never lose the faith..........The LT, by it's nature, is tough to love at first.
Once you learn how to handle it a little better, you'll be hard pressed to ever give it up.

It does take a little time. When I took delivery of mine, in Feb. '08, I was nervous about the weight, and size. Once the weather broke and I was able to get on it and just start getting acquainted, it all changed. I put about 12K on the first season. When the weather settled back in for the Fall and Winter, it was real hard for me to put it in the barn.

You'll do fine. Welcome to the forum, and 'Ride it like you stole it'

B-Safe out there............



Jim and Cyndy
'03 Black..."Ol' Dollar"
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post #11 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 5:54 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

You sound like a great candidate for the Jerry Paladino video "Ride Like A Pro". It'll answer a lot of questions for you and show you how to pick up the bike. Had I seen that video sooner I wouldn't have a hernia now...........

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post #12 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 7:09 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

There's a stat that says something like: A large number of accidents occur within the first 3000 miles or 6 months of ownership.

If this is you just getting back on bikes after a long time away from them, I _strongly_ suggest what other folks have been telling you: Spend some time in a parking lot practicing. Practice slow speed maneuvers, practice 30 mph panic stops (and HOLD ON, them binders are fierce!)

If you take a MSF course, you'll practice on a 200-250 cc bike, AND you'll pass the riding exam on that bike during the course.

I bought a 1300vtx last year (750 lbs), I rode it around the neighborhood for a week before my MSF exam. After the course, it got two feet shorter and 200 lbs lighter, just from taking the course.

Being in and out amongst the cages is NOT the time for anxiety, it keeps you from concentrating on what's important.

I've had the LT for 3 months now and am pretty comfortable with it, 99% of the time. I HAVE found that full lock maneuvering that steering goes from surgeon's scalpel precision to Pushing-a-wet-rope sloppy. It'll surprise you if you aren't watching.

What year is your bike? There were steering geometry changes in 05.

------------------------
05 LT - Blue
03 VTX 1300s - fun while it lasted, sucked in the cold.
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post #13 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 7:16 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Welcome to the forum AJ.

The concerns you are having about riding the LT are pretty normal and I am sure you will get past them with a little time and a little practice. Then you are going to love your new ride.

I didn't see where you had indicated the year model of your LT but if it is between '99 and '04, your bike is a little harder to handle in low speed situations than the later models. However, even the older ones are good after you learn to keep the wheels pointing forward while braking at parking lot speeds.

I started with an '00 model, the first motorcycle I had owned in more than 20 years. And I too had a few falling over experiences, probably 5 in the first two years but after that I never dropped it again in the six years I owned it. Drops were always at parking lot speeds, turning and while applying the front brake. Two of the times I dropped it, I had no help getting it back up and was able to do it alone. Help is better.

From your self description, I expect you will be able to manage it by yourself. Somewhere around here there is a video of a girl lifting and LT using the proper technique of backing up to it on the low side, grabbing one handlebar and one sidecase handle and lifting with the legs. That is what worked for me.

I know someone else has already advised you to get your bike out of town and enjoy it on some curvy roads. I agree, since that is where the LT is at her best. You will be amazed at how the big heavy girl can feel as light as a feather when she is in her element. You will gain in confidence that she will do anything that you ask her to do and that confidence will carry over to the small and infrequent things like turning at parking lot speeds.

Ride on,

Tips
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post #14 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 7:51 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

The Palladino course mentioned above will help you a great deal. Start with your markers ridiculously far apart and move them closer together as you gain proficiency. You will quickly get the hang of it. You can definitely of sufficient size to pick it IP alone. Almost as easy as dropping it.

Loren

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post #15 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 8:59 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Hi,
I bought my 2001LT back in November and was also nervous about the U turn. The one thing that I found to make the biggest difference is you need to lean the bike as much as you can manage. I don't mean go quick, just push the bike over and keep your body upright. If you look at how far the front wheel turns when upright you will see why it takes 40 acres to turn the rig around. If the bike is leaning over then the turning circle is a lot tighter.
Practise in the car park and you will be surprised how nimble the LT can be.

Tony

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post #16 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 10:28 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Plus 2 on the Ride Like a Pro DVD. I use the techniques to practice slow speed maneuvers in a parking lot. When I can ride like the guy in this link, I'll be just about proficient enough....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJxOsYh12yY
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post #17 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 10:57 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

No one mentioned your concern about the fogging windshield so I will. IF it's the original windshield the top layer probably has some scrathches or dings in it. Those will let moisture underneath and under the right humidity and temperature conditions you will get a fogged windshield. On a warm sunny day you'll never notice it. One solution is replacing the windshield with an aftermarket but again there's money. Another trick is to wipe it down with denatured alcohol which you can find at hardware or home supply stores, usually in the paint department. Wipe down your cleaned windshield (not rub), let it dry and the alcohol will pull the moisture out as it dries. Then wipe off and clean your windshield. I personally use Plexxus after I do this.

We were riding the other morning and a few times got the fogged windshield due to temperature and humidity changes ( some that were noticeably obvious ). The windshield looked frosted and even my mirrors fogged a few times. But back out the sunshine it cleared again on its own.

Chris Ehlbeck
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post #18 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 11:08 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

I took an MSF course a couple of years ago, thanks to the Texas state legislature making it mandatory for one to get their motorcycle endorsement on their license. Life's circumstances had me let my endorsement lapse years ago. Even though I had documentation showing I had taken the same course over 25 years ago, as a requirement for riding on Air Force bases, Texas Dept. of Public Safety didn't care.

That being said, I'm glad I retook the course. It costs more than I cared to pay, but it was fun, and I relearned skills I hadn't used in a long time. As mentioned, the bikes are a lot smaller and lighter, which makes it easy to concentrate on learning the techniques, instead of worrying about dumping a bike. The repetition was enough to quickly build one's confidence, including riding in a figure 8. Again, as mentioned, the key is to lean the bike, sitting more so on the opposite side of seat to counterbalance, and at the same time keep the RPMs up enough, whereby you can use the clutch to speed up and slow down the bike to keep the momentum going, yet using engine braking to slow it down if need be. 2500 for the LT is due to the lack of bottom-end torque. An HD, as an example, doesn't need wound up near as much. Don't even think of using front brake for this maneuver- use the back brake if need be.

It's ironic- I was doing this maneuver perfectly the whole two days during practicals, but then I screwed it up on the "final", by going outside one of the lines. Luckily, I did everything else well, so I still passed.

At some point when I'm home for good, I'll take an advanced training course. It's definitely money well spent.

I'm only 5 ft. 8 in., and presently around 200 lbs. Needless to say, I'm out of shape, but I was able to pickup my LT both times I dumped it in parking lots. Confirming what others said- it's all in the technique. Of course, a little humiliation/embarrassment does wonders too- like the second time when I dumped it in front of a dealership w/ BMW as one of the lines. Don't know how many people saw, but I got it back up so fast and gone, I wasn't around long enough to find out.

just remember knowledge and persistence, Young Grasshopper.

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

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08 HD wide glide
prior:
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post #19 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 11:45 am
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Welcome aboard AJ

LOL she is a hand full at first you'll find that she is quite nimble at speed the bike just isn't meant for moving slowly (strains of I can't drive 55) .

I've dropped mine once lesson learned you need to plan where to land the bike, there are a couple of video's on here of how to correctly lift this bike without killing yourself in the process.

There are a lot of threads here on how to correct the issue with your wind screen.

This site is a huge wealth of knowledge I learned a lot just by reading through the threads.

Depending on how many miles the bike has on her and how heavy the other driver was you may need to look into shock replacement. Seems them German types are rail thin.

Bit of advice avoid slow motion driving for the moment get used to the bike and its height and weight. if you need to get a license rent or borrow a smaller bike to take the test on as others have mentioned.

Also one Golden Rule.......Do not grab a hand full of brake with your handle bars turned you'll be kissing asphalt faster then you can say Oh ****.

This bike is a passion not just a conveyance.

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.

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post #20 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 12:47 pm
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Tight, parking lot speed, turns on any big bike or always a challenge, but probably more so on the LT. because it is more top heavy.
It is a question of practice and technique. It's quite possible to make very tight turns on an LT with the bars turned right up against the lock. But, as I say, it takes practice.
Go to Youtube and search for "Officer Donnie Williams" (think that's the title) and watch the course he does on a full dress Harley. It will show you what's possible. You will be amazed.
I love my LT but have had a few drops myself, though none in quite awhile now.
Some general tips:
1. Riding posture is important. Keep your head up and looking out straight in front whenever you come to a stop. Always.
2. Don't stop with the front wheel turned if you can avoid it.

I am smaller than you and about the same weight and can lift my bike alone. You probably can, too. But it takes some real effort. And make sure the bike is in gear when you do it. You don't want it to roll.

For whatever her shortcomings in parking lot speed maneuvering, she more than makes up for it on the road. A great bike on even the most challenging twisty roads. Have had her to the Tail of the Dragon many times and she is a champ. She is remarkably nimble for a large bike, too. Can weave and swerve with amazing facility, better than many smaller bikes.

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post #21 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 1:15 pm
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW_forever
Wanted to write and get some feedback from long term owners of the LT.
So I've been riding the bike for about 2 weeks now.
Last monday night was the first time I dropped it...
Then tuesday I had my driving test at the DMV, it was raining...Tried to take the test...
Today I did a freeway ride...
Also as far as making U turns with this bike...
I've gotta be honest here. Based on this post and your previous one, it sounds like you may have bitten off more than you can chew...

What your are experiencing does not sound unreasonable. If the bulk of MY prior riding experience was "two or three years" on 450lb 550cc motorcycle some (unknown) number of years ago, and I did not even have a motorcycle license,a K1200LT would be a very scary proposition indeed... It would be interesting (to me anyway) to hear how much experience the average K1200LT rider has. Maybe a survey?

Rick
<><

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post #22 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 1:20 pm
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

That would be an interesting Poll question Rick.

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.

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post #23 of 26 Old Mar 16th, 2012, 6:01 pm
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Just don't get in the habit of slipping the clutch at or above 2500 rpm. It won't last long doing that. Rather get in a parking lot and gradually reduce the radius of the U turn until you feel comfortable. How often do we really pull U turns anyway?

Best on normal launches to keep the rpms below 1500 until the clutch is fully engaged. Then you can hammer it and take first gear all the way up to about 62 mph before you hit the rev limiter.

John
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2004 330 Ci Convertable
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Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #24 of 26 Old Mar 17th, 2012, 3:31 am Thread Starter
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Re: Impressions of the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemerick
I've gotta be honest here. Based on this post and your previous one, it sounds like you may have bitten off more than you can chew...

What your are experiencing does not sound unreasonable. If the bulk of MY prior riding experience was "two or three years" on 450lb 550cc motorcycle some (unknown) number of years ago, and I did not even have a motorcycle license,a K1200LT would be a very scary proposition indeed... It would be interesting (to me anyway) to hear how much experience the average K1200LT rider has. Maybe a survey?
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Rick,

Thanks for the feedback. You maybe right.

I knew I wanted a BMW (because of how much I liked my car), and a touring bike. Based on trying bike sizes at the dealer, I also knew the LT was big. The RT was a better fit but I guess I liked what the LT has to offer and then found one that was a good deal after looking off and on for 2 years.

Yes I may not have a lot of experience compared to most of you, mostly riding my Kawasaki 550 LTD including many long distance trips (Without windshield or heated seat and grips), and my friend's dirt bikes.

But I never let these things stop me, when I was 13 or 14 I taught myself how to drive a car just by watching the driver for my dad's business drive & change gears. One afternoon I took the keys to the big GMC truck (Stick shift) and started driving, my dad came out & saw me driving.

Learned how to ride a motorcycle (never ridden one before) by reading the owner's manual to figure out the gear configuration. Took the bike out & started riding....I knew how to ride a bicycle and figured if my friend can ride a motorcycle so can I, he isn't smarter than me kind of thing.

When I bought the LT, the owner took me for a ride on the back. He lived out in the country with out of the way roads...etc. I liked the bike & guess I was scared to take it for a ride. I bought it & rode it the 200++ miles home, with side winds almost knocking me off the bike at times. My friend who was ahead of me in a car said I was handling the bike like I rode it for years.

When my 85 BMW 5 speed transmission went out & found out how much mechanics charge to replace it, I figured how hard can it be to do it myself. Bought a dead car with good tranny and did the job myself. Wasn't easy but I did it.

Today it was raining & I took the bike out to get some wet riding in. It was fun and I think I did well.

So I think in the end, I figure things out but at the same time I give this bike respect because I realize it is a big bike with cars around that sometime don't see you or give you enough space. And I don't want to take that for granted.

When I look at this bike I am still amazed how large it is, how much space it takes but also how majestic it looks.

Thanks.
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post #25 of 26 Old Mar 17th, 2012, 3:34 am Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Posts: 291
Re: Impressions of the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FairfaxPoker
It gets better and easier the longer you ride her. Took me 5K to get used to the weight and top heaviness at parking lot speeds. Best mod I ever did was replace the stock shocks with a custom Willbers setup at the Beemer shop in Santa Cruz. The next was to go with the Avon Storm II tires, much smoother ride. And we can't forget the Russell Daylong seat. With these changes I was able to get over the fear of her falling over while riding the twisties which in turn allowed me to improve my riding skills. So get out there and ride but during the nice weather.
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The bike has Bridgstone tires which look new. The previous owner told me they are fairly new and he wasn't riding the bike much. He is about 5.9- 5.10 and maybe 150 lbs. So not a big or heavy guy.

How good are the bridgstones tires ?

Thank you.
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post #26 of 26 Old Mar 17th, 2012, 4:29 am
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Oviedo , FL, USA
Posts: 1,079
Re: Impressions of the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW_forever
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The bike has Bridgstone tires which look new. The previous owner told me they are fairly new and he wasn't riding the bike much. He is about 5.9- 5.10 and maybe 150 lbs. So not a big or heavy guy.

How good are the bridgstones tires ?

Thank you.
Good luck with the new ride and welcome to the nut house that the LT forums are.

I am 5'10" with a 28 inseam. If you search some earlier threads, I had an LT, sold it got a GSA, and 3 months later sold it and am back to an LT where I belong.

The "new LT" and I am on my third had been lowered 4 inches to the point I could flat foot the thing on the center stand. I was not happy with the lowering job so I raised it back with used parts to the factory height.

I have only been riding "again" for 2.5 years and put 35K miles in 1.5 years on my first two LTs.

She is a difficult ride to master at first but you will not be sorry that you did it.

As far as tires, I am a Metzler man. Others are Bridgestone. I believe that you will find that those are the ONLY two manufactures that make tires for the LT.

There is a poll around here on the # and QTY of drops we each have had on the LT. On my first '00 I dropped her 5-6 times in 6 months. On my second LT I had NO drops and knock on wood I will have no drops on the new one.

For window fogging I use plexus, others just use a large towel and hot water drapped over the front for cleaning. (see diverdan for more info). and yes she does fog over.

Keep the tires inflated to 42/46 or 42/48 and get a tire pressure monitoring kit. I love mine and would not ride without it.

For u-turns, there is the friction zone technique and that is the best way in my opinion to keep the revs up and not go to fast and execute a u turn.

Best of luck, be safe and enjoy the ultimate touring machine

2009 K1200LT The Черный заяц 2 March '12 -
2008 R1200GSA Dec'11 - March '12 (sold)
2009 K1200LT The Черный заяц Nov '10 - Nov '11 (sold )
2000 K1200LT Flying Purple Mile Eater May '10 - Nov '10 (sold)
2005 VTX1300s Nov '09 - Nov '10 (sold)


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