My New LT and ERC
Greetings LT Forum Members
My new 06 K12LT and I just completed a Washington State certified Experienced Rider Course (ERC) sponsored by Westside Honda in Spokane WA. The weather presented hypothermic temperatures hovering around 42 Degrees with accompanying rain showers all day long. The skills portion of the course was conducted near the Spokane International Airport on a huge blacktop surfaced riding area. The course included informal lectures and discussions, seven or eight practical exercises, a skills assessment/evaluation, and written test. Did I mention the 42 Degrees and accompanying rain showers from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM? Lessons Learned:
Ten students participated in the course while riding their own machines: Harleys, a V Strom, a 68 BMW, Shadows, a GS 1300?? Suzuki, and a few others. Students’ riding gear consisted of mostly black leather jackets, chaps or jeans, ponchos and plastic bags (rain gear) and a few had adequate rain riding gear. Most riders experienced a miserable day and brief bouts with hypothermia. I was quickly hated by the entire class because of my Gortex outerwear, heated seats and handgrips, and integrated ABS brakes.
All riding skill exercises were conducted at 2 – 20 MPH. The K12 LT requires great rider skill at speeds lower than 5 MPH. Many of these exercises required that the student shifts to second gear then perform a cornering, counter-steer, or braking maneuver. The K12LT does not like second gear at speeds less than 15 MPH
One exercise consisted of performing a Figure-8 inside a painted line box approximately 40x25 feet square (may be larger). The LT and I found it challenging. Matter of fact, after the course was over, I tested the turning radius of the LT by repeating the skill test by using the feet-assisted, handle-bars cocked method. The LT cannot turn sharply enough to stay in the box (reminds me of my old 89 F250 Extend Cab – needs a football field to turn around)
Two braking exercises (cornering and in-line emergency stop) produced some interesting comparisons (remember the raining all day comment?). The K12LT consistently stopped in less than half the distance of every other bike on the course. The ERC Staff could not believe the (not so nimble at low speeds – wonderful above 15 MPH) LT’s stable stopping power.
Lastly, the ERC knocked the rust off of a few of my riding skills. I learned a few gems:
Proper riding gear is an important consideration in mitigating associated safety factors (fatigue, hypothermia, body protection)
Older riders (over 40) develop rust on their riding skills – practice sessions should be incorporated into your riding event at least weekly
The 06 K12LT has a few constraints, however, it has hundreds of rider comfort and safety advantages.