Bike Shopping - Seeking Help - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 2:29 pm Thread Starter
 
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Bike Shopping - Seeking Help

I have joined the group (at the moment I will say temporarily) specifically seeking information. I would appreciate input from anyone willing to put up with someone who is just looking at this point and educate someone who knows little about the K1200LT other tha what I've read.

Introduction: I currently ride and completely enjoy a 1985 honda GL1200 that I have owned for ten years. The reality is that it's a 21 year old bike and parts are getting hard (and expensive) to find. Even fixed up completely it is 21 year old technology. I am a member of Wings on The Internet (WOTI) and have learned much about all kinds of GoldWings from those fine folks. I do ride year round - often enough to question my sanity like today as I watch the rain pour over the bike outside my office window. I don't accumulate mega-miles yet as life's circumstances dictate that I can't do long tours yet but that is the eventual plan - at least one two-up tour a year and other rides as they come up. No long miles, but lots of little rides and commuting. I know I probably don't need a big touring rig to do this type of riding, but the bottom line is that I have the Wing and I do like the comfort, functionality and style of the tourers. So no need to convince me what kind of bike to look at - tourer is it.

So I have started shopping for an upgrade and I want to learn about the BMW. I want to stay in this class of motorcycle, so I have been looking at the new Wings and the Harley ElectraGlides. The ElectraGlide has kind of fallen to the bottom of the list - almost off, actually. I had not considered BMW mostly because they are a pretty rare sight around here and don't come to mind right away, but a friend asked if had considered them and that got the thought processes churning away again.

I can list and compare all the features and specifications so that's not where I would need any help. To me, it looks like the BMW comes with almost everything standard that you have to spend extra on for a Wing.

Anyhow...my questions and curiosity are more about maintaining the bike - what the reuirements are for basic stuff. How is fuel mileage in the real world and not in the press reports (my riding style is "sedate" - absolutely no need for speed, but I do like handling). What octane fuel do people really use? Realizing that there are good and bad everywhere, how is the dealer network? I'm assuming since I don't see a lot of BMW bikes around here (I'm in SE Massachusetts), that there are not a lot of dealers around. I have found three actually quite close by.

So, a friend has suggested that I include the K1200LT in my shopping list as being at least the equivalent of the GL1800. Any information or advice - what to look for, how to compare beyond the specs will be greatly appreciated.

So forum time isn't tied up, anybody responding can e-mail me directly at [email protected]. My apologies for the lengthy post - just starting out here!

Thanks much!
Larry Rose
Dighton, Massachusetts
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post #2 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 2:47 pm
 
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Thumbs up Welcome to our happy group!

I've also come from the WOTI group a few years ago after trading up to the K1200LT from a '77 GL1000. Circumstances vary, of course, and my situation was just the right combination of means, motive and opportunity. I had ridden a friends K1100LT on occasion and just started looking in copies of the BMW ON magazine for my "new" bike.

I've been extremely happy with my '99 LT-C, but have learned to do all the periodic maintainance myself through DVD's and cheerful advice offered on this list. This basic wrenching is my therapy session and I fully enjoy it.

Some have had issues with rear drive failure, I have not. I also consistently get 50MPG if I'm highway cruising at 60mph or so. All the bells and whistles such as cruise control, power windshield, heated grips and seats, good capacity luggage and POWER GALORE has made my experience fantastic.

Go for a test ride and then you'll know.

Remember the "Whale"
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post #3 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 2:48 pm
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Larry - welcome. Great first post and should get you a lot of good information by e'mail. Some repetitive stuff, butt all gonna be worth puttin' on the table for reference.

And after you've made whatever decision you come up with, let us know what the triggers were - yea or nay - that impacted your selection.

Again - good post; one you don't need to apologize for; and not to worry about tying up the forum - thats what they're for. Others just may reap the benefits of your questions and might like to see answers also - they can handle that best way for them. Take care.
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post #4 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 2:50 pm
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Hi Larry, and welcome. Like you, two years ago I was looking at the LT against the Wing. The LT was, fully loaded, cheaper and with better technology than the Wing. Not to mention the interest it generates from onlookers is fun too. As to your questions, I am not the handiest guy in the world, but I do manage to do the routine maintenance myself. Oil and filter, rear end fluid, transmission change, etc. If you ask how often to make these changes of 100 people on this site you will get 100 different answers, but suffice it to say every 3000-6000 miles. Cost for this maintenance is about $20. The LT calls for 94 octane fuel, but around here 93 is the best I can find so I use that. I get 48 MPG fully loaded riding two up. And like you, I am not a hot rod and enjoy just touring. My local dealer (Cross Country BMW) is fantastic but a little far for you to visit.

As far as the LT vs. the Wing...ride both and decide for yourself. The Wing is a nice bike, but I find the LT just something special to ride. It is a dog at slow (think parking lot) speeds, and a little top heavy but you get used to it.

Good luck...

Brian
Fanwood, NJ
2003 K1200LT Anthracite

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post #5 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 2:59 pm
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I don't do my own maintenance, but have a good, close dealer.

I've gotten anywhere from 42-56 mpg, but average 45-48.
I always use 91 octane. (Can hardly find 93 anywhere).
It will also run ok on 87 octane, ifin your out and about and cant find any better. mileage seems to suffer.

It handles like a dream and has a great lean angle.

Power is more than ample for me.

Buying used is probaby your best bet. They depreciate to 10-15K very quickly, then taper off.

The new 05-06 have slightly more umph and better walking speed handling, with the fancy shmancy button to put the center stand down without getting off the bike thang. (Jealous... a little, but not enough to take a hit by trading my perfectly good 2002 for)

Test Ride both the wing and the LT and buy what leaves you with the biggest smile on your face.

James Ranks
2008 BMW R1200RT 7200 miles
2005 BMW R1200GS 13000 miles (Sold)
2002 Yamaha FZ1 (Sold) 11000 miles
2002 BMW K1200LTC 29900 miles (Sold)
2002 Yamaha VSTAR-650 Silverado (Sold) 9100 miles
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post #6 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 3:11 pm
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If you don't mind I will post my response here, so others in your shoes now or in the future can benefit from it.

I will give you he real world information as I have experienced it. Others here will chime in and drill the engineering portion of the bike down to a gnats ass.

I have owned my K12LT '06 since March of this year. What I've learned...

Fuel mileage...I took a very hard run down the pig trail here in Arkansas (curvey and hilly) and got 43 miles to the gallon on that route. I more less stayed in 3rd gear. This bike loves to stay between 4000 and 6500 rpm. On the hwy I can set the cruise at 80 which is 4000 RPMs and get 51 mpg. At first I kept wanting to shift to 6th gear to keep the RPM's low (its only a 5 speed), but learned to love the sound and feel of her when she is reving above 4000 which as I mentioned before is where she loves to run.

Low speed handling...at first I was at a 10 on the pucker power chart, but then I was taught how to ride in the friction zone and can turn circles in 18 feet. This bike handles curves like a sport bike and stops like nothing you have ever felt before. If you grab an ass load of brake your bike is going to stop on a dime....you on the other hand will not.

Comfort....its a BMW. It is just like any other bike in that class. You will have to make changes to what you like. It comes with all the bells and whistels, but seats and jpegs are all subjects of preference.

Fuel...I run 91 octane only because they tell me too. Sorry no help there.

Passenger comfort...a dealer at BMW of North Dallas said it best...we sell more LT's because of the back seat than anything else. If momma isn't happy...nobody is happy.

The best advice anyone can give you is to go and ride one.

Good luck and welcome to our little piece of the internet.

**Edit** When I read this initial thread there were no responses and once I typed this out and looked 4 others had already responded. You can't put a price on that...there may not be many of us BMW riders out there, but we are close and eager to help when needed...dare I say passionate?

Donald
NW Arkansas
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post #7 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 3:29 pm
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Bike Shopping

Hey Larry,

Just my 2cents. I have my first and only BMW and really have enjoyed it. I don't know if you plan to ride it two up or not, but if you do, it is an excellent choice. Low speed maneuvering is a little top heavy but manageable. All the bells and whistles work well and it is still a hoot to ride in the twisties. Long trips are a breeze. My wife will divorce me if I sell this bike.
If you plan to ride one up and this is your only scooter in the barn (now keep in mind this is only my opinion) there are a couple of others I would investigate. 1) Honda ST1300- Incredible machine (missing a few bells and whistles that are important to me ie., cruise control,(and this is a big issue for me). You can add it to the ST. My neighbor has one and for very little money and creative engineering and stealing some ideas from the ST web site. He has a great cruise control.2) The new BMW 1200 RT. I don't know anything about this scooter but it appears to be one heck of a ride.
So like I said 2-up and one scooter in the barn. Great choice.

Doc
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post #8 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 3:54 pm
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Welcome, even if it does turn out to be temporary. (Our bet is that we will be seeing you for some time )

The Wing and LT are both nice bikes, the two supreme full tourers on earth.

You need to take both out for the longest test rides you can wangle (Much easier at most BMW dealers than most Honda dealers!).

You will end up buying the one that you cannot walk away from without turning back a couple times to look at it. If you like twisty road handling, and amazing brakes, it will likely be the LT. If you are going to ride a lot of two up, be sure your SO goes on the test rides! A good many LTs have been sold because of the wife's say so!

Just be careful the first times you use the brakes! Grab too much of them, and you will be testing the seating comfort of the fuel tank!

As Dick said, please let us know what you finally decice, and why, no matter which way you go.

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post #9 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 5:27 pm
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I have been riding for 40+ years and I bought a used LT last year coming off of a couple of Harleys (Roadglide and Electraglide). Harley makes a good bike but it is lacking in the braking, power and wind protection areas. There are many good touring and sport touring bikes out there. When I was looking at the LT, I also looked at the newer Goldwings. At the time I was looking, the Goldwings were cracking frames left and right and they were/are experiencing overheating problems. I test rode both bikes, but I kept coming back to the LT. For me, the LT has the best wind protection of any bike I have ever been on. She has plenty of power, handles well and stops right now. The reason I went with a used LT is because a new LT costs soooo much money and depreciates instantly. There are many good deals out there on used LT's. Learn to work on your own bike because there aren't a lot of BMW dealers out there. In the end, the decision is up to you. Thoroughly test ride any bike that you are thinking of buying. The one that makes you smile is the one for you.
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post #10 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 5:48 pm
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Take the SO

Take your SO on a ride on both.. She'll tell you which you are going to buy...

It's always the LT...

My SO's exact words.

"This is the one. Were done looking."

If you don't really want an LT, DON'T let her on the back..

Luck is not a factor.


John

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post #11 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 6:57 pm
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+1 on what John said.

Joel
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post #12 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 10:39 pm
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Welcome!

Glad you checked in with your questions. They are the same ones that many have worked through; some of us still are!

I consider myself a "newbie's newbie", having started riding just last August. I bought a Honda Shadow 600; kept it for 3 weeks, long enough to get through the MSF BRC and gain some basic understanding of how two wheels worked. Then I bought my '05 LT. I felt like I really jumped into the deep end of the pool -- holding an anvil! Slow-speed handling seemed difficult until I did some reading here; every question or problem has been asked, discussed, or resolved. Very helpful.

Between the help from people here, other friends who ride, and a good dealer I have no concerns. Someone once told me (on this site) that a day would come when I wondered what all the fuss (referring to low-speed handling issues) was about. They were 100% right. Sure, the handling hasn't changed, but I have -- I know how to work with it, what to watch out for, and so on.

I have lots to improve on, but I ride my bike regularly to work (106 miles round trip) and have taken a couple of 3-hour trips (one way). I've done enough things to the bike to make it more comfortable/usable (windshield, pegs lowered, shifter extension, brake pedal replacement, pegs).

I have used only 89 octane gas and get 42-45 mpg consistently (measured and calculated, not according to the computer). 91 octane is not available in this area; 93 is, but seems like I'm "wasting" octane if I buy it. The LT runs just fine on 87, 89, 91, or whatever you want to put in it, apparently.

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)
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post #13 of 23 Old May 9th, 2006, 11:08 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryRose

No long miles, but lots of little rides and commuting. I know I probably don't need a big touring rig to do this type of riding, but the bottom line is that I have the Wing and I do like the comfort, functionality and style of the tourers. So no need to convince me what kind of bike to look at - tourer is it.
...

So forum time isn't tied up, anybody responding can e-mail me directly at [email protected]. My apologies for the lengthy post - just starting out here!
I love my LT and rank it as the best and certainly most beautiful bike in the world. I also suffer from MBS and, depending on what you mean my "lots of little rides", don't like to ride mine for those. If I'm running around town in traffic, a few miles here and a few there, I usually take my GS. I find the LT's low speed manners and heavy weight to be not so pleasurable.

Don't worry about tying up the forum, if we weren't *helping* you, people would just be pissin' about tires, oil, etc.

Motor On ,/'


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post #14 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 1:03 am
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I went through what you are going through 19 months ago but did not know about this forum. I went and looked at the same bikes you are looking at and I also included the Victory in my choices.

After riding 6-8 different bikes at different dealers I went to Sierra BMW picking a snowy day so I could talk with a sales man when they were not busy did not know much about as I rode other makes before. Boy what a totally different atmosphere. The sales people were able to answer all my question and did not look like I was bothering them asking questions. When I asked about test drives he said what do you want to drive he was even encouraging me to ride any and all the different bikes that I wanted to. Well not that day to much snow.

Well I went back another day at 10.00 asked to ride the RT he said have it back before they closed. Loved the new RT but could not justify the price.

Could not find any used RTs with in a reasonable distance. Dealer suggested the LT saying he has three used ones. First reaction was it's to big. He suggest I take it for a ride and the price is right.

Well in 19 months and over 15,000 miles later I have not regretted buying the LT. Yes at slow speed it is difficult to handle especially with short legs 30" inseam but it is all I drive now when it's above freezing.

Service is a bit pricy but seeing that I am not mechanically inclined possibly cheaper then if I tried it myself. In my area it is $800.00 plus for the "Inspections". The "Services are in the $300.00 range.

Rusty Snyder

Last edited by RSnyder; May 10th, 2006 at 1:19 am.
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post #15 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 8:20 am
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As someone who has JUST jumped on board the LT bandwagon, I know exactly what you are going through. I am coming of a Harley Electra Glide Ultra Classic - their flagship bike.

I could echo most of what has been said here already - especially about bringing the wife. While I loved the bike - she was the deciding factor. After the test ride when she got off, I asked her what she thought. Her response was a big smile and, "Oh Yeah!!!!!".

It's a bit to handle in the early stages (where I still am) at low speeds, but once above walking pace, she just glides. Steering is much more responsive than I was used to, and ride is more compliant.

Plus, when we rode to church last Sunday morning in 40 degree temperatures, the wifey was happy as a clam sitting on her heated seat.

Finally, having Reverse has been a Godsend. I can't tell you how many times we got caught parking the Harley in a bad spot and looked stupid trying to push her out. Plus, I live with a driveway that is pitched down towards the road, and had to push the bike up to the garage each day. Now, I just toss the LT in Reverse and walk her back. Bliss.

Did I mention how stinking fast it is? My Harley had 65 HP to the back wheel. LT = 116.

'06 K1200LT Ocean Blue Metallic
'06 GL1800 Candy Black Cherry
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post #16 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 8:43 am
 
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Welcome aboard! I have owned 2 Goldwings. 2 Harleys, 1 Triumph and 5 BMW motorcycles during the last 40 years. The K1200LT is beyond a doubt the most enjoyable all around bike I have ever owned. My wife tells me it is the most comfortable of the bikes including the GW. If possible I would recommend trying to find 05 or 06 model because the slow speed handling is much improved and has more hp and powered center stand (which I thought was silly at first but I now love it and use it almost everytime I stop). Good Luck and keep us posted.
Leon
05 Blue LT
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post #17 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 12:38 pm
 
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Ditto and ditto! I am also a newbie to the LT. I have had mine for almost 2 months and the wife and I couldnt be happier. She loves it especially now that we have a com system. We are already planning a 4 hour ride-vacation to KY end of the month and it should be awsome. It did take me a couple weeks to adjust to the bigger bike but I find it handles much better then my KAW 800 ever did. Good luck in your search and keep the questions coming! This site rocks and has helped me greatly!!!
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post #18 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 1:11 pm
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One of the deciding factors for me was that the LT was a lot cooler to ride at slow speeds, around town, when the temps went over 95F. We have a lot of days where the temp is over 100F.

My wife liked the ride and the adjustable windshield, I ride with it low. When she was on, I'd raise it until she was not buffeted by the wind.

I can ride at posted limit plus 10 and still get very good milage. My friend with a Wing has to run at the speed limit, or his milage drops a lot. Even at his highway speeds, he has to stop a lot sooner than I have to for gas.

We both liked a lot about the Wing.

Bob
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post #19 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 2:13 pm
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Quote:
Take your SO on a ride on both.. She'll tell you which you are going to buy...

It's always the LT...

My SO's exact words.

"This is the one. Were done looking."

If you don't really want an LT, DON'T let her on the back..
So so true. When I was looking for a more comfortable two up machine (was coming from a ZZR1200) I was checking out the GT. My wife liked the looks of the GT and went with me to the shop...as a larf we sat on the LT and it was done. She got a big smile on her face and said "oooohhh this is nice!" I am now cruising on an '05 LT and loving every minute of it!

Good luck with you comparison and I'm sure you will feel a bite from the LT bug when you test ride one!

-Ekim
2005 K1200LT (R.I.P.)
Manchester, MD

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post #20 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 2:23 pm
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Since I got the LT, my wife now asks me "When are we going to go for another ride." That NEVER happened before.

Plus I find that I really enjoy the LT when I ride alone. "Was that 150 miles already?"

No doubt that Honda makes some great products, and the creature comforts of the GW's are very good. But I just haven't found them to have the same level of engineering as the BMWs (or their engineers maybe just got a different target). I love the fact that my LT handles like a much smaller, lighter bike when on the more technical roads, but is still incerdibly stable and comfortable on the superslab. And I really don't have any issues with its low speed handling either (not yet a member of the "Dropped my LT Club" yet...). It is amazing to me what BMW accomplished in the LT to the point where it really has no negatives in the twisties to have stability on the slab. I haven't gotten quite the same feeling on the Hondas I have ridden.

Good luck in your pursuit.
Tom

2009 R1200GS-ADV
2005.5 KTM Adventure 950
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post #21 of 23 Old May 10th, 2006, 3:44 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryRose
...my questions and curiosity are more about maintaining the bike - what the reuirements are for basic stuff. How is fuel mileage in the real world and not in the press reports (my riding style is "sedate" - absolutely no need for speed, but I do like handling). What octane fuel do people really use? Realizing that there are good and bad everywhere, how is the dealer network? I'm assuming since I don't see a lot of BMW bikes around here (I'm in SE Massachusetts), that there are not a lot of dealers around. I have found three actually quite close by.....

Thanks much!
Larry Rose
Dighton, Massachusetts

Howdy Larry,

Maintenance:
Level 1 at 12K mile intervals
Level 2 at 24K mile intervals

Level 2 is not too much more than complex than a Level 1...an extra 30 minutes or so. Once you know how to do them yourself, you're looking at a relaxed Saturday (call it 6 hours). The first one you do, try to hook up with locals (within 150 miles) that can give you pointers. If the valves need adjusting (which is usually not for first 48K miles or so) leave the panels off and ride it into the dealer for adjusting. Saves labor money having the panels off.

Fuel Mileage:
My riding style has never, to my knowledge, been described as sedate so I would think that this should be the lowest you might expect....should you "take a walk on the wild side"
-Two-up, twisties, in the mountains and "on the throttle", gets about 33 on average.
-Solo, straight road, hovering around 80mph, gets about 44.
I sit real high and have a lot of air resistance. I have never seen a 50 mpg tank. Got 48 mpg once, but haven't seen that in a long while.

Recommended high octane. California is 91. In a pinch you can run 85 octane "swill" in the boonies in order to get to the good stuff. Just keep your ears tuned to the pre-ignition and accelerate it gently.

Dealer Network:
Far....and few between. That said, there is a network of BMW motorcycle owners that are available in the unlikely event that you get stranded. It's called the Anonymous book. From the anecdotal evidence the BMWMOA group is a very helpful resource.

While Honda dealers are certainly more prevalent, I would not head out into the Nevada dessert alone on either a BMW or Honda with an expectation of having the respective dealer near by. Experience with the bike, confidence built up over over several thousand miles and rubbing elbows with the LT community and the BMW Dealer Network becomes insignificant.

Besides, compared to Wing, the LT is a much nicer looking piece of machinery.

Bill "Omaha"

"Life may have begun at 44, but it didn't get thrilling until I shot past 100"

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post #22 of 23 Old May 11th, 2006, 7:53 am
 
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I've had the opportunity to ride both in the same day, switching back and forth every 50 miles. Here is my take:

Wind protection - BMW hands down.

Noise - GW slightly better

Handling - BMW, GW not even in same class

Brakes - while riding the GW, almost rammed the BMW from behind, was used to the powerful brakes of the BMW. GW felt like it didnt want to stop.

Storage - GW has the edge.

Given the choice of either machine, BMW.
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post #23 of 23 Old May 12th, 2006, 12:50 am
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Antelope, CA, USA
Posts: 88
Thumbs up Been there - switched from '87 GL1200 to '01 K1200LT

Larry, in a rare post for me, I'll try to be brief [not]...

I "moved up" from an '87 GL1200 to an '01 K1200LT a couple of years ago. I have put about 30k miles on the LT since then. In short, I am thankful for the LT. It has been a better machine overall.

I do most all of the maintenance myself. The maintenance costs are relatively low if you can do the work yourself. Having the shop manual, some patience, and a little help from this board once in a while is about all I've needed. I have the dealership (A&S BMW - Excellent!) do tires (and misc. when I feel lazy). I would always always always rather be riding than wrenching or washing.

I read this board to find the weak spots with the LT and try to change out parts for something better to lessen the risk of problems happening on the road. This applies equally to the LT as it did to the GL - an once of prevention is worth many happy miles on the road.

I am year round rider originally from Chicago, so I know riding in the rain and cold. Rode an '87 GL1200 for about 5+ years (35k miles), about 50/50 between time in IL and then in CA. As a daily rider moving from the GL1200 to the LT, I have found LT has been a very solid machine for me, every bit as reliable to me as my '87 GoldWing was. It seriously took me a whole month to get used to the LT. At first I thought I had made a big mistake moving to the LT, because it felt so different. I stuck it out and now I am really glad I did.

The LT handles considerably better than the GL1200, much more stable in triple digits (so I hear - 8^0).
The LT provides better gas mileage than I got on the GL1200.
The LT receives a lot more admiration from others than the GL1200 ever did, both in appearance and handling. I'm no racer, but in my real world experience, I find the LT can usually keep up or even outrun a lot of other riders/machines.

Wind management and weather protection is one area where my GL1200 (equipped with a tall vented Tulsa shield) did outperform the LT. The GL1200 worked much better for me (5'8") for creating a cacoon of peace and tranquility. The LT is more turbulant in the cockpit. I put an aftermarket shield on the LT from Cee Baileys, but it is still no match for the Tulsa on the GL1200. I am annoyed by mild wind buffeting and fiddle with the height of the adjustable shield on the LT all the time. I'll probably try a different shield on the LT before the year is out.

I typically get ~40 mpg in the Sacramento valley and ~50 mpg up in the mountains. I just did ~500 hundred miles in the Sierra this past weekend and on one tankful recorded 51 mpg during relaxed riding. I tend to ride aggressively - wide open throttle is my friend - and really love 4k rpm to red line in all the gears. 0-60 in first gear is more fun on the LT due to the stiffer chasis and better suspension.

I ride 1-up most always, so don't have much to add regarding 2-up riding. My son enjoyed both, perhaps finding the LT a bit less attractive due to greater width. An aftermarket seat was necessary on both bikes.

Have a great time enjoying the sights no matter what you ride.

Ray Thill
2001 K1200LT Champagne
thillrh is offline  
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