Sold my 2000 K1200LT after 19 years of creating the best memories of (mostly) 2 up riding... We need a bike with a longer wheelbase for the two of us.
I've got a K1600GTL in my sights, preferably used and preferably a later model with reverse. I expect it'll need to be modified to get to a passenger comfort level approaching the K1200LT...
So the question now is, what modifications to a K1600GTL will I have to make to accommodate a pillion spoiled by years of LT comfort? Custom seat, custom windshield, ???
What has worked for you? What hasn't?
You and I are in the same boat, except that I already have our 2018 GTL. Some of my earlier posts on this site discuss parting with our 2000 K1200LT after 18 years and 100K+ miles. Found myself regretting giving up the KLT at times as there was nothing wrong with the bike.
I'm going to talk like an expatriate turncoat here because I've been a BMW rider since the 1970s and if I could go back a year, I'd do an extended test ride on a post 2016 Honda Goldwing before buying a GTL. The 2017 and later Goldwings are a very different bike from the earlier versions, lighter, more nimble. I'm not saying I would have ended up with a Goldwing, but I wish I had given one more consideration before I got the GTL. We've had a short test ride on the new "Wing", but not enough to get a good sense of the handling in the twisties; I'm looking forward to a former K1200LT owner to do a ride report on the new Wing. There are lots of comparos on YouTube between the new Wing and the various incarnations of the K1600 but I'd like a Wing vs KLT comparo done by an experienced KLT rider.
Okay, that said, here's what I've done to our K1600GTL so far. (This is posted in another recent thread of mine, I think the title is "ride and progress report". But in summary, we have added: AeroFlow mini-wings for the 2018 GTL, a 7Jurock "A" windscreen, Suburban Machinery rider peg lowering kit, tank bag, and a Sargent seat. My OEM seat is off to CA for a Russell Day Long makeover. I'll decide if I am going to keep the Sargent, or sell it after I've had a chance to see how the Russell Day Long turns out.
Wind protection: still not there. Even with the 7Jurock windscreen, which has a lip at the top like the CeeBailey did on our KLT, there is still much more buffeting and wind exposure than there was on the KLT. We still haven't had a long ride in the rain, but all reports are that the GTL in inferior to the KLT in keeping you dry in the rain. The AeroFlow mini-wings do seem make some improvement in the size of the wind pocket and they give the GTL cockpit a little bigger feel, a little more KLTish.
We have not had a chance to evaluate the Aeroflow mini-wings in a steady rain. Note: Aeroflow has different mini-wings for pre and post 2018 GTLs, so depending on the bike you are looking at, there will be differences.
Handling: The KLT offered a little more stability at the expense of "flickability" compared to the GTL. The GTL has sportier handling, which depending on your preferences might be a good thing. But I find that you have to be "on" all the time with the GTL, and the KLT would allow a little more relaxation in the saddle. For casual, long distance touring, the KLT has an advantage in this regard in my opinion. This would also be a difference between a GTL and the new GoldWing. The Wing is a lower seat, lower center of gravity, easier slow speed handling, and comfortable tracking; again, at the cost of being a little less responsive in sporty riding.
Also consider: It is reported that the current K1600 bikes are on a "stop selling" order from BMW due to a problem with the transmission. So if you try to buy one right now, you might find they are unavailable. Those of us with 2018 K1600s are waiting to hear if our bikes will be recalled for a transmission retrofit. If you search on this site and the K1600 site, you'll find discussion threads.
Pillion comfort: GTL just isn't like the KLT. My spouse (whom I refer to as WGPR*, no offense to you and yours, as this a very subjective assessment) actually said that the Wing was "too comfortable". Not sure what she meant by that other than she was too likely to fall asleep; something she could do quite readily on the K1200LT. When we had both the K1200LT and the K1600GTL, WGPR would really notice the better comfort on the KLT if we got on the KLT after having been on the GTL. She is very tolerant and doesn't complain about wind or seat comfort, but is aware that both the KLT and the new Goldwing are superior to the GTL. That is a hands down, "no comparison" difference.
Comparing the Wing pillion ride to the GTL, she says she can see ahead better on the GTL and likes the GTL pillion hand grips better. (She really didn't have a chance to get used to the Wing hand grips as she never found them during our test ride.)
In short: I wish I could make the GTL a little more "KLTish" and now wonder if a current model Goldwing wouldn't be a better basis for a KLT substitute. If it weren't so darn fiscally irresponsible, I'd buy a Wing and own it alongside our GTL, and I'd write the comparison myself.
*WGPR = World's Greatest Pillion Rider