Considering a CLC - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 23 Old Jan 24th, 2008, 10:09 pm Thread Starter
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Considering a CLC

Today I committed to purchase an LT. The seller also has an '04 CLC I'm considering for my wife. She currently rides a Virago 750 and it is feeling small to her.

My question is, will the CLC feel much heavier and harder to control at low speeds? She has driven our Goldwing and was OK with it but needs something "lighter" feeling.

Before buying the Virago for her, I test drove a Shadow and found it to be much harder to steer at parking lot speeds and she would not like that.

Any advice?

Joe Van Orsdol
Zimmerman Mn
'02 K1200LT
'94 K75S for sale
'11 DR650 Alaska Bike
'13 KTM 250XCW
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post #2 of 23 Old Jan 24th, 2008, 10:53 pm
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Once you get beyond the ugly part, it's a nice low center of gravity bike. I little underpowered, but not bad.


K1200LT 1999 Champaign SOLD
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post #3 of 23 Old Jan 26th, 2008, 6:33 pm
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I always like the CLC. Not for everyone but I always wanted one. Not sure, but it looks lighter then the LT.

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post #4 of 23 Old Jan 28th, 2008, 10:53 pm
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I ride a CL after riding an 1100RT for a year. Lighter than an LT. Lower to the ground than the RT (29.5 inch seat height compared to 31.5 on the RT). Made a big difference to me and my not so long inseam. The low speed handling of the CL is different from the other BMW bikes because it has a longer rake. It tends to want to fall over in the direction the handle bars are turned. It does not take long, however, to get used to this behaviour. Above 15 miles per hour, it handles just like any other bike. And for the record, the CL is not an ugly bike -- it's unique
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post #5 of 23 Old Jan 29th, 2008, 8:59 pm
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I have had my CLC for 3 years. I have not put a ton of miles on it because I have three bikes to choose from. The other two are Harley's and while more fun to ride, they don't have the wind control so the CLC is much more comfortable on longer rides.

The power issue is a favorite criticism and it's true that it has less than the RT opposed twins. It's a mystery to me why BMW detuned it so much, but the bottom line is that it's really not a problem, particularly if you ride single which I assume you wife would be doing.

I suspect that if you did a power to weight ratio calc with two on an RT to one on the CLC there would not be much difference.

I have gotten used to the idea of winding it a little tighter than most of us are used to.

The only real issue I have is the fuel capacity. There is plenty to last me until I want to get off and stretch, but it is aggravating to have so little reserve.

I have ridden an LT only minimally, but the difference in the height and CG is significant (CLC much better than the LT)

I suspect you will get a great deal on the purchase price due to the lack of popularity.

Hope this helps


Woodbridge, CA
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post #6 of 23 Old Jan 30th, 2008, 9:33 am
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I had a CLC for two years. It was the only bike I've owned that I never felt comfortable with at low speed (below 5 MPH) . It's also the only bike I ever dropped on the street. Excepted for this it was a great bike. The best stock headlights I ever owned , great comfortable ride, and enough power for what it is, and very easy to work on. It would cruise all day at 80 MPH effortlessly. Even though some think its ugly I got more positive compliments at the gas pumps then I do with my LT. When I traded it for the LT I felt I was giving up my trusty horse. She really would need to test ride one to see if the low speed handling issues would be a problem. Personally I would think a RT would be a better bike for a women.
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post #7 of 23 Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 1:32 pm
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I had a 2004 CLC for a little over a year and I definitely do not recommend it in any way. The bike is quite heavy. Not quite so much as an LT but not much less. The seat height is low but the seating position is a little weird. The handle bars are kinda forward with your feet in the cruiser position. I'm a big guy so reach was not a problem but the overall position never felt quite right.

The engine is pathetic. As heavy as the bike is, you have to row through the gears to pass effectively. To get to the power that is there, you have to get the bike to fairly high revs which quite honestly just was not comfortable on my bike. On the highway, the bike seemed to be working very hard to maintain cruising speeds above 65. Again the bike would do it but it just did not feel very comfortable.

It has already been mentioned that the tank is smallish. Combine that with pretty poor mileage as compared to the LT or other BMW R bikes and you will find yourself looking for a gas station about every 120 miles.

The bike also has some significant cosmetic issues. Specifically, it has a great deal of chrome. Not a bad thing if you like it but, BMW had allot of problems getting the chrome to stick. On my bike this meant that a number of chrome parts were either flaking or had bubbles in the finish.

Finally, when I did get rid of the bike I took a bath on it as it is an unpopular bike that really is neither fish nor fowl. You may want to visit the forum set up specifically for the BMW C bikes. I cant recall the address but I am sure someone will come along and add it to this thread.

Sorry to be such a downer especially since I hardly ever post on this forum. Hopefully though this will help you make a more informed decision.

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post #8 of 23 Old Feb 4th, 2008, 10:43 am
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I own a 2004 CLC and I have to agree and disagee with some of the statements. It is a heavy bike, over 700 lbs. and is not the easiest to handle slow speed unless you are used to it. That being said, with a little practice, it's no different than any other bike.

Yep, I agree, the tank is kinda small. I get about 45 mpg, so at 150 miles I'm ready to find a gas station. Probably a good time to stretch the legs anyway.

I don't think seating position is all that bad, maybe a little awkward, I wish I had some hi-way pegs to stretch out. I think they were going for cruiser type position, but stopped short. Germans don't really understand the American consumer. I find myself leaning over the tank a little bit when into the twisties, and the seating position is pretty good then, but for cruising I want to throw my legs forward and can't (right now anyway).

I've never understood why people down the power, it has plenty of umph. Yeah, it's detuned from the other oilheads, but it has a good amount of torque, more than most Harley's. I've never had to row down through the gears to pass somebody, downshift one gear and I'm around. Cruises at 60-75mph with zero effort.

Looks are love it or hate it. I happen to love it, if others hate it, that's cool too. At least it doesn't look like the many throngs of Harley's and their Japanese twins. No problems with the chrome bubbling or flaking on my bike. I think they had pretty much figured out most of the issues by 2004. But evidently some issues were still lingering. The biggest issue with 2004 model year was the sub frame not holding up the side stand, and the bike sitting way too far over. No center stand, btw.

There is a definate market out there for these bikes. But they are not nearly as in demand as others. The CLC was only made for 2 years, they are quite exclusive, and the demand is bound to increase in the future.

I wouldn't really recommend it for a lady, but there are plenty that pilot this particular bike very well. Visit, they are the best resource on-line.
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post #9 of 23 Old Feb 4th, 2008, 7:07 pm
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Thumbs down Clc

Had one for a year never did like it bought another LT. No power, no gas gauge, very small tank 135 miles if you are lucky. I do not reccomend sorry

John L Bass
2002 K1200lt Triked by Hannigan 2005 now LT stands for Luxury Trike
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post #10 of 23 Old Feb 4th, 2008, 11:14 pm
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Thumbs up LT or CLC?

LT has too much plastic... Where is the motorcycle under all that stuff? I never thought I'd see a Uni-Body Motorcycle. CLC is pure design.
Disregard the under power comments... Max speed limit in the US is 85+ and the CL will do that no sweat. The only concern is low speed maneuvering. Get past that in under a week and you have a great "rare" machine.

Bottom line... Go try one.

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post #11 of 23 Old Feb 4th, 2008, 11:39 pm
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Hi Joe. I have had my CLC for five years now,and really enjoy it. It is not an LT for sure, but it is a very enjoyable ride. If you'd like,come on over. I'm in Lakeville,and you could have your wife look at it.
I've been out to Rockies on it loaded with camping gear,and it was fanatstic.
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post #12 of 23 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 2:23 pm
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I have 2003 CLC which I traded my LT in on and have been very happy with it. My wife has a 98 R1200C which she loves. We did a 4100 mile trip last summer with no problems. Maint on the Cruisers is MUCH easier than the LT and while I was on the trip, I didn't worry about the built in problems I had with the LT. As to your wife riding the CLC, she should ride one first.
Granted I agree with the fuel capacity, this is the first BMW that wouldn't go over 200 miles before needing gas and the milage is down from the LT.

Don Mitchell
Bellville, TX

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post #13 of 23 Old Feb 8th, 2008, 12:55 pm
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Don't let horse power be the defining statistic related to power. The CL is a cruiser and as such has the power characteristics of one. Not big on horse power (60 HP @ 5000 rpm) but extremely respectable in the torque department (72 ft/lbs @ 3000 rpm). On my CL I cruise at 110kph in 6th gear at 2950 rpm. That means if I need to go, I don't need to downshift, I just twist the grip. My old R1100RT by comparison tumbled along at 4000 rpm for the same speed. HP and torque for that bike ar 90hp @ 7250 rpm and 70 ft/lbs @ 5500 rpm. Dropping down a gear to get into the optimum torque range happened more often on the RT than it does on the CL.

And I agree with everybody who says that bike needed a bigger fuel tank. 17 litres doesn't take you as far as you might want to go.
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post #14 of 23 Old Feb 8th, 2008, 4:56 pm
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If you can find one a R1200ST is a good bike, my wife is now riding one after almost 20 years on a H-D Big Twin (she is 5'4" tall and about 120lbs.). Once she got the seat reworked and bar risers she loves it! They aren't imported any longer but you can find them for sale used once in a while. No power problems with it either other than its faster than my 1200RT!
Good luck in finding her a bike.
Ride safe
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post #15 of 23 Old Feb 9th, 2008, 12:47 am
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Love My 03 CLC-Cerberus

I bought mine 2 years ago from a guy in Dodge City Kansas and rode it 1028 miles back to Lexington, KY. What a ride! Since then I have put 12k miles on it and constantly get looks from the Harley guys. They have no idea that BMW ever made a "cool" bike.

They are very unique and as far as I'm concerned, have the attitude I was looking for in a ride. I have been on the Dragon and over half of the Blue Ridge Pkwy and it handles like a champ. Power? It can get a ticket in any state and get me out of trouble when I need it to.

I even went so far as to Reload with White Walls this time for the 12k service and the "cool" just kicked up a notch. Love em or hate em, there is no in between.
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post #16 of 23 Old Feb 24th, 2008, 1:27 pm
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Re: Considering a CLC

I like your term of the CLC "Unique". I too purchased one for that primary reason. that "funky" look is very desirable asset. I have a silver one. Really wish they would have made colors like: intl orange, Magenta, saffron or something on the wild side. I'm a purist when it comes too colors thus I'll stay with the original.
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post #17 of 23 Old Mar 5th, 2008, 8:03 am
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Re: Considering a CLC

I've got a 2004 CLC in the beautiful Mojave Brown with Tan Saddle. I love this bike and even more so since last week when my Russell Day-Long saddle arrived. I've got the Z-Technic tall windscreen and the day-long puts me up just high enough to see over it comfortably. The extra height also means my knees aren't bent up so much. This saddle transforms the bike. You feel in such complete control from the saddle with the support wings that low speed handling now seems a breeze including tight u-turns and gas pump maneuvers. The ride for me and my wife is better than any bike I've owned including an '02 Honda GL1800, two Harley-Davidson Ultra Classics, and a Yamaha Royal Star Venture. The bike is nearly impervious to cross-winds and has all the goodies, bells, and whistles of the heavier LT. Most of the time, I'm happy to cruise along enjoying the outdoors, however, when run through the gears at near the redline, the bike is definitely no slouch. The bike is a stunner to look at and as others have said, easy to work on. Then there's value. I bought the bike new (first one to title the bike) with 445 miles on it last year for $ 12,000.00. Can't imagine ever getting rid of it.

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'04 R1200CLC, Mojave Brown, tan seats
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post #18 of 23 Old Mar 6th, 2008, 10:29 am
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Re: Considering a CLC

Originally Posted by 20031200
I like your term of the CLC "Unique". I too purchased one for that primary reason. that "funky" look is very desirable asset. I have a silver one. Really wish they would have made colors like: intl orange, Magenta, saffron or something on the wild side. I'm a purist when it comes too colors thus I'll stay with the original.

MOA #138678
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post #19 of 23 Old Mar 6th, 2008, 3:45 pm
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Cool Re: Considering a CLC

I had an '04 CLC(Black) and loved it until I rode an LT. Put 36,000 miles in 22 months on her and would still be happy if I never rode that LT. I loved the unique look. Got lots of complements on it.
1. I live on the coast and was able to put 200+ miles on a tank several times
2. Rode into the mountains with the wife and full bags and did not feel like I needed more horses
3. Passing wasn't a problem
4. My chrome did peel/pit from the aluminum parts
5. I loved the sound of her running, harmonics of the dual exhaust, until the mechanic rode it away from me. Kinda pathetic.
6. I could never have gone from the LT to a CLC though

Just my .02

Benton Blalock
"I ride.....the bike doesn't"

'18 Honda Africa Twin Adventure SportDCT
'12 Kawi KLR 650 "Dirty" - traded in
'08 LT Black "Fireball" 113,000+ miles(RIP- transmission - may be seen on the road again)
'05 LT Yeller er Gold? "Ophelia"(RIP- fire) 80,000 miles
'04 R12CLC (RIP- hurricane) 36,000 miles
230,000+ BMW miles
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post #20 of 23 Old Mar 8th, 2008, 10:42 pm
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Re: Considering a CLC

I have a black '04 CLC and love it! I'm always concerned whenever I get below 10mph...the bike feels heavy and wants to lean. The previous owner dropped the bike sitting at a stop light because once it starts leaning, there's no stopping it. That said, I just pay more attention to what I'm doing when slow and turning. But I would recommend riding one before buying it for your wife.

I really like the seat heaters, handlegrip heaters, radio, cd player, and big back seat for my kids. I can't imagine parting with it for a long, long time. Good luck!
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post #21 of 23 Old Mar 11th, 2008, 1:22 pm
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Re: Considering a CLC

I have a 04 CLC and a 06 LT. Live in Minn and drove the CLC to Wash and took fairy to Canada and Back, first year I own. For power, at 85 mph going up hill, in to wind I did need to down shift to pick up speed. Cruised all day at 80-85 mph. Bike was great. Did a lot of trips on bike. I now have bike up at cabin so I can ride it up there, lot of curves in the road.

Bought a LT for day to day and long trip. The LT is a lot more work to work on. Oil change on the CLC are a piece of cake vs the LT. LT is a great ride.

Like both bikes, LT is heavier but handles the curves better. I have a "lip" on the CLC windshield that I like looking over the windshield better then through. The "lip" make the air noise better (no wind) than the LT even though I have try different windshields. The CLC is easier to get on. I can drove both at low speeds now, took some work to learn.
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post #22 of 23 Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 12:12 am
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Re: Considering a CLC is the website for the R1200C and CLC.

I have an '04 R1200C in black with white pin striping and had Rick Mayer adjust the seat. The bike is no power house, but it gets around well at my place in Santa Fe at 8,000 feet elevation. It reminds me of my first motorcycle, a R69S, so it will probably remain in the stable for a long time.

The motor guard on the "C" would also function as a foot rest. I think the exhaust sound is totally unique. I did add a custom instrument panel. The helmet face guard gets covered in bugs. Otherwise I would not need to eat a steak dinner during the summer.

If you go to my website, you can see the bike when relatively new. I am the first owner and took delivery in Dec 05.
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post #23 of 23 Old Nov 30th, 2008, 8:05 pm
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Re: Considering a CLC

Here is a different perspective of the "C" (R1200C) and the "CLC" (R1200 CLC). I owned a C for many years and rented a CLC for a two week vacation.

This is how I see the evolution of these bikes. I have no bone to pick.... I loved my "C" but sadly, it was totaled in an accident and I bought an RT which serves my long distance touring needs better.

The C was BMW's answer to the "cruiser" market that was flourishing in the late 1990's. The trend at that time was to purchase a bike that provided a lifestyle, be it the bad boy image of the cruiser, a "racing" image, or long distance tourer (to name a few).

The C was to appeal to the rider who wanted an image of cool sophistication. All of the ads for the C underscore this. They show young single men projecting a sophisticated bad boy image and couples, dressed in the latest form fitting leathers gazing into each others eyes in some sort of romatic setting. It was shown as the companion motorcycle for those owning a BMW car.

The bike was set up to reinforce this image. It was styled so well that it was included in the Guggenheim motorcycle collection. It was featured in a James Bond movie. These things appealed to the more sophisticated lifestyle rider. The engine horsepower and torque imitated the other cruisers in the market as did the abundance of chromed parts. The gas tank was designed for short rides, usually from martini bar to upscale restaurant with friends who were also looking for this fun sophisticated "cruiser" lifestyle. It was a bike to be seen on!

But many people bought this bike for other reasons. They liked its styling but started touring with it and tried to use it like an old school sport bike. The problem was that, for the reasons mentioned above, the bike didn't really work well in these situations.

I was one who used it as a sport tourer and realized its limitations. I bought mine because of its style. It reminded me of an updated old school Triumph or BSA, which I had loved in my early days of riding. I quickly learned that it dragged the sidestand in the twisties and that I had to stop too often for gas. The chrome peeled, I melted my pants legs on the pipes, the engine surged and the brakes were too grabby. Even with a Mayer seat I never got comfortable. As my peers were passing with ease, I was in third gear, wide open at 7k rpm trying to get all 62 horsepower working for me.

BMW saw these trends and introduced the CLC. With great wind protection, large side cases, more comfortable seats, radio, cruise, etc. it looked like it was well set up for long distance touring. It seemed to be a sportier version of the LT. The problem is that they should have made the gas tank substantially larger and redesigned and retuned the engine for more horsepower, not only to give better performance but also to accommodate a much heavier bike. What had started out as a lifestyle cruiser was now a rather heavy underpowered tourer.

I think BMW let the bike die because of several reasons. It sold OK (reportedly 40k units in 7 years) but they were expecting more. The bike was way over priced for a cruiser, which didn't help. I suspect BMW was very disappointed with their venture into the cruiser market and just decided to exit. After all their traditions were in the sport and touring arenas.

In my mind, they could have installed the new hexhead engine and tuned it to produce the 100+ hp found in the RT. They could have taken care of the chrome problems and raised the side stand so it wouldn't drag. Non-servo brakes would have helped. There were lots of things they could have done, but they didn't. Too bad!

In my mind this bike will be one that is collected. Give it 10 years.

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