Indian and RT - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 9:53 am Thread Starter
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Indian and RT

Anyone have one of the Indian touring bikes and a newer RT, or have gone from one to the other recently? Obviously they are very different rides. I am considering selling my Roadmaster and buying a 1250RT. I mostly do 2-4 hour country toad rides but also want something for long distance. I love the Indian but wonder if I need something that big and heavy for shorter country road riding. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 10:06 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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Originally Posted by sgl0226 View Post
Anyone have one of the Indian touring bikes and a newer RT, or have gone from one to the other recently? Obviously they are very different rides. I am considering selling my Roadmaster and buying a 1250RT. I mostly do 2-4 hour country toad rides but also want something for long distance. I love the Indian but wonder if I need something that big and heavy for shorter country road riding. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Well, I am from the UK and so I may be missing something here. FOr the life of me (apart from the name), I can't see any single reason for choosing that fat Indian. The tourer weighs 50% more than the best all enveloping long distance tourer currently on the market. 50%!
The RT cossets, and carries 2 people with ease over any distance. We have travelled across europe on our 1200RT Wethead and it does it so well. The nice thing is it out tours every other tourer and it is a pretty close contender when stacked against sports bikes too.
However, that's my opinion!
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post #3 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 10:30 am
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Re: Indian and RT

Well I'm with you on that (my bikes are 800 and 1200cc) but in fairness to those who ride these big American touring bikes, our conditions here are different than Europe. We have a huge middle part of our country that takes days to cross and consists mostly of straight, flat highways. There are often heavy crosswinds that might also persist for days. All of this favors the heavy relaxed touring bike. And of course Americans like big, and there is the V-twin tradition to consider, haha.

But for me personally, the RT is more than enough. If I lived in Europe where distances are shorter and roads more curvy I might just have the F800GT.

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post #4 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 10:33 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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Originally Posted by bandytales View Post
Well, I am from the UK and so I may be missing something here. For the life of me (apart from the name), I can't see any single reason for choosing that fat Indian. The tourer weighs 50% more than the best all enveloping long distance tourer currently on the market. 50%!
The RT cossets, and carries 2 people with ease over any distance. We have travelled across Europe on our 1200RT Wethead and it does it so well. The nice thing is it out tours every other tourer and it is a pretty close contender when stacked against sports bikes too.
However, that's my opinion!
I am not from the UK, but even so I second your comments and would add Harleys to the mix.
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post #5 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 11:28 am
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Re: Indian and RT

I think that both of the big HD and Indian do make good touring bikes, but more comparable to the Goldwing. Our RTs are generally classified as Sport Touring, which means that it can also do the long distance in relative comfort, but the RT is a lot more nimble and light, so that one can toss the bike around corners and turns in ways that would be quite impossible with the big HD, Indian, or Honda! That's the "Sport" part of the Sport-Touring. Pick the RT, if that's what you like, but if you like to stay on the freeway in comfort, like driving a car, then stay with your Indian! You really can't compare these bikes.
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post #6 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 2:24 pm
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I traded a Victory cross country (big American cruiser like your Indian and coincidentally made by the same company) for my RT and never looked back. The RT is lighter, faster and almost as comfortable as the big vic. The vic had floorboards which I miss and top opening saddle bags but other than that I’m happy with the RT. The Beemer has a few (dozen) more bells and whistles that induce a rather steep learning curve but once that is done it’s an easy bike to ride. They are two wholly different bikes for riding position of course but I got used to it.

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post #7 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 8:11 pm
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Test ride, test ride, test ride.

I came from gold wing f6b, ninja 1000, f6c, fjr, and many street glide and road glide test rides.
I was intrigued by the k1600 but was anti-bmw. After 3 BMW dealership visits I settled on the r1200rt. This is the bike. Great on the highway, great in the twisties, 300 miles per tank, and light as a feather (compared to my previous bikes).

Only you can decide if it is the right bike for you. Test ride. You can ride mine if you're local (central MA). I ride every weekend day I can.
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post #8 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 9:35 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

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I was intrigued by the k1600
I was intrigued till I saw the 8-10hr Labor maintenance for that bike..... PASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

I bought my '17 R1200RT used, and basically I could had gotten a 2018 Grand America (fully loaded) with 5,000 miles on it for the like $600 more without trying to haggle. You can actually find them relatively cheep used, at least around here.
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post #9 of 46 Old Jul 5th, 2019, 10:24 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

Losing over 300lbs of bike will be transformative. You'll wonder why you needed it in the first place. It's like riding a motorcycle again.

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post #10 of 46 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 7:18 am
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For me the RT is the perfect motorcycle for the twisties and for the long cross country touring....I live in the Ozark mountains and ride twisties all the time...and I also have made several long cross country trips...the bike is ideal for both....and not a lot of chrome to polish!!!...ride one and you will see...
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post #11 of 46 Old Jul 6th, 2019, 3:00 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

I have ridden a Harley Ultra and the R1200RT from coast to coast in the US. The Ultra was a fine touring bike and was not overly tiring to ride all day. The R1200RT was also easy to ride all day and was way more fun in the mountains, got better milage, had more power and weighted 300 pounds less. The only disadvantage of the BMW is the availability of service if problems arise. I had a wheel bearing go out on the Harley withing 5 miles of a dealership. My friends prior BMW (he now has a R1200Rt) broke down on several occasions on trips when were were 150 miles from a dealer and had to be towed.

In final analysis I have ridden Harleys for over 20 years and have two in addition to the BMW. If I get down to 1 bike it will be the BMW.
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post #12 of 46 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 7:37 am
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Re: Indian and RT

I have the '17 RT and an '08 Ultra Classic. Of course, as all are saying, the RT is much lighter and can flick around in the hill country whereas the HD is not that bike. I've taken both on long trips and even climbed Mt Evans with the HD, it's the highest paved road in the US at over 14,000ft, so it's no slouch. When I'm asked about the two, the RT speaks for itself and I tell everyone the HD is like your favorite LazyBoy chair. You can sit back, feet up if you want and watch the miles go by. For us, getting out of Texas is usually an 800 mile ride with much of it going through West Texas with sometimes crazy cross winds which the Harley can just lean into and sit there solid, of course, it weighs half a ton! I'd say comparing the two is like comparing a Ferrari with a Ford F250. I do think the Harley is best for riding two-up, it's much more comfortable for my wife and it sits lower to the ground so it's easier for me to balance at stops when riding two up. Of course, ask me how much I ride each and I'd say since I got the '17 RT (I've had more than a few), RT about 85% compared to 15%... just too much fun!
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post #13 of 46 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 12:55 pm
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Comparing for me and wife on my past HD Ultra, BMW full dress GS, 2000 LT snd current 2016 RT

For wife, HD won all categories hand down.

For me:

> 2 up riding, yes I preferred the HD Ultra for all around riding

> 1 up riding: (based on prev experiences)

long tour (multi day) = (1) HD (2) LT (3) GS (4) RT

day long rides = RT

daily rider (short trips) = RT

As I have aged and lost physical strength, I find the RT the best all around for me. I have added farkles that make it comfortable for the long rides and find it easy to handle in confined spaces.

For me, (age/strength/short inseam) the LT’s weight, higher cog, and difficulty encountered in tight spaces, all combine to place it at bottom of list for most uses.

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post #14 of 46 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 5:20 pm Thread Starter
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I’m enjoying the responses. Keep them coming. I’m still undecided. I like that the RT is lighter and easier to flick around. I find the Indian easier to ride than my Harley’s were, but I’m getting older and sometimes worry a little that I might find myself on a ride by myself or others where the twisties might be a bit much. My wife is starting to ride with me more and she likes smooth. The smoother the better. So I was thinking the RT might be better. And I would put a tourpack on. I think my favorite riding is back country roads without too many tight curves. The Indian is great there. But the RT might make me enjoy the twistier roads more than I do now. And finally, I hate trying to keep chrome clean.
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post #15 of 46 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 5:27 pm
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My RT is so easy to ride in our western NC mountain areas. It handles everything very well. I frequently ride with cruise on, feet on hwy pegs, leaning against my Lazy Rider bag, with 2 fingers or so on end of handlebar, even in the curves. The RT is well planted and tracks true..
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post #16 of 46 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 9:08 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

I think you'll find the brakes actually work on the RT.
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post #17 of 46 Old Jul 7th, 2019, 11:46 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

It may also give you a little more margin-for-error in the twisties, as well as some confidence.

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post #18 of 46 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 8:53 am
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Re: Indian and RT

I just bought a used '14 RT. Wife's comfort is very important. We sat on a neighbor's K1200LT, and the Wife loved the seat, but that bike is a behemoth! Coming off a featherweight Aprilia, the RT was the best compromise. I put a top case on, so she has back support, and so I can get into the throttle without throwing her off. Zero regrets so far. I also saw videos about K1200LT maintenance, and it looks like a horror show removing plastic. No thanks. Other than the air filter being buried, maintenance on the RT seems very straightforward.
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post #19 of 46 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 9:05 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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I also saw videos about K1200LT maintenance, and it looks like a horror show removing plastic. No thanks.
The removal of bodywork on the Wethead is also very long-winded and irksome.
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post #20 of 46 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 9:12 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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The removal of bodywork on the Wethead is also very long-winded and irksome.
I like my dealer.

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post #21 of 46 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 9:23 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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I like my dealer.
Mine is too far away to make economic sense for most things which I need to get under that bodywork for.

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post #22 of 46 Old Jul 8th, 2019, 10:40 am
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Re: Indian and RT

I just switched from a Harley Road Glide Ultra, 980 pounds dry to a 2009 R1200RT. The difference is night and day. I spent over $2000.00 on suspension and close to $1000.00 on a seat just to get the Harley comfortable. Granted, I put over 85,000 miles on it in 7 years of riding, but it is so heavy and so behind in techology that I don't know why I didn't change sooner. The RT is light years ahead of both Indian and Harley in suspension, engine management, power delivery (i.e. traction control, semi-linked braking) and the weight savings is in itself a reason to switch. Suspension is just so much more effective I was amazed that a motorcycle could actually ABSORB bumps in the road! I was looking for something lighter, being nearer 70 than 60 and with knees becoming a problem, I was unsure moving that 1000 pound behemouth in and out of parking spaces. The RT is just about 300 pounds lighter if not more and such a pleasure to ride. Power is amazing and I am very happy with the wind noise being my biggest worry! I can also hear the music in my helmet speakers.

So, don't think twice, just come on over, the riding is wonderful! I don't think you will regret it a second!

John
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post #23 of 46 Old Jul 9th, 2019, 10:33 am
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Re: Indian and RT

Here's an old comparison I did to the LT and the Ultra back in 2005. It's a bit stale, but interesting to see what I thought back then. (I just re-read that comparison and I'd like to say that the RT, not the LT is my 1st choice. My RT is a '17, but every time I get ride it I really enjoy it. It always feels like a new bike to me and I love how smooth, responsive, quiet, and powerful it is. Makes my day.) Bottom line is its your choice and you should do what's best for you. Good luck with your decision.
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post #24 of 46 Old Jul 9th, 2019, 10:05 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

Quote:
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Here's an old comparison I did to the LT and the Ultra back in 2005. It's a bit stale, but interesting to see what I thought back then. (I just re-read that comparison and I'd like to say that the RT, not the LT is my 1st choice. My RT is a '17, but every time I get ride it I really enjoy it. It always feels like a new bike to me and I love how smooth, responsive, quiet, and powerful it is. Makes my day.) Bottom line is its your choice and you should do what's best for you. Good luck with your decision.

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post #25 of 46 Old Jul 11th, 2019, 1:57 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

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Originally Posted by sgl0226 View Post
Anyone have one of the Indian touring bikes and a newer RT, or have gone from one to the other recently? Obviously they are very different rides. I am considering selling my Roadmaster and buying a 1250RT. I mostly do 2-4 hour country toad rides but also want something for long distance. I love the Indian but wonder if I need something that big and heavy for shorter country road riding. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Everyone can give you their anecdotal evidence but only you know what really matters to you. I’m pretty sure almost everyone on this site (myself included) would say the RT is one of the best riding bikes they’ve ever had the pleasure of throwing a leg over.

With that being said, rent one for 24 hours and check it out. I really don’t think a short demo ride from a dealer does this bike justice. I did a quick look at www.twistedroad.com and a guy in the Charlotte area has a 2016 RT at $135 a day. That is a small price to pay prior to chunking down $20 LARGE.
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post #26 of 46 Old Jul 13th, 2019, 7:31 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

Funny you asked that. I visited the Indian demo truck today. All I can say my friend is go ride a Beemer. You will never look back!!
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post #27 of 46 Old Jul 16th, 2019, 8:36 pm Thread Starter
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For two up riding I’ve seen people say that Indians/Harley’s might be more comfortable for the passenger. I would put a top case on the RT and would think that would make a big improvement. Any thoughts about this?
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post #28 of 46 Old Jul 16th, 2019, 10:23 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

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For two up riding I’ve seen people say that Indians/Harley’s might be more comfortable for the passenger. I would put a top case on the RT and would think that would make a big improvement. Any thoughts about this?
Please refer to post 25.

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post #29 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 6:00 am Thread Starter
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I live in Cincinnati now and there’s no place to rent.
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post #30 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 6:50 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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I live in Cincinnati now and there’s no place to rent.
How about going to your local dealer and taking one out for a test ride?
My local dealers are happy for their customers to take bikes for a pretty extensive ride. After all, they know their customer is going to shell out a lot of cash on one of these beasts.

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post #31 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 7:12 am Thread Starter
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The problem is that I would need a tourpack on to really get the true feel of it for my wife. Dealership is brand new and doesn’t have any set up.
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post #32 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 9:35 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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The problem is that I would need a tourpack on to really get the true feel of it for my wife.
Why?

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post #33 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 10:57 am Thread Starter
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Why..... Because I think from a passenger standpoint it’s most likely a very different feel having a tourpack behind you than not having one. It might be an issue of both comfort and the feeling of security.
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post #34 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 11:33 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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Why..... Because I think from a passenger standpoint it’s most likely a very different feel having a tourpack behind you than not having one. It might be an issue of both comfort and the feeling of security.
Well, most RT users (2 up touring) use a top box. When you test ride the bike, I would think most dealers can lay their hands on a 28 or 49 liter top box so that the pillion doesn't feel as though they are going to fall off the back!

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post #35 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 11:39 am Thread Starter
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I had an RT about 8 years ago with only a backrest. My wife felt like she was sitting high and not so secure. That’s why I’m asking about the RT top box and how passengers feel about it. She feels very secure on the Indian with the top box and sitting “down in” the bike. The bike I’m looking at is 8 hours away from me so asking questions is the best way for me to start figuring this out.
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post #36 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 11:43 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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I had an RT about 8 years ago with only a backrest. My wife felt like she was sitting high and not so secure. That’s why I’m asking about the RT top box and how passengers feel about it. She feels very secure on the Indian with the top box and sitting “down in” the bike. The bike I’m looking at is 8 hours away from me so asking questions is the best way for me to start figuring this out.
I only put my top box on when I go touring with my wife. She feels totally secure with the top box on. We have previously had a Heritage Softail and a CVO Road King, which she was also ok on, but I only had a cissy bar with back rest on those, so can't compare with the tour pack
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post #37 of 46 Old Jul 17th, 2019, 1:59 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

I bought a Shad 39 with a backrest specifically for my wife's comfort. I'm not advocating for a particular case brand so buy whatever one you like and can afford.

The argument for a case vs. a backrest is that a case is usually a lot taller than a backrest thus the passenger fells more secure. She said having the case completely eliminated her fear that she was going to fall over the back and so allows me to use, say, "normally aggressive" throttle. Before I'd have to be very careful to gently add throttle.

Of course, I found the top case to be very convenient so it stays on full time now.

'13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition
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post #38 of 46 Old Jul 18th, 2019, 3:55 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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I had an RT about 8 years ago with only a backrest. My wife felt like she was sitting high and not so secure. That’s why I’m asking about the RT top box and how passengers feel about it. She feels very secure on the Indian with the top box and sitting “down in” the bike. The bike I’m looking at is 8 hours away from me so asking questions is the best way for me to start figuring this out.

YesMy wife won't ride without the top box. It offers a huge addition to pillion comfort. It does however make getting on and off the bike for her much more difficult. She is 5'.
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post #39 of 46 Old Jul 18th, 2019, 9:41 am
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Re: Indian and RT

My wife doesn't care about a top box. RT, GS, R60/2 -- they are all fine with her with or without a top box.

Jeff Dean
Tucson, Arizona, & Madison, Wisconsin

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post #40 of 46 Old Jul 19th, 2019, 3:56 pm Thread Starter
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Bought the RT (with the top box)!
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post #41 of 46 Old Jul 19th, 2019, 4:24 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

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Originally Posted by sgl0226 View Post
Bought the RT (with the top box)!
Let the farkeling begin!!
Congratulations.
Glad you found what works for you and your SO.

P.S. You might as well post a couple photos...

Doug L.
2014 R1200RT. 57,000+

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post #42 of 46 Old Jul 19th, 2019, 4:54 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

Congrats on your new ride. You are going to have a blast. Enjoy the farkling.

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post #43 of 46 Old Jul 19th, 2019, 6:31 pm Thread Starter
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I probably won’t get it for a few weeks. The dealer is six hours away and I have no free time. We’ll do the paperwork by mail, they’re putting the top case and risers on, and then I’ll have it shipped. Once I get it I’ll get some engine guards, passenger floorboards, and a garmin. I wouldn’t have time til September so I have to have it shipped. It was a 2019 demo with about 800 miles on it and first service done.
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post #44 of 46 Old Jul 19th, 2019, 9:08 pm
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Re: Indian and RT

Congrats on your new RT; I think you will be very happy with your decision! Let us know how your wife likes it after you get some miles of riding together.

Bob in the Sonoran Desert

2018 R1200RT Option 719 (Planet Blue Metallic)
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post #45 of 46 Old Jul 20th, 2019, 6:43 am
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Re: Indian and RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgl0226 View Post
I probably won’t get it for a few weeks. The dealer is six hours away and I have no free time. We’ll do the paperwork by mail, they’re putting the top case and risers on, and then I’ll have it shipped. Once I get it I’ll get some engine guards, passenger floorboards, and a garmin. I wouldn’t have time til September so I have to have it shipped. It was a 2019 demo with about 800 miles on it and first service done.
Uh-Oh! Now you are going to have Jeff Dean post (again) the picture of his all-red RT!!!


Congratulations. That looks very nice. For the engine guard, if you mean crash bars, then I would suggest that you stay away from Wunderlich front bars, IF you are aggressive rider in curves and turns. That front bar will touch down, on occasions. Don't know if the Illium front bar would, but there are reports of their rear bars touching down on hard leans. That last one can be dangerous! My Wunderlich rear bars had never touched down, even when the front had. For front bars, I would recommend the Ztechnik bars. I had them on my prior '07 RT, and never had them touch down.

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Solon, OH, USA

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post #46 of 46 Old Yesterday, 4:20 am
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Re: Indian and RT

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Originally Posted by sgl0226 View Post
It was a 2019 demo with about 800 miles on it and first service done.
Very nice.

2003 R1150RT & 2017 R1200RT
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