Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 20 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 2:49 pm Thread Starter
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Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

I presently ride a 2006 Suzuki Boulevard C50 which has over 7,000 miles on the odometer. Recently, I started doing extensive research for a reliable touring bike, mainly for comfort, solo, and interstate riding.

NOTE: I have never ridden a BMW and can only based my riding comparison to my C50 and a short demo ride of the R1200RT(Approx. 2 hours).

Introduction

My recent touring bike research uncovered the following possibilities:
Honda ST1300 (Good bike overall - excellent engine, appears top heavy, no cruise control, no heated grips or seat)
Honda Gold Wing - Very massive ( The riding position just did not work well for me, being 5-08”, 170lbs.)
BMW K1200LT (Excellent riding position and comfort, great for two up, research indicated that bike is top heavy).
BMW R1200RT ( Excellent overall bike, seems like a good fit for my riding needs).

On March 15, 2010, I took a demo ride on a 2010 R1200RT ( mileage reading @ 590) at a local BMW dealer. The conditions during the demo ride were: Time @ 10:00am, Temp. 60* F, party cloudy, wind N. 10-12 mph, residential and interstate riding.

Now the Demo Ride Observations

Riding position, controls and display: Seating and riding positions (in the lowest position) were excellent. It took me a few minutes and some training from my sales rep. to become familiarized with all of the different controls. The controls, display, and levers were all positioned adequately for my height, reach, and size. Mirrors seemed to be positioned a little low (more about the mirrors later).

Engine Starting & Parking Lot Riding:
The new engine (1,170-cc boxer engine - DOHC) has the new exhaust with a more assertive and aggressive sound. Gear shifting and engagement were smooth. Lower speeds and turning in the parking lot were well controlled and predictable. Clutch action was good. There was no feel of the bike being top heavy.

Residential Street Riding:
It took me about two- three miles to adjust and feel comfortable. Acceleration and the ABS brakes were very impressive. The bike was always well balanced when starting from a stop or coming to a stop, unlike my cruiser. Very little effort was required to maintain the bike on the desired path of travel. By the way, I wore a Nolan N102 helmet, and the ride was very quiet. After about 20 minutes, I stopped in a safe location and spent a few minutes figuring out how to operate the installed radio, which is another story.

After playing with radio, I started the bike again and continued the demo.. The radio/MP3 feature is nice for those who need this feature. I questioned the position of radio antenna - guess it has to grow on you. After a few more miles, I started to feel more comfortable with the bike and headed to the interstate.

Interstate Riding:
Entering and exiting the interstate were effortless, no issues. There were no problems operating the new turn signals. Again, acceleration was immediate, strong, and predictable. The cruise control functioned very well. Braking at high speeds was sure certain, and safe. However, there were some noticeable cross winds on the interstate that caused me some concern on the bike; there was a little intermittent wobble on the bike from the winds at approx. 65-70 mph. The faring protection was good. An upgraded windshield should help in this area. My sales rep. explained that the bike’s faring probably contributed to the bike wobble, similar to a sail boat on the water. As a result of the wind, my ride on the interstate was limited, and I returned to residential street riding for the remaining demo evaluation.

Conclusion:

Concerns: 1. Stock seat was adequate based on the short demo, could possibly get a little rough after a few hundred miles. Seat upgrade should be beneficial. 2. Not a major issue, but I noticed the side to side engine pushing & pulling motion of the bike while at a stop position, while in neutral when advancing the throttle control. 3. The ABS “Brake Failure Light” sometimes flashes on the display after starting the bike, the light stops flashing after the bike has been ridden a short distance. 4. “MPG” per the on board computer indicated that I average 34-38 MPG ???
5. The locations of mirrors were not acceptable for me. I constantly attempted to adjust them, but could not achieved a safety comfort level like I have with the mirrors on my cruiser.

Pluses: 1 Overall comfort, balance, and riding position very good. 2. Impressive acceleration and ABS Braking. 3. Cruise control, grip & seat warmers worked very well. 4.Clutch & Transmission (six-speed gearbox) operated smoothly. 5. Suspension (Telelever) It really works! 5. ESA-II(Electronic Suspension Adjustment) very nice feature, used most in the “comfort mode” setting. 6. Bike is not heavy, good dynamic fairing for protection.
7. Cockpit and display, the on board computers provides a lot information.

Overall Assessment: A very impressive touring machine!

I hope this information will be helpful to others.

Carl
Valrico, Florida
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post #2 of 20 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 3:11 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Concerns: 1. Stock seat was adequate based on the short demo, could possibly get a little rough after a few hundred miles. Seat upgrade should be beneficial. 2. Not a major issue, but I noticed the side to side engine pushing & pulling motion of the bike while at a stop position, while in neutral when advancing the throttle control. 3. The ABS “Brake Failure Light” sometimes flashes on the display after starting the bike, the light stops flashing after the bike has been ridden a short distance. 4. “MPG” per the on board computer indicated that I average 34-38 MPG ???
5. The locations of mirrors were not acceptable for me. I constantly attempted to adjust them, but could not achieved a safety comfort level like I have with the mirrors on my cruiser.
1. Agreed. IMO it's a 150 mile seat. Mine is currently at Russell Day-Long getting re-worked.
2. Completely normal for a longitudinal crank engine. My Guzzi does it even more. My ST1100 did it less. My Subaru does it a tiny bit. I like it.
3. Normal. It's part of the boot sequence for the ABS. If the light stays on you've got problems.
4. Normal for spirited riding during break-in. My 09 is now in the low 40s at 1500 miles and I ride it hard. With the fatter midrange torque curve of the '10 models I'd expect a slight drop in mpg.
5. Agreed. They could definitely be better. Some install regular stem-type mirrors on the levers, others stick on convex blind spot mirrors. I've gotten used to them and have gotten back into the habit of head-checking.

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post #3 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 6:32 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Thanks for the demo ride info. I ride an M50 and have done some long rides, 1500 miles in 4 days and found that I need a bike that is made for such riding. Living in Colorado riding two up on an 805 CC bike just does not work, besides not having any room for gear.

I noted that you are 5' 8". I am 5'9" and was worried about reaching the ground like I do on the M50. Any problems with the standard seat at low reaching the ground?

Nothing can be as uncomfortable as doing 400 miles on a stock Suzuki seat, especially when the wind is blowing 60 mph and you are riding at 70 mph. I keep reading about the uncomfortable 1200 RT seats and I just have to wonder if they are any different than my M50 seat. I just stop every 50 - 70 miles and stretch for about 5 minutes. Good time to get my bearings.
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post #4 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 8:19 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by COMike
Thanks for the demo ride info. I ride an M50 and have done some long rides, 1500 miles in 4 days and found that I need a bike that is made for such riding. Living in Colorado riding two up on an 805 CC bike just does not work, besides not having any room for gear.

I noted that you are 5' 8". I am 5'9" and was worried about reaching the ground like I do on the M50. Any problems with the standard seat at low reaching the ground?

Nothing can be as uncomfortable as doing 400 miles on a stock Suzuki seat, especially when the wind is blowing 60 mph and you are riding at 70 mph. I keep reading about the uncomfortable 1200 RT seats and I just have to wonder if they are any different than my M50 seat. I just stop every 50 - 70 miles and stretch for about 5 minutes. Good time to get my bearings.

Sorry to jump in again. If I may offer ...

If you are looking to knock out serious mileage (300+ miles/day) in relative comfort yet still enjoy the curves of the road, the RT is an excellent choice. The main issue with most sport-touring bikes is the seat. None of them have a great seat. None. If you are happy to do your tour in 60 mile segments, with breaks in between, then you might be perfectly happy with the stock seat. It's fine for hour runs.

The reach to the ground is determined by your inseam. Some of us are long in torso yet short in inseam, so the ground reach is compromised. And vice versa. It seems to me that in order to flat foot both sides on an RT with the standard seat in the low position you need at least a 33" inseam. ... For the record, on my 09 RT with the standard seat in the low position I can rest most of the soles of both feet on the ground at a stop. Or I can flat foot one side, and the ball of the other - or rest my other foot on the peg. I'm 5'11" with a 32" inseam. This posture is not a problem at all for me - in fact, I'm buying a slightly taller aftermarket seat to replace it. I'm used to only flat-footing one side based on my previous KTM 950.

Many of us do 400 to 700 mile days, at 150 miles between stops. We have lofty expectations of the seats and get grumpy when we develop monkey butt before 2PM. The rest of the bike is up to the challenge. The seat (or us) are the weak link, but there are a wide variety of aftermarket manufacturers to serve our needs. You may or may not feel the need to replace your saddle.

BMW has now introduced a comfort saddle for the RTs which is reported to improve the comfort over the stock seat at no increase in seat height. It's pricey, but does remain yet another option.
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post #5 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 8:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Michael,

Thanks for the reply.

During my test ride, I experienced no problem sitting comfortably on the R1200RT . While in a stopped position, I could easily control the bike, and both my feet where planted flat on the ground; however, my inseam is 32 inches which helped.

Also, I feel your pain concerning the Suzuki stock seat. When stopped in traffic, I often stand up from sitting on the stock seat on my C-50 to stretch after riding for a distance. I can not imagine riding 400 miles on a Suzuki stock seat. How did you do that? Please share your secret.

Although I only rode the R1200RT for a short time, I did not notice any discomfort in the stock seat. For me, the R1200RT stock seat was more comfortable than the Suzuki stock seat.

If you ever get the opportunity, test ride a R1200RT and form your own conclusion. The Suzuki is a fine popular bike, but the R1200RT is a different animal and is a true touring machine in my opinion.

Stay safe in Colorado and keep my updated.

Carl
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post #6 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 8:39 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Semio
Sorry to jump in again. If I may offer ...

If you are looking to knock out serious mileage (300+ miles/day) in relative comfort yet still enjoy the curves of the road, the RT is an excellent choice. The main issue with most sport-touring bikes is the seat. None of them have a great seat. None. If you are happy to do your tour in 60 mile segments, with breaks in between, then you might be perfectly happy with the stock seat. It's fine for hour runs.

The reach to the ground is determined by your inseam. Some of us are long in torso yet short in inseam, so the ground reach is compromised. And vice versa. It seems to me that in order to flat foot both sides on an RT with the standard seat in the low position you need at least a 33" inseam. ... For the record, on my 09 RT with the standard seat in the low position I can rest most of the soles of both feet on the ground at a stop. Or I can flat foot one side, and the ball of the other - or rest my other foot on the peg. I'm 5'11" with a 32" inseam. This posture is not a problem at all for me - in fact, I'm buying a slightly taller aftermarket seat to replace it. I'm used to only flat-footing one side based on my previous KTM 950.

Many of us do 400 to 700 mile days, at 150 miles between stops. We have lofty expectations of the seats and get grumpy when we develop monkey butt before 2PM. The rest of the bike is up to the challenge. The seat (or us) are the weak link, but there are a wide variety of aftermarket manufacturers to serve our needs. You may or may not feel the need to replace your saddle.

BMW has now introduced a comfort saddle for the RTs which is reported to improve the comfort over the stock seat at no increase in seat height. It's pricey, but does remain yet another option.

Greg,

Thanks for the response - it was very informative.

Carl.
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post #7 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 9:14 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

G-One and Semio

Out here in the West there is just too much to see without stopping. On the Suzuki I can only get about 180 miles on a tank so I would have to stop anyway.

G-One, you do the same thing I do on the M50. Stand up when I can. Beside in the dry climate out here you need to take that drink of water, especially when its 100+ degrees and you are riding all day, so stopping can be a pleasure.

I have covered most of the West, that is west of the Missouri river except for the cost states on my little M50. 50 years ago I used to ride when in college and retired in 07. My wife said, I think its time to get a cycle and see if you still like it. Put on 6,000 miles in one summer. I guess that is why she has relented to let me look at a true tour bike. Beside she I think wants to go along. LT is probably better for our trips, but I do so much riding around the Denver area and from what I have heard the LT is not suited for that type of riding.
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post #8 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 9:34 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Butt's are like everything else. Each one is different. Personally, I have no problem sitting on the stock seat all day long two up. I actually prefer the more sport bike/bench style seat so I can move/slide around easily.

OTOH, a lot of people have different needs and might prefer a saddle type seat where they sit IN the seat rather than on it. In that case you would require a custom seat. That's a whole different ball game. Each custom seat maker has their own interpretation of what a comfortable all day seat should be.

Best advice is before spending close to a thousand dollars on a custom seat...try it out somehow-someway. It's a lot of money to spend on something that is a one time use item. And, just because someone else likes it doesn't mean it will fit YOUR butt also.

BTW, I love my RT and I can hardly touch the ground with a 30" inseam. I try to spend more time riding it than talking it for a walk. LOL.
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post #9 of 20 Old Mar 19th, 2010, 10:41 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

G-One, Co-Mike -- if you are riding the interstate most of the time, you really ought to go sit on an LT. It's lower than the RT, even with the "low seat," and presents a more interstate appropriate position that is very, very comfortable (I'm 5'9", 30" inseam). At the very least, roll one off the center stand in the show room and see how it feels. I was amazed. In fact, to me, the center of gravity felt lower than my 08 RT (at least standing still). Don't get me wrong, I love my RT, but I ride curvy roads at highly variable speeds most of the time, and still needed a custom seat and bar risers to get passing comfortable for the long haul. Nonetheless, I'm saving my pennies for the new LT, for the interstate trips. j
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post #10 of 20 Old Mar 20th, 2010, 6:54 am Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyray
G-One, Co-Mike -- if you are riding the interstate most of the time, you really ought to go sit on an LT. It's lower than the RT, even with the "low seat," and presents a more interstate appropriate position that is very, very comfortable (I'm 5'9", 30" inseam). At the very least, roll one off the center stand in the show room and see how it feels. I was amazed. In fact, to me, the center of gravity felt lower than my 08 RT (at least standing still). Don't get me wrong, I love my RT, but I ride curvy roads at highly variable speeds most of the time, and still needed a custom seat and bar risers to get passing comfortable for the long haul. Nonetheless, I'm saving my pennies for the new LT, for the interstate trips. j

Thanks for the reply Johnnyray,

At first, my attention and focus were on the LT. I was very impressed with the overall sitting position and display/controls layout. However, I read several comments on the site about the LT being top heavy, and bike owners dropping their bikes. My next goal will be to test ride the LT.

Carl
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post #11 of 20 Old Mar 20th, 2010, 8:57 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by G-One
Thanks for the reply Johnnyray,

At first, my attention and focus were on the LT. I was very impressed with the overall sitting position and display/controls layout. However, I read several comments on the site about the LT being top heavy, and bike owners dropping their bikes. My next goal will be to test ride the LT.

Carl
I'm 165 pounds and 54 years old. I never even had a close call having my LT topple over, even at parking lot speeds. I see those posts all the time and I don't get it. The bike really handles well and the engine is so smooth.
Ken
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post #12 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 7:47 am Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken6217
I'm 165 pounds and 54 years old. I never even had a close call having my LT topple over, even at parking lot speeds. I see those posts all the time and I don't get it. The bike really handles well and the engine is so smooth.
Ken
Ken,

Thanks for the comment. I also keep reading the same posts (???} I will attempt to locate and test ride a LT- like you suggested that I ride the "2010 R1200RT". I will keep you posted.

I hope that your recent road trip on the "RT" went well.

Stay safe,

Carl
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post #13 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 8:01 am
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken6217
I'm 165 pounds and 54 years old. I never even had a close call having my LT topple over, even at parking lot speeds. I see those posts all the time and I don't get it. The bike really handles well and the engine is so smooth.
Ken

I agree with Ken. Any bike is "top heavy" when you get beyond the tip point. Most, if not all, the LT tip overs that I have witnessed or discussed with the rider involves touching the front brake at low speed with the handlebars turned off center. This is a no-no as they quickly find out. This occurs with any bike.

The other situation that I commonly find is pulling in the clutch fully making a slow turn. This obviously will make the bike fall into the turn. As long as the engine is driving the rear wheel the bike will not tuck in.

In our MSF/Riders Edge classes we brief the riders before the slow weave segments to not touch the front brake and not fully pull in the clutch doing the weaves to avoid "asphaultic experiences". I find that a lot of long-time riders have forgotten these points at the ERC classes. They also find out quickly that doing slow u-turns work a lot better with a little speed on the bike to hold it upright.

Doug Stracener
2011 RT polar metallic
Attorney,
MSF #127350,
Instructor, Motorcycle Safety Program Louisiana Department of Public Safety
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post #14 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 11:42 am
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka5ysy
I agree with Ken. Any bike is "top heavy" when you get beyond the tip point. Most, if not all, the LT tip overs that I have witnessed or discussed with the rider involves touching the front brake at low speed with the handlebars turned off center. This is a no-no as they quickly find out. This occurs with any bike.

The other situation that I commonly find is pulling in the clutch fully making a slow turn. This obviously will make the bike fall into the turn. As long as the engine is driving the rear wheel the bike will not tuck in.

In our MSF/Riders Edge classes we brief the riders before the slow weave segments to not touch the front brake and not fully pull in the clutch doing the weaves to avoid "asphaultic experiences". I find that a lot of long-time riders have forgotten these points at the ERC classes. They also find out quickly that doing slow u-turns work a lot better with a little speed on the bike to hold it upright.

Great advice.... I practiced this yesterday :-)
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post #15 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 11:55 am Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka5ysy
I agree with Ken. Any bike is "top heavy" when you get beyond the tip point. Most, if not all, the LT tip overs that I have witnessed or discussed with the rider involves touching the front brake at low speed with the handlebars turned off center. This is a no-no as they quickly find out. This occurs with any bike.

The other situation that I commonly find is pulling in the clutch fully making a slow turn. This obviously will make the bike fall into the turn. As long as the engine is driving the rear wheel the bike will not tuck in.

In our MSF/Riders Edge classes we brief the riders before the slow weave segments to not touch the front brake and not fully pull in the clutch doing the weaves to avoid "asphaultic experiences". I find that a lot of long-time riders have forgotten these points at the ERC classes. They also find out quickly that doing slow u-turns work a lot better with a little speed on the bike to hold it upright.
Doug,

Thanks for sharing your expertise - very helpful.

Carl
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post #16 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 1:40 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

I have a 29" inseam and stand around 5' 6" on a good day. I obviously do not completely flat foot the bike when stopped.

I had my RT factory "low" seat fully modified (kept the heater function) by Rick Mayer on a drive in day. That made all the difference for my rider comfort. I also added the Suburban hardware for lowering the rider and passenger pegs, gear shifter modification and handle bar relocation. The ELF foot pegs allow for leg position changes on day long rides. I do wear boots that have thicker soles and a thicker heal which helps my ground contact when stopped.

This is my favorite solo long distance bike.
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post #17 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 2:40 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by switz
I have a 29" inseam and stand around 5' 6" on a good day. I obviously do not completely flat foot the bike when stopped.

I had my RT factory "low" seat fully modified (kept the heater function) by Rick Mayer on a drive in day. That made all the difference for my rider comfort. I also added the Suburban hardware for lowering the rider and passenger pegs, gear shifter modification and handle bar relocation. The ELF foot pegs allow for leg position changes on day long rides. I do wear boots that have thicker soles and a thicker heal which helps my ground contact when stopped.

This is my favorite solo long distance bike.
Louis,

Thanks for your comments - were helpful.

Carl
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post #18 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 4:00 pm
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

G-One, thanks for starting this post. It has been most helpful.

As you can see from my previous posts I will be going from a 500 lb M50 to either a RT or LT. When I travel I like to take the back roads so don't do alot of interstate riding.

Went to the dealer on Saturday just to sit on the bikes again. Couldn't ride because of snow covered roads. Since my wife has not been on my current cruiser I asked the sales rep, who I know, if he would take her out on both the RT and LT. Makes her part of the decision and less likely for me to take any heat in the future. If she wants to ride again then its the LT, if not the RT. I love both bikes and can't wait to start traveling again.

Being retired it makes it a whole lot easier to travel before memorial day and after labor day when the tourist cagers are not on the roads.

KaSy5y I would also like to thank you. I keep reading about these drops and shake my head. What you said makes all the sense in the world. I try and get out the local high school parking lot at least once a month just to practice. It is always a good reminder.
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post #19 of 20 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 4:33 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by COMike
G-One, thanks for starting this post. It has been most helpful.

As you can see from my previous posts I will be going from a 500 lb M50 to either a RT or LT. When I travel I like to take the back roads so don't do alot of interstate riding.

Went to the dealer on Saturday just to sit on the bikes again. Couldn't ride because of snow covered roads. Since my wife has not been on my current cruiser I asked the sales rep, who I know, if he would take her out on both the RT and LT. Makes her part of the decision and less likely for me to take any heat in the future. If she wants to ride again then its the LT, if not the RT. I love both bikes and can't wait to start traveling again.

Being retired it makes it a whole lot easier to travel before memorial day and after labor day when the tourist cagers are not on the roads.

KaSy5y I would also like to thank you. I keep reading about these drops and shake my head. What you said makes all the sense in the world. I try and get out the local high school parking lot at least once a month just to practice. It is always a good reminder.

Michael,

Sounds like you have a plan. Very smart move involving your wife in the decision making process. If the wife is not happy - no one will be happy!

Hopefully you will have a break in the weather soon for a test ride.

Keep us posted.

Carl
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post #20 of 20 Old Jun 10th, 2010, 8:43 am
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Re: Demo Ride 2010 R1200RT

Quote:
Originally Posted by ken6217
I'm 165 pounds and 54 years old. I never even had a close call having my LT topple over, even at parking lot speeds. I see those posts all the time and I don't get it. The bike really handles well and the engine is so smooth.
Ken

At a number of ERC courses I have taught, many LT riders, after discussing their drops, were found to be doing an absolute no-no without realizing the problem: They were all using the front brake when making slow speed turns.

Using the front brake is an absolute no-no at low speed (parking lot maneuvers) with the bars turned, even slightly, anywhere other than dead center straight ahead. Use REAR BRAKE ONLY doing slow turns, otherwise you have an "asphaltic experience"

"Problem" solved

Doug Stracener
2011 RT polar metallic
Attorney,
MSF #127350,
Instructor, Motorcycle Safety Program Louisiana Department of Public Safety
NAUI Scuba Instructor #36288
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