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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted some opinions as to a 2009 LT and a 2009 Harley Ultra Classic. I currently own a Ultra and have the option to get a new 09 LT with 20 miles on it. I have never owned a BMW all Harleys for 30 years, I am not impressed by the ultra handling when on the road even though it is the new frame set up. I am little worried about what I read about the Final Drive situation as I have never been stranded on the side of the road in all these years, I take great care of my bikes and question if the switch is a good one. I have been a Police Motor instructor for 15 years and wonder if the BMW performance is that much greater than the Harley, thanks for letting me ask and get some answers.
 

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scott554 said:
I wanted some opinions as to a 2009 LT and a 2009 Harley Ultra Classic. I currently own a Ultra and have the option to get a new 09 LT with 20 miles on it. I have never owned a BMW all Harleys for 30 years, I am not impressed by the ultra handling when on the road even though it is the new frame set up. I am little worried about what I read about the Final Drive situation as I have never been stranded on the side of the road in all these years, I take great care of my bikes and question if the switch is a good one. I have been a Police Motor instructor for 15 years and wonder if the BMW performance is that much greater than the Harley, thanks for letting me ask and get some answers.

well, let's see.... I had a:
'97 K1100LT that i traded in with 88,000 miles (chestnut roaster!)
2005 K1200 LT, totalled in May '09 with 72,000 miles (walked away with 19k damage to the bike...)
and now a 2009 K1200LT with 19,000 miles.

no big issues, no major failures.

The handling on the LT is phenomenal. Hands down better than your current bike. It takes practice at low speeds, and loves higher RPM's, but get used to it, and you will love it!
 

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Final drive problems were on around 4% of LTs prior to 2003 models, and less later, and LTs after 2005 have had far fewer problems with final drives.

You owe it to yourself to take a nice long test ride on the '09 if possible, once you get used to the different, and far better handling in the twisties, the much greater power when you run it between 3500 and 7500 RPM (important), you may just decide the small chance of a final drive failure is a small price to pay.

The fat lady loves to sing, so do NOT shift it like your Harley, or you will have a badly mistaken impression of her performance range. The LT is pretty doggy below 3500 RPM, but has great power and acceleration above that. It will leave an Ultra way back with ease when you get into the twisty roads.
 

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If you are after handling, go to the LT. I was riding with a friend and his Ultra Classic a couple of weeks ago thru some nice twisties and finally couldn't handle following any more. Bike was begging to go and he was riding like an old man on a Harley. Rev it high and use more engine for braking than brakes. The LT loves to lean!!!
 

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Hi Scott,

Last month I sold my Ultra Classic 110 SE and purchased a new 2009 LT. For me the handling of the LT, the comfort and safety are big winners. Better suspension and handing in my book translates to either going faster or more safety. Agreed with previous comment, the LT really starts to perform above 4,000 rpm, but don't go above 4000 until its broken in. My wife loves riding with me on it. I can ride for hours and not get sore, whereas on the Ultra my shoulders would be hurting. If you want to ride in the mountains you won't be tired out like on the Ultra where you have to do more pushing to get to the opposite turn. In a straight line the roar of the Ultra 110 off the line might win. For my money the LT is a much more responsive and fun ride.

Since you have been a police motor instructor for 15 years then you should have no problems with low speed maneuvering. This is the primary issue where folks initially have a problem. I would be surprised if you didn't love the LT.
 

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I have an '03 LT. Last month I rented a new Ultra to ride in Colorado while there on business. After a couple of days in the mountains and on the freeways, here are my thoughts: I enjoyed the Ultra, but often wished I had my LT. For me, the stock seat on the Ultra is more comfortable than the stock seat on the LT for riding all day, but other than that, I prefer the LT. Some of that may be due to just being more familiar with the LT, but two things are for sure. The suspension and brakes are far better on the LT and the cornering seems much smoother and natural. I graduated to the LT from a 300 pounds lighter bike and expected the LT to corner like a "Light Truck", but I'm delighted with it's handling.

After riding twins for years, keeping the RPM's up was tricky at first. Four cylinders firing at 3500 RPM results in twice the "explosions" as a twin at the same engine speed, so it sounds more like I'm running at 7,000 instead of 3500. But you get used to that. The ergonomics are different - your feet are under your knees on pegs instead of forward on floorboards. I wasn't sure if I would like that, but it is really a better position for handling the bike.

I'm sure that some would prefer the Ultra, but someone offered to give me the new Ultra if I would give up my LT, I would not take the deal - unless I could sell the Harley and buy a newer LT or the soon-to-be-released K1600GT.

An extended demo ride would be a good idea if you can do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys for the info, not really beaing able to really ride the bike had me a little concerned, I have to admit I like to ride hard and push the Ultra, just nevers feels like its in the groove just wiggleing around that nerves me on corners and in the twisties. One last question is extended warranty I keep readind about Pinnacle and have never heard about it and wanted to ask along with are there any others. Thanks again might be on LT buy tuesday!
 

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In reading some of these posts, they leave me wonder about the rpm's. Several stated that 4000+ rpm's get's this girl performs better. Geez...how fast do you guys ride?
At 3500 rpm,s I am traveling at 75 mph and that's with a Hannigan sidecar.
 

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I just bought a used 09 with 10,500 mile on it about a month ago put about 2000 miles on it and I love it. The only bad thing I can say about it is the seat for me. It is too soft. I bought an airhawk in hopes that it would help on long rides but for me it isn't much better. I'm sure that I will be purchasing a custom seat next year.

Even my die hard harley buddies are impressed with the speed acceleration, and cornering.

Before I bought it I borrowed a buddies Harley Ultra Classic for a weekend to see if I would like it. I like the Harley but like the BMW much better. Like stated in a previous post the rider position is much different. A test ride is what you need!

I am one of the unfortunate ones with a final drive seal failure. Luckily it was still under warranty and the dealer really took care of me.

Have fun!!

David
 

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I purchased an extended warranty with Zurich at Bob's BMW. Zurich has a good reputation. With nearly 40K miles and no problems, I have not had to use the extended warranty. I've been very happy with my decision to go with the LT rather than a GW or another Guzzi. Good luck with your decision.

scott554 said:
Thanks guys for the info, not really beaing able to really ride the bike had me a little concerned, I have to admit I like to ride hard and push the Ultra, just nevers feels like its in the groove just wiggleing around that nerves me on corners and in the twisties. One last question is extended warranty I keep readind about Pinnacle and have never heard about it and wanted to ask along with are there any others. Thanks again might be on LT buy tuesday!
 

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Why, we're riding the speed limit of course! And sometimes a little over. And occasionally a little faster than that! Shifting at 3500-4000 rpm's will definitely improve performance. The bike has a 5 speed transmission and to get the most out of the bike you have to use it. Here's how: first, take the sidecar off, mine spends over 95% of the time under cover in the garage. Now that you have a normal LT go find some nice twisties or if you are just starting to get your feet wet with "aggressive riding techniques" go find some nice sweepers. These are the big long constant radius curves that are often posted 10-15 mph below the speed limit on the rest of the road. If the posted speed limit is 45 mph, drop the second digit and shift to that gear, in this case 4th gear. Practice using this technique and you will soon find that a 45 mph curve is easily, and safely, negotiated at 60 to 70 mph. In 4th gear you will be above 3500 rpm. Being in a lower gear allows you to use the engine as a dynamic brake which is quicker and safer than having to use the brakes.

The sweepers above that you rode in 4th gear? Now try riding at the same speed in 3rd gear and see how much quicker you can accelerate out the back end.

In the twisties, following the same guideline above, you will soon find that you will be very comfortable riding the twisties more safely than you could before. You don't have to speed to enjoy engine braking.

I rarely ride on urban freeways in 5th gear. I ride in 4th gear because it keeps the rev's which allows you to accelerate, or de-celerate faster than if you are in 5th. Do not abandon common sense by riding in 4th gear but use it as another tool to stay safe. The acceleration might make the difference between avoiding and becoming involved in an accident.

Loren

lesn said:
In reading some of these posts, they leave me wonder about the rpm's. Several stated that 4000+ rpm's get's this girl performs better. Geez...how fast do you guys ride?
At 3500 rpm,s I am traveling at 75 mph and that's with a Hannigan sidecar.
 

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Here's some further explanation on my comment about LT performance. Let's say you are used to getting optimum performance from a Harley between 2500 and 3500 rpm. To get the equivalent output on an LT you would be running between 3800 and 5800 rpm.

K1200LT Performance
 

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Why choose one over the other? Get both! I have an 03' Classic an 94' Roadking and a 67' Triumph. I just added an 04' LT to the line up. They all have thier pro's and con's and I do pick one over the other, for that day. I've been riding for the last 30 years and fell in love with almost every bike I've owned. I have found a way to not take a beating selling a depriciated bike... by keeping it! My bikes are worth more to me than anyone would ever pay for them so I stopped getting rid of them 20 years ago! Ever wish you had that bike you used to have when you were 16... I still do !!!
Variety is the spice of life... riding the same bike everyday would bore me!
 

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Like all bikes - at first they are like a new girlfriend – you’ll get know her quirks. On my second LT - this one is a 05 I bought new and has 84K trouble free miles on her. I'm not an expert but it's a machine and some will develop problems. Keep in mind this forum is we share our problems and solutions. We assume everyone loves their LT and would not trade it so we focus on the issues. I love the aesthetics of Harleys, the bulletproof reliability of Hondas and the performance of BMWs. My 2 cents - the LT is the best all around touring bike out there. It's not a cruiser, but if you ride long distances and enjoy roads with turns in them - there is no better machine.
 

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You owe yourself a test ride on the LT. I rode police motors for 20 years and one ride on the LT and you'll know why BMW is the largest selling police motor in the world. Like most Beemer riders, I ride mostly with H-D owners and try to carry a couple extra tools here and there for them when they need them. As for reliability, I'd say that BMW has it all over H-D. Don't get me wrong, the Ultra Classic is a nice looking machine.

Ride safe!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well guys I crossed to metric side yesterday and took delivery of my 09 with 10 miles on it, little weird riding home but the biggest thing I noiticed was I could hear my self thinking and wanted to shift with my heel, I guess with time I will get used to it but so far so good!!
 

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Way to go. You will love it!!!!

Congrats.
 

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Congratulations!

You're in my general area (I'm in Allen) and I thought I bought the last '09 from the guys at BMW of Dallas. I guess you bought at BMW of Ft. Worth??? Maybe we can get together for a ride some Saturday morning! That's my favorite day to let it all hang out.

Enjoy!

Eric
 
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