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Discussion Starter #1
I am shopping for an LT, too. Have read several other newbie threads about feature changes for model years. Very helpful!

Several who have recommended the newer ('05 and later models) have said the "new instrument panel is better".

My question is why? I have some trouble reading the digital read-outs on numerous electronic gadgets already, and during test ride of '05 LT had trouble making out the odometer/trip meter readings on a bright sunny day.

Are there similar or other issues with the older instrument panels that have the old fashioned mechanical odometers & trip meters?

Are there other readability issues for radio/CD read-outs etc, between earlier and '05 and later models?

I have an '04 K1200GT, with what looks like the same instrument panel as the '04 and earlier LT's, it seems easily readable to me, more so than the later LT's, but then I haven't had to deal with radio, intercom, CD, read-outs.

Is the new better? Probably not a "deal breaker" one way or the other, but I would like to know of experienced rider opinions.

Thanks

Bob Allred
Riverton, Utah
 

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I demo'd the 2005 when it first arrived, on a sunny day. When the sun was in the wrong spot, it washed out the LCD display. Otherwise I thought the new design looked pretty neat.

One thing I prefer about the older display (like mine) is that the speedometer is pretty easy to read. On the '05 and newer the numbers are so close together that it's tougher to determine your speed at a glance. Like a lot of bikes, right?

Of course now I have a GPS speed display and pretty much ignore what the dial speedo says. It was a liar anyway!
 

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2011 R1200RT
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From the standpoint of someone who is about to turn 52 - meaning my eyes need help reading anything small and up close - I do not find the tacho and speedo easier or harder to read on my 05 than it was on my 99 and my 03.

I have the same issues reading small stuff such as temp and the clock.
I like the location and visibility of the gas gage better on the 05 (on the 03 the cup holder was kind of in the way:eek: .
The speedo is a little more accurate on the 05.
The look is slicker...!;)

I think the main advantage on the 05 is the redesigned front-end and the bike is way smoother to ride at low speed (less wobble).
Personally I could have done without the hydraulic stand, but there is no choice there.
 

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wcarter said:
Of course now I have a GPS speed display and pretty much ignore what the dial speedo says. It was a liar anyway!

Yeap, my 05 is off by about 5 MPH compared to the GPS. The GPS is right on with the car.
 

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Allred said:
I am shopping for an LT, too. Have read several other newbie threads about feature changes for model years. Very helpful!

Several who have recommended the newer ('05 and later models) have said the "new instrument panel is better".

My question is why? I have some trouble reading the digital read-outs on numerous electronic gadgets already, and during test ride of '05 LT had trouble making out the odometer/trip meter readings on a bright sunny day.

Are there similar or other issues with the older instrument panels that have the old fashioned mechanical odometers & trip meters?

Are there other readability issues for radio/CD read-outs etc, between earlier and '05 and later models?

I have an '04 K1200GT, with what looks like the same instrument panel as the '04 and earlier LT's, it seems easily readable to me, more so than the later LT's, but then I haven't had to deal with radio, intercom, CD, read-outs.

Is the new better? Probably not a "deal breaker" one way or the other, but I would like to know of experienced rider opinions.

Thanks

Bob Allred
Riverton, Utah
It was hard for me to read the speed on the new Instrument panel. ( I am 43 years old with no vision problems) Not only that, Stereo and Computer controls along with trip meter are all integrated to one. So, one has to scroll to get to the right info. The new instrument panel was one of the resasons for me to go back to pre 05 model. ( I only owned the 05 model for couple of months)
 

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The instrument panel did not impress me one way or the other, but yesterday I rode my '01 LT to the dealership and finally traded it on a GT. I did test ride an '05 LT and the biggest difference between it and my older LT was the slow speed handling. Wow, the decreased rake on the front end made a TON of difference and the extra power was nice too! Both were VERY noticable--vast improvement over my '01 -- which I WILL miss.

Of course, the GT is just a little more nimble and powerful than either of the LT's! :D
 

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Hey, Bob, and welcome to the site. Hope you find the perfect LT for yourself.

Allred said:
Several who have recommended the newer ('05 and later models) have said the "new instrument panel is better".

My question is why?
I think that it has more to do with the digital look and sleek integration than any functional improvement. The analog gauges on the pre-'05 work just fine, and may be more legible for some folks.

Allred said:
I have some trouble reading the digital read-outs on numerous electronic gadgets already, and during test ride of '05 LT had trouble making out the odometer/trip meter readings on a bright sunny day.

Are there similar or other issues with the older instrument panels that have the old fashioned mechanical odometers & trip meters?
Several people have posted that in a setting sun the direct sunlight on the face of the instrument panel (the older type) makes it impossible to read any of the gauges or see any of the lights, and also causes a reflection directly into the rider's eyes. These reports have been relatively infrequent. Other than that I have not heard about, and have not experienced, readability issues with the older instrument panel. Both pre-'05 and '05+ panels have a gazillion wires to the instrument panel, with two wiring harnesses, (roughly but not completely accurately) one for the warning lights and one for the gauges. Both wiring harnesses have connectors or plugs to intermediate harnesses, and the plugs can come loose or the pins get corroded, but there is not much differential potential for this to happen on the pre-'05 vs '05+. Of potential note is the fact that the wires on pre-'05 bikes are older, and thus perhaps more brittle than '05+ wires, but this has not translated into reports of higher failure rates that I am aware of. The analog gauges draw more amps than the digital ones do, but the LT has a huge output from the alternator, so no worries there. One significant difference between the two set-ups is that the warning lights on pre-'05 models are bulbs whereas the warning lights on '05+ models are LEDs. Bulbs will burn out, but can be replaced. LEDs should not burn out for the life of the bike (theoretically), but if one does burn out (probably due to manufacturing defect) it cannot be replaced (I'm taking this from the Clymer manual, not sure how accurate it is), the entire instrument panel has to be replaced.

Allred said:
Are there other readability issues for radio/CD read-outs etc, between earlier and '05 and later models?
Don't know, but have not heard of differential issues.

Allred said:
I have an '04 K1200GT, with what looks like the same instrument panel as the '04 and earlier LT's, it seems easily readable to me, more so than the later LT's, but then I haven't had to deal with radio, intercom, CD, read-outs.
On pre-'05 LTs, the audio readouts are on an LCD screen just in front of the radio buttons. That screen is known to fog over, making it difficult or impossible to see the readouts. The fogging appears to be caused by water vapor that has migrated into the screen. It can be cleared easily by rubbing a small amount of isopropyl alcohol on the screen. It can be prevented by putting a coat of wax on the screen, or covering the screen with a thin transparent piece of plastic like the ones used to protect PIM screens. I think, but am not sure, that the readouts for audio on '05+ models are integrated into the main LCD screen. I have not heard of these screens fogging up, but see above for some of the cons for one rider of the newer screens.

Allred said:
Is the new better?
Big time personal preference question. Personally, I can't see that the new panel functions a whole lot better, and there may be characteristics of it that some folks don't like. Personally, I think it looks cooler, but I would not trade readability for cool looks. For me the primary issue is immediate access to information, by which I mean that I can tell at a glance what the lights and gauges are indicating. The older style panel has served me very well in that regard. Good luck in making your decision, and enjoy the ride!
 

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The best thing about the glass instruments on the '05 and later LTs is that they come on a bike with a powered center stand. Could not ride and LT without one since my wreck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to all who responded, especially Bill, for his thoughtful analysis and descriptions. I am negotiating on an '05....we'll see, but think I would actually prefer the older style gauges & indicators, if the '05 deal doesn't work out.

First I have to sell the '04 K1200GT!

This forum is a great resource!

Bob
Riverton, Utah
 
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