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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I am new to this forum having just bought a 2005 K1200LT last week. I am a life-long sport bike rider and an ex-racer so although an experienced motorcyclist this is my first foray into the touring world. Call it mid-life crisis but I watched The Long Way Round and got inspired. I picked the bike up in Phoenix last week and rode it back to Houston. I nearly crashed within the first 5 minutes - the thing is so heavy that I feel like a beginner at slow speeds. However, once I got it going it was fun. However, I am having a really hard time with the brakes. The previous owner told me to be very cautious of the front brake at slow speeds. Quite a learning curve for a sport rider who never uses the rear brake except to balance the bike. On the BMW when I approach a stop sign or light I instinctively grab the front brake and the thing stops dead in its tracks 15 feet short of where I intended. I know that if I don't master this I will drop it before very long - is this a common experience? I know that the brakes are servo assisted etc. but they have no feel - they seem to be full on or full off and they scare the hell out of me.
Comments appreciated.
Andy
 

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easy does it. They are power brakes. :D
Practice. dont even think about using the front brake in the parking lot.
 

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You have a 2005 which means you have integral abs which means for all intents there is no separate front or rear brake they are tied together and yes they will stop you on a dime. This is a power assisted system with very slight input required to brake I know that it seems like all or nothing right now but you'll learn to touch the handle with a feather to achieve what you want.

You've learned the first lesson of Not grabbing the brakes with the bar's turned you will end up on your face in nothing flat.

I would strongly suggest bleeding the brake system it helped tame mine from grabbing or at least that's what appears to have happened.

You'll get used to weight and top heavy nature of the bike fairly quick and then you'll find out just how nimble that big girl really is she may act like a boxer but she moves like a ballerina.

Happy riding and welcome to the Mad house
 

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2005 K1200LT
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They are touchy and hard to get used to at first. Try using only one finger on the front brake instead of the whole hand. I very rarely use the brake at all until just before I come to a stop. Use the gears just like your sport bikes, she is good to 62 mph in first gear before you will hit the revlimiter. You will learn the "feel" after a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your comments guys. Sounds like my bike is typical and that the problem is me! On my Triumph Speed Triple I can grab the front brake so hard it will life the rear wheel so one finger braking is going to take some getting used to. Other than that though the bike is awesome - the trip back through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas was beautiful and through the Texas Hill County I had the cruise set at 90 and took the sweeping bends like it was on rails with U2 on the stereo. It was a new and pleasant experience. Thankfully I think I chose the 2 best days this winter for the trip - 60 degrees and not a cloud in sight. I appreciate the quick response to my enquiry.
Andy
 

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Enjoy her Andy. I am headed out to New Mexico myself in two weeks on the LT and after three weeks of work I will head down into Big Bend for some sightseeing and R & R.
 

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Hi Andy,

I'm another brand new LT rider. I recently bought a 1999 LT and am experiencing all sorts of relearning issues too. The bike doesn't ride like any smaller bike I have ever ridden. I've gotten a lot of good advice here. I don't have power assisted brakes, nor do I have an integrated braking system so that is not one of my concerns. I've been more vexed by low speed handling of the bike, which I now call "The Beast" (that is said lovingly). :)
 

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My previous bike was a CBR1100XX, and various sport bikes before that. I can no longer do long rides on those due to joint issues, so it was time for an LT or not riding at all.

I'm re-training myself to stop using both brakes. On the LT the rear brake does actually have stopping power since the rear wheel has plenty of weight on it, so this is the safest thing to do. With the ABS, you don't have to worry about locking it up.

Everyone warns not to use the front brake at low speeds, but I haven't found it a problem. Sure it will pull the bike around, that's predictable, all bikes do that. This just has more weight behind it. I can't say whether it's good advice for everyone, but after a couple thousand miles of nearly all city use I haven't come close to dumping it and I never hesitate to use the front brake in any situation.

If you haven't been on a bike for a little while, which sounds like the case, you should take the MSF Experienced Rider Course (ERC) for a refresher and some practice. The coursework is great, and you'll get an insurance discount.
 

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calvarez said:
Everyone warns not to use the front brake at low speeds, but I haven't found it a problem. Sure it will pull the bike around, that's predictable, all bikes do that. This just has more weight behind it. I can't say whether it's good advice for everyone, but after a couple thousand miles of nearly all city use I haven't come close to dumping it and I never hesitate to use the front brake in any situation.
The advice not to use the front brakes with the front wheel turned is valid. It usually begins with "don't grab a handful of brake lever". If you don't think the big girl will take a dirt nap with you aboard, grab a handful and ride it out. She'll 'splain it to you, right quick.

I use both brakes at all times too, but the difference is, you've got to go carefully when moving slowly.
 

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"Don't grab a handful" applies at nearly all times. I'd never think of it in a parking lot. After this reading this thread I made a point to be more mindful of my ride yesterday, and it's just natural for me to use the front brake so I can have both feet ready for the stop. Trying to use the rear brake makes me feel less in control since my foot is not ready to hold the bike up. But hey, everyone should figure out what works well for them.
 

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arobert3 said:
Hi guys, I am new to this forum having just bought a 2005 K1200LT last week. I am a life-long sport bike rider and an ex-racer so although an experienced motorcyclist this is my first foray into the touring world. Call it mid-life crisis but I watched The Long Way Round and got inspired. I picked the bike up in Phoenix last week and rode it back to Houston. I nearly crashed within the first 5 minutes - the thing is so heavy that I feel like a beginner at slow speeds. However, once I got it going it was fun. However, I am having a really hard time with the brakes. The previous owner told me to be very cautious of the front brake at slow speeds. Quite a learning curve for a sport rider who never uses the rear brake except to balance the bike. On the BMW when I approach a stop sign or light I instinctively grab the front brake and the thing stops dead in its tracks 15 feet short of where I intended. I know that if I don't master this I will drop it before very long - is this a common experience? I know that the brakes are servo assisted etc. but they have no feel - they seem to be full on or full off and they scare the hell out of me.
Comments appreciated.
Andy
Normally these brakes are not fully ON or OFF, unless you have something going on with the system.
I recall a few years ago my first experience with those servo assisted brakes on a new bike - I almost flew off it when attempted an emergency stop - it felt like the bike hit a wall, it just stopped right there. I wasn't ready for it, after switching from the Concourse with mushy brakes.
Luckily nothing happened, but it was a good lesson. After miles of use, you'll learn how to control this braking power and then when for some reason you switch to other bike, you'll have some scary moments again.
 

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I came to the LT from a Road King that had traditional, non-ABS, brakes. The old style hydrualic brakes communicate much more "feel" to the lever, allowing the rider to be more smooth and subtle at low speeds and stopping in normal traffic situations. It took me a full year on the LT to get acustomed to the integrated/assisted brakes and I'm still not as smooth as I would like to be. But the real test of a braking system is not low speeds, when you're trying to look cool, it's when your butt is puckering because a mini van just pulled out in front of you. The first time that happened to me, my LT stopped so hard and straight my arms about buckled and it felt like my helmet was going to be sucked off my head by g-force. Make no mistake, it stops quick. This bike will never be the slow ride ballet the Road King was but I wouldn't go back. I'd rather stay upright and offer the old one finger salute to the zombie in the mini van as I leave her in my rearview.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the comments guys. I have been braking with one finger ever since and it works - I no longer feel like a total idiot at slow speeds although it is still a learning curve to be sure. Anyway I have sold the Speed Triple and commited to the LT so it is time learn to love each other!
 

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I almost always use both brakes but am careful to see that my front wheel is pointing straight at low speeds, 1 finger on the front lever comes naturally after a while. I feel the same about being able to plant both feet when the bike comes to a total stop.
 

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calvarez said:
... you should take the MSF Experienced Rider Course (ERC) for a refresher and some practice. The coursework is great, and you'll get an insurance discount.
Best advice in the thread so far!

The exercises they put you through might seem like things you already know, but if you haven't done them on this bike you will have a learning experience (you might even go back to using your whole hand for braking!).

I re-take the ERC every 2-3 years, I enjoy having an opportunity to run myself and the bike through the paces and make sure my reactions are still "appropriate." You will do maximum braking exercises in a straight line and in a lean. These are good things to do!

Enjoy the bike and welcome!
 

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mwnahas said:
easy does it. They are power brakes. :D
Practice. dont even think about using the front brake in the parking lot.
I see a lot of comments on the forum about not using the front brake.
Two things: coming from the Harley world I always used my front brakes and I was under the belief that 2005 and later LT's had intergraded brakes. There is no, not using the front brake.
Am I mistaken?
 

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garyw said:
I see a lot of comments on the forum about not using the front brake.
Two things: coming from the Harley world I always used my front brakes and I was under the belief that 2005 and later LT's had intergraded brakes. There is no, not using the front brake.
Am I mistaken?
Its not 50/50. On my 03 which should be the same bmw breaks as the 05, if you gently tap on the rear break your front brake does not apply as soon as the rear. If you stomp on the rear your front will engage too. If you grab the front more front will apply than rear. You can try it on the center stand with the front wheel supported up. Press on the rear break turing the rear wheel by hand, have someone else turn the front. You can even hear the power assist servo pitch change when the other brake engages. You can try this on a long straight road too. Pull on the front hard, then step on the rear and you'll feel the added breaking power. Its impressive stopping power. Grabbing the front break in the parking lot while the front wheel is turned even slightly and you'll go down. A lot of us learned the hard way. Not me of course. :D
 
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