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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, folks! I'm new to this group and here's why. I'm picking up a used '99 KLT (55K miles-original owner) in Phoenix Sunday, riding it to the California coast, then turning around and riding it home to upstate NY. Looks to be about 4,000 miles. The previous owner has changed the oil and filter, put in a new battery and the rear tire is new also. He claims everything works fine and I should have no problems. I've got an appointment in LA to do a regular service anyway and fix up any small problems I may notice on the first leg of the trip. What should I look for? Also, any suggestions regarding this trip in general? I've been riding since the '60s and have done some touring up to 2,500 miles, but this is the longest trip I've tried, and I'll be doing it alone. Looking forward to a more comfortable ride than my H-D Wide Glide gives me on these extended tours. Anything else I should expect? Thanks for any suggestions!
 

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Can we assume you've never ridden an LT?

If so here are some basics..

They're a handfull below 5 mph be carefull and keep your balance.
Always stop with the front end straight...NEVER panic grab the front brake at low speed with the front end turned. It'll haul down on you so fast....The front forks don't dive and absorb that energy like most bikes and if the front end is turned and you grab the front brake all that energy has to go somewhere.. and it's over toward the ground !!! Low speed back brake....
There's a right way to pick up the heavy beast.. there's a link to it in the HOW....Read and understand otherwise you'll hurt yourself when you do try to pick it up.

The motor is turned sideways and if you just shut if off and put it right on the side-stand then when you start it back up it may smoke a bit... That's because oil runs down into the cylinders...Just hold it upright for about 20 sec's after you shut it off and it'll rarely smoke... If it does, no biggie. They all do it. Don't worry about it...IT"S NORMAL....

It's not gonna do a wheelie.. you just ruin the clutch..

The alternator connects to the motor with some kind of rubber device.. These can make a little noise. It's normal.. don't worry about it.
The timing chain can rattle some.. It's normal don't worry about it. Mine does it when floating the throttle at about 2500 rpm... They get a BUZZ at about 4500 rpm.. that means "Let's go faster !!" The engine makes most of it's power above 5000 rpm.... It's hard to get used to running it that hard but it's fun, fun, fun.....

Have fun on your trip and don't worry about the rear end going out..

42 psi front 48 psi rear..


Good Luck

Spence
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Spence!

Since you're right, I've never ridden an LT (should have mentioned that!), I really appreciate the advice about braking. I knew about instability at low speeds, and the various "pet sounds" I might expect, but your advice on keeping the front end straight when coming to a quick stop could save me from a tumble before I figured it out myself!

Now, why did you make me worry about the rear end going out by telling me NOT to worry about it?!
 

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42f & 48r tire pressure & ride it like you stole it!
 

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That's the big failure that they're prone to.... about 4 percent fail at some time or another. No ryme or reason for it... After a while you won't worry about it. Just change the rear end oil at every oil change and inspect the magnet for metal...
Spin the rear wheel and listen for any bad ( crunchy ) sounds... Watch out for diff oil on the rear wheel assb.

Ride it like you stole it....

Have Fun !

Spence
 

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You will love the bike. I would plan your route carefully. There are a lot of mountains and high altitudes out west that could cause you to see some white slippery stuff. Bring lots of layers and some good rain gear in case. You will love the way the LT handles the weather. Except snow!
 

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Here is another recommendation. Not a must have but a good idea especially on a looong trip like you are going to take..

You may not hear this from anyone else, but I recommend that you find out what kind of battery was recently installed on the bike. If it was the BMW gel type, pick up one of the BMW gel chargers for the bike and keep it with you on the trip. It doesn't take up very much space and if you have a problem, you can always start the bike by plugging it into an AC outlet. It came in handy for me on my last trip. I left the keys in the ignition and ran the battery down.. Also, pick up a small portable 12V air compresser / BMW power adapter and a reliable pressure gauge to check your tire pressure before you ride every day. Be religious about it. It must be at least 42 psi front and 48 psi back. The front is more finicky then the back. If you don't, you will be sorry!!!!

When you use the side stand, make sure the bike is in 1st gear and that the slack is taken up so there is no roll.

Also, bag liners are a real help. Makes packing and loading real convenient. You may want to pick up a can of plexus at a bike shop for the windshield and either a bug pad (at walmart) and bring a couple of cloth rags with you for when the wiindshield gets dirty. Great for on the road at a gas station. I wouldn't use much else though.

If you find that you can't flat foot the bike, I would bring some high rise riding boots (if you are a harley rider, you probably have some, right). That will help with the height.

Also, learn how to use the reverse gear !!!! That may really come in handy.. If you have a riders anonymous book, bring it... You never know when you may need it.

Good Luck and enjoy your new bike.
 

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As sanjaun2 said watch the high altitude weather. I40 across AZ and NM is 5000 to 8000'. Amarillo can put on localized snow. If that model year radio works like an '05 you can press the AM button twice to get into weather radio. I just rode from Utah to Alabama this week and had great weather.
Good luck,
Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Guys!

Those are all very helpful suggestions. I've heard about the tendency to tip off the sidestand, and plan to use the centerstand as much as possible (avoiding asphalt!). Looks like tire pressure is more of an issue than with other bikes I've owned, so I'll be careful with that (already own a mini 12-volt compressor). The route I've planned is very southern (via Tucson, El Paso, Austin, etc.). I'll be staying as far south as possible until I HAVE to turn north in SC. Even so, it looks like I won't have any cold weather problems (ie, snow/ice) until I reach northern VA, and my schedule is such that I can just hole up and wait out any unseasonable crap for better conditions the last couple of days (bringing along a bottle of my favorite scotch and some DVDs for that eventuality!). I've got lots of layers, full leathers and a rainsuit and waterproof boots--yes, having an H-D has taught me well! And, since I hear the rear end problems usually occur earlier in an LT's life, I'm not going to worry about it with this "mature" baby.

Again, thanks for all the good advice--I'll report back in a couple of weeks as to how the trip went. Turning 60 next year, retired last year, kids are grown and wife is (amazingly) understanding about my need to do this (at least at the current time!), so I figured this is about the last chance I'll have the 'nads to try this. I first had the urge in 1971 after getting out of the Army, but owned a Triumph Bonney at the time and just KNEW I would have some mechanical problem in the middle of Kansas that would require parts being sent by slow boat from England, so I chickened out, got a job, got married, had kids, bought a house, etc. etc. NOW I'M READY!!

Bill
 

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I envy you being able to take the time to do this trip!

My advise after 22k on the LT:

~ Take a little time to get use to the bike in a parking lot or other empty area.

~ Don't push the miles the first 2 or 3 days. You may be sore in places you have not been before due to the fit of your body on the bike.

~ Make sure the brakes have been serviced and are in good working order.

~ Take time to stop and see interesting things! (and be sure to take some pictures of your new baby when you do and post them here for us to enjoy your trip too!)

Best of luck!
 

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Hope you enjoy it. I'm 61 and two years ago I decided to take my '02 cross country for a family visit. Just like you, I decided there was never going to be a better time to fulfill a long term ambition. I took the northern route - US 90 & 94, back and forth between New Hampshire and Victoria, BC. Five days out, five days there and five days back - total of about 7000 miles. Happy I did it and I think you will be too.

The being alone is not a bad thing. You can set whatever schedule you want without having to compromise. I started out to take much longer. Once I was on the road, I just felt like rolling - so I did. First day was pretty short, due to leaving late. Actually put on 1000 miles one day, through SD, WY and MT. Didn't mean to, but when I got to Bozeman there were no rooms because Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were in town for a concert. So, I just kept going. The only thing that made me finally stop in Butte was that I kept passing dead Deer and Elk on the shoulder of the road. Decided that, since I was losing light, playing tag with those critters would not be good.

Didn't mean to run on. Just busy remembering what a good time I had and envying you.
 

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I made a similar trip when I bought my LT from a friend in Manhattan a few years ago. I flew from Los Angeles to New York and rode home a few days before Thanksgiving. I also had never ridden an LT before. It was a little unnerving to pull out into Downtown Manhattan traffic in the rain during rush hour for my first ride. At the New Jersey border I hit the stongest cross winds I have ever ridden in. The winds continued virtually non stop all the way to Arizona and I hit a bit of snow in Montana. I questioned my sanity and my purchase many times on that ride.
As to the bike, it wasn't due for a service and had been well maintained so no special effort was needed prior to the ride. The LT is big and heavy but handles well even for a novice. Just to be safe I avoided slow speed moves and major twisties the first ride (in retrospect, I didn't need to baby it so much). The biggest issue for me was the severe cross winds. I didn't know what to expect and was unsure at what point it could become a problem. I later learned, primarily from this board, the LT can safely take some fairly nasty winds. There are several threads on the old site covering the subject. A summary of tips I picked up and have used are: lower the screen, tip the winglet back on the side facing the wind(I like this one, seems to counter the wind pressure against the bike when the wind from the winglet comes between the bike and the side wind), and focus down the road were you want to be. Many riders recommend keeping the speed up as well, I have mixed feelings about that one but it does seem to help.
Enjoy your ride, I'm half tempted to join you.
 

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I just finished a 4000+ mile trip on my "new to me this year" 2002 LT. I really had a blast. I was concerned about the final drive failure statistics, but I found piece of mind in a towing policy from RV Roadhelp (rvroadhelp.com). I learned about it on this forum and, for $80.00 a year, it cleared up a lot of my anxiety about the trip. BTW, I took out the policy the day before my trip started, but it was in effect on my departure date. Also, I hope the stock seat works for you, it does for some. It definitely doesn't work for me. I made my own beaded seat cover, which helped some, but I still ended up buying a gel pad on the road. It helped a little bit as well. I found that by switching between no pad, the beads and the gel pad, I could get some decent mileage. One of the days was a 750 miler and I was in a lot of pain by the end. Looks like a custom seat is in my future. I hope you have a great trip.
Darrell
 

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Have a blast, enjoy your ride. You can always turn south if it gets cold...! I just did a cross-country trip last weekend and was at 7000-8000 ft out near Flagstaff and it was chilly in the AM. I'd recommend you bring some heated gear.

:)
 

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Fuel Fill Up's

When fueling DO NOT fill the tank all the way up to the top. Fill until the pump stops then give the gas pump one last squeeze. The gas gauge will float to the full mark after you up-right the bike from the side stand. If you do over fill the fuel, the gas will dump into the charcoal canister and run like crap for about 40 miles or so... Enjoy your ride you will love the smooth ride.... :rolleyes:
 

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What they said.

Only thing I can add is try not to use the front brake at all as you come to the final 20-30 feet of a stop. Use just the rear brake in the final few feet of a low speed stop, around town parking lots and such. Bike will be easier to control and not tend to want to lay down as quickly if the front wheel is slightly turned.

Once you get used to the bike this will not longer matter but at first it will help.

Sounds like a great trip, have a safe ride. I know it will be a blast.
 
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