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Discussion Starter #1
I have seen a lot of people say the GTL is no match for the LT. Understand the bikes are not the same but is it worth trading up? I also see a number of GTL’s up for sale. Is that due to purchasers regret? If you have owned both, can you provide your experience, likes and dislikes?

Thanks
 

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I have well over 100K miles on two LTs, and am approaching 100K miles on two GTLs.

The LT has absolutely the best passenger accommodations, period. And it handles really well for a bike of its size and weight.

And the GTL simply does everything else better.

Less weight, more power, much more torque, smooth, handles great, traction control, ride modes, adjustable suspension, adaptive HID, Bluetooth, etc.

I sometimes miss my old LT, as does my wife especially, but I wouldn't dream of trading back...

Best thing you can do is take a GTL for a test ride. But leave your wallet at home... :bmw:
 

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I have seen a lot of people say the GTL is no match for the LT. Understand the bikes are not the same but is it worth trading up? I also see a number of GTL’s up for sale. Is that due to purchasers regret? If you have owned both, can you provide your experience, likes and dislikes?

Thanks
I had test ridden a GTL some years ago, and then again last fall when I decided to make the change. I had read many comparisons and had a pretty good idea what I was getting and what I was giving up. I just felt I was ready for a change.

I have only a little over 1200 miles on our 2018 K1600GTL, so in fairness to the bike I don't have enough time in the saddle.

Ditto what Ken said about pillion comfort. WGPR (World's Greatest Pillion Rider) really noticed the difference when we had both bikes and were switching back and forth. We'd ride the GTL and she'd say it was fine. (She is very tolerant, uncomplaining). But then we'd get back on the KLT and she'd say she really noticed that the KLT was better for her.

For me, the GTL isn't just all things better than the KLT. From my perspective the KLT was just more "comfortable". Again, caveat is I had the KLT from 2000 (new) to 2018 and 100,000 miles so the bike fit like an old glove.

That said, I think KLT smoothed out the road better than the GTL does. I don't recall he weight difference between the bikes, but presumably the KLT is heavier and that maybe part of the difference. I had Olins on the KLT. With the GTL suspension set to the "Road" setting, the bike smooths the bumps pretty well, but if I hit a bump in a corner the bike wallows and loses the line. The KLT never did that; it was always solid in bumpy corners, giving great confidence. With the GTL suspension set to "Dynamic" the bike is more solid in response to bumps in corners, and the bike holds the line well, but Harsh! On the KLT I'd just stay seated in the saddle, but on the GTL I want to stand on the pegs a little to help absorb the shock of the bumps.

I liked the feeling of being "in" the bike when on the KLT. The mirrors integral with the fairing, the winglets, and my aftermarket CeeBailey windscreen created a very comfortable hole in the wind, nice big weather protecting slip stream. The GTL lacks that feeling; I have added an aftermarket windscreen with a lip at the top like the CeeBaily had, and AeroFlow "winglets" for the 2018 GTL and these help a bit, but it still isn't like the KLT.

The KLT had enough power for me unless I was trying to keep pace with our riding pals on their K1600GT. The KLT engine and the 5 speed tranny worked fine for me although for passing and climbing rpms often approached the rev limiter.

The GTL: Reverse is better, push button on the handle bar perch, rather than leaning over to mechanically shift into reverse.

Power, more than needed. Actually, with the throttle in "Dynamic" mode I have to have a very attentive control or acceleration and engine braking will make you a jerky rider and wear out the rear tire. I read at least one GTL owner who preferred using "Rain" mode all of the time, probably for this reason. I seem to prefer "Road" mode most of the time where the throttle response falls between "Rain" and "Dynamic".

The tranny on the GTL is better. I used to occasionally miss a shift on the KLT, finding neutral instead of second. On the GTL it shifts very predictably, and sometimes requires "searching" for neutral when you want it. The "no clutch" shift feature on the GTL isn't something I've used much but is kind of neat. You can still shift if your left hand is busy doing something else, and I suppose it is a faster shift if you are trying to pass someone as fast as possible.

The GTL with its lower center of gravity is more forgiving at a stop if you end up a little off balance and you find your footing in some sandy or slippery spot. I won't miss that top heaviness at slow speed of the KLT. Even so, the GTL is still a big bike with it's own share of weight, and the difference between the bikes in this regard isn't that stark.

Speaking of Rain mode, it really does work. I tested it on wet grass and the controls over ride your throttle input when it senses the rear tire starting to spin. Very effective. That could be a very effective save if hitting an oily wet spot unexpectedly.

The are a few nit pick things that bug me on the GTL, like the audio control buttons down low on the left side of the bike. What the heck are they doing down there? Other stupid stuff: I was very happy with hard wired earbuds for audio and had to bypass the Bluetooth stuff on the GTL to get back to my old way of doing things. The first hack I did on the GTL was to patch audio wiring so I could control the volume in my earbuds with the perch mounted "wonder wheel". The WonderWheel will control volume of the bike's speakers but won't control volume when using Bluetooth audio. After fooling around with some external volume controls using the bike's Bluetooth, I gave up and did my hack into the speaker wiring.

Seats: I had the stock seat on the KLT, but I had modified it by removing some foam. On long rides I would swap out an AirHawk cushion for a BeadRider just for a change. The stock KLT seat was better for me that the stock GTL seat. I have been using the AirHawk with very little inflation, and the BeadRider on top of the AirHawk on the GTL. The combination seems to be working okay for me. Lots of folks report going to a Russel Day Long seat on the GTL. I had a BackUp back rest on the KLT which I liked. Since the 2018 K1600GTL seat is one piece for rider and pillion, I'm not sure if a rider back rest is available without getting an aftermarket seat.

Buyer's remorse? No... not really. Do I miss my KLT? Yes. But I am looking forward to becoming one with our new GTL.
I waited years for BMW to build a KLT on the K1600 platform, but it never came and I got tired of waiting.

HTH
Have fun with your decision.
 

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A few comments, Charlie.

Obviously, you're familiar with K1600forum.com. Lots of great advice over there, as well as many familiar faces from this site.

Some riders report needing a few thousand miles to really get comfortable on the K1600. I didn't, but I'd spent a lot of time on a K1300GT, so it was already familiar.

My wife still looks longingly at the passenger seat whenever we see a K1200LT...

Many LT riders moved to Öhlins suspension and found it a great improvement over the stock Showa units, even when the bikes were new. Wilbers makes replacement shocks for the K16 that retain the on-the-fly damping adjustments, and offer a noticeable improvement in handling and compliance. Contact Ted at Beemershop on the west coast or Hermann at Wheels and Wings on the east coast.

Stock wind management on the LT is better, simply because it has more fairing. AeroFlow has some nice wind management options, as you've seen. But both bikes benefit from a quality aftermarket windscreen.

Both bikes also benefit from a quality aftermarket seat, but that's been true of every Beemer I've owned. :bmw: There are many options, but yes, Russell is the gold standard for all-day comfort.

I agree with your comments on power delivery and shifting. My GTL doesn't have the quick-shift option, but I can still do clutch-less shifts pretty easily. And that Slant/6 motor is silky smooth and torquey as hëll...

The lighter weight (about 100 lbs) and lower CoG do make a difference on every ride, which was the main reason I switched from the LT to a K13GT. But that was a better solo bike than two-up, so when the GTL came out it felt like the best of both worlds to me. I loved my LTs, but they are some heavy beasts...

Traction control and riding modes are a nice improvement, both for safety and for fun.

I agree that's a dumb place to have put the audio control buttons, but I can see why they didn't want to clutter up the handlebars, even though what they had on the LT worked well. And yes, the factory Bluetooth implementation is sub-standard. The Wonder Wheel does control Bluetooth volume and you can stream audio to two helmets, but only with the BMW headsets. Many K16 riders have bypassed the crappy factory Bluetooth and added a more modern Bluetooth transmitter tapped off of the speakers, which retains WonderWheel control. Some have gone wired, like you have. I simply connect my iPhone directly to my helmet, and thus skipped the factory radio altogether. This also has the advantage of working on any bike I may ride.

I still remember the LT with fondness, like an old college girlfriend that you think about once in a while. But I much prefer the power, smoothness, and amenities of the GTL, and am happy with my upgrade.
 

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Quick answer.... If you ride with a passenger, get or stay with the LT. If you ride solo, get the K1600.

8 years and 50,000 miles on an LT, mostly solo and about the same on a GTL. Everything I liked about the LT and everything I wanted in the LT was built into the GTL. All the rest is commentary.... It did take me about 1,000 miles thought to get into my comfort zone on the GTL. It is very different from the LT.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you guys for the great write-ups! I have always wondered about trading up on the basis of “you only live once” but the LT, and the confidence I have knowing I can maintain it for years to come with the help of this forum, always makes me wonder why I would spend a small fortune for a bike that is not as comfortable. In other words, the LT does everything well enough to keep now that I have grown accustomed to it so it is difficult tp justify spending that much more for the +’s and -‘s of the GTL.

Thanks again!!
 
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One thing not really touched on in the above commentary, is ease of maintenance. The GTL is much easier to maintain (except for the 18,000 mile valve check, since you need to remove the radiator on the GTL). I seem to recall spending a lot more time doing maintenance on the LT - brake systems were a pain, shifter linkage required much more attention, oil changes and tupperware removal and installation were harder and more time consuming. I had/have the gold standard RDL seat on both the LT and GTLE, as BMW stock seats have been a pain in the ____ on both bikes. Weather protection was better on the LT, but with an Aerostich Roadcrafter suit, it really doesn't matter to me anymore. :bmw:
 
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You have lots of good comments here and I agree with most of them. I have nowhere near the miles on either bike that some here have. I have 80,000 on my LT and about 6,000 total on two different GTLs, both rentals in Europe and the UK.

The GTL is easier to maintain than the LT, except for valve adjustments and oil changes. Checking the oil is also a stupid procedure on the GTL if you follow the book.

I think Dan summed it up best with his solo vs dual comment. If I was a solo rider, I would probably trade my LT for a GTL. Actually, I would trade it for the new R1250RT, but the GTL would be the second choice. However, my wife did not like the GTL at all. And she was only slightly more impressed with the GA. The GA is a more direct replacement for the LT as the passenger comfort is definitely better and it feels lower to the ground at stops.

The main thing I would add is to do more than just a test ride. On a test ride, you will be wowed by the power and handling and not see some of the other issues. I would recommend trying to rent one for at least a week and put a couple thousand miles on it and try to ride in some rain and cold. The first few days I was on the GTL in Switzerland, I thought it was the cat’s pajamas. Then we got to ride all day in the rain and cross several passes with temps down to 2 Celsius. I was dying to have my LT back by then as was my wife.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One thing not really touched on in the above commentary, is ease of maintenance. The GTL is much easier to maintain (except for the 18,000 mile valve check, since you need to remove the radiator on the GTL). I seem to recall spending a lot more time doing maintenance on the LT - brake systems were a pain, shifter linkage required much more attention, oil changes and tupperware removal and installation were harder and more time consuming. I had/have the gold standard RDL seat on both the LT and GTLE, as BMW stock seats have been a pain in the ____ on both bikes. Weather protection was better on the LT, but with an Aerostich Roadcrafter suit, it really doesn't matter to me anymore. :bmw:
Good to know, thanks. When it comes to maintenance, the LT is definitely not the easiest but after a few times it became satisfying. I assume it will be the same with any new machine that you need to get to know.

I take it you are pleased with your GTL and would not go back to the LT.

Thanks again!
 
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Discussion Starter #10
So are there GTL options that are a must have other than aftermarket windscreen and seats? Reverse has been mentioned but that has only recently been available.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So are there GTL options that are a must have other than aftermarket windscreen and seats? Reverse has been mentioned but that has only recently been available.
 

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This is a great post. I have swithered about changing my LT for the last couple of years but my wife loves the pillion on it even though she has a R1200Gs ADV of her own. I am hoping that BMW might bring an all new GTL or equivalent out in 2021 as they seem to do a major change about every 10 years. Can but hope.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is a great post. I have swithered about changing my LT for the last couple of years but my wife loves the pillion on it even though she has a R1200Gs ADV of her own. I am hoping that BMW might bring an all new GTL or equivalent out in 2021 as they seem to do a major change about every 10 years. Can but hope.
I know, it’s all about keeping her happy and the GTL, even just sitting on it, does not fit as well for her. She also likes the floor boards on the LT to plant her feet which I understand is not a BMW option but there is an aftermarket part that has been recently(?) available.
 

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Iilium do passenger floor boards for the 1600gtl but I am not sure if BMW have them as an original accessory.
My LT is currently off the road with servo problems again ( I do hate that system )
But I love the bike as a whole. I will just have to wait and see what might come out in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Iilium do passenger floor boards for the 1600gtl but I am not sure if BMW have them as an original accessory.
My LT is currently off the road with servo problems again ( I do hate that system )
But I love the bike as a whole. I will just have to wait and see what might come out in the near future.
Sounds like a plan and hopefully there will be a replacement that is closer to what the LT offered.
 

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I am going to throw this out for your consideration: A very close friend, with a 2009 LT, (after selling his bike and riding gear because he had lymphoma) survived the treatments and is now back into riding. He found a VERY nice GTL Exclusive for he and his wife (she likes it but says not as comfortable as the LT).

The bike needed the 18,000 mile service, so he asked if I would help (I've done extensive work on my LT), I turned him down because of the complexity of the GTL to simply check the valves. He then took it to the dealer - dealer charged him $1500 to do the service!!

IF you can afford the maintenance the GTL is an awesome machine!!
 

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I am going to throw this out for your consideration: A very close friend, with a 2009 LT, (after selling his bike and riding gear because he had lymphoma) survived the treatments and is now back into riding. He found a VERY nice GTL Exclusive for he and his wife (she likes it but says not as comfortable as the LT).

The bike needed the 18,000 mile service, so he asked if I would help (I've done extensive work on my LT), I turned him down because of the complexity of the GTL to simply check the valves. He then took it to the dealer - dealer charged him $1500 to do the service!!

IF you can afford the maintenance the GTL is an awesome machine!!
I paid $1,000 for my LT 12,000 mile service 10 years ago so I don’t think the GTL is any worse than the LT. And from what I read, it is much less trouble-prone than the LT.

If I survived cancer, I’d be ecstatic to pay $1,500 to enjoy riding again! 🙂
 

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That was !,500 just to check the valves as the entire cooling system has to be drained and the radiator removed just to get to the cylinder head cover. Then you have to vacuum fill it back up.
 
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Valve checks are a bit more complicated on the K16, as you have to remove the radiator. And there are more valves, of course. :)

The LT's sideways Brick motor means the valves are more easily accessible. It also means that they tend to wear more, requiring cam removal and bucket changes at most valve checks.

But every other maintenance item is simpler on the K16 than the LT. After all, the LT requires removing the fuel tank to change the air and fuel filters, and the K16 doesn't even need a fuel filter.

BMW recommends valve checks every 18K miles, but most riders move that to 24K miles, since those valves rarely wear enough to need the cams removed and the shims replaced. So for most riders, that's an expense that only comes up every few years at most.

And $1,500 sounds quiet steep for a valve check alone. Maybe it was a full annual service, including all fluids and filters and flushes?
 

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Valve checks are a bit more complicated on the K16, as you have to remove the radiator. And there are more valves, of course. :)

The LT's sideways Brick motor means the valves are more easily accessible. It also means that they tend to wear more, requiring cam removal and bucket changes at most valve checks.

But every other maintenance item is simpler on the K16 than the LT. After all, the LT requires removing the fuel tank to change the air and fuel filters, and the K16 doesn't even need a fuel filter.

BMW recommends valve checks every 18K miles, but most riders move that to 24K miles, since those valves rarely wear enough to need the cams removed and the shims replaced. So for most riders, that's an expense that only comes up every few years at most.

And $1,500 sounds quiet steep for a valve check alone. Maybe it was a full annual service, including all fluids and filters and flushes?
What does the GTL use for filtering the fuel? If it truly has no filtration at all, that is a disaster waiting to happen on a fuel injected engine.
 
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