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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been riding my 1999 KLT for over 7 months.

And I did a 2000 miles round trip on it.

But I still think the bike is too heavy.

I just dropped it once again this evening. I was on a twisty road, missed the turn and needed to turn around.

Pulled into this space to turn around, the ground was tilted and I leaned a bit too much and the bike went down on the left side. It just flobbed over and so hard that the mirror became detached.

2 guys came over & helped me pick it up....I can never lift this thing by myself...I am 160 lbs and the monster is 840.

I think if I keep this bike I will just end up destroying it or killing myself, it is simply too heavy....I feel the weight everytime I need to park it or stop or turn, the steering is also stiff and not light and the bike is simply unweildy in size, mass and weight.

And it doesn't help that it is heigh off the ground/high center of gravity.

Any thoughts, advice or recommendations from those who are very familiar and are experts on this bike?

Thank you.
 

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I've had my 2001 LT since August 2000.
It took patience, practice, and accepting that I will occasionally drop the bike,
especially towards the end of the day when I get tired.
With practice, you'll learn how to do a 180 degree turn on a narrow 2-lane road.
And lots of other things that a touring bike shouldn't be able to do.
It took several thousand miles and hours of practice until I mastered my LT.
It's been a great relationship for 119,,000 miles.
Don't get discouraged.
Don't be intimidated.
And always keep the front wheel pointed forward when stopping.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your kind words.

I've put about 7000 miles on the bike in the last 7 months since I've owned it. I don't drive my car anymore, it is always the bike.

I can make a U turn on regular roads, but on 2 lane (1 lane in each direction) mountain roads I can't. I have to find a spot that has more space to turn just as I did today when I dropped it.

When I picked it up & re started it, it made so much smoke from the exhaust...is that normal ??

I mean a LOT of smoke, then it cleared.

It is always the same, when I stop or park I feel the weight or when I grab the front brakes. You feel the weight of the bike and that it wants to go down.

The left side rubber wing is already chewed through in one spot.

I don't know if I damaged something else because I hear a noise too from the last slide/fall on the bike.

I can't detect any leaks or anything loose or broken underneath.

Thanks.
 

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My guess is that most felt the way you do in the beginning. My experience was the same for the first 5,000 miles. I did take a class a while back, Ride like a Pro, and that helped.

I'm about 5-11 / 150# wet and with the correct technique, can fairly easily pick up the bike. It always helps though if someone is available to assist.

Just a hint, don't grab the front brake, especially if the wheel is slightly turned. She will take a nap!
 

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Without trying to insult you, what you describe is some inexperience and some bad habits. (I know, you did 7,000 miles and that's admirable)

The inexperience comes into play with where you chose to make the U or K turn. You should have recognized the downward slope BEFORE you started the turn, and also recognize that it will cause extra problems.

I did the same as you did just after getting back to riding after a 20 year break to raise a family, etc. I feel you need a rider's course to recognize bad habits and how to correct that way of thinking. You may improve so much that you may start to like the bike again. Right now, the bike is like a boxing opponent that's gotten in to the head of his opponent. You seem to be down on the bike for being too big, too heavy, can't turn, etc.

And stay off that front brake at slow speeds in a parking lot, if you have the front turned even a bit, you will go down.
 

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I will echo some of the other comments. I too found the LT loveable but unwieldy at first, but with a lot of experience found it to be absolutely PERFECT for me. It fit me like it was custom made for me. I got into Long Distance riding, and just could not imagine doing it on any other bike, and put 120,000 miles on the two LTs I had in 4 years.

It was still a beast if dropped, but with enough time and practice this will rarely if ever happen again. As others said, you will see the things that will cause you to possibly drop it as second nature, and will avoid them without thinking about it.
 

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Don't get discouraged. The LT takes some time and energy. I've put about 18,000 Miles on her in about 20 months. I've thought about trading her off several times for something lighter, but then I go for a ride and think, "Why would I ever get rid of this?"

Like Dan, I've done the Ride Like a Pro thing...but not a class. I bought the material (Book and DVD) and went through the course myself. It helped having a buddy do it with me. Then, we took it to the next level and offered it as a Skills Day at my church. I've attached the map and instructions from our most recent Skills Day event. That was the most helpful thing ever. I also try to practice the slow speed maneuvers any chance I get...parking lots, gas stations, etc. I can honestly say the first few times is terribly intimidating, but then it slowly molds from intimidation into respect and you learn to control it like any other bike.

That's not to say there aren't moments of terror though! Just 2 days ago, was doing a U-turn from a stop in a restaurant parking lot. I knew when I started it that it was going to be difficult because of the poor and uneven asphalt ripped up by tree roots, but I tried it anyway...and almost laid her down. But the instincts I've learned in practicing over and over helped...first instinct was to put my foot down and fight her falling over. But then the training I've put myself through caught up to my instinct and I gave her more power, used some counterweight lean, and we were back to my comfort level.

Let me know if the attachments don't work. I think I can link directly to them elsewhere. Keep at it. Don't give up yet.
 

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Apparently only one attachment worked...here's the other one (maybe?)
 

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A low speed tumble (probably) won't seriously injure you, are you comfortable with the handling at speeds that might? If so, then I would suggest you buy some cones and find a parking lot that is abandoned on a saturday, start out with a wide path and slowly move it in.

The smoking is probably because a few drops of oil seeped passed the rings into the firing chamber. This has been explained to me as something to the effect that BMW uses a floating ring instead of a <insert something else here> type, or maybe I have that backwards. Either way don't worry about that, my R1200C will fog the entire neighborhood on startup in the morning. As far as your rattle my money would be on some tupperware clunking around. If you went down hard enough and with enough weight I can see one or more of the tabs breaking off on the lower engine cover (see #3 below)


In short if you are concerned that you safety might be at risk you should probably get another bike, but don't be a hater :)
 

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Don't give up yet!

We got our '99 LT last year. I really wondered about this decision, having ridden since 1975 on small and middleweight bikes (my other ride at the moment is a Yamaha FZ6- 460 lbs). At the time I was recovering from surgery and felt overwhelmed . We dropped it twice the first day we were both aboard, which did not bode well.

One year and 2k miles later, we are starting to get used to her. The weight is an issue, but proper technique will help.
 

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Yes she is intimidating at low speed until you learn her.

Think back to when you fell. Were you in neutral? Did you pull the clutch in, thereby going to neutral? Those who took the ride like a pro course may know this trick, but with traction or tension going to the rear wheel, the motorcycle will almost never fall. It was something I was taught (and unintentionally demonstrated) the first time I went to motor officer school. Just keep "drive" and some throttle going to the rear wheel and you can go pretty far over at low speed. Also, keep your head looking where you want to go or be. If you're doing a slow turn like you were and look at the ground, that's where you will go.

Now granted both times I went through I was on a wet clutch bike ( a Kawasaki and then an Harley) but on the low speed maneuvers, pulling in the clutch would mean falling but clutch and gas would keep you up. I don't think the OCCASIONAL clutch slippage like that would harm our dry clutch.

It will get better.
 

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I took a slow speed skills enhancement course with the AZ preicision drill team. Really helped me correct some bad habits i had and the class was free. I almost dropped the bike about four times during the course but i managed not to somehow. Get some new good habits to work on and practice practice practice.
 

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Hang in there. What I learned is that you need presence of mind and think ahead when turning, parking, stopping, backing up, putting it on and taking it off the center stand. You cannot rush. I see lots of riders that won't take there time and if you need to turn around then continue on until you find a suitable safe area. Make sure when going slow you look forward, head up where you want to go and if you need to stop, stop in a straight line then turn. Parking with a side stand if pointed downhill, no good, soft ground no good. I use the center stand and same warnings as the side stand. I have had my bike 5 years and dropped it twice the first year and decided to better plan when doing the things that will cause a dirt nap and have not dropped in the last 4 years ( probably will now.) Just think smart and slow down when in the dirt nap zone. Good Luck.
 

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When you are trying to lift it up - with yr back to the bike, put one hand on the handlebar & the other on the trunk. Get that second hand up on the trunk as far as possible before starting to lift. Don't try to grab anything lower. Of course make sure the side stand is down.

You may want to first try it on some grass or an old carpet.
 

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Take the Experienced rider course. It is a great course. They cover low speed for a half day. Then practice, practice, parctice. Or trade it in for an RT. Nothing wrong with that no bike is for everybody. Good luck and success in whatever path you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
DanDiver said:
My guess is that most felt the way you do in the beginning. My experience was the same for the first 5,000 miles. I did take a class a while back, Ride like a Pro, and that helped.

I'm about 5-11 / 150# wet and with the correct technique, can fairly easily pick up the bike. It always helps though if someone is available to assist.

Just a hint, don't grab the front brake, especially if the wheel is slightly turned. She will take a nap!
Thank you to everyone who gave valuable advice to me.

For Dan, I really don't know how you can pick up that bike by yourself. I've seen the Youtube videos of the techniques to pick up the bike with the legs and back.

I've been doing Martial arts for 20 yrs & used to race bicycles before that, so I have strong legs but was never able to pick up the bike alone, nor was I able to put it on the center stand and I've used the technique recommended by BMW. In fact myself and another guy who is smaller and shorter than me were not able to put the bike on the center stand last time when I wanted to change the Oil. But myself and another bigger guy were able to put it up on the center stand before.

One time I tried to stop the bike from falling over & gave myself a Hernia (at least it felt like it) luckly I called a guy on the street over and he helped me stop it from hitting the ground.

I did do the parking lot practices but I maybe dropped the bike a total of 8 times or so since February when I bought it.

And sometimes you ride & ride looking for a "Safe" place to turn but you find nothing and you try to do the best you can.

I am now thinking it is better to do the slow turns in tight spaces with the engine off, and using the legs..walking the bike. With the engine on the right hand ends up reving the engine (when I lose control of the bike) and makes it harder to control it.

Had a Kawasaki 550 LTD and rode it on some long rides and never dropped it. The LT is a different story.

I keep thinking why did they have to make it so dammn heavy. The GT is about half the weight and has all the bells & whistles of the LT and even bigger engine.

The steering is pretty much useless at slow speed or in turning.

And the back brakes don't seem to have the same grip as the front ones, maybe it is just my bike.

I guess what I am getting here is to turn using the engine always, don't turn using my legs....walking the bike. I do that sometimes ( like yesterday) in very tight spaces. And maybe some riding boots would help giving me a better grip on the ground.

Thanks.

I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
niel_petersen said:
When you are trying to lift it up - with yr back to the bike, put one hand on the handlebar & the other on the trunk. Get that second hand up on the trunk as far as possible before starting to lift. Don't try to grab anything lower. Of course make sure the side stand is down.

You may want to first try it on some grass or an old carpet.
Neil,

Thank you.

I've seen the videos on lifting the bike, I tried it but the thing will not puddge. Also with one hand on the steering, the steering starts moving and that creates more problems of control.

Then there is the risk of it falling over to the other side IF I succeed in lifting it atall.
 

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Sure, try and "walk it" with the engine off... forget about the hernia, you'll give yourself a heart attack in no time. I think the bike has got to you mentally. You have to clear that sh!t out of your head before you can improve. Or trade it for a RT like someone said. But you'll still dump it if you keep doing things like you do..

You also sound impatient and resigned to failure. You say you can sometimes ride and ride and not find a good place to turn around. Well, if you gotta keep riding and looking, that's what you have to do. Sounds like you get impatient and still pick a less than ideal place for the turn. If you're not comfortable turning at point "A" in the road, and you ride 3 miles and still don't find a place you are comfortable, but choose to do it there anyway, should you be surprised when you fail? Should you blame the weight of the bike like you are doing?
 
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