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I recently bought a 1999 K1200LT that I plan on using on a cross country motorcycle trip in May, 2011. I have also just joined this forum. I would like to introduce myself and ask a bunch of questions.

First, a little info about me and the motorcycle. I have been riding motorcycles for about 45 years. For the past 19 years, I have been riding a 1992 Harley FXR that I bought new and still own. It now has 93,000 miles on it. I had planned on taking the Harley on the country trip until I recently saw an ad by Ace Motorsports in Concord, CA for a meticulously cared for 99 LT with 36,000 miles for $6,750. The service records I received indicate that last servicing was a 12K servicing, plus new tires, etc. The bike as it was sold to me was actually ready for the cross country trip. I could leave tomorrow.

I have had a lot of difficulty getting use to riding and handling the bike, particularly at low speeds. For awhile I thought it was me and my not being as good a rider as I thought I was. Now that I’ve read a bunch of the comments here, I realize it is the bike and not me. It is a top heavy (very heavy) bike that shines best on the highway. At slow speeds and in city traffic it is a dog. Sharp, slow, hairpin turns that I easily do on the Harley are still impossible for me on the LT. I’ve almost tipped over the bike a couple of times when maneuvering it at gas stations and while parking it. It took all my strength and energy to hold it up. I plan on doing a lot of practicing in empty parking lots at slow speeds to get use to that.

I had thought I would get a cassette adapter and use that for my Ipod but after readings here I see a Dice unit is the way to go and would allow me to access the Ipod directly through the sound system on the bike. Any suggestions as to where to buy the unit and whatever connectors it would need? I tend to be a frugal guy. It will be installed by an independent BMW shop here in San Francisco that has been recommended to me, Bavarian Cycle Works.

The last time I did a full cross country trip was in 1968 on a 250CC Suzuki X6 Hustler.
The itinerary for my cross country trip my friend and I will take is as of now: Starting from San Francisco, through northern Arizona, New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina with the Outer Banks as the furthest east we will go. Returning through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and back to California.

So perhaps that’s enough to introduce myself and start to get to know you and ask questions.
 

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I'm an old Harley rider too.I have a few suggestions.
1.Do not use the front brake below 5 mph with the front forks turned.You can't feel how over balanced you are like your old bike .Try and get used to straightening your forks as you stop.
2.Try dragging your rear brake on slow speed maneuvers.
3.Try preloading your shifter slightly and only pulling in the clutch 1/2 inch .
4.Appreciate the clean spot where you park.
 

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We must be around the same age, one of my first bikes was an X6 Hustler,
which at the time was the fastest production motorcycle on the market,

I also rode Harley for 30+ years, got my first Beemer in 1988,
sold my last Harley about five years ago.

One of the things we hear a lot from newcomers is:
this bike doesn't handle like the bikes I'm used to riding,
it's not me so there must be something wrong with the bike,

Sorry but that's not correct, it is you, you're not used to it yet,
rather than find fault with the LT, ride it,
by the time you have worn out your first tire
chances are you will prefer the LT to any bike you've owned,

Sure she's a "big girl" but let me tell you this big girl can dance.
Now granted she is "too big" for some guys,
she's "top heavy" but then so is my wife :) (I'm a lucky guy!) :)

I've never dropped her in almost a hundred K
and I have no problems with U-turns, hairpin turns or low speed handling, it just takes a little "finesse"

If I can do it, so can you,
accept her for what she is and you'll learn to love her
No she's not a Harley, Harley is a tractor,
anybody can ride them.

Regarding your trip sounds like a great adventure, take pictures,
share them with us and if you're into it post a ride tale, here's one of mine,
in other words, take us with you.
May is a good time to travel, off season, milder temperatures
it's also the "windy" time in the western states.

But you left out Utah,
there are so many cool roads and National parks in that state
you "owe it to yourself" to check it out

Ride safe.
 

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Michael;

Couple of things... Slow Speed. Yep... It can be a "beotch". Turn those handlebars a tiny bit and jump on the binders and she will go over. Best way to combat that is??? Practice, practice and more practice.

The other thought. You Harley had a lot of low end. These things don't get into full voice until you have a bunch of R's in her. Keep the RPM's up there and she'll thank-you for it. Around town and in traffic if I get outta third I'm lucky. 1st and 2nd are my usual as I make my way into work.

No matter how good a rider you are, the ERC is a good thing to take as a refresher. If you ride 2-up, take the course two up. It's a real eye opener.

Last thought? Talk to others in your area about their LT. Some of these old goats (and I are one of them...) have done a few miles on these things. They know stuff that only a devoted disciple can tell you about what makes 'em tick.

Then get out there are do some twisties at speed. After you get off the bike, try and wipe that smile off yer face... :D

Stay in touch! Ask questions! Don't be a stranger.. You're family now!

just sayin'...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SilverBuffalo said:
One of the things we hear a lot from newcomers is:
this bike doesn't handle like the bikes I'm used to riding,
it's not me so there must be something wrong with the bike,

Sorry but that's not correct, it is you, you're not used to it yet,
I should have stated that better. I was beginning to think I just didn't have the ability to ride this bike, that perhaps I didn't have any longer have what it would take. I'm 65, 5'10", 135 pounds, so I'm not a particularly big guy and the bike seemed so big and unwieldy to me. Now I've come to realize the bike does in fact ride differently than other bikes, and it is going to take a lot more riding and learning time than I had thought. The bike really does call for a different style of riding at slow speeds. I was beginning to doubt my ability to ever get this, now I've come to realize it really is my lack of experience.

So I'm taking in all the suggestions all of you have made so far. This weekend I'll spend some time in an empty parking lot near me slowly putting a lot of this in practice in a controlled situation. I've gone too wide on a couple of tight turns on mountain roads where there was no consequence to my having gone wide. I don't want to do that again.
 

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Michael,
I was riding a 2300cc Triumph Rocket when i got the LT. The LT made the Rocket feel small....just because of the "top heavy" feel. What I eventually reallized, I had the bad riding habit of "man-handling" my bikes. The LT takes "finesse" . First of all, when you come to a stop try to be "so" balanced that you can put just one foot down. Secondly, this baby can lean on twisties. Don't hesitate to lean it. No need to go wide on turns. Leaning it and hearing a scrape will only make you feel more confident.

BTW....5'-10" & 135 pounds? You got BALLS!!!!! hehe Welcome aboard!
 

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Welcome aboard Michael! The others have already given you some excellent advice. Especially the part about watching that front wheel when stopping with the front binders! This gal loves to take naps! On the subject of your Ipod: start out with the cassette adapter simply because it is so inexpensive, and you can do it. The later model LT's don't have a cassette player, just a single CD, in the oddments box. I have used one on my '00 LT for ten years now, and it works just great! You will not be able to select tunes with the handlebar controls, but you can control the volume with them once you select "CC" on the radio controller. You could always go to the Dice unit later if you decide you need it, but they have had some probs with those units too.

Your planned trip will be something you'll remember for a long time because you're gonna love it!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #8
AlaskaFish said:
On the subject of your Ipod: start out with the cassette adapter simply because it is so inexpensive, and you can do it.

you can control the volume with them once you select "CC" on the radio controller.
John
Thanks for that advice. I can make play lists of what I like and simply start it before I get going. I've been enjoying the sound system on the bike. This is the first bike I've had with a sound system. And cruise control (I always seem to wind up going faster than I want without cruise control in the car or on the bike). I love music (I have an Ipod with over 700 albums on it, my entire music collection). To be able to listen to music while I (relatively) slowly ride down the highway is something I am looking forward to.
 

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I wouldn't be too quick to doubt yourself. It is a very different bike and it takes a little time to get the feel of it.Once you do you will be amazed how nimble it actually is . Low speed is a bit unnerving at first but it does get better. If you read a few posts it won't take long to realize LT riders tend to forget how big their bikes are. They can and do stay with the pack without issue (it's not unusual for us to lead the pack). You will learn to love this amazing machine.
 

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These are things to check on your 99
the computer chip was replaced--stock one caused hot wx hesitation
the starter relay was replaced--stock one fuses shut at low voltage
a crash pan was added--it didn't come with one
the rubber brake lines have been replaced--the stock ones will start leaking
Carefully inspect the joint between the trany and engine to make sure there isn't any oil seepage--BMW made a new seal that doesn't leak like the stock ones

This summer I'll be heading out to Maine and back. My ride to here from MA was in 1989 on my 86 FXRS.

Best from Tucson
Bob

OH! I almost forgot. By design your stock speedometer is off by about 10mph. Multiply your indicated speed by 90% to come close to your actual speed. The odometer is accurate in spite of the speedo being off.
 

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Does your bike have a CD changer in the rear saddle bag? If so you can remove the CD changer and the dice unit will plug right into it--no other modifications needed. I did it, and I don't know swat about electicity or wiring etc. All the connections should come with the unit.
 

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mcpsycle said:
IThis weekend I'll spend some time in an empty parking lot near me slowly putting a lot of this in practice in a controlled situation. I've gone too wide on a couple of tight turns on mountain roads where there was no consequence to my having gone wide. I don't want to do that again.
Your on the right track...practice until it is second nature and it will pay you back when you will need to perform. I also have a 99 and I predict after your first day in the saddle of your trip you are going to wonder why you didn't make the switch a long time ago.

Good to have you aboard and if you have some time to spare...check out the Hall of Wisdom under the Technical banner. Lot's of great reading there that will get your juices flowing ;)
 

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Your new bike is like a surgical instrument compared to the old tractor.....It takes time to adapt your mind and body to a totaly different way of riding.... and Then.......You achieve "Oneness" with "her" and after that....You will never wipe that smile off !!!

Ride safe, Z. ;)
 

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I bought my LT last October. It constantly puts a smile on my face when I ride it - should have bought it long ago.

I've got 100 lbs. on you and I have issues with slow riding - makes me a bit nervous, especially on a slight include and a bit uphill.. But, from the few miles I have ridden, this bike is more predictable, especially in curves. ABS really makes handling this bike feel a lot safer.

One thing I can recommend is looking at the videos (on this web site or Youtube?) about picking the bike up in case you drop it. Simply put, you put your back to the bike, grab the bike (see video), crouch down a bit and slowly walk backwards and up. A medium-sized lady demonstrated it.

Ride safe, have fun.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #15
BecketMa said:
These are things to check on your 99
the computer chip was replaced--stock one caused hot wx hesitation
the starter relay was replaced--stock one fuses shut at low voltage
a crash pan was added--it didn't come with one
the rubber brake lines have been replaced--the stock ones will start leaking
Carefully inspect the joint between the trany and engine to make sure there isn't any oil seepage--BMW made a new seal that doesn't leak like the stock ones...

OH! I almost forgot. By design your stock speedometer is off by about 10mph. Multiply your indicated speed by 90% to come close to your actual speed. The odometer is accurate in spite of the speedo being off.
Many thanks again for all your insight and knowledge.

The bike appears to have been impeccably cared for. I went to San Francisco BMW and gave them the vin#. They were able to look up the bike and tell me about all the warranty work it had done, etc. They now have my name associated with the bike.

I brought the bike over to Bavarian Cycle Works in San Francisco to introduce myself and to check them out, and I spoke with Issa Eismont, one of the co owners. It turns out he was the service manager of Santa Cruz BMW until recently. The last owner of the bike had it serviced the last few years at Santa Cruz BMW and Issa remembered the bike specifically and was able to recall a bunch of little things the bike had done to it at the last servicing last year (a 12K service that ran about $2500 including new tires)! He told me the guy who owned the bike was meticulous about it's maintenance, all done by the dealer. So while I'll check out all the things you mention (I've been those points mentioned elsewhere on the forum), I'm going to guess since those appear to be well known issues, that I will be told most of those things have been done. If not, I'll get them done.

And I notice the speedo issue. It just didn't seem right. I know how fast the lanes of traffic tend to move in the Bay Area. The #2 lane on most freeways around here almost always runs at 66-67 mph. The speedo has consistently been above 70 when I rode the bike in that lane.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
jrlakin said:
Does your bike have a CD changer in the rear saddle bag? If so you can remove the CD changer and the dice unit will plug right into it--no other modifications needed. I did it, and I don't know swat about electicity or wiring etc. All the connections should come with the unit.
It does have a cd changer in the trunk. My riding buddy is good with tools. If I have the unit, he will probably do the connecting for me if I ask him.
 

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Michael...Forget what the Harley was like, this is a completely different piece of equipment. Your FXR is probably more than 200lbs lighter than the LT, and the LT is a lot taller, but it will be able to really lean in a turn, where the Harley would be throwing sparks and scaring the crap out of you. Also if it wants to take a nap, just get out of the way, it is too heavy to muscle, then use the correct method to pick it up as someone else posted. It will do 60mph in 1st gear, 80 in 2nd. It loves the high revs. As far as the speedo correction, if you have the BC, (bike computer) when you get up to speed, select the average mph, and push the reset button, it suprizing enough will give you your accurate speed. I found this out, and checked out my actual speed at various speedo speeds, and now have an accurate idea of what speed I am actually at, given diffferent speedo readings. OR you can go to walmart or costco and buy an inexpensive garmin gps and suction cup it to the stingray, and it will give you accurate speed readings. Mine has the mount that suctions to a smooth surface. it has never fallen off! Enjoy the ride my friend :bmw:
 

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mcpsycle said:
I recently bought a 1999 K1200LT that I plan on using on a cross country motorcycle trip in May, 2011. I have also just joined this forum. I would like to introduce myself and ask a bunch of questions.

[...]
So perhaps that’s enough to introduce myself and start to get to know you and ask questions.
Michael, welcome to the group! Hans said it well, give yourself time, even at slow speeds, the LTs can be quite manageable. Within my 1st year (and some good guidance and coaching), head up, eyes forward, almost a Zen-sort of thing and I could maneuver my 2001 at the slowest of speeds and some pretty tight areas.

After losing the '01 last Fall and picking up an '05, I've had to re-learn some muscle memory. The geometry is slightly different, grabby integrated brakes, but I'm getting back to where I was. An Advanced Rider Course is in my future.

Keep us posted on your travels. Be safe out there.
 

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If the Speedometer error is something that you just can't live with there is a fix for early model year machines published in the HALL OF WISDOM. Admittedly, it's not for the faint of heart, however if implemented as described it will eliminate the problem. You can review the procedure here;
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/faq.php?s=&do=search&q=speedometer+fix&match=all&titlesonly=0
Scroll down to the 1st article.

Also, I'd like to 2nd the suggestion to sign up for an MSF Experienced Rider Course. That class is perfect for an individual like yourself that has lots of experience but is working on learning the nuances of a new ride. It will give you an opportunity, in a controlled environment, to practice all those skills that will save you butt in the real world. Those include, cornering, swerving, braking, quick stops and most importantly slow speed handling including slow tight turns. Good luck with your new to you bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Lynn_Keen said:
Also, I'd like to 2nd the suggestion to sign up for an MSF Experienced Rider Course.
I took the ERC somewhere about 1993, about a year after I bought the Harley. I had been thinking about taking it again, even before I bought the LT. Now I'm sure I'll take it again, but I think I'll wait a few months and get use to the bike before taking the ERC on it.
 
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