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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just wanted to post a follow-up since I got some good advice from many members of this site regarding my previous post about traveling to Deal’s Gap. I just got back and it was an excellent trip. I left last Sunday and returned home on Thursday. The LT performed exactly as I had hoped and it was not only a pleasure to ride for such a long journey (9.5 hours from St. Louis to Deal’s Gap) but it was extremely fun to ride on the Tail of the Dragon. I saw lots of Gold Wings, trikes, BMW bikes of all style, Harleys, and of course the plethora of sport bikes. Had some fun conversations with other riders and it was an overall great experience that I will definitely do again.

This trip was my farewell ride for the LT and I’m selling it now that I’ve ridden it for one year. As I discussed in the ad for my bike that’s listed in the classified section of this web site, I’ve only been riding for two years since I completed the Rider’s Edge safety course in 2006. I originally purchased a 2005 Harley soft-tail Fat Boy cruiser (FLSTF) after I got my license. I rode that bike for 1 year and then realized that I tended to ride long distances all day and that bike just didn’t suit my needs. My plan is to buy a different bike every year until I’ve experienced several different types to see which one works best for me so this bike is #2 on the journey. One thing I do know is that my next bike will be a BMW since nothing else compares based on my limited experience so far as well as all the reading that I’ve done. Either a BMW RT or a GS will be next but for those that already own an LT they know I’ll be seeing a significant change in amenities and luxury but that’s the purpose of trying different bikes. Here’s a summary of what worked well for me on this trip.

Here are some inputs about the bike:

SEAT
The Rick Mayer seat was worth every penny. I had taken some long rides before using the stock BMW seat and had to dismount every 2.5 – 3 hours to get some relief. I was able to ride much longer in comfort with the new seat so if you are considering a new seat for your LT my experience would say do it now. There are lots to choose from and I’ve read many opinions about the different manufacturers and they all have their followers but I can only speak to the Rick Mayer seat and it worked very well for me.

J-PEGS
This is the first addition I put on the bike and I couldn’t imagine not having somewhere else to put your feet on a long ride. Alternating from the stock pegs to the J-Pegs keeps the legs from getting numb. Between the custom seat and the J-Pegs I could ride non-stop and only needed to exit when the bike needed fuel.

WINDSHIELD
My bike has a regular and a tall BMW windshield and I used the tall one for this trip. There’s probably no perfect windshield that’s good for all riding but for this trip the tall worked well and provided some protection from the cold air when needed and then dropped down and out of my sight line when riding the twisties on the Dragon. If I kept this bike (see the classifieds on this forum) I would probably experiment with other windshields but the selection is huge so that could get expensive performing the search for the best WS.

STORAGE
I can’t say enough about the copious storage capability of the LT. I will miss this feature with my next bike.

AUDIO
The audio system on the LT is excellent relative to features. I don’t really listen to the speakers since I use in-ear monitors but the features of the audio system are exceptional. My GPS unit accepts an SD memory card and I use that to store lots of MP3 files and I send that signal directly from my GPS (a ZUMO 550) to my in-ears via a headphone extension cable that I have routed down the left handlebar and under the plastic housing to exit under my seat. I left enough slack so that I can lift the seat to access the cable and when I want to use it I simply lower the seat with the cable hanging out on the side with about a 4” length. I then plug my in-ear cable into that cable with the 1/8” jack. I also have a short male-to-male adapter cable from Radio Shack that I use to plug the output of my ZUMO directly into the AUX input of the bike’s audio system. This way I can not only hear the MP3 music via the speakers on the bike but I can also hear the voice commands from the GPS. Now, here’s the little trick that worked very well for me to keep me from exceeding the speed limit on the Dragon since the police monitor this very closely. I didn’t use my in-ears while riding the Dragon and chose to feed the signal into the bike’s audio system. By doing that, I was able to use the speed dependent volume feature of the audio system (the faster you go, the volume automatically increases to compensate for wind noise, etc.). In other words, when the volume of the music got to a noticeable level then it got my attention and I would know that my speed was over the posted limit of 30 mph. That speed sounds low but once you’ve experienced the quick turns of the road you’ll realize that it’s still fun to ride even at that speed.


Here’s some inputs about the accessories that worked well on the trip:

JACKET
I have the BMW Rallye Pro II jacket as well as the BMW Venting Machine but the Rallye II was definitely the one to take on this ride with the expected temperature fluxuations. I’ve always liked this jacket and it once again proved that it was a good choice for me in that it provided everything that I want in a jacket. Protection from pavement impact via armor inserts, strong material that has a high melting temperature for sliding on pavement (oh my), lots of vents, lots of pockets, a removable liner to keep warmer and increase water resistance, Velcro in all the right places, a soft collar that doesn’t grind the skin on the neck, and it just looks good too.

UNDERWEAR
I have one pair of UnderArmour underwear (briefs) and they aren’t good. They put the seams right on each hip so that you sit on this fat seam that burrows into your hips after a little over an hour and those will go in the trash can. I had some other Jockey brand made of the similar microfiber material and those worked fine. Maybe I just purchased the wrong pair of UnderArmour briefs but these didn’t work for me at all.

HELMET
I had a Shoei RF-1000 full-face helmet and that was a very comfortable helmet. I recently purchased a Shoei Multitec modular helmet because I liked the option of being able to flip the lower section of the helmet over my head when stopping for fuel and not having to remove the entire full-face helmet. This helmet is also very comfortable and is even easier to put on the head. It also made it easier to pull over my head with the in-ear monitors in place since they extend slightly from the ear canal when inserted. I also noticed on this ride that I found it convenient to be able to lift the lower section while riding and this provided excellent visibility to look down and access vents, zippers, pockets, etc. without having to rely on feel with gloves. Having a tall windshield was helpful since I didn’t have to worry about the wind catching the lower section in the raised position.

LODGING
I stayed at the Fontana Village Lodge (http://www.fontanavillage.com/) and will stay there on my next trip too. If I go back via the BMW car that my wife recently bought based on my pleasure with the BMW bike then we’ll likely stay there for the visit. She saw the pictures from the trip and wants to go sometime. It’s an excellent facility and location with every amenity that I wanted. Food in the restaurant was very good with plenty of variety and the room was very nice with a balcony that allowed me to see the mountains every morning and evening. Free wireless Internet access in the lounge by the fireplace and also Internet available via cable in the room for $10/day. Well worth my money since I tend to do e-mail in the evenings when on travel. Plus, they have a special for the month of September and the cost per night was only $69 rather than $99. Great price and it’s not crowded now but it will be in October when the leaves begin to turn. Go right now if you can get away on the bike for a few days.

It was an exceptional week and I’m not much of a person for being alone (married for 30 years) but I’ll have to say that it was fun having all that freedom to ride all week with no specific plans. My wife says that the solitude is what she thinks I like so much about riding and I have to agree with her. Like most of us I have a lot of stress in the day-to-day life and climbing on the bike for long rides really helps to clear the mind. I’ll always have a bike, just deciding on which one that will be. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up buying another LT after I’ve tried the other flavors. I can’t imagine anything that’s more comfortable than this bike. Thanks again for all the advice I received prior to leaving for this trip. If anyone has questions just fire me a note and I'll be happy to answer. I've attached a good picture of the LT along side the road on the Dragon that shows the many typical curves that you can expect. I also attached some other pics from the trip. :wave

Tim
 

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BMWBUYER,
I enjoyed your critique of your trip and your equipment. I have been to the “Tail Of The Dragon” as well and found the LT to be very capable. I feel certain that it is the only bike in it’s class that can do the Dragon similar to that of a sport bike. I recently returned from a trip from Fayetteville NC to Lake George NY. I’m still riding the stock seat and the 13.5 hour trip was tough on my back side so your comments on the Rick Mayer seat are welcome. I don’t presently have the JPEGS because I thought that when I had once sat on a bike with the JPEGs that I felt as though there was a lot of pressure right on my tailbone. I opted not to go that route for that reason but I again appreciate your opinion. Its often very hard to sit on a bike for a few minutes and determine what would work best for long trips so again thanks for your thoughts.
 

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I dont understand why you are selling the bike if you felt the trip was a great trip...and the bike performed as you liked.....???
 

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Discussion Starter #4
As I said in my post, I'm selling the bike because my plan has always been to own several different bikes since I'm relatively new to motorcycle ownership. I've only owned a cruiser and a touring bike at this point. Now I want to experience some other types of bikes to see what I like. As I mentioned, I may very well come back to another LT in the future but that depends on what I find out after experiencing other types of bikes. A GS is a completely different ride than an LT and until you own one it's hard to make an accurate assessment and I haven't owned one yet. I don't think that taking a single test ride is sufficient to determine the positive and negative attributes of a bike so owning several different bikes with different designs is how I plan to play "catch up" with those that have been riding for years and have had the opportunity to own multiple bikes.

Tim
 

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BMWROLLIN said:
BMWBUYER,
I don’t presently have the JPEGS because I thought that when I had once sat on a bike with the JPEGs that I felt as though there was a lot of pressure right on my tailbone.

I beileve that J-Pegs are best when used in combination with a backrest.
The backrest provides counter pressure for your elevated legs. Another trick that I employ is; to use the J-Pegs one leg at a time. I use them more since I recieved my Russell saddle w/backrest.

Keith
 

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You will get nothing but good advice here,, well from most on here anyway... Mine is an exception cause it just an opinion ;) Be sure to take a good look at the Suzuki Bandit 1250 ABS and the triumph 1050 tiger ABS...Very underrated but top of the food chain in quality and dependability....

When your all done playing around let us know when you get your next K1200LT :D :D ........Pete
 

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Tim:

My first run over Deal's Gap was in 1975 back before it became the "thing" to do. Ran it all the way from the back entrance of Cade's Cove to Robbinsville NC without meeting a single other motorcycle. In the years since I've ridden it many times on many different models and makes. Some bikes take to the Dragon as well or better than the KLT, but getting to the Dragon from the point of beginning, now that's another story. You are not going to find anything to equal the KLT on the trip to and fro. Period. I recently did the Alps/Dolomites on a R1100R - very agile for that type riding but on the return flat ride from northern Italy back to near Munich - some of it on the autobahn - I longed for my KLT. In July did a 3700 mile RT to BMWMOA in Wyoming and thoroughly enjoyed every mile (except for the 106 degree wx going through St. Louis) and, I did it all on a STOCK seat but with a little help from beads (they really keep the bottom cool). Try 'em all and my bet is you will wind up back on another KLT. At 70 (age, not MPH, that's usually 80+), I need all the comforts I can get and nothing can measure up to the KLT.
Be safe and keep the shiny side up.
TomC
 

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Discussion Starter #8
TomC: You're my hero! Since you're 70 and riding that tells me I've still got at least 20 more years to enjoy the new discovery of motorcycling. Feel like I missed a lot of years without knowing how great it is on a bike. Better late than never I suppose.

Thanks,
Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Been away for a few days but noticed the comment about J-pegs and backrests. Competely agree and that's what I experienced. I installed the J-pegs first and that helped but I still wasn't that satisfied with riding position results. I later installed the BakUp backrest and that combination worked extremely well and was a great improvement over J-pegs alone. I'm a structural engineer and everything in my world comes back to having a solid "load path". Combining the J-pegs with a backrest allows for a connection path for the lower body and also keeps the lower back from being arched with no support. My ride to Deal's Gap (9.5 hours) was my longest ever and I felt better after that ride than after some of my previous short rides without J-pegs and a backrest.

Tim
 
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