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Discussion Starter #1
The group here is probably sick of comparisons between the LT and the GL1800, but since I currently own and ride both, I thought I would post a reasonably concise opinion piece on how the 2005 LT and the 2012 GL1800 compare in MY book.

Styling - In everyone's opinion that has seen both, the LT wins hands down

Engine - The (2012) GL1800 has a lot more bottom-end torque. Good and bad, GL1800 by a nose.

Clutch/Transmission - The GL1800 transmission shifts "clunky" at 1060 miles compared to the LT with 6500 miles. However, I think the LT is too "long legged" in 1st gear, which concerns me a bit with regard to clutch wear and starting out under some conditions. Call this one a draw. (before anyone sneers at my 1060 miles on the GL1800, bear in mind this is NOT my first GL1800. I'm just comparing my latest one to the LT.)

Handling - LT again hands down. The GL1800 feels a bit "lighter" in the parking lot, but the LT walks all over it over 5mph. Pillion weight shifts are much more noticeable on the GL1800, as well.

Brakes - Tough call. Braking systems are certainly different, not sure which is "better". Personally, I do NOT like the eternal squealing and squalling of the otherwise-perfectly -good LT brakes, but that's just my peeve.

Vibration/resonances/bodywork - IMHO quality is up on the Honda over previous years, call overall quality a draw. The LT's "tupperware" and exhaust buzzes and rattles like crazy compared to the Honda, though. Give that sub-category to the GL1800.

Suspension/Touring comfort - LT wins. GL1800 suspension is just plain unsophisticated, also bottoms out quickly. with max preload set. (430 pound combined 2-up load) Both stock seats, (again in my opinion) are equally poor in different ways. I'm 6' 3", so both bikes have the pegs placed poorly for my use; the LT is somewhat worse in this regard.

Airflow - LT wins, hands down. Stock GL1800 batters the pillion unmercifully by comparison, rider protection isn't as good as the LT either.

Electronics - Apples and orange comparison. Honda has raised the bar quite a bit on the 2012 GL1800 audio system and GPS, but since I'm comparing it to a 2005 LT, no call is made. (My totally unfair comparison is that the 2005 LT stereo sounds tinny compared to newer touring bikes in general, including HD and my 2009 Victory Vision Tour Premium)

So - agree, disagree, roll your eyes at will. It's all just my opinion. Why did I buy a 6 year old LT? Simply to ride it for a while and see if there would be reason to look at a 1600. There are things about the 1600 I don't like from the curb, but I thought I'd put some miles on a LT to buffer my (negative) first BMW impressions before I look more seriously at the 1600. Of course now that I've put that all in print it seems to make no sense at all... My wife likes the swoopy body work, comfort and the chrome - that's probably it. (she liked the Victory Vision for the same reasons, so I bought one of those too... Pattern?) ;-)

--jim
 

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Thanks for putting your thoughts on the forum Jim. Very informative. I rode an RT for a long time and wanted a bigger bike for 2 up riding. We looked at Wings and my bride liked them OK, but I was such a BMW fan, I went with the LT and happy that I did.

Why didn't you compare the Victory as well? I only have seen them, never even sat on one.
 

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Having come from an 02 K1200LT that I rode for about 8 years and 50,000 miles, you will not get much of an impression of the K1600GTL from the K1200LT.

I now have about 2,500 miles on the K1600GTL and I can honestly tell you, there is more that is different than similar. The only way to really feel the difference is to get on it and ride. For me, a 1,000 miles was not enough. To really appreciate what the K1600 could do I first had to learn how to ride her.

My first 1 hour demo, told me to look elsewhere because this bike was more than I could handle!
 

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Hi,
Thanks for your post. Opinions do matter!

I have an '03 LT with 117412 miles and the original clutch. I agree with you that 1st gear is a little long legged. I don't slip mine mutch as I'm fairly aggressive on take off. I drove trucks in the past and know how to shift up or down w/o slipping the clutch. Not sure that has anything to do with the long life of mine, but I'd like to think so. Riding a dry clutch wears really fast. Gotta let'em fully engage as quikly as possible them give her he--!

I only rode a GL once and was impressed with the guiet engine and really noticed how short legged first gear was and noticed taking off in second was much better. I looked at 1st gear as compared to dual low in a truck. Only used when maneuvering at real low speeds(like in a parking lot). So it has a good purpose.

Oh well, I guess that's why we have all these choices of things to ride/drive as big boy toys!

Vern :bmw:
 

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Interesting comparison Jim, I went from the gl1800 to the LT, and have never looked back. My biggest issue was that the goldwing was just kind of boring to ride. It was powerful, and well, boring. I kept asking myself if I was missing the excitment of riding a motorcycle? I sold it and bought the LT....Wow, it didn't take more than a 90 mile ride home to realize that YES I had been missing something. Plus the LT really has way more bells and whistles than the GW. My absolute favorite is the electric adjustible windshield. I still don't understand why Honda hasn't caught on to that one. I can't really explain the ride aspect, it is just so damn much fun to ride, I cannot wait to get out on the LT everyday. To the store, to work, to hell and gone.....It really is an exciting and satisfying ride. :bmw: :dance:
 

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Jim,

Very nice summary comparison. Thanks. It will be a good piece to have around here.

For my part, I have a "vintage" mix in the garage....a '99 LT and a '92 Wing, among others. I got the Wing because it's a relatively easy bike to mount a side car on. I have the car...the Wing....just haven't had the time to build up the rig. Hopefully soon.

However, I've gotten a lot of two wheel time on the GL1500, and now my LT as well. Handling isn't close. LT all the way. Mileage....on my 100HP LT.....a consistent 50 MPG....on the Wing.....38. The one place where my Wing is noteworthy is the electronics. I've got an AM/FM....a cassette player, an intercom, and a factory CB. Vintage 1992...and it all works well! The CB punches out with a good range, the intercom is very clear.....etc. In 1992 BMW had a radio/cassette as an expensive option on just a few models.....and nutt'n else. I know...cause my '95 K75RT has that generation radio....ain't much to write home about. Honda's electronics vendors have for years produced stuff that works well, and usually integrates very well.

The one other thing I do like about the Wing is the feel of the motor. The 1500 is quite smooth.....gobs of low and mid range torque....and a very satisfying "feel" as the throttle rolls on. I kinda react to it they way I do to an airhead. Just "feels"....good. In deference to the GL1800 owners out there....like Jim.....that is good bike that does a number of things well.

However, now that I have a J&M installed on my LT,.........I ride it almost exclusively. Until the K1600 came along, the K1200LT was hands down the best handling touring bike out there. And, at the price differential between a new K1600 and a late model LT......if money's an issue...a clean, used LT is a marvelous buy.

Now that I got my tunes back in a headset, and bike to bike com.......the Wing will only be used as a sidecar hauler.

JD
 

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Roamrider said:
Jim,
Honda's electronics vendors have for years produced stuff that works well, and usually integrates very well.
JD
Having had two GL1800's with the cd player, I'd have to disagree ... most of the electronics are good ... the cd players are crap ... on my 04 I took it out and put an alarm system in the hole ... both units had failures that ruined the cd's in the unit .... one was part of a 12 cd boxed set ... needless to say ... I was not a happy camper
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies, gents. I'm taking the LT to the shop this week for the 6000-mile maintenance, and since the bike is six years old, I'm going to have them change all the fluids, not just the ones on the schedule.

Bill - I wasn't sure a Victory Vision comparison would be appropriate, but that would be fun to do . As compressed as possible, IMHO the Vision is hands down the BEST long-distance touring bike for big guys. (over six feet and over 200lbs) The seat, riding position, airflow, comfort and lack of vibration make it what I like to think of as what HD could have been by now if they'd had significant competition. Down side? The big twin raises the center of gravity so low speed is more painful, also obvious in-town summer heat issues. Abbreviated summary: In-town, 2-up is hot and a lot of work, highway is pure pleasure. (more may follow if I get some time)

Dano - thanks for the "1600 is completely different" warning. In a nutshell, what's put me off about the 1600 is the styling and lack of a reverse feature. (and other creature comforts) It appears to me to be a Really Large Sport Tourer, and if that's what you're looking for that's terrific. It just isn't what I'm looking for.

Vern - good advise on the clutch. Slipping it out makes me crazy, so I'll do what you suggest and be a little more aggressive at takeoff.

Rich - I agree 100%, the GL1800 *is* boring. That's why I keep bought the Vision and now the LT. Different ends of the spectrum, but both have strong personalities and are a lot of fun. At this point in the game if I could see the Honda for $20k I probably would.

JD - I just bought the Scala Rider G4 Powerset pair and put them in a couple of full-faced helmets for this fall/winter season. (side note, HJC may too cheap for some, but they have a XXX-large size helmet. My XX-large Nolans have me spitting the mic out every few seconds) Anyway, the G4's work well enough that I'm not finding myself threatening to design my own every few minutes or hours now.

Thanks again, guys - interesting conversation(s). :)
--jim
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
casualemt said:
Hey Jim, didn't know if you had seen this comparison on youtube. Not really indepth, but as a bmw rider I was happy with the conclusion..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYUbURkdvnY
I hadn't seen it, thanks!

I found his comment about the Vision's brakes interesting. They do require some hand-power in earlier years, (like my 2009) but were redesigned with standard ABS in 2010 and later. The LT brakes, with servo-assist and ABS are a lot more sophisticated - even if the expletive-deleted things do squeal like crazy...

My thinking at this point is that I'm going to sell the '12 Honda, keep the '05 LT and get a new '12 Vision late winter/early spring. The local Victory dealer also sells Honda, so I'm hoping he'll run short of GL1800's at the beginning of the season and give me reasonable money for mine. If I wake up from that delusion I'll probably just market it the usual way. Still a pass on the K1600GTL, though. Can't get warmed up to it.

[Also, Rich thanks for reminding me about the lack of a motorized windshield on the GL1800. Absolutely NO excuse for that in the 2012 model year, considering Honda did actually/finally make some small changes to the platform]

--jim
 

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Discussion Starter #11
:crazy:
audioguy said:
... Still a pass on the K1600GTL, though. Can't get warmed up to it.
--jim
For whatever it's worth, I'm getting over being hacked off about the GTL's styling and lack of a reverse drive. If the dealer's demo GTL is available next week when I take the LT in for service, I'll take it for a half-hour or so. The dealer (Westside in Spokane) has a good location; close to both a 70-mph freeway and a few backroads twisties.
OTOH, for $3K or so I can buy a Russell seat and a Zumo 665 for the LT and just keep it for a few years. I don't HAVE to have the latest model... I don't ... Really... :crazy:

I took the LT out the other night a little before sunset. 65F, dense cool air in the valleys. Zipped around a few rural twisties here south of Spokane, and decided I like virtually everything about the bike except the rider's seat, foot position, stock windscreen, squalling brakes and buzzing bodywork. The seat I'm not sure about yet, but I did order a 22" Cee Bailey "Whisper" windscreen. Foot position (for long distance rides) can be kinda-sorta fixed with J-Pegs or ****-O Pegs. The brakes and Tupperware I can live with.

Just thinking out loud here.
--jim
 

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The buzzing and rattling may be a loose or missing small rubber double sided pad on the sides between the lower cowling and the plastic radiator surround/spoiler toward the front where they join. To replace mine I simply cut a small strip of double sided 3M outdoor mounting tape and stuck it in there. Still there after 140K miles... you'll need to pop the lower off in order to mount it which is a piece o' cake.

You may also want to check for tightness of the exhaust mounting studs/nuts. Best advice on them is to pull one at a time, coat with a THIN layer of high temp nickle based anti-seize, and re-torque to specs minus 20% to allow for the lubricating properties of the anti-seize.

Did I mention a THIN coating and nickle based high temp anti-seize? ;)

You may also be hearing the injectors which are kinda' noisy - since the db level is so low at idle and slow cruise they stand out. Nothing to be concerned about, normal operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, Ron.

What you described sounds like likely candidates. After the bike comes down to warm idle there's a resonant buzz/rattle that sounds like it's come from low in front, with a sharper buzz mixed in from somewhere. I do hear a little ticking as well, but I assumed that was injectors. The bike has 6500 miles, so I'm not expecting valve noises quite yet.

A little off-topic, but are you the "ischial tuberosities" guy? If so I need to talk to someone about a real PITA. ;-)

Thanks again,
--jim

RonKMiller said:
The buzzing and rattling may be a loose or missing small rubber double sided pad on the sides between the lower cowling and the plastic radiator surround/spoiler toward the front where they join. To replace mine I simply cut a small strip of double sided 3M outdoor mounting tape and stuck it in there. Still there after 140K miles... you'll need to pop the lower off in order to mount it which is a piece o' cake.

You may also want to check for tightness of the exhaust mounting studs/nuts. Best advice on them is to pull one at a time, coat with a THIN layer of high temp nickle based anti-seize, and re-torque to specs minus 20% to allow for the lubricating properties of the anti-seize.

Did I mention a THIN coating and nickle based high temp anti-seize? ;)

You may also be hearing the injectors which are kinda' noisy - since the db level is so low at idle and slow cruise they stand out. Nothing to be concerned about, normal operation.
 

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audioguy said:
Thanks, Ron.

What you described sounds like likely candidates. After the bike comes down to warm idle there's a resonant buzz/rattle that sounds like it's come from low in front, with a sharper buzz mixed in from somewhere. I do hear a little ticking as well, but I assumed that was injectors. The bike has 6500 miles, so I'm not expecting valve noises quite yet.

A little off-topic, but are you the "ischial tuberosities" guy? If so I need to talk to someone about a real PITA. ;-)

Thanks again,
--jim
I don't think you'll ever hear a traditional "loose valve" noise like on older BMW airheads (which is actually a good sound with them...) The Brick's valves tend to tighten up, but generally speaking after the first and especially after the second adjustment - if needed - they tend to stay stable for a very long time. Still always worth checking clearance every 25K miles or so - and it's easy to do.

Figure 20K miles until it's fully broken in. That may seem ridiculous at first glance but pretty sure that's the consensus among long term owners.

It's one hell of an engine - and lives to be reved to red line all day long. Despite all of our whining about other issues I can't ever remember anyone having an outright failure. Ditto for the tranny. (unless of course they were abused or neglected) As bulletproof as any engine ever made. :check:

"It's Like Butt-ahh!" :D (PM me, thanks)
 

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Dan Diver is absolutely correct about the K1600GTL. I also own a 2005 K1200LT and have also driven the K1600GTL and GT numerous miles. The LT should not be compared in any way to the K1600's. Both bikes are completely different. If you like power, speed, handling and low weight with smoothness thrown in, go for the K1600's. There is no need for electric reverse. I weigh 170 and have no trouble pushing them around, except up hill. On the other hand, if you like better wind protection, less power, less top speed, heavy luxury touring with electric reverse go for the K1200LT. Either way you should be completely happy with either bikes. I picked the LT due to price and I feel in some ways it out shines the K1600's. Just my opinion. Demo the K1600GTL and hold on. My demo has reached over 136mph on conservative demo rides. Enjoy. :wave :wave
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I still reserve the right to be peeved at BMW for dropping their heavy tourer, but I've decided not to take it out on the 1600. You gents are correct, it's a rabbits and acetone comparison.

Having added a Cee Bailey #2 Whisper Flow windscreen, a Freedom Air seat pad and having fixed the Tupperware, I've decided to keep the old rabbit for a while. She still squeals like dry metal on a hot day stopping, but that does give people a reason to turn and stare... ;-)

--jim
 

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Hey, like we LT owners always say,"Loud Brakes Save Lives!" :histerica :histerica :histerica
 

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Just remember the 1600 GTL is not a replacement for the LT. There will be proper LT follow on in a few years and it will be a 2000 LT (as in 2 liter).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
jzeiler said:
Just remember the 1600 GTL is not a replacement for the LT. There will be proper LT follow on in a few years and it will be a 2000 LT (as in 2 liter).
W-e-l-l, I certainly hope that turns out to be the case. Not that I doubt you - I hope your information turns out to be closer to true than the media blather currently circulating.

--jim
 
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