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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of adding a new touring bike to the stable. I'm about 2 months away from retiring from the Army after 28 yrs and want to give myself a retirement gift. I currently ride a Valkarie (without faring) and want a bike I can do 500-600 miles a day on without feeling "beat up" at the end. (I plan to keep the Valkarie just because I enjoy riding it up to about 300 miles a day). I have ridden Hondas (3), Yamahas (2), and a Harley. I test drove a Goldwing a couple of years ago and was impressed but would like some input from you out there who have had a Wing and a K1200LT. My priorites are comfort, then reliabilty (I will ride to Alaska next summer), and finally handling. I'm a little concerned with posting describing the K as "top heavy," also the front end shimmy and rear end problems. I consider myself an experienced rider and am 6'2" tall and weigh 195. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Welcome!

I'm not an ex-Wing rider, but will offer up some thoughts.

I came off of 7 previous Hondas, and bought the LT for the very reason you have already mentioned. I wanted a bike that I could ride FAR, and not feel beat up. Well, the LT had delivered beyond my dreams. 700-800 miles a days is NOTHING to a K1200LT. My longest day was over 1100 miles. Simply amazing.

Handling. The K1200LT will out-handle any bike in it's class. Sure, you have to learn the bike at slow speeds. But I don't think this is really a need for concern. And make no mistake, the Wingers drop their bikes as much as we drop the LT. Steenkin gravity!!! :eek: An experienced rider at 6'2" and 195 pounds will have no problems with the LT.

As far as reliability . . . it's a machine. And machines fail. The rear drive issue is all but gone away with the newer model LTs ('03 and newer). As for front end shimmy...I am convinced it has everything to do with tire balance and wear. Keep good rubber on your LT and it won't be a problem. Not letting go of the handlebars is another good way to avoid the issue. To be honest, I've only felt my LT try to shimmy once or twice. And that's been some time ago.

Having said all that...follow your heart. Ride both and buy the one that speaks to your soul. It's really just that simple.
 

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Thank you for your service to our country!

They are both great bikes, ride 'em and see which one fits you the best. I found the LT to have better performance off the slab and wanted that capability. And my wife really prefered the LT. If you are riding solo primarily, you may wish to check out the GT, Honda ST1300 and Yamaha FJR, all great sport touring bikes for all day riding as well. Enjoy the search :)
 

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Interesting. I have 3 guys that I ride regulary toghether and they have: 1 BMW LT, 1 Valkirie that level 1 model, but he puts a windshield on the bike , and another Valkirie, the interestate.
So I rode both Valkiries and I have to tell you that the Interestate is impress but still like 'hard to turn' on twiste roads. BUT, my couple friends who ride it, says exactly the same thing about my LT when they rode it... so who knows...

Well, being 6.2 I don't think you will have problems with the 'top heavy' LT. It will ride different from your bike for sure, but nothing you cannot handle.

I went to Alaska last summer and had no problems at all with the LT, but also my both Vakirie riders friends went with me and they had no problems neither...
 

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swetms said:
I'm about 2 months away from retiring from the Army after 28 yrs and want to give myself a retirement gift.
A significant accomplishment warrants a significant gift. Get a BIG and LUXURIOUS bike!

...want a bike I can do 500-600 miles a day on without feeling "beat up" at the end.
I'd say you're limited to an 1800 Goldwing or a K1200LT. They're both great bikes, but have very different "feels." In my opinion, the Goldwing will feel more stable upon embarkation and at slow speeds, and will feel most similar to your Valkyrie, a bike you're already comfortable riding. The LT will feel top-heavy, and thus, more maneuverable at speeds greater than 30mph and much better able to handle twisty roads (the best kind!). Many of the differences only reveal themselves after an hour in the saddle, which is longer than most test-rides permit. I always recommend buyers rent one of each and see how you, and any probable passengers, like them.

p.s., It sounds like a small thing, but the 1980's-era manual windshield on the GL pales in comparison to the mechanized one on the LT, which can be raised or lowered at the push of a button under your left thumb at almost any speed - it was one of the deciding factors for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for taking the time for the responses. They are very helpful. Great advice on renting one of each and spending some time in the saddle. Like anything, it seems both have their pros and cons. I'm very impressed with the camaraderie that seems to exist in the BMW community--especially on this website. Again, much thanks for the input.

Mike Sweet
 

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Said it before and will prolly say it again.
I have had the pleasure of owning several goldwings and Many Hd's and while the HD is pleasing to the eye and the GL is well supported and reliable, neither the Gl or HD are as "Refined" and as solid as the LT.

Hands down best handling of the 3. Being top heavy is more bark than bite.
Once you get use to it - not a problem. I have never dropped mine and the only thing I had to get use to is the shorter handlebar turning radius.

The more I ride it the smaller it feels.
 

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since no one's mentioned it, the '05 LT changed the rake a little -- makes it feel much better at slow (parking lot turning) speeds.

As for low speed stability of Wings - I've mentioned elsewhere, when riding surrounded by wings in fundraisers, they all commented how "rock solid stable" the LT looked to them (< 5MPH, in formation) -- the Wing feels easier to handle, but when you get used to the LT at low speed, it is simply great (ok maybe great > 2MPH *grin*). I've only ridden a Wing once, and it felt to me like it's "easy" feel made it twitchy at slow speeds by comparison, but something I'd surely get used to (nothing wrong with it). I think the same goes for the LT - get used to it.

Also - I'll bet I put on over 100 miles over a couple of weekends of testrides at my dealer. Don't be afraid to keep going back for more!
 

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swetms said:
My priorites are comfort, then reliabilty (I will ride to Alaska next summer), and finally handling.
The LT does it all. I rode mine to Alaska in 2004 after I retired and the LT handled it without any problems. I didn't tackle any more off road than the ubiquitous road construction (destruction?), but this past June I returned with friends, all on various GS's, and we did the Cassiar, Top of the World, and the Dalton, and in retrospect the LT would have done it all, with one exception (see picture), with only moderate pucker.

Great protection from the weather and engine heat; heated goodies; adjustable windscreen; and cruise control make it a winner. If you complete your profile with your location, you may hear from LT riders in your area who can offer some more info and help.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I currently live in Carson City (great riding 300+ days a year) but will relocate to St. Anthony, Idaho (50 miles northeast of Idaho Falls) upon retirement in 6 weeks. The nearest BMW dealer is in Salt Lake (240 miles) but I can deal with that. It will just give me an excuse to ride more to go see the dealer. I expect a much shorter riding season there but it should be beautiful scenery. Again, thanks for the help. I would appreciate all opinions I can get.

Mike
 

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It's beautiful scenery up there - I lived in SLC.

BUT it's also 5,000 ft above sea level --- you'll want to do your comparisons, take your test rides up there.

If they'll let you, take a test ride from SLC up to Park city.

I-80 is wide, but you'll feel the need for power heading up.

If you're really lucky, come back down the back way from Park city thru American Fork, and back up into SLC from the south. A nice 3 hour test ride :)

Check the roads from Park City to American Fork first - I think there were a few miles unpaved back in the 80's.

Actually, to get the sense of the bike, any road along the foothills there will do... I forget the name of the valley w/ a ski resort just outside of SLC, but a short yet really nice ride (and summer jazz & brats :).
 

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Lt Lt Lt

i think the LT is my 7th motorcycle....

i got it originally.....somewhat under protest to get something my wife could ride comfortably on back of for a long ride.....i though it was too BIG and too bulky.....

now i would say that the LT is by far the best bike i have ever owned and i can not envision ever being without one.....

since getting it, my wife has started riding on her own bike .....so that is not even an issue any more....

i ride the LT every day......in fact....now that i think about it....other than when i had to rebuild the rear drive a month or so ago...i cant remember when i last drove the car.....

thats what the LT will do for u.....(to you)

my longest ride so far is probably 500 miles in a day but i was perfectly good to go but my Harley riding buddy couldnt take any more....

i cant imagine that you will be in any way disappointed with a new LT
 

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Since you asked

I'd recommend doing a GW test ride, then an LT test ride, then repeat. If you have a SO take her with you on one of those rides on each bike. I did 2 or 3 rides of each before buying the LT.

Deciding factors for me were that adjustable windshield; better rear seating position for my wife; better c/c; better MPG; better looks, fit and finish; electric center stand; and (frankly) the uniqueness of the bike. Anybody can own a Goldwing (and apparently does :D ). You'll read stories about guys riding together on GWs and LTs; the LT gets the admiring glances and compliments.
 
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