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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All,

I've been lurking here for a few weeks now and finally signed up today. I've been searching and researching touring bikes since shortly after I drove my Valkyrie Interstate into the drivers side door of an SUV who's driver thought Stop signs were optional.

I've narrowed the field down from 4 to 2; the GL1800 and the K1200LT. I'm very familiar with the Wing but not so much with the BMW. I've sat on both and ergo wise they both work for me. My SO prefers the LT's passenger accommodations over the GL. I think both bikes are beautiful in their own right and I don't think I could go wrong either way.

I do however, have a few questions that I really couldn't find definitive answers too.

The year group I'm interested in is 2005 and up. I know the models were once designated LT, LTC and LTE. I know this determined what was standard equipment. I may be wrong but I don't think this is the case anymore.

1. Is the intercom system standard now or is it still an option (2005-2008)?

2. Is there an aux input for an mp3 player?

3. I don't want to start a war with this one because I know it's been beaten to death so I'll state this as diplomatically as I can; does the owners manual definitively state what octane fuel must be run or does it only recommend what octane to use?

The one thing that did frighten me when I first started lurking here was one of the stickeys titled Final Drive Failure Registry...that did not give me a warm fuzzy. I've read the numerous threads on this issue and have come to the conclusion that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for these failures or that there is any proactive action one can take to eliminate (permanent fix) this potentiality. It's going to come down to me deciding if this is a risk worth accepting. At this point, I do not think it would stop me from purchasing a LT.

Anyway, sorry for the long winded post....I appreciate any feedback, positive or negative.

Thanks,
Al
 

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Welcome, all I can say is if the SO is happy you will be happy.
Q1. At some point they became standard I believe in the series your looking at.
Q2. I believe so but someone with a newer model will answer that for you.
Q3. I burn reg a lot of the time. Never seems to cause an issue for me.

As for the final drive I believe that we cause ourselves a disservice by making a big deal about this. It is an issue but it is a 4% issue from what I have read. Every bike or car has issues. A forum will always bring out the bad issues because as humans we like to complain about stuff. (I am guilty of this as well)

If you can take the bike out for a ride with the SO and my guess is she will like the LT. It is a good thing to make the SO happy. When you want to spend money on the bike to make things safer for her or better for her then it is easier to get the funds.

Both bikes are good. The LT fits me better for the type of riding I like to do and I really feel like I am part of the bike when I ride it.

I don't think you can go wrong with either bike. But I can say I think the LT is the better bike unless you like to travel the interstates, then I would say go for the older 1500 wing. Enjoy and have fun finding the bike.
 

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Final drives seem to be far more reliable on '05 up bikes, actually, started getting better '03. So, '03-'05 not so bad, '05 up far less chance of having a final drive issue. No absolute guarantee on any year though.

Given the choice of a Wing or an LT though, I would still pick the LT.

You have to make the final choice on everything you want the bike to do for you, so get a LONG test ride on both. Easy to do at most BMW dealers ("Just get it back before we close.":)), more problematic with most Honda dealers ("You want to actually ride it before siging the papers?":mad:).
 

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Welcome aboard!

Q1: I bought an '05 and the intercom was an option.
Q2: Yep. You'll need to park your iPod in the little box on the gas tank.
Q3: I've used premium and regular, no problem either way.

If you wind up having to have an intercom system installed, you might want to look at a Baehr system rather than the BMW setup. The Baehr system includes an mp3 input, and some other features that make it a better alternative tot he BMW system. Here's a link. http://www.baehrusa.com/Products_Main.html

Interestingly, my BMW dealer sells and installs Baehr systems, and recommends them over the BMW optional system for better sound quality, more inputs, etc.
 

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Hi Al,
There are many on this forum far better equipped to answer technical questions between the bikes -- so I'll just share what I've experienced to be the "seat of the pants" difference.
If you enjoy a spirited, :yeah: sport-like feel to your bike -- one where you feel like you're riding "on" a bike :bike: -- the LT is your rig.
If you enjoy endless torque at low RPMs, quiet, smooth, :bowdown: POWER -- one where you feel like you're driving "in" a car/bike :sleep: -- the GL1800 is where you need to go.
My Goldwing buddies tell me the LT feels alot like the Honda ST1300 or Kawasaki Concourse 1400 to ride -- but more comfortable.
As far as the SO is concerned -- either will be the best ride of her life .... next to you of course ;)
Enjoy the hunt ..... knowing that soon you'll be enjoying a fantastic ride either way. :bmw:
Keir
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Tom1200 said:
As for the final drive I believe that we cause ourselves a disservice by making a big deal about this. It is an issue but it is a 4% issue from what I have read. Every bike or car has issues. A forum will always bring out the bad issues because as humans we like to complain about stuff. (I am guilty of this as well)
I agree 100%. Forums sometimes make an issue seem more widespread than it really is. Case in point; before I purchased my FJR, the constant drumbeat of "the tick" on the forums made me think long and hard before I took the plunge.

Thanks for the feedback!

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mike,

Thanks for the feedback. Good news on the octane options.

I just located an 05 that looks interesting. I've emailed the seller and asked him if it has the intercom installed. The color in the picture looks like sandstone.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #8
dshealey said:
Final drives seem to be far more reliable on '05 up bikes, actually, started getting better '03. So, '03-'05 not so bad, '05 up far less chance of having a final drive issue. No absolute guarantee on any year though.

That's reassuring to hear .

Thanks!

Al
 

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A local fellow contacted me, a retired electrical/mechanical engineer. He owned a GL 1800 and had a few LT questions. I went to his house, and we decided to go for a ride. He took my LT, I rode the 'Wing. A week later he sold the GL and bought an LT. We agreed on the pros and cons of both as follows: Power windshield on LT, not on GL. GL has a great engine, lots of torque. Fit and finish better on the LT. Locking mechanisms better on the LT. Ride quality much better on the LT. LT sits a little taller than the GL. GL a bit easier to work on if you are a do-it-yourselfer.
Both a real nice bikes. I personally liked the GL's engine "grunt" but it can't turn 8000 rpm's like the LT. The LT is a solid, fast, good handling tourer. The GL was too automotive for me. In reality, both are good choices. The call on this may be your need for a big dealer network. The Honda wins there. But the BMW? I wouldn't take 2 GL's for my LT. It is a real motorcycle.
 

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Just as an FYI, my '06 is not happy on anything but premium fuel. On regular it pings a lot. Going uphill it really made some noise. When I picked it up from the dealer they filled it with regular. I noticed the difference the minute I refilled it with premium. I sure wish they had of included a knock sensor in the LT.

As for the LT vs. GW, that's just a personal preference that I don't think can be answered without a test ride. Most BMW shops will give you hours, sometimes days, for a test ride. So check them out with the SO and get a real feel for what works for both of you.

For myself, I have a RT. For two-up I have the LT. The LT is what the SO wanted. Since I was going to buy one new ride, we compromised and bought two used ones. I'd suggest looking at an '06 or later only because the '06 should still have some factory warrrnty left that you can extend. I bought a Western extended warrenty as part of my purchase and am good to go until 2012. That means, I don't worry about the FD or other issues. I just ride it.
 

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And let us not forget the designs,

wing is plain ugly while LT is pretty as bikes can be :)

I have the 03 LT Exodus and it is the year there seem to have been least problems on the FD.
 

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It's interesting that the comparisons are always between a BMW K1200 LT and a Honda GL1800, and ocasionally a Harley. No on ever adds a Yamaha Star Royal Venture to the list, or a Moto Guzzi Norge, and both are pretty good bikes.
 

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ArthurKnowles said:
Just as an FYI, my '06 is not happy on anything but premium fuel. On regular it pings a lot. Going uphill it really made some noise. When I picked it up from the dealer they filled it with regular. I noticed the difference the minute I refilled it with premium. I sure wish they had of included a knock sensor in the LT.
I don't want to restart the octane thread!! I could be wrong, but I'm beginning to conclude octane requirement in the LT is a function of the height above sea level you're riding in. If you're near sea level your bike will want premium. I have an '03 and at 1400 feet (South Dak) it is fine on regular as far as I can tell. I have a friend who races cars and when I told him I used regular in the high compression engine of the LT he rolled his eyes and suggested I see a shrink. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
wkclark said:
My Goldwing buddies tell me the LT feels alot like the Honda ST1300 or Kawasaki Concourse 1400 to ride --
Well that's a big plus! Thanks for the feedback.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mike,

I considered the Ultra briefly but it really didn't "do it" for me. I also was considering the Vision until I foud out that ABS was not an option.

Al
 

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The gas thing is interesting. Some LT owners have no problem using regular, others hear pinging, etc.

I wonder if one of the factors involved is because the refiners are required by the Feds to use different gasoline formulas in different areas. I did a quick check and the EPA requires different "custom" blends in nearly 20 geographic areas.
 

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Whatever you do, do NOT take the TEST RIDE at the dealership..... you will be DOOMED.

(Please, forward this to all your friends or you will be compelled to sell all your black leathers...) haha..

Seriously, the LT is quite a machine.... I've had several "warranty" issues, each were resolved and now Misty's just humming along... rode 1000 miles over the weekend.. no run's drips or errors.
 

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I have 60,000 miles on my '05 and use almost exclusively, never reg., midgrade gas, 89 octane. I am as close to sea level as you can get and not be wet and have never heard a ping. If 89 wasn't available I would probably alternate between reg and ht to avarage midgrade.
My personal feeling is that I noticed a drop in mpg with ht.
Just my .02.
 

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Mike_H said:
It's interesting that the comparisons are always between a BMW K1200 LT and a Honda GL1800, and ocasionally a Harley. No on ever adds a Yamaha Star Royal Venture to the list, or a Moto Guzzi Norge, and both are pretty good bikes.
The Norge must be very good since they use that name! :p
But then again lots of european manufactorers does lots of testing in Norway


In Norwegian, Norge is the way we spell and say the name of the country of Norway :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi cfell,

I noticed you are in the Hill Country. You ever been to Lone Star BMW? I've read some positive comments about them in the dealer forum. I went to the dealer here in SA but they only had one used LT on the floor. I'm going to have to take a trip to Austin and see what they have.

Al
 
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