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Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple thousand miles on my sweet black 03 LT. It's got some great farkles now since adding an electric-hydraulic center stand as well as a Corbin saddle with backrest. Rear pessenger armrests plus so many more added by the PO. I'm headed home to W.P.B., FL from a cold and quite un charted route through Georgia to visit family. Even after taking every precaution including the motorcycle license course, practice, reading, some previous bike riding experience as well as being at least average with coordination and IQ, I find a lot of anxiety and stress before riding. It's hard to know how to handle every slow maneuver situation and curves/turns without having practically fallen to learn each time. I LOVE this bike. I dig BMW and even have tons of accessories and clothing from them to show. BUT, am I continuing to try and convince myself that it will get better with practice and time only to eventually learn that I am 1 of thousands of previous LT owners walking the path that leads to selling soon for a low value compared to its "compared to rival" (Wing), only to find that other similar touring bikes are less stressful and more fun to handle. "Of cource" I would love to be told it gets better, but can happy owners please tell me why and finally "what" things to do or think to get through this stage that feels like I have paid a lot of money for the smoothest looking bike out there, only to enjoy looking at it more than riding it.Thanks, John
 

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Some suggestions from someone once in your dilemma.

Get over it.:D

We are owners of the most top heavy bike in it's class. You will drop it and it will require periodic maintenance, and we just do it and it is no big deal.

You mentioned practice and I assume you meant low speed maneuvers.
I can U turn my bike, fully loaded and with passenger, inside two parking spaces, that's 16 feet, and never touch the lines. That did not happen over night but once done it's so easy as to be laughable.

One of the best resources for understanding the dynamics of slow speed maneuvering is Motorman Palladino's Ride Like a Pro series.
Use the clutch and the rear brake. While the brake system is linked the front won't be affected with only light pressure on the rear peddle. Coordinate throttle, and do not be afraid to use the throttle, with the brake first, then the clutch and you will feel the bike try to stand up in those tight low speed corners. Accept that eventually you'll need to replace the clutch but I've had to do that to my previous Goldwings too.

Did you buy a bike with poor resale compared to the Wing? Yup.
Is it top heavy? Yup.
Does it have an advanced maintenance requirement? Yup.

You own it just like we all do. No get over it and ride the hell out of it.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey man I appreciate the time you took to write back in regards to the inexperience that is causing some struggles. Yes I have dropped it twice and even had flashbacks to it while sleeping that woke me straight up. I was first dissapointed with myself. I am a perfectionist by nature and always waring against it. I am also a violinist, and my training from a young age has been to practice and perform. But messing up in the practice room does not damage your violin. Lol.
I have come to the same conclusion that you have said to do. Just ride it! Even wrote a thread urging other first timers to do likewise. I am again today going to put the doubt to rest and have fun on this thing!! Thanks again my friend!
 

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Hi,
I have owned my bike for some years now. Knowing that it has a number of unique attributes. After numorous hours of riding, and many times where I have needed to draw on my skills from my years of riding, I find that the bike is better designed to deal with unexpected situations than I am.

I have yet to find myself in a position where the bike has less ability then me.

Point, ride within your skills and the bike will not let you down.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Brian. I greatly appreciate your advice. I do believe that. I also believe that over time, I will be able to support other new riders and use my stories to fall back on. Until then, I will keep on keeping on!
 

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...I continuing to try and convince myself that it will get better with practice and time only to eventually learn that I am 1 of thousands of previous LT owners walking the path that leads to selling soon for a low value compared to its "compared to rival" (Wing), only to find that other similar touring bikes are less stressful and more fun to handle......
can happy owners please tell me why and finally "what" things to do or think to get through this stage that feels like I have paid a lot of money for the smoothest looking bike out there, only to enjoy looking at it more than riding it.....
In my opinion, the reason to own a K1200LT is comfortable Performance. No other touring bike is "more fun to handle". Other bikes like the Wing do handle better at slow speeds but are "sterile" compared to the LT on a good motorcycle road. There is no other two-up touring bike that handles like the KLT and offers the weather protection and comfort that it does. If I recall, I think it took me 5-10K miles before I really understood what BMW engineered into the KLT and how to make it "sing".

If a rider doesn't value that type of high performance handling, I suspect they will eventually tire of the bike as the trade offs are: 1) challenging low speed handling and 2) relatively high maintenance requirements.

If you bought the KLT because it is a pretty neat looking bike and its a "BMW", well, I think you maybe missing the point.

Slow speed handling: I use a lot of rear brake doing parking lot, and starts into slow speed turns. RPMs are kept up with throttle, clutch let to slip, and speed is controlled by the rear brake. Once speed is up to 5mph or so, the clutch is let all the way out.

Much has been written on this site on how to avoid a low speed drop: e.g. Keep the front end straight when coming to a stop. However, I just plan on dropping it again someday. Tired at the end of a long day, two up with lots of gear loaded, put a foot down on un-level ground, and with sand or loose gravel under foot, the weight of the bike will over power all effort to keep it up. Let it down slowly, get off, smile for the crowd, and pick it back up. :)
 

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Don't worry about the small stuff. I've had my LT for 1 year now, was in the same boat as Yourself.
Have owned many bikes over the years, including a Gold Wing.
Your LT is very safe, just go out and "practice" whenever you can, and don't lose confidence in your skills.
This is, in my opinion, the best Motorcycle I have ever owned, and am proud to show it off.
What could be more fun than to "practice" as much as possible?
We all practice and we all improve our skills every time we go out there.
Always something new to learn for everyone, no matter how much experience you have.
Enjoy that LT, I sure Love Mine!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to both of you above. I am feeling very encouraged to ride. I like learning that someone who has owned many bikes and a wing will say it his LT is the best they have had the joy of riding. No, I did not buy it for looks alone. That's how I use to pick out my girlfriends, and I can guarantee you it does NOT mean that it will be the best ride. Lol. I want to become skilled enough to access the higher speed fun! Thanks much.
 

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First off. The K1200 is without a doubt the most top heavy bike I've ever been on period. Proof. Go on EBay or Graigslist. Look at a bunch of LT's. Many of them will have tip over damage. I have been lucky for I haven't dropped mine. But the Po did. Mine has scuff marks on right saddlebag. But the LT has many more attributes that are wonderful than negatives. One its smooth. It slices twisty roads with ease. It does freeway high speed stability like nothing I've ever ridin. At 85/90 mph that bike just squats and is so planted. Does it require advanced maint? Yes. Don't let that scare you. I was too. The help from this forum. I do much of the work myself. Go to BMW riders club of N Illinois. And click in maint videos. Theres a whole section of LT videos. Meantime. Don't panic just ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help. Yes I have had great support and help from this awesome group of LT owners. I am thankful for your encouragement.
 

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Wrencher Extraordinaire
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Two things that helped me make it to the 6 year mark before I dropped her was:
1. NEVER come to a stop unless the front wheel is pointed straight ahead. You have to plan for that stop so it occurs only with the front wheel straight.

2. Always look at where you want to go in the parking lot , not the ground or you will end up there.

Keep the faith and remember the LT was designed to be dropped without serious damage, there is a reason for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Great advice. I learned just recently that when stopping, the front wheel must be straight. I didn't drop it but it got real squirrly On me. My only drops were 1st when my glove slipped off the button during deployment of the center stand and put my foot down with no solid pavement underneath. No damage! The 2nd time was with a passenger and fully loaded gear while coming to a stop in foreign territory in the hills at a gas station . The stop area was very sloped and both my daughter and I just stepped off. Small peeling in the chrome on the left side fender but not even noticeable.
 

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One of the best resources for understanding the dynamics of slow speed maneuvering is Motorman Palladino's Ride Like a Pro series.
Don't underestimate the value of this class ^^^

I cannot stress RLAP enough, applies strongly to the K1200, but is a good class no matter what bike you're on.
 
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Don't be so hard on yourself. All of us, especially those who are just getting back into riding, suffer the pre-ride nervous feelings and concerns. The fact that you think and worry yourself will serve you well while you get some experience and soon you will get very confident handling the whale. The biggest secret is to not stop with wheel turned and if you have to brake during slow turning use the rear brake gently. Also do not make quick maneuvers when going slow, when stopping, turning or parking, always think ahead and try and plan your move so you have plenty of room to react if needed. Avoid gravel or sand on road surface as the front tire or foot will slip out on you, if you encounter an uphill stop, learn to use the foot brake to hold you in place, then your throttle hand is free to gas it to get the whale moving. I've seen a lot of guys have trouble staying upright and/or not stalling on uphill and off camber starts. I have often told friends I am amazed that I enjoy riding so much because I too am constantly in the defensive riding mode, very aware of the hazards of motorcycling. I still love it and will always worry about the ride until I hear the bike come to life and hit the road, then all my worries move to the back of your mind.

Hang in there it will get easier.
 

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Much good advice here! I came to the KLT from a GL1800, both heavy bikes, my previous ride was a Yamaha XS1100, another heavy bike. I learned to respect the weight, and as such my riding style changed to accomodate the characteristics of the bikes. It is not a little sport bike or dirt bike that you can tip over to one side, and hold up with one leg, it is not a bike that if it gets off center because you were going to turn from a stop, and then changed your mind mid turn, IT WILL FALL, especially with the front wheel turned, and as you probably figured out, you can't hold it up. Duh! news flash, you can't hold up a goldwing either...Think about it, why would BMW have tipover wings built into the bike??? I have had my bike for several years now, have only put about 30K on it, and I am very comfortable riding it anywhere, to work, to the store, in town, up to the mountains, with the little woman on the back, loaded down with all the necessities for extended stays....as has been stated by Curtis, I have tried the other big cruising bikes out there, and the BMW is the most fun ride of all. Patience grasshopper, you will get more and more comfortable. Respect the weight, and you will eventually become one with the motorcycle....Oh yea, stay off sand and loose gravel....:cool::bmw:
 
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Go to www.illinoisbmwriders.com Click on Maintenance videos. Go to K1200LT section. It is a HUGE help. I was scared to take off the panels when I first got my LT .Let alone change plugs, fuel filter, air filter, coolant. And pulling the radio out for repair. And pulling the Final drive off and installing one. All of which I've done .At first I thought WOW. That looks like a lot of work. But I've worked on previous bikes I've owned. So I watched Kirks videos and with help from these guys on this forum. Shazam! It's no big deal to do basic maintenance. Hell I can now strip the side panels off, Pull the radio stingray off and radio out of it in 20 minutes.As for as handling the big girl? Practice..
 

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Fear in control is a good thing. Riding is dangerous and having a good healthy fear keeps you safe, but it need to not control you, you control it. Fear has kept me from going too fast through a blind corner, to find out that there was a wet patch or gravel that I could not see. Fear keeps me riding slower and safer in the rain, but I still have fun. I came from a Goldwing, that was a heavy PIG. I dropped that old girl twice in one day. It helped me to learn to ride the LT.
I wrote about a ride I did yesterday, when I got on the bike I had a little fear, but also a lot of excitement. As I pulled out of the garage and onto the street, the stress of the day and the fears melted away and I had a great time. I love the way this LT rides so smooth and yet will just dance through the twisties.
To me, I see it as a challenge, I want to get better, learn to ride better, handle the bike better. I will not let it beat me, I will win. I may fall, I may drop it in front of friends, it may get a new scratch or two, but I will conquer it and win. It is all part of the sport, if it was easy everyone would do it.
I have found that this bike is way better than me, in that it can handle turns and speeds that I am not skilled enough for yet, I still have room to grow with this bike, but it will not let me down.
As for maintenance, its just nuts, bolts and screws. Just another challenge. I am about to do the clutch and rear main seal on mine, if the weather will stay bad long enough, hate to take it apart if the sun is out.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Man, all of you guys above that I have not responded to personally right away need to know how very greatfull I am. I never expected so much support. I was a bit afraid I may be put down for challenging the bike out loud! Good news, I road from Gainsville FL to Melbourne today and at the end I was swirving side to side safely in my lane and feeling just how very smooth and fun it was. This bike is definitely showing me that it does give you the quick response and tight smooth reactions you dream of feeling. I actually was frustrated for an hour on the interstate because I was getting so whipped around by the wind and over 55 was not safe. Turns out that I was in a wind storm with advisory from the weather service stating 23M and 35 mph gusts! What an awesome bike to keep me safe in that weather.
 

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-------------- I actually was frustrated for an hour on the interstate because I was getting so whipped around by the wind and over 55 was not safe. Turns out that I was in a wind storm with advisory from the weather service stating 23M and 35 mph gusts! What an awesome bike to keep me safe in that weather.
Next time you get in strong wind, concentrate on NOT gripping the bars tight. That is what most do, and you end up not letting the bike do any self correcting, which it will do far better than you think. Surprisingly, the bike will do a lot of self correcting for side winds, not like you would think a slab sided bike would do. I rode my son in law's Harley a lot before getting my LT, and it was WORSE in side winds! Read up on this and found that if the CG of the bike is below the center of the Sail Area, wind will cause the bike to lean away from the wind. That is the Harley. If the CG is below the center of sail area, like the LT, then the bike will tend to lean into the wind. I rode in a LOT of high winds on my cross country trips, and learned to relax and NOT grip the bars tightly, only making small corrections above what the bike did on it's own. Passing trucks in high winds was far less a problem on the LT than it was on the Harley!
 

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I put over 5000 miles on my LT before I was comfortable on it. I dropped it 2 time in the first 6 months but never gave up. Then one day everything just came together, the bike felt right. I was confident at stops that the big girl would not auto park (drop on side). I put another 60,000 miles of riding bliss before letting her go to a new home. Just keep your head up & one day it will just feel right for you too. :wave
 
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