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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm strongly considering the GTL. I'm happy with my current LT (as I was with my former LT), but I'm always up for the next best thing BMW has to offer; more power, new exhilaration, upgraded features and...style. But unfortunately, I have some reservations, and here they are...

First off, my wife rides with me about 50% of the time. She loves the accommodations on the LT, but doesn't care for the rear of the GTL. Let's admit it; it's not LT plush, there's no audio controls, less fairing/windscreen means more wind pressure/moisture on her and it's sort of 'spartan' back there. The outward presentaion is somewhat lack luster considering it's a BMW and not a Moto Guzzi, the rear top box looks like it's an aftermarket meant for a Vespa, the previous GT's had far better streamlined bodies and swanky looks, the optional 'Frankenstein boltz' LED driving lights look like they need to be treated with clearasil, after having back surgery a electro/hydraulic center stand would be peachy, not that excited to go back to a 1988 turn signal switch (really?), no reverse, iPod/iPhone connection issues already?, the third brake light's an option?, the GPS unit is reported by new owners to be positioned 'too far forward', unincorporated mirrors that are said to be very small while coupled with the lack of hand protection, back to the old-style urine specimen cups on the handlebars...I'll stop nit picking now.

So it's been said that this isn't the replacement for the LT. I'd have to fully agree with that. The GT's are a new benchmark for the two-wheeled world. They will take BMW into the next generation as the continued leader of motorcycle innovation. But then I read exerpts from the new-ish Motorrad CEO Klauss Von Dontwannatour, he issues his convoluted statements making you very confused as to the future of BMW and luxury touring. Apparently, the new GT's are as far as he feels that BMW needs to go in the world of full touring - a segment that really personified BMW as the bike to lead progessive thinking and excitement in 'Touring' (if you're just not into the Oldwing). I sort of feel like BMW had all of these technological advances, an awesome motor, got the testing out of the way and sent the GT's into production not taking other ancestral factors into consideration. The heritage of any Motorrad Ultimate Driving Machine is the aforementioned qualities plus...gorgeous beauty. If I wanted to drive a bike that looked a lot like a GS Adventurer, I'd buy one.

The positives of the GTL are overwhelming and that's obviously why I'm wanting to make the switch. I have two BMW vehicles that have sweet in-line sixes, and one in their bike is simply bliss. If they'd squeeze it into a new LT-type unit, I'd be at total inner peace :)

Please don't get me wrong, I am a BMW faithful and I like pretty much whatever they build. But I do sometimes question their strategy and vision.

Ok guys, rip me a new one.
 

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BMW made some decisions with the GTL that may or may not work for everyone.

I loved my LT, but never got used to the heft and relative lack of performance compared to my FJR's. For me, the GTL is the sweet spot between performance and comfort. It's not as comfortable as the LT for either me or my wife. But we certainly could have kept the LT or bought a Gold Wing. As you can.

No need to apologize for having your opinions. The GTL is not an LT. That may be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, it's a good thing. For you, it sounds like it's not.

And all of the other things...the Nav system "too far forward"? No, not for me. It's perfectly positioned to let me see it clearly without changing my focus and losing sight of the road. And yes, really, the turn signals now work like God intended turn signals on a motorcycle to work. And thank goodness they didn't put a hydraulic center stand or reverse gear on the GTL, as it would just add weight and turn it into the bike I got rid of.

Your mileage definitely will vary. Spend your money as you wish.
 

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No need to rip into you Kevin, Truth be told I would bet there are many others, myself included, that feel as you do.. I REALLY loved my LT and for many years I kept thinking the "new" BMW touring bike would take the LT design and go forward. Obviously this didn't happen and for me at least, I was pretty shocked at what the LT morphed into. While not the "perfect" motorcycle the LT was simply the best motorcycle I have ever owned and I have owned a bunch through the years. In some respects I still have doubts about the 1600 but almost everyone that has bought one loves it to death. I pick mine up in a day or two and I will be interested in how I react to actually owning one. My hopes are high though based on what other previous 1200LT owners are saying about their new 1600's. Good luck on your decision making process.......

Rick H.
 

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I'll agree that the GTL is not as comfortable for the Passenger as the LT is but I am much more comfortable on the GTL then the LT. A lower center of gravity. Less weight & more power plus I can flat foot it. I do not miss the reverse (that much) & I never had the power center stand. The GTL is much easier to get on the center stand then the LT was for me. Don't get me wrong I loved my LT for 5 years & about 70K miles. With some minor modifications at a cost of less the $400.00 ( I spent way more then that on my LT to make MaMa happy) The Passenger seat is just as good as the LT was. As for the hand protection that was addresses by another forum member with shields that snap onto the mirrors. They work great too. As far as I know I am the Only person with Arm Rest on a GTL. As Jim said this bike is not for everyone but it is for me. This is why there are so many different bike to chose from.
Ride what you like & Like what you ride. :bike:
Here are the hand guards



The rear seat of my GTL with arm rest , Lower back pad & an Airkawk seat cushion.

 

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You're right, you're just picking nits. :)

That's not to say those items aren't important considerations, but honestly, they are relatively minor overall.

The bottom line is that you need to ride it yourself, and get a feel for the bike in motion. Then take your lady out and ride with her.

If it's the bike for you two, you'll know it.

And if not, then the LT is still a fine Luxury Touring machine, and it's probably paid for already as well . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been following the short history regarding the wind protectors for the grips. Hats off to the member of this forum that quickly came up with a good solution and will probably profit from it. But this is sort of my point. No offence Steve, but with the circle of guys I ride with (all different makes), I would get ribbed pretty severely with plastic pieces screwed on, non-OEM arm rests and pads added on the rear. I mean, this is supposed to be the BMW flagship of line of bikes, right?? Could you imagine if their 750iL or M6 just wasn't adequate out of the box and the new owner had to start hunting for accessories to just make it comfortable? They might as well hand you an after market parts catalog with the new keys to your bike? My Mama has never complained about anything on the LT, and loves the stock seat and backrest. She'd be happy with the LT the rest of her days. It's just that from my perspective, the LT is getting pretty dated, so it's time to move on. Hmm, maybe it's time to go see Kawasaki Connie...I know she's only 14, but hey... jk


katnapinn said:
I'll agree that the GTL is not as comfortable for the Passenger as the LT is but I am much more comfortable on the GTL then the LT. A lower center of gravity. Less weight & more power plus I can flat foot it. I do not miss the reverse (that much) & I never had the power center stand. The GTL is much easier to get on the center stand then the LT was for me. Don't get me wrong I loved my LT for 5 years & about 70K miles. With some minor modifications at a cost of less the $400.00 ( I spent way more then that on my LT to make MaMa happy) The Passenger seat is just as good as the LT was. As for the hand protection that was addresses by another forum member with shields that snap onto the mirrors. They work great too. As far as I know I am the Only person with Arm Rest on a GTL. As Jim said this bike is not for everyone but it is for me. This is why there are so many different bike to chose from.
Ride what you like & Like what you ride. :bike:
Here are the hand guards



The rear seat of my GTL with arm rest , Lower back pad & an Airkawk seat cushion.

 

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What's more important, what your circle of friends think, or how you and your lady feel on the bike?

You think that most Bimmer cars stay factory stock? Not in my experience. Most of them get new wheels before they even roll off the dealer lot, and that's just a start. Even the M6 series has a ton of performance mods available, as if the factory M-series somehow wasn't quite fast enough . . .

There is no one bike that fits everyone. That's why there are a ton of different models out there. And even so, no one model can fit every one of its owners perfectly, which is why the aftermarket exists. It gives you the options to customize it to your needs, whether that be comfort, performance, or just plain bling. The real riders I know are very interested in what you did to customize your bike, to see if it's something that they might appreciate and enjoy themselves.

Is your LT factory stock, or did you find some accessories that made it fit you just a bit better? Why would a new bike be any different there?

Hey, it's your money, and your wheels. So get what fits you best, not what may or may not impress your so-called friends.

If the LT suits you two, then who cares if it seems "dated" to some random onlookers? And if it doesn't, then get out there and ride some possible replacements. You may find something new and exciting, or you may just remember that the LT is an awfully fine motorcycle just as it is. And maybe it'll suit you just fine, at least until the rumored /6 LT comes out (but I wouldn't hold your breath, there . . . ).

BTW, the C14 is a fine SPORT-touring bike. But if you think it's an LT replacement, then I suggest that you take a nice, long two-up ride on it before you plunk down any cash . . .
 

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starvingdrummer said:
I've been following the short history regarding the wind protectors for the grips. Hats off to the member of this forum that quickly came up with a good solution and will probably profit from it. But this is sort of my point. No offence Steve, but with the circle of guys I ride with (all different makes), I would get ribbed pretty severely with plastic pieces screwed on, non-OEM arm rests and pads added on the rear. I mean, this is supposed to be the BMW flagship of line of bikes, right?? Could you imagine if their 750iL or M6 just wasn't adequate out of the box and the new owner had to start hunting for accessories to just make it comfortable? They might as well hand you an after market parts catalog with the new keys to your bike? My Mama has never complained about anything on the LT, and loves the stock seat and backrest. She'd be happy with the LT the rest of her days. It's just that from my perspective, the LT is getting pretty dated, so it's time to move on. Hmm, maybe it's time to go see Kawasaki Connie...I know she's only 14, but hey... jk
I hear what you are saying but like I said I added Non OEM arm rest to the LT. Adjustable rear floor boards. I changed out both seat. the front one 2 times plus Front foot peg lowering kits. All of which cost a lot more just to have the LT fit us the way we wanted it to. If I bought the Connie I'm sure i would have had to change something on it also.
I'll say it again
"Ride what you like & Like what you ride".

It's all good to me & I take no offence at all. I have yet to find a bike that I could "Just buy & ride". They all needed something. You just have to pick what "Moves" you. I hope you find the "Perfict" replacement for your LT. For me it was the GTL. :wave
 

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Wow Kevin, must be an interesting group of guys you ride with. I can only assume that none of them ride Harleys. If there is a more changed out motorcycle on earth than a Harley show it to me. Adding "things" to a motorcycle is all about making it suit YOU! Not your friends who will probably be quite envious when you show up on a BMW 1600. I am not a big one for making radical changes to a bike but I certainly wouldn't laugh at someone that did. If my riding buds made fun of something I changed or added to a bike all I would have to do is turn the tables on them because none of their bikes are stock. You simply can't make a call on owning the 1600 without riding it first and then once more. You can't tell the temperature of the water without putting your foot in it.

Rick H.
 

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Kevin I shared many of the same concerns you had when I first saw the GTL and was hesitant about selling my 05LT. She had been good to my bride and I for 92K miles. That said there were things about the LT I didn’t care for. After having my GTL since July and have 15K miles on her, my observations are:
There is a little less wind protection then the LT for the rider, not a whole lot of difference for passenger. The passenger sits a little higher on the GTL but now enjoys being able to see over my helmet as opposed to around it.. You’re correct the top box isn’t as integrated as the LT or GW but has the advantage of removing in less than a minute. Unless two up on a long trip top box is off. IMO – looks better without it. With BMW Communicator (Bluetooth) my bride can control the volume from her helmet and listen to her own music/make calls from her smart phone or talk to the kids without me hearing all her BS.
I initially though the GPS might be too far forward but I find it easy to see while riding – I don’t have to look down to see. BTW I’m a senior with not the best eyesight. I don’t really miss having reverse. GTL is a lot easier manage two-, loaded at Parking lot speeds then the LT. As already stated, pretty easy to get on center stand and if done correctly there is no back stress. Granted the driving lights look like an afterthought but their position does the job they were intended for.
I’m not qualified to speculate where BMW is going in the future. My guess would be the demographics dictate the need to bring younger riders to the brand. The forums indicate a fair amount of sport tour types are going for the K1600 GT/GTLs. I just don’t see BMW coming out with another Light Truck. Rumor has it the next GW will even shed a few pounds and be a little more sportier.
Conclusion – this bike grows on you but so did every bike I have ever owned. I glad now I did not go with my initial impression. Enjoy your next bike – whichever one you choose.
 

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sorchilla said:
Kevin I shared many of the same concerns you had when I first saw the GTL and was hesitant about selling my 05LT. She had been good to my bride and I for 92K miles. That said there were things about the LT I didn’t care for. After having my GTL since July and have 15K miles on her, my observations are:
There is a little less wind protection then the LT for the rider, not a whole lot of difference for passenger. The passenger sits a little higher on the GTL but now enjoys being able to see over my helmet as opposed to around it.. You’re correct the top box isn’t as integrated as the LT or GW but has the advantage of removing in less than a minute. Unless two up on a long trip top box is off. IMO – looks better without it. With BMW Communicator (Bluetooth) my bride can control the volume from her helmet and listen to her own music/make calls from her smart phone or talk to the kids without me hearing all her BS.
I initially though the GPS might be too far forward but I find it easy to see while riding – I don’t have to look down to see. BTW I’m a senior with not the best eyesight. I don’t really miss having reverse. GTL is a lot easier manage two-, loaded at Parking lot speeds then the LT. As already stated, pretty easy to get on center stand and if done correctly there is no back stress. Granted the driving lights look like an afterthought but their position does the job they were intended for.
I’m not qualified to speculate where BMW is going in the future. My guess would be the demographics dictate the need to bring younger riders to the brand. The forums indicate a fair amount of sport tour types are going for the K1600 GT/GTLs. I just don’t see BMW coming out with another Light Truck. Rumor has it the next GW will even shed a few pounds and be a little more sportier.
Conclusion – this bike grows on you but so did every bike I have ever owned. I glad now I did not go with my initial impression. Enjoy your next bike – whichever one you choose.
Outstanding post! Well done!
 

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BTW. - in general, and at the recommendation of the DOT, navigation screens on cars are all going higher this year, including (maybe especially) on BMW cars, so keep eyes closer to the road at all times.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In response...

Well, yes JimE, an FJR is going to be much quicker and better handling than a full-out touring bike! As far as the turn signals, I know that they're back to the 'traditional' style, but I personally like the paddles better :) Reverse and electro-center stand: I know they add weight, but I remember when ABS units were the size of a wall safe too. Meaning, they could both be re-developed and be slimmed down in the process.

Meese - some of those gripes may seem minor to you, but not to me and my passenger. My wife and I have had many BMW vehicles and so have our friends. None of them have had to change out wheels or make the vehicles more powerful or 'fit' them better. In fact, our favorite sales person at the San Francisco BMW dealership (of over 30 YEARS), says he has rarely seen anyone change out wheels before or after the vehicles leave the lot!
One of our friends has an M, but hasn't touched it to enhance power or performance in any way I know of. I'm looking at my 19th street bike this time. I've rarely had to spend any money in making them fit me or the wife. At the price these bikes are off the showroom floor, and as often as I purchase...they had better come as close to everyone's general needs as possible! Regarding the Kawi Connie 14, the 'jk' refers to just kidding. I realize it's much more sport, than tour. As for my friends, I have two circles in bike-dom. Those that ride most anything (yes, many have HD's, Victory's, Buell's, Big Dog, Illusion, Excell/Henderson...), and those that are in a local BMW club that tend to mostly ride BMW's. Both sets of friends keep each other on their toes. If it weren't that way, the friendships would get a little boring. We're always bouncing ideas and experiences off each other. But they'd also have a great time razzing someone that drove up with 'wheel chair' arms bolted on their top box! Incidentally, the wheel chair comment came directly from the wife...

Ric - I can tell the temp of the water by reading the gauge. So far, everyone says the 1600's are awesome, oodles of power, near-perfect handling and the like. But what I also hear is just what I purposed at the beginning of this post; BMW missed the call in the design, nomenclature and visual presentation of the 1600's. Case in point, I showed a pic of the GT to my neighbors and a non-riding friend. After a look at the pic, they couldn't believe that I'd be swapping the LT for the GT - thank goodness the GT in the pic has no top box, it would look that much worse! Of course, this was based only on appearance, but I'm sure you get my reference. So, just as the earlier GT morphed into a different body style every couple of years, I wonder if the new GT's will do the same? Two years after the RR is out, BMW magically re-vamps it and it's improved in numerous ways. Similarly, I'd imagine the GT's will follow suit in the very near future.

Sorchilla - very nice response! Your wisdom is a guiding light!

Nuff Said. The wife and I take a test ride this Saturday. I've already told the dealership that I'll take the GTL they have in stock if we like it - which I'm sure we will. I've not test rode a BMW yet and not drove home with it! Question is; do I trade the LT in like usual or sell it on my own...?

Thank you to everyone for their input, I appreciate it!
 

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Aftermarket parts and accessories are a $28 billion a year industry so I'll go out on a limb and suggest your veteran 30-year sales guy is telling you what you want to hear. That said, manufacturers cater to the masses and award contracts to the lowest bidder....BMW not withstanding.

starvingdrummer said:
In response...

In fact, our favorite sales person at the San Francisco BMW dealership (of over 30 YEARS), says he has rarely seen anyone change out wheels before or after the vehicles leave the lot!
One of our friends has an M, but hasn't touched it to enhance power or performance in any way I know of.
 

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And that's the big difference here. I don't care what my friends think of my bike or if they like how it looks. I ride for me, not for anyone else. Hell, I don't really even care what color the bike is . . .

Since I haven't owned a car in over 20 years, the bike has to do everything I need. It is simply an implement to me that does a certain job (moves me across states in safety and comfort). That also happens to be a hell of a lot of fun, which is a bonus. :bike:

If I need to do some small mods to make it work better for how I ride, then so be it. BMW has done the hard part, so a bit of tweaking on my end is no trouble at all . . .

I also don't really care what it looks like when parked, I care how it feels when moving. When averaging 40K miles/year, that's what matters most to me.

Enjoy your test ride, and your shiny new toy. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update:

I took the test ride on the GT yesterday. 2 hours, all by myself, no sales chaperone, just me and the wind. As I had figured; it felt like the bike was being pushed by the hand of God! Zoom, zoom fast! Very smooth engine, effortless delivery, boundless power band and I love the sound of that motor! The ergos were nice, but I'll like the GTL even better. It carves up the twisties very nicely and with little input from the driver. ESA and mapping settings were fun and gave great feedback. Brakes were right on par. A fantastic ride; proud of BMW thus far...now, time for the bad news...

Coming from RT's and LT's, I gotta say...where'd the fairing go? Lots of wind and road noise, but I guess that's to be expected from a SPORT touring bike. It's a shark not a whale, and this shark is a little thin in the gills. Popping it up on the center stand was much better than I'd thought it would be. And I guess no reverse is going to be ok. Mirrors? Hmm, a tad bit on the small side and they detract from the looks and quality of the package, the GPS is nice and road-level high, but too small and far away, as is the dash nomenclature. Anyone seen the side stand? Oh there it is tucked under like the prong of a turtle, thank goodness I'm wearing my spurs so I can deploy it. Did I crack a fart? Oh no, that's the horn - you know, a safety feature. The stock horn on an LT rivals a Peterbilt; gonna miss that because it's saved my ass a few times when folks swing into my lane (I'll change it out, but don't ya think I shouldn't of had too...?). At least some things never change, like the clonk of that BMW tranny in the bridge over neutral; It always sounds like they're a quart low. The GT seat was pretty standard, but the GTL's will be better for a longer haul.

Impressions - when I stopped at a coffee house, the attention the bike got from women was the corona headlight rings. One woman thought they looked like a demonic owl. Sweeeet! Guys caught the 6 exhaust holes in the rear and the # 6 on the side. "Warp 10 Scotty or we're all dead"!

Well, the experience overall was impressive. I'll pick the bike up either tonight after work or Saturday. Despite a few unfortunate oversights on the part of BMW, the bike is very good (I won't go into the communications/audio systems debacle at this time). But mark my words; in a couple of years, they'll address the weak areas and it will be even better! So I'll sign for a 3 year 3asy Ride. The dealer will sign the buy-back agreement so at the end of that term if I have all of the timely services through BMW, it's in reasonably good shape and no restriction on mileage, they'll take it off my hands.

Bottom line - I've given BMW a helluva ton of business and money over the years; I'll continue that tradition this weekend! I naturally expect a lot from them in return. I do not condone them running from problems like final drives that fail, designing an air filter box that costs $600 in labor just to access and punching out a new model that's not fully ready for mass production. But as with all engineering feats, where there's a negative, there's a positive. So I soldier on...

Yesterday, was a very nice day indeed!
 

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It's a BMW, which means it needs a seat, windshield, and horn. Other than that, it's great. ;)
 

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A new horn? definitely! A new seat? Questionable. I was born with a stock seat and my previous K1200LT seemed to fit just right. I did add a set of beads and a sheep skin to the K1600GTL and like the fit. Windshield? Most likely. I really do like the lack of back pressure with the Cal-Sci.

Other than that, the bike is stock.
 

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meese said:
It's a BMW, which means it needs a seat, windshield, and horn. Other than that, it's great. ;)

Agree on windscreen and horn for sure, but the seat seems to be not so bad. Rode it last weekend two 1000 mile days and found the seat acceptable. I had lined up on a Russell but could not bring myself to send them my seat, and make my bike seatless. Glad now I held off.

On another point, I believe it was you meese who noted, as I have, that the bike handles much better at speed with the top box off. On this trip I wanted lots of rain gear etc. so I packed the large BMW bag on the passenger seat and left the top box on. The bag behind my back really took the wind effect off the top box. The bike handled rock solid rite up to speed in that configuration. Noted lots of the highway trucks now have wind dams between the wheel sets under trailers to improve air flow. Think the same thing is happening with the GTL.

Great bike! :bmw:
 

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After a four-day trip to Big Bend, we have seen "The Future of BMW Touring" and it is very, very good. Incredible bike. Two-up, loaded to the gills, approx 1600 miles, from 20 mph switch-backs, to 80 mph slab-blasting (completely legal on I10 in West Texas!), to "at speed" rides through the many high-speed sweepers...did I say incredible bike?

Our bike is stock GTL, except for a louder horn and a Cal Sci shield. We found the "sweet spot" with the shield for best protection on two-up mile-eating, and it did great while fully down for looking just over the top for canyon carving.

Both of us were very comfortable, we could easily chat the entire time via our G4's. As the rider, I now have to say it is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. Until this trip, I thought the LT was a little more comfortable...but not now after putting in some more significant miles on the GTL, it is #1. My wife commented several times - unsolicited - on how fresh she felt after a few hours on the bike.

There's something about the smoothness of the engine and its effortless power delivery with no roaring, screeching, or buzzing, that just makes me a lot fresher after a few hours on the bike than I have every experienced. Want to get by an 18-wheeler quickly, just roll on in 6th and you're by in a couple of nanoseconds, with the only concern being how quickly you have exceeded the speed limit by a massive amount. Tip it into a sweeper, roll on the throttle as you hit the apex, and come out of the curve just short of the sound barrier....two-up. Amazing.

For trip management, check the Navigator with just a slight glance down, your eyes never leaving the road. Miles to destination and the bike's remaining fuel range instantly visible, so no stress out where the gas stations are few and far between. Want to make sure tires are fully inflated and ready for the next set of twisties, glance down and double-check the pressures. All of this without your hands ever leaving the grips and nothing to distract you from job #1.

The nit-pickers can pick away. If things are truly issues for you, then they are issues for you and so be it. As for me, I have now put enough miles on the bike to learn it - as Dan has counseled many to do - and I am now officially a fanatic.
 
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