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Discussion Starter #1
I have a possible deal working to trade my '09 Harley Road King for an LT. I haven't actually ridden an LT yet but all the talk about it being top heavy worries me a little. Just how much of a beast is this thing at slow speeds? I can turn my Harley in tight circles by lightly riding the rear brake and feathering the clutch/throttle. Is there anyone with experience with both bikes who can lend some insight? Am I in for a surprise? I've been riding for 40 years and am not as young as I used to be.

Thanks,
John
 

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Hey John,Im new here too,and been ridin Harleys my whole life. Decided I wanted to try something different so sold my 04 Screamin Eagle Electra Glide and bought an LT. Was kinda worried after reading all of the horror stories here. Took me about an hour to get a feel for her,I think the low speed handling is better than the Harley. Mine is an 01,and feathering the clutch,throttle and brake is just as easy. The tough thing getting used to is the difference in the power bands. Where the Harley was a torque monster,dont be afraid to use the throttle on the LT,even low speed. (my wife keeps tappin me,asking if Im going to shift).
One thing I have noticed. I have some 25 mph curves near my house. I could take them at 45-50 on the Harley,but it was telling me to be careful,dont get stupid. Went through at 65 on the LT,and I swear it was calling me a candy ass.
Steve
P.S. Im gonna get a speeding ticket,I just know it! Cant help myself! I will just plead insanity, and get the judge to take the bike for a ride.
 

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You "will' eventually drop the LT, just seems to happen to most riders.

Your leg inseam length will determine your level of difficulity.
NEVER use the front brake at slow speed with front wheel turned.
Never look down when turning cause that's where you'll end up.
Head up, look where you want to go (I mean really twist your neck and look over your shoulder) and regulate throttle, clutch and rear brake.
Pratice is your friend. Find a large parking lot and ride some circles/figure 8's.
I find if it feels tippy, let the clutch out and roll on some throttle and she stands right up.
If she starts to go over, just ease her down, try to fight gravity and you will hurt your back or hamstring (do not ask me how I know). The tipover wings do a good job and the plastic covers are not expensive.
Try to not get into situations where you must make sudden adjustments to direction of travel at slow speed. At intersection stop signs/lights when turning, maintain a straight travel path, stop, then proceed and make the turn. That is where I get into tippy situations once and awhile because I roll up to the line starting the turn and decide I must stop. Really tough with a passanger (extra weight)
Passanger needs training/pratice also to stay upright and not fight the driver, and if it's going over just step wide and keep out from under machine.
You might want to lay down a blanket when some buddies are around and lay her down so you see what to expect (protect the saddle bag trim strip also as it will touch).
Then pratice picking it up. Downside handlebar turned to the tank, stand with your back to the bike, butt low on the seat, grab handlebar and side case handle and push with your legs.
There is a You Tube video of a woman standing one up.
I just wait for help.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mask,
I know that I'm probably worrying about nothing. I attended a police motor officer's course so long ago that it's embarassing to think about. It was long ago but I still take a certain amount of pride in my abilty to handle a bike at slow speeds and in tight quarters. All the threads describing the LT as "a top heavy pig" made me wonder if I want to make this trade. My wife and I are now semi-retired and for the first time have the ability to make some longer trips on a bike. The reports of the riding comfort of the LT, as well as the reputation for long service life, made me consider the BMW. It might well be the last motorcycle I'll ever need...provided my aging legs can keep it upright!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Doug,
Very good afvice all around. You posted your reply while I was writing one to Mask. One thing that I'm really wondering is whether or not it is possible to disconnect the link between the front and rear brake. The front brake is the workhorse AS LONG AS THE BIKE IS TRAVELING IN A STRAIGHT LINE. For slow speed manuevering the rear brake gets a workout. As you noted, applying the front brake with the handlebars turned even a little is a recipe for a fall. One more thing to talk to the dealer about before making a trade.

John
 

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John, I think a lot of the "top heavy pig" comments come from people who are either inexperienced riders, small bike riders who's first big bike is the LT. I came off of a GL1800 right on to the LT, never gave it a second thought, except to recognize that this is a big heavy bike, and if it wants to take a nap, just step back. My one and only drop was shortly after I got it, I stopped, put the kickstand down, and went to step off, didn't have the stand all the way down, and she took a nap. No problems since. I would caution you as the Harley kickstand locks when it is down, the LT REQUIRES that you leave the bike in first gear when you stop, and use the kickstand to shut off the bike. Leaving it in gear is like having a parking brake on. As far as the brakes go, don't worry about them, your instincts will let you do parking lot manuvers just like you did on the harley, unlike the Harley, heavy front braking will not cause the front end to dive...Just ride it and soon you will be madly in love with it, as will your SO
 

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Stormrider51 said:
I have a possible deal working to trade my '09 Harley Road King for an LT. I haven't actually ridden an LT yet but all the talk about it being top heavy worries me a little. Just how much of a beast is this thing at slow speeds? I can turn my Harley in tight circles by lightly riding the rear brake and feathering the clutch/throttle. Is there anyone with experience with both bikes who can lend some insight? Am I in for a surprise? I've been riding for 40 years and am not as young as I used to be.

Thanks,
John
Well, I know I am in a very small minority here, but I think the top heaviness is greatly exaggerated. I came to the LT from a Kawasaki Voyager XII. I don't find the LT any more unwieldly than the XII. I think the main issue is the seat height. The LT is probably 2-3" taller than my Voyager. For me, this is perfect, but if your inseam is less than about 32" I can see where the height could be a problem.

I have owned my 2007 for more than 3 years and 21,000 miles and have yet to drop it. The only times I have come close were in very extreme circumstances. Once, I was making a U-turn on a fairly narrow gravel road that had ditches about 6-8" deep on each side. My wife was on the back. My front wheel came within about 6" of the ditch just as I was completing the turn and the loose gravel collapsed and let the front wheel drop into the ditch. My off-roading experience kicked in and I whacked the throttle open and stabbed my left foot down hard. The back wheel spun and slid into the ditch also, my foot stab kept me upright and I powered out of the dtich back onto the road. I am still amazed it worked!

The second time was when I pulled off the main road into my daughter's driveway. I didn't realize that they had just put on about 6" of pea gravel! The front end plowed in and began to slide out. Again, I was riding with my wife on the back and I whacked open the throttle and did a hard foot stab. The bike powered through the 12 feet or so of loose gravel and up the driveway we went.

I find the LT to handle just fine at slow speeds. Just keep your eyes straight ahead and your feet on the pegs. I can ride right up to a stop light and not put my feet down until nearly completely stopped. Same when pulling away. As soon as you start to roll, get your feet on the pegs and look straight ahead.

Yes, you can turn with a little clutch slip and brake drag just as the motor cops do. Works fine.

Many say you shouldn't hit the front brake while turning at low speed. I agree, but not just because it is an LT. This is bad practice with any motorcycle, but worse with brakes as powerful as on the LT and, I will admit, just a little grabby with the power assist. However, I use the brakes (both front and rear together almost always) at low speeds and while turning. Never had a problem.

So, I say, ignore the hype about being top heavy and just ride it properly and don't psych yourself out!
 

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John....go to a BMW dealer and take one for a test ride. Most will let you go for a few hours! Then....be ready to get one because your wife won't ride anything else after that. You've been riding long enough. You'll be fine. I'm 61...ride with my wife ....I'm not as "strong" as I used to be ....but...the LT is a blast! I also have a 2300cc Triumph Rocket but it doesn't compare in comfort and touring to the LT.
 

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Voyager said:
Well, I know I am in a very small minority here, but I think the top heaviness is greatly exaggerated. I came to the LT from a Kawasaki Voyager XII. I don't find the LT any more unwieldly than the XII. I think the main issue is the seat height. The LT is probably 2-3" taller than my Voyager. For me, this is perfect, but if your inseam is less than about 32" I can see where the height could be a problem.

I have owned my 2007 for more than 3 years and 21,000 miles and have yet to drop it. The only times I have come close were in very extreme circumstances. Once, I was making a U-turn on a fairly narrow gravel road that had ditches about 6-8" deep on each side. My wife was on the back. My front wheel came within about 6" of the ditch just as I was completing the turn and the loose gravel collapsed and let the front wheel drop into the ditch. My off-roading experience kicked in and I whacked the throttle open and stabbed my left foot down hard. The back wheel spun and slid into the ditch also, my foot stab kept me upright and I powered out of the dtich back onto the road. I am still amazed it worked!

The second time was when I pulled off the main road into my daughter's driveway. I didn't realize that they had just put on about 6" of pea gravel! The front end plowed in and began to slide out. Again, I was riding with my wife on the back and I whacked open the throttle and did a hard foot stab. The bike powered through the 12 feet or so of loose gravel and up the driveway we went.

I find the LT to handle just fine at slow speeds. Just keep your eyes straight ahead and your feet on the pegs. I can ride right up to a stop light and not put my feet down until nearly completely stopped. Same when pulling away. As soon as you start to roll, get your feet on the pegs and look straight ahead.

Yes, you can turn with a little clutch slip and brake drag just as the motor cops do. Works fine.

Many say you shouldn't hit the front brake while turning at low speed. I agree, but not just because it is an LT. This is bad practice with any motorcycle, but worse with brakes as powerful as on the LT and, I will admit, just a little grabby with the power assist. However, I use the brakes (both front and rear together almost always) at low speeds and while turning. Never had a problem.

So, I say, ignore the hype about being top heavy and just ride it properly and don't psych yourself out!
:thumb::thumb:
 

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John, I've been riding sport bikes for 30 years, and also a Dyna Wide Glide for a short spell. I bought my 2006 LT four weeks ago in Phoenix AZ. My wife and I got on the bike and rode it back to Kansas City. Yes, it is heavy - like any tourer, and with a passenger even more so. But with my wife on my R1100S I also need to be careful since the extra weight upsets the balance. But I tend to agree with Voyager, the stories about the top heaviness seems to be exaggerated at least a little.

The low speed handling is as good as the R1100S, in fact the LT seems to be easier to turn. The brakes are excellent, it is comfortable, and rides like a Cadillac. I like the LT. Go and ride it, you may be pleasantly surprised - I know I was!
 

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John,
As a 2-time 'Wing owner, a salesman and service writer at a Harley Davidson dealership, and a current '99 LT owner, I feel confident in my qualifications to make random commentary on this issue. The LT will feel a bit heavier, and you may feel like your ride height is taller, though it's not as far off as it feels. The clutch and shifter will feel lighter. The brakes on the HD have a good bite to them and may seem a bit easier to modulate initially, but LT has good brakes and you'll get used to them fast. At speed, the LT will feel more... precise than the Road King. At freeway speeds and above where the Harley starts to feel like it's not having as much fun, the LT is just starting to really smooth out. These things are serious cruise missiles and I've never ridden another high-speed, long-distance bike like them (just get a backrest!). At parking lot speeds, the LT may initially feel a bit more tippy but practice is key here. I think a lot of it is the shape of the handlebars and the way their shape changes the leverage you have on the bike and the way it balances at a standstill. After a few days of riding my LT, I had no problems leaning over 'til my footpegs were scraping and doing tight, low-speed circles on the pavement with applied throttle and dragging rear brakes. In fact, that's a good exercise to do every once in a while along with figure-8s. Clutch modulation on initial acceleration will demand more of your attention, as an HD big twin makes John Deere torque off idle and that will spoil you. Again, you'll get used to the LT fast. Just stay on top of your tire pressures and ride 'til you're blue in the face. The HD isn't a worse bike, it's just entirely a different tool for a different job.
 

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John,

A few weeks ago I left my 2007 Ultra Classic SE for a new 09 K1200LT. The ride is superior in every way due to the LT suspension. There were places with bump or dips that would create an unstable situation on the Ultra. These same places aren't even noticable as rough spots with the LT. The LT inspires confidence in tight or sweeping turns. I'm riding a little faster but with much greater safety margin. I enjoy the ride much more because I know the LT will handle most any situation. For a BMW the seat is among the lowest, but the center of gravity is higher than the Harley. As long as you don't brake with the wheel turned you should be ok at low speed. The linked servo braking along with the suspension allows you to bring the bike to a stop smoothly with mimum front dip. By the way, if you see the bikes I started on I'm probably in a similar age category.

Yes, I loved the classic look of the Harley especially the decked out CVO model. For me the LT is much more fun to ride, plus for your passenger the LT is as comfortable or maybe more comfortable than an Ultra.
 

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I have a brother in law who rides a 2007 Harley ?XXX??X (I can never remember the different model names). It is a full dresser, stereo, intercom, etc. When he rode my LT his comments were: It's very smooth, it feels agile, it was hard to follow my 'don't shift below 4500 rpm' instruction, the brakes were strong but the rear brake squeals :eek:. What puzzled him the most was how stiff the frame felt to him. Not the ride, the ride was fine, but the frame did not flex. Then I 'splained to him about the hippopotamus back main frame element.

He enjoyed his time on the LT.

As far as the LT being top heavy it's just something you get used to and stop consciously thinking about as you ride. If you get distracted, lazy, or sloppy on stops(landings) she will remind you she's not to be trifled with. Maybe the best term to describe the technique to be used at low speeds would be precision.

Perform precision landings and you will be just fine.

It's 1:15 a.m. local time, I have the night off, and I slept all day. Temp 56*F with light rain. I'm going to go practice precision landings by taking a ride down the Columbia River Gorge!!

Loren

digitalsasquatch said:
John,
As a 2-time 'Wing owner, a salesman and service writer at a Harley Davidson dealership, and a current '99 LT owner, I feel confident in my qualifications to make random commentary on this issue. The LT will feel a bit heavier, and you may feel like your ride height is taller, though it's not as far off as it feels. The clutch and shifter will feel lighter. The brakes on the HD have a good bite to them and may seem a bit easier to modulate initially, but LT has good brakes and you'll get used to them fast. At speed, the LT will feel more... precise than the Road King. At freeway speeds and above where the Harley starts to feel like it's not having as much fun, the LT is just starting to really smooth out. These things are serious cruise missiles and I've never ridden another high-speed, long-distance bike like them (just get a backrest!). At parking lot speeds, the LT may initially feel a bit more tippy but practice is key here. I think a lot of it is the shape of the handlebars and the way their shape changes the leverage you have on the bike and the way it balances at a standstill. After a few days of riding my LT, I had no problems leaning over 'til my footpegs were scraping and doing tight, low-speed circles on the pavement with applied throttle and dragging rear brakes. In fact, that's a good exercise to do every once in a while along with figure-8s. Clutch modulation on initial acceleration will demand more of your attention, as an HD big twin makes John Deere torque off idle and that will spoil you. Again, you'll get used to the LT fast. Just stay on top of your tire pressures and ride 'til you're blue in the face. The HD isn't a worse bike, it's just entirely a different tool for a different job.
 

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John,
Welcome to the group. I cannot give any better comments that have already been given. Don't get uptight about the top heavy comments. As one poster said, go to a BMW dealer and test ride the LT, take the Mrs. too. You will come back to the dealership and sign the papers. I have found most BMW dealers ready and willing to offer test rides, unlike a Honda dealer that told me to find a friend with a Gold Wing and ask to ride it. Never went back there. :mad:

I am 66, and Mrs. is 70. We aren't in the best of shape, but enjoy riding the LT any chance we get. You both will love it.

Best wishes on your trade. :thumb:
 

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Voyager said:
I find the LT to handle just fine at slow speeds. Just keep your eyes straight ahead and your feet on the pegs. I can ride right up to a stop light and not put my feet down until nearly completely stopped. Same when pulling away. As soon as you start to roll, get your feet on the pegs and look straight ahead.
+1 I've noticed that as I've put more and more miles on my bike that I don't even think about the balancing when coming up to a stop light. I just seem to feel it, I don't know how to explain it, I've become one with the bike?

Also my SO really likes riding with me and wants to go along everywhere, which is great!

Plus you can find many after market accesories to 'farkle' up your ride. I'm 6'2" and I got the foot peg lowering kit and my wife is 5'1" and I got risers for her.
 

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I came from an 05 Road King Classic and the LT is different, but nothing to be worried about. I had an 01 Concours that seemed more top heavy than the LT.

I too was concerned, because of all of the talk, but I put it in the Urban Legend category now (like use a moped, because the riding test is soooo hard).

If you treat this like your Road King, you should be fine. The comment about the power band is very true. The HD has all that low down torque, but the LT will pull itself out with the throttle, just have to get used to the different rpm level.

I think you will really enjoy the LT, I know I do...

Good luck.
 

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that_guy11 said:
+1 I've noticed that as I've put more and more miles on my bike that I don't even think about the balancing when coming up to a stop light. I just seem to feel it, I don't know how to explain it, I've become one with the bike?
You have done well, grasshoppa! :)
 

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I used to ride a Vulcan 2000 Classic which weighed some more than the LT. I lost the Vulcan in an accident in July. I got the LT in September and had it lowered (seats/shock) and both my feet touch nicely on the ground with motorcycle boots. The previous owner is 6'2" and I am 5'7". My friend Perry ( 270 lbs+) did a test drive for bottoming as my weight is similar to him and it was all good. I asked Perry to purposely take it over bumps and dips. I had my riding gear on and took the BMW for a spin around the block with Perry following me as a precaution. Perry rides a big Harley tour bike and he simply loved the LT. He's seriously thinking of buying the new BMW 2011 model. It took me a few minutes to get my self together as the bike handles differently. I especially had to make a conscious effort to keep my foot under the gear lever as it doesn't have floorboards. The bike demands that you sit with your thighs pressed against the bike or close and toes pointing slightly below the horizantal line level.

This bike is something totally different from what I have experienced before. The nimbleness, agility and throttle response really surprised me. It feels a lot lot lighter than the Vulcan 2000 I used to ride even though the difference is less than 100 lbs, (the Vulcan 2000 was heavier), needs less effort to lean at turns and braking / stopping is amazing.You just need to get used to it thats all.The more you ride it the more close you will get to it. Both the bikes are top heavy but the LT somehow feels much lighter and more balanced I mean between front /back. This maybe due to its design or something. I guess its my first experience with ABS on a bike. I did drop it once while stopped right outside the garage. You will drop it too maybe more than once. It's ok. Believe me you will learn from every mistake and its ok. Lifting it up takes a serious effort though. Oh yes and no sound from the engine. It just kind of like purrs compared to the controlled roar the Vulcan had. I will try to go and do some more accompanied practice soon before embarking on a ride.I want to ride solo (no passenger) for a few times till I really get the hang of this bike. It's a whole different experience and I am waiting to go on a long ride soon with my buddies. If you get a chance do the "Ride Like A Pro" class as its really good for big heavy bikes and slow speed training and manoeuvres besides other good things. They are offered in FL and other places too. Check it out

http://www.ridelikeaprowestcoast.com/

Good luck with your new LT. :dance:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks everyone for all the input. I'm still waiting to hear about the deal. It involves a consignment BMW owned by a HD fan who might be interested in a trade. I'll have to see what happens but if this one doesn't work out I'll just keep looking. Additional thanks to everyone who pointed out the difference in required RPM between the two bikes. The Road King really is a "two-wheeled tractor" and it will take some re-learning to get used to not having all that bottom end low RPM pull. It will be fun to take the BMW to a parking lot and see how she handles. This old dog may need to learn some new tricks.

My main concern is the linked front and rear brakes. I attended a motor officer course way to many years ago and one of the techniques I learned was to exclusively use the rear brake for slow speed manuevering. Any amount of front brake applied when the handlebars were anything but straight ahead was an invitation to a fall. Having never ridden a bike with linked brakes, it worries me a bit. I can ride the RK in circles with the handlebars at full lock by keeping light pressure on the rear brake and feathering the throttle/clutch. It seems unlikely that this will work with the front brake being automatically applied at the same time. What am I missing here?

John
 

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Stormrider, you bring up a good point on the Ride Like a Pro technique. With light pressure on the rear brake at low speed I'm not certain how much force is applied to the front. The response of the front and rear brake at low speeds seems different, however it could be just the amount of pressure that is applied with typical use of the front or rear brake. I try to use the Ride Like a Pro technique and it seems to work, though it may just be because that's the confidence that I learned using it on a Harley.

I would like to hear from BMW the way that the linked brake works, whether speed or force dependent or some of factors.
 
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