Monday, April 20, 2009

Riding the BMW K1200LT

The BMW K1200LT is always a desirable luxury touring bike. My wife and I got the chance to ride one on our recent trip to Arizona. We rented it from the good folks at MC Tours, LLC in Scottsdale (

The bike is so smooth. It is really a sport bike disguised as a touring bike. The 4 cylinder engine revs very quick. As with all in-line fours, you have to use the transmission to keep the engine revved up. It makes its best power above 4,000 rpm. The ride is very cushy. My wife says it is the most comfortable bike she has ever ridden. However, I found the drivers seat too hard. My butt hurt after an hour in the saddle.

The bike has single shock suspension on both front and rear. It is very stable in sweeping turns, even if you hit a pothole or ripples in the road while fully loaded with two people.

Amenities include high tech luxury features you would expect of a BMW. Heated seats were a favorite of my wife, as it got a little chilly when we took it to Sedona. It also has heated grips. I really liked the electrical adjustable windscreen. In the full up position at high speed on a windy day the windscreen functions as a sail. More than once I was startled by the wind blowing the bike almost into the next lane. So on windy days it is best to lower the windscreen to its lowest setting, and use a full face helmet to protect you from the elements.

The interlinked power abs brakes took some getting used to. I am from the old school where one applies both the front and rear brake at the same time. On the K1200, one only needs to apply the front brake lever to operate both front and rear braking. The brakes are very touchy when the bike is running, but soft and mushy when the engine is off -- just like power brakes on a car.

The bike accelerates slick as a ribbon. Cruising at 60 mpg turns about 3,000 rpm, but you need to downshift to pass a car on a two lane road. No fear winding the bike up -- the redline is well above 8,000 rpm. The engine really comes alive at 4,000 rpm. The Beemer gets an excellent 46 mpg combined mileage with rider and passenger.

It is a touring bike that can get you cross country quickly and in comfort. Even with a price tag over $21,000, you truly do get what you pay for.

Cool features:
- power center stand
- illuminating lights under the bike for dismounting in the dark
- power adjustable windshield
- electronic cruise control
-interlocked abs brakes

1 comment:

Hawktane said...

I always wondered about the linked brakes. Seems like you would just need to get used to it. My 1100s has ABS and they are touchy too. I'm still getting used to it.

Heated seats, power center stand? Nice!