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Thread: New [to me] K1200LT '02

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  1. #1
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    New [to me] K1200LT '02

    A friend works in a bike shop that sells two other brands, they took a 2002 K1200LT in trade, that he says is "tacky" 53000 miles, needs a rear tire, seat is split but it runs fine, all there , and everything works. He offered it to me at a low-ball price. Said the dealer just doesn't want to put into it what it would need, to make it showroom worthy. And the guy took a low-ball trade-in for it.

    He [my friend] is bringing it by tomorrow for me too see.

    I've always been an "R" guy but like the "Ks" So...tell me what to look for and why I should buy it. Must admit, I've about decided to buy it, due to price . Nice winter project, and heck might end-up with another motorcycle I like!!

    Ron

  2. #2
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    OK - truthiness time: I have no great love for the LT. IMHO, it's a Gold Wing with a Bavarian accent. And that ain't a compliment about Gold Wings (well, OK, "Nie im Leben w??rde ich zu Bayern gehen!" - if you know Die Toten Hosen band [and German] this makes sense, too). Enough...

    Cracked seat, low-ball trade, dealer thinks it's too spendy to prep and put on the floor... these are not good signs. The LT has more "toys" on it than the RS or GT from the same period - that means it's going to be more expensive to put right. Forget the 53000 on the clock. That, by itself, isn't a problem for at ten year old BMW. But all of this has the feel of surprises lurking in dark corners.

    Without seeing the bike, who the heck knows what's going on. But sitting in my office on a Wed. morning... pass.
    Don't let your bike go anywhere your brain hasn't already been five seconds ago...

  3. #3
    Registered User rmcclure's Avatar
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    When I bought my '99 LT, it had 93,000 km (about 55,000 miles)on it. Seat had the split, and still does. The split hasn't moved much and the bike now has 180,000 km. Like your situation, the dealer didn't sell BMW and was unable to answer some questions, but was willing to allow a test ride and to allow me to take it to the local BMW dealer for a prepurchase review/inspection. That answered my questions as well as giving me information on which to base my offer to the dealer. Maybe that would work for you if you have a good BMW dealer in your area.

    During the time I have had the bike, the only thing that needed to be fixed outside of regular maintenance was replacing the slave cylinder on the clutch at around 100,000 miles. Hope this helps.
    Ross
    K1200LT (99), DL650A (08), XJ650RJ (82)

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    Thanks for the replies. As far as mechanical problems, sure i expect to see a few on a 10 year old motorcycle, or at least the potential for them. But I am a retired [30+] year mechanic, much of it spent on police motorcycles, so [that] part doesn't really [scare] me..yes parts are expensive , if their needed . As far as the gadgets?..most of them I don't need, wouldn't care about, radio,electric cruise, that sort of stuff means nothing too me. Run,stop,steer is my focus. Just always wanted to try one, without laying out big $$ to do so.

    Are they hot?, are they as comfortable as I've been told? Do they handle, reasonably well? Is the sitting position relaxed?,cramped, laid back?. Is there any room in the luggage? I do not like the trunk, it just looks so high too me, and makes the motorcycle look top-heavy. A local guy rides his around here without it, and for a large 'touring' motorcycle is looks much better,,{IMO}.

    Ron

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    Themason 42906's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of the 1200s. To turn the previous K-1100 engine into a 1200 cc mill, BMW had only one option, lengthen the stroke. The cylinder walls were already taken to their minimum thickness when BMW poked that engine out from a 1000 cc mill to the 1100.
    What happened when lengthing the stroke is that BMW had to shorten the con rod. Now the con rod length to stroke ration is lousy, and the engine has a harsh power delivery. Because the thing is in a big heavy aluminum beam frame and rubber mounted you don't notice the harshness, but these engines jack hammer drive lines. Final drives and drive shafts do not live as long on the 1200s as they do on the 1000s and 1100s with their more favorable con rod lengths, especiall the 1100 which has the longest con rod of the three. You can see evidence of what I say in the much heavier cam chain tensioner and guide rails used on the 1200's. The racheting power delivery of the 1200 really whips the cam chain! Were you to graph rpm over time, it would be a jagged line that looked like the blade of a saw, while the same graph of the earlier, shorter stroke bikes with their longer con rods would look more like a sine wave.
    The 1200s are also prone to high rpm detonation. BMW is making quite a bit of power from an old architecture and most BMWs use a pretty aggressive ignition advance curve. That is ok with the high octane unleaded gas available in Germany but there is no knock sensor on these engines and with urine poor US gas and high enough temperatures you can encounter high rpm detonation on these bikes where you wouldn't on the earlier K bikes. This form of detonation cannot be heard and it results in pitting of the Nikasil and a ruined engine.
    I am no fan of the 1200 engine. The best K bike engine was the K-1100. It is the smoothest by far.
    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

  6. #6
    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. As far as mechanical problems, sure i expect to see a few on a 10 year old motorcycle, or at least the potential for them. But I am a retired [30+] year mechanic, much of it spent on police motorcycles, so [that] part doesn't really [scare] me..yes parts are expensive , if their needed . As far as the gadgets?..most of them I don't need, wouldn't care about, radio,electric cruise, that sort of stuff means nothing too me. Run,stop,steer is my focus. Just always wanted to try one, without laying out big $$ to do so.

    Are they hot?, are they as comfortable as I've been told? Do they handle, reasonably well? Is the sitting position relaxed?,cramped, laid back?. Is there any room in the luggage? I do not like the trunk, it just looks so high too me, and makes the motorcycle look top-heavy. A local guy rides his around here without it, and for a large 'touring' motorcycle is looks much better,,{IMO}.

    Ron
    Until you're used her she can be top heavy at parking log speeds. Are they hot? Not any hotter than any other large cc engine but when the fans kick on they can blow warm air on your shins. Do they handle? On a twisty road with the revs high, it handles like it's on rails. It thinks at times that it's an 850 pound sport bike.

    We went on a week long trip riding 2 up last fall on the BRP. We were on the road everyday. We added a bag on luggage rack that we never expanded fully and really only put things like jacket liners and hats in the bag anyway. So there was plenty of room.
    Chris Ehlbeck
    BMWMOA 168990
    Chris & Donna's Motorcycle Journeys

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    Well my friend did bring it over, it needs tires..not a big deal, it needs a battery, to be expected, but it does have a constant flash of the ABS warning light that does not go out. But the brakes work fine, excellent actually , runs good, [a-bit of surge] but you can smell old gas, likely that ? Cosmetics ? I think the paint is mostly embedded with dirt , one spot I gave a little luv to, started shining up, ....mostly elbow grease work, no damage , except one little spot on the left bag. And the switches are all faded out. The seat is dry rotted, as are the rear speaker pods. Which [if] I buy will be taken off, that damn trunk weighs a ton. So I made an offer, see what they say?

    P.S. I do not like the way the side stand deploys and stops...is there an aftermarket fix for that? It seems like it could easily roll off .

  8. #8
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Are they hot?, are they as comfortable as I've been told? Do they handle, reasonably well? Is the sitting position relaxed?,cramped, laid back?. Is there any room in the luggage? I do not like the trunk, it just looks so high too me, and makes the motorcycle look top-heavy. A local guy rides his around here without it, and for a large 'touring' motorcycle is looks much better,,{IMO}.

    Ron
    Contrary to all the negative comments, I believe the LT is a *great* touring mount, and a very good commuter. Over the course of a decade I owned four LT's (all bought new), and the 2002 was my favorite. I used mine primarily for daily commuting into DC (lots of weather protection, lots of storage for suit coat, briefcase, riding gear, etc., and enough "gadgets" to keep me entertained). I also toured and pulled a Bushtec trailer, which they handled very well.

    The weather protection of an LT is the best of any BMW I've owned in more than 30 years (BMW actually has a patent on the diagonal strakes under the tip-over bars for rain deflection away from the rider).

    Nor is heat a problem -- in fact, I was amazed at the heat control on the LT. As long as you keep your legs behind the fairing lowers (the normal riding position), none of the hot air from the radiators impinges on the rider.

    They are heavy, but once over 2-3 mph, my experience was that 2-300 lbs "disappeared." The long handlebars give great leverage so maneuvering is "light as a feather." This is the #1 difference between the LT and the GoldWing -- I really drove mine like a sport-tourer, not a grand-tourer/luxobarge.

    On the engine, contrary to the comments above, the rod/stroke ratio did not "ruin" the flying brick engine. The smoothness of the 1200 and its suspension in the massive, rigid frame backbone was one of the things I most enjoyed about the bike -- although the superb, confidence-inspiring handling was a close second.

    If you don't like the trunk, take it off and store it -- there is a noticeable reduction in "top-heaviness" at zero/near-zero speed with the trunk removed.

    On the flashing ABS lights, while the problem may be a dying/dead ABS unit ($$$), the LT's are well known for triggering a warning when the rear brake reservoir drops just a hair. A low battery can also trigger a low-voltage fault during the ABS system's start-up diagnostic tests.

    Another source of ABS lights, particularly in the earlier LTs, is a broken wire in the rear ABS/speed sensor line. BMW's assembly line workers usually installed a zip-tie securing the rear ABS/Speed sensor harness *way* too tight at the front of the swingarm, and after a couple years the wires within the sheath would break over the edge of the bracket to which the harness was zip-tied (EDIT: just remembered -- the harness is zip-tied to the metal fitting of the rear brake hose line, and the wire breaks over the end of the metal fitting). If the speedo is also wacky (or not functioning), that's usually a confirmation of the zip-tie issue.

    As you are a mechanic, and have time on your hands, I doubt that the massive amount of tupperware and fuel tank removal to do things like change the air filter and reach the electrical relay boxes will be a problem.

    In sum, if the price is right, I'd definitely be willing to take the chance that the ABS unit isn't dead. If that's a concern for you, please PM me the location and price for the bike (as long as it's not one of the Toscana Green models! )

    HTH!
    Last edited by mneblett; 09-05-2012 at 10:02 PM.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

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    Quote Originally Posted by mneblett View Post
    Contrary to all the negative comments, I believe the LT is a *great* touring mount, and a very good commuter. Over the course of a decade I owned four LT's (all bought new), and the 2002 was my favorite. I used mine primarily for daily commuting into DC (lots of weather protection, lots of storage for suit coat, briefcase, riding gear, etc., and enough "gadgets" to keep me entertained). I also toured and pulled a Bushtec trailer, which they handled very well.

    The weather protection of an LT is the best of any BMW I've owned in more than 30 years (BMW actually has a patent on the diagonal srtakes under the tip-over bars for rain deflection away from the rider).

    Nor is heat a problem -- in fact, I was amazed at the heat control on the LT. As long as you keep your legs behind the fairing lowers (the normal riding position), none of the hot air from the radiators impinges on the rider.

    They are heavy, but once over 2-3 mph, my experience was that 2-300 lbs "disappeared." The long handlebars give great leverage so maneuvering is "light as a feather." This is the #1 difference between the LT and the GoldWing -- I really drove mine like a sport-tourer, not a grand-tourer/luxobarge.

    On the engine, contrary to the comments above, the rod/stroke ratio did not "ruin" the flying brick engine. The smoothness of the 1200 and its suspension in the massive, rigid frame backbone was one of the things I most enjoyed about the bike -- although the superb, confidence-inspiring handling was a close second.

    If you don't like the trunk, take it off and store it -- there is a noticeable reduction in "top-heaviness" at zero/near-zero speed with the trunk removed.

    On the flashing ABS lights, while the problem may be a dying/dead ABS unit ($$$), the LT's are well known for triggering a warning when the rear brake reservoir drops just a hair. A low battery can also trigger a low-voltage fault during the ABS system's start-up diagnostic tests.

    Another source of ABS lights, particularly in the earlier LTs, is a broken wire in the rear ABS/speed sensor line. BMW's assembly line workers usually installed a zip-tie securing the rear ABS/Speed sensor harness *way* too tight at the front of the swingarm, and after a couple years the wires within the sheath would break over the edge of the bracket to which the harness was zip-tied. If the speedo is also wacky (or not functioning), that's usually a confirmation of the zip-tie issue.

    As you are a mechanic, and have time on your hands, I doubt that the massive amount of tupperware and fuel tank removal to do things like change the air filter and reach the electrical relay boxes will be a problem.

    In sum, if the price is right, I'd definitely be willing to take the chance that the ABS unit isn't dead. If that's a concern for you, please PM me the location and price for the bike (as long as it's not one of the Toscana Green models! )

    HTH!
    Mark,

    At the price range we're in, I'm not even too worried about the possible $$ on the ABS. 2500-3000 range. Oddly enough I LUV the Toscana green go figure. This one is silver. My friend is going to try & get them to come to my price, but I will go up too theirs if need be.

    Ron

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    Hope you guys don't mind all these questions?

    Anyone ever removed those "knee-pads" on the side?...wondering what it would look like without them? On this one they are dry cracked , might just remove them and paint under them if need be. I don't have it here yet, probably Mon,or Tue. I have no way of going to get it, and then get back,etc..so my friend is going to deliver it then.
    Ron

  11. #11
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Hope you guys don't mind all these questions?

    Anyone ever removed those "knee-pads" on the side?...wondering what it would look like without them? On this one they are dry cracked , might just remove them and paint under them if need be. I don't have it here yet, probably Mon,or Tue. I have no way of going to get it, and then get back,etc..so my friend is going to deliver it then.
    Ron
    No problems with the Qs -- that's why many of us are here.

    It's been a while, but my memory is that the pads are held in place via screws/holes on the back side of the panel, and the surface under the pads is not smooth. I'd be more inclined to pick up used replacements from someplace like www.beemerboneyard.com, or taking the pads to a local upholstry shop to be recovered.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

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