By April 2, 2008

The two-wheeled couch.

I love, love, love Cylon, my FZ6. He’s a great all purpose sport standard, with an upright seating position but sportbike handling and technology. Despite being good at everything, there are just a few things he isn’t great at. I took a few 1000+ mile trips last year, and while I didn’t have a problem logging 600 miles or so a day, I wouldn’t want to have more than one day of riding like that on my trusty Yamaha.

I rode down to Tybee Island, Georgia over a year ago to visit some of my friends from Ars Technica. They’re hosting us crazies again, and I wanted to ride my motorcycle down a second time. The added wrinkle this year is that my family is having a get-together in San Francisco in June. I would really like to ride my bike out there, but if I can’t do two days of 600+ miles on a bike, how would I manage a trip across the country and back?

I needed a different bike, but there was no way I was getting ride of my baby.

I originally saw a BMW K1200LT a year and a half ago when I rode up to Syracuse, New York to ride with my step-father, Professor Sparx. It was a marvel. Not only did it have heated grips (which I had recently installed on my FZ6), but it had two heated seats. Built-in hardcases, a GPS, a six-disc CD changer, CB and intercom system were also part of this giant of a motorcycle. My personal favorite? The electric windscreen that went up or down at the rider’s whim. Want more air? Put the screen down. Want more shelter? Put the screen up.

The downside to the BMW was its sheer size, and also its expense: brand new the bike retailed for almost $23,000. I never thought I could afford one, until my friend Donut started making noises about buying a used BMW of his own.

I started poking around, and found that a used K1200LT from 1999 – 2003 was in my cash price range. The biggest variables in price were mileage and trim levels. I could go with a newer bike with less goodies, or an older bike with more miles and more goodies. What I didn’t expect to find was a 2002 K1200 LT Elite with a well-traveled 42,000 miles on it … and full BMW dealer service documentation.

I dipped into the piggy bank and brought the bike home last Saturday.

Here it is, and boy is this thing a beast. It weight 850 pounds without gas, which is just … super heavy considering my FZ6 is like less than half of that when full of fuel.

The seating position and saddle on the K 1200 LT is SO comfortable. The rider’s saddle has a little backrest 🙂 I’m going to write another post after I’ve ridden it for a bit, but thus far the bike has been very comfortable and quiet on the highway. The K 1200 LT is going to be great at what I bought it to do — cruise long distances.

Posted in: motorcycling

5 Comments on "The two-wheeled couch."

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  1. Jim_shoe says:

    Green with envy.

    Man, I need a new bike.

    One of the best advice I’ve heard/gotten about long rides is to focus on taking breaks every 50-75 miles. Every 50-75 miles. No matter what.

  2. Configures says:

    Wait, so you can tote around passengers on the BMW? Cool! I hope you get to take a long trip soon!

  3. Ed says:

    Ah, the wind in my hair, my arms around doc, wheelies. Now that is a summer afternoon!

    Hmm, better yet, Roclars arms around Doc, wind in his hair, rowr!

  4. drfaulken says:

    Yep, I can take passengers! I could take a pillion (passenger) on Cylon but it wasn’t very comfortable for them after awhile. The BMW is made for two-person riding.

  5. Starbuck says:

    The comfortable seats are a major plus 🙂