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BMW
              K1200LT


Uber Tourer joins the shed

1999 BMW K1200LT

(by Guy 'Guido' Allen, June 2022)


BMW K1200LT

 

Our recently acquired super-tourer set a couple of little challenges before we could head off for a trip north


It was a simple enough plan: Muggins was in the market for a heavyweight division super tourer. You know the sort of thing – armchair seating, giant windscreen, cruise control, sound, maybe some heating...that sort of thing. But it needed to be cheap, as the bank account was looking a little bruised.

Cheap kind of ruled out the default setting, which is any Gold Wing. They hold their values well, and even very well-worn ones are mid teens. Also out was a Harley Electra Glide, for similar reasons. The next most obvious choice was this, BMW's K1200LT.


Though it was going head-to-head with the Gold Wing 1500 series when launched (see our model profile), and then the 1800, its resale value is nowhere near those of the Hondas. In fact, with Au$8500 (US$6100, GB£4900) in your hot little hand you had a choice of the BMWs. Mine came with just under 50,000km on the odo and seemed to be in decent shape.
 

The plan was simple: Fly to Newcastle (NSW) and ride it 1000km home to Melbourne. One proverbial fly in the ointment was that while the seller had replaced the rear tyre in recent times he didn't do the front and it was, to use the correct technical term, stuffed. Not good. It had just enough to tread to get me home, but the profile had worn to a weird shape, which did equally weird things to the steering.


BMW
                  K1200LT


That kind of killed off any ambitions of returning home by backroads – down the freeway was the only reasonable plan.


Still, it was a chance to check out what it was going to be like as a highway mount. In short, it was terrific. Comfortable, the cruise worked a treat, as did the heated grips and seats. The latter still seem like a ridiculous idea, but they make life pretty cosy on a Winter day.


BMW
                  K1100LT


This bike, by the way, replaced our K1100LT (above), which has recently left the shed for a new home. It did its job admirably, and the 1200 replacement is a big step up the touring bike pecking order. Not only is it physically bigger, it has a lot more equipment on board.

 

At around 6'2" in old measure (188cm), I hit the typical problem where the screen and seat relationship was set up for someone just a little shorter. If you raise the seat to max height for a little extra legroom, the electrically-adjusted screen was a little too short even at maximum extension. No matter, when I got home I ordered a bigger aftermarket unit.


BMW
              K1200LT

 

Above: The old and new screens.

What turned up was a Lexan unit called VStream, by Ztechnik. The surface area is about 30 per cent more than the stocker and at minimum height offers the same coverage the old one did at maximum. Fitting was dead easy – pop off a couple of covers and remove four mounting bolts.


BMW
                K1200LTBMW
                K1200LT

Above: The new screen at minimum and maximum extension.


We got home from the pick-up ride in pretty good shape, having discovered a couple of things. For a start, it's very light on fuel, getting better than 20km/lt at times when it was sat on cruise at 110km/h.


It also did the usual K-series thing of blowing smoke on start-up. All the machines from the generation with the laid-down along-the-frame engine do it it thanks to a little oil creeping past rings and assorted seals, particularly if they're left sitting on a sidestand for long periods. This one does it, to the point of it being an art form, but it does eventually clear.


BMW K1200LT


Above: Chris at BM Motorcycles makes up a new brake line.


We almost immediately hit an issue, which was the front top brake line sprang a leak where it had been rubbing on a handlebar cable retainer. Bugger. First stop was BM Motorcycles in Melbourne (Ringwood) where ringmaster Chris made up a braided steel replacement from a Venhill kit he keeps on hand. That brand name may be familiar? I recall them advertising aftermarket cable replacements, particularly for Brit bikes, several decades ago.


BMW
                  K1200LT


Above: New and old upper brake lines.


Anyway, the kit enables you to make up a replacement for most situations and it works well, while the end result is very reasonably priced.


BMW K1200LT


Above: And the new version of the lower section.


Now is when I confess to a rookie mistake: Replacing one front line instead of all of them. The upper line now worked fine but the calipers were tending to bind when you let go of the lever, a sign the inner section of another line on the lower section was breaking up. So back to BM Motorcycles and we complete the kit, using a mix of new braided lines matched to the original steel connector section (above).


BMW K1200LT

 

Above: Replacing the front brake lines required fairing removal.

Normally replacing a brake cable should be a  simple job. Maybe get a guard out of the way and then it should take maybe an hour. Not in this case. The right side of the fairing needed to come out, which involves lots of fasteners. There's no rocket science involved, it just requires patience.


BMW
                  K1200LT


Above: With the fairing off, you get to enjoy the peculiar architecture. Note the 22lt plastic fuel tank made by Acerbis.


master cylinder kit


Once we got the lines in and had them nicely bled, we discovered the master cylinder needed new seals as it refused to build up sufficient pressure. Oh well, another $170 or so and we had a rebuild kit (above), which is simple enough to install.


Of course we replaced the front brake pads while we were on the case.


BMW
              K1200LT


Above: We replaced some of the perished wiring wrap.

 

One unexpected glitch was we noticed a lot of the original vinyl wrap covering the wiring was perishing. The brake fluid leak certainly would have accelerated this. However I've had a similar issue on my leak-free R1150GS of the same vintage, which leads me to suspect a poor choice of material. As with the GS, I replaced as much as I could reach with an aftermarket woven cover bought online.


BMW
              K1200LT


Above: The re-covered wiring and new brake line tucked away in the handlebar lower casing, ready for the top to go on.


Hopefully that's the last of the surprises for a while. We now have fresh engine oil and filter, fresh hydraulic fluid all round, plus new or near-new tyres and brake pads. In other words, we should be right for the trip I actually bought this thing for, which is a mid-Winter Melbourne to Brisbane loop, of approximately 3600km (2200 miles).

 

Wish us luck...


See our BMW K1200LT model profile


Helpful parts suppliers:


BM Motorcycles, Melbourne

Munich Motorcycles, Perth/Fremantle


Doncaster Motorrad, Melbourne


Useful workshop & ownership forums


BMW Luxury Touring (USA)


Illinois BMW Riders (You Tube)





Above: This YouTube video provides a useful guide to fairing removal.

BMW K1200LT

What turned
              up was a Lexan

BMW K1200LT

BMW K1200lt

BMW K1200LT

BMW K1200LT

BMW
              K1200LT

BMW
              K1200LT

BMW K1200LT

BMW K1200LT

BMW K1200LT

 




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