Gold Wing BMW K1200LT Comparison
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Thread: Gold Wing BMW K1200LT Comparison

  1. #1
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    Default Gold Wing BMW K1200LT Comparison

    I've had my Wing now for a few months and 4,000 miles. It replaced a 2005 BMW K1200LT. I thought it might be interesting to some of you guys/gals to see what some of the differences are and where one bike might be a little better than the other, for me anyway.

    Since both of these bikes are probably the only real long-distance luxury machines available on the market, they both come with just about everything under the sun. They compare well against each other but there are differences. After owning and riding both I believe I'm in a decent position to review and compare the machines. I hope everyone who reads this long post finds it worth their time.

    SIZE MATTERS - The BMW sits high and short riders need not apply. Unfortunately, once a tall rider mounts the machine, he finds that the foot pegs are too high and placed too far back for any long distance comfort. I had to buy lowered pegs in order to get comfortable on the bike. The Gold Wing is comfortable for pretty much any size rider and I have no problems with peg location.

    SEATS - I had trouble getting comfortable on the BMW but after a few thousand miles it became acceptable. Same with the Wing. I think anyone who owns a new Wing should give the seat a chance to break in before you spend any serious money buying a replacement.

    FEATURES - Both bikes come with heated seats, heated grips, stereos, cruise control, etc. The Wing has the better sound system if you have the premium sound. It is much better than the sound system on the BMW. The BMW has a power windshield and it is obviously more convenient than the manually adjustable windshield on the Wing. However, when I was riding the BMW I rarely adjusted the windshield. I think once you have it set in the right spot, chances are you won't be changing it much at all. Therefore, the manual adjustment on the Wing is fine.

    However, the BMW wins in the features catagory with its hydraulic centerstand. It is a feature that comes standard and I used it almost on a daily basis. Actually, I was looking to buy another BMW partly because of the convenience of the power centerstand but in '08 they were only available in black and I didn't want black. Also, a buddy of mine owns an '05 Wing and it has been an enjoyable trouble free machine. I thought the Wing was worth a try and I'm glad I bought it.

    RIDE - The BMW has better cornering clearance and is a sportier machine. The Wing can be flicked through the twisties and can be quite sporting but you have to work it a little more and clearance becomes a factor. However, the Wing has a great ride and inspires confidence over time on the machine.

    ENGINE - Motorcycle Consumers Reports had a comparison back in 2005 between these two bikes. They had almost identical 0-60 and quarter-mile times. They were 1 mph apart in top speed. But don't believe what you read in all these magazines. The Wing had many more horses, much more torque and is just plain faster in every regard. The engine never struggles and power is available at all rpm's. The BMW can be lugged if you don't pay attention to the rpm's all the time. It needs to be ridden in the upper band of the rev-counter and this doesn't always translate into an enjoyable ride, with more shifting required. The Wing wins this easily.

    TRANSMISSION - The BMW shifts much easier than the Wing. It snicks into any gear at any time with almost no "clunking". The Wing clunks from time to time. It has a sweet spot where it will snick right into the next gear also, but the sweet spot is small and you can expect a little clunking with the Wing. No need to respond by telling me your Wings transmission never clunks.... I'm sure it's me and not the bike, but I never had anything but smooth shifts on the BMW. Therefore, in my book the BMW has the better transmission.

    BRAKES - Both bikes have great brakes, but ABS is standard on the BMW and the BMW also has power-assisted brakes, just like in a car. I have ABS brakes on my Wing and they are great, but the power-assisted ABS brakes on the BMW were better.

    MISC. - The BMW gets much better gas mileage, but requires premium fuel. I guess that makes it a push. The Wing is the better long-distance tourer. I only say this after having ridden both bikes over distances that were between 1,000 and 2,000 miles spanning three or four days. But I can't imagine the BMW being more comfortable for crossing the country. I think the Wing may be the better really long distance touring bike for overall comfort.

    Both are great bikes but at this point I don't think I would trade the Wing for a BMW anytime soon.

    '08 Pearl White Gold Wing ABS
    '07 Triumph Scrambler Black

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  3. #2
    Seasoned Member insdan's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    St Charles, MO
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    Thanks for the comparo. Are they still making the LT? I heard they had stopped.

    Dan Moore
    St Charles, MO

  4. #3


    Nicely Done.

    Objective and observational.

  5. #4
    Seasoned Member Jimbo Dean's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    Thumbs up Wing vs LT

    You are right on I also had them both and put alot of miles on each. A few more things that stick out... The head lights, Wing wins night and day.
    Balance... the LT is a bit top heavy
    The seat on the LT is a nut cracker on long trips

    LT headed seat and grips are better and also I really
    The Wind sheild and moved the postion more than a
    couple of times.

    Liked the LT but Love the Wing Jimbo Dean
    In a hurry goin nowhere

  6. #5
    Seasoned Member bryantwing's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Iv'e never rode a BMW and have often wondered. I still would like to get on one and find out for myself. I really enjoyed your comparison, good job.

  7. #6
    Chromeaphobe laen's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Houston, TX
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    nice writeup
    I think cost of ownership is higher on the BMW based on 2 3 or 4 years of riding

    2010 Red GL1800
    Progressive Monos/Ultimate
    2005 Silver GL1800-TE(sold)
    Iron Butt-B2B,BB1500,SS1000

  8. #7
    Seasoned Member merv's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Augusta, Ga.
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    Default comparison

    Thank you for all the information about the bikes.

  9. #8
    Seasoned Member dave95sps's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Richmond, Virginia
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    I bought my Wing new last year. I was very close to getting the LT. I rode it and I liked it. The electric center stand and windshield systems are impressive. I also like the fact that it is a BMW...sort of exotic and like the looks of the beemer emblem (as crazy as that may sound).

    I choose the Wing over the LT primarily because I liked the larger engine, more dealerships, and some of my friends have them. The network support seems to be considerably larger also, more forums, more after market accessories, more GWRRA members / chapters, etc.

    But, I still like the BMW LT. For me, it is #2 on my list.


  10. #9
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    Dec 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
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    I owned an LT for 2 1/2 years and pretty much agree with your assessment of the two bikes. A significant difference for me has been cost of maintenance. I don't do my own maintenance and the LT cost me about double to have scheduled maintenance done than for the Wing. I think the number of independent mechanics around for the Wing keep dealers prices down. And, parts are less expensive.
    This is a day the LORD has made.

    07 GL 1800 Orange Navi
    11 Kawasaki Concours C-14

  11. #10
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    Feb 2008
    Calgary, Alberta
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    I too have owned both. I agree with the points raised above. Also the point about the Wing having better lighting.

    I would add though that the BMW's paint finish seems a lot tougher. The Wing marks/scratches easily.

    Regarding the windshield, I found the power shield on the BMW to be a bigger plus than the original poster thought. I would adjust the shield to see over it in town, and once on the highway would adjust it on the fly so I would look through cut the wind for my wife. The wing could really use that.

    I was happy with the BMW LT, and am very happy with the Wing.

    One other note...there are far more Wings around in North America, which provides a critical mass advantage. Dealers, parts, clubs, accessories, yada.
    2012 Gold Wing ABS - Candy Red
    2008 Gold Wing ABS - Metallic Red - sold
    2002 BMW K1200LTe - sold

  12. #11
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    Besides the LT expensive to maintain, what about dealerships.

    How far apart are they?

  13. #12
    Seasoned Member tpulley's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Wake Forest, NC
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    Default Bmw vs lt

    I rented an 05 RT1200 on a recent trip to NZ. I had at that time been a wing owner for only about 1 1/2 months or so. When searching for a bike to rent Harleys were a dime a dozen. I didn't want that. After riding a Vulcan 1500 for nearly 10 years, I wanted a comfort bike. The guy I rented from said the LT is the one. I tried to find a GW but there were only two on the island and they were booked (months in advance).

    Anyway. I agree to most of the above. I found it hard to ride more than 45 mins to an hour without having serious butt ache. I also found the CG (center of gravity) to be a lot higher on the bmw. I have never laid down a bike in over 30 years of riding until I rode the bmw. I parked on a slight left tilting street. I went to lean the bike over to put the kickstand and I relaized I couldn't get it high enough. I held it up for about 30-45 secs before fatigue started creeping in. As gently as I could I laid it down. I then immediately went around and picked it up. Started it up and drove it onto the sidewalk where it was flat. I was not happy about that. The saddle bag and crash bar got scratched. The hard bag had no guard to protect it from even a fairly gentle laying down.

    I was mighty particular after that. I wouldn't lean it more than a couple of inches. I went on to ride it for 4 days total.

    Loved the electic windshield. Not sure if it was the novelty or what but I found myself raising it (when it was raining) and lowering it when I got a little warm (there was no vent in the middle that the GW has).

    The bike had ample power, but I too found it really liked running at the higher range of rpms.

    If I were to do the trip over again (I would in a heartbeat) I would choose a different bike (GW) if at all possible. If I couldn't get a GW, I might would have to seriously consider a car.

  14. #13
    Seasoned Member bgross's Avatar
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    Thanks for the well-written comparison! The old expression "First among equals" comes to mind -- both are excellent machines.
    B. Gross
    IBA #57164
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