1999 BMW K1200LT.
The reality that rye reached middle age hit me twice recently. The first time it happened, I found myself buying my first Sinatra album Not long ago, I was certain that you had to be at least 50 to appreciate Ol' Blue Eyes. The second dose of middle age came early this spring, as I was riding BMW's most luxurious touring bike. Understand that in 22 years of near-religious motorcycling, I've always owned sporting machines. I was certain that you had to be at least 50 to want a two-wheeled car.
Then came the K1200LT, and a minor epiphany.
We were motoring briskly along a ribbon of two-lane country road, somewhere in rural New York The flowers were beginning to bloom. The smell of fresh-cut grass was in the air, the creamy-smooth 1.2L four was purring underneath me, and I'd set the electrically adjustable windscreen at a perfect angle for talking it all in. I even had the eight-speaker radio on -- itself a first for me on a motorcycle, though I couldn't find any Sinatra.
I blurted into my helmet, "I'm actually enjoying this battleship!" Amazing -- an 840-pound tourer that's nimble in the sweepers and manageable in parking lots, thanks to a reverse gear. The LT's got the storage space and comfort to take me across America -- and use the cruise control, CD stereo, heated saddle and handgrips, and trip computer, if I choose.
The biggest Beemer starts at $16,900. Fully loaded it's about 19 grand. And, no, you don't have to be 50 to enjoy it.