November 4, 2005 Throw a leg over the BMW K1200LT and the magnitude of the motorcycle suddenly hits you. It’s the reason why the bike has a reverse gear and why our test crew dubbed it “the Mothership” when we tested the bike two years back. Even the largest of males needs to find firm footing to wrestle the LT’s near 400 kilograms around at standstill. Misjudge yourself on gravel and the LT will topple over and you’ll need a bar full of able-bodied men to get it upright again – unless you have Doken’s Touch-Down system fitted. The 4500 Euro system was shown for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show last month.
Doken is an enterprising boutique manufacturer and importer of elite motorcycle accessories in Japan, and having a BMW dealership, Doken’s owner Hodeyo Ando noticed the high interest in the BMW K1200LT, but the almost complete lack of sales, as most Japanese tended to be too daunted by the size of the LT and were afraid that with their shorter legs, they might not be able to keep it upright.
Doken came up with a solution: small side wheels that descend at the touch of a button, or when the motorcycle’s speed drops below 5km/h. As soon as speed exceeds 5 km/h, the casters retract. Apart from the obvious advantage of never having to put your feet on the ground at red lights, the wheels offer salvation for motorcyclists with physical handicaps who want to ride a two-wheeler, but would otherwise be unable to do so.
Not cheap at 4,500 €(US$5300), the Touch-Down enables you to do things you can’t do without it, and the quality is very BMW-like (i.e. top shelf).
Interestingly, Doken also showed an commuter machine fitted with the system at Tokyo.