Hi sir. Care to elaborate on the above. I am very curious to know how different the two bikes are. Let's say one removes the top and side cases from both bikes, how different are they? Just like to learn more about the differences. Thank you
Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
The ergonomics, handling and wind management are the main differences. Plus a slight difference in the exhaust note - the GTL is a bit too muted, maybe getting a bit into large scooter-like territory.
Let's start with the least important: wind management. The GTL's only minor plus are the added wing deflectors near the mirrors, and potentially the more protective mirrors (on 2017+ bikes) . But the GTL OEM screen, while a lot more protective than the GT screen, creates a lot of back pressure, at higher speeds (90+ mph). Bottom line: both bikes need aftermarket screens and even added side protection (think Aeroflow aerowings)
Ergonomics: the GTL offers different handlebars, seat, and pegs position, resulting in a much more relaxed long distance touring position. The difference is far from trivial - the GTL is a much more relaxed ride. The trade-off is handling.
The GT handles a lot better, due to the different ergonomics and the different suspension settings. It's a lot more composed and precise in the turns, at various speeds, and in different degrees of traffic congestion. And is more stable at high speeds (again, 90+ mph), due to the different suspension, weight distribution and wind management. Both compared with the topcase on - the shape of the GT topcase, without the added drag of the hump of GTL passenger backrest, additionally helps aerodynamics (as much as a big box mounted high, on top of the bike, can "help").
Note regarding seats: the OEM GTL seat that comes stock creates a cramped position for somewhat taller riders. An extra-high one-piece GTL OEM seat (selectable as a no cost option if buying a new bike) will put you at the same height as the stock, 2 piece, OEM GT seat. But, both bikes will most probably require an aftermarket seat, as durability and long distance comfort are not ideal.
I wouldn't advise buying one or the other bike without serious test rides on both. I did 3 back to back extended test rides, with different model year bikes, until I could clarify the differences, for myself, and make a clear choice.
In the end no bike is perfect, all will require some dialling in to fit your frame and riding requirements. And even them, some compromises will have to be made and accepted.