2013 BMW K1600GT TestDespite being a physically large, heavy machine, the BMW K 1600 GT is a surprisingly agile ride. The heart of the motorcycle is, of course, the across-the-frame six-cylinder motor, which is no wider than a typical four.
Vibration is negligible and, far from feeling frenetic, the long-stroke 1649cc powerplant produces a stunning 90 ft/lbs torque at only 1500 rpm, giving the GT a meaty, low-down powerband exactly where you need it.Aside from the traction control and ABS, the electronics are adjusted via the intuitive thumb-operated controller on the left handlebar. Three riding modes (Rain, Road, and Dynamic) manage the engine’s output and can be changed on the fly, as can other functions including the suspension, and the GPS, audio, and communications systems, if fitted.The fueling on the GT can be a little abrupt coming back on-throttle at slow speed. However, if you are riding hard – and the superb handling and motor fully encourage this – then it is much less noticeable.Although the slipper-clutch, gearbox, and shaft drive work well, the GT can be a bit clunky in the first three gears. There is some drive-train lash, so trying to be smooth at low speed can be quite a challenge. If you are riding two-up and comfort is the order of the day, then Rain mode provides ample power so elegantly that your passenger will be super-impressed with your finesse.BMW’s Duolever front, and electronically adjusted Paralever rear, suspension is excellent. Because front end-dive is non-existent when you hit the brakes, the geometry remains unchanged during deceleration. The GT is very stable when hard on the brakes, and if necessary, a gentle application of brake in mid-corner won’t stand the bike upright.The K 1600 GT transitions its weight with alacrity and neither flops into corners nor appears reluctant to turn in. Confidence in the front tire is boundless, and a hard-throttle exit doesn’t push the bike wide. This big sport-tourer is well balanced and overall handling is superb.The BMW K 1600 GT feels like a new generation of touring machine. Sporting riders looking for a superbly capable, yet comfortable, tourer will not be disappointed.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!