2013 BMW K1600GT Test
Despite 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.