Radical tourer de force
NOTHING has come close to matching the Honda Gold Wing luxury tourer for agility, power and features. Until now.
BMW’s new six-cylinder 1600 GTL has more power and torque, more features, less weight, better economy and a cheaper price tag.
The K 1600 comes in GT form with a higher seat and more aggressive ergonomics and the GTL with a lower seat, fog lights and top box.
The tourers arrive at $34,990 for the GT and $36,990 for the GTL with the lot. The GT is about $10,000 more than the Honda ST1300, Kawasaki GTR1400 and Yamaha FJR1300 A, but with more kit. The GTL is $1000 less than the standard Gold Wing and $7000 less than the more comparative luxury model, although Honda is doing deals.
The heart of theBMWis the extremely compact in-line sixcylinder, just 62mm wider than the K1300 engine. It is a powerhouse with 170Nm of torque, 70 per cent of that from just 1500rpm, plus 118kW of top-end, scalp-tingling power.
These are the first bikes with car technology such as central remote locking for the five luggage compartments, daytime running light ‘‘ Corona’’ rings fromBMW cars, adaptive headlights and an infotainment controller.
The K 1600 is a tour de force of primary safety technology such as ABS, traction control, tyre pressure control monitor, electronic suspension adjustment, adaptive headlights and rider modes.
The GT has a higher seat and slightly further lean to the bars with a slightly lower but just as effective windscreen. A top box and low seat are options. It is up to 100kg lighter than the Wing so it is easy to manoeuvre with your feet in carparks.
Ninety minutes of night riding convinced me to never ride again in the dark without adaptive lights.
The smooth and powerful engine is the real winner with instant power, smooth and linear delivery, and even a grainy character compared with the Gold Wing’s velvety smooth but soulless flat six.
This is the best tourer I have ridden.
Grandest tourer: BMW’s K 1600 GTL