BMW K1600GT The ul­ti­mate in re­fine­ment

FIRST TEST BMW K1600GT £21,380

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

BMW’S class-defin­ing GT now goes back­wards and even calls for help

BMW’S K1600GT is pure lux­ury. There’s no smoother, more re­fined way to tour on two wheels. Honda’s Gold Wing had pre­vi­ously ruled this cat­e­gory but it doesn’t have the ver­sa­til­ity or han­dling of the K1600. When the six­cylin­der BMW was launched in 2010 it set a new per­for­mance bench­mark and left ev­ery other big tourer in its con­sid­er­able wake. Now, for 2017, BMW have upped the stakes even fur­ther, adding more lux­ury and in­no­va­tive ideas while mak­ing the sub­lime 1649cc Euro4-com­pli­ant with­out los­ing any power, torque or char­ac­ter.

This is the en­gine, re­mem­ber, that makes 70% of its torque at just 1500rpm. And which, when you open the throttle hard, makes a silky 160bhp.

How­ever, there’s no get­ting away from the fact the 1600 is big. At 334kg (90% fu­elled up) that equates to 52.5 stone in old money, which is a lot of weight to shuf­fle back­wards. But BMW have made life eas­ier with an op­tional re­verse gear for the first time on the 1600, us­ing the starter mo­tor to move the bike back­wards. Once you’ve se­lected re­verse, you press the starter but­ton to slowly move back­wards. Speed is limited to 1.2kph, but the 1600 will re­verse up gra­di­ents of up to 7%.

Like BMW’S new GS range, the 1600 comes with the ‘next gen­er­a­tion ESA’, which means damp­ing is au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justed on the move. Cur­rent K1600GT own­ers have to ad­just the damp­ing man­u­ally to ei­ther soft, medium or hard – but now it’s all au­to­mated. This is done via nu­mer­ous sen­sors, in­clud­ing one for lean an­gle for the first time.

Pro shift as­sis­tant is an op­tional ex­tra now, too, al­though the K1600 doesn’t re­ally need too many gear changes - just stick it in top and let that im­mense torque do the work. BMW have also in­creased the size of the body­work, screen and the two fair­ing com­part­ments, which can be locked and linked to the cen­tral lock­ing. New for 2017 are fair­ing winglets, which can be opened to in­crease the wind over the rider for a cool­ing gen­tle breeze on sum­mer days.

Also new for 2017, but not avail­able un­til Septem­ber in the UK, is the op­tional In­tel­li­gent Emer­gency e-call. In the event of an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion or an ac­ci­dent, the sys­tem will call a BMW call cen­tre giv­ing the posi­ton of the bike and alert­ing the emer­gency ser­vices af­ter be­ing trig­gered ei­ther man­u­ally or au­to­mat­i­cally. Af­ter a ‘low speed’ crash the sys­tem will wait 25 sec­onds be­fore alert­ing the emer­gency ser­vices, al­low­ing time to over­ride the sys­tem man­u­ally. The GT has to be mov­ing and run­ning for the sys­tem to ac­ti­vate, there­fore it won’t re­act if the bike is knocked over, nor will the sys­tem record your speed in the event of the crash. It’s an in­ter­est­ing sys­tem and a two-wheeled first.

‘There’s no smoother, more re­fined way to tour on two wheels’

Chad’s Gt-in­spired mu­sic playlist in­cluded Help,sos,back for­good and Baby­got­back

The GT’S fair­ing is big­ger for bet­ter weather pro­tec­tion

SOS but­ton is hid­den un­der a flap

GPS is se­cured when the bike is parked

ADAM CHILD SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER adam.child@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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