BMW GRAND AMERICA
Munich tick all the options for their latest Gold Wing botherer.
AS SOON AS you ride the hear indulgent popping at the Grand America, you silencer. Ooh, it’s gorgeous. realise another BMW Editor Hugo rode the Bagger K1600 is a good thing. variant of the K1600 back in There’s a fairing that’ll Nov ’17. Aimed at the American shrug off a biblical market, it’s got a heated seat, downpour, a riding position low 780mm seat height, and a that’s the last word in comfort, shapely rear end. As bigger and two spacious panniers for equals better in the ‘States, gubbins. Then you open the BMW have now wheeled out a throttle, listen to the waspish new Bagger stuffed with extras: rasping of the exhaust, and fall this Grand America. Walk in love with the 1649cc inline around the huge bike (takes five six. It’s a strapping six-cylinder minutes) and you’ll notice feetforward monster of an engine good for footboards, engine 11.7-second quarter mile times guards, keyless ignition, LED and a 150mph top speed fog lights, and a centrestand. (without a limiter). Accelerate Climb on to discover an electric full throttle to splurge down reverse gear, multimedia stereo the road on 129 lb.ft peak and a tall windscreen that’s torque. Shut the twistgrip to electronically adjustable with
its own dedicated rocker switch. And, blimey, there’s more. A headlight that stays level and swivels with lean? Yep, on the list. Plus hill start control, tyre pressure monitoring, up-down quickshifter, and an emergency call function. No surprise that the ’America costs £5400 more than a standard £16,750 Bagger. ‘Grand Americation’: the act of ticking every option box. But all those extras make the bike really heavy. Harleydavidson make something called the Fat Boy. It’s 317kg and has solid metal wheels, but the Grand America is still 47kg heavier than that. You’d have to use two KTM 790 Dukes to balance the scales. But amazingly it’s seldom noticeable on the road, thanks in part to dynamic electronic suspension. U-turns are trouble-free thanks to an easy reach to the handlebar and a helpful twin-pot rear caliper. The only time I’m reminded of the bike’s weight is when I’m hitting bumps on a bumpy Fenland road. The K1600 clunks down as if pulled to the Earth by electromagnet, not just gravity. Wobbling around a car park isn’t a problem thanks to that reverse gear. It’s
controlled by a button instead of the throttle, and clicks on digitally instead of smoothly. Here’s a tip that won’t be in the manual: tap the button in quick succession and you get softer power. The Honda Gold Wing’s reverse operates in much the same way. You can’t say the same about the panniers and top box. The ‘Wing has press-button opening, soft closing, and central locking, while on the Grand everything’s disappointingly manual. Find the key (keyless ignition means you won’t remember what pocket it’s in), stick it in the lock, twist to unlock the pannier or topbox. If you’re spending a mortgage down payment on the supertourer of your dreams, the ‘Wing’s extra £7649 asking price won’t matter when central-locking panniers are on the spec list. The rest of us will just use the key. There’s one other annoyance. Click on the indicator for right turns and your thumb will push the smart wheel to the right. This command changes the radio station. Infuriating, unless you don’t listen to the radio. Want to max out your Grand America? The wacky Austin Yellow colour scheme is another £875, forged wheels add £1500, and a BMW Navigator GPS is £625. This is absolute luxury, with more class than a Harley Road Glide and more pep than a Wing. But if you don’t have £25,150 to truck BMW’S way, the bog-standard Bagger is yours for 33% less.
Le: the oending indicator-wheel combo. Below: footplates for cruising or sweeping Multi-screen display hasn’t changed since 2011. Complicated, compared with today’s TFTS
No, the GA doesn’t have two screens, this is the adjustment range