BMW GRAND AMER­ICA

Mu­nich tick all the op­tions for their lat­est Gold Wing both­erer.

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - By Ben Lind­ley Pho­tog­ra­phy Chippy Wood

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 oend­ing 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

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