Riding the BMW K1600GTL

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Our German buddy Jochen just spent the day in South Africa riding the BMW K1600GT and BMW K1600GTL. These are his first photos and first impressions having literally just climbed out of the plush saddle. — Ed.

The K1600 is basically a BMW 7-series on two wheels — absolutely high end, packed with electronics, 3 driving modes, a sophisticated display and setup features with options you can play around with endlessly.

Funny thing : the bike works very well without these features, just hop on it, take a ride. The engine with 128lb/ft of torque and 160bhp is brilliant — not as soft as expected. You dont have to change gear, even driving through town in 5th gear, 25 mph is possible. Has a lot of character, though and sounds nice.

Rolling along as a tourer or going for speed in sports mode is equally possible. Suprisingly easy to handle along the twisty coastal roads here.

Looks like BMW rolled out another brilliant bike after the S1000RR, definately targeting the US market.

  • Glenngineer

    I want one.

    Why ‘keep left’? Reminding journalists not from that part of the world?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler


      • Glenngineer

        I’m sure at least a few would forget.

    • Mr.Paynter

      Keep left, or Keep Left Pass Right signs are pretty commonplace here near blind rises or corners etc.

  • fasterfaster

    Great bit of engineering… I just don’t find two-wheeled land yachts that interesting. At that point, I’d rather be in a convertible.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I’m totally into tourers now. But I don’t have to ride them in a non-road trip environment, which probably explains that.

      • ontheroad

        Man, I didn’t get it at all until I rode the R12GS and startled myself by really liking the damn thing. That made me consider riding an RT and a GT and by then I had to come to terms with the fact that tourers can truly be, for their intended purpose, awesome. BMW certainly does them right. It just occurred to me that the GS is some sort of touring gateway drug.

        You can keep the big Wing and the outgoing LT though, at least for another decade or so…

        • fasterfaster

          Funny, a long weekend on a rented R12RT is what convinced me I’d never want anything heavier and clumsier than a multistrada.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      But this and a Goldwing actually are convertibles, just without the extra wheels and fussy doors.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    If I owned that thing, I’d move to a bottom floor apartment, so I could ride the thing into my living room and use it as my best easy chair.

    Also: Looks way better in Silver than Red. I usually find its the other way around in BMW cars.

  • carter

    This is tha anti-Heist.

  • Cajun58

    RSA reminds me of Jo’burg which always makes me think of D-9. I can’t help but wonder with ultra comfortable 2 up riding one might be tempted to take on the first passenger you come across. But remember MNU is very strict: Picking-up non-humans is forbidden.

  • Terry

    I forget the number on the side half the time… I just think of it as the BMW Half-a-Car. An amazing piece of gear. Not my thing… I wouldn’t (and can’t) buy one, but I sure would try it.

  • dux

    Targets the quickly dying 50′s+ riding demographic. Should sell well, for now.

    • BATMAN

      Guess I’m one of those, at 51. Stunning bikes, I’ll take mine in red.

    • andy727

      I’m mid 30′s, and want one badly. Then again, my wife and I love 2up touring. We don’t ride in town..

    • Charlie

      Easy does it…I think it was Robespierre who said it before meeting the guillotine – you’re next

    • Steve

      guys are living longer and riding (hard) longer, get out from under your rock!

    • Cajun58


    • Cajun58

      What are we quickly dying from you smart ass?

  • andy727

    A few bike purchases ago, my wife decided she wanted to ride with me. We were both going to get Duc’s, her a Monster and me a 1098. Well, at some point she decided that she liked it better riding with me, so we started looking at bigger bikes…I still wanted something fast. I refused to look at Goldwings and LT’s, they were too “old man” for me…in my naivety anyway. Anyway, we found the GT and loved it..still love it. But it opened the door to big tourers..I actually eyeball LT’s now when they ride by! Now that this bike is out, I am really wanting one…but I’ll TRY to wait a year and let the bugs work out…that is if I can resist placing a preorder!

  • Brad

    That picture by the ocean looks just like Carmel, CA! I still think I’m too young to own one of these, a Concourse, or a ‘Wing. But, I can see my S.O. joining me on more adventures on one of these; versus climbing on the back of my current sport bike.

  • Kevin

    Not as good looking as the Concours, but the techno-goodies more than make up for Transformers styling. Want.

  • slowtire

    How many cup holders?

    • andy727

      My SUV has 10 cupholders…I would hope that this bike has a comparable number.

  • Steve

    What differentiates this from the K1300GT? Or is the k13gt a short timer in the lineup?

    • Glenngineer

      Already gone.

  • Steve

    Youse guys all saying you’ll never ride a luxo-land-yacht; write that down and tack it up to a corner of your bulletin board and do an attitude check in a few years. It’s not just getting physically older that moves guys to ride them, it’s their changing outlook on life.
    And, anyone lusting after the $$$ Beemers, be sure to test ride a Concours 14 before you lay it all out. Not as plush or high-tech, but man that motor and those brakes.

    • Mr.Paynter

      That concourse is a beast!

      I work with a giant of a guy who just looks silly on sportbikes (which all his friends ride) and he puts the SPORTS in that sports tourer with his mates! Regular forays in to the 300km/h territory and more comfort!

  • Daryl

    You call this an article?
    I subscribed to HFL for this measly bit of info?!!
    What a rip!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Just a couple impressions from Jochen since I thought you guys would like to be the first to read them. We’ll do a full article when we ride it ourselves in April.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      This is one of hundreds of articles in a given month and I’m pretty sure a world-exclusive riding impression. This isn’t print, so you don’t have to wait till the next month’s issue issue for new features. And if you came here just to read about the K1600GTL, relax, there’ll be more shortly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      I agree. I paid good money and I still haven’t received that slice of homemade blueberry pie they promised. My disappointment is as boundless as my love for delicious pie. Talk about a bait and switch!