2023 BMW K1600GT’s six-cylinder soldiers on

1 week ago 59

Delicious motor sounds remains the biggest attraction

Published Sep 16, 2023  •  Last updated 3 minutes ago  •  6 infinitesimal read

2023 BMW K1600GT 2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

Six cylinders would look an extravagance for a motorcycle, don’t you think? Motorcycling is expected to beryllium each astir minimalism, isn’t it? You know, upwind successful the hairsbreadth and bugs successful your teeth kinda thing. A ginormous lump of an motor successful the mediate of an arsenic humungous motorcycle would look thing of a sacrilege. Or astatine slightest a misdirection.

That’s wherefore inline sixes person been uncommon as, well, communal consciousness astatine a Conservative enactment convention. Honda raced immoderate 250- and 297-cc inline sixes during the ’50’s and ‘60s and produced its now-cherished-but-then-ignored CBX successful the aboriginal ‘80s. Kawasaki had a beastly KZ1300 successful the precocious ‘80s, but it’s mostly remembered for the ultra-talented Doug Domokos wheeling its 800 leaden pounds. And yes, Benelli enactment retired a fewer Seis arsenic good — some 750 and 900 denominations — but they’re mostly remembered for being c copies of Honda’s CB500 4 with 2 crankpins tacked connected the end. The six-cylinder motorcycle has agelong been revered, but seldom successful.

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  1. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  2. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  3. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  4. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  5. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  6. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  7. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

  8. 2023 BMW K1600GT

    2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

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That’s wherefore BMW’s K1600 stands out. Oh, it’s hardly sold successful grounds numbers — that would beryllium the R1250GS’s occupation — but it has hung astir since 2011. Credit the unusual tastes of BMW owners, superior exertion oregon conscionable the carry-over effect of having the company’s automobile part famed for its six-cylinder prowess, but the past 12 years is the longest tally an inline six has had successful the motorcycling world.

And it looks to beryllium extended. Unlike truthful galore niche engines — astir 600-cc supersport fours, galore litre superbikes and much — that person disappeared arsenic a effect of much stringent emissions standards — Euro emissions regs are the accustomed excuse — BMW has rejigged its large 1,649-cc lump and it’s present cleanable capable to worker connected for astatine slightest 3 oregon 4 much years.

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The bully quality is that horsepower hasn’t been reduced by the shortening of valve timing required. The atrocious quality is that the reduced valve overlap necessitated by the shorter duration, higher-lift cams means that highest powerfulness of 160-hp present occurs astatine conscionable 6,750 rpm (1,000 rpm little than previously). Oh, it’ll rev retired to 8,000 rpm successful the little gears but there’s not overmuch constituent arsenic the torque highest is simply a agelong mode behind.

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Driving the 2023 BMW K1600GT

Nonetheless, the large six is the crushed 1 shells retired $29,950 for the large 1600GT. Indescribably creaseless and effervescently revvy, adjacent though this is simply a touring motorcycle — and, again, it’s powerfulness highest is conscionable 6,750 rpm — it’s specified a hoot to jam the throttle to its halt and unreal you’re Mike Hailwood oregon Jim  Redman howling astir the Isle of Man. The exhaust mightiness beryllium noise-regulations strangled, but there’s inactive thing successful motorcycling similar an inline six astatine 8,000 rpm. The optional Akropovic slip-ons should beryllium considered an implicit must.

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This twelvemonth the K1600 comes with BMW’s drag-torque control, conscionable a fancy sanction for a slipper clutch. Chop the throttle astatine precocious velocity oregon bang down 2 gears rapidly and the rear tyre won’t get each squirrely due to the fact that the strategy is limiting however overmuch compression-induced braking is being transmitted to rear rubber. More awesome inactive — due to the fact that you’ll usage it mode much often — is the K1600’s quick-shifter. It could beryllium that BMW has discovered immoderate concealed algorithm. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the large six is truthful creaseless it needs minimal flywheel weighting (quick-shifters chopped ignition timing for a intermission successful motor powerfulness to let their clutch-less shifting). Whatever the case, this is the champion quick-shifter I person ever tested. Even the notoriously crunchy first-to-second gearchange was accommodatingly smooth. The remainder were similar the proverbial blistery weapon done I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (Driving.ca is officially promoting health-conscious gearboxes). Truly awesome and the 1 quick-shifter I americium comfy utilizing (normally, I cringe astatine their deficiency of mechanical sympathy).

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2023 BMW K1600GT 2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

All this aural and vibration-free delight comes astatine a price, of course. That punishment would beryllium weight. As successful a batch of it. Semi-full of state — and the large lipid sump bathed successful 5 litres of synthetic 5W-40 — it weights 343 kilograms. That’s 755 pounds of metal, integrative and rubber, folks, much than capable — overmuch much than capable — to dampen immoderate tendency to thrust the K1600 circular corners like, well, Mike Hailwood oregon Jim Redmond. Oh, erstwhile up to speed, the GT disguises its avoirdupois somewhat, but, successful low-speed hairpins it’s arsenic truckish arsenic immoderate full-boat tourer. I’d ditch the squarish Michelin Pilot Roads for immoderate rounder Avon Storms arsenic soon arsenic the French rubber was semi-worn successful a quest for much neutral steering. And, you tin surely consciousness each six of its pistons erstwhile you’re conscionable pushing it astir a parking lot. Thankfully, the spot is simply a low(ish) 810-millimetres from terra firma, making low-speed maneuvering amazingly manageable.

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The value of the large motor is, of course, exacerbated by each the K1600’s touring bits. The immense fairing, for instance, is each but enveloping. Riding a GT, for instance, is to not request your rainfall cogwheel unless its typhoon season. Jack up the electronically-adjustable windscreen to afloat sail mode and nary a turbulent eddy volition fuss your faceshield, astatine slightest connected my five-foot-11 frame. Protection from inclement upwind is awesome; ventilation successful blistery upwind not truthful much. But then, that’s ever the trade-off with each land-yacht tourers.

How comfy is the BMW K1600GT?

Otherwise, the large Beemer is conscionable arsenic comfy arsenic you’d expect. The seating presumption is highly roomy with conscionable a flimsy sporting tilt of the body. Some volition privation barroom risers for a much straight-up touring riding position, but, truly, the K1600’s handlebar space and tallness are an fantabulous compromise.

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Ditto the seat. Seemingly plain successful its signifier and firmness, it is the mean level signifier that is possibly its champion attribute. Rather than the dramatically cupped seats of immoderate sports tourers — BMW’s ain S100XR comes to caput present — the K1600’s perch is T-square consecutive which means, a) you’re not forced into 1 position, b) determination are less posterior “hot” spots and c) you can  actually bent disconnected the GT successful corners if you’re truthful inclined. Throw successful a almighty spot heater for aboriginal outpouring and precocious autumn rides, and you person 1 comfy ride.

2023 BMW K1600GT 2023 BMW K1600GT Photo by David Booth

2023 BMW K1600GT’s exertion and features

Again, nary surprise, the K1600 is loaded with high-tech equipment. Dynamic physics suspension adjustment, integral cornering ABS, cornering traction control, Hill Start Control Pro, tire-pressure monitoring, and 3 thrust modes — Rain, Road, and Dynamic — are each standard. Hill Start Control is peculiarly utile connected specified a ample bike.

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So is BMW’s Keyless Ride which not lone allows you commencement the motorcycle without digging the cardinal retired of your pouch but besides unlocks your saddlebags arsenic you attack the motorcycle — and locks them erstwhile you permission — which makes ferrying and loading luggage overmuch easier. Said saddlebags are, of course, rather commodious.  Oh, and 1 past (optional) goody is BMW’s level lighting, a tiny LED nether the fairing that lights up the sidestand country truthful you tin find a unafraid parking aboveground astatine night. Considering that the GT weighs 343 kilos, making it each but intolerable to assistance backmost up solo — Arnold Schwarzenegger types consciousness escaped to boast however it’s “no problemo” — but, for we specified mortals, it could beryllium a Godsend.

Not truthful appreciated is BMW’s determination to enactment some the spot and handlebar grip heater controls into the integer screen. That means they are buried nether 2 submenus and necessitate rather a spot manipulation of BMW’s rotary machine controller to actuate. There’s perfectly thing present that a accepted couldn’t bash quicker, easier and with little distraction.

Indeed, different than the value — again, immoderate 755 pounds — my lone ailment with the K1600GT is the complications of BMW’s absorption system. Less clip fiddling with integer roadblocks truthful I could walk much clip listening to delicious motor sounds would beryllium welcome, due to the fact that that, aft all, remains the biggest attraction.

David Booth picture

David Booth

Canada's starring automotive journalists with implicit 20+ years of acquisition successful covering the manufacture


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