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2017 BMW K 1600 GT | First Look Review

Rider Magazine StaffOctober 04, 2016
Updates to BMW's K 1600 GT sport tourer include new electronics, new safety and convenience options, styling updates and new colors.

Updates to BMW’s K 1600 GT sport tourer include new electronics, new safety and convenience options, styling updates and new colors.

When the BMW K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL broke cover in 2010, they promised to bring new levels of performance and sophistication to the sport touring and luxury touring segments. Differing mainly in terms of seating position, windscreen size/shape and the presence of a top trunk (on the GTL), both featured an inline six-cylinder engine with a claimed 160 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, throttle-by-wire, riding modes, linked ABS, an audio system, the innovative Multi-Controller dial on the left hand grip and, optionally, Dynamic Traction Control, Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA) II and the Adaptive Headlight, which uses a lean-angle sensor to point light into corners.

We were so impressed, both models shared Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year award for 2012, the model year in which they debuted.

Read our 2012 BMW K 1600 GT / GTL review

Read our 2012 BMW K 1600 GT vs 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 comparison review

Now Euro4 compliant, the BMW K 1600 GT's 1,649cc in-line six-cylinder engine still makes a claimed 160 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque at the crank.

Now Euro4 compliant, the BMW K 1600 GT’s 1,649cc in-line six-cylinder engine still makes a claimed 160 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque at the crank.

In the years since, motorcycle electronics have become much more complex and wide-ranging. For 2017, BMW’s K 1600 GT catches up and even goes further.

New catalytic converters and updated engine management allow the K 1600’s mighty six-cylinder engine to be Euro4 compliant without any loss in claimed output. The GT’s three riding modes—Road, Dynamic and Rain—adapt throttle response to riding conditions and automatically adjust the Dynamic Traction Control setting accordingly. Similar to other premium BMW models, the GT now features Dynamic ESA, which automatically adjusts suspension damping and offers two modes, Road and Dynamic. Road mode offers fully automatic damping and preload control, whereas Dynamic mode narrows the range of damping for a more performance-oriented ride.

The 2017 BMW K 1600 GT has new side trim and larger wind deflectors.

The 2017 BMW K 1600 GT has new side trim and larger wind deflectors.

With claimed curb weight of 736 pounds, a fully loaded K 1600 GT with rider and passenger can easily exceed 1,000 pounds (allowable load capacity is 1,190 pounds). Since maneuvering half-a-ton-on-two-wheels around a parking lot can be challenging, BMW has introduced a new option called Reverse Assist, a reverse gear that is engaged using a button on the left handlebar and controlled using the starter button (similar to the reverse gear on Honda’s GL1800 Gold Wing). Another convenience option recently introduced on other BMW models and now available on the K 1600 GT is Shift Assistant Pro, which allows clutchless upshifts and downshifts.

A major boon in terms of safety is BMW’s new optional Intelligent Emergency Call, an electronic system which can be activated automatically or manually, sending the motorcycle’s GPS coordinates to the BWM Call Center to facilitate efficient rescue operations.

The K 1600 GT's restyled instrument panel features a prominent model logo on the speedometer.

The K 1600 GT’s restyled instrument panel features a prominent model logo on the speedometer.

Styling updates for the K 1600 GT include a redesigned instrument panel, new side trim panels and larger wind deflectors. And there are three new color schemes: Mars Red Metallic, Blackstorm Metallic and, in the Sport variant, two-tone Lupine Blue Metallic / Blackstorm Metallic with a black finish on the engine and gold brake calipers.

Availability and pricing for the 2017 BMW K 1600 GT are TBD.

2017 BMW K 1600 GT "Sport" in Lupine Blue Metallic/Blackstorm Metallic

2017 BMW K 1600 GT “Sport” in Lupine Blue Metallic/Blackstorm Metallic

2017 BMW K 1600 GT in Blackstorm Metallic

2017 BMW K 1600 GT in Blackstorm Metallic

24 comments

  1. I have owned Honda Goldwings for past decade and I took a test drive on the BMW since the power levels enticed me, the wife gave the looks of the BMW a thumbs up, BUT when it came to ride comfort compared the the Wing, she said No way pal, were keeping the Wing, the BMW has great power but I cant beat the comfort of the Wing, and the Wing corners pretty darn well in its own right.

    • All the touring BMW’s have the sport tourer ergos that I personally do not find comfortable. I have ridden the Honda Goldwing, but as a tall rider I found it cramped. I find the Harley Glides more comfortable, and the 2014 on models actually more modern also

      • all you have to do is get a custom (higher seat) and lower the pegs

        Harleys are more uncomfortable unless you like sitting on a recliner going down the road

        • Lowering the pegs doesn’t change the fact that your feet are still behind your knees. I used to ride sport tourers until my back just couldn’t take it anymore. I can ride my Ultra Limited far further than any other motorcycle I’ve owned . At 6’2″ it just fits me right out of the box.

          • At 6-4 I have highway pegs to stretch out, I’ll take the 80 more HP and better handling.

          • I’ve had bikes with HP, and I’ve had bikes with torque, and I’ll take low and mid-range torque over HP any day. Fact is that the lower the RPM range a bike produces its maximum torque, the lower its HP will be. Harleys produce maximum torque almost right off the line,, therefore the low HP numbers.

          • Recliners are comfortable, that’s why they make them. Nobody builds chairs with sport tourer ergos, and there’s a reason for that.

          • if you like to go slow, I’ll lean slightly forward any day and knock out 500+ miles a day

          • Slow? You just proved you know absolutely nothing about Harleys. It is far more difficult to keep the speed down on my Ultra Limited than it ever was on my ST1300, or my VFR800. 6 speeds, running about 2500 rpm and in the peak torque range on the freeway has alot to do with it as the motor feels very relaxed. I’ve have sport tourers and Harleys, so I actually know what I’m talking about. And I don’t ride near redline where sport tourers make most of their HP and torque, and I suspect most touring riders don’t, so it’s absolutely useless having peak HP and torque in rarely used upper revs.

          • sounds like you’ve never owned a K16 – just another supreme harley rider

          • “another supreme Harley rider”? I said I don’t like the ergos of the BMW K1600 GT, and I Greece sat on one. Did I call it a POS, no I didn’t, but I’ve endured one condescending reply after another from you towards my Ultra Limited, and all I’ve done is defend it. So if anyone has an attitude, it’s you.

          • I don’t know how Greece got in there, damn swype keyboard.

          • Sounds like core strength training is all you need to ride your K1600 without pain…? I’m turning 60 in February and have been riding since I was 7… In NOVA traffic, short for Northern Virginia and our loely DC daily commute, sitting upright with a little forward lean is very useful with the types of dirvers, both documented and undocumented, we have to contend with in the I-95 corridor. I’ve ridden all kinds of bikes too Dan and my needs are to avoid the unavoidable, increase avenues of escape, enhanced manuevering options away from the idiotics. Feet forward, away from the controls isn’t my cup of tea…
            Oh, if you have the coin, Recaro makes a really nice office chair option…http://www.racechairs.com/Articles.asp?ID=140

          • I don’t have a K1600, I have an ultra limited. My back and neck can’t take the sport touring position, I have a backrest on my Harley and wouldn’t ride without one anymore. I wore a Back A Line on my ST1300, so my back isn’t too good, a lifetime of construction work has probably taken its toll. And regarding the controls, the rear brake pedal and shift lever on my Harley are right in front of my feet, so no reaching there. I would choose a Goldwing over the K1600 due to its larger luggage capacity, and more upright riding position, and the fact that there’s a lot more dealerships for service, which is an area where Harley really shines

  2. Ever notice that the side of the K1600GT’s engine looks remarkably like the face of C-3PO, the droid programmed for etiquette and protocol, built by the Jedi Anakin Skywalker? Just sayin’ man, . . . just sayin’.

  3. I’ve got both, 2012 CVO Road Glide 140h/140tq chain driven and a 2015 K1600GT Sport. I’m 6’11” which is “real” tall, not tall. It’s real simple if I’m headed down to the local hangout, going to do some stop light to stop light play time and the hey look at me time…it’s the Harley, and note before I did all the motor work I rode the Harley as my distance ride. It has a custom seat which still hurts my butt after 300 or so miles and 14″ apes. But when it’s time to cross the country it’s K1600 all the way hands down! You can not beat that silky smooth 1600 motor. It’s like marbles on glass. That along with all the other features make it an outstanding cross country ride. Last year we did coast to coast this year we are headed to Alaska, 800 mile days are not an issue. When I bought the Harley I had a laundry list of things to add to the bike, cams, exhaust chrome this n that, you know the 2 inch thick parts book they give you. When I bought the BMW naturally I had to do the seat then it was a helmet ,proper clothing, radar detector and it was time to roll!! It’s just a matter of preference I guess…for every job there’s a tool which will make it easier.

    • who did your seat? I’m lucky to have a local guy “Rich’s” in Kingston WA, who made mine – it’s 3 inches taller than stock.

      • I had Rich redo one of my seats, but the Russell seat I got afterwards was light years better.

        • But the air adjustable Road Zeppelin on my Harley may be the best seat I’ve ever sat on, just wish they made a tall version.

          • My HD seat was done by a local guy….the BMW seat was done by Corbin…I used them because they use their own one piece seat pan which enables them to move the “bucket ” portion back to accommodate me. Had it done while on our coast to coast ride

  4. Rich puts a gel pad in his seats. He moved me back by taking a couple inches off the front of passenger seat. I like his work – did a USA four corners ride last year on my RT in 15 day – no seat issues. thats why the K16 has one too

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