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
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.
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.
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.
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
Dan, I have been riding for over 50 yrs. Haavekcowned more bikes than I care to remember. My long distance bike is a Harles limited. That thing has destroyed my face! No matter how hard I try, I can’t get that smile off my face while I’m riding in pure luxury, and oh that sweet sound of the big vtwin pumping at just above idial . I did look at the BMW a few weeks ago. I ask about bike to bike communications, the dealer said it has blue tooth, you can communicate via cell phone for mile’s away. No one uses cbs anymore, the are outdated. I said well it’s hard to get 50 or more bikes on a conference call, of course there has probably never been thar many BMW riders in one group, I I can understand why BMW never thought of that. Salesperson said, it’s got an electrically adjustable windshield.
I’ve owned 3 Goldwings starting out with a 1985 1200 and working my way up to the GL1800. They were all ahead of their time in reference to power and comfort. I recently purchased a BMW 1600GTL to reduce the weight as my knees aren’t what they used to be. I especially like the fact the panniers can be removed to reduce weight and enable checking tire pressure and other maintenance. The power and handling is great, options like the adaptive headlight, electronic windshield and various ride options are also a big asset. The one thing I’ve noticed is wind protection isn’t as effective as the Goldwings. I’m contemplating purchasing a wind wing kit to get a little better protection. Other than that I’d definitely recommend the GTL, it’s a great bike.
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’.
Jeez Wilkins get a life
What has been seen can not be unseen, like the 2012 Olympic logo and its similarity to Lisa Simpson…
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
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
I rode a Harley Road King around Spain last year and K1600GT this year. Sorry Harley lovers the K is in a different league. Only thing better on the Harley is the sound system.
There’s a reason bar risers, peg relocating, and lowering kits, are sold for these kinds of bikes. It’s because many do not find them comfortable, and the buyers of these bikes are trying to achieve a more upright riding position, with more relaxed knee bend. Core exercises, really? why? Personally, I see no point in racer boy ergos on a heavy touring bike, I could rack up speeding tickets all day just fine without them, and if I want sporting I’ll get a sportbike.
At 6’4″ I find the riding position of my
K16 GT to be far more comfortable on long 300+ mile days than it was my 07 Heritage. I did not think this would be the case but it is for me. I felt like my feet were too far forward on my heritage which made my back hurt. And, I would add that the torque is not all up high as someone stated. Surprisingly, it’s nearly as torquey as the Harley coming out of a corner at low RPM.
I loved my Harley and would own another but the K is unbeatable for long rides and definitely more fun and maneuverable in the twisties.
Its like comparing a Hillary supporter to a Trump supporter…….
Bad analogy. Real bad.
The K1600 GT [but as well the GTL] is no rival nor sibbling of the GOLDWING, GLIDES and the rest.
BMW have created a whole segment with a real ‘sport tourer’. After two years, 26000km, I can tell you that I don’t miss my ZX10r on the road and for the odd track day, I can rent a ‘true sport bike’. The K16 is designed to be very very sporty. You get this bike above 10km/h and you forget the weight. The chassis is excellent, brakes to boot, paralever/telever suspension that doesn’t dive.150nm torque available at 1500rpm from a maximum of 175nm. How many bikes can do that including Harley’s? Unlike a Harley, once you done with the torque, you can also ride it like you stole it, playing with horsepower and upper rev range if needed. (most times you don’t need to because it picks up so well even in 6th, like riding an automatic unless you get into hooligan mode, dropping a gear or two or just because you want that 6 howling mad!)
If you just ride highways, love straight lines,(nothing wrong with that if that’s your trip) don’t buy this bike. It’s just not mean’t for that boring stuff. It’s designed with alot of European usage(twisty roads, poor weather=electronic aids). It’s ‘overkill’ if you doing highway stuff.
it has a duolever front end
The BMW produces maximum torque of 129 ft lbs at 5,250 rpms, while the Milwaukee 8 Harleys produce their maximum torque of 113.6 ft pounds at 3,250 rpms. High HP, high torque bikes produce maximum torque at higher rpm’s. This is why Harleys have low HP numbers, because they produce their maximum torque at lower rpm’s. That’s the way it is, that’s why tractor trailers have high torque numbers and respective to their size, relatively low HP numbers. I prefer having maximum torque in the rpm range I actually ride in, and that isn’t 5,250 rpm’s.
it has plenty of torque at lower RPMs – anywhere between 3000-5000 is a good range to be in. And it handles well at speed unlike the brand from Milwaukee
My prior bikes were the VFR800, and the ST1300. I came to the Harley Ultra Limited seeking more long range comfort. Leaning forward with feet tucked up behind the knees just wasn’t working for me, and frankly I see no point in these ergos on a non race bike. I find the Ultra handles just fine, but then I have no interest in paying the fines, or insurance for 15 over speeding tickets.
Sounds like you need to look at the k1600gtl. You are more up right than the gt and you have the back rest like your Harley. And gain maneuverability and comfort. I have ridden the Harley’s and ride with many guys with them. But I keep seeing these guys time and time again shift over to the bmw.
The biggest deal killer for me is the scarcity of BMW dealerships. I live in a city and still there is only one near me. So what happens if I’m not happy with the dealership, I’m stuck with them. Also if I have a problem touring, I might literally require a tow of hundreds of miles to the nearest BMW dealership. Also BMW parts and service are expensive. They also lack the luggage capacity of the Harleys with tour pack, or Goldwings. And the last is a personal thing, but the BMW looks like an oversized scooter to me.
then why are you still commenting here? I did a USA four corners tour in 2015 on my BMW RT, my ridding buddy did it on his CVO roadglide. I had zero issues, his roadglide vibrated a few thing apart in 8000 miles.
I have the same confidence on my K16
I’m still commenting here because I keep getting replied to. I have almost 24,000 miles, and on the original tires no less, and I’ve had no problems with my Ultra. My brother is on his 2nd Harley, and my dad has had 3, he finally traded in one of his for a trike as he’s still riding with my mom in his 80’s and his balance and strength isn’t so good anymore, and he has had no problem with any of his. Regarding reliability, you may or may not know this, but the only brand rated lower in reliability than Harley by Consumer Reports was BMW. At least Harley has an extended dealership network.
150nm@1500rpm = 110.6 ft lbs… thats about 75% of it’s peak torque 175n.m available at 5250 ft lbs. Thats not far off any Harly. Milwaukee 8 reads 113.6 ft lbs @ 3250rpm …You don’t need to ride this bike over 2000 rpm…. 50km/h in 6th….loaded…it picks up with no hassle…. just my respect for gearbox that I slip into 5 sometimes.
@ S.Little, yep duolever…pardon me.
@S.Little, yep thats it pardon me.
@ Dan Hammack,
113.6 ft lbs @3250rpm for the Milwaukee 8, impressive, ok.
Now look at the k16:
110.6 ft lbs @ 1500 rpm( half the rpm for the Milwaukee 8 for the K16 to be closer to the Harley). This is 75% torque of the 129 ft lbs @ 5250 rpm.
This explains why the k16 even fully loaded with luggage will pull strongly in 6th even from 50km/h with any hesitation. That said I’d prefer using 5th in places to protect the gearbox. There is no need to ride the k16 above 2500 – 3000 rpm.
110.6 foot pounds at 1500 would be impressive, however 75% of = 96.75, not 110.6 foot pounds, And a quick search shows sites stating that the BMW puts out 70% of its max torque at 1500 rpm’s, that would be 90.3 foot pounds.
75% of 129 would be 96.75.
Fair enough. That said, does 70% / 90.3 ft lbs @ 1500 rpm of the k16 feel significantly different to 113.6ft lbs @ 3250rpm ? If they both at the same rpm of 1500rpm what would be the figure for the Harley? If they both at 3250rpm (max torque for the Harley) the k16 is more than 70% and will get much higher than 113.6 ft lbs. There should be a dyno reading to check it somewhere if we want to really compare apples with apples.
That’s my point, at the rpm’s that touring riders actually ride the power difference between these two bikes is questionable. I don’t ride at 5,250 rpm’s where the BMW makes it’s maximum torque, actually I prefer to ride at about 1/2 that, so 129 ft lbs at 5,250 rpm’s is of no use to me, and it is only about 15 pounds more than the Harley at 3,250 rpm’s. Nearly everybody looks at horsepower numbers and thinks Harleys are gutless, because they don’t understand the relationship between HP and torque. As a general rule, the lower the rpm’s a motor produces its maximum torque, the lower its HP will be. Harleys have lots of low end grunt while high HP bikes, even ones with high torque numbers, produce maximum torque at much higher revs and usually lack low end grunt unless they have a fairly flat torque curve.
I think after reading all these comments I realize once again that one should not forget to considder the following:
What makes YOU happy about your bike and what convinced you to buy it and secondly for what application! Its like the woman you choose!!
Personally I have vast experiance in all of them and own a collection including the latest GT. Nothing comes close to the GT but also to the Harley’s, depending on what you want to do with the bike!!
I love the amazing tech of the 6 cylinder and ultimately the the sound it makes! reminds me of my CBX. However my CVO Milwaukee-Eight 114 is in a class of its own and truly has an impecable heritage!! Horses for courses Gents and yes if you are interested, if I was to choose only one, you quess, I tell you soon!!
I like motorcycles period. While some may not suit me, or my type of riding, they are exactly what others are looking for. And if your bike makes you happy then you made the right choice. No one should let others influence the way they feel about their bike, it is as personal a choice as is picking a spouse.
Right on Dan!
Comparing a K1600 to a Harley is just nuts, two different bikes, like comparing a Cadillac to a Corvette. Either one will get you down the road comfortably, but in different style. I have ridden various models of the big four Japanese bikes, 150,000 miles on Harleys in 12 years, and I think my next ride will be a K1600.
When I bought my first Ultra Classic a kid I worked with was busting my chops about his sport bike being better than my HD and he asked me to race. Finally I accepted his race, but on my route, about a 2,000 trip in three days! Of course he backed out! He finally agreed that both bikes were great rides, but for different purposes.
Guys, the best way to take pain from your back is to lean forward a bit. This sport touring position puts curve in you spine and takes away vertical pressure while improving your position for handling two wheels. Buy a Concour and ride it with a good seat and risers. Rode across the US in 3 and a half days last year. A few ibuprophen, but what a ride! I have driven the cruisers too! I actually got to love the HD throb on the highway. But for a tall guy and long rides……I say hands down the Concours rules.
I’m a tall guy, and I prefer to sit bolt upright. Had sport tourers, and was always getting pain in the back of my neck between the shoulder blades. Also after long rides, I would be hopping out of bed at night with leg cramps because of the cramped leg position of these bikes. No thanks, I’ll take my Ultra Limited with a backrest, and room to stretch and move about. Also once you try heel shifting, you’ll wonder why every bike doesn’t have it. No more smashing your foot between the shifter and pavement when shifting up, leaning hard into a turn. I learned pretty quick not to do that.
yup, unless you like to poke along on a criiser..
6’2″, and floorboards give your feet real estate to move around on versus those skinny little pegs. Forward controls? You mean when your knees are at 90 degrees or slightly less, yeah I’ll take that over having my feet tucked back high under my ass. Logic and physics dictate that a big, stretched out bike is going to be more comfortable for a tall rider than a short, compact bike.
Yeah, because bikes with gobs of low end torque are so pokey, lol.
you must not be that tall, harley ergonomics suck if you are over 5-10 or so with those ridiculous low seats, floorboards and forward controls
My reply to this is 2 posts up ^
Terrence. South Africa.
Hi guys. Very interesting reading all your comments. I am 69 and an old biker. Honda use to be my favourite, specially the PAN, I found her to be a lovely long distance partner with ample packing space and a willing horse. In 2012 I changed to BMW, and was the proud owner of a K1300 GT. What a lovely machine, lots of grunt easy in traffic and I found the ergos well in reach. Did Capetown a few times on the Pan and Swaziland a good few times on the beemer. In my mind pretty much of a muchness between the two with the beemer coming out tops in handling and the added extras like cruise control, heated seat, suspension etc,etc. I then bought a Harley Ultra, still got it. I wasn’t quite ready for this and I am finding pretty much like changing from a Ferrari to a beetle. Lots of torque but that’s it. Fortunately with age one seem to slow down and im slowly getting use to the go slow mode. Not good in traffic as was mentioned by one of the guys but on the open shes comfy and not too noisy., and oh yes, plenty of packing space. All this being said, I am seriously thinking of going the way of the 1600k GTL. I do miss the extra HP and my other half, 20 years my junior also misses the speed. S I guess my mind is pretty much made up. Will report back in due course.
Great comments. I’ve been a hardcore Harley rider all my life with my last 2 bikes been the Road King and Road Glide. Nothing fit me better than stretching my legs out and leaning back on a backrest with small apes and listening to that rumble. Last winter, couple buddies showed up at winter home in Az. with BMW RT1200’s and we rode for 2 weeks on curvey mtn hwys. I’m an aggresive rider but they drove circles around me. Teased them that they may be faster but I’ll never ride a bike with legs tucked under me,(I’m 6’2″). Then we ran into a rider on a K1600 with hwy pegs and got me thinking. Ended up buying one down there and fitted it with the hwy pegs, seat with a backrest and longer bars that reach back a little more and voila!, a stretched out, lean back riding position! I’ve spent thousands on my Harley engines to get them to go faster but they will never come remotely close to the performance of that 1600! CANNOT keep that thing under a 100mph! All my Harley buddies are astounded I switched but it has really resurected my passion in motorcycling. Kinda miss that rumble and image that a cool looking Harley portrays but I’m sure not regretting the switch like I thought I might of.
I’m considering a K1600 GT as a possible solution to a developing travel issue. I’ve ridden a Tiger 800XC on back roads through mountains, deserts and above the Arctic Circle. It’s taken me through a thousand small towns. I’ve ridden it to camp sites in remote forests and in urban state parks, and I’ve picked it up single-handed after minor spills. The bike is relatively light, agile, perfectly reliable and never whats to be cleaned. But now I’ve had enough gravel roads; I’ve had enough (I think) of sleeping on the ground. Long distance travel and is still appealing, but now I’m wanting smooth pavement and comfy beds. I have a heavy cruiser with lots of chrome that I use to poke around my nearby countryside on warm days. It’s slow, pleasant, and it rumbles low down when I twist the throttle. But it’s weight and relative lack of agility are an issue on twisty roads, and I have to be careful to avoid the risk of it falling over because I can’t pick it up. It is not suited for the kind of long distance travel I may be changing toward. A K1600 may solve some of my concerns. My point is that every rider needs to know what kind of riding they want to do and then buy a bike that is best suite to that kind of riding. A bike that is bought because friends approve or because of how it looks soon becomes a neglected garage queen with a for sale sign.
There are a lot of comments on the rpms people ride. What rpm you ride is not, or should not be fixed. You ride in the bike’s powerband. So on a HD I might keep things around 3,500. That doesn’t mean the BMW has to run 3,500 too? Also, at 4-5K a BMW is going to be much smoother than an HD at 3,500. Also when comparing the power of the two bikes remember the BMW is 120+ lbs lighter than the HD. For me the K 1600 has the best touring engine around.
3 bikes in my stable. ’09 xx14, ’09 Vmax and ’15 k1600gt. I love all 3 of these bikes.
Some obviously very experienced riders here, some of ou quite opinionated as well. That’s okay some would say I am as well! I’d like to know what you all think of the Motus?
Steve O , I suspect everyone is googling MOTUS. That is one sweet sport tour with the baby block V4. Everything seems to be fully adjustable to fit every size rider. I have been riding since 64′ and owned a considerable number and variety of motorcycles. Including 4 Harleys. The last and best being a Roadglide. The allure of the Harley has long worn off. Now I await my last and best the R1250RT.