2018 BMW K 1600 B Bagger | Road Test Review

2018 BMW K 1600 B action
Inspired by the Concept 101 and based on the K 1600 GT sport tourer, the new-for-2018 K 1600 B is a high-tech bagger that can be equipped with nearly every comfort, convenience and safety feature you can think of. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

You really get to know a motorcycle when you ride it all day, every day, for an entire week. Long hours in the saddle give you plenty of time to contemplate what works and what doesn’t. After two days of riding the new BMW K 1600 B in the mountains and foothills near Asheville, North Carolina, during the press launch, I spent the next five days riding it through 14 states on my way home to California. Riding the K 1600 B from sunrise to sunset for several days in a row made its virtues and faults abundantly clear.

2018 BMW K 1600 B beauty
Lean and mean, this machine elicited lots of compliments from folks on the street.

During that weeklong, 3,500-mile odyssey, the impeccable smoothness of the K 1600 B’s perfectly balanced, turbine-like in-line six-cylinder engine was indeed a virtue. With cruise control set at the 75 to 80 mph speed limits that prevail on Interstate 70 across wide-open stretches of Kansas, Colorado and Utah, the mirrors remained crystal-clear, there was barely any vibration and the bike felt as stable—and as fast—as a bullet train. I was grateful that, with the windscreen set at just the right height, airflow around my head was smooth and quiet, the seat was all-day, day-after-day supportive and the riding position created no pain points. I also enjoyed the convenience of thumbing buttons or spinning the Multi-Controller wheel to change riding modes and suspension settings, dial up heat for the grips and seat, check tire pressure, raise or lower the windscreen and much more. And every time I toe-tapped rapid-fire, clutchless upshifts while accelerating hard out of a corner, I almost forgot I was riding a bagger.

2018 BMW K 1600 B action
Ample cornering clearance and a high-performance engine and chassis make the BMW K 1600 B the best cornering bagger you can buy.

Wait—a bagger wearing the BMW roundel? That’s right. Inspired by the Concept 101, a 2015 design study by Roland Sands and BMW Motorrad, the K 1600 B is a bagger based on the K 1600 GT sport tourer that won Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year award in 2012. Alas, the Concept 101’s wooden accent panels didn’t make it into production, but much of the K 1600 B is faithful to the original. Compared to the GT, the B has a shorter windscreen, a tubular handlebar, longer, narrower saddlebags with integrated LED taillights and howitzer-like chrome mufflers that are horizontal instead of angled upward. To give the K 1600 B the appropriate bagger profile, the rear subframe and passenger seat were lowered by 2.8 inches, and a new rear fender folds up for easier removal of the rear wheel. The rider’s seat height is 30.7 inches vs. 31.9/32.7 inches on the GT, and a no-cost optional seat is just 29.5 inches. Suspension travel is also lower on the bagger, but there’s still 4.5/4.9 inches front and rear.

2018 BMW K 1600 B engine
The liquid-cooled, 1,649cc in-line six is remarkably smooth and churns out gobs of torque.

Beneath the Black Storm metallic bodywork is the same liquid-cooled, 1,649cc in-line six-cylinder engine with DOHC, four valves per cylinder and a 12.2:1 compression ratio that powers the K 1600 GT. With a narrow 72mm bore (stroke is 67.5mm) and cylinder sleeves spaced just 5mm apart, the engine isn’t much wider than an in-line four. Perfect primary and secondary balance eliminates the need for counterbalancers and the cylinders are canted forward 55 degrees to lower the center of gravity, put more weight on the front wheel and allow the rails of the aluminum alloy bridge-type frame to pass over rather than around the engine. Even though the K 1600 platform (which includes the B, GT and GTL) has been made Euro4 compliant, BMW claims that engine output is unchanged from previous model years: 160 horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 129 lb-ft of torque at 5,250 rpm in Dynamic and Road modes, and 147 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque in Rain mode (measured at the crank). When we put the K 1600 B on Jett Tuning’s dyno, however, it produced lower than expected horsepower and torque at the rear wheel with irregularly shaped dyno curves, as compared to the last K 1600 GT we tested in 2013. Some motorcycles electronically limit engine output when the front wheel is immobilized but the rear wheel is spinning rapidly, as is the case during dyno runs, and such a restriction may have been incorporated into the K 1600’s engine management software. We contacted BMW Motorrad to inquire about this, but we did not receive a response before going to press. We’ll follow up in the near future.

2018 BMW K 1600 B action
Accessory floorboards, a supportive seat and a relaxed riding position make the K 1600 B comfortable for hours on end.

Out of the dyno room and on the road, on the other hand, the K 1600 B feels unimpeded, spinning up rapidly and sending ample power to the rear wheel through a 6-speed transmission and shaft final drive. Lots of torque is on tap even at low rpm and response from the throttle-by-wire is precise, though there’s some lag on inital throttle opening that takes some getting used to. Other than a supercar-like, high-revving whine under hard acceleration, the engine and exhaust are very quiet—too quiet, really, for a bagger (BMW should have had the same engineer who designed the R nineT’s growling exhaust take a crack at this one). There’s some heavy engine braking in lower gears, but otherwise this big in-line six feels like the heart of a thoroughbred.

2018 BMW K 1600 B on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Most of my cross-country ride was on Interstates, but I routed myself through some of the best riding areas in America. My ride began with a scenic cruise on the Blue Ridge Parkway. (Photo by the author)

Being based on a high-tech, high-performance sport tourer, the K 1600 B is likewise laden with state-of-the-art technology. Standard equipment includes riding modes (Dynamic, Road and Rain) that automatically adjust throttle response, torque output and intervention by the lean angle-adaptive Dynamic Traction Control, and ABS Pro is similarly optimized for cornering. Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) has two modes—Road for all conditions and Cruise for softer compliance—that automatically adjust damping. Other standard features include self-leveling xenon headlights, heated grips and seat, cruise control, the Multi-Controller, an onboard computer and dual power sockets. Our test bike also included the Premium and Touring packages, adding central saddlebag locks, auxiliary LED lights, an anti-theft alarm, a tire pressure monitoring system, the Adaptive Headlight that points into corners, Hill Start Control, Gear Shift Assistant Pro for clutchless shifting up and down, Keyless Ride, Bluetooth, an audio system and GPS preparation. There’s also Reverse Assist, which uses a worm gear that runs off the starter motor to provide low-speed reverse to assist with parking (up to a maximum gradient of 7 percent).

2018 BMW K 1600 B Multi-Controller and switchgear
The rider’s left thumb operates the Multi-Controller wheel, and also actuates cruise control, windscreen adjustment, settings menu, reverse, auxiliary lights, turn signal and horn.

That may sound like a lot of bells and whistles, but everything is nicely integrated with an intuitive bike-rider interface. In terms of infotainment, the Sirius satellite radio subscription hadn’t been activated, and I didn’t bother pairing my iPhone via Bluetooth. Listening to music blaring out of external speakers while I’m going down the freeway at 75 mph wearing earplugs isn’t my thing. But I’ve used the audio system on the K 1600 GT and it works fine. Our bike also did not include the accessory BMW Navigator VI GPS ($999), which drops into a slot on the top of the dash and is easily controlled via the Multi-Controller, which works great on other BMWs we’ve tested.

2018 BMW K 1600 B at the Pig Trail Scenic Byway Ozarks
After crossing five states on the freeway, I rewarded myself with back road riding in the Ozarks, including the Pig Trail Scenic Byway. (Photo by the author)

Not surprisingly, the K 1600 B attacks corners like a sport tourer. In the hollers and gaps of the Appalachian and Ozark mountains, the big bagger felt nimble and well planted, its Bridgestone Battlax BT022 sport-touring tires providing tenacious grip. Despite my best efforts, on only a few occasions did the peg feelers scrape the ground. The massive brakes scrub off speed easily yet also provide subtle feel at the lever. And the Dynamic ESA keeps the chassis stable and the tires in contact with the ground, absorbing the worst of beat-up back road pavement and even the whoop-like frost heaves around Summit Lake on the road up to the top of Colorado’s Mount Evans.

2018 BMW K 1600 B low seat
The K 1600 B has a lower rear subframe and passenger seat, and the rider’s seat height is 30.7 inches. Shown is the no-cost optional 29.5-inch low seat.

Two of the K 1600 B’s features are strokes of genius, both of which debuted on the K 1600 GT/GTL in 2012. One is the Multi-Controller wheel on the left hand grip, which makes it so easy to scroll through menus and make changes that riders are much more likely to take advantage of the many available settings. The other is the air deflector winglets on either side of the front fairing, which can be rotated outward to direct airflow into the cockpit. These are the sort of details that elevate a motorcycle from good to great, making the lives of touring riders much easier. On cold mornings, I kept the winglets closed, raised the windscreen and used the Multi-Controller to turn on heating for the grips and seat. As the day warmed, I turned off the heating, rotated the winglets outward to allow more airflow and lowered the windscreen. The windscreen, which has stepless height adjustment, caused no buffeting though in the lowest position there’s quite a bit of wind noise.

2018 BMW K 1600 B Adaptive headlight
Center light is the optional Adaptive Headlight that points into corners with input from lean-angle sensors.

The accessory floorboards, which replace the small locking storage compartments on the K 1600 GT and require the accessory engine protection bars for installation, also won me over. They’re really “highway boards” since they provide a second, more forward position for your feet, which must be on the pegs to use the foot controls. With long hours in the saddle, the floorboards allowed me to stretch out my legs, change my knee and hip angles, and move around on the seat.

2018 BMW K 1600 B atop Mount Evans
And after riding across the Great Plains and into the Rockies, I rode to the summit of Mount Evans on the highest paved road in North America. (Photo by the author)

For my cross-country ride, I loaded both saddlebags and strapped a big, waterproof duffel to the passenger seat. The K 1600 B’s saddlebags are not removable, and they have shallower lids but are longer than those on the GT, offering the same 37 liters of storage but with a different shape. Inside the left bag is the release lever for the seat, and inside the right bag is a removable pouch and a USB port/micro jack for plugging in a smartphone or other media devices. Also good for touring is the big, 7-gallon gas tank. My fuel mileage wasn’t the best because I either had the hammer down or was scuffing the sides of the tires on tight curves.

2018 BMW K 1600 B instruments
Analog gauges are complemented by a full-color, comprehensive TFT display. Center button is the Keyless Ride ignition switch.

Both of my complaints about the K 1600 B have to do with temperature. The part of my view that never changed was the cockpit. The 5.7-inch, full-color TFT display has crisp, easy-to-read graphics, and what information is shown is customizable. I always like to see the ambient temperature gauge, but I’m not sure why the K 1600 B (and other BMWs we’ve tested) shows temperature in tenths of a degree when temperature changes are given in odd, 0.9-degree increments. Riding across the Mojave Desert, the temperature crept up from 112.1 to 113.0 to 113.9 degrees, where it stayed for a while, and then finally topped out at 114.8. Minor, I know, but long hours of riding encourage such nitpicking obsessions.

2018 BMW K 1600 B action
The K 1600 B’s sleek fairing and short, adjustable windscreen slice through the air cleanly. Air deflector winglets on each side of the fairing can be rotated outward to direct air into the cockpit.

The other complaint was an isolated incident. On the first day of the press ride we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for over an hour on a hot, humid day, and after a while my feet started to roast and the engine temperature gauge spiked, changing from white to red and flashing a warning symbol. The bike never overheated, but it was uncomfortably hot until we got moving again. After that, engine heat was never an issue, even after riding in 105-plus degree temperatures for six straight hours while crossing the Mojave, often going slowly through Vegas-to-LA traffic on I-15.

2018 BMW K 1600 B beauty
Stretched out saddlebags with integrated LED taillights and dual howitzer-sized mufflers give the K 1600 B a distinctive look. In the background is the Biltmore House (if you can call a 175,000-square-foot mansion a “house”) in Asheville, North Carolina.

Subjected to a 3,500-mile torture test in a wide range of conditions—including 14,130 feet of elevation at the top of Mount Evans and hours of scorching temperatures in the desert—the K 1600 B passed with flying colors. There are so many ways in which riding a motorcycle this far in such a short amount of time could have made me miserable, but there was nothing about it that made me want to get off before the day was over or dread the next long day in the saddle. If you want rumble and heritage, then the K 1600 B clearly isn’t for you. But if you want a bagger that will ride circles around every other bagger, has class-leading performance and technology, and has all the comfort and convenience you need for the long haul, then your stallion awaits.

2018 BMW K 1600 B Specs
Base Price: $19,995
Price as Tested: $24,390 (Premium and Touring packages, engine protection bars, floorboards)
Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles
Website: bmwmotorcycles.com

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line six
Displacement: 1,649cc
Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 67.5mm
Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: Varies, computer monitored
Fuel Delivery: BMS-X EFI, 52mm throttle bodies x 6
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 4.75-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Shaft, 2.75:1

Ignition: BMS-X computer controlled
Charging Output: 700 watts max.
Battery: 12V 19AH

Frame: Cast-aluminum-alloy twin-spar main frame w/ engine as stressed member & aluminum subframe; cast-aluminum Paralever single-sided swingarm
Wheelbase: 63.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 27.8 degrees/4.2 in.
Seat Height: 30.7 in.; optional low seat: 29.5 in.
Suspension, Front: BMW Duolever w/ Dynamic ESA, 4.5-in. travel
Rear: BMW Paralever w/ single shock & Dynamic ESA, 4.9-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual floating 320mm discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers & ABS Pro
Rear: Single 320mm disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper & ABS Pro
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.00 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 190/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 770 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 465 lbs. (as tested)
GVWR: 1,235 lbs.

Fuel Capacity: 7.0 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 89 PON min. (high/avg/low) 33.8/37.7/43.5
Estimated Range: 264 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,750

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: X-Lite X-1004
Jacket: Tour Master Intake
Pants: Firstgear HT Air
Boots: Tour Master Epic Air




  1. These bikes are so lame! I’m sure they come equipped with a neon yellow riding suit. Everyone laughs at these clowns whenever they see them!

    • Everyone, Nason?

      The only “clowns” I know are those who judge others because they like different rides than I do. I wouldn’t buy the Bagger, but for what it is it offers a lot of value.

      You keep going on your scooter, though. Pretending no one’s laughing at you! 🤣

      • Probably better than 75% of us riders do ride Harleys. And the other 25% percent include all other baggers combined. Here’s the difference. I could buy one of these baggers, but I would always have at least one Harley if not 3 in my garage, and I seriously doubt I’ll ever have one of these baggers and not have a Harley in my garage, and here’s why. These ultra smooth bikes are a complete bore to ride even 20 mph above most posted speed limits. I’ve owned over 75 maybe 100? bikes of all brands and styles. Something Harleys don’t do is bore us to death. So unless I am going on a 1500 mile trip which is the least of my travels, this bagger would not leave my garage very often and when it would, I’ll just about guarantee I come home with one ticket. Yes, I have with Harleys too if you count going 55 in a 35. (Twice the same ticket…hmm, just realized that.) But the test rider really put the final nail in the coffin on this bike when he stated it is quiet, too quiet. That is what will keep this bike in the less than 10 % range of all bagger owners. Same thing for the new R baggers. A great bike if you can amplify the engine through the $2000 speakers! That was a joke for all you that can’t take a little ribbing. And I seriously like the R1200B, but there isn’t one in my garage because (1) too quiet, (2) no bags, (3) no on-off trip trunk and I’ll may as well add one that is seemingly unfixable, even by BMW. Realistic Cruising Pegs! Now that’s a Beemer Bummer!

    • Laugh away Nason. I see nothing wrong with being visible. But if you and you ” look at me I’m Different like everyone else” Riders want to laugh with your Antiquated and inefficient machines that’s okay.

      • I hope you don’t classify yourself a biker Mr. Keith Christensen. Maybe you think you can cause you just kicked me in my 63 year old nut sack. Antiquated ( a 38 Knucklehead that is still running to the last of my awareness) and inefficient (72 mpg sportster?) But hold my tongue, I surely didn’t just offend you, did I? Well if I didn’t it’s coming! AND for you BMW, as I am sure you are going to read this, if you want to seriously compete in the top selling and best value holding H.D. Street Glide craze, first thing you got to do is please the biker crowd who is buying 75% of this type bike, not build bikes for yellow raincoat riders. Not singling out Keith here, but there are plenty enough of those bikes already being sold and they aren’t baggers. And how about placing the engine size in cubic inches on the freak’n bikes instead of CCs. Heck you are not selling Honda VTXs. After all, this is America, not Europe or anyplace else. Dang, who is your manager in marketing/design/ or common sense? LOL Sometimes it’s that simple little detail that makes the buyer put his money where his heart is. I am one of those.

      • Is 160hp lame?
        I usually see people laughing at the extremely overweight couple with the orange skull cap and their sleeveless shirts exposing their cheap tattoos on cellulite covered arms riding slow Harley’s. How is Harley’s stock doing these days? If you really want to know what people are laughing at, check out Harley’s $30K electric bike.

    • Why is it the people who can’t afford a BMW motorcycle feel a need to slam it? Does it make them feel better about having to ride a cheap $6000 bike? I wonder how many BMW critics have actually even ridden one.

      • I own and ride both BMW and Harleys. For years now. Both bikes have their own appeal and are as different as the people who ride them. It’s all about enjoying the sport, getting out with friends and being safe.

        Ignorant comments such as Nason’s exist with all cultures and followings and are just that…ignorant.

        Ride safe All, no matter what’s between your legs!

  2. Greg, the odd decimal increments for ambient temperature result from converting degrees Celcius (used practically everywhere) to Fahrenheit (used in the US).

    • Good point, Bones. Assuming that the ambient temperature gauge shows Celsius readings in tenths of a degree, then, given the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion formula:

      Temperature (F) = [Temperature (C) * 1.8] + 32

      the Fahrenheit readings should be in 0.18-degree increments (rounded to 0.2-degree increments). But if the temperature gauge’s sensitivity is limited to 0.5-degree Celsius increments, then the conversion to Fahrenheit would be in 0.9-degree (0.5 * 0.18) increments, which gives the same readings I saw while riding across the Mojave Desert:
      T(C) T(F)
      44.0 111.2
      44.5 112.1
      45.0 113.0
      45.5 113.9
      46.0 114.8 (HOT!)

    • I thought it was obvious, knowing the formula for F-to-C degrees is 32 + 9/5.

      Now if you could explain why fuel sellers insist on adding 0.9-cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline. (Yes another USA thing gallons not liters.)

  3. Hi Greg, thanks for the review! I thoroughly enjoyed the K16GT test ride at the MOA Rally last year. This B version looks great! Can you give approximate height and inseam measurements to give a better idea of how the bike compares to you, the rider, in your pics? Thanks much.

    • Dave, I’m 6 feet tall with a 34-inch inseam. The optional low seat didn’t work for me (and it’s less comfortable, since the 1.2 inches drop in seat height is due to less foam), and I found the floorboards to be essential for the long haul.

    • Shill for bmw. Return from 12000 mile tour. Bike is extremely prone to weave and steering oscillation at touring speed and in condition other than dead calm air.
      No way to ride bike cross country and not experience this issue

      • Agree 100% Steve, I took it for a long, very long test ride up to 90MPH on a windy day in Orlando, and when passing trucks, I couldn’t feel the front end with the gusts of wind, a bit scary considering it was first time on BMW touring machine, really wanted to like it and give up the HD, but agree for a x country trip, I would not go with this machine.

      • I just traded my 2018 Grand America for a 2019 ‘Bagger. My wife and I rode 125 miles to the dealership on the GA and then back on the Bagger and the “turbulance” difference was night and day. The bike was extremely stable in truck traffic and behind pick ups…a situation that was seriously a problem on the GA. In cross winds the bike held a nice tight line with no issues. Ive been riding since 1966 and ridden just about everything. Over a dozen cross country rides. Every bike had its “personality” and the Bagger is no different. Still, in my opinion its a fun bike to ride and will certainly do a bit of touring justice. Ride what makes you feel good…ride safe.

  4. Wow Greg. You really put it to a full on touring test! Good for you… sounds like a great tourer. I rode my R1100RT from Maine to California and back.. This new machine had obviously taking that older design to new heights.. I know this is trivial, but I think it’s the best looking bike BMW has done with the brick engine.. I do like the new Scrambler as well.. great article and pictures..many thanks.. Rod Welles

  5. Nice review Greg. A buddy and I are looking to purchase a couple of these gorgeous baggers after labor day weekend here in Texas. We did the adventure bike thing for a year riding weekends in Texas and vacations in Ouray Colorado. There is not a better 24 mile ride on this planet than Silverton to Ouray on the million dollar highway. My ride is a 2013 Ducati multistrada gran turismo. His a KTM 1190 adventure. Both bikes are dual sport and awesome. We learned that long distant traveling was ok, but a bit grueling if we went over 300 miles a day. So we’ve decided if we want dirt, we’ll ride dirt bikes. If we want the highway, we’ll ride luxury road bikes. Neither one of us like the big touring boats like the 1600 GTL, or Goldwings. With the huge fairings you feel like you’re riding in something than actually driving/riding a motorcycle which is why we ride. I want feedback and control when I ride. Unlike that clown Nason who is about riding to be cool, I ride because I love performance, comfort, and in this case, looking pretty cool while exploring our beautiful country. My buddy and I were locked in to getting the BMW 1200rt. The more I looked, the more I realized we were trading for a bike real similar to what we were already riding. I would be giving up 25hp, and a huge tour pack for a bike that had a sticker of $23,510. Didn’t make sense. If I’m laying down that kind of money then I want POWER AND LUXURY!!! Your awesome review convinced me that the BMW 1600 BAGGER is the prescription for a power hungry, corner carving, endless horizon, all day comfort, conversation piece, and next adventure bike for my buddy and I. After I passed on your review to my friend, he texted back and simply said…..Let’s do this!!!!
    Thanks, James of Arlington Texas.

    • I love my Multistrada. But after a day in the saddle I’m done for a week. tried all kinds of seats. new Gold wing as front end issues. Scary. I can’t wait to rent one of these. Lived in Arlington 1959-1973.

    • I had a 2009 RT which I loved, but took it in for service and they loaned me an K1600gtl and I was sold. Traded in my RT and bought the K1600GTL. Rode it for a year until I hit 4 Deer at 70MPH and destroyed the K1600. Left the bike in Grand Junction,CO. rented a car and drove home to OC,ca. Gave me a lot of time to reflect on which bike to replace it with. Another K1600 or RT. I made a list of pros and cons of each and when I got home I bought another brand new RT.(2013) Last year of the air cooled boxer. I feel this is as close to a perfect bike as you can get for my style of riding. I’m mainly an Iron butt long distance rider and according to my fellow riders ride way to FAST. I do about 25K per/year. Not a lot, but more than most. A few of the things that stick out on the K bike is, Heat, Weight, Cornering clearance, Tire wear (7-8K), Fuel milage. Hard to hide a 300+ weight difference. Just my two cents, everyone has different needs. Good luck guys.

  6. The 1600B is supposed to be going after the touring market. But… If that’s the case why would they leave off a backrest AND a tour pack for luggage behind the passenger seat. If my wife is not comfortable than obviously I’m not. Wanted to buy this machine but they quit too soon. I’m out.

    • There’s no trunk on the K 1600 B accessory list, and the trunk from the K 1600 GTL won’t fit (there’s no luggage rack to attach it to). If the bagger sells well, then more accessories are likely to be added, but only time will tell.

      • There’s a guy on the K1600.com forum that custom mounted a GTLE too case on his bagger. The top case doesn’t really work well with the bagger’s side cases and he canted the top case forward.

    • Bought a K1600B Sept 5, 2300 miles today Sept 18, talked to the BMW rep Saturday and BMW is in the process of designing a top case to be out this year.

        • No, we haven’t had any issues, problems or concerns. It has been great, but we’ve only put about 4,000 miles on it. Regarding ownership issues, I recommend getting on some of the K 1600 forums to find out what sort of maintenance or service problems are common. It is a BMW, so parts and service, when needed, are not cheap.
          – Greg Drevenstedt, Senior Editor

  7. Greg i think this is quite a machine. Most BMWs from the get go are. I however will not own another one unless I can afford to put a whole lot of money in a repair and maintenance account and have a personal mechanic. When they run, which is usually they are quite fine, when they don’t it is miserable. Unfortunately road tests are rarely at 30,000 miles. If they were I think a lot of reviews would be quite different. Thanks for the article.

  8. Why not get the k16 gtl and ditch the top case and or the side bags any time they are not needed? Takes less than 5 minutes and looks like a totally different bike in each configuration.

  9. The first comment made about the bike being laughed at was made by an immature rider. I’ve a HD Softail Slim S murdered out and bad ass. But I personally think the HD Baggers are ugly. For a bagger this BMW is a superior bike in every way. On Horsepower and Tourqe alone HD has nothing not even the former Vrod that could compare. This BMW is anything but ugly. It is a beautiful machine and will fit nicely between my FLSS and VRSC and while I’m riding it I’ll wear whatever suites me at the moment. Could be leathers and boots or shorts and flip flops.

  10. Same thought as many, did a demo ride on one, best bike I’ve ever rode and I am on Wing now — BUT — I can’t buy it without a trunk or at least a backrest for wife, how can they call it touring bike ??? Come on BMW , finish the bike !!

      • The bagger is advertised as a Touring bike, thus it will need more storage for Touring, also when Touring it is normal to bring a passenger that will need to be comfortable, the GTLs are nice but they don’t fit the bill for me, sounds like BMW might have a backrest or trunk coming out in November, also the Bagger has a pigtail to plug something in, like a trunk.

        • Distinguish between “advertised as” and “categorized”. The Bagger falls under “Touring” in BMW’s nomenclature, but will never be classified as a long distance tourer. Doesn’t mean you can’t use it for that; a Suzuki 125 can get you across the country if you’re willing to live with the compromises.

          • I find it interesting how many manufacturers don’t think about side bags for various motorcycles. There have been a few bikes that I considered but decided against after realizing no bags would be available. I also thought it was odd that Harley never made a V-Rod tourer. That is/was a great engine.

          • And therein lies the central problem for HD: Any innovation is a dead end given their demographic. Evolution (ie the “new” 8 adjustments) is the only avenue, and they’re arguably now at the end of that road. Oh, well. Current management, shareholders, and owners will be gone when this run ends.

  11. Ive ridden nothing but HD for years. But this bike, I will purchase next spring. People that are, lets say, disgustingly loyal to HD, are people I identify as soon as possible and keep away from. HD maintenance costs as much as any bike. I have ridden in many clubs including 1%er clubs, and I guarantee that many guys like me who put in 20k miles yearly, would love to ride this machine.

    • Craig – same with me. 30 years on HD. Went fm Streetglide to Gtl – best most responsive bike I ever rode. Testing this 1600B tomorrow.

  12. Thanks Greg for your in-depth review. I like even more the option of the Bagger.
    I’ve been told the BMW helmet will not fit in the case. Have you tried out?
    Thanks from Spain

  13. Great Review, thanks. I loved the concept 101. I ride both a Chopper and a K1600gtl and will most likely sell the GTL and get the bagger. I think the BMW make excellent products. The individual that wrote the first comment is most likely a 1%er, and by that I don’t mean a badass I mean the 1% total moron. I have been riding for 42 years I have met some of the most wonderful people on the roads and regarding what someone rides to each their own! For those that question repair costs, i have heard that knock in BMW cars and Motorcycles for years. I have been driving BMW cars since 1987 30 years. I do find maintenance costs expensive, but they very rarely give any trouble at all. I highly recommend the company.

  14. Alan, If you want a back rest for your passenger Sergeant custom seats builds one now for the B1600. And for all of you long distance riders their is not a bike out there that rides better than the 1600GTL. I also own a HD and their is no comparison to the comfort, and power that BMW has . Their is a way to covert your 2012-2017 BMW into a bagger style. I will be doing it real soon.

    • Corbin, also! They have a dual tour setup for this bike that can provide a backrest for both the passenger and driver.

      Not a Corbin employee or shill, just a fan of their work. The first thing I do when I buy a BMW is drive out to Corbin and replace the seat. 🙂

  15. Great review. I love the looks of this B. I’m 57 now and started riding when I was 11 (Suzuki TS90..anyone remember that one?). I’m looking for my retirement ride!

    The only concern I have for this bike is the low seat. I’m 6’1 and 34″ inseam. Greg is about that size and say’s that the optional floorboards are mandatory. Can Any other tall rider comment on the leg position and comfort of this bike? Maybe I’ll need to consider the GT but I love the looks of this one.


  16. Great Review, BUT !
    The one think you did not have the opportunity to review is the difference between the Grand America and the Bagger.
    First off I own 3 newer Indian’s, 4 Harley’s & 3 BMW’s . The GA being the most recent. I love everything about it EXCEPT: Starting around 60-65mph the bike “wobbles” especially in dirty air. It is very “unstable” at 80mph. No other bike I have ever ridden has been close to being this bad. Hoping there is some sort of fix to this, because I could not imagine going on any lengthily trip with this Grand America. 3 days ago we rode 1800 in 5 days on a 2018 Indian Chieftain. It was far more impressive and pleasurable to ride, mainly because of the “wobble” of the GA and that it makes your ride “feel” unsafe for driver and passenger. When passing an 18 wheeler, your white knuckled on the grip ! My GA is fully optioned with the forged wheels and has roughly 350 miles today.
    Just my 2 cents.

    • We road our B for the first time on the freeway and passed several trucks. We have been riding for almost 40 years with several ‘moments’. The wobble in that K1600 was unnerving at the least when passing through the dirty air around those trucks.

      We absolutely love so much about this bike but that instability is very concerning. The high pitched engine noise and the pull to the left we can live with. The transmission recall will be resolved at some point, although riding in 5th more has become routine….

  17. I’m European rider of a K1600GT and read the ridermag reviews with interest – welcome and thorough opinions from the states. Mine has well over 50k kms on now and is flawless. I’m not a fan of the bagger look of this piece but the smoothness and power delivery of the six is unbeatable. 1000kms a day in any weather is quite comfortable – even with the standard pegs . The low speed torque goes a long way to overcome the clunky gearchange of the pre-gear assist models. It’s never got to overhead even in London and Paris gridlock – not Vegas heat I know, and we can filter here to get moving at times – and Iike the flexibility to put a topbox on for madame with the panniers for touring, and take it all off to get through the gaps in traffic. And that headlamp – for the first time in 40 years of biking i can ride down windy country roads at night in UK and France and keep see where I’m going.
    My aim this August is to visit friends in Germany and find one of the remaining unrestricted stretches of Autobahn to let her stretch her long bavarian legs!

  18. I went to the local dealer to check out this new K1600 Bagger, and i loved the looks and thought it was a viable alternative to my Harley CVO Road King, as the passenger seating and windscreen configuration allows for my passenger to stay below the wind blast line while i look over the windshield, not thru the distorted tall ones. Everything sounded great until the dealer rap told me there is a 101 mph speed limiter on these bikes that cannot be bypassed. Why get a 1600 BMW with all that power, and lose all the advantage of going fast. I even take my Harley up to 110-120 mph every time i get out on the road. This bike should be capable of 140 mph speeds. I was told that the engineers didn’t feel that the bike was “safe” with the floor boards at over 100 mph. Frankly, the floorboards are angled too much and are more forward than they should be. These reasons are why Harley has the biggest portion of the “cruiser/touring” market. They have the ergo’s figured out, for both the rider and the passenger. The RT and the big touring models have the passenger a head taller than the rider right up in the wind, limiting the passenger to a full face helmet and full coverage jackets. On the west coast we ride in tank tops and skull caps in the summer months.

    • Your dealer is wrong about the speed limiter on the B. There is one on the Grand America but not on the Bagger. My B has the floorboards and is solid and stable north of 105.

  19. I ride a K1300S and my wife rides a Harley Softail Deluxe. We are looking for a two up bike that my wife can ride or we can ride two up. We have test driven an Indian Roadmaster (which she can ride like she’s at the track), but the American has too high a stance. I, of course, would like to get the American but we would have to get a lower, narrower seat. Has anyone got a lower seat for someone who is ~5’2”? How has it worked out.

  20. I rode the K 1600 B in Sturgis again this year. As said in the article, there is very little to not like about this awesome bike. My biggest disappointment was on the Grand America B it had a speed limiter set at about 102 mph. I was told that was because the bike became unstable at speeds higher. Not that I often go over 100 but it sure is fun at times. If you can’t go over 100 why have a 1600cc bike. You might as well have an 850. I would say the top trunk needs to be re-designs

  21. I bought 1600b a week ago.I love this bike came from the new wing and previous the f6b.This motorcycle is smooth powerful and great looking! I simply cant hardly stay off of it.It reminds me of my old sportbike days only much more refined. This aint your average bagger!

  22. I have just had a long test ride on a new bagger whilst my K1600 gtle was in for service. I found quite a few things to note in my case. Personally I found the handling lovely and quite a lot lower than my own. The engine newer but so similar so both great!
    I have a Russell day long seat which is more comfortable on my own but the stock seat is pretty good.

    I totally disagree with the screen review as on here in that I found masses of buffeting in all positions. I am 6ft tall but short legs so i guess a long body but for me the stock screen way too low. Really bad headache. The on board sound at anything over 40mph therefore might as well not be there. I would guess a taller screen or a wunderlich could make all the difference.

    I would not want to put anyone off as its a great machine but on first look i prefer the style and comfort of the GTL. I would concede the handling is superb on the bagger

    • And all that for about TWICE what you paid for the BMW–which is the Starship Enterprise compared to the technology on the HD. Peace.

  23. I test rode a GT and Bagger back to back, solo and with pillion. We ended up buying a 10 month old, 3000 mile 1 owner, fully tricked out Bagger LE model with taller screen and back rest. Couldn’t be happier and wife loves her new pillion perch! I’ve noticed a bit of a wobble but dialed some of that out by adjusting the damping and I suspect the tyres are “off”.

  24. I have a gtl since 2014, no car, ride everyday, have done numerous trips, wife on back. We totally love the gtl, wished I had the highway floorboards for comfort, cautious about giving up the sport side of the gtl. Thinking I have to get the bagger and have both, then see which one gets more rides. Thanks for a great ride perspective.

  25. can i put a full size helmet in the saddle bag i am going to buy one but that s important for me thanks..

  26. No backrests, no luggage rack, no trunk, no comfort for me or the wife with the incomplete design I see. When are they going to build the rest of the package?!

  27. I am looking forward to riding and purchasing a K1600B Grand America. This will be my fifth k bike. The GA is the bagger with a top pannier which will give my life lean against, thereby making it a complete bike!


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