Sunday, May 8, 2011

BMW K1600

The K 1600 GT is one of those bikes that has been hotly anticipated simply because of its specification. No need for BMW to tell us it’s going to be the best at this or the fastest at that: six cylinders, 1,649cc and 158bhp say it all.

The GT is one of two new BMWs fitted with the latest, in-line six-cylinder engine. The other is the GTL, which we’ll report on soon. The GT is positioned as a tourer with a sporting edge, overlapping the market sector covered by the sadly discontinued K 1300 GT, with rivals such as Honda’s STX1300 Pan European, the Yamaha FJR1300 and Kawasaki’s 1400GTR.

The BMWs on-paper specification trumps the lot, but there’s rather more to it than figures. It’s a big motorcycle, weighing in at 703lb (319kg), which could be intimidating – this is despite an intense weight-saving programme that leaves it tipping the scales only 59lb (26kg) heavier than the FJR1300, despite a more comprehensive specification and the extra cylinders.

Fire up the motor and even through modern silencing it hints at the ripping calico sound engineers look for in an engine. It’s simply right – not dissimilar to a Porsche 911, urging you to pull in the light-action clutch and get going.

That weight makes itself felt during slow U-turns, for instance, but otherwise the bike steers beautifully. It won’t change direction rapidly but it is predictable, neutral and astonishingly stable, and still satisfying on winding roads.