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2011 BMW K1600GT First Look

Friday, July 2, 2010
BMW got rider’s tongues wagging with the release of its Inline Six-powered Concept 6 at the 2009 EICMA Milan Bike Show. Now the Propeller brand has made good on its promise to extend the K series with the six-cylinder powerplant by announcing its K1600GT and K1600GTL touring motorcycles.

2011 BMW K1600GT
BMW is yet to release proper photos of their new K1600GT (top) and K1600GTL (bottom) touring bikes.
2011 BMW K1600GTL
The Inline Six configuration has been used extensively throughout the Bavarian marque’s automobiles, but is now showcased on the two-wheeled side. The new engine features a 1649cc displacement via the undersquare 67.5mm bore x 72mm stroke. The Inline Six layout keeps the same 55-degree forward tilt of the four-cylinder K series engine and despite tacking on the extra two cylinders the new Six measures only 22-inches wide. With its narrow dimensions and 226-lb weight, BMW hails its new mill the “lightest and most compact six-cylinder engine in serial motorcycle production.”

Peak power claims are 160 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 129 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm. And that ample torque will churn out quick, with BMW promising 70% of peak at 1500 rpm. The information released on the K1600 models doesn’t list a specific redline, but the previous Concept 6 described the new mill as revving “almost to 9000 rpm.”

Chain-driven cams actuate the four-valve heads of the, let’s do the math, 24-valve design. BMW touts the cams are compression-molded on the tubular shafts in a process that, compared to “conventional clear-chill cast or steel camshafts,” shaves off an extra 2.2-lbs. The magnesium valve and clutch covers also aim to trim the pounds - though we’re betting these new Beemers aren’t exactly going to be featherweights when we toss them on the scales as the claimed curb weight is conspicuously absent in the PR material.

Ride-by-wire, which BMW dubs E-Gas, controls a central 52mm throttle valve. Riders will choose from three engine modes – Rain, Road and Dynamic – which are selected via button at the right-side handlebar.
2011 BMW K1600GT2011 BMW K1600GT First Look2011 BMW K1600GT First Look
The BMW Inline Six for the K1600GT models is only 22-inches wide, with BMW claiming it's the "lightest and most compact six-cylinder engine in serial motorcycle production."

The chassis sources an alloy bridge frame that weighs 35 lbs. The frame utilizes the engine as a stressed member, bolting to the six-cylinder unit at eight points. BMW’s proprietary Duolever front end and Paralever swingarm take care of the suspension duties - the Paralever and rear shaft drive redesigned to accommodate the Six’s higher performance output. As befits a BMW touring mount, the ESA II electronic suspension adjustment comes available as an option. The ABS braking system comes standard, with BMW’s Dynamic Traction Control system an optional upgrade on the new K bikes (the DTC system developed first for the BMW S1000RR).

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BMW K1600GT Adaptive Headlight Video
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See how the K1600GT's new optional headlamp tech works on the Adaptive Headlight video courtesy of the BMW.
One new development showcased on the K1600GT is what BMW describes as “the first ever ‘Adaptive Headlight’ for motorcycles.” The standard issue Xenon light works via a movable projector that shines onto a mirror. Sensors at the front and rear axles detect the pitch of the bike, with the projector moving to compensate and provide a permanently level headlight. The “Adaptive Headlight” goes one step further, with the mirror itself turning on an axis via stepper motor. A sensor box (used in the S1000RR) relays banking angle, which is then fed through the electronics and adjusts the mirror to keep a level projection beam no matter the lean of the bike.

GT stands for Gran Turismo, so both are tapped out as purpose-built tourers, but there are differences. The GTL is pegged as the heavy-duty luxo-tourer, with a standard top-case and more pronounced pillion amenities. Rider ergos are also different, with the regular GT sourcing an “active seating postion,” which we interpret as a little sportier than the “relaxed, upright seating position” of the GTL. Elaborating on the ergo difference, BMW notes the GTL’s handlebars are positioned further back with the footrests further forward and lower.

BMWs EICMA Milan Show Concept 6 first debuted the Inline Six powering the marques new K series bikes.
We know the K1600GT models are coming, but will the Inline Six that first appeared on the Concept 6 be relegated to just touring applications?
Both rides come with standard heated grips and seat, as well as cruise control and on-board computer, with a new color monitor on the instrument console. The GTL also delivers an audio system featuring Bluetooth and satellite radio as well as USB inputs for MP3 players and iPods. The audio system, which is available on the GT as an option, also has a CD player. For you young kids out there reading this in 2012, CDs were these things people used to use to listen to music.

No release date or price has been listed yet. BMW promises further details on the new models at a future date. Hopefully those future details include some decent pictures! We also wouldn't mind word that the original Concept 6 is more than just a styling exercise…
BMW K1600GT Photo Gallery
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Jason S. -CBX  January 23, 2011 10:14 AM
Most beautiful inline six-cylinder is a CBX and there will never be another one like it. If you've never ridden one, you don't know what you're missing.
Bob Bromley -Mr.  January 9, 2011 11:25 AM
Well, I'm in the maarket for a new tourer. My Honda valkyrie ( 6 cylinder, 6 carberator) is getting long in the tooth. At first I was taken in by the thought of the rt 1600. But the absence of people able to work on such high tech machinery and the acres of plastic that cover all the workings leaves me a little cold to owning one. The Honda valkyrie has given me 11 years of trouble free riding and is simple to maintain. I think BMW went over the top on this one.
Stevie Johnson -Bore stroke displ problem  December 8, 2010 04:23 PM
Do the math folks, you don't get the claimed 1649cc from a calimed 67.5mm bore and 72mm stroke, but only 1546cc.

So will the real bore stand up?

Otherwise swapping to a 72mm bore and 67.5mm stroke DO give the 1649cc. So which is right?

Sixpack -This will fail  November 14, 2010 08:31 AM
Do the math folks 67.5mm bore means; 67.5mm = 2.66in x 6 = 15.96in
22in engine width; 22in - 15.96in = 6.04in
6.04 remaining; 6.04in \ 7 = 0.86in

This number of "6.04in remaining" only leaves room for the seven wall sides of the pistons to be 0.86in. So taking into account for piston sleeves, water jacks, and houseing,...well I think you can see......
Doug Smith -BMW  November 10, 2010 10:54 AM
Hey everyone, this might not mean any thing but I have own Two Gold Wing a 04-06 and love the ride but boring? and I bought last year a Victory Vision and it is a peace of Sh_ _!!!! and now I have been looking at the 103 harley and Now looking at a R1200RT or the 1600 and i have been watch and reding all the reviews. thank for any help my email is smithdou55@yahoo.com
LeRoy Olivier -Mr  November 7, 2010 10:58 AM
Have read the above comments - both negative and positive. Regardless - name is already on the list - Luxury Tourer with Superbike performance, with all BMW's safety features and the best road holding capabilities - to answer a comment above - what more can you want. Regards and safe riding.
Kevin Foster foster -BMW need to get their QA in place first before I buy....  October 18, 2010 11:01 PM
Sorry but I am not impressed. I was taken in by BMW when the K1200S came out and never again. New cams, rebuilt rear drive and a really clunky gear box have left me more than a little concerned about BMW's quality control processes. I've had the bike back to the dealer on many occasions and have been given lots of lame reasons for the problems. Sorry to throw a damper on everyone's enthusiasm but as they sat, YRMV.
Greg -smaller bikes  October 6, 2010 11:12 AM
I couldn't agree more with the poster saying BMW needs to build smaller, lighter bikes. I currently have an F800ST, and it's "TOO" small. I'd love to see something similar to either a K75 or maybe K100, but in RT form and updated. Stick a 4 cylinder K engine in the frame, show the engine (as opposed to all the plastic on the current k1300GT), throw in a couple bells and whistles (electric adj windshield, abs, heated grips, air pressure, etc), and make it simple, light, agile and comfortable, and they'll hit the ball out of the park.... I think this new bike is intriguing (K1600GT), but it's still too big for all but full blown long distance touring...
BelgianExpat -RT  October 4, 2010 12:32 AM
I'll keep my RT- thank you - light and nimble, rightly priced and 135 mph is enough to get you into trouble
Eric -What next?  October 1, 2010 06:19 AM
After tentatively getting back on a bike 5 years ago, I got a f650GS which I could not part with when I got an R1200GS. My wife got the 650 and I reckon the 1200. I'm now retired and hopefully will be able to get the K1600 if I like it. So far I've done 55 000 km in 2 years on the 1200 & so the 1600 will get the same treatment but mostly on tar of course. Three beemers in the garage? Why the hell not. This thing will be awesome but I have already started saving in the very likely case that I'll get one but I'll be patient. Australia is the best place to stretch out a beast such as this. For you doubters here, the Bavarians would not put this thing out without doing some solid homework. Just look at what they've produced in the last 5 years. If you don't like BMWs then ride something else!
Ray Kemp -Mr.  September 15, 2010 01:56 PM
Being a " born again biker " with a gap of some 40 years and recently acquiring a K 1200 S ( 2 years ago ) this was the best thing that I have done in my life for many years. The modern technology re engine design , handling & styling has blown me away and the manners of the K 1200 S are impeccable to say the least . The K 1600 series has certainly grabbed my attention and I'm sure will be smoother & more responsive . What more can one ask for ??? I guess the price will be an important factor especially for dare I say it " us pensioners "
CHARLES GARVENS -X- OWNER OF A 2005 LT  September 5, 2010 04:12 PM
M Brannen -Amazing Bikes, Yet Service Nightmares & Quick Depreciation  September 4, 2010 08:13 AM
Get on Richard Kenton's good side; as head of BMW Motorrad N.A. customer relations, he still has very little power over dealerships fighting the warranty process. I bought 1 of the first two new K1200S bikes (mistake) at Haps in Sarasota. Jealous Tampa eurocycle refused to work on it a few months later as the clutch was eating itself at 5800 miles-I bought lots of gear from them and had them do all my out-of-warranty, less routine maintenance procedures. Remember the late release of this bikes due to cracked cams from poor materials sourcing? How 'bout the numerous cases of brake servo failure causing high speed wheel lock-ups. BMW received permanent protection from the E.U. courts despite evidence of design flaws & lack of safety redundancy. After every item imaginable (and unimaginable) going wrong on an LT and a K12RS leaking through it's rear main at 20k mi., I still find myself oogling these new toys. If they prove any better than their last 'new batch' (which I doubt); well, maybe I'd get one. I just won't ride on the bleeding edge of that prop again.
Jerry Lalonde -Beemers  August 15, 2010 04:33 AM
two beemers 04 montoc & 05 k 1200 that I've owned and both bikes cancelled from the production line. also to mention the service not that great here in canada. sorry boys i'm seriously thinking getting away from bmw's.
john owen -JSO  August 7, 2010 02:35 AM
Having recently been let down and stranded in Germany by my K1300s I think BMW should be more concerned with basic component quality and reliability rather than trying to push the boundaries of technological advancement whilst at the same time trying to minimize costs by purchasing inferior quality components from cut price far eastern suppliers
TEDL -K1600gtl  July 28, 2010 06:17 PM
160 horses and 130 ft. lbs of torque. Say what you must, but BMW has my attention!
Skeptical -Engineering  July 19, 2010 10:31 AM
Maybe BMW should put some engineering into the weak final drive design of their present motorcycles. A 1600 will tax a rear end even more. Good luck getting big miles out of one. Bruce Grove: Honda's ill-fated attempt to capture the 6-cyl market? You are funny.
MOG -DeJaVu Benelli Sei?  July 13, 2010 05:59 AM
Come ON! Get real. The maintenance package costs more than the bike! 32 valves??? Handles like a Busa and costs like a Duc RR. The technology is at BMW for a super light (290lb), air cooled, 800cc single with excellent performance on/off road and instead, the public gets a BMW Z4 in a two wheel version. Benelli sei (six cylinder) failed in the seventies, no certified mechanics. No wonder Buell got too popular for HD...... with high performance and low price, with great reliability. BMW, I EXPECT BETTER!
haris -BMW K 1600 GT  July 9, 2010 02:45 PM
Duke690/K1600GT -Smooth & Powerful  July 8, 2010 08:15 PM
You go BMW. Who else has the stomach AND engineering wheelbase to redefine motorcycle tech like BMW? For those without any engine design background: more cylinders basically equals more horsepower for any given displacement and an inline six is the most perfectly balanced configuration this side of a V-12. Smoother than any I4 or flat-6, not to mention the 2-cylinders. No more rubber mounted handlebars or engine mounts I suspect. Frankly, their biggest challenge will likely be styling. Definitely a struggle for them recently, although it sounds like recent engine calibration work hasn't been exactly stellar either (e.g. K1200). My advice: buy a bunch of Goldwings and make sure you're just as good or better. I suspect there's a reason Honda stuck with carbs for so long & it wasn't cost.
Patrick.L -Bimmer 6  July 7, 2010 03:48 PM
Well, I have carefully red all the comments in this chain. For one, I have been driving 6 cylinder Bimmers since 1979, yup you guessed it, I am an old buzzard or started driving 6 cylinder BMW real young. (Can’t beat a BMW six aural ecstasy at red line)

I have also been riding my K1200 pretty hard for the past few years and I am ready to pluck down my hard earned cash on a state of the art touring machine from the blue and white as after a four hour ride on the K, it now takes me a while to unfold and could use some comfort.

Just one word of caution to the guys in white coats and the pencil pushers at Motorrad HQ and Hendrik von Kuenheim, keep the price in line or better then your competition as the guys in red have a very good product which has made its mark over the years with a flat six which closely resemble another car in my garage and it too, sings a pretty nice tune when approaching red line.

Missing the trip to the F1GP Hendrik and the BMW “M” night

Ralph Meyer -Wretched Excess  July 7, 2010 07:51 AM
1600ccs and an inline 6 on a motorcycle? I Love German Engineering--Best in the world (they STILL haven't figured out how BMW got such close tolerances on their WWII aircraft piston engines). But my heavy K1200GT will blow away anything on the road already, and is smooth as plate glass (save at 750 rpm--and it shouldn't be lugged at that rpm anyway, given its 6 gear tranny), so what is the need for a 1600cc behemoth? What I WISH is that BMW would get its riding position right on touring bikes instead of messing more with engine engineering. It's far easier on neck and back and wrists to sit up straight than in a crotch rocket crouch with head bent back just to see where you're going when doing 4 or 500 miles a day! The only think really nice about this bike, I think, is that auto aiming headlight, but with this caveat: "As long as it works!"
13GT guy -Wow  July 6, 2010 08:05 PM
Somebody gets out of the box a bit, introduces new technology and all they het is harrassment. Like it or not, buy it or not....but geez at least applaud the propeller men for stepping out there.
Rick Ives -Why not a V6?  July 6, 2010 11:00 AM
Actually, a V6 would have been a lot cooler, and less wide.
Antonio Afonso Fonseca -Bmw K 1600GT  July 5, 2010 12:23 AM
What colours,and the price will be a surprise or not?I am going to sell now, my K1300GT 2010.
Some Guy79 -overkill, or Goldwing killer  July 4, 2010 01:04 AM
All I see right now is an engine indevelopment. If this were to be tuned for all out power, Radical and Ariel cars should take note. Otherwise, I don't get it. They do make a great straight six for cages. I ought to know. I drive one. That said, who needs it for a tourer? Then again, the Honda Goldwing has an 1800cc horizontally opposed six. Is this the competition they're going after? Maybe it is. The Goldwing is aging, and no one else really seems to have a complete answer to it. There are a couple big twin cruisers, but that's a different crowd looking at 'em. And BMW has a luxo-barge-bike, but none of the notoriety the Hondabago has.
Bruce Grove -K1600GT(L) Wunderbah or Wunderblah???  July 3, 2010 11:30 PM
This machine has certainly polarised opinion. Is it ready for sale or is BMW merely dipping their toes in the water? I am old enough to remember both Honda's and Kawasaki's ill fated attempts to create and capture a six cylinder market in much the way Honda did with their CB750 four. These days motorcycles of this kind are recreational vehicles rather than vehicles of necessity. I have several concerns to addressed before I would be keenly interested in being the proud owner of one: 1. Reliability - "Siamesed" cylinders have certainly been tried before in an effort to reduce mass and dimensions. Those makers ended up discontinuing those lines of engines. Honda also had vibration problems because the outer crankshaft counterweights had to be reduced in order reduce the overall dimensions of the engine. I am happy to wait and see if the Germans fare any better or indeed whether other problems surface as result of engineering compromises. Clearly this six cylinder engine shares very little with their car engine counterparts either in design or components. 2. BMW certainly have never been afraid to ask top dollar for their products. In the words of the famous Scottish lady, "Emma Chiset"? It seems a starting price of US$35000 ($50000 in Australia) is likely to put this model out of reach of all but the very well healed. Furthermore the servicing costs are likely to be considerably more expensive as there is an extra 8 valve shims to be considered, two extra spark plugs (probably at $50.00 Australian a pop), etc.. As a final insult on costs, what will the insurance costs be like? Again, I will wait and see if BMW Motorrad Australia will actually bother to bring any into the country. Having said all that, I really like multi-cylinder engines and the more cylinders the better, especially if cost, reliability, bulk and mass issues can be satisfactorily addressed. If BMW go ahead with this they deserve full marks for having the courage, confidence, and engineering skills to have a crack at what appears to be a very difficult and limited world market. If they pull it off, wunderbah!
Dasbeemer -K-GTL  July 3, 2010 12:44 PM
I think BMW plans on surprising EVERYONE with the pricing on these models... For example, look at the S100RR's. The motor will be a slick, smoooooth running machine for sure. One that will change the view of what a "sport touring" machine can and should be.
Steve -adaptive headlights  July 3, 2010 12:36 PM
What a cool feature! Just imagine how much better it would be on a bike designed for twisties!
RiderGuy -Waste...  July 3, 2010 09:34 AM
If BMW can make a 1.6 liter, 22" wide inline-6, imagine how narrow and light they could make an inline-4! Then again, "overwrought and over-engineered" seems to be BMW's current solution to any given engineering task. Add needless complexity and weight. Why not? Then they can charge more for it!
Jeff K -Need a 750  July 2, 2010 10:19 PM
The last thing the biking world needs is another bohemoth. BMW needs to build smaller lighter bikes. Bring back a K75 with updated technology. Plus who's going to have 35k to spend on one.
Tim B -Remember, It's German Engineering  July 2, 2010 09:03 PM
Putting a "long" inline 6 in a motorcycle just doesn't make sense to me. But this engine is only 22" wide. That's insane!!! You can't ever count BMW out. They have amazing luxury cars that will embarrass some dedicated sports cars. I wouldn't see why they wouldn't eventually be able to translate this to two wheels. And with the intro of their new sport bike and its amazing performance I think it has already began.
mxs -1600s???  July 2, 2010 05:34 PM
What are the 1600s supposed to do the 1200s cannot???? BMW, tell me pls ...
Superlight -BMW 6  July 2, 2010 04:27 PM
BMW just won't be satisfied until their bikes are the two-wheeled equivalent of their cars, now extending to using the same cylinder count! Maybe this will work, but as the Honda CBX showed many years ago, 6-cylinder engines just don't fit very well into sporting motorcycle chassis - everything else is sub-optimized to the engine. Sorry, I'm skeptical on this one.