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BMW K 1600 GT and GTL: MD first ride

We all know that BMW is restless. New machines, some taking the company in new directions, have been appearing frequently from the German manufacturer. No one will be surprised that their new touring bikes are anything but conventional.BMW invited us to test its new luxury tourers, the K 1600 GT and GTL, in South Africa. It was quite an adventure, both literally and figuratively.

Upon returning to our hotel, located among vineyards in South Africa, I am still trying to sort through all of the sensations of the long ride. After sharing the dinner table with the head of BMW Motorrad the prior evening, I shared the roads with baboons and other creatures unfamiliar to us back home.South Africa is an interesting, but dangerous place. Not just the wildlife, but social and racial inequality, and problems with violent crime, still exist. We were advised not to leave the hotel at night.

Within this context, I rode nearly two hundred miles aboard the sportier K 1600 GT and then the thoroughly luxurious GTL. Expecting an experience similar to that offered by the prior model, the K 1200 LT, I found something different. Much different, and much better.

The distinguishing feature of these new bikes, of course, is the in-line six cylinder engine. 1600cc and six closely spaced cylinders provide for a surprisingly compact and light (roughly 225 pounds) engine. The engine offers both power and flexibility with 160HP available at a leisurely 7500 RPM, and huge torque of 129lb/ft available at 5500 RPM. Indeed, the torque spread is huge, and more than 100lb/ft is available at only 1500 RPM.

This engine is a marvel. Adding to the superb power delivery, we encounter virtually no vibration and surprising fuel consumption figures (more than 40mpg on the highway). We verified the fuel consumption with the onboard computer during our ride. Three different power modes are available, including rain, standard and dynamic.

Both bikes are standardly equipped with the latest generation ABS, but only the GTL offers traction control and electronic suspension adjustment as standard (both optional on the GT). Both bikes have standard saddlebags, but the GTL also comes with a huge top case and passenger backrest. The GTL also has a windscreen that is somewhat wider.

Both bikes have a new and very useful headlight system. Self- adjusting for both height and direction, the lights point where you are going despite twists and turns in the road, and lean angles of the bike. Our hosts thought it too dangerous to travel at night, so we sampled the headlight performance after dark in the parking lot at the hotel.

Ergonomics are slightly different between the two models, with the GT a bit sportier, while the GTL is bolt upright with the foot rests slightly forward in comparison with the GT.

Starting out on the GT, we were warned we would encounter roads that were quite twisty, some with poor paving and even some with dirt. Traveling through the mountains, as well as along the coast, we saw our share of baboons and other creatures. I was concerned about the size and bulk of my mount given the variety of terrain we expected to cover, particularly with all of my photographic equipment locked away in the saddlebags and a full tank of gas bringing the bike close to 800 pounds.

I was thankful, first of all, for the height adjustable seat. I set things up so that I could easily reach the ground, giving me more confidence with such a heavy machine beneath me. Nevertheless, BMW has placed the center of gravity very low, and the bike feels much lighter as you take it off the stand. Once moving, the GT is surprisingly agile.

Our GT test unit came with the electronic suspension adjustment system. I began by riding with the engine response set in the standard mode, but I soon preferred the dynamic setting for its crisper, more immediate throttle response and power. I also adjusted the suspension to the sport setting, which was firm but still comfortable. It was perfect for the rapid pace set by our group.

The big GT was quick and confident in the twisties, but you did have to be aware of its mass, particularly when braking for tight corners. Fortunately, both bikes come with excellent brakes, and I even heard the front tire chirp at times, despite the ABS system.

That smooth engine has virtually no power peak. It is extremely linear, but has so much down low that changing gears is frequently optional.

The bike seems no wider than many four-cylinder machines, and BMW provided measurements to indicate as much. The power, however, is immence and the fuel consumption, as I said earlier, quite surprising – offering a practical range of 200 miles, or more.

The electrically adjustable windscreen worked perfectly for me roughly midway between its highest and lowest setting. The instrumentation is so complete it practically requires a separate training session to understand and navigate it. It could be distracting, otherwise, but if there is any information you would like to know about your machine or your travel route, it is likely available to you.

Our last stretch aboard the GT includes a very fast pace through mountain passes that tells me two things. First, the GT is well-balanced and handles well, but the suspension, even in its sport setting, is best suited for touring, not chasing sport bikes through the twisties. Nevertheless, 99% of the time, for 99% of the riders, the handling of the GT is more than adequate.

Switching to the GTL offers a distinctly different experience, even though it is a sister machine. Aside from the additional standard equipment, the riding position is different. The more upright seating position with the legs further forward was immediately apparent. Although one journalist commented that the pegs were too high for him, the seat is adjustable to take that into account.

Traveling an additional hundred miles, or so, aboard the GTL took us through more mountain roads that reminded me of the Dolomites in the Italian Alps. Again, the big GTL surprised me with its competent handling of twisty roads… surprising for its size.

The hot African summer made me appreciate the adjustable wind deflectors that both models feature, which allow you to direct air onto your body for cooling (or away to keep you warm). While we push the pace, I set the adjustable suspension to sport mode, once again, and even add the option “with luggage” to firm things up further. Fuel consumption on the GTL is slightly higher, but still quite impressive. The difference has to do not only with the increased weight, but the aerodynamic penalty of the large top case.

In the end, it is clear that these new six–cylinder touring mounts are excellent performers, offering both long-range comfort and surprising handling. That unique engine design provides not only silky smooth, huge power, but a delightful sound. Nice company on those long trips.

 Motorcycle Daily attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

101 Comments

  1. Barry Allen says:

    First ride was not very telling of the machine. Just like any first date. They did not have much time (miles) for a good ride.

    If I had the money I would sell my K1200RS and get a K1600GT (after a long test ride by ME)

    After 35 years of ridding the only other riders I will ride with in a group are other race bike riders or BMW riders. (and not all BMW riders are the best)

    As for the Goldwing, HD and other bikers, I hope they have fun and move to the right when I come up from behind.

    As for BMW building this bike the way they did, that’s why they are BMW and not HD.
    BMW, Always moving forward. If you think the in-line six is an over kill maybe you need to ride a Honda dream.
    The in-line six has the most torque of any model engine. That’s way all big diesel trucks in-line 6 are not 4 cylinders.

    Did BMW get every thing right? Of course not. Will there be a lot of after market parts to hang on a BMW like a GW or HD? I do not think so. If it does not help the K1600 go faster or handle better most BMW riders do not want it.

    Can most people afford it? NO. Too bad for me.

    Did any other motorcyle manufacture biuld a self aiming headlight? I had been bugging them for years to make a bike with this light.

  2. Cyclemotorist says:

    Too much unnecessary complication. Too many valves to adjust. To many throttle bodies to sync. Too much weight. Just too too much.

    Simplicity. When someone builds a simple transverse OHV four cylinder with hydraulic lifters and belt drive I will buy one. The only reason I ever want to return to the dealer is to have tires put on.

  3. Janice says:

    BMW has done its purpose. He wants to be the leader in all segments of the automotive industry. And the pace and quality of new launches, the dream could soon be reached. First, it introduced a new superbike.

  4. Montana says:

    “When the elemental joy of motorcycling is sacrificed to SUV-like comfort and encumbrance, riding loses it’s luster.”
    Feb. 2011 AIRMAIL

  5. Scooter says:

    It is just too bad that Harley Davidson does not follow BMW’s example and build something new. HD has been building the same crap for years. HD is more interested in selling t shirts and belt buckles than building a new motorcycle.

  6. don Marco says:

    I ordered one. The GT. Could not pass it up.
    Been riding for 40 years and still have my 1970 Bonneville. Restored twice over. Artwork.
    I view this new K, regardless of which one, as a major advance for two wheel long distance travels. I currently ride about 15k miles a year; 95% long distance. Canada, the US and Mexico. I hold a handful of Iron Butt certificates for varying times and distances. My long rides have been on RT’s and GT’s, although my favorite K was an 02 RS, useless for long trips, but headers/Two Brother and a chip change turned it into lightning.
    My next voyage is already in the making, starting in June. All Cal coastline to Port Angeles, then Victoria, Vancouver, Whistler, Banff and then the Prairie with a long loop to New Orleans.
    I’ve a wonderful 08 K12gt for sale, if anyone’s interested.
    Ride safe. Ride fast. Keep the rubber side down.

  7. Wilson R says:

    I used to tour on a 500cc Honda and had a great time. I don’t think it made 50hp but back in the 80’s it was sufficient. I’ll bet this beemer weighs 3X what my Honda did and has 5X the horsepower. I do wonder where the engine displacement/I have more cylinders war will end. I guess the folks with lots of dough must have something to make a statement.

    • Norm G. says:

      granted, we derive fun and entertainment (gratis) chatting about this bike in the context of “motorcycling” (how quaint). but be us not confused. a quick check of the calendar reveals we’re over a decade into the 21st century. motorcycling has been devalued nearly to the point of 501c status (ironically by us motorcyclists :(). welcome to “CarWars”, may the force be with you.

      a vehicle like this (can we even really call it a bike?) now exists for no other reason than to serve as a cannon shot across the collective bows of mercedes and audi. when their execs log on to the internet over the next few months… they will see car owners posting pictures (as they are apt to do) of this K16 parked next to say an X5 in their garage… and lose their minds (watch for hurling blackberrys). LOL lexus and hyundia (read genesis) should continue spending gazillions on superbowl commercials for the (durable) competitive advantage still rests with companies like honda and “bey oom vey”.

  8. timbo813 says:

    How can you design a touring bike like this without giving a little more thought to the passenger accomodations? Who buys a gold wing to tour by themselves? Most gold wing riders take a pillion much of the time. This bike doesn’t have arm rests and has a big gap between the rear seat and the back rest. That looks like a HUGE oversight on an otherwise nice bike. I think they will lose lots of customers due to the less comfortable pillion accomodations. To ride long distance by myself I would take a smaller more sporty bike like a VFR, FJR, etc. To tour with my wife I’d take a goldwing. This bike is nice but it doesn’t change either of those decisions.

    • Old town hick says:

      I’m thinking that this bike will attract many buyers because it DOESN’T have armrests.

    • Norm G. says:

      two words… product liability. lawyers of the roundel know what it means to minimize a companny’s exposure to risk (in a basically niche business) while simultaneously throwing a bone to the aftermarket. shrewder esquires there are not.

    • Gary says:

      Timbo,
      I can’t think of one touring bike that comes stock with arm rests, they are an accessory item since everyone doesn’t want them. Also the space between the rear seat and trip trunk would almost if not be required. If the passenger back rest was closer, it would have the passenger sitting bolt upright if not slightly forward which would be uncomfortable and might crowd the driver if a back rest were installed (which would probably be another accessory). The big test will be when someone’s passenger actually uses the bike, and time will tell on that. If you don’t own or at least have ridden a few touring bikes, you may not realize some of this.

      • timbo813 says:

        I was thinking specifically of the goldwing. You are right, I don’t have one and haven’t ridden one. But, the passenger accomodations look much nicer. Also, I read another review of the BMW that said the passenger accomodations were not anywhere close to the goldwing. That seems like a major issue if BMW wants to attract former wing riders. Not many wives are going to want to go to a less comfy bike.

  9. Jay Mack says:

    Less is more.

  10. D-Man says:

    Wow, what next? I guess in the next (5) years touring bikes will have over 2000cc of motor. Where does end – jeepers!! Hey, how ’bout 3000cc.

  11. Tom says:

    the older the rider, the more expensive the bike can be. I’m in my 50’s now, and only now can I even consider a bike over $8,000. This new BMW will attract many older riders.

  12. Old Rider 47 says:

    What a useless road test! You guys need to hire a real journalist. It didn’t tell you anything. For example, how many gears in the tranny…..what about audio system? The story was long on useless information and short on facts. As far as you aerosuit wearing Ricky Racer wannabe’s, grow up. The group of guys I ride with who are Harley and Wing riders cover more road miles in a year than you could even dream of. How many million miles have you poseurs covered? It’s about the ride and experience not the machine or your attire. Just sayin……

    • Gary says:

      You should keep in mind that this was only a “first ride” and not a full on road test. First rides are only an initial and shortened time to ride a particular machine and the intial feeling about it. Full road tests will follow in the future, possibly here, and certainly in other publications. Look for more information in those reports.

    • Dean says:

      Time for another Ensure, Old Rider? If you just want specs, I’m sure you could noodle over to the BMW website and have a gander. Road tests are for IMPRESSIONS that you can’t get on a spec sheet.

      As for the riders wearing proper gear in the photos, maybe they could get someone to do a roadtest in a T-shirt, leather chaps and a Doo Rag so they could be cool like you and your fellow Hoggers!

      • Tom Barber says:

        The best sort of reply to comments such as the one that Old Rider 47 wrote is to simply say that it is undeserving of any reply. Or, I suppose that you could ask to borrow the Doo Rag because you have a severe case of nasal congestion and need to blow your nose and promise to give the rag right back as soon as you are done using it.

    • Old town hick says:

      “For example, how many gears in the tranny…..what about audio system?”

      “It’s about the ride and experience, not the machine…”

      Your comments sound a bit contradictory. Which of these themes would you prefer the reviewer to follow?

  13. Bill says:

    In the picture at the top of this review, I was struck by how far back the rider is perched relative to the front wheel. The front wheel is almost in a different time zone. This combined with the duo-lever forks must create some interesting front end “feel” or lack thereof, of course I may be wrong but it goes against everything I’ve ever experienced on a bike.

  14. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    This article is the perfect compliment to Honda’s Goldwing ‘update’. Well done, bimmer.

  15. Joe says:

    Where are the comments about the excessive waste from this large machine from all the dogooders. How dare BMW build this marvelous machine, shame on them for not going electric. My goodness I’m outraged!!!

  16. Mickey says:

    Let me explain why I don’t think this will take sales from the Honda Goldwing. Just today I went to a motorcycle Expo in our area. In one large room was a Gold Wing Owners Assocciation display. Probably 30 or 40 Wings, each one decked out with chrome doodads and trinkets, cup holders, all kinds of electronic gizmos bolted to the bars, stuffed animals, flags on the antennaes etc. I doubt if one of the proud owners was under 65 years old, or less than 50 pounds overweight. They had matching shirts, and vests with pins. They wouldn’t be caught deadin an Aerostictch suit.I believe, most Wing owners fit into this mold. These are the people who buy Wings. They are not the kind of people to buy Beemers and deck them out with stuffed critters, and flags and such. I can’t imagine this type of people throwing their leg over a Beemer 6 and listening to the engine scream at high rpms. They are the kind of people who want another gear in their trans so they can cruise at 1500 rpms instead of 2500 rpms.

    Now you see a group of Beemer touring riders. Younger, hipper, thinner. They are wearing the latest protective riding gear. They thik Aerostich suits are the cats meow. They don’t dress their bikes up like Shriner mobiles. If you ride with them they actually enjoy rowing the gearbox, feeling the acceleration and listening to the exhaust.They use their front brakes for efficiency, and not because pressing the rear brake pedal automatically activates one of the front brakes too. These are the people who buy Beemers and they wouldn’t buy a Wing if they were 1/2 the price (IMO).

    There is nothing wrong with either group, they are just 2 different kind of people, wanting 2 different kind of bikes, and are 2 different kind of riders.

    • Old town hick says:

      There is a lot of truth in your comments Mickey. I suspect that the average age and “physique factor” will trend to lower numbers on the BMW. I also agree with you that a lot of riders who would never choose to ride a biggish touring rig if the Honda was the only six-cylinder game in town…will indeed do so with the Beemer.

    • Wilson R says:

      Seems to me that there is a lot in common between Honda Goldwing and Harley Electra-Glide riders. Both like to festoon their machines with all kinds of junk and pride themselves with the 3rd tire around their waste. It’s amazing that they don’t play well together.
      Beemer guys do actually like to whack the throttle open often and also tend to be better educated with a higher household income than their Harley and Honda counterparts. Birds of a feather flock together….or something like that.

    • Gary says:

      Micky … you are full if $hite. Sorry, mate, but your mythical “young, hip, slender” BMW riders doesn’t have much basis in fact. I know plenty of younger Wing riders and some crusty, ol’ paunchy BMW riders, including yours truly.

      This kind of juvenile stereotyping is pretty dumb, and gives rise to brand snobbery, which I utterly despise.

      • Norm G. says:

        try not to think of it in absolute terms, but rather a rule of thumb, people make that mistake quite often. what you refer to as “juvenile stereotyping”, entities engaged in the costly business of manufacturing call “customer data” or “market research”. when a company is spending/investing millions of dollars to bring a product to market (for our enjoyment and benefit might i add), said information is worth it’s weight in gold. as such, his observations are astute.

      • Mickey says:

        Gary I am sure that there are exceptions to every rule, but having ridden with Gold Wing riders and with BMW riders I will stand by my personal observations and pictured in the publications published by the GWRR Assoc and the BMW riders Assoc.and from the 5 magazines I subscribe to…Rider, Cycle World, Road Runner, Motorcyclist and Motorcycle Classics.

        Stereotypes comes from someplace, and it’s usually through the observations of many.Sportbike riders? Young, skinny, in full road race looking gear, usually riding too fast for surrounding conditions. Think that’s just a sterotype? Go to Deals Gap sometime. There may be a fat old dude in blue jeans and t shirt, and gym shoes wearing an open face helmet riding a Ninja somewhere, but they are few and far between I guarantee you.

        Adventure riders? Motocross style full face helmets, 3/4 length jackets, armored gloves, motoctoss style boots worn over their pants.

        It’s usually pretty easy to pick out what kind of bike a guy is riding and by what he’s wearing. It’s not rocket science.

        Sure there are exceptions, but Zebraas usually run withother Zebras.

    • Wilson R says:

      What’s a $24,000 motorcycle without a tiny stuffed tiger hanging on for dear life on the antenna?

  17. Tom Barber says:

    It’s Saturday morning and I didn’t hardly sleep last night and am in a bum mood, so I’m going to say the same thing I said already, although more bluntly. I try not to judge bikes based on the type, because to do that would be to presume that the type of bike that I like is inherently superior to the type of bike that other people like. Rather, I am more inclined to make observations about the particular implementation, within the context of the type of the bike. There is a lot to like about this bike, but much of the design revolves around the decision to use an in-line four-cylinder engine, and this simply was not a good choice. The reason is simple. An in-line four cylinder engine, when done with dual counter-rotating balancers and properly so, is every bit as smooth as the smoothest in-line six. BMW could instead have taken their 1.3 l in-line four and enlarged it as desired and then added dual counter-rotating balancers, and if they had done this, the end result would have been somewhat better than this. The crank would be shorter, the engine would set lower in the frame, it could then be tilted less far and would have been less elongated from the steering head to the seat.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I’m trying to just put this bike down. I like it, very much in fact, and would certainly be proud to own one. I’m just pointing out that there wasn’t a fully valid technical justification for the in-line six, and that by virtue of that choice, the bike is not as good a bike as it could have been.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Tom, have you ever driven a BMW automobile with a straight-six? The feel. The sound. The turbine-like smoothness. You can make as much power with a four-cylinder, and reduce its inherent vibration, but you cannot duplicate these qualities. Find an old BMW E30 with a stick and try it out. You will know what I am talking about after driving it 30 feet.

      • kpaul says:

        You make a great point Dirck. The first time I drove a BMW Bavaria way back in the 70s. “The Bavaria is generally considered the forebear of the modern BMW high-performance sedan as it combined excellent acceleration, good fuel economy, and agility” Wikipedia I was awestruck. At the time I had a muscle car with a V-8. The BMW “sedan” was like light years ahead in every way. The thing that stood our was the engine as you correctly put it Dirck. When I get my youngest daughter college I hope to get a BMW 1 or 3 series for the very reason of the refined straight 6.

      • sliphorn says:

        For that matter, a good old Dodge Dart with a slant 6 and 3 on a tree is a good example of how nice an inline 6 can be.

      • Bill says:

        Comparing to a car with I6 or just about any other config is pointless. Most car engines these days are so isolated and muted that it hardly makes a difference anymore. Older cars with less isolated properties probably has noticeable differences, but not current gen cars.

        • Tom Barber says:

          Excellent point, that I did not mention because I wanted to focus on other factors. The question/challenge that Dirck posed is bogus at face value, for the reason that you gave.

      • Tom Barber says:

        First a comment about this blue shading stuff. It does not work correctly on Firefox on Apple Mac.

        Next I need to correct a couple of stupid, embarrassing errors in what I wrote. I wrote “design revolves around the decision to use an in-line four…” Obviously, I meant to write “in-line SIX”. I am sure that anyone who read it realized that my fingers and my brain were out of synch, but I hate when I do this sort of thing. The other obvious error was where I wrote, “I’m just trying to put this bike down”. Obviously, I meant to say that I was NOT just trying to put the bike down. That wasn’t a Freudian slip. I truly was NOT simply trying to put the bike down, and I hate that I got in a hurry and did that.

        Now to respond to Dirck’s comment, re whether I have ever driven a BMW with a straight six. The answer is yes. Moreover, from ’83 through ’89 I drove a Toyota Supra with an in-line six. Not a BMW, but from the standpoint of engine balance, entirely the same. Prior to the mass conversion to front-wheel-drive and V6 engines that were short enough to fit transversely into the bay, in-line six engines were the more common sort of six-cylinder engine. It is an excellent design, for a car at least, and since BMW stuck with rear-wheel drive, it made perfect sense to stick with the in-line six.

        Dirck, I am annoyed by the question. The more meaningful question for you to have asked here is whether people who think that an in-line six is inherently superior have ever ridden a CBR1100XX. This is obvious, but you have not asked this question of anyone. Why?

        The criticisms that I offered were entirely valid. The concept around which this bike is designed is purely a marketing concept. It exploits the presumption of an advantage on the part of the consumer, but this presumed advantage has not been a real advantage since sometime in the ‘80s when Mitsubishi perfected the technique that involves dual counter-rotating balancers and patented it. This is not just my opinion. It is a fact, and any mechanical engineer who works in engine design and who is knowledgeable of such matters will tell you the same thing. The Plymouth Laser that I bought in ’89 to replace the Supra was a Mitsubishi that used a turbocharged Mitsubishi in-line four with dual counter-rotating balancers. From the standpoint of vibration, it was the equal of any in-line six, and so was the engine in the CBR1100XX.

        My personal knowledge of this goes much deeper than the knowledge that anyone could possibly gain merely by driving a BMW with an in-line six. I have intimate understanding of exactly why it is that an in-line six is inherently balanced. I have precise understanding of why the crank throws for cylinders 1 and 6 share the same angular position about the crank, and why the same is true for 2 and 5, and ditto for 3 and 4, and why each of these pairs is offset from the other two by 120 degrees. I understand this because three or four years ago I carried out the mathematical analysis to calculate the aggregate velocity and acceleration for the six pistons. I did this on my advanced HP calculator, using its symbolic mathematical capabilities to perform the differentiation symbolically and give me algebraic expressions. I did this for in-line fours as well. I understand intimately why in-line fours are not inherently balanced and vibrate at a primary frequency twice the rotational frequency of the crankshaft. I could easily explain all of this to you, and I could explain why it is that if you were to take an in-line four and swing the two middle cylinders around to the opposite side of the crank, leaving the conventional crank just as it is, that the result would be inherently balanced just the same as any in-line six is. The aggregate piston mass will remain stationary and there will be no rotational oscillation of the aggregate piston mass about its center.

        The powers that be at BMW ought to put their engineers to work on the vibration in their in-line four cylinder engine. If they did that, it would be one of the very best engines that you can get on a motorcycle. By designing this new bike around the concept of an in-line six, they insured at the start that it would be heavier than it need be, that the center of mass would be higher than it need be, and that the distance from the seat to the steering head would be longer than it be. BMW is known for willingness to do things that most other manufacturers are not willing to do, and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. Overall, I would say that it is good. Telelever is probably the best thing that they have ever done, and duolever is probably second, notwithstanding that the line passing through the two pivots on the fork does not remain in alignment with the steering axis as the suspension moves, and that there is evidently a fair amount of slop in the hinge that links the fork steering-wise to the handlebar. Paralever does what it is supposed to do, but it adds weight and of course there were durability issues with the earlier iteration, and it is not the least bit obvious that there is any appreciable advantage over simpler swingarms where care has been taken with the placement of the pivot, and especially in comparison what Honda has done recently with the offset pivot in the VFR1200F.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          Tom –

          First of all, I want to compliment you on the quality of your posts. You are obviously a bright guy, and you have the time and inclination to provide interesting detail to back up your opinions. I’m not going to challenge your engineering or scientific analysis in this post, and I am certainly not going to question the accuracy of the conclusions reached by your “advanced HP calculator”. Of course, there is always GIGO, but I am assuming here that you performed your analysis correctly, and I am also assuming that your conclusions are correct from a scientific/engineering perspective.

          There is one fundamental problem with your post, however. You missed the point of the post you are responding to (mine). I was talking about driver/rider experience. Human feel. Are the thousands of the BMW in-line six enthusiasts who feel something special from their automobile engine wrong? In the motorcycle world, are the owners of the Honda CBX wrong when they say there is nothing like the feel they get from their engine (even those who own both a CBX and a CBR 1100XX)? Are their conclusions and emotions invalid?

          These delusional owners of BMWs and CBXs are apparently in good company, because BMW engineers and designers are just as delusional according to your analysis. I understand your point that dual counter-rotating balancers can make an in-line four extremely smooth, but it is not “the equal of any in-line six” as you conclude. Certainly not from the perspective of human feel (unless those BMW and CBX owners are delusional, or part of some conspiracy), nor from an engineering perspective.

          From an engineering perspective, I am sure you will agree with me that the vibration is different. It is not of the same frequency or duration. A test bench might even judge the in-line four with dual counter-rotating balancers superior, in some respects, in terms of vibration, but not “equal”.

          I hope you continue to post here at MD. I have to make one last comment, however, which may trouble you. One problem with discussion boards like this is dealing with egos. You say that my post annoyed you. I think you referred to my post as “bogus” (although I can’t find that reference now) when you didn’t need to do so. You could have made your point a bit more diplomatically, and I suspect you would do so if we were standing face-to-face. You are entitled to think that your opinion is superior to that of my own, BMW engineers/designers and CBX owners, but try to keep your ego out of it. Try to be a bit more scientific, and a bit less emotional.

          Finally, since I do respect your intellectual prowess and training, I have a sincere question for you. Isn’t an in-line six superior to a four with dual balancers from the standpoint of efficiency? Don’t the balancers create parasitic loss and, perhaps, this is partly why the new BMW touring machines get such good gas mileage?

  18. Patrick D says:

    I’m definitely gonna get a test ride on this for the motor, although I’m sure I’d never buy one. I can’t really see how bikes like this have anything over a R1200GS, unless you can’t touch the floor. they have so much more weight, but does it just go on plastics?

    also, the person who designed those instruments needs a slap. Cool looking, but a disaster when you’re trying to gleen information. A sportsbike combination (digital speedo, rotary rev counter) is that way for a reason – easy conveyance of information. Why should any bike be any different?

  19. James says:

    I ordered one … should be here in April! I have been this excited about waiting for my new TOY, since I was a Kid waiting for SANTA!

  20. BobB says:

    I have been looking for a while for something to replace my 2004 FJR1300. The Concourse came close but not quite different enough. I’m turning 55 this year, but still don’t feel old enough for a Gold Wing. As soon as I saw the GTL, I thought “this is the bike” and put a down a deposit. I’m #3 in line at my dealership and can’t wait for delivery. After finally seeing the bike at the NY motorcycle show and reading the initial roadtests, I’m sure I made the right decision.

  21. Biker Mama says:

    BMW does it again! They are one company that’s on top of the technology and other bike companies need to either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way (especially Harley Davidson). I personally have owned bikes by several manufacturerers and none come close to the DEPENDABILITY, the TECHNOLOGY or QUALITY of BMW period!…not to mention the reasonable PRICE behind it.

  22. Walt says:

    No surprise the first ride report is excellent on this bike, I ride mostly sole on me R1200RT and doubt I’ll be trading. Maybe would consider a trade if my wife rode much.
    I like the “engine feel” of the boxer, light agile handling and 50-60 MPG of the RT.
    Also, have all the power I need (RT is much lighter) to attract police attention.
    I do look forward to seeing and test riding the K1600.
    No mention in the report of engine heat, so assume this was not an issue???
    Reverse gear should be in this bike – like a power adjustable windscreen should be on a Wing.

  23. samr says:

    Thank goodness for BMW , at least we have one motorcycle company in the world thats building exciting NEW models.

    • ditto… their bikes are much more engaging, then the products coming from Japan at the present, weird years ago i had nuttin but Japanese bikes in the garage…. now nuttin but european… the passon, and soul in the euro’s is showing the Japanese how to do it… imo

    • Bill says:

      While new, this class of bike is not what I would describe as exciting. Near 800lbs sorta does that to a bike. Comfortable, innovative, yes; exciting, no.

  24. Tom says:

    WOW! I’d still like to see a bit more of those six cylinders. Flaunt ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. But this is fine. I’d buy one instead of a car any day, and in NC we could ride year ’round without much trouble, rain or shine.

    • MGNorge says:

      Notice that BMW saw fit to fix a number “6” to both sides of the engine. A little advertisement that to me looks tacky for a bike in this class. The CBX in its later sport/tourer dress really showed that it was a six, a beautiful one at that.

    • Bill says:

      Flaunt ‘em if you got em? You mean like the Gold Wing flaunts ‘em?

  25. ziggy says:

    These bikes are awesome and the feats they perform are impressive, but I am often left wondering: How does the rider feel connected to the road?

    It seems there is just so much bike in front, under, behind and around the seat. They have windshields you look through, not over. The handlebars are as raked back as chopper forks. The rider is so far back, he’s almost sitting over the back wheel. I imagine on flat superslab your forward view is essentially a monotonous mix of bike, windshield edge, and sky.

    Maybe just being on two wheels and leaning to turn is enough?

  26. Scooter says:

    After seeing the so called “new 2012 Honda Lead Wing” this is a piece of art. Honda is getting just like Harley Davidson. Take last years model and add a new color, move a few things around and Viola – the new 2010 Lead Wing. BMW got this right and the price is right on. I am standing line for one !!!!

    • Zombo says:

      In the Cycle World first ride when asked about the comparison to the Gold Wing a BMW executive smiled then replied , “We wanted to build a shark not a whale .” Bean counting Honda should’ve brought back the inline 6 to revitalize their dull rep since they introduced it with the CBX . But I guess the DN01 is more their speed now even if Aprilia out-automatic motorcycled them with the Mana at a much lower price on a motorcycle that actually looks like a motorcycle and not an over-sized Steve Urkel nerd scooter .

    • MGNorge says:

      The Wing may not be very exciting to your eyes since it’s been pretty much unchanged in the looks department for years. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is still one of the most competent long distance touring bikes there is. How many of them has Honda sold through the years? If they had been a flop in the market I would have agreed with you but that’s hardly the case.

    • Zombo says:

      No argument there , I’ve ridden this generation’s Gold Wing and while not my cup of tea the way it’s balanced once moving and feeling like a much lighter bike is remarkable . But they’d sell more of them if they would’ve made some of the changes Wing owners were anticipating – 6 speed trans , adjustable seat , more power , ect.. Were I in the market for a Wing I’d just look for a used one as the higher price of the 2012 models isn’t justified by such meager tweaks . And they will lose customers to the new BMWs because of the cheaper price and technical advances on the BMW . Like the headlight designed to put maximum brightness on the road in all riding conditions . Used to be Honda came out with advances like that . Now they’re putting airbags on the Gold Wing and calling it a major breakthrough . I’ll always be a Honda fan , but they need to wake up !

      • MGNorge says:

        I’d like to think that Honda’s conservatism comes from tight times for the Yen. It’s easy to think that if Soichiro was still at the helm there’d be more of Honda’s old, “Damned the torpedoes, full speed ahead approach” but he’s not around anymore. But in a real sense if Honda sees sales slipping and/or a shift in rider’s wants that the Wing, or its replacement, will change in design.

        If Honda were to bring out a full touring rig tomorrow that utilized an inline six, fully up to date and with all the creature comforts thrown in what would the reaction be? What would it be if it were to cost as much as today’s Wing? What if it undercut the BMW in price?

        Would they be perceived as simply copying BMW at this point? Not all of these are easy questions to answer because we motorcyclists have shown ourselves to be rather fickle.

  27. Tom Barber says:

    I am sure that this is a very nice bike, and I especially like that some manufacturer has been willing to take the lead and address one of the fundamental shortcomings with motorcycle headlights. When you lean for corners, the pattern leans along with the bike, and worse still is the fact that when the bike pitches down in front under hard braking, the illumination patch sweeps abruptly backward toward the bike. This is particularly a problem with low beams and when H4 bulbs are used, because they have an abrupt cutoff on the low beam. H4 was originally developed in Europe as a standard for cars, and although eventually adopted widely for motorcycles, H4 bulbs were never really suitable for motorcycles, because of that abrupt cutoff on the low beam. I am happy that some manufacturer has finally acknowledged and addressed this very real problem, and I applaud BMW for being the manufacturer to do this.

    Now, as for that ultra-smooth six-cylinder engine. Yes, in-line six-cylinder engines are inherently balanced. The aggregate center of the six pistons remains always in the same place, and remains always with the same orientation, i.e., does not rotate in the manner that occurs with offset boxer engines. However, Honda proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, with the CBR1100XX, that when the dual counter-rotating balancer solution is applied with care to an in-line four, that a four cylinder engine can also be every bit as smooth as an electric motor. To keep the center of mass low, BMW has tilted the engine far forward. This has the minor consequence of pushing the rider further to the rear, creating a longer reach to the handlebar. Moreover, notwithstanding the effort to keep the engine narrow by way of making the cylinders tall and skinny, the crankshaft is long, which requires higher mounting of the engine. Making the cylinders tall and skinny also has a fundamental effect on the overall shape of the torque and power curves, which can be viewed either positively or negatively, depending on your individual preference.

    If you are careful in choosing the right balance among these various tradeoffs, none of them will be especially bad individually. But the fact remains that these compromises are not necessary, because it simply is not necessary to use six cylinders as opposed to four cylinders, to achieve a virtual lack of engine vibration. They have labored to produce an optimal solution given the premise of a rationale for using a six cylinder engine, but that premise is a false premise. The individual power pulses overlap more smoothly because they occur every 120 degrees instead of every 180 degrees, but the individual power pulses are effectively damped via the use of heavy rubber dampers in the wheel hub, and are barely detectable in any modern four-cylinder engine that uses uniform spacing for cylinder firing.

    • Old town hick says:

      Tom, your technical data sounds right on. However, the feel, sound, and other intangibles of an in-line six simply cannot be reproduced by a 4-banger. Sweet, sexy and luxurious, a six-cylinder motorcycle is something every rider should sample at least once before they croak.

      • Tom Barber says:

        I don’t deal in intangibles.

        • Old town hick says:

          “I don’t deal in intangibles.”

          Maybe you should consider doing so. In few other pursuits are they as meaningful as in motorcycling. In riding, many qualities come together in the overall design of a bike that makes one more desireable than another…that are quite difficult-if not impossible-to quantify.

      • Tom Barber says:

        Now I’m annoyed. I just don’t like comments of this sort, where someone says something in way where it is implied that the truthfulness of the comment is given because only of them having said it. This sort of thing just annoys me. You did not make even a token attempt to demonstrate that you have the experience that you would need to have in order that your opinion on this would be an informed opinion. It is as though, because Old town hick said it, that makes it true. Well, sorry, but for me this just does not work. If you have any experience with the CBR1100XX, you should have said so plainly, and should have said plainly that in your experience, it is not as smooth as an in-line six. I doubt very seriously that you would say that if you actually had that experience, but regardless this is what you would need to have said in order for your comment to have any validity. And if you do not have that particular experience, then you know not of what you speak. I’m an strongly inclined to infer that you do not have that particular experience, because if you did, it is virtually certain that you would have said so. It follows that you know not of which you speak.

      • Tom Barber says:

        It’s still Saturday morning, I’m still in a bad mood due to not having slept much at all last night, and I waiting anxiously for Old town hick to back up his opinion on what is and isn’t possible for in in-line four to do, by telling us just what actual experience he has with the CBR1100XX, or why he is confident in the correctness of that opinion.

    • jimbo says:

      Inline 4, inline 6 riding experience (owned most of the bikes with riding experience listed below):

      No: CBR1100X
      Yes: Suzuki Bandit 1200ABS, FJ1100, early Ninja 900, ’78-’79 GS1000 (about a half dozen including a turbo, owned several), ’79 Honda CB750 4-v, ’77 Suzuki GS750 2-v, ’83 GS750 4-v, ’77 CB750, ’78 CBX, ’79 CBX, ’78 XS1100, ’91 CB750 4-v, ’83 GPz 1100, ’83 GPz 750, ’85 GPz 550, circa 2005 Kawi 750 liquid cooled standard, BMW K100 “flying brick”, and likely more I can’t remember.

      Hard to say at age 57 what I would rate the “smoothest” of the 4s listed above, but IMO “smoothness” relates to torque and hp curves. Some of the above bikes tend to be pretty peaky (Kawi 750), and the more peaky the less “smooth” is the effect. Smoothness also relates to aural effects. Almost certainly, the ’90 Honda CB750 standard was the smoothest of the 4s listed, IMO.

      As mentioned above, I’ve considerable experience on Honda’s magnificent (even by today’s standards IMO) CBX inline a/c six, both generally stock OEM except for jetting, and one (my absolutely favorite) a black ’79 with Denco or DG 6-1 header, full OEM optional sport kit (lower cast-aluminum H-shaped handlebars, rear sets, shorter cable/hose package…BTW, ’79 OEM has a much softer cam for emissions, and this ’79 I rode had the earlier/hotter ’78 cam installed).

      Maybe the CBR1100XX is different, and since reading your post I plan to ride one the first chance arising.

      But in my experience so far, no way on earth, IMO, can any inline 4 come within the same galaxy of touching the overall effect of the ’79 CBX mentioned above. Blipping the throttle on the slightly modified CBX at stop lights, and revving through the gears, was a peak motorcycle experience. I can only presume the essence of that effect I experienced is what BMW aimed for in these new sixes, above and beyond any preconceived standards of “smoothness”.

      Which is why I can’t wait for the N-E-K-E-D version. Slap on a mid-size screen or quarter/half fairing (maybe the Rifle Superbike or Rifle Sport in my closet), tank bag and panniers, and call it a day.

      • jimbo says:

        Edit: tossup for overall smoothest four, ’91 CB750 or ’85 GPz550…that GPz 550 was pretty darn smooth.

        • Tom Barber says:

          None of these fours are particularly smooth. None of them use the dual counter-rotating balancer design. You seem to misunderstand the correct interpretation for the word “smoothness” as it applies in the present context.

      • Old town hick says:

        I agree with you completely Jimbo. My few rides on a CBX many years ago are seared into my memory like only a few other lifetime experiences.

      • Tom Barber says:

        jimbo, you are talking about a completely different thing. The word “smoothness” can of course be used to refer to the smoothness of the shape of the torque and power curves, and that is certainly a meaningful, important consideration, but it is entirely not the same as the meaning of the word “smoothness” in the context of in-line fours vs. in-line six cylinder engines. The two have nothing to do with each other, beyond the superficial similarity whereby the same word applies to both.

        The number of cylinders has nothing whatsoever to do with the shape of the torque and power curves. Take for example a six-cylinder engine. The torque and power curves would have exactly the same shape if you shut off five of the cylinders and ran only one.

        None of the 4-cylinder engines that you mentioned even use dual counter-rotating balancers. The first motorcycle to do so was the CBR1100XX, then the FJR1300, then the Kawasaki ZX-14 and Concours 14. Honda’s implementation was spot-on. Yamaha’s implementation was flawed. In an in-line four cylinder engine using the conventional sort of crankshaft (not the cross-plane, which is different), the two outer pistons move in unison either up or down, and the two inner pistons move in unison in the opposing direction. However, the motion of the inner and outer pair does not balance out to null, because in general the pair furthest from the crank is moving faster than the pair closest to the crank. This leads to an asymmetric difference in acceleration and in the forces at the crank. The resulting vibration is at frequency twice the engine rpm, which is why in-line fours are notable for high-frequency, buzzy sort of vibration. The dual, counter-rotating balancers spin at twice the rate of the crank and in opposing directions, and when done properly, the horizontal components of their respective motions mutually cancel, leaving the vertical components to combine and cancel with the vibration that is inherent in the aggregate piston motion. For this to work correctly, the two balancers must both be located at the longitudinal center of the crankshaft. Yamaha screwed it up. The oil/water intercooler is located where the front counterbalancer should be, and it is pushed over to one side. It is not surprising for Yamaha to do something of this sort. Kawasaki did not make the same dumb mistake, and I have only sat on a Concours 14 with the engine running, but with only that experience it was apparent that their implementation is nowhere near as optimal as what Honda did with the CBR1100XX. This design, in its present optimized form, was worked out by Mitsubishi, who owns the patent, although I expect that the patent has long since expired. The design has been used by various car manufacturers over the years, including Porsche.

  28. Shriker says:

    Wow….BMW is really on fire these days….great to see them giving the Japanese some strong competition.

    These are very impressive bikes. For those thinking they are too heavy….the GTL undercuts the current ‘Wing by over 120 at least and offers WAY more power, electric windscrean (after all these years , a GLARING and very useful , item the Wing STILL doesnt have) and a ton of cool new technology. It is over 70 lbs less than the old K1200LT , I had one , great touring bike (but top heavy at parking lot speeds, relatively weak low end power, otherwise quite good).

    The GT on the other hand seems to be quite close in weight with the bike it replaces (K1300GT arguably the best in class) but has the new 6 instead of the “old” 4….top end power similar, low end and mid range not even close….

    Expensive , yes ….but considering the market and the competion , reasonable.

    Another Home Run for BMW…..NOW> as all have said ….the OBVIOUS next step ….. K1600R or RS !

  29. clasqm says:

    @GaryF: Oh, that is just the organizers being paranoid. Those of us who live here go out at night all the time. Of course, we know where to go and where not to go, but some local guides could have been hired.

    The few baboons that live along major roads generally know to get out of the way. At least there are no deer to crash into!

  30. KSW says:

    For me the weight is no problem. It’s over 100+ pounds lighter than my Honda Rune.
    Also over 100+ lighter than the Goldwing I traded for the Rune.

    Reverse. That is what I don’t see anywhere. I’ll happily say that bikes in this weight class
    require a reverse gear. One accidental pull in with any down hill facing grade and your
    are looking for help to get out of that parking spot. It can happen at the end of a long
    day on the road.

    Personally, I’m sold. Honda has blown it with the just announced outdated ’12 Goldwing.
    I had an ST1100 with traction control and praise any bike that has it since I ride when
    touring rain or shine. Fully equipped with all the things you need on long trips and
    being a photographer it has lockable storage. The GTL has the removable trunk which
    means you get a GT with a comfortable riding position and all the bells and whistles.

    Kudos to BMW and the strong German economy allowing them to continue new model
    releases while Japan waits for a stronger Yen. When I can test ride I’ll buy.

    Model release in S.A.? What? No kidding you didn’t ride at night. More to worry about
    than the animals if you’re not wearing Kevlar and carrying a gun. Heck, even my monopod
    is considered a weapon on the streets their.

  31. MarkF says:

    now how about a stripped down version, no bells or whistles, less weight and a bunch of carbon fiber?

  32. mxs says:

    700 lbs??? Is this for real?

    • Ruefus says:

      Let’s not forget you don’t ride a spec sheet.

      Gold Wings are actually heavier. That seems like it’ll matter until you until you lift it off the side stand. Then it’s forgotten completely when the clutch lever is released all of a quarter inch from the grip and you begin to roll.

      The K1200GT this replaces is over 750.

      This is nothing new.

  33. Gerry says:

    Moonbandito is right! If this isn’t the best bike out there right now, what is? The ST 1300 is awesome but for only $4G’s more the 1600GL (CDN Pricing) is the way to go. I have an ST1100 and have been waiting for this!!

  34. Bill nielsen says:

    Seems like a state of the art ST. No doubt competent in many ways and I’d love to own one. But…I’m thinking these $20,000+ motorcycles in today’s market will have limited sales. Especially when there are so many other competent motorcycles out there at thousands of dollars less. The recent advances are great but for those that have limited funds one has to ask…Is it worth it? Especially when other models like the well refined Kawa and Yami products for example provide tremendous performance at a better value. Also Beemers are typically the most expensive MC’s on earth to maintain especially if you use dealership servicing. Good luck I say on sales but hey you have to appreciate the technology.
    Bill

    • buddygixxerninja says:

      you are correct on how expensive it is to maintain. for example: replacing a brake/clutch lever on a BMW S1000RR cost between $250-$350. is that outrageous or what?? compare that to a kawasaki ninja ZX-10R. to replace the same brake/clutch lever will only run you between $37-$50. so with this in mind, don’t drop your BMW!!

  35. zzrwood says:

    According to each manufacturers published figures:

    Honda ST1300 ABS – Curb weight = 730lbs

    BMW K1600gt – Curb weight = 702lbs

    • Tom Barber says:

      Don’t believe any manufacturer’s claims regarding “curb weight”, especially BMW. The inconsistency has been well documented in the past, and BMW has a shady track record in this area.

      • jimbo says:

        Yes, I think that’s correct about BMW. Upon arrival of the new R1200GS, BMW loudly and repeatedly broadcast it was “65 lbs” lighter than the R1150GS it replaced (parked in my garage at that time). IIRC, later “independent” tests showed the R1200GS was about 42 lb (its fuel tank is smaller). IIRC, my 2000 R1150GS curb weight with full fuel tank was independently tested to be between 587-591 lbs.

        That said, weight is just a number. As I’ve mentioned before, the current H-D XR1200 feels far lighter than its estimated 575 lbs, at least once you are under way…if it just wasn’t a paint shaker at idle and made and extra 25hp.

        No shortage of power in these two BMWs!

  36. Moonbandito says:

    If you are king of the hill, than this is your bike. If you aren’t, then get a move on and get up that hill.

  37. casey j says:

    I want to know what are the maintenance requirements for this beastly baby?

    • Gary says:

      Good question. You pay a significant premium when you own a BMW in replacement parts and maintenance. I’d guess at least 30 percent over, say, a Gold Wing. Most BMW riders, like me, bit the bullet and learn to do their own maintenance.

      With the old boxer, this was relatively easy. But the new bikes, with the computers and acres of tupperware, make maintenance a chore.

  38. Zombo says:

    Holy shmokes BMW builds an inline 6 modern (CBX like) screamin’ tourer ! Listen to the engine’s Ferrari type wail in the video link below . Makes the Goldwing seem like a geriatric scooter . No wonder the Europeans have left the Japanese behind in motorcycle innovation and design . Bike of the year for sure !

    http://www.bmwblog.com/2011/02/25/video-review-bmw-k1600gt-first-ride/

    • Mickey says:

      Damn, that does sound good.

      BTW Harry, I a stature busting 5’7″ (in my riding boots)and we’re the same age.

      • HARRY says:

        Alright Mickey! I’m gettin older as we speak and by my calculations I’ll be 5’7″ in 2022 as I am getting shorter every year. Now back to the BMW I listened over and over to the 6 cyl go thru 3? gears ( on the motorad site in a dropdown). I wonder no, I’ll bet it sounds better on the road as opposed to a mill. Does it have a reverse gear? If I had just bought a wing I’d be upset.

  39. over 100 ft/lbs @ only 1500 rpm’s …. impressive …. 129 ft/lbs max that is one serious motor …. to bad about the huge wet weight…. like the other guys said bring on the K1600R…. :)

  40. Robbo says:

    Bring on the K1600R!

    • sliphorn says:

      Now yer talkin’.

    • BoxerFanatic says:

      K1600R-Sport for me. I liked the K12R-Sport’s half-fairing.

      They should have kept the half fairing as an option on the R, and kept the R in the US.

    • MikeD says:

      I wish so too, but acording to the BMW Motorrad Chief little to no chance of it happening, head to Motociclismo.it and search/read the interview. I don’t speak Italian but is pretty easy to understand if u speak Spanish…or u can always use the Google Translating thing and get a RAW translation, not perfect but read-able.

  41. Mickey says:

    Looks like a really fine touring motorcycle, although I was suprised to find it weighed close to 800 pounds packed up. My ST 1300 is a heavy load and it weighs nearly 100# less than this bike (and I wish the ST weighed 100# less than it does). I’ll bet the Beemer is a luxurious ride though. Can’t imagine this would take many sales away from the Honda Goldwing, but I can see it taking sales away from the Kaw Concours 14, and the BMW 1200 LT’s.

    To answer Gary MSRP is $20,900 and $23,200 respectively

    Looking at the pics that is either a very large motorcycle or a very small tester or a combo of the two.

    • Tim says:

      I think it would be much more likely to take sales from the Honda than the Kawasaki. The Kawi is significantly less expensive with similar power. Non Beemer people are much more likely to choose it. I could see it maybe taking sales from the Honda, which is more comparable in price and getting a little stale (still a great bike though.)

    • HARRY says:

      Lets all stop bustin on the stature challenged rider. I would have liked to see a pic of him lifting the GT front tire in the air though. Does it have a reverse like the Wing? I am ready to put my 60 yr old 5’10” frame on one of these. Alas 74 miles to nearest BMW dealer.

    • GaryF says:

      I suspect it will take sales from the Gold Wing in the same way that the 740i takes sales from the Lexus LS. The German’s have a slightly different take on touring. They slant the bike a bit more toward sport. I’ve got a K1200LT, and it is amazing how well it handles (for its size). I’d love to have an additional 75 horsepower, combined with less weight, but until my job situation gets back on track, I will only salivate onto my keyboard.

      Thanks for the pricing info.

  42. BoxerFanatic says:

    The engine on that bike seems like a really nice one… thanks for the nice read.

    As Hartley Enterprises has built a V8 from two hayabusa I4s, I want to see a V12 built from two of these. How awesome would a ~3200cc compact V12 be, or maybe even a flat-12… even if not for a motorcycle, but for a small minimalist car… or even a replica of a classic Ferrari.

    I want to see the adaptive headlights applied to other BMW bikes, too. I can imagine a DOHC R1200RS with a half fairing (optional lowers like the R1200RT’s), with duolever, and a stacked headlight array with a single round high beam above an adaptive low-beam assembly. That would be pretty slick for a lighter, sportier bike that can still sport-tour.

    • Tom Barber says:

      I predict that the cleaver headlight trick will quickly become the norm for most street motorcycles at least. The now-ubiquitous H4 bulb is the worst imaginable sort of headlight bulb for a motorcycle, owing to the abrupt cutoff that sweeps back toward the motorcycle under hard braking, leaving very little of the road ahead visible. Once upon a time I hacked together a workaround for my FJR1300, using pulse-width-modulation to diminish the brightness of both the low and high beam filaments and using both filaments in this manner whenever the switch was at the low beam position. I wrote this up and carefully documented the very real existence of the problem. It is still on H. Marc Lewis’ site FJR1300.info. Perhaps someone took notice.

  43. GaryF says:

    Well done. I can’t help but wonder, though … with all the limitations of South Africa (don’t go out at night, wildlife, bad roads, etc.), why on Earth did they stage the intro there?

    Also … do you have the suggested retail price here in the U.S.?

    • Mark Broady says:

      Hey Gary,

      Those limitations are very limited. The area is absolutely beautiful and one of the top motorcycle destinations, especially at this time of the year.
      The folks at BMW need to cover themselves and therefor will be very conservative when briefing the journo’s. Yes you may come across Baboons up in the mountains but they are certainly not a limitation. Going out at night is not recommended in any major city in the world if you are not sure of where you are. I don’t know where the idea of bad roads comes from. There are dirt mountain passes which may be considered “bad”, but not if you choose to take the area in on your Adventure Bike. (BM launched the R1200GS in South Africa as well by the way).

      If you are not convinced, google search for images on the following:
      Franschoek
      Franschoek Pass
      Chapmans Peak
      Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
      Hermanus
      Cape Town

  44. Easy1958 says:

    Beautiful Motorcycle!!! If I could ask a question or two of the tester: How tall are you? Can you do a size comparison with the 2011 Gold Wing and maybe the Concurs 1400?