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2022 BMW K 1600 GT: MD Ride Review

There aren’t a lot of pure luxury touring motorcycles. At the top of the list, perhaps, is Honda‘s iconic Gold Wing, but BMW has its own unabashed luxury tourers in the form of the K 1600 family.

The K 1600 has been around for a while now, and its most noted feature is the inline six-cylinder engine that powers it. BMW has a well-deserved reputation when it comes to brilliant inline six-cylinder engines, particularly in its automotive division.

The big straight-six powering our test bike has been revised for this new model year to comply with Euro 5 emissions standards. In the process, the motor makes the same claimed 160 hp, now at a lower RPM, and torque has been bumped up to 132 foot/pounds.

Other changes to the 2022 model include an automatic suspension sag adjustment feature that keeps the bike balanced front-to-rear, regardless of loads, with a single rider, rider with passenger, etc. This is a feature that allows the rider to trust the bike will fully compensate for any weight added to the machine.

Another relatively striking new feature is the huge 10.25″ TFT display. As motorcycles have moved away from the old, low contrast, black-and-white displays of yesteryear, the high contrast, colorful TFT displays are now relatively commonplace, but this new BMW display has to be at the top when it comes to the amount of information and the legibility. Quite impressive.

New adaptive LED headlights remain level and look in the direction you are turning. To say that these are bright is an understatement. Like the TFT Dash, LED headlights are becoming commonplace.

Listing all of the bells and whistles is a difficult task with this bike. Three rider modes are available, including Dynamic, Road and Rain. In addition to adjusting throttle response, with Dynamic being the most … well, dynamic, these different modes also provide unique suspension damping from the semi-active system. Of course, ABS is standard, and an IMU allows it to adjust in real time for cornering and other loads.

Of course, as a top shelf, German luxury tourer, there is cruise control, heated seats, heated grips, integrated, lockable, luggage, electrically-adjustable windshield height, and the ability to integrate your cell phone to provide all sorts of navigation information and music through the dash and speakers.

About the only thing missing is adaptive cruise control, which is now available on some of the competition, and even some of BMW’s other models. Undoubtedly, this feature will show up on the K 1600 models eventually.

The ergonomics are, as you might expect, designed to keep the rider comfortable, and out of the wind. The comfort is superb, and the adjustable windscreen allows riders of different heights to dial in wind protection without buffeting. Adjustable heat at the grips and the seat just make things all the nicer.

But what is it like to ride? As you might expect, this is an extremely heavy motorcycle … a claimed 756 pounds. It has a reverse gear, which is more than helpful when needed. At low speeds, the rider has to be careful with balance, but once moving above 10 mph, or so, the big bike belies its weight.

The self-leveling suspension, whether in the softer Road setting or the stiffer Dynamic setting, provides good feedback and control. The bike changes direction easily, and holds a line predictably while cornering. The only negative we found was associated with the condition of the rear tire on our test unit, which was decidedly squared off and led to a “falling in“ sensation at times when turning.

Most riders of a bike in this category will be happy with the semi-active suspension, but this is not a sport bike. The suspension, even in the stiffer Dynamic setting, is not designed to hustle on tight twisty roads. Admittedly, it handles very well for a large, heavy luxury tourer, but don’t expect it to keep up with lighter, more nimble machinery in the canyons.

The bike’s main mission is eating highway miles, and at that task it is superb. Just about any size rider can find a comfortable position, and adjust the windshield to properly manage airflow. Riders with longer inseams might find the pegs a tad high, but that was not an issue for our 5’11” tester. The big inline six-cylinder engine is, once again, the real highlight.

The engine is silky smooth and powerful. Forward thrust is effortless, and the sound and feel from the engine is addictive. Smooth as silk, but packing a punch from the mid-range on up. Together with the comfortable ergonomics, it is hard to imagine a better two-wheeled machine for inhaling long stretches of highway. The seven gallon fuel tank is a perfect complement.

The brakes are plenty strong to haul down the massive machine, and the transmission – with its quick-shifter – feels refined and accurate.

The only criticisms we have might not be important to you. The case beneath the windshield that holds your smart phone is cramped and difficult to use. The low speed handling, as we pointed out earlier, can catch a rider out if he/she isn’t careful. The bike is top-heavy.

It is also expensive. The base price is $23,895, but our test unit had some options, including the premium package at $3,000, mineral white metallic paint at $1,900 and a saddle brown seat at $250. This puts the total price close to $30,000. The premium package includes a quick shifter (in both directions), upgraded audio and keyless ignition with central locking and alarm system.

Nevertheless, a loaded Honda Gold Wing is in the same ballpark pricewise, and if covering long distances in luxury and comfort is your deal, you need to look closely at BMW’s K 1600 line of motorcycles.

Take a look at BMWs website for additional details and specifications. Note that the 2023 model is largely unchanged from our 2022 test unit.


  1. Ricardo says:

    I won a 2013 K1600GTL, great bike with the electronic suspension and all teh power from the smooth engine. My only gripe is that in dynamic mode it eats the rear tire in like 1500 miles of hard riding, other than that everything is great.

  2. Foster says:

    The weight . . . that’s the issue for us older folk who had to come off of Honda ST1100/1300’s, because pushing them about in the garage was getting too dicey.

    It is getting too late for me now, but a 500 pound maximum sport tourer (not ADV high seat styled) with a 650-800cc engine with shaft drive would have been my last bike.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Me too. Triumph Scrambler with Givi fairing only lacked shaft drive, of coarse maybe I didn’t need to lube the chain every time I rode.

    • Gary says:

      Totally agree. I can still handle my RT because the CoG makes it more manageable, but I suspect there my be a 900 Tiger in my future.

    • todd says:

      I always come back to my K75S. It’s still just getting broken in with 112,000 miles on it, never needs servicing, handles better than many more modern touring bikes and is smooth as glass. At 510 lbs though, I’m afraid it just misses your mark.

  3. Mick says:

    Throughout my life I have met a lot of guys who have some dream about buying a touring bike, usually a Goldwing, and riding it to some scenic place. The odd thing about the majority of those guys is that most of them never end up buying a motorcycle at all.

    My neighbor is one such guy. Though he did buy a Scrambler and started to learn to ride in his fifties. Now Goldwing has turned to V4 Multistrada. But he, and now my wife, have this idea of riding Nova Scotia. What? Have they checked out the roads there? The place looks pretty dull to me.

    I guess I have some bone in my head that prevents me from understanding motorcycle touring. If the road is not really twisty, I don’t really want to ride it. No amount of scenery can change that. Scenery is for dirt bikes. You ride in it and on it and you are immersed in it. It touches you, you can smell it, it puts challenges before you. By the end of the day it has given you a good workout. That’s my thing. Though I must say. I really like to avoid any contact with cactuses. They are not friendly.

    • Grumpy Farmer says:

      Mick, there are all kinds of motorcycles, for all kinds of people, for all kinds of riding. All good. It is not necessary for you to understand it all.

      • Motoman says:

        Well put GF. I think Mick forgets people really don’t care if he understands.

        • TimC says:

          FOOM. While I concur that riding in a straight line for more than oh half a mile between turns is personally like arrrrrrgh there’s plenty of guys that seem happy chugging along at the speed limit (WTAF??!!!) on their Harleys….

      • Tim says:

        I had a K1600 GTL and rode it all over the country. Trust me, there is great scenery along a lot of the paved roads in this country. Colorado 133, South of Carbondale, is still my favorite, but there are an unbelievable number of beautiful roads out West. Chief Joseph Highway in Wyoming with big, fast sweepers makes you feel almost like you’re flying. Utah is full of great roads and is perhaps the most beautiful state in the union. Eastern Arkansas is fantastic as well. I finally gave up the GTL as it was getting to be too heavy to move around at my age. As great as it was on the highway, I still had to work hard to get it out of the garage and move it around at lower speeds.

  4. pole sitter says:

    did I read that right….NO cruise control!! Surely that is a mistake..
    Not interested anyway…..

  5. Gary says:

    Did you guys try out the Nav? It’s my understanding that its performance is spotty, with a compartment too small to house large cell phones/cases and phone connections that tend to fail. Please comment on this. Thanks.

  6. todd says:

    The problem I’ve experienced with big heavy touring bikes is; they don’t handle well at a fast pace and they chew through expensive tires like cheap bubblegum.

    • Trevor says:

      You’ve probably never ridden a post 2001 Gold Wing with aftermarket suspension before. Handles great at a fast pace, and is fairly easy on the relatively inexpensive Bridgestones I put on it.

    • Ed says:

      Who cares? Its a damn $30k touring bike. What you wanna do, put Chinese tires on it?

    • Tim says:

      My K1600 GTL ate through front tires like crazy. It wasn’t too bad on the rear tires, but if you’re someone who replaces two tires at a time, it can get expensive pretty quickly.

    • Jim says:

      An acquaintance, who is an Iron Butt competitor, has been riding one of these since the introduction in 2011. He deals with the tire wear issue by putting a narrow car tire on the rear. A little disconcerting in the corners, but when your chasing 1000 mile days you are looking for twisty roads.

  7. paquo says:

    nice bike
    pretty defined usecase, it would be hard to rationalize purchase unless your plans were trans continental

  8. Artem says:

    Small but heavy

  9. Provologna says:

    Even though straight 6s can be heavenly (sound, power, torque, smoothness) and BMW likely builds the all-time best such engines, presuming an R1200RT weighs less than 600# I’d take one over this K1600 puppy.

    I totally get Dirck’s point that the K1600 feels lighter than it is above 10mph; but you actually have to travel below 10mph from every stop and at those times I presume all its weight is felt constantly.

    I really wish someone would release a standard or sport-touring I-6 w/half-fairing. Suzuki posted pics of one about 10 years ago and I thought it looked fantastic.

    • viktor92 says:

      I don’t understand why having an engine so low, the bike as a whole has still a high CG
      I think that for a big street bike, the perfect balance on power, weight, size, smoothness and simplicity it’s an inline four.

      • TimC says:

        That massive fairing up that high can’t help. Even if it doesn’t weigh so much relative to the engine, it’s big for a motorcycle fairing and its position will make what mass it does have matter more.

  10. Artem says:

    Small tyres. You have to keep the road with rubber. Small motorcycle but heavy. Scooterish

  11. viktor92 says:

    It’s an engineering marvel, but so big and heavy, that I prefer go on a car instead a fully loaded K1600. Same with a GoldWing.

    • TimC says:

      I agree. The GW is by all accounts a really huge heavy sportbike. OK great.

      IMO the sweet spot for BMWs was the (now a few years discontinued) K1300. Shame, I’m almost in position (knock on wood) to be in the market for that sort of thing in the next year or so. Oh well….

  12. motorhead says:

    Something happened to Harley and the HOGs. When I look at Raleigh Craigslist today I see an attractive selection of perfectly good, low-mileage newer Harleys going below $10,000. What happened? A new BMW shows up for above $30,000 and that’s fine? Granted, modern high tech and comfort are fabulous, but are bikers no longer buying into the American freedom mystic? A late model Harley is priced at an entry-level prices. I’d worry if I were Harley.

  13. Gary in NJ says:

    I like these gigantic K bikes. If I had the opportunity to make use of one (eating highway miles) I wouldn’t hesitate to coddle my ass with one. I never gave them any thought until I sat on one at an IMS prior to COVID. They really are well thought out machines.

  14. Buzz says:

    I still have my 2012 GTL. I’d love the quick shifter (my tranny is clunky) and the new screen but that’s not worth taking the beating on trade in. It can be a little top heavy at low speeds with a full tank but I haven’t found it to be a problem.

    It steers so much better than my previous K1300GT. I put a Sargent Seat and a CC windshield and some Remus cans and that’s the extent of the mods. She still screams.

  15. Spencer Offord says:

    I own two K1600’s – one GTL and one GT. The GTL is for wife and I, and the GT is for me. Riding for 60 years now, I consider these bikes to be the last word in touring. I’ve owned many different bikes over the years from other BMW’s to Bultaco to Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki (never, ever a Harley!). I’m done now This is the finest.

    • Mr.Mike says:

      You are obviously a very satisfied customer. What do you like most about these bikes and do any of the objections listed below ring true, or are they non-issues for you?

      In particular, some have voiced the concern that it is too top-heavy, especially for older folks. You are clearly somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 years old or getting close. Do you find weight distribution to be an issue?

    • Buzz says:

      Why both? The top trunk pops right off my GTL and it sits in the garage when my wife isn’t along for the ride.

  16. TP says:

    I’d get a year or 2 old Corvette.

    • Dave says:

      “This puts the total price close to $30,000”

      IF you find a good 2 year old Vette for $30k, I’ll give you $40k for it.

    • Mick says:

      Wow! What happened? I take a look at Craigslist once in a while. Before the pandemic there were quite a few C7s at very affordable prices. I just looked now and that party is over. It is the wrong time of year to buy and all but wow! Prices have more than doubled.

      I guess I am fortunate not to be in to cars or touring bikes. But I certainly wouldn’t want to to be a young man right now looking at used cars that cost more than my first house, which was a lake property. That and being saddled with a run of the mill school debt that cost more than it cost one of my friends paid to become a doctor. Or even try to buy a first house now. Lake property? That would be a challenge. The value of my current lake home has doubled since I bought it six years ago. It’s crazy. I sold the one that I bought for my folks last year and made a fortune.

      Sorry kids. Society has failed you. Too bad you can’t move to another planet yet.

  17. Mick says:

    Holy smokes! $1900 for a color choice. There’s a flex that only other buyers of the bike would know anything about.

    The Minnesota native in me noticed the Aerostich suit right away. But those babies are kind of a standard BMW uniform and a must for the Very Boring Rally. I know a guy that got banned from Canada for life for his less than boring antics at the Very Boring Rally. That would be tough. I met my wife in Canada and we like to go skiing there once in a while. Canadian money was interchangeable with American money in Minnesota when I was a kid. I used to love riding The Haggis Basher. It was a two day observed trials event with a big haggis feed on Saturday night. It was put on at a Minnesota location by a Scot from Canada, his wife, and hottie daughters. Up yer kilt!

    • Tom R says:

      Very Boring Response.

    • TimC says:

      “Holy smokes! $1900 for a color choice” – this why even if I can afford it I will never buy a new Porsche. Their options are asinine, and often far more mundane crap that is standard on a GTI costs $3k or some s–t. Plenty of re-re’s paying this stuff, I won’t be one of them.

      • Mick says:

        A guy has got to think that the Porsche guys are a bit like the Harley guys. There is just a different sort of catalog full of farkles for your new rig to “make it your own”.

        In the end I’m not to different from those guys myself. I don’t do much to my off the rack street bikes. But all my off road bikes have a certain minimum build out recipe. I guess one of the weirder things that I do is strip off all the stock plastic and put in a box for the next guy. Black dirt bike plastic scuffs up to a flat finish in no time. So I kit my bikes out with it so any replaced part quickly resembles the old ones. My race bikes are pieces of equipment. They are not fashion accessories. I only run livery from my suspension guy on my suspension, He installs it and he’s a nice guy. And, well, removing it would be work. It’s nice stuff and I would imagine that it is a real bear to remove.

        It actually used to make me easy to spot. But now there are a bunch of guys who “think that they are me” and kit their bikes accordingly. If you ever met me you would know that I am about the last guy to ever start a fashion trend. It’s more like I get run over by them. I built a supermoto before they were cool and still love mine long after they have lost their sheen.

        They’ll be back. ADV bikes are super popular now and soon the people who never take them off road will discover the 17 inch wheel.

        Sometimes I guess one would rather the crowd followed the crowd and let us crazy people be.

        • Ed says:

          Sometimes, Mick has too much to say. Tom R was right the original post was unnecessary but Mick wont admit it.

  18. My2cents says:

    A high cg is just not a sensible idea on a heavy and expensive motorcycle. In addition the typical purchase demographic would be a somewhat older person who need not add complex handling to the equation. BMW is searching for new markets outside of the Boxer format but this isn’t the way forward. The K series had more potential and a friendlier cg.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Seven gallons of fuel down low instead of the gravity feed location for carbs would make a huge difference. No excuse on an expensive fat bike with fuel injection.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      The COG of the K16 series is low. That big engine lays almost as flat as the one in the Honda NC. All the heavy parts (apart from fuel and fairing) sit lowish (though, for acceptable ground clearance of the wider engine, a bit higher than in the NC.)

      The duolever make low speeds feel tippier than telescopic forks.

      All that fuel, in a traditional location (the NC has it under the seat, but it also carries only half as much..) doesn’t help.

      Neither does having so much of the weight far forward of where your legs touch the ground (And the front wheel even further out there…). One can find lots of things to complain about Harleys over, but one thing they have going for them, is the V-Twin format allows the rider’s legs to straddle the heavy engine. Instead of forcing the rider to sit well behind it. The latter Resulting in the rider trying to control weight situated a foot or more forwards. Just imagine trying to deadlift, while keeping the bar a foot or more in front of your shins…..

      • My2cents says:

        But the tester noted the motorcycle to be top heavy and I’m basing my comments on the information given in the format provided. So do you disagree with the writer of the article?

    • Scott says:

      Good point, kind of surprising they haven’t figured out a way to build a self righting mechanism into them to make them more friendly for their target audience. Or maybe the target audience just calls a tow truck if they drop their bike.

  19. ORT says:

    Pretty bike. $30,000 and I would still get wet when it rains, LOL! I am happy for those that can afford (including the maintenance costs) one!

    Any thoughts on the new Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello? On looks and functionality I am still more inclined toward the V85 Adventure models but it does look pretty cool! Thank you Dirck!


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