Quick Hits

Motorcycle Daily joins the list of motojournalists who’ve tested the BMW K1600GT/GTL. They like it.

The Icon waterproof Patrol jacket seems very nice, if a bit pricey.

The Hyosung GT650 seems like a decent naked standard, considering its price.

Another decent photoshop rendering of the upcoming MV Agusta Brutale B3 675 triple.

Talk about electric vehicles all you want, but they aren’t ready for prime time, if the sales figures are any clue.

Wes Siler thinks the 200-ish horsepower BMW S1000RR would be a great first bike.  For beginners. Who just started riding.

For 2011, Suzuki gave the Gixxer 600–one of the most popular sportbikes ever produced– a complete overhaul. How good an overhaul is it? Motorcycle.Com’s Pete Brissette took it out on the track to see.

BMW K1600 GTL Review

Since I didn’t get invited to South Africa for the launch of BMW’s new Inline-6 touring bikes–and couldn’t afford to go if I did–I have to wait for another 2 months or so before I can even get a chance to look at one, much less ride one. Motorcycle.Com, on the other hand, suffers from no such limitation, so they have a review of the the big K1600GTL touring model.

I don't think you're supposed to do this. Or be able to do this, for that matter.

They seem impressed. Indeed, judging by the picture, too much so.

They rave on and on about its Gold-Wing-ass-kicking power, the cool electronics, and just about everything else they can think of to indicate how much better it is than the Gold Wing.

Things they loved:

  • Handling
  • Power
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Chassis
  • Rider comfort
  • Air management]
  • Ergos

Things they hated:

  • Smaller passenger accommodations than the Gold Wing

Other than that, though, they think it’s a home run.

Its six-cylinder engine is sex on wheels with power to spare. Its agility and athleticism is positively shocking for such a big girl, and its suspension and brakes are best in class. What’s more, its array of standard and optional equipment put it in a league of its own.

Brit motorcycle journolist Kevin Ash has come up with another little niggle about the GT version, however, which is that, despite the higher torque of the I-6 powerplant, it actually doesn’t pull as hard in lower RPM ranges as the bike it replaces, the K1300GT, with its I-4.

For me, the 703 lb wet weight already made it a far less desirable bike, so I doubt if the new BMW is anywhere in my future.  Great concept though.  Shave 200 lbs off it, and call it the K1600S, though, and I might be willing to take a second look.

First Review: BMW K1600GT/GTL

UK Motorcycle journalist Kevin Ash has posted what I believe is the first ride review of the new 6-cylinder BMW K1600GT/GTL motorcycles.  This torque-monster of a motorcycle (129lb.ft) has been highly awaited as BMW has trickled out all sorts of press releases about the technology.  Is it worth the wait? Well, maybe…

What you’ll be hoping for then is a bike laden with well thought through gadgets, a super smooth engine and real muscle from idle upwards. You get most of that, but not quite all…

The big complaint about the bike seems to be the way it performs at the lower end of the rev range.

The motor is a little disappointing at lower revs, especially in the 2,000-3,000rpm zone where you find yourself a lot, as the gearing is tall and the engine so smooth it will trickle down to idle even in the high gears without complaint. Given the fat torque curve you’d hope to be able to snick the smooth-changing transmission into top and leave it there until you switch off at the end of the day, but in practice typical 50-70mph (80-110kph) overtakes demand a couple of downchanges if you’re going to despatch with slower traffic rapidly. And that’s solo, with a passenger, full luggage and steep mountain roads to negotiate (which is the point of a bike like this) you’ll be using the gearbox a fair bit more than you might have expected.

Other than that, Ash lauds the smoothness of the engine, the low weight (relative to the various accouterments, the handling, and, happily, the banshee scream of the inline-6 when you push it into the higher rev ranges.  One surprise to me, having ridden the K and R series bikes, is that he’s not all that impressed with the performance of the suspension when set to the harder “Sport” mode.

In Sport the ride gets harsh and choppy and the lack of compliance means you’re not only more comfortable staying in Normal even when going for it, the bike feels happier too. I’d even go for the plushness of the Comfort setting in preference to Sport when riding fast, as stability doesn’t suffer too much and aside from some floatiness over undulating bumps, the wheel control remains good.

Maybe the K1600-series is different, but on the R and earlier K bikes, I prefer the Sport mode for hard riding.  Maybe this is one of those subjective assessments that can only be confirmed–or denied–through personal testing…which I intend to accomplish, and relate to you, as soon as these bikes make it to Southern California, and are available for testing.

At any rate, Ash’s ride review make for interesting reading, and make me lick my chops for a chance to unleash that I-6, myself.

BMW: They don’t exist yet, but you can buy them

2011 BMW K1600GT
2011 BMW K1600GT

Since BMW announced the new straight-6 K1600GT and K1600GTL models, they’ve become one of the most hotly-anticipated motorcycles of 2011.  So much so, that BMW has announced that they will take pre-sale orders for them, starting today.  All you have to do is go to the BMW web site and fill out this pre-sale form. Just so we’re clear, you’re entering the pre-sales program for a motorcycle that isn’t actually in production yet. They also have another form to fill out if you just want to receive updates about the bikes from BMW.

It takes quite a lot of confidence to start taking pre-sale orders for a bike you haven’t actually built yet, but it seems that BMW’s confidence is warranted. BMW Motorrad USA announced their 2010 sales results today.  Somehow, in a year of economic recession, plunging motorcycle sales, and despite making about the highest-priced motorcycles one can buy, BMW did…good.

BMW Motorrad reported a 12.3% increase in motorcycle sales in 2010.

The German manufacturer shipped 98,047 units in 2010 compared to 87,306 motorcycles in 2009. BMW reported growth in almost every market including a 4% increase in the U.S. despite a double-digit downturn for the industry.

Leading the sales charge for BMW was the S1000RR, their new–and conventional–literbike, which sold 10209 units to become BMW’s highest-selling model.

The new 2011 6-cylinder BMWs

BMW has unveiled their new 6-cylinder touring motorcycles at INTERMOT, and also came up with a dedicated micro-site.  The site is chock full of details on the new bikes, as well as the first official photographs, shown in the thumbnails below.

The BMW K1600GT will replace the current K1300GT, while the K1600GTL will replace the current K1200LT.  The new model seems like a huge step up for both bikes.  Interestingly, the GT model now integrates a stereo system, something which was only available on the R1200RT and K1200LT, but was not available for the GT model at all.

The rather irritating flash site presents lots of information about the bikes, in frustratingly tiny pieces.  Among the available information is the following:

Engine output 160 HP  at approx. 7500 rpm and a maximum torque of approx 129 ft-lbs at approx. 5000 rpm. Over 70% of maximum torque available from 1500 rpm.

Three drive modes to choose from (“Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic”).

Traction control DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) for maximum safety when accelerating (optional extra).

Electronic Suspension Adjustment ESA II for optimum adaptation to all uses and load states (optional extra).

World premiere for a motorcycle: Adaptive Headlight (optional extra) in conjunction with standard xenon headlamp and lighting rings for increased safety at night.

Integrated operating concept for the first time with Multi-Controller, TFT color screen and menu guidance.

The instrument panel based on digital technology comprises a speedometer and tachometer as well as an information display which takes the form of a powerfully lit 5.7-inch colour monitor. This display enables user-friendly presentation of text and graphics over several lines.The information unit is operated using the Multi-Controller. As a component of the integrated operating concept it is placed ergonomically favourably on the left handlebar grip. Unlike individual operating keys, this set-up means that the rider does not have to take his eyes off the road.

Audio system with preparation for navigation device and controllable interface for iPod, MP3, USB, Bluetooth and satellite radio (only USA and Canada) (standard in the K 1600 GTL). BMW Motorrad Navigator IV available as a special accessory is also integrated in the vehicle electrical system directly ex works. This means that the most important functions such as zoom or voice command repetition can be operated conveniently from the handlebars using the Multi-Controller.

Innovative design with outstanding wind and weather protection.

K 1600 GTL with very comfortable, relaxed ergonomics set-up for long trips with pillion passenger as well as luxury touring features.

With a total width of just 22″, the engine is only slightly wider than a current large-volume 4-cylinder in-line engine. In order to keep the width as low as possible, the electrical ancillary units and their drive units were moved behind the crankshaft into the free space above the gearbox. The ideal concentration of masses at the center of the vehicle makes for an optimum center of gravity and outstanding handling. The engine of the K 1600 models is about 3.9″ narrower than all 6-cylinder in-line engines previously used in serial motorcycle production. This makes the engine not only the most compact but also the lightest 6-cylinder in-line engine for a serial production motorcycle, weighing just 226 lbs.

When the rider activates the free-moving clutch lever, torque is transmitted from the crankshaft to a self-energising 10-disc wet clutch with anti-hopping function via a straight-toothed primary drive – so as to ensure that the high level of force is delivered gently.

Obviously, there’s much more there, but you get the idea.  If you’re like me, your only question now is, “When can I ride it?”

2011 BMW K1600GTL first look

The first–grainy, low-res images of the 2011 BMW K1600GTL have been leaked.

2011 BMW K1600GTL
2011 BMW K1600GTL
2011 BMW K1600GTL - Front View
2011 BMW K1600GTL - Front View

Being the flagship BMW tourers, it will have all sorts of goodies on it.  Over and above the I-6 engine with 160HP and 129 ft-lbs of torque.  One thing it will have is adaptive headlights that sense when the bike is leaning into a turn, and pints the headlights into the turn. Another fancy bit is the motorcycle version of the iDrive system in BMW cars: a full-color screen that incorporates the integrated GPS, audio display, and probably the setup screen, showing what you’ve set the suspension settings to, tire pressure, etc.

No real specs on the bike as to dimensions and whatnot are available yet.

But really, what I’m waiting to see are the specs for is the sister GT model, which is replacing the K1300GT.  It should be a lot lighter than the GTL, and a lot faster than the current GT.

129 ft-lbs of torque.  I bet it’ll have arm-wrenching acceleration. I can’t wait to test ride it.

UPDATE: More info and official pics can be found at this entry that offers a rundown from the official unveiling at INTERMOT.

WANT!

BMW has announced two new motorcycles built on a brand new Inline-6 powerplant.  The K1600GT will presumably replace the K1300GT, while the K1600GTL will replace the K1200LT.

The powerplant is definitely the atttraction on these bikes. Weighing in at only 226 lbs, the motor puts out 160HP at 7,500 RPM and…wait for it…129 lb/ft of torque at 5,000 RPM.  BMW also indicates that over 70% of maximum torque will be available from 1,500 rpm.  So, right from a standing start, we’re talking 90 lb/ft of torque. That’s arm-wrenching acceleration worthy of a literbike.  Indeed, compare and contrast to the 193 HP S1000RR, whose maximum torque is 83 lb/ft at 9,750 RPM.

Alas, there are no pictures of the bikes from BMW yet, except for a couple of crappy concept drawings that I’m uninterested in showing, as they are probably more misleading than accurate.

But from the specs, it looks like a monster power-tourer, with about 5 more horsepower hitting the ground at the rear wheel, and 27 lb/ft more torque than the current power king of sport-tourers, the Kawasaki Concours14.

The only remaining question will be how much it’ll set back your wallet to acquire the Beemer.