2011 BMW K1600 GT Ride review - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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2011 BMW K1600 GT Ride review

Wow. New bench mark for sport tourers.
http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/fi...0gt/index.html

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 02:39 PM
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I'm not in the market for a bike like that myself, but I love the tech. One interesting downside though: the power-to-weight ratio is actually lower than the previous gen K1300GT.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 03:25 PM
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I must admit this bike (the GT version) is growing on me. I'd like it more if it wasn't so laden with electronic stuff. BMW insists that motorcyclists expect all that? Sorry, I don't buy that. I sure hope the riders watch where they're going instead the video game laid out in front of them.

It's a bit misleading to quote a base price of $20,300. Base BMWs are largely unobtanium (go find a base RT...go on, try). My nearest BMW dealer told me the bikes coming to America for 2011 will be mostly GT-L's with a small number of GT's and all will be loaded to the max: $27,400 and up. So much for $20,300.

BMW reliability still makes me wonder and the maintenance costs are epic. My friend who has a K1300GT says BMW stands for Bring More Wallet.

Still, the various reviewers I've been reading all seem to agree that these BMWs are the new sport touring standard. Wonder if Honda has anything up its ST1300 replacement sleeve?


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 03:48 PM
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Just another Winnebago with built in lazy boy recliner as far as I am concerned. That’s not a bike, it’s a barge.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 03:48 PM
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My previous ride was an 03 bmw 1150rt, overall it was a good bike with no major mechanical issues, but it had a few quirks i just couldnt accept and sold it to buy the versys and have never regretted the decision, hell i put money in my pocket after the sale and purhcase of the V! and think i got a better bike to boot!... I find it a bit rediculous that big cc displacemt bikes are really needed... i've owned a 1500 goldwing, the the BMW...the V is the smallest in engine size yet i feel it does the job very well even with a passenger and luggage.... the bigger the engine usually means a heavier bike..... i agree the BMW's are loaded with gadgetts same as the Wing, i like the simplistic approach of the V......if you've ever tried to squeeze the brake on a Beemer when the abs isnt working its like trying to stop a car with your feet!!
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 07:21 AM
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I will disagree with the statement of BMW reliablity. I found them as the most reliable motorcycles I have ever owned and I have owned motorcycles for 43 years. As for maintenace I found them pretty simple to do valve adjustments are relativley simple on the R's. The final drive failures are way overblown. How many R1200 have you seen not heard going bad? As for the when the ABS isnt working trying to stop. I have switched my ABS of when riding gravel with no issues in stopping. I like my sons Versys but the brakes are lot weaker than the BMW no comparison.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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This motorcycle has a purpose, moving 2 passengers long distances in comfort and doing it quickly. Whether that would be fun depends on you point of view and your passenger!

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 09:00 AM
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The final drive failures are way overblown. How many R1200 have you seen not heard going bad?
Two friends had final drives die and leave them stranded, one GS and one LT. I agree that on internet forums the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and BMW seems to have addressed the final drive problem as the newer bikes have not shown that problem. BMW was first again among major manufacturers in 2010 with the number of recalls, for whatever that is worth. Sometimes I think they are more eager to get new products to market than to get them right.

BMW reliability is something I think about because Honda hasn't updated the ST1300 since I bought mine new in 2002. I think it was the cream of the sport touring crop in 2002, the V4 is smooth as they come, and it has been Honda reliable. There's nothing wrong with it and I still love it, but at some point I'd like something new and nothing I've ridden (including a K1300GT and an R1200RT) does it for me. Yes the GT has more power, but I've never liked the rev-happy nature of inline 4's and the boxer motor just doesn't speak to me.

For each rider, reliability is a zero sum game: you have problems or you don't. I'll add you to my list of BMW riders in the "don't" column, which has grown larger in the past couple years.


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Last edited by Bones; 03-15-2011 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Had to take a phone call before I finished my thought...
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 09:43 AM
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I have over 35 people I keep in contact with ZERO final drive issues. One rider has over 125K mile ZERO problems. Maybe these bike were abused.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 09:52 AM
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I have over 35 people I keep in contact with ZERO final drive issues. One rider has over 125K mile ZERO problems. Maybe these bike were abused.
I don't think riding a bike qualifies as abuse. To say the final drive problem was overblown is not to say it was non-existent. I'm glad your experience and that of your buddies has been better than some others.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 09:54 AM
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Just another Winnebago with built in lazy boy recliner as far as I am concerned. Thatís not a bike, itís a barge.
Amen to that. Just a two-wheeled car........a Buick.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 11:25 AM
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Ya. They forgot to mention the optional space age carbon fiber bubble which includes heating, air conditioning and electronic noise cancelling speakers to absolutely eliminate any sensation of riding a m/c.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 11:47 AM
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hehe
And here I thought that I would really start getting a lot of flack, instead it seems more agree instead of dis-agree.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 11:57 AM
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Off topic but entertaining:

http://w6rec.com/duane/bmw/boo.htm
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 12:15 PM
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Off topic but entertaining:

http://w6rec.com/duane/bmw/boo.htm
That was good for a chuckle as well as to remind us (me included) that we're all on two wheels and that's good. Ride what you've got.


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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-15-2011, 09:16 PM
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 10:06 PM
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I'm coming late to the game to this post, but as I currently ride a Versys and had the opportunity this past weekend to test both the K 1600 GT and the GTL I thought I'd chime in:


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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post


BMW K 1600 GT impressions:

Wide bike to straddle. Fantastic multifunction display to adjust suspension, grip heat, etc. Given this interface it's odd that throttle mapping is on its own button. Weight is manageable at a standstill.

Once moving, the front end feels long and the steering heavy at parking lot speeds. This heaviness disappears quickly once over 15 mph or so.

The engine is fantastic, smooth at all rpms, doesn't run out of breath. This is a quick bike! All isn't perfect, though, as the standard Road electronic throttle mapping is a touch tame and the Dynamic map a touch too aggressive. Give me something in the middle.

I thought comfort and ride motion control were fine with the Normal Electronic suspension adjustment setting, and Sport and Comfort weren't different enough to warrant me messing around with it too much. The wide straddle feeling from a wide engine and wide seat paid off with great comfort. I had plenty of room to move around and my butt stayed happy throughout the 45 minute ride.

My next bike will have an electric windscreen. Well, if it has one... Anyway, the screen adjustment was over a very wide range, and the left thumb control was convenient. It never got quiet, per se, but having the screen up on the parkway helped immensely over having it all the way down.

My conclusion on the K 1600 GT is that the engine is great although the throttle mapping a bit off, the low speed handling not ideal but not an issue at speed, comfort and ergos very good, and the new MSRP too high even if I were in the market this very day.

Next up is a spin on the K 1600 GTL 45 minutes from now.

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BMW K 1600 GTL impressions:

Given that I had a mostly positive impression of the GT, one would think that I'd like the GTL similarly, finding it a more comfortable/soft version of the same platform.

Wrong.

I didn't like the GTL. Here's why:

Wind management was outright poor on the GTL, worse than on the GT. With the GT I could find a windscreen position below my line of sight that nevertheless kicked the wind above my faceshield. The GT also had little buffeting even though it did have a bit of wind noise. The GTL, on the other hand, didn't offer me quiet air at all until I raised the screen well above my line of sight, and so I had to look through vision-distorting plastic the whole ride. Even with the screen up like this there was lots of wind sneaking around the edge of the screen, causing gusts of air to ricochet off my chest, and my hands were not really protected from the elements, possibly because the GTL doesn't have mirrors integrated into the fairings.

Oh, and I was uncomfortable while all this was going on, too. The deep cutout on the GTL's seat means there's basically only a single place upon which one can sit on it, and that single place is too close to the controls. I felt cramped and could go nowhere, in stark contrast to the roomy GT, with lots of movement possible.

The drivetrain on the GTL was a bit worse, even: It didn't feel as quick with the extra 60 lbs or so and greater frontal area, there was more driveline lash, possibly also due to the extra weight, and the exhaust note was less pleasing.

To its credit, the parking-lot-speed handling of the GTL was better than that of the GT, and it shared the same fine multifunction display setup. Also to its credit, my butt was not displeased to sit in the single position possible on the saddle for the 45 minutes of the ride. Finally, it's still a very fast bike, whirring its way up to 90+ mph without breaking a sweat.

In conclusion, I did not like the K 1600 GTL, no sir. There's no way I'd buy one. The wind management and ergonomics issues that I experienced totally killed its prospects for me.
As for how I thought these two beasts compare to my Versys:

- The Versys definitely is easier to handle at low speeds due to weighing a solid 250 lbs less. That said, I didn't have any problems with the GT or the GTL in the parking lot and making slow right turns, etc.
- The engine on the K bikes just kills that in the Versys in smoothness, torque, and power. Beautiful engine, that 6 banger. While I feel the Versys is a little hyper-eager in its throttle response (and off-throttle engine braking) the 6 cylinder felt lazier but more relaxed, on the other hand.
- Wind management for me-of-long-torso was much, much better on the GT than on my Versys with its Givi screen in the high position. Quieter, less buffeting, and adjustable on the fly!
- The flat seat of the GT was also more comfortable than the angled-forward cockpit of the Versys. As you can read above, I didn't fit well on the GTL and wasn't happy with its ergonomics.

Overall I was impressed. Impressed enough to pony up $25k for a new one? No. Come 2013, though, I'll sure be looking hard for used a K 1600 GT to replace my Versys!


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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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I'm coming late to the game to this post, but as I currently ride a Versys and had the opportunity this past weekend to test both the K 1600 GT and the GTL I thought I'd chime in:







As for how I thought these two beasts compare to my Versys:

- The Versys definitely is easier to handle at low speeds due to weighing a solid 250 lbs less. That said, I didn't have any problems with the GT or the GTL in the parking lot and making slow right turns, etc.
- The engine on the K bikes just kills that in the Versys in smoothness, torque, and power. Beautiful engine, that 6 banger. While I feel the Versys is a little hyper-eager in its throttle response (and off-throttle engine braking) the 6 cylinder felt lazier but more relaxed, on the other hand.
- Wind management for me-of-long-torso was much, much better on the GT than on my Versys with its Givi screen in the high position. Quieter, less buffeting, and adjustable on the fly!
- The flat seat of the GT was also more comfortable than the angled-forward cockpit of the Versys. As you can read above, I didn't fit well on the GTL and wasn't happy with its ergonomics.

Overall I was impressed. Impressed enough to pony up $25k for a new one? No. Come 2013, though, I'll sure be looking hard for used a K 1600 GT to replace my Versys!
You guys know I am a joker so don't take offense, BUT, this is the creme de la creme of apples to oranges comparison. A 1600cc six compared to the V, in what way do these two fine motorcycles compare? My take on the BMW, is if I am going to go heavy touring bike someday, make mine a Goldwing, it is the standard for that gendre, pardon my mispelling. Bottom line, why sell your V if you do get the Beemer, they are totally different beasts. I never intended for this thread to be a comparison to the V.

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Last edited by Element; 02-14-2012 at 11:12 PM.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Just another Winnebago with built in lazy boy recliner as far as I am concerned. Thatís not a bike, itís a barge.
Xactly, Pegasus

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 10:44 AM
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I want the comparo between the 1600GTL and the Mini-S. That might be close.
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