BMW hasn’t slated a ton of changes for the 2017 K1600GT, but then it didn’t need to. The K16’s inline Six engine delivers power, sound, and smoothness that other touring bikes can only dream of. In 2015, the GT and the GTL gained traction control for the claimed 160 hp and 129 lb-ft cranked out by the six cylinders. For 2017, the engine stays functionally the same as last year with the exception of meeting Euro 4 emission requirements. If that were the only change for the GT, it’d still be on the short list of bikes we’d want to take on a cross-country tour. Fortunately, BMW added a few changes that make the GT even more desirable.

2012 BMW K1600GT Review

The big news for the 2017 K1600GT is the addition of Dynamic ESA with its automatic suspension adaptation to road conditions is now a standard feature. When combined with the big six’s ride modes, BMW claims the K1600GT will provide “the very highest level of comfort and traction over virtually all surfaces.” That’s a mouthful – especially when one considers how well-sorted previous versions of the GT were. Down in the nitty-gritty of travel, the suspension allows the rider to adjust the suspension’s damping character on the road. Additionally, the electronic preload can be adjusted independently of the damping.

Maneuvers in parking lots will be much easier thanks to the new reverse assist. Pressing a button on the left handlebar and the starter simultaneously starts the bike moving backwards, giving easing the rider’s effort in backing up. Those short in the inseam should love this feature.

The adjustable slipstream deflectors fine-tune the airflow to the rider's preferences.

The adjustable slipstream deflectors fine-tune the airflow to the rider’s preferences.

Finally, the weather protection offered to both the rider and passenger has been optimized. Redesigned portions of the side trim combine with larger slipstream deflectors keep the elements away from the cockpit for more comfortable riding.

Since BMW always has a raft of upgrades available for their bikes, the popular Shift Assistant Pro is an option for those who don’t want to use the clutch for up- and down-shifts. For quick response in an emergency, an optional Intelligent Emergency Call system can be activated either manually or automatically, sending the bike’s GPS coordinated to a BMW Call Center to be routed to first responders.

The BMW K1600GT will have three color selections: Mars Red metallic, Blackstorm metallic and Lupine Blue metallic / Blackstorm metallic.

Follow the rest of our 2016 Intermot Show coverage for more information on new motorcycle announcements.

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  • Auphliam

    Surprisingly, of all the news coming out of Intermot this year, this is the bike that’s caught my attention…and all they did was add dynamic suspension. You gotta admit though, the prospect of devouring highway, several hundred miles at a time, with that inline-6 rocket ship does sound intriguing…and the red one, in that outdoor shot, is stunning. Maybe I’m getting old LOL

    • spiff

      We are all getting old, stop reminding me.

      • Old MOron

        Don’t worry, Spiff. As long as we don’t blow out our birthday candles and climb onto a cruiser, we’ll be alright.

  • Jim L

    This is the 6th model year for this bike, so I have to wonder when BMW will do more than incremental updates. I’ve seen dyno results for the K16GT where it made at the rear wheel what it makes at the engine. There must be a lot left on the table with this bike/engine.

  • Gee S

    As someone who’s clinging on to a perfectly fine-running K1200LT, the first couple of passes of this bike struck me as both an aesthetic and functional step backwards — it’s great that it had more power, but the weather protection and adjustability mean a lot if you’re going to bang out 600-800 mile days, or more.

    The adjustments BMW has made, though, indicate they got that message — “weather protection…optimized” . The fact that they picked up the electric reverse from the LT too indicates they understood there were a lot of LT customers standing on the sidelines. It’s not a feature I use a lot, but with full bags, topcase and a passenger on a bike this big it’s nice to know its there.

    As the guy that coined the phrase ‘the Dark Side’ when referring to BMWs K-bikes, I keep finding myself looking at the picture of the black one and having a bunch of nearly uncontrollable urges. I just glad they didn’t decide to put the black engine into that one, because then those urges would be worse.

    I better stay away from the dealership until my son graduates from College. 😉

    • Jim Lagnese

      In 2010, I found myself shopping for a new bike. I had just sold my 2007 1600 Nomad and wanted something better, more complete. I had always liked BMWs or the idea of them as my chiropractor from childhood and later owned a few and used to regale me with his adventures and discussions on quality. So, I though I wanted a K1200LT, but it was late 2010 and none were to be found new as it was end of life for that model. I tried the HD Ultra, the Vision and the Voyager to make sure I wasn’t going to miss the cruiser class of tourers and when I went to the BMW dealer where I lived at the time, they had a 2009 leftover RT. Unlike the HD and Kawasaki dealers, they tossed me the keys and said have fun. I had to put gas int he RT to get back to the dealer. The same dealer sold Victory and he really wanted to sell me the Vision, but I wanted the RT. I made an offer of 19K OTD with the 49L topcase and they accepted and the rest is history. The RT is like riding a bike again as it’s much lighter than my Nomad was, handled better, stopped better, goes better, does everything better, so I don’t know what I missed with the LT, if anything. I’ve sat on a K1600GT and it feels similar to my RT, just heavier. The new RT looks amazing, but with either I don’t want to test ride them as I like not having payments and the new bikes cost quite a bit more. The other thing is that BMW can be schizophrenic when it comes to support and they have common problems with things that aren’t high tech, which boggles the mind. It’s not the gizmos that die, it’s water pumps and switch gear. You’d think they’d have that figured out…At least you have only one son to put through college. I have 5 kids with 2 in the k-12 range. The others are of college age. I wonder when I do get them all out, will I still be riding? :) May be I’ll just keep the RT forever and when I get something else, I’ll have two bikes.

      • Gee S

        Actually, the kid at college is the third of three — it’s why my ‘most modern’ bike is a year 2000 model. (34 months to go….34 months to go….34…..)

        What you missed with the LT is glass smoothness at 85 mph indicated and a top end power delivery that seems a little insane for a touring bike. I have two older boxers as well — an R75/5 and an R90S — so I appreciate them both and the difference. With a set of Ohlins shocks on it, the LT will do things on backroads that my riding buddies have grown to respect — the rigidity of the aluminum beam frame structure is impressive.

        BMW, as a company, is like a woman — irresistible charms inexorably linked with maddening flaws. Ask anyone who has a Flying Brick-based K1200 — either RS or LT 1998-2010 — what it’s like to change the crankcase breather. The shop manual says to do it you need to remove the rear end, transmission and the engine. (That is not how most people do it) A model of serviceability it ain’t.

        But when its running well, you just don’t care.

        If your 2009 RT is one of the DOHC models, I would hold onto that one — it may have been the best one they’ve ever made.

        • Jim Lagnese

          Mine is the last year of the Hexheads. I could have gotten a 2010 which is the camhead, but it was a bit more and I think year 5 of a model is better than year 1. The only problems I’ve had were a front ABS cable worn through by the rotor because it was assembled incorrectly, a couple fuel strips and the pulleys broke on the throttle bodies as they are plastic. The last one make me want to drive the bike to BMW NA hQ and tell them to shove it. The Camhead valves seem to settle in better and they don’t have a fuel strip, but the switch gear is problematic and cheaper looking. One thing I will say is that BMW could do better with color selection. It’s like 50 shades of gray or silver. Anyway, the RT isn’t a slouch. It has 110 hp and does ok. The new one has 125hp, which is better. Whatever I get next time I’d want something with lower maintenance and better two up.