2018 BMW K1600B

Editor Score: 93.0%
Engine 19.5/20
Suspension/Handling 14.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.5/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 9.5/10
Overall Score93/100

What’s a “bagger” anyway? I may not have been aware of the term as it applies to motorcycles until I saw a copy of Baggers on the newsstand, back when we had those (newsstands). They really were the rage there for a while and maybe still are. I mean, what’s better for the average Joe America Motorcyclist than a hot-rod Harley with integrated hard bags to transport your stuff in? A bike with a windshield you can go places on but still be cool, man. Especially if you can crank up a little Molly Hatchet en route. Hot mamas in bikinis will be lining up to pose on your bike for photography.

Baggers were really for people at the the opposite socioeconomic end of the BMW crowd, but any niche that can support its own publications cannot be ignored. Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide isn’t just a bagger, it’s also possibly the biggest selling big bike in America. Hence the K1600B. BMW never uses the word “bagger,” but I think one look is all we need to know what the B stands for here. Roland Sands helped build the Concept 101 a couple years ago to float the idea. Now, we ride the finished product.

The rear end is about 2.8 inches lower than the other Ks, but we only lost 10mm wheel travel, front and rear, compared to the GT and GTL. The new bags hold 37 liters each.

The 101 in Concept 101 is how many cubic inches there are in 1649 cubic centimeters, and it’s that amazing, bodice-ripping inline-Six that makes this Bagger so unique. Not only does an inline-Six offer perfect primary and secondary balance, for ethereal smoothness, that smoothness allows the Six in the BMW to also be remarkably small. BMW says the whole unit, including clutch, gearbox, and alternator, weighs 226 pounds. And very narrow cylinder spacing has the whole thing just 21.9 in. wide, making it the lightest, slimmest Six (of over 1000cc) ever produced for a motorcycle.

You can feel it. With its 7-gallon tank filled up, BMW says the B weighs 741 pounds (5 more than the K1600 GT). In 2014, our official MO scales had the GT at 732 pounds. The B’s closest competitor might be the Boxer-Six-powered Honda F6B, which Honda specs say weighs 844 pounds. Meanwhile, the H-D Street Glide and Indian Chieftain Dark Horse that tied for first in last year’s Baggers Brawl, weigh in at 830 and 831 lbs.

Muffler volume doesn’t appear to be a limiting factor for the Six-zylinder.

For a thing this big, then, the Beemer Bagger is terribly light, which you can feel every time you lift it off the sidestand. And though our dyno tells us BMW’s 160-horsepower claim is a bit exaggerated, the 123.4 hp our last K1600 GT spat out to its rear wheel is more than enough to greatly overpower its Bagger competition. Its 108 pound-feet of torque also stymies those big Twins, even if the BMW’s six-cylinder has to spin to 5000 rpm to achieve it. The engine in the B is supposedly identical to the ones in the K1600 GT and GTL. So even if the Bagger design brief for most manufacturers is relaxed cruising, this bagger can do that, but it can also propel you from corner to corner on tight, twisty backroads, or fast flowing ones, in a way that will leave most baggers sucking its clean, Euro4 emissions as it disappears over the horizon.

Those forward floorboards are optional. I used them now and then on the highway, the regular footpegs most of the time, and the passenger ones too. Funny how an inline-Six has more cornering clearance than any other bagger I’ve ridden.

Electronic Suspension Adjustment, standard on the B, has a Cruise and a Road setting. In Cruise, you’re riding on top of your own dark cloud, soft and pillowy. A touch of the button gives you Road, and immediately girds the ESA for whatever combination of speed and conditions you throw at it. Adjust your Dynamic Traction Control to Rain, Road or Dynamic, and that lean-sensitive system works with the lean-sensitive ABS brakes to ensure nothing could possibly go wrong as you carve up the Great Smoky Mountains in a way you wouldn’t usually associate with “bagger.” Shorter of wheelbase and trail than the H-D and Indian Chieftain, it’s got plenty of cornering clearance, very strong brakes, and an exhaust wail from its big duals that’s more than a little addictive.

Below 4500 rpm or so, she’s a bagger. At about 5000 rpm she becomes a large sportbike, and up around 7000 rpm, you’re riding a snarling vintage race car missing a couple of wheels. The harder you ride, the firmer the ESA adjusts itself, in milliseconds, keeping both ends of the bike perfectly composed. The only thing keeping you from taking pole is an automatic shifter that requires too much pressure to downshift, but that’s optional equipment anyway; I’m happy to give a big blip of the throttle and downshift in the time-honored way. The quickshifter does fire off nice full-throttle upshifts, a nice function all other baggers have probably never even considered.

For just toddling along, the B’s not bad either. Basically, BMW reengineered the subframe to lower the whole rear of the bike about 2.8 inches, and down with it came the seat, to 30.7 inches – low enough for my 30-inch legs to have an easy time flat-footing the bike, high enough that my legs never felt cramped. (There’s a low seat option too.) There’s a new steel handlebar clamped in the triples in just about the right spot, though with a slightly imperfect bend at the grips for my paws. If you don’t like it, the cast bars on the GT and GTL are offered as a no-cost option. At least one guy on our ride complained about the seat being too firm. I thought it was fine, and we put in about 180 miles on the bike on Day One, not quite that much on Day Two. Suspension set to Cruise is like injecting Novocaine into your cheeks. In Road mode, you feel all the bumps, but only the nastiest ones register.

Part of the rear fender pivots up so you can change the rear tire without removing the bags.

Electric-adjustable windscreen? But of course. I raised mine about ¾ of the way up the first morning and barely moved it again except to lower it all the way in the really sporty sections. At ¾, I could see over it, but it diverted enough wind over my head that things were pretty quiet inside my full-face Schuberth even with no earplugs. With them in, you could almost be in a car. Sound system, check. Not as powerful as the one in the Indian, but not bad. And as a BMW guy you’d use the Bluetooth connectivity to your helmet speakers anyway, and not waste your Rachmaninoff on the hoi polloi.

Your GPS display goes in where the plastic 6 is, for a few dollars more. A nice 80-mph cruise has the tachometer indicating a smoooooth 3500 rpm.

We were in North Carolina riding these on the day of the solar eclipse, August 21, under the “zone of totality” in the Great Smoky Mountains. Verily, I have never seen so much adipose tissue in a national park. We got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-40 after the eclipse had eclipsed, a thing that gave us a chance to sample the bike’s heat management. Really good, I would say. My lower body barely got hotter than my upper one crawling along with temps in the 90s. In fact the only time I felt heat coming off the bike, on my right foot, was when I was flogging it, vintage race car style in the mountains, with revs between 5 and 7000 a lot.

It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see…

Lane splitting is verboten in North Carolina, but we wound up doing a fair bit of it anyway – an interesting social experiment. More than a few people were angry and expressed themselves, but only a handful were really incensed about it. Most cars just ignored us, quite a few moved over a bit and gave us room. Even the angry were usually angry in a pleasant way down there in the Bible belt. One guy really wanted to drop the F-Bomb on me out his Camry window, but the best his upbringing would allow him was, “THAT’S ILLEGAL, FRICK!!”

Before we started being outlaws, though, what I found out was I could just leave the bike in first gear and it would crawl along at idle speed and 8 mph, completely jerk-free, also in second gear at about 13 mph on level ground. Kind of a traffic-jam cruise control. Anyway, a quiet, smooth Beemer felt like an easier place to be stuck in traffic on a hot day than an open-piped Harley, a few of whose riders were more indignant than the car people as we split lanes past them while the kudzu crept closer to their feet…

Downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

It’s culture shock, man. BMW’s not really out to convert the H-D faithful as much as it’s out to possibly woo a few aging sportbikers. This bagger works well enough, I could actually see it.

When they are able to cut a Harley rider from the herd to go for a test ride, though, BMW’s people say that person comes back bowled over by the bike’s power, smoothness and refinement. Other potential customers, they think, will be attracted by the attractive design and price, but they’ll buy based on outstanding performance, handling, comfort, and a superior level of standard equipment, technology and rider friendliness. I haven’t got a good argument against any of it. The B has all that.

Yes, there’s Reverse (but it’s optional). A worm drive off the starter motor backs you out of tough spots when you push the R button on the handlebar.

Big V-Twin riders will play the character card next, but they’d be in for a rude surprise if they were to take this light, fast, nimble, supersmooth thing for a serious ride. If that six-cylinder warbling at 7000 rpm isn’t character, then I don’t want any. Maybe it’s too subdued and quiet for bar-hopping use, but it’s the bagger you’d want if your bars are a few hundred miles apart.

Standard equipment includes a self-leveling xenon headlight (the Adaptive one is optional), ABS Pro, dynamic brake light, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, heated grips and seat, multi-controller, three ride modes, cruise control…

BMW’s USA VP Mike Peyton says even though BMW’s never done a bagger (I think he did use the b-word), they’re investing heavily in the segment. Which only seems smart, since “American-style bikes” are what most Americans buy. If nothing else, Peyton thinks the B will bring lots of curious riders who’ve maybe never been in a BMW dealer before into one. Again, aging sportbikers are another target. Finally, serious BMW owners have more than one BMW. A K1600B would be a fine complement to the R1200GS out there in the carriage house, and the M3 saloon.

Define “aging” please? Come to think of it, I am right on the cusp of being an aging sportbiker, but I’ve never really considered owning anything as big as a full-on touring bike, or even a bagger. Too big, too unwieldy. Too uncool, really. Too old guy. Some baggers come close to ticking my boxes, but none of them can touch the performance level of this BMW, in large part due to its lightness and therefore ease of use. You can ride it in the curves like a maniac, ride it for days on end, ride it to the grocery store for supplies, all good. And look pretty damn swell doing all of it, without the appearance of crying out desperately for attention. I think I’m a big fan. I think BMW just knocked another one out of the park.

Everybody loves Gina, who not only looks fabulous but rides like the wind. Mama mia!

2018 BMW K1600B
+ Highs

  • Perfect primary and secondary balance = smooth
  • 741 pounds is way light for a bagger
  • Goes, stops and turns more big sportbike than bagger
– Sighs

  • A little driveline lash on trailing throttle
  • Auto downshifter needs too much pressure (upshifts are great)
  • 160 horsepower claim isn’t close to what the Dynojet says, but it’s plenty fast anyway

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  • Old MOron

    Ha, you sound like you’re trying not to like the bike – and failing.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      He doesn’t want a bagger. Its not for him. Too big, too heavy (compared to a sportbike). But for somebody who wants a bagger, it could be a nice bike (unless he wants a Harley).

    • john burns

      it could replace the NC700X of my dreams, a bit bigger and way faster..

      • Old MOron

        The only thing is: I could never pay $20K for a bike. I won’t even spend that much for a cage. I guess I’m the hoi polloi who doesn’t get to hear Rachmaninoff.

  • kenneth_moore

    The Bagger demographic will never take this bike seriously until someone offers a 30″ front wheel conversion kit for it. Oh yeah, and a suspension that lets it drop the frame to less than an inch off the ground.

    Will a Busch suitcase fit in the saddlebag?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      And a engine that you can see, hear and feel.

      • Born to Ride

        See and feel maybe, but this straight 6 sounds great! One of the few non-twin engines that produces a soulful note, but not until you have the throttle wide open.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I have nothing against the K1600B but a Harley stirs the soul.

          • Buzz

            You clearly have never ridden a K1600.

            There is a whole bunch of soul stirring going on.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Too big and heavy for me. I don’t like baggers anyway. Can’t lane split safely with them. I have never seen people getting out of the way of a K1600 as they do my Harley.

          • Buzz

            A K1600 would be so far in front of you, you wouldn’t be able to see it at all.

            I don’t know how a 750 lb BMW is too big and heavy and a 750 lb Softail isn’t.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            My Softail Custom is only 700 lbs. The K1600B is huge compared to my bike. I don’t have that huge fairing, huge windshield and huge saddlebags. My bike’s weight is mostly due to the steel frame, engine and wheels, made to last forever. Nothing made of plastic.

          • Dirk Lehew

            Never understood Harley’s(and their owners) obsession with steel everywhere. Steel on a non-stressed component is simply added weight, reducing performance and mileage. Oh yeah, it’s also more expensive and unlike the common misconception, plastic is FAR longer lasting. Takes about 10,000 yrs for a plastic fender to degrade to it’s base elements. Steel can rust away and corrode in decades if not less.
            Maybe since Harley’s are stressed everywhere with all that shaking and vibrating, perhaps they need steel. My custom Honda Fury only has metal where it needs it, and the plastic covers and fenders don’t detract from what I’m told is a beautiful bike.

            If Harley built an airplane, would you fly in it?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Tell me something on my bike that is steel that shouldn’t be: The fenders are steel for strength and long life and nice paint and don’t add much weight. The gas tank is steel for the same reasons. That leaves the frame, engine and handlebars. Are those made of plastic on your bike?

          • Stuki Moi

            At hack-though-urban-gridlock speeds, unless this one is completely different than the other K16s, it’s more tippy than a Gold Wing with a shipping container strapped to the passenger seat. Looking at their engine and component layout, the K16s probably do have fairly low COGs. But between the duolever, draggy steering bearings (aka dampers) and whatever else, they never really feel that way.

            Harleys, at least the ones with somewhat normal control layouts and fork rakes, are amazingly well behaved at crawl speeds. They’re heavy, but somehow manage to keep their tires under their COG instinctively, instead of constantly wanting to tip over.

            Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if one of the reasons so many Harleys have control control locations almost diametrically opposed from where they should be to aid humans in controlling a motorcycle, is because they can get away with it. Stick huge apes and front fender mounted foot controls on a K16, and even professional stunt riders would likely be falling off them trying to get out of their own garage.

    • Douglas

      And don’t forget the requisite 14″ (or more) apes and total fwd controls/pegs…..

    • How will they make it loud and slow?

  • JMDGT

    What on earth is a hot-rod Harley?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      All Harleys are hot rods. Who wins all the NHRA championships?

  • Paragon Lost

    One of my few complaints about the bike is that lack of color options. Black being the only color. I’m extremely tired of black as a color option. Would be very nice if every year they offered at least three different colors. Otherwise this bike definitely has my attention.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    What a stupid bike. I f-ing love it!

  • Junker

    Pretty cool. So the actual price is more like 30, though? Wish BMW would quit that particular tactic. I don’t mind options adding some, but this one seems particularly bad even for them. And the real kicker is nothing even close to the base model is ever seen in showrooms. Borderline false advertising. I know car makers have done it forever, but I think they at least do ship a few of them so their ads are not total lies.

    • john burns

      really on this one, the $20k includes most of the stuff you want, cruise and heated grips and seat…

    • BDan75

      Yeah, it’s ridiculous. I have no way of verifying this, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a “base” bike at either of the large dealerships in my area. Probably 80+% are fully loaded.

      I guess you just have to plan on special ordering. Assuming the bikes can even be ordered that way. Maybe they’ve changed this, but I seem to recall that, in the past, their build-a-bike website feature wouldn’t even let you start off with the base model in most cases.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        That’s because nobody buys a base bike, just like nobody buys a base car. It is much easier for the dealership to order the bikes with the most popular options already installed instead of having to do it themselves. And believe me you are much better off with factory-installed options than letting the dealership kids learn to do it on your bike.

        • BDan75

          Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don’t build any base bikes, no?

          I don’t have a problem with building bikes the way people want them equipped. I DO have a problem with widely advertising an MSRP that effectively doesn’t exist, barring a cumbersome and time-consuming special-order process. How many magazines called out BMW on the S1000R’s $13,150 launch MSRP? Not too many, as I recall. A real bargain…but but good luck finding one at a dealership for less than $15,500.

          Go over to the BMW website and try to price a base K1600B with a couple a la carte options. You can uncheck the option packages to your heart’s content, but when you get to the total they’re still listed, still in the bottom line. Kinda tells you what you need to know about their base MSRP, doesn’t it?

          Other brands seem to get along without doing this, and people understand that BMWs are premium products. It’s ridiculous that they persist in the practice.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I think Harley also has fully loaded bikes. The Dynas used to be a starting point but they are now gone. It seems there is no market for starter bikes (I mean bare bones large bikes).

  • SerSamsquamsh

    With that wheel base you could probably make a decent showing on a hill climb. Great write up dude.

  • Max Wellian

    Comes in any color you want as long as it’s black.
    First we lost the idea of dynamics in music, then a book is released that demonstrates how much women like being beaten during sex, and now the idea of contrast in design has flown the coup.
    The guy in Spinal Tap had it right all along. Turn it up!

    • john burns

      hey, do you know why a chicken coup only has 2 doors?

      • Max Wellian

        No, but judging by modern standards it should be all tinted glass doors actuated by electric motors. And the chickens should peck to the sound of a synthesized drum machine.
        I like the bike and your review, just hate this trend of painting everything black. I have a hard time believing that an actual rider decided that camouflaging oneself with the road would be a swell idea.

        • john burns

          because if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan.

          • Max Wellian

            More hen humor:
            An old farmer decided it was time to get a new rooster for his hens. The current rooster was still doing an okay job, but he was getting on in years and the farmer figured getting a new rooster couldn’t hurt. So he buys a new cock from the local rooster emporium, and turns him loose in the barnyard. Well, the old rooster sees the young one strutting around and he’s a little worried about being replaced. He walks up to the new bird.
            “So you’re the new stud in town? I bet you really think you’re hot stuff don’t you? Well I’m not ready for the chopping block yet. I’ll bet I’m still the better bird. And to prove it, I challenge you to a race around that hen house over there. We’ll run around it ten times and whoever finishes first gets to have all the hens for himself.”
            Well, the young rooster was a proud sort, and he definitely thought he was more than a match for the old guy.
            “You’re on,” he said, “and since I’m so great, I’ll even give you a head start of half a lap. I’ll still win easy!”
            So the two roosters go over to the henhouse to start the race with all the hens gathering to watch. The race begins and all the hens start cheering the old rooster on. After the first lap, the old rooster is still maintaining his lead.
            After the second lap, the old guy’s lead has slipped a little — but he’s still hanging in there. Unfortunately, the old rooster’s lead continues to slip each time around, and by the fifth lap he’s just barely in front of the young fella. By now the farmer has heard the commotion. He runs into the house, gets his shotgun and runs into the barnyard figuring a fox or something is after his chickens. When he gets there, he sees the two roosters running around the henhouse, with the old rooster still slightly in the lead. He immediately takes his shotgun, aims, fires, and blows the young rooster away.
            “Damn. That’s the third gay rooster I’ve bought this month.”

  • Mahatma

    Not my cup of tea at all.Just looks like no effort went into its appearance.Maybe it’s just me…

    • Krusher Web

      Its just you..lol

  • Douglas

    Personally, I wouldn’t have a “bagger” unless it had the trunk, too…..ala ElectraGlide/Roadmaster/GoldWing/GTL and so forth. No substitute for capacity. Why go halfway?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Style. Real bikers will not be seen dead on a Ultra. It is not about capacity. You only need the top case if your significant other is riding with you. Bikers want the clean low sinister lines of a black Street or Road Glide.

      • Douglas

        Who told you that? Surely, at your age and with all your yrs of riding experience you know better. Don’t tell us you’ve been lured into the “culture of profiling”……and that you have a bicycle wheel on the front of your Harley, along with 300 watts of attention-seeking stereo stuffed into your 1″-off-the-ground bags….and apes that stick a foot above the batwing, with its 2” smoked wind deflector…say it ain’t so.

        As an aside….if a “real biker” could be propped up dead on an Ultra (I guess after rigor mortis had set in), how would he know?

        Nope, I’m stickin’ with the dressers…I think this “styled bagger” thing is a fad that’ll pass (along with tractor wheels on old Chivalays and Oldsmabeels, as did go-cart wheels on Honda Civics and the like). Practicality and usefulness always wins out over “style”, n’est-ce pas?

        • Born to Ride

          Given the choice, I take the top box/trunk over saddlebags any day. Less lane splitting anxiety.

          • Douglas

            I want both….and the biggest tank bag that’ll work on a particular bike. I don’t lane split (’cause we’re not sposta where I live)….I’ve learned not to be in a hurry riding or driving. I may go fast sometimes, but never go in a hurry….can cause judgement errors.

            Now, as regards this Bimmer….probably a nice ride, but those pipes….eecch! Waaay outa proportion, to the point of looking goofy (IMHO, of course)!

          • Sayyed Bashir

            That’s what I use on my KTM 1190 R for lane splitting.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Ha, ha! The Street Glide, the best selling motorcycle in Harley’s history is just a passing fad? Why do you think everyone else is trying to copy it? Why do you think BMW came out with the K1600B, Honda with its F6B, Moto Guzzi with its Flying Fortress, and Indian with its various models? They are all trying to horn in on HD’s successful business.

          • Douglas

            Well, hide & watch. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing at all against Hogs (in fact, I’ve had 3 of them in the last 6 yrs and liked them all), I have absolutely no brand loyalty or preference. If a bike’s good, it’s good, regardless of what it sez on the tank. Having said that, there are just a few…a very few, units from each mfr that I’d even consider (and some none at all, even tho’ the maker turns out some neat stuff), due to their lack of utility (sports bikes, nakeds, “power cruisers”, et al). So there….

    • Stuki Moi

      “Why go halfway?”

      For the same reason I prefer a wagon or hatch to a Suburban for solo commuting…….

      1up, all the case does, is add weight up high, and serve as an aerodynamically awkward airbrake that contributes to lowered stability at speed. On bikes this big, the times when I need more space, I can just strap a softbag across the rear seat.

      2up I agree, the trunk is awesome. Just as 7up, a Suburban beats a hatch by a mile.

  • Rick Vera

    As one of the five or six people the CTX1300 seems to appeal to, I also like the K1600B.

    As much as I love the idea of a full-size sport-tourer, none of them have ever felt particularly sporty to me at sub-interstate speeds with exception to the R1200RT. Their weight, higher center of gravity, and narrow-ish handlebars compared to, say, a smaller cruiser zapped whatever sporting feel they’re marketed to convey. Of course at higher speeds they’re fantastic, but my preffered routes rarely involve that pace.

    Also, there are no real mid-size sport-tourers—F800GT is an awful enough value for me to exclude it—that are in the same vein as the full-sizers; they’re either too aggressive (~VFR) for this mid 30-year old touring rider or too tall (~Versys 650) for this 28″ inseamer.

    Finally, that leaves one other factory option: mid-size cruisers. With their lower seat, lower CoG, and massive leverage with their handlebars, they’re certainly easy to toss around in the parking lot and are a breeze to have fun with at a slow clip, but their obvious constrictions makes having fun with them at a rate anywhere past “mildly spiritdly” is impossible.

    So where does that leave the other five people or so like me? Drop a Versys 650 LT? Though it may lack the amenities I’d wish for, it’s certainly an idea. Wait and hope someone releases the Concourse 650, ST800, or FJR900? I wouldn’t hold my breath. What about a these baggers that are effectively dropped sport-tourers? Well it certainly has all the amenities one could possibly ask for. Its riding triangle is obviously touring friendly while its seat height is short-person friendly. The lower CoG and—at least on CTX—larger bars makes the low speed tossibility easier while its sport-touring routes allows for higher speed shenanigans than on a traditional bagger.

    So while it may not be perfect, I get it, and I’m sure there are at least three other people that do too 🙂

    • Iconyms

      Why not a FJR1300? I mean the engine actually doesn’t often have much to do with the weight of the bike. For example the 300cc sportbikes and 600cc sportbikes are often heavier than the 1000cc bikes.

      FJR1300 is surely much much lighter than this bike.

      • Rick Vera

        The FJR is indeed lighter by over 100 lbs, however, its weight is only half of the equation; where it puts it and how much of it do you feel when tossing it around is another.

        Several years back, I was looking at mid-size sport touring options (F800GT, NT700V), a pre-owned FJR, or a new V Star 950 Tourer. Now I’ve only had the ability to be atop an FJR1300 three times, but every time it felt cumbersome to lean over at speeds below 45 mph. It could have been flat tires, I’m not sure, but it very well could have been its narrow-ish bars and where it puts its mass. I felt it was easier to toss around a heavier bike when the weight is lower and the bars give you more leverage.

        Nonetheless, you’re right. And FJR1300 has always been a contender for me and now that I sold my V Star just this Thursday after nearly six years of ownership, it’ll be time to take a closer look at it once again.

      • Rick Vera

        Secondly, 1 L sportbikes are almost never lighter than their 600 mL counterparts—that’s just plain wrong. A quick look on Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki websites confirm that. I would have grabbed the Hondas if the mobile site for the CBR100RR had listed weight.

        Furthermore, that’s a genre that focused on weight savings more than any other. Compare an F800GT to an R1200RT, a Versys 650 LT to a 1000 LT, an FJ-07 to an FJ-09, etc. and you’ll find the weight delta only gets larger. And while yes, the engine in of itself isn’t contributing too-too much to the weight gain, the subsequent larger frame and beefier components needed to support the larger engine do and they’re a direct result of having a larger engine

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/985802959b42390a543ff3ae0473c9ba2effdf7e61c5718c401ca65a6f03b7a8.jpg

        • Iconyms

          Ahh I guess it’s not as many as I thought. A year ago the R6 vs the R1 the R6 was heavier though but they just updated the R6 whereas the R1 is a few years old now. Ducati’s though the 959 is heavier than the 1299. Still they are all really close within 10-20 lbs. Only a few gallons of fuel difference. BTW what’s wrong with the F800GT?

  • John B.

    I have been looking forward to the reviews on this motorcycle, and as often happens, the only review I read all the way through was JB’s review. I guess old guys are still good for something.

    This is the only bagger that interests me even a little bit. I can’t wait to see how this bike performs in a shootout against the competition. Based on objective data, I imagine it compares quite well to the competition. Of course, very often people buy motorcycles in this category (and others) based on emotion as opposed to logic, and the best product seldom becomes the market leader. Nevertheless, BMW has done great things with its 1600 six-cylinder platform.

  • asg21

    Looks like an interesting article – too bad the thumbnail photos cover the text.

  • Starmag

    How much blacker could it be? None. None more black.

    Except those pipes. Baby’s got back!

  • Sayyed Bashir
    • Douglas

      Not somethin’ y’d wanna see in the mirrors of the Hog…..

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Yup, and that’s where they are going to stay, in the mirrors of the hog and getting smaller. They also look bewildered, frustrated and scared of the hog..

        • Douglas

          As long as the rider of the BMW decides to be courteous and not embarrass the Harley……but….should he (or she, as the case may be) give the throttle a quick quarter-turn blip (irregardless of what gear it’s in), followed by a sudden whoosh past the Hog steerer’s elbow….to which he would probably blurt out (to no one in particular), “WHAWUZZAT??!…..and suddenly realize there’s this black thing ahead of him, getting quickly smaller.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Well the BMW rider better get away fast and hope he doesn’t run out of gas because the hog rider isn’t going to like that.

          • Douglas

            His intelligence was bad…..there was no Black Hills Rally during the war….alas, getting a Hog would have all been for naught….

          • It’s a spoof video. There are tons of renditions. I find it funny.

          • Douglas

            Oh, c’mon…..really?

          • Yes. I don’t Dutch oven , so I haven’t lost my sense of humor. Some people take themselves and everything else too seriously.

          • Douglas

            Oh, sorry. Ya see, I, too, was spoofing….

  • gbbs

    I rode the 1600b last week. I currently have a 1200 RT. The ride was nice, but it definitely gave up cornering clearance compared to my current bike. The part I cannot get past is the design. The bike looks remarkably similar to my old Honda CTX 1300.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      I mean, it’s a bagger, so of course it looks kinda like CTX13… The similarities end there.

      • gbbs

        One of the big complaints about the CTX was the styling. No doubt it’s a different beast, but I also don’t want a corvette that looks like a chevette.

    • Rick Vera

      I’ve been considering scooping up these leftover CTX1300s on the cheap. How did you feel about the bike? How long did you live with it for?

      • gbbs

        I was a bit bored on it. The suspension was limited and every bump was unpleasantly felt. It was slow and felt heavy. I owned it for a year.

  • looks sleek bike!

  • Chuck Smith

    Looks like a fantastic bike. Amazing all the cool options we have.

  • Buzz

    I thought you were Flirtin’ with Disaster with this review but once again you are Beatin’ the Odds.

    The trunk pops off my GTL in about 30 seconds so I guess I have a Bagger also.

    I ran into an old Harley riding buddy at the BMW dealer a few weeks ago. He was eye balling a GTL. I told him to jump in and never look back.

    Every time I think of selling mine, I pin the throttle and the Remus cans wail and I delete the Craigslist ad. I still like H-Ds and ride with friends (slowly) but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to a 70 hp Geezer Glide after owning this.

    • john burns

      sorry I don’t remember any more Molly Hatchet tunes.

      • Buzz

        Well then I guess you’ll just Boogie No More.

        • Old MOron

          Bwa-ha-ha, from Molly Hatchet to disco!

          • Buzz

            Nope. Boogie No More is a Molly Song also.

          • Old MOron

            I got a laugh, …AND… I learned something. Cool.

  • The 1600 is corked. Put a full performance exhaust and tune it and it will make at the rear wheel what the marketing specs say. Nice Article JB.

  • Bmwclay

    Why not just buy the discontinued K1300S? 200 lbs. lighter, quick shifter that works, and maybe 40 more horsepower. Better quarter mile and top speed. 5K less money.
    It’s also got bags.

    • Buzz

      I had a K1300GT. Traded it in on a K1600.

      The wail of the six makes it worth every penny.

  • Gary

    Your logic:

    “Even the angry were usually angry in a pleasant way down there in the Bible belt.”

    Your logic is faulty.

  • Gary

    I threw a leg over one of these beasts at a dealership in Modesto the other day. “Light” is not a word I would use to describe it. I think I’ll stick with my RT. If I wanted a hernia, I never would have traded in my LT.

  • vastickel@gmail.com

    Hey John, bring that thing back to Carolina. I wanna ride it! Might replace my Milwaukee 8. Sorry bout the traffic. Once every 99 years you know. We got stuck in a similar mess. 1 hour to totality in Franklin, NC, but FIVE hours back. Come on back on a normal day. Some very nice roads round here!

  • wolzybk

    Now I just need BMW to make a K1600R naked bike. For me. I would buy one of those.

  • Steve McLaughlin

    Wow a writer who knows the difference between adipose tissue and Japanese arrowroot. I like the foot boards. They are like my 1946 Indian Chief Bonneville Roadmaster. Outstanding fact? The rear fender hinges up and you don’t have to remove the bags. It’s about TIME they got back to that.
    But still no centerstand….sigh….