2017 BMW K1600GT Preview

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

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.

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.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

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5 of 8 comments
  • Jim L Jim L on Oct 06, 2016

    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 Gee S on Oct 06, 2016

    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. ;-)

    • See 2 previous
    • Jim L Jim L on Oct 06, 2016

      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.