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BMW’s New K1600 Models Push The Motorcycle Technology Envelope

Posted in BMW, General, Motorcycle, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | October 7th, 2010 | 1 Response |

Someone once defined a motorcycle as “two wheels, a motor and a little bit of chrome”. Obviously, BMW didn’t get that memo, since their latest touring and sport touring bikes are a rolling testament to wretched excess. Let’s start with the motor, where BMW adopted a “if four is good, six is better” philosophy. The K1600GT Sport Tourer and the K1600GTL Luxury Tourer now come with a 1,600cc inline six cylinder motor, which uses a narrow bore and long stroke to achieve a width of just 22 inches. The motor produces 160 horsepower (at 7,500 RPM) and 129 ft lb of torque (at 5,000 RPM), so two-up riding, even with luggage, should be a non-issue.

The amount of technology on the new Ks is impressive and even a bit frightening. On the motor side, the ECU has a three position fuel map similar to what Aprilia uses on the Dorsoduro and Shiver. A rider can choose from “Road”, which blends performance and fuel economy; “Rain”, which reduces power and delays throttle response; and “Dynamic”, which sacrifices fuel economy for the best performance. As you’d expect, the new Ks come standard with ABS and traction control is an available option.

Like BMW’s automobiles, the new K bikes offer adaptive headlights, which correct for both lean angle and cornering. An electronically adjustable suspension, like the one offered on BMW’s GS series, is an available option. A full color TFT display allows riders to monitor trip computer data, motorcycle setup data, audio and communications data and (presumably) navigation data. With so many menus to scroll through, BMW has included a “Multi-Controller” similar to the iDrive found in their automobiles. Call me paranoid, but I see this as a really, really bad idea: how many K bikes will get written off because the owner was navigating a menu when he should have been watching traffic?

Call me a Luddite, but all this technology just means there’s plenty more to go wrong. When something does, what are the chances you’ll be fixing it by the side of the road with a roll of Gorilla tape and a multi-tool? “Slim to none” would be my guess, and even my ’04 BMW K1200RS is unnecessarily complex in a lot of ways (like the servo assisted, linked ABS, for example). Still, someone has to pioneer advances in technology, and BMW has been particularly good at doing so on two wheels over the past few years. These new K bikes aren’t for everyone, but I’m sure BMW will have no problem in selling all they import.

Source: Hell For Leather

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  1. […] gave you some information on the release of BMW’s new K series touring bikes last week, but here’s an in depth overview of the K1600GTL, courtesy of Jay Leno’s Garage. […]