New BMW K1600 B Touring Bike Wants to Define Two-Wheeled Comfort in America
BMW has introduced its new American touring bike, the BMW K1600 B, on the roof of the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
In 2010, BMW took its inline six-cylinder engine and wedged it into the K1600 GT and GTL without turning the bike into a pig. For the 2017 model year, the K1600 B is an American Grand Tourer based on the Concept 101 from 2015’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The “Bagger” style is a custom bike category that’s popular in the U.S., showing BMW Motorrad’s devotion to the American market.
Visually, the new all-black (Blackstorm metallic, and black for chassis parts and drivetrain) K 1600 B presents the drop-shaped bagger silhouette with “streamlining” style and the deep-set side cases with integrated taillights. New fully chrome-plated silencers run parallel to the road. The rest of its design is based on the 1600 GT, but thanks to its low-slung shape, the passenger seat is much lower than the GT. The styling is as much about presence as it is about wind protection.
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The six-cylinder motor carries over from the K1600 GT with 160hp and 129 pound-feet of torque. An electronic suspension with adaptive dampers works with a Dynamic Traction Control system and two modes: Road and Cruise. The Road setting is fully automated to adapt to all traction and road surface changes. Cruise is all about comfort and mellow damping.
New for the K1600 lineup is a reverse assist, which blocks the forward gear and can be turned on and off from the handlebars. Other transmission tech includes Shift Assistant Pro, which lets the rider shift up and down without the clutch. When accelerating, the throttle valve no longer has to be closed for shifts using the throttle grip, so power is virtually constant without torque interrupt. When decelerating and shifting down (throttle valve closed), the engine speed is automatically adapted by “double-declutching.” This whole process reduces shift time significantly compared to using the clutch.
The speedometer and 5.7-inch TFT engine speed display has been updated from the 2016 K1600 GT with new dials. Intelligent Emergency Call is on board in the event of an accident. The system is automatically triggered, sending the position of the bike to emergency services via BMW’s call center.
In the name of comfort, the design of the footrests, seating area, and handlebar positions have been updated from the 2016 K1600 GT’s for better ergonomics. Both rider and passenger have a relaxed knee angle, but the seating position is still oriented toward the front wheel for “enthusiastic” riding. The seat height can also be adjusted. Finally, heated hand grips, cruise control, and dual-passenger seat heating are included.
Prices have yet to be announced, but BMW Motorrad says the K1600 B will go on sale in the U.S. in the middle of next year.