Custom – BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! – Page 1 – BMW K1600B test: static

TEST

BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger !

Custom - BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! - Page 1 - BMW K1600B test: static

The last BMW custom motorcycle, the R1200C discontinued in 2004, did not leave lasting memories … It is different for the K1600B which succeeds it with its orgasmic six-cylinder 160 hp! First try.

Page 1 – BMW K1600B test: static

The news, with its "chopped" windshield and rounded rear part with fleeting lines, fits rather elegantly into the "Bagger" category with which BMW reinvests the category of custom motorcycles – 13 years after the discontinuation of the R1200C – , mainly to attract American customers.

Custom - BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! - Page 1 - BMW K1600B test: static

"The American market represents 400,000 units per year, of which about half are occupied by Harley-Davidson, while our market share there reaches 4 to 5%", reveals Frédéric Stik, general manager of BMW Motorrad France, who sees with the K1600B a way to boost BMW’s presence in the United States. 

He also naturally hopes to meet some success in France, a European country where the K1600 range works best: questioned by MNC, Frédérick Stik mentions objectives "of around 500 to 600 K1600B for the French market". An ambitious score for this new competitor of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide or Road Glide, but also of the Honda F6B – including the next version …

  • MNC duel : BMW K1600GTL Vs Honda Goldwing 1800
  • Comparo MNC : K1600GT Vs 1400GTR Vs Sprint GT

Like the Bagger-style Goldwing, precisely, the K1600B is distinguished by its exceptional engine architecture: a 1649 cc in-line six-cylinder (flat on the Honda). A true mechanical cathedral – compact and modern: read our technical report in – whose 160 hp and 175 Nm make it the most efficient Bagger in series! An argument likely to echo across the Atlantic.

The cycle part is in tune, because identical to the road: aluminum perimeter frame, electrically controlled suspensions, Duolever front axle with flawless rigidity or even powerful 4-piston calipers with ABS combined from front to rear. The 70mm lowered rear buckle – to tend towards the Baggers’ signature "Streamliner" style – is actually the main difference between the "GT" and the "B".

Custom - BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! - Page 1 - BMW K1600B test: static

A specific two-stage saddle, a raised handlebars, a new mode for ESA damping ("Cruise") and two non-removable cases – because they are screwed to the frame – complete this transformation (). We are not going to lie to each other: BMW did not spend money in R&D to transform its K1600GT into K1600B !

These side-opening bags barely close on a full-face helmet – forcing a little for models with a large shell – and are dressed in LED lights and turn signals in the shape of an inverted horn. Class and stylish, in accordance with the chrome exhausts whose extended and beveled tailpipes evoke the late Suzuki-B-King.

Custom ergonomics … sporty !

Custom genre requires, the K1600B adopts a more relaxed ergonomics than the K1600GT, mainly through a raised handlebars. This wide and flat handlebar is fixed on an imposing trigger guard to be raised. Like all controls, it falls very well under the gloves and receives adjustable levers at its ends.

Custom - BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! - Page 1 - BMW K1600B test: static

The saddle – soft and guaranteeing excellent support – is easily straddled, the leg having less to rise due to the lowering of the rear part. A good point for accessibility, already very easy thanks to the low seat height (780 Vs 810 mm on the GT) and the arcade remarkably contained with regard to the architecture and the displacement. 

On the other hand, the rear part of the seat could have been dug more: the bust is tilted by the receding of the handlebars, while the footrests identical to the K1600GT keep the legs in the middle position. This position halfway between custom and road is responsible for a lack of support in the lower back, a phenomenon especially annoying over long distances..

In this case, it is better to opt for the "feet forward" position thanks to the footboards … offered as an option at 190 €, to which are added 205 € for the tubular protections necessarily delivered with these platforms fixed without large elegance under the cylinder bench … One of the rare finishing flaws in this otherwise impeccable motorcycle.

 Custom - BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! - Page 1 - BMW K1600B test: static

These "expensive" optional retractable steps are difficult to understand because of the width of the engine, especially on the right where the ankle abuts on the lower crankcase. On the left, it affects the fairing return … And this, despite the removal of the practical storage compartments installed as standard in the lower fairing of the K1600 GT and K1600 GTL ! 

This perfectible ergonomics highlights the limits of a low cost transformation, where the importance of form takes precedence over function. Another example ? When the boots are placed on these optional steps, access to the selector and the rear brake becomes difficult due to the lack of remote controls. 

Raising your foot and then moving it backwards to downshift or brake is neither practical nor natural, even if the frequency of these operations is reduced on expressways for which these steps are intended. Ultimately, they are only used to occasionally relax your legs when the steps are stretching..

Custom - BMW K1600B test: Power Bagger! - Page 1 - BMW K1600B test: static

During this test, Site largely preferred to leave his boots on the footrests fixed directly to the bust, like almost all of the other testers. It is in this position that the two qualities of the K1600B are best enjoyed: its exceptional engine and its equally pleasant dynamic behavior. !

Ready? Continuation of our test with the !

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