BMW K1600 GRAND AMERICA (2018 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
MCN first rode the BMW K1600 B (for Bagger) in summer 2017, an overtly American offering that features the same super-smooth and powerful inline six-cylinder engine as the BMW K1600GT. The standard K1600 B has the ‘streamliner’ design with fixed side cases and integrated lights.
Now BMW have gone one step further with this, the K1600 Grand America. If you rarely ride with a pillion or don’t need litres of extra luggage capacity it’s hard to make a case for the Grand America over the standard K1600 B.
There’s no escaping the fact the additional luggage upsets the bike’s high-speed stability, reducing its appeal dramatically. If you like to take it easy and spend more time two-up than solo, the Grand America makes a bit more sense, but otherwise it’s not worth the extra outlay.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
At low speed the ride is excellent but things start to go wrong at speed because the top case limits safe cruising speeds and affects stability. At 80mph you notice a slight weave and above that it becomes more apparent, as if there’s is a hinge in the middle of the bike.
Up at 90mph things become slightly alarming, never overly worrying but more than noticeable. The Grand America is limited to just over 100mph, but with the top case loaded the BMW handbook suggests a self-governed speed of 80mph.
I know the speed limit is 70mph, and you’re unlikely to buy the Grand America for high speed antics, but with so much power on tap from that inline six-cylinder engine, 80mph and above is easily achieved especially if you are venturing onto the autobahn.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The BMW K1600 Grand America uses the same 1649cc, liquid-cooled inline six-cylinder engine as the GT model. It produces 158 bhp and 129 ftlb of torque.
There’s no feeling like a mighty six-cylinder bike, it’s a stunning experience, it’s not a wave of torque, more of a tsunami. It’s backed up by a cacophony of spine tingling noise. Nail the throttle on the BMW and the rider aids jump into panic mode, limiting the power to prevent the rear wheel from spinning. Deactivating the TC on the BMW is ludicrous.
In the cold and wet without TC it’s almost un-rideable. The big BMW doesn’t mind revving all six-cylinders, hold onto the throttle, tap on the quick-shifter and you’ll soon effortlessly blast past 100mph, and before you know it you’re doubling the national speed limit. It’s one of the smoothest engines on the market it’s sublime.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
There are very few bikes on the market which have the level of sophistication and quality of the Grand America. Re-sale prices should remain high, and reliability should be unquestionable.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Our test bike is priced at a wallet-emptying £22,150, which is £5,700 more than the standard £16,750 Bagger. If you spec the Bagger up to a similar level, it will still cost £580 less than than the Grand America.
This fully-dressed bagger is equipped with a large top case, complete with backrest, has integrated indicators and brake lights, while its electronic windscreen has also increased in size. The Grand America also now features footboards as standard.
The large top case looks classy (especially at night) and has remote central locking, but some feel it spoils the flowing lines of the stock Bagger.
From August 2020, all K1600 models (that’s GT, GTL and Bagger) come with reverse, cornering lights, tyre pressure monitors and DRLs as standard, which is a very healthy saving for your wallet. There’s new colours all over the shop but the GT is now only available with a black frame and engine, while the ‘Safety’ pack has been ditched for the entire range.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder|
|Frame type||Bridge-type frame, cast aluminium, load-bearing engine|
|Fuel capacity||26.5 litres|
|Front suspension||BMW Motorrad Duolever; central spring strut|
|Rear suspension||BMW Motorrad Paralever|
|Front brake||Dual disc brake, diameter 320 mm, 4-piston fixed calipers|
|Rear brake||Single disc brake, diameter 320 mm, double-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 ZR 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 ZR 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||49.6 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£200|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||158 bhp|
|Max torque||129 ft-lb|
|Top speed||100 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
This model follows on from the BMW K1600 B (Bagger).
There are several other versions of the BMW K1600, including the B, GT and the GTL. The GT was launched in 2011 and was then revamped in 2017. The GTL is a premium version of the GT which was also launched in 2011.
Owners' reviews for the BMW K1600 GRAND AMERICA (2018 - on)
1 owner has reviewed their BMW K1600 GRAND AMERICA (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Version: BMWK1600 Grand America
Annual servicing cost: £200
Incredibly manoeuvrable in city traffic and on mountain roads: it really doesn’t feel the weight. I actually thought it was 100kg lighter. The engine is areal masterpiece. Torquey down low and so so elastic you can drive around town in 2nd all day long. The foot boards are really great for longer cruises at 80ish mph. The bikes feels more stable 2-up and fully loaded at 90+, but still not great in a cross-wind. Absolutely gorgeous in Austin Yellow and really out-looks the other K1600s.
The paralever system works fabulously in all conditions. But there are only 2 modes: cruise and road; no Sport or Sport+. The brakes are great but the lack of dive at the front in hard braking takes a bit of getting used to
Absolutely awesome. It fizzes and pops and goes like a Harley-come-R1. It really does have everything
The only issue I have encountered so far was overheating on Italian hilly roads in 2nd and 3rd. I think the oil level was a little low and needs to be topped up more regularly than my Harley, would you believe!
Not at all expensive to run. I regularly get 45-50mpg+ on mixed riding
It has absolutely everything, including reverse gear, clutch less gear changing and SOS button as standard. The BMW specific Garmin sat nav is an extra, but is removable, which is handy.. The blue tooth systems works ok but is a nightmare to set up. There is a dedicated usb/aux cable in the right hand pannier for connectivity in a special pouch. Nice touch.. There are no small pouches or lockers in the fairing, unlike other tourers for keys/phone etc which is an oversight. On a hot day, if you’re riding in a T-shirt, you’ll need a small thigh bag for those items. 1 of the few options is the forged wheels and handlebars. Not worth the £1,500 extra really on a £23,000 tourer.
Buying experience: I bought it brand new after seeing a great You Tube video. Just loved the colour and chose it over a GS as a daily commuting bike. The Grand America is so rare it was impossible to test ride. It took a month or so to order but the guys at BMW Motorrad Preston were fab. Strangely, this colour was taken out of the catalogue shortly afterwards.