The K1600B has two suspension setting: Cruise and Road. The former is too soft for anything other than smooth arrow-straight routes (clue’s in the name), and though the latter has more control the BMW tries to wallow and becomes unsettled on fast, bumpy roads.
This bike's lower at the back than a stock K1600GT and has a shock with reduced wheel travel. It’s reasonable rather than great. There’s not much legroom and even with the seat in the highest position (780mm), my knees are higher than my hips. This is a bike that weighs 336kg – that’s 87 bags of Tate & Lyle heavier than an R1250GS – yet on the move the steering is light and accurate.
The engine has so much in-hand that half the time it’s barely awake. With 160bhp on tap the K1600B may be a big beast but it can shift when asked to. The 1649cc across-the-frame six-cylinder motor overflows with character and tractable torque. With perhaps the smoothest throttle feel of any bike, it pulls like a John Deere from low revs, uses huge midrange thrust to surge past traffic and, if you let it, streak to the top of its revs.
The finish and reliability is what you’d expect on a £20k BMW… faultless. It feels robust and able to tackle any riding conditions.
While the base-model K1600B is £19,140, the SE model comes with up-and-down quickshifter, an electric screen, cruise control, self-cancelling indicators, heated grips and seats is a fairly substantial £22,165.
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BMW’s asymmetric dash is unique to the K1600. A colour digital panel between the dials for speed and revs is controlled from the switchgear. Info is logically laid out and there’s every bit of bike and trip data you could wish for, though in this age of widescreen displays it feels a bit previous-generation. The BMW’s pannier also have central locking. And it has a reverse gear!