BMW K1600B (2016 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £530
Power: 160 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.7 in / 780 mm)
Weight: High (741 lbs / 336 kg)

Prices

New £19,140
Used £13,000 - £18,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

To create the BMW K1600B, the Bavarian firm have taken their K1600GT and lowered it at the rear with a traditional curved mudguard and panniers (sorry, saddlebags). Wheel travel is reduced by 10mm, seat height by 60mm, with a more pulled-back handlebar. The screen’s smaller than on the regular K1600, too. The big Beemer is not that frugal, returning 45mpg, but due to its 26.5-litre tank it will cover 262 miles before needing a fuel stop.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The finish and reliability is what you’d expect on a £20k BMW… faultless. It feels robust and able to tackle any riding conditions.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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!

From August 2020, all the 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.

Specs

Engine size 1649cc
Engine type DOHC 24v inline six
Frame type Cast ali twin-spar
Fuel capacity 26.5 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 336kg
Front suspension Double wishbone, semi-active damping
Rear suspension Semi-active mono shock, adjustable for damoing and electronic preload adjustment
Front brake Two 320mm discs, four-piston callipers
Rear brake 320mm disc, two-piston calliper
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR17
Rear tyre size 190/55 ZR17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £530
New price £19,140
Used price £13,000 - £18,500
Insurance group 15 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 160 bhp
Max torque 129 ft-lb
Top speed 160 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 262 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2011: BMW unveil the K1600 and K1600GT and the K1600GTL. The GTL is a full-dress luxury tourer while the GT is more of a sports-tourer. The K1600B appears in 2016.

Owners' reviews for the BMW K1600B (2016 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their BMW K1600B (2016 - 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.

Review your BMW K1600B (2016 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Value vs rivals: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £530
3 out of 5 Great engine - shame about the rest
23 October 2020 by PS46

Version: K1600 B LE

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £526

The K1600B is big - really big - and very comfortable but only at reasonable speeds. The engine pulls like a train, but had an annoying clatter at 30 to 40 mph (could have been the clutch) in all gears. The handling is surprisingly good on bends but above 65 mph on motorways it felt very nervous particularly in traffic, twitching from side to side. The dealer blamed the tyres which were changed at the first service, but if anything the bike felt worse. I found the bike to be an enigma. It is sold as a cruiser with cruiser suspension, but then has a turbine of an engine that the rest of the bike can't keep up with. There are parts of the bike I loved, and others that I hated. Eventually I couldn't stand it any more, and I sold it. No, I wouldn't recommend this bike.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

The 1600B is very comfortable and you can ride all day without any problems. The quick shifter is very smooth, even at low revs. Overall it is a cruiser and is at its best doing around 60 mph on twisting roads. The brakes are phenomenal for such a heavy bike and always inspire confidence. The suspension only has two settings - cruise and road - and I found both of them too soft. The bike is long - longer than a normal K1600 - and I thought this would make it more stable, but it doesn't. Motorway riding is worrying. The best compromise is to set it to rider plus luggage and road, which sets some preload and raises the rear of the bike.

Engine 5 out of 5

Overall I didn't like the bike, but the engine is phenomenal. It pulls from any speed in any gear, and the noise is exhilarating. You feel like it is revving its nuts off, and look down to see 3000 rpm, and then it keeps going until it is screaming. Put it in dynamic and it pops and bangs on gear changes and overrun. Great fun.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Being a BMW it is built beautifully, but there were some problems. The back cover for the mirror fell off and I had to tape it on. I was surprised at how much oil the bike was using and at my first service on the bike (it was ex demo) the dealer found a serious oil leak on the engine, which surprised me for such a relatively new bike. Whenever I parked the bike in my garage there was a very strong smell of petrol. Again rather worrying. The dealer checked the bike and couldn't find anything wrong.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

I only paid for one service, when the bike had covered 4000 miles. The dealer told me that the front tyre had worn unevenly and both tyres needed to be replaced. They thought that this was why the bike was twitching on motorways, but changing the tyres didn't fix it.

Equipment 5 out of 5

If you have deep pockets you get just about every extra going. Reverse gear is a must and I loved the central locking, heated seats, quick shifter and cruise control. The radio seems a complete waste of time but it does provide traffic info to the sat nav (I believe). It annoyed me to try controlling the sat nav from the hand controls. I had a R1200GS and this was so easy, but on the K1600B it seems like a late add on. You have to dive into the menus to eventually find the sat nav, and then the control wheel only works in one direction. Also the heated grips and seat can only be set through the menu. Very tiresome.

Back to top