BMW K1600GTL (2011 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£420|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The K1600GTL is now BMW’s premier sports tourer and puts the big machine right in the firing line of bikes like the Honda Pan-European, and the Honda GoldWing. Over the GT it comes with a massive top case big enough to swallow two full size helmets, the same panniers as the GT, plus it gets lower and further back handlebars, lower footrests, lower pillion footrests and a more luxurious pillion seat. Yet despite those small changes the extra weight and riding position of the GTL makes it feel very different.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
This bike is still incredible, just not quite so accomplished as the GT when it comes to covering ground fast. The extra weight over the standard GT means it suffers slightly on bumpy roads but for its sheer size this bike is an amazingly accomplished mile muncher. Sit back, take in the touring way of life and there are few things you’d rather be sat on top. Except for maybe the K1600GT.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The six-cylinder engine is so smooth a baby could sleep on it. Zero vibration, tons of torque, a soundtrack unlike any other bike and the ability to chug along at any revs in top gear. Put simply, it's the most amazing bike engine anyone has ever built. Five stars aren't enough. But where the GT is all about that engine, revs building high, going fast and slicing through the countryside, the GTL is more about taking a relaxed pace.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Too early to say
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
£17,000 is an awful lot of money, but when you think that essentially you’re buying a bike with the performance of a sports car but the comfort of an estate car, then it’s not too bad, all considered.
With more kit than your average high specification 5-series car, there are more extras on this bike than anyone will ever need. Over the GT, it comes with a massive top case big enough to swallow two full size helmets, the same panniers as the GT, plus it gets lower and further back handlebars, lower footrests, lower pillion footrests and a more luxurious pillion seat. There’s riding modes and options on adjustable electronic suspension, stereo, heated seats, Sat. nav.... you name it.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled inline six cylinder, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Cast front frame with aluminium extruded sections, engine as a stressed member|
|Fuel capacity||26.5 litres|
|Front suspension||Fully adjustable with option for electronic adjustment|
|Rear suspension||Fully adjustable with option for electronic adjustment|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs, BMW four-piston callipers|
|Rear brake||Single 320mm disc, BMW two-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||40 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£420|
|Used price||£7,900 - £16,500|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||160 bhp|
|Max torque||175 ft-lb|
|Top speed||140 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||200 miles|
Model history & versions
New for 2011
Model name: K1600GT. Comes with sportier riding position, higher pegs, and no top box
Owners' reviews for the BMW K1600GTL (2011 - on)
15 owners have reviewed their BMW K1600GTL (2011 - 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:||£420|
Coils seem to be failing at 17000 miles
Rust on frame and engine block under paint
Radio heated seats grips space luggage screen up down,
My second BMW K1600 GTL, a fantastic bike, I would have given 5 stars but the model is getting older & would have liked updated clocks on this years model, otherwise almost perfect.
Brakes are excellent & a hill assist brake is very usefull on this model. The GTL is a very comfy bike, the seating possition can take a bit of getting used to & does'nt suit all. My pillion feels secure on the comfy back seat. It's a very heavy bike at slow speeds but the weight all drops away as you get going.
One of the reasons to buy this bike, 6 cylinder, smooth, sublime excellence. Super power, great exceleration for a big motorcycle. Uber monster!
Purrs like a kitten & put together very well with quality fastners , very happy with quality & not had any reliability problems. One bug bear with this bike that other owners somtimes complain about is corrosion on the cilinder heads which my old bike suffered from.
It's an expensive bike to start with & main dealer servicing is'nt cheep but it's a luxury high end motorcycle.
My GTL is top spec & I love the keyless ride, stereo, the quality of all the standard kit. I have fitted Held fron protection bars which are great quality & value & Ilium works rear bars - USA very expensive. Would have liked new tech clocks.
Buying experience: Bought as a pre registerd deal from Williams BMW Manchester savig 3K on the list price. Sadly had to wait for recal to be done then for shwroom to re open due to Covid 19, the wait was worth it.
Annual servicing cost: £300
An answer to all negative aspects of two wheel riding
Buying experience: Dealer was not bmw but ok
Version: GT LE
Annual servicing cost: £240
This is a beautiful bike. In theory it is the king of the road and exquisitely formed to load up with gear and a pillion for two weeks touring on the Continent in comfort and style. In practice it has a gearbox daily that can select second and fifth simultaneously and cause the rear wheel to lock. This occurred in two bikes (we know of) in spring/summer 2019 and then the nightmare with BMW started. To cover themselves legally they stopped sales immediately but refused to do a STOP-RIDE instruction with all its associated costs of replacement bikes and damage to the marque. Instead they bungled a ‘soft recall’ by declining to say the bike was safe and leaving riders to scratch their head - should I ride? Is my insurance valid? What if I cause an injury to others? For Me I pretty much parked up the bike in early Sept 19 after a new set of tyres were fitted and it took BMW until February to offer and provide a replacement bike. Even then it was an S1000R (not bad but not a commuting bike when I need to transport a laptop and kit). To add insult to injury - the three main parts of the engine block (either sides of the seals have bubbles in the paint and black pitting) so the engine had been written off under warranty (thank you BMW) and so the beast sits slumbering whilst we are all now on lockdown.
Super smooth inline six cylinder delivers power beautifully to the road surface. It is more agile than many think and nimble around bends. Only extraction is that no BMW engineer ever rode pillion - because if they had done they’d have sorted the intense buffeting and wind noise that poor pillions have to put up with. It is in serious need of a screen redesign and the fairing needs to move air out to the sides to protect the legs more. Of course one might think BMW design engineers had shares in Wunderlich who will sell you a screen and SORN leg and feet deflectors for around £1000 to overcome the issues.
Servicing isn’t the expensive bit on these bikes. Insurance can be. Parts most definitely are!
For a £21-32k filly spec’d up bike it has a 2010 screen and instruments and for some inexplicable reason BMW decide to make it communicate through the ‘optional’ £600 Garmin VI. The fact that this device needs three (yes three) programs to manage its updates, mapping and use, and you fail to understand the sanity of the electrical design engineers who made this poor decision. Whole FB groups are dedicated to trying to make the BMW helmet talk to the Garmin and to the bike and then to any phone unlucky enough to be proffered for coupling. 40% of the FB groups fail to ever get the couplings right. 40% buy a bit of electrical kit and bypass the spaghetti of connections to simply play some music whilst they ride. 100% are dissatisfied with the dogs dinner of the central command and control system. To add more salt to the festering wound I recently downloaded the Motorad App - to connect to the bike and get all my data; won’t connect. A 2018 £23k bike can’t talk to an app - oh lord they really ballsed this one up didn’t they.
Buying experience: Buying it was easy. It’s riding it that’s been the challenge.
This bike is a do all tourer and can excite on twisties if you want it to.
For - Lovely engine - bit low on torque though. For - tons of equipment Against - just about everything else. The fuelling is too jerky, the windscreen is not fit for purpose, gear change, whilst precise, is clunky, bike is too top heavy. Overall, this bike has some good points (which is why I bought it) but has been the least pleasurable bike I have owned.
Electronic suspension is pretty effective. The windscreen is pants. Even got the GT version, which is lower and a bit better, but still too much turbulence and impossible to use in the rain.
Engine is silky smooth, but fuelling is way too jerky, bordering on dangerous especially when filtering.
Not has a service yet - so don't know. Fuel consumption not brilliant at 48mpg (my car does better) but then that's not what you buy this bike for!!
Fantastic equipment list - some stuff I'll never even use. Not sure why BMW went their own way with the bluetooth interface - only BMW helmets work correctly (intercom, etc).
Buying experience: Bought new from dealer - superb service.
Annual servicing cost: £635
How is it not possible to give a five out of five rating
Horses for Courses The good. It does what it is designed to do supremely well, mile after mile of unbelievable comfort, tour the continent, no problem, fancy a mad moment, again no problem, even heavily loaded with the kit for two weeks holiday it remained sweet handling and utterly predictable. The brakes are that good you simply don't think about them, very powerful yet not at all grabby at low speed. The suspension design works well even under heavy braking loads which means with out realising it you are often braking far harder than on a bike with a more conventional suspension set up. The bad Not a bike for rush hour traffic, riding it fully loaded with a passenger means it will be weighing about ½ a ton and that can introduce a little stress to your day. Brussels immediately springs to mind, roads that were greasy and wet, throw in the cobbles, tram tracks complete with errant trams, well, I think you get my point.
I haven’t been able to work out how BMW can make an engine that pulls, without labouring, from idle speed in any gear to warp speed without a hint of protest and yet still manage to return 50mpg during normal riding. There is no vibration, and I mean no vibration, just silky smooth power everywhere in the rev range, the ideal engine for a touring motorcycle, or Mad Max! The sound from the exhaust as the revs climb is utterly intoxicating, red lining it can get you to licence loosing speeds in the blink of an eye. (well in the U.K. at least).
It has been very reliable over two continental trips one to Lake Como and the other to Belgium last year. The only niggle has been a headlamp that has on occasions misted badly when riding in the rain or damp weather it's being replaced by BMW Motorad under warranty shortly (at a cost of over £1000 for the headlamp alone!).
Road tax 81.00, F/comp insurance 183.89, Tyre 130.00, Service(BMW) 237.87, Total 634.87 Here's the sticking point. It's all relative of course, if you buy new, nearly £20,000 is a huge chunk of money in any language. But once you've paid for the thing the servicing costs can be surprisingly reasonable. Because the servicing is menu driven you only pay for what is needed at that time, and if you fit your own tyres and brake pads and just pay for the items that are required to keep the warranty in force the cost for a 6,000 mile (or 1 year) service can be surprising reasonable. The 18,000 mile service is the killer not helped by the extraordinary expensive cost of the six spark plugs and the valve check. How iridium plugs that would last 70,000 miles in a car need changing so often is beyond me and because they are unique to the BMW means no cheap after market supplies. Same with the valve check, reading the forums I have not heard of any bikes needing adjusting, once again similar technology used in cars but much longer service intervals between checks. But must not bash BMW Motorad too much, some rivals (Honda, Kawasaki ect) have nearly identical servicing requirements and cost's on some of their models at similar mileages. The largest cost by far is depreciation which I have not included in the above, it can be eye-wateringly expensive. My machine which I bought used in March 2015 for £15,890 was valued by a BMW dealer recently at a little over £11000 making for a potential loss of £4890.00 per year despite it's current value in the showrooms of about £14500. Guess that free coffee and nibbles in the showrooms is not really free at all.
I'm going to sound like a right fan boy here. If you get the same bike I own every thing you could possibly want is all ready on the bike, cruise control (don't knock till you've tried it), radio (ditto), heated grips and seats, electronic suspension, traction control, central locking, anti theft alarm it might be better to try to think of something BMW have missed off.
Buying experience: BMW showrooms are in my experience well laid out friendly places with expensive espresso machines (with china cups) and sometimes equipped with a mini snack bar stocked with biscuits and nibbles all complimentary. Again in my experience there is not much wiggle room price wise when dealing with the different dealers, all seem to give similar trade in prices and any special offers like a free comfort pack upgrade recently on the GTL for example are usually instigated by BMW themselves and not the dealers.
Annual servicing cost: £500
Best feature, the smoothness, worse, none (as yet)
For my BIG ass the seat could be a smidgen longer. All round smooth comfortable bike.
Smooth in every gear especially top and at low revs.
£180 for a run in service is in my book too much. I suppose you buy quality so you may premium prices.
Buying experience: Fantastic buying experience from Mottorad East (Dalkeith)
2 European tours and 10,000+ miles later the bike still impresses every time out. stewartswan there is certainly some backlash in the drivetrain, especially the pre-2013 models, but I find it's not so bad with a few more revs. Being a 6 it's easy to ride at l,000-1,500 rpm, which is great on a steady throttle but can be less smooth on/off the throttle. The gear change also improves a lot with a few more revs. Off to the alps again later this year, the bike is just wonderful, solo or two up with luggage it stops, goes and handles brilliantly. Not that it's significant once you've blown £19k on a bike but it averages around 50MPG and the original rear Z8 Interact was still well legal at 6,500 miles, looks like the PR3s will last longer. Probably 90% 2 up riding so I can't rag it too much, but we "make progress" as the Police might say.
I own a 2011 K1600GT. The driveshaft lash is terrible and unsettling while driving. The bike is just 2 years old and the paint on the engine has blistered and is now falling off. As the engine is a major part of the bikes styling it makes a nearly new bike look older and with bad build quality! The centre stand has is completely covered in rust. BMW refusing to fix defects as I bought bike from a Kawasaki Dealership
Done 1,500 miles on my new 1600GT, we're off to tour France next week. It's brilliant, engine chassis it's a superb package, very close to being a sports bike solo, and the best sport tourer 2 up. There are more differences between the GT and GTL than roadtests reveal although they are mechanically IDENTICAL except for the exhaust note. The GTL is only heavier because it has the top box and audio as standard, that's it, except slightly bigger footrests. The GT screen has a V shaped top edge to allow better visibility over the top than the rounded top GTL screen. Expensive, and I know I'm lucky to be able to afford one, but road test a GT to understand just how great they are.
Have had the GT1600 for 18 months now, the bike is fantastic, the engine is silky smooth and can pull from very low revs, handling is reassuring even at slow speeds, the equipment is fantastic and functional. I love the bike and its at home in the centre of London or cruising the country lanes. However reliability has been an issue for my bike, thankfully its under warranty! the problems to date, auto cruise failure, starter button failure (had to be recovered) engine warning light (faulty coil) and had to put bike in a further three times for a faulty starter motor clutch which is now resolved. Had to have the both remote controls replaced as well. Maybe I've been unfortunate, but regardless I'll keep the bike, best bike I've ever had, just hope the faults stop!
I have a K1300GT SE and recently when it was in for a service, I thought I would try out the K1600GT (as I suppose this is the next bike). I had it for half a day and my initial impression is "wow" what a fantastic engine. Smooth and fast compared to my 1300. However the seat was awful. Higher and wider and harder than the 1300 and I'm 6ft tall. I couldn't get comfortable on it. Also it didn't go round bends as well. In the end I was glad to be back on my own bike. Although a rougher engine more pleasant to drive. So, in terms of upgrading, I'm not sure where to go. maybe I'll look at the new Trophy 1200 (although its a heavy beast).
Very capable bike for the size. Engine is awesome and at an average of 50mpg (on a tight engine)is giving a range of high 200's. Have to agree with the other review that it could do with reverse as it can be a bit of a strain trying to back-pedal a third of a tonne. Its more than happy in 6th gear from 1500rpm without labouring so should make serious touring effortless - just need some decent weather to prove the point. Having just completed a return trip to Scotland (from the Midlands) happy to report that for the first time ever had absolutely no grumbles about the wife's sore ass!
could do with reverse, screen is just a bit high in the down position,miss the automatic stand, but... everything else is great. it holds a very steady line in the bends, even on rough tarmac. have not been above 5 thousand rpm as only 650 miles.70mph with cruise control is almost silent, but change the mode to dynamic and it changes the power delivery and sound. just need the sun to shine now ;}