BMW’s K1600GT is a technological marvel and perfect for thumping out the miles but it’s physically massive – the seat is quite high, it weighs a tonne and it’s just a generally intimidating package. It also doesn’t look that inspiring either.
Building on the Bagger
The K1600 Bagger changed all that when it came along by adding style in spades without ruining the ride but it lost one thing that makes the K1600GT a winner: luggage capacity. The new Grand America solves that problem though, so are BMW onto a winner? We think so.
As the name suggests, BMW have set their sights over the pond, aiming at both the big manufacturers and their consumers. Americans want big, brash bikes and the ability to charge down arrow-straight roads, but the bikes made over there aren’t technological stand outs unlike the K1600. Performance-wise nothing has changed, so it’s that same turbine-like 1649cc straight six that delivers 158bhp, which mated to their impressive electronics package delivers a devastatingly fast ride.
More luggage, more miles
Compared to the standard K1600, the Grand America has a much more swept appearance with smaller panniers and a lower seat height, along with those all-important foot boards. The addition of a top box with integrated brake light gives the bike that classic American silhouette and the new larger windscreen increases touring comfort. None of the awesome things from the Bagger have been lost either, so it’s still got the rider modes, electronic suspension, central locking, traction control, and confidence-inspiring low seat.
There’s no doubting that BMW have timed this release well, poised as it is to go up against the new svelte Gold Wing. America is a huge market for the ‘Wing and while the K1600 is proven, Gold Wing is all new. Only time will tell how they compare but it’s going to be a close run thing.
- K1600 Grand America
- 1649cc straight six
- 158.2bhp @ 7750rpm
- 780mm seat height
- 364kg (wet)
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