BMW K 1600 GTL
It’s not the biggest bike we’ve ridden and it’s certainly not the heaviest, but it has to be said that a fully laden BMW K 1600 GTL is not to be trifled with, especially in rush-hour traffic. Elegant it may be, and its powerful 6-cylinder engine is undoubtedly a masterpiece of compact design, but this Bavarian beauty remains a monster in the urban battleground. (Against that, monsters are pretty cool, as evidenced by the attention it attracts from other bikers.)
BMW’s flagship two-wheeler comes with absolutely everything, and then some. First up: you can choose your engine power characteristics at the press of a button to suit your riding conditions, so a leisurely tour would call for Road, a sportier ride for Dynamic, and an outing in dodgy weather for Rain (duh). Then there’s the xenon headlamps, heated grips and seat, cruise control, audio system with serious speakers, onboard computer, ridebywire throttle control (BMW call it eGas), and electrically adjustable windshield with memory function. This cunning piece of kit not only protects the rider and pillion passenger, but automatically returns to the starting position when the ignition is switched off, thereby acting as an antitheft system for the GPS navigation system.
A multicontroller – essentially, a wheel on the left side of the handlebar with functionality reminiscent of BMW’s iDrive system – provides easy (and after a while, intuitive) control of the bike’s comfort, information and entertainment features. Lots of storage space is provided by two waterproof panniers plus a 49litre topcase, all of which can be opened and closed via the central locking system. The latter is equipped with two gasfilled dampers and – wait for it – interior lighting!
It’s a superb touring bike, with a relatively low centre of gravity (think stable ride), an extremely comfortable saddle (not to be sneezed at if you’re exploring the hinterland), a good riding position (after a few kilometres on the open road, I began to feel genuinely sorry for superbike riders) and an engine that delivers huge gobbets of power at the slightest twist of the wrist. How much power? BMW quote 118 kW and maximum torque of 175 N.m from the transversely mounted six, which we’re quite willing to believe. Altogether a very fi ne machine. Price: R223 450, fully loaded. – AD
Wallpapers > New on the Block (October 2012 issue)