Join Date: May 2011
Location: Below Lake Ontario, NY
Some complained the 2012 models produced in 2011, the 2012 models produced in 2012 and possibly even some of the 2013's had "clunky" transmissions. This did not mean they were not reliable or had problems, it just meant some found them make a louder clunk. Some even found them to have more play when transitioning quickly on and off throttle. I had a 2012 produced in 2011 and a 2012 produced in 2012. A buddy has a 2012 produced in 2012. I currently ride a 2016. I find no difference. Some pretty credible folks on this forum had earlier models which they traded for newer models and they found the new transmissions are quieter and have better action.
I would not let an earlier model scare you off due to transmission problems but it is possible that a 2014 or newer could have a quieter transmission with less play in it. Keep in mind, not many of us found the older models to be a problem from a sound or feel standpoint but some did. Also keep in mind, earlier models sell for less and it is not a reliability issue.
Other issues like switch gear was a BMW wide problem going back to when the switched from the blinker controls being on two handlebars (left blinker on left bar, right blinker on right bar), to the blinker being more Japanese where it is one control for both blinkers. The K1300GT was the first to use this control set up, R models like the GS, RT and others followed a year or two later. All of these bikes had the switch issue. In the last couple of years BMW finally sorted it out and most bikes were fixed at no cost to the owner even if well out of warranty. Same is true of the water pump where some people had problems with a very slight leak best described as "weeping". Almost all would already been fixed by BMW.
All in all, the K1600 has been a solid platform. The older the model, the lower the price.