It seems with the recent introduction of the Nav V there has been a new interest in the possibility of mounting the Nav between the handlebars rather than in the stock cradle inside the K1600 dash. This is definitely not for everyone and most will be quite happy with the stock location. However, here's how I had my Nav IV mounted. When I received my new Nav V (thanks Bob at CCBMW!), it was simply snapped into the same cradle with no modifications.
The advantages of this are several:
- The Nav is located closer to the rider for better visibility of detailed map information.
- The touchscreen is fully available without the long reach to the dash for all those things that you can't do with the wonderwheel, especially phone operation, switching to satellite traffic and weather screens, etc.
- The angle of the dash location reflects external sunlight nearly directly into the rider's face, reducing daytime visibility. The lower position between the bars reduces stray light interference.
- In my case, I wanted to mount another device in the dash location.
) makes an excellent CNC aluminum bracket to mount the Nav cradle between the bars as seen on my bike below. Installation is dead simple: snap out the plastic roundel plug and then attach the mount with a single M8 screw. The female threads are already present under the roundel. The part number for the K1600GT/GTL is GT10-1.
To make this move, I saw three options:
- Unbolt and move the stock cradle in the dash down to the BikePenR mount.
- Leave the stock cradle in place and purchase a standard Garmin Zumo 660/665 cradle for ~$50 online.
- Spend a bit more and install a second BMW OEM cradle between the bars.
I chose the last option since I wanted to keep the stock cradle in place in the dash so I can quickly move the Nav back to that position if I ever choose to. Wiring an actual BMW stock cradle in parallel with the dash cradle (as opposed to the generic Zumo cradle) has the advantage of maintaining full connectivity with the bike. I'll admit that controlling the Nav from the wonderwheel isn't that big of a deal, especially with the new easily accessible location between the bars. However, there are several other advantages to keeping the LINbus connection to the bike:
- Bike clock is automatically set to accurate satellite time from the Nav.
- Automatic Nav screen dimming based on ambient light levels (I like this, although some don't).
- Sending of voice prompts over the bike's audio system when a helmet is not paired to the Nav.
- Low fuel warning on the Nav screen along with automatic guidance to nearest gas stations.
- Displaying estimated fuel range on the Nav V.
- Possible additional connectivity and data displays in the future to match some of the features now available on the K50/51 GSW systems?
Many have asked how I found and tied into the wiring harness for the stock Nav cradle in the dash. I took pictures during my install but, unfortunately, not for the purpose of sharing; just for my own documentation and to jog my increasingly aging memory... So, they aren't the best but even so might hopefully help someone else.
Below, you see a photo of the stock BMW OEM cradle which I ordered from my dealer: 77 52 7 721 941. As it is supplied, it is fitted with two separate plugs; a 2 pin and a 3 pin for a total of 5 wires in the harness. At first I thought that I might just find the mates of these two plugs and install them in place of the dash cradle. However, thinking about it more, I really wanted to keep full functionality in both cradles so I opted to splice in the new cradle. Another factor helping this decision is the fact that the three pin connector is buried deep along the inside of the fuel tank, making it very difficult (impossible without removing the tank?) to get to. I also wanted to easily remove my new cradle if desired so I used a nice waterproof 6-pin plug and receptacle so it could be readily unplugged. In the photo, you'll see where I cut off the wiring harness right above the molded piece that splits to the two separate stock plugs. I then stripped back the cable and crimped on my Deutsch plug (see photo below for part number and description).
In the photo above, you'll notice the long release lever that is fitted to the stock K1600 cradle. This makes it easy to press in the confined quarters of the dash cradle. However, I had another Zumo cradle available so I carefully disassembled it and swapped in the shorter release lever (see below) since it would be easily accessible between the bars. This is absolutely unnecessary; just something I thought seemed like a nice idea since it was already available.
The wiring harness for the stock dash cradle can be easily located underneath the dark grey trim pieces on the top of the right side of the fuel tank. You'll also want to remove the right speaker grill and the right hand speaker to give you plenty of room to work. Identifying the cable assembly is easy. Look at the photo of the new cradle in the picture above that shows the section of cable that I cut off. Remember what the molded piece that splits the cable into two cables looks like; that's what you'll be looking for in the area just to the right and slightly below the instrument cluster. This is a Garmin cable and there will be no other cables on the bike that share this molded splitter. The good news is that the cable is too long for the trip up to the dash cradle so you'll find an extra loop of cable tucked under the instrument cluster. After carefully freeing it, I had plenty of cable to work with to add the inline 6-pin Deutsch plug. In the photo below, you'll see my splice where I added the plug receptacle directly to the stock harness.
Once the plug receptacle was spliced in, all that was left was to plug in the new cradle. I inserted weatherproof caps in the 6th wire location since I only needed 5 conductors. With this arrangement, removing the between bar mount at some time in the future is as easy as unscrewing the 8mm screw holding it to the bars, snapping in the BMW roundel, and unplugging the cradle from the receptacle underneath the right top tank cover. Once installed, it is no longer necessary to remove the speaker grill and speaker to reach the plug.
As a final explanation, I should point out that careful observers will notice that my original photo of the installed Deutsch plug on the end of the new Nav harness looks a bit different than in the final two photos on the bike. I decided that the small wires inside the cable harness were a bit two thin for my crimp connectors so I ended up splicing more substantial 20 gauge wires onto the end of the cable before attaching them to the plug.
In summary, I have a new Nav cradle position with full bike communication functionality. Also, the cradle in the dash still works equally well. If I ever want to use only the dash cradle, the new one between the bars can be removed in a couple of minutes, leaving only a neat empty receptacle under the tank cover. However, the warning that I have given in the past still applies: if you actually move your Nav, prepare to be reluctant to ever put it back in the dash. The convenience and usability that this location provides is great in my experience. Your mileage may vary!