Greetings from Canada - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-11-2019, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Greetings from Canada

Heyas, greeting from Canada.

I've owned various motorcycles over the years, the last two being a Harley 2016 Ultra Limited and 2018 Road King Special. Neither of which are quite doing it for me.

Not going to bash Harley, but it seems you're more buying into a culture than anything else. While the 'spontaneous friends' are nice, it also leaves me longing for something more refined.

I'm a bigger guy, 6'1, 295lbs, so I'm looking for a bigger bike obviously.

I've pretty much narrowed down my list to a few bikes and the K1600's are at the top of my list.

I'm in the deep research phase before purchasing, so I came here looking to get as much detailed information as possible. I've had some experience with BMW motorcycles, and found a few 'quirks' that prevent it from being my solid top pick.

My first is the design of the hand controls, specifically the push button switch mechanisms. I've seen out of 5 bikes, 4 had one more more switch packs fail due to the epoxy lifting allowing water into the switches. This was a few years ago, and I'm told there was a recall for them, but not sure if it's been completely remedied.

The second is the lack of built in nav. The optional and expensive bolt on BMW branded Garmin GPS receiver, while offering more than the typical aftermarket GPS, looks more of an afterthought than being designed for the bike.

Anyway.. besides those two nitpicks, I'm trying to narrow down the list between the K1600B B/GA GT and GTL. Since I'm a solo rider, I'm leaning more toward the B and GT.. just not sure the real differences between them. It sounds like the GT has a high speed limiter and a different (good/bad?) rear end.

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-12-2019, 02:58 AM
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I like the fact that I can remove the GPS and take it in to my desk top for downloading pre made routes and waypoints. I can also us it my car (with and adapter). Since 2011 they have offered 3 models so I a person can sell an old model and purchase and pop in a new model.


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post #3 of 11 Old 07-12-2019, 09:02 AM
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First off - Welcome! Where are you in Canada?

Those are three very different bikes. The B is of course the cruiser, a bit more unique, most laid back seating position, also the most compact seating position of the three. Not so much that at 6' it is going to be a problem. The B will allow you to ride alongside that HD crowd of friends and when the time is right, leave them in the dust while you carve up the road.

The GTL and GA are the two most closely related beasts. They are the sport tourers in the crowd. A bit more nimble than the B (GA then GTL) but in either case you are talking 'better goldwing', not sport bike with luggage (as integrated as the gold wing but not looking like an adult scooter). The GTL has better luggage in my opinion than the GA as the bike can be stripped back to its least encumbered form (no bags), and all three cases can hold a full face helmet. The GA sits a bit lower so ergonomically that may factor in for you. Recently some of the forum members have modified their GAs so that the top luggage can be removed in a few minutes. Where the GA is the fully dressed cruiser the GTL is the fully dressed sport tourer. (flame suit on). Its subtle and if I could buy two new bikes today I would probably buy a GA and an ADV bike (probably KTM). If you are riding two up, the GA would be the new bike I would buy simply because its a bit better bike for the passenger (my opinion) due to its slightly lower passenger riding position and slightly lower center of gravity. Because my wife is only an occasional pillion I have the GTL. I strip the GTL back to a purely 1 up bike during the week and then either throw the panniers on for an overnight or panniers plus top box and arm rests if the wife is going.. its a 2-3 minute difference in activity either way. The GTL is the most versatile of all of the bikes for this reason. Even fully stripped the GTL is no GT, in its lightest form it is a more nimble GTL and easier to flick in corners but its not a GT.

The GT is the touring sport bike. It has the most aggressive riding position and suspension and is similar to the others until you turn up the wick. That slight change in riding position gives you more of a sport rider (but not pure track bike) focus as well as properly aligning your weight over the bike. If you are a more aggressive rider and know you are 1 up most of the time and you want to eat up the miles as well as carve the canyons, this is probably the bike you want.

The speed limiters as well as throttle response on all of new bikes can be adjusted through an updated ECU flash so don't be distracted by those items. Cannot speak to the switch packs as I don't know anyone who has had a switch problem. The admittedly few K1600s around me seem to be as solid as mine which has been a tire munching but otherwise standard maintenance beast.

The GPS is a whole other thing. In my opinion the whole electronics package needs to be updated on the bike but the GPS is the worst offender. The good. Its a garmin, its rugged, it can be removed, it is easy to update and manage. It is integrated into the bike audio system. The bad. Its a garmin, its a standalone GPS, and its kinda small in this day and age. Mine is a dash ornament waiting to be replaced with a wunderlinq. I have switched wholly over to using a phone as my main GPS plus entertainment/weather/etc. Its been a real revelation to be able to talk to my electronics (Cardo packtalk Bold headset) and ask it to do everything for me. Even while mid sweeper I can ask Siri for something and it just works. If I was evaluating a new bike... well I am always evaluating but if I was seriously evaluating new bikes I would not put electronics at the top of my list other than making sure it had a readable tach and decent telemetry which the K1600 has. I would not even consider carplay or android auto (have both in cars), for a bike solution as they are simply unusable on a bike and they ultimately limit what the phone can do. No thank you, not spending 1500 on an upgrade that does less than what I have now.

The other issues you will notice when you ride the bike is that it is a more lively ride than the HDs (in a very good way). You will feel the road in a way you never could on any HD, again, in a good way not in a 90s suspension kind of way. The bike will also dance a bit more in dirty air. Across the board the KBike is not a bike that you ride with a death grip and muscle leverage. The bike is effortless whether it is carving a corner, abusing the passing lane, or just eating up the miles. It will effortlessly cruise at speeds that are unthinkable on any HD. There are numerous threads on farkles that are recommended for the bike and for the most part they apply across the range. I would find a dealer with the range available and go test ride as ultimately thats the only way you will know which one is for you.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-12-2019, 10:04 AM
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Greetings -=K=-anada!

There is thy gold, worse poison to men's souls,
Doing more murders in this loathsome world,
Than these poor compounds that thou mayst not sell.
I sell thee poison; thou hast sold me none.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-12-2019, 10:22 AM
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Greetings from Newfoundland! About two months ago I switched from a VTX1300 to a GT. My only regret is that I didn't do this years ago. The riding style, while radically different, is just so incredibly fun. The bike is an absolute blast to ride. This is one of the best forums I have ever been a part of; the amount of helpful information (and riders) here is off the charts!
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-12-2019, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthling View Post
First off - Welcome! Where are you in Canada?

Those are three very different bikes.
Thank you all for the replies.

I'm in Alberta, and it's been a miserable riding season so far. It's been raining daily for over a month. Good at keeping down the number of forest fires, but lousy for riding.

From what I've been reading, the B/GA sounds like it might be my best bet, with some caveats. As a solo rider, I'm not sure if I need the top case. I have a nice dry sack I can strap on when needed. I've been making a mental list of pros and cons between the B/GA vs GT/GTL. My top issue against the B/GA has been the side cases (don't come off easily for cleaning and servicing of the rear tire and drivetrain). While the more aggressive riding position of the GT/GTL concerns me over a long rides. If BMW made the top and side cases of GA as easy to remove as the GTL, it would be a no brainer which model to get. I love that the GTL is one harness and one knob to remove the top case. Brilliant. Why didn't they give the GA that treatment is beyond me.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-12-2019, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursadorable View Post
Thank you all for the replies.

I'm in Alberta, and it's been a miserable riding season so far. It's been raining daily for over a month. Good at keeping down the number of forest fires, but lousy for riding.

From what I've been reading, the B/GA sounds like it might be my best bet, with some caveats. As a solo rider, I'm not sure if I need the top case. I have a nice dry sack I can strap on when needed. I've been making a mental list of pros and cons between the B/GA vs GT/GTL. My top issue against the B/GA has been the side cases (don't come off easily for cleaning and servicing of the rear tire and drivetrain). While the more aggressive riding position of the GT/GTL concerns me over a long rides. If BMW made the top and side cases of GA as easy to remove as the GTL, it would be a no brainer which model to get. I love that the GTL is one harness and one knob to remove the top case. Brilliant. Why didn't they give the GA that treatment is beyond me.
The GTL ergos are not aggressive at all, more stretched out than the GA and more upright than the GT. Coming from an HD though, I get it, the B/GA is going to feel more natural. The only reason I would consider a GA is if I wanted a (new) dedicated 2-up bike. My GTL top box sits on the shelf often enough that I would be comfortable with a B otherwise. Also, if you are one of those guys that tries to turn the dashed lines in the road into a continuous stripe (by driving in the triple digits) then the GT/GTL is the way to go.

2012 BMW K1600GTL
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-15-2019, 10:49 AM
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Greetings to Canada!

Never eat yellow snow
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-15-2019, 11:02 AM
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The ergonomics are not aggressive on the GTL at all as I have a 16 GTLE. I am 6'2" at 310 and you will definitely need a custom seat such as an RDL. I have added handle bar risers that raise and pullback the seating position and also highway pegs. As stated above I too use my phone for NAV and don't really care about the rest and just ride. You will love it.

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post #10 of 11 Old 07-23-2019, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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It's going to be an interesting next few months as I pay off my 2018 Road King Special, and Indian is releasing a new liquid cooled fixed fairing motorcycle.

I'll probably take a K1600B out for a test drive later this month, or early next month.
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