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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have an 08 Wing I picked up last fall. Previously I had a '16 Indian Roadmaster. The Wing is way better in many ways-power, smoother shifting, power adjusting shock. I'm considering upgrading to an earlier K1600GTL, I've seen a couple '14-15 Exclusives that appeal to me. One thing I haven't seen is a discussion of the seat/leg/footpeg relationship. The one good thing about V-Twins is the narrow motor and floorboards for flexibility to move my foot position around. Flip side, the low seat height and leg-forward position does not inspire confidence the twisties.

The Wing is a little cramped for me, both the seat (kickup to the passenger seat is a bit far forward) and the pegs are a little further rearward than I'd like. How is the GTL in comparison? IIRC seat height is a little taller and the straight 6 should offer more flexibility for peg position than the flat 6 of the Wing-the WIng pretty much locks you in one position. I'm pushing 60 and had a knee replacement a year ago, it tends to get a little stiff in one position. Oh, another related question-are highway pegs of any sort available?

Lots of things about the K-bike appeal to me. I like to play in twisties and appreciate some power (my other bikes are a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R and a M109R (for sale). The Wing is surprisingly good for a 900 lb highway pounder, but it is dated, feels heavy, dash looks old and lacks features of the newer bikes. Flip side, I do a long trip every summer. I'm in Idaho, brother is in Alabama, and I have limited vacation time, so have to put some long days in the saddle (800 plus) to meet up, so a comfortable highway bike is important too.

Another question-maintenance costs? I do most of my own maintenance (oil/filters/tires/plugs/coolant/brakes). The one thing I haven't tackled is a valve adjustment on a bucket over shim bike (I do the clearance checks but have never pulled cams and swapped shims). How often does this need to be done on the K, and what is a typical cost? Another question-Wings are noted for needing fork seals and bushings replaced. Obviously not an issue with the BMW. How have the front suspension systems held up? Any significant maintenance required? One more-did every year of these bikes have bluetooth phone connectivity? My RM had that, really like the ability to connect to the stereo and not have to use a wire from the speaker. Can you change playlists/songs from the handlebar controls? OK...one more, sorry to keep piling on-when I started the post it was about one thing. How is the heat off the engine on this bike? My Indian was horrible in hot weather and the KTM is pretty warm. Another one-does every year offer quick-detach luggage? The Indian did, for daily commuting and day trips I took the trunk off-made it a lot easier to swing my leg over, and lost some weight up high; would do the same with this one.

Thanks, and sorry for such basic questions.
 

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Cannot answer your question about adjusting valves or shock life but there are lots of threads on the forum.

Motorcycle Fit - You can go to this site and use it to compare how you sit on various bikes. That will give you a sense for basic ergos. How tall are you, there are riders of all sizes here posting some basic information about you will help guide others to share experience. Yes, Highway pegs are available from ilium.

Bluetooth. Yes the bike has bluetooth, yes it can be adjusted from the handlebars. The bluetooth is not the greatest and most people opt to either upgrade it (search for motochello) or I guess just live with the limitations (sound quality). Sound quality can be improved with the motocello, I just go direct to the phone.

Heat. Heat is fine, the left side is hotter than the right but neither is what is making me sweat when it is 95+ out. A

Luggage. Yes, all GT/GTLs have quick attach/detach luggage. The GA and B models not so much. I ride without the top box most of the time. I add the topbox and armrests (quick attach mod) when the wife wants to go for a ride or for long trips. Takes about 3 minutes.
 

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A GT in combination with a tall seat gives you a more focused seating position and provides room for longer legs. I personally at 6.2 prefer this over the two GTLs I had before of which I equipped one with GT seat set up. Didn't work that well due to the mismatch between handle bars and seat. The GT has a different handle bar layout.
 
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I went from a Wing to a K1600GA. I did consider the GTL and the GT also. The wife did not like the GTL due to the big step up from the rider to the passenger perch....it put her head way above mine. I went with the GA because of the lower seat height compared to the other two 1600's. I found the seat/peg relationship a bit tight on the GA....too much bend in my knees. I went with a Russell Day Long seat that raised me up about 1.5-2" and that fixed the knee bend issue. I have the forged bars on my bike, so I went with bar risers also, but I must have short arms, because I usually have some type of bar adjustment on most of my bikes including the Wing.

I do my own basic maintenance (oil changes, wheel removal, etc,), but valves are beyond my comfort level. BMW recommends a check at 18K, but based on this board they rarely need adjustment, so most guys wait until 36K for a valve check. If the dealer does it, it runs about a grand.
 

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Like a lot of others on here,I try to do my own maintenance on my GTL,but the valve adjustment is a bit concerning to me with so much involved.
Concerning the Wing and GTL I did have a GL 1800 for 6yrs before the GTL which I have had for nearly 3yrs and if finances allowed I would return to the Wing,but there is nothing wrong with the GTL it is more economical and nimbler than the Wing.
Comes down to personal preference I think.
 

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I have an '04 Wing (150,000mi), an '18 Wing (20,000mi) and a '14 GTL-Exclusive (32,000mi). I don't think either of the Wings has as much power as the GTL. None of the Wings after 2000 have an on board compressor, unless aftermarket. Seating position is about the same as far as the angle of the knees. The newer Wing got a little more cramped, but still about the same. The newer Wing also got the DCT which I am finding I enjoy more than I thought I would. The newer Wing got titanium valves, but as far as valve adjustments go, the BMW is more work. I assume a GSA or any boxer engines valve adjustment would be easier than an inline 6.

That said, hopefully you haven't had to change the air filter in the Wing!!! I had the air filter on the GTL done at the shop, because they were already into it do replace a few parts due to an accident. So, I don't know how hard that is. Oil changes are about the same level of difficulty, although I haven't done one on the '18 Wing yet, because I had the shop do it when I bought the bike used.

I also have a '19 KTM Super Duke GT 1290 (2,500mi). Had a '17 previously (16,000mi). I haven't noticed the heat you are talking about. But that could be because I am just having too good of time. I also have a 990 LC8 Adventure (56,000mi) and it does get a bit toasty at slow speeds. The GTL doesn't seem to have a heat problem although some report overheating. But in the right conditions they all seem to have that problem. My '04 Wing has gone RED a number of times but I generally don't feel the heat off the engine.

Generally I pooh, pooh the idea that Wings and GTLs are different enough, that you should have one of each. But honestly, I am having a real hard time deciding which one to get rid of. So I haven't!
 

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BMW offers test rides so I would recommend you take a K16 for a spin and that will answer a lot of your questions about comfort and fit. The K16 handles extremely well for a bike weighing nearly 800 lbs and I had fun on my 2016 K16GTLE on Tail of the Dragon but the K16 excels on long sweepers better than it does on tight curves. I find the seat on my K16 to be uncomfortable after a couple hours so if you're planning 800 mile days you'd better plan on a aftermarket seat. I don't do my own maintenance but maintenance costs on my K16 are no worse than maintenance costs on my Kawasaki's. The valves are scheduled to be checked at the 18k service and set me back a little over a grand because a shim needed to be added. The 6000 and 12000 mile services cost me around 300 bucks or so but I'm sure you could complete those services yourself. If you want a heavy touring bike with near sport bike performance than there's no other bike that does that better than the K16. Last but not least BMW dialed back the throttle response on the 2018 K16 so if you want the more aggressive throttle buy a Pre 2018 K16. I was going to trade in my 2016 for a 2018 until I took the 2018 for a test ride and discovered the de-tuned throttle which was a show stopper for me. Needless to say I kept my 2106 and won't buy a newer K16 unless it has the same throttle response as my 2106. Good luck with whatever you decide because the K16 is a absolutely fantastic piece of machinery.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for all the well thought out replies and the time to make them. Yeah, I'm going to need to find one to at least throw a leg over. My local dealer doesn't have any in stock and won't for a while-Covid is messing up deliveries. I got a chance to test-ride a GT a couple years ago when I had my Rocket III in for repairs on a long trip, but I didn't have a great basis for comparison at the time (torque was disappointing after the III and I didn't have the chance to get it out where it would shine, just a short ride near Scottsdale). I need to really try to find out if there is any place that rents them, but not likely near me! Oh well, there is no big hurry, gives me more time to do the research.

With a seat upgrade, some highway pegs and a windshield swap, how is the K vs the GL for long highway slogs? Not my preferred style of riding, but as I mentioned sometimes it's the only way to eat up big miles. Love the fact that all the luggage is QD-saw a pic with saddlebags and top box off-looks like a big sportbike! I also find that being able to remove bags makes cleaning and service a whole lot easier.

I'm amazed at how affordable (relatively anyway) used K16s are. Seems like they depreciate more than Wings-the 1st Gen GL1800s seem way overpriced for what you get-or don't get in terms of technology. I suspect it's a supply thing, I see used Gen Is for as much as nearly new Gen IIs. All that with far less technology, power and suspension than the K.

There is a dealer over in Missoula, MT that has a '14 in stock. I might combine that with an overnight trip early next week (happen to have M-W off for a holiday shutdown), hopefully can do a test ride. It gives me a chance to ride Highway 12 (Lolo Pass), one of my favorite motorcycle roads!

Been doing a little researching-holy crap are accessories for these things expensive! Makes KTM aftermarket (and OEM) stuff look cheap in comparison. I guess you don't outfit a K from the Kuryakyn catalog :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have an '04 Wing (150,000mi), an '18 Wing (20,000mi) and a '14 GTL-Exclusive (32,000mi). I don't think either of the Wings has as much power as the GTL. None of the Wings after 2000 have an on board compressor, unless aftermarket. Seating position is about the same as far as the angle of the knees. The newer Wing got a little more cramped, but still about the same. The newer Wing also got the DCT which I am finding I enjoy more than I thought I would. The newer Wing got titanium valves, but as far as valve adjustments go, the BMW is more work. I assume a GSA or any boxer engines valve adjustment would be easier than an inline 6.

That said, hopefully you haven't had to change the air filter in the Wing!!! I had the air filter on the GTL done at the shop, because they were already into it do replace a few parts due to an accident. So, I don't know how hard that is. Oil changes are about the same level of difficulty, although I haven't done one on the '18 Wing yet, because I had the shop do it when I bought the bike used.

I also have a '19 KTM Super Duke GT 1290 (2,500mi). Had a '17 previously (16,000mi). I haven't noticed the heat you are talking about. But that could be because I am just having too good of time. I also have a 990 LC8 Adventure (56,000mi) and it does get a bit toasty at slow speeds. The GTL doesn't seem to have a heat problem although some report overheating. But in the right conditions they all seem to have that problem. My '04 Wing has gone RED a number of times but I generally don't feel the heat off the engine.

Generally I pooh, pooh the idea that Wings and GTLs are different enough, that you should have one of each. But honestly, I am having a real hard time deciding which one to get rid of. So I haven't!
Thanks for the reply, I should have just said "power adjuster" for the rear shock, I actually don't know how it works-motor? I did the air filter on my Wing this spring. Not a hard job, but a lot of parts to pull just to get at it. Will be quicker the next time! Pulling the shelter just to get at the silly thing seems like bad engineering. Last few bikes I've had have been a PITA-had a Triumph Tiger that was miserable to change it. Concerning the KTM heat, I know the Super Adventure S has an insulated rear exhaust header, some add them to the SAR. I might, nor not. It's really not that bad, but noticeable. On a "play in the dirt" bike I can live with it, wouldn't want it on a tourer. I've never looked into the SD, either GT or R enough to see how theirs are done. Love the SD GT, considered one. Also looked at a H2 SX SE, bu the first time I threw a leg over it I knew it wasn't for me. Getting old bites! Concerning your '04 Wing getting hot, I know they upgraded the cooling system, I think in '05, perhaps '06. I'm a little disappointed to hear that the new Wing is more cramped. Threw a leg over one once, I thought the pegs felt a little more forward, but don't know for sure. It's hard to really learn how a touring bike really fits until you spend a long day in the saddle. Would love to find somewhere to rent a GTL.
 

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K16's depreciate faster than they accelerate but I'm not sure why that is since the K16 is such a terrific motorcycle. Depreciation won't hurt me as much because I got a great deal, $5000 off MSRP, and I don't plan to sell the bike anytime soon. The best bet is to find a low mileage K16 where the previous owner has already taken the depreciation hit so you don't have to absorb the loss.
 

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Oh, yeah. If buying new isn’t important to you, there are some great deals out there. The width of the GTL seems narrower than the wing, definitely narrower than the K1200LT I had. That made a big difference to me(6’0, 32” inseam), The GTL is the most comfortable tourer I have ridden, after the RDL seat, that is. I recommend the Illium engine and rear bars. The highway pegs attach to the engine bars and it’s really nice to be a able to change positions on longer rides. I’m still on the original knees, but have arthritis. I may be older and slower(me, NOT the bikes😜), but I’m gonna keep going and going and...
 

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If you fall in love with a bike because of the way it sounds, the K16 bike is the way to go. Man I love the sound when it cranks up, it has the sweetest roar. I like it better than my SuperDuke, which as a V-Twin has its own sound.

I can't imagine any other bike more difficult that the 1832 Wing for changing the air filter. Remove dash cover, top shelter, disconnect radio, ignition, cruise control servo, cruise/reverse control unit, ECU, snorkels, air filter cover and gobs of bolts, nuts and connectors. I am probably missing some things. I have been told though that the 1833 is even worse, but I haven't done it yet.

They did upgrade the Wing's cooling system in '06 and then again in '12 with the slightly new model. But people were still reporting overheating. Some attributed it to the radiator fans that actually sucked air and blew it back through the steering tunnel. But even after modding the fans to blow the other way, folks were still overheating. I haven't had my '18 overheat ... yet.

Some also report that the K16 overheats and when they do, they go into limp mode? I don't know, my GTL-E has never overheated. The other big complaint is the "left pull". At speed, if the handlebars are released, it immediately pulls left. If the bike has this problem, there isn't much to be done. A good friend of mine had one that did this. I trust and believe his observations. My '14 GTL-Exclusive does not pull left.

Lot's of people who don't ride, won't get this, but you like a car, but love a bike. You pick a car like you pick a house. You pick a bike like you pick a girlfriend (or boyfriend). You can weigh all the features on all the motorcycles you are considering, but in the end, pick the one that pulls at you.
 

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I have an 08 Wing I picked up last fall. Previously I had a '16 Indian Roadmaster. The Wing is way better in many ways-power, smoother shifting, power adjusting shock. I'm considering upgrading to an earlier K1600GTL, I've seen a couple '14-15 Exclusives that appeal to me. One thing I haven't seen is a discussion of the seat/leg/footpeg relationship. The one good thing about V-Twins is the narrow motor and floorboards for flexibility to move my foot position around. Flip side, the low seat height and leg-forward position does not inspire confidence the twisties.

The Wing is a little cramped for me, both the seat (kickup to the passenger seat is a bit far forward) and the pegs are a little further rearward than I'd like. How is the GTL in comparison? IIRC seat height is a little taller and the straight 6 should offer more flexibility for peg position than the flat 6 of the Wing-the WIng pretty much locks you in one position. I'm pushing 60 and had a knee replacement a year ago, it tends to get a little stiff in one position. Oh, another related question-are highway pegs of any sort available?

Lots of things about the K-bike appeal to me. I like to play in twisties and appreciate some power (my other bikes are a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R and a M109R (for sale). The Wing is surprisingly good for a 900 lb highway pounder, but it is dated, feels heavy, dash looks old and lacks features of the newer bikes. Flip side, I do a long trip every summer. I'm in Idaho, brother is in Alabama, and I have limited vacation time, so have to put some long days in the saddle (800 plus) to meet up, so a comfortable highway bike is important too.

Another question-maintenance costs? I do most of my own maintenance (oil/filters/tires/plugs/coolant/brakes). The one thing I haven't tackled is a valve adjustment on a bucket over shim bike (I do the clearance checks but have never pulled cams and swapped shims). How often does this need to be done on the K, and what is a typical cost? Another question-Wings are noted for needing fork seals and bushings replaced. Obviously not an issue with the BMW. How have the front suspension systems held up? Any significant maintenance required? One more-did every year of these bikes have bluetooth phone connectivity? My RM had that, really like the ability to connect to the stereo and not have to use a wire from the speaker. Can you change playlists/songs from the handlebar controls? OK...one more, sorry to keep piling on-when I started the post it was about one thing. How is the heat off the engine on this bike? My Indian was horrible in hot weather and the KTM is pretty warm. Another one-does every year offer quick-detach luggage? The Indian did, for daily commuting and day trips I took the trunk off-made it a lot easier to swing my leg over, and lost some weight up high; would do the same with this one.

Thanks, and sorry for such basic questions.
Hi
Going to try to answer your questions as I currently have 2012 Honda Goldwing and 2018 BMW K1600 GTL. Im 50 yrs old. 5'10 w inseam of 30 and weight about 205 (Lots of Muscles)

1. (so have to put some long days in the saddle (800 plus) to meet up, so a comfortable highway bike is important too.) Answer. I put almost 800 miles once in one day. The goldwing is great for distance. I had no problems but any bike you ride at a period of time going to make you sore. Unless you have a custom seat /Backrest. I have stock and didn't mind.

2. How often does this need to be done on the K, and what is a typical cost? Well can't answer this exactly but seen Youtube video on it and just taking all the parts off (fairly, radiator, wires) will cost you alot in labor.

3. How have the front suspension systems held up? Any significant maintenance required? well pretty solid from reading other people's post.

4. I do with my GTL with the radio/music.
5. Can you change playlists/songs from the handlebar controls? Yes I do with the radio and my phone.

6. How is the heat off the engine on this bike? NO heat problems at all.

7. Does every year offer quick-detach luggage? 2018 does and I've seen lower year do to.
Hopefully this helps. For me I still have my Goldwing because my gf loves the back seat. However, after putting arm rest on the GTL and taking a long road trip, my gf beginning to like the GTL more. She notices smooth and fast in the turns and accelerations is fast in straight away. I am deciding whether I should get rid of my goldwing as it sits in the garage more now. Hope this helps alittle.
 

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The Wing is a little cramped for me, both the seat (kickup to the passenger seat is a bit far forward) and the pegs are a little further rearward than I'd like. How is the GTL in comparison?
I owned a 1990 GL1500SE for 29 years before buying a 2014 GTLE, so I have lots of experience on the Honda and about 1-1/2 years on the BMW. I have to say I'm happier with the Gold Wing in spite of its age. Here are some thoughts, hope something here helps you.

The Wing definitely has more legroom than the BMW, though as you mentioned the flat six doesn't give you a lot of options for foot placement. My GTLE has Ilium Works crash bars which are drilled for highway pegs (multiple holes, so several positions available) - that might work well for you. The GTLE came from the factory with three seat height options, since I bought mine used I don't know which one I have (how do I tell?). A higher seat would help with the legroom of course, but might also compromise stability when your feet are on the ground, especially if you have knee issues.

On an 800 mile ride I think the Wing would definitely be more comfortable in terms of butt comfort, ergonomics, wind and noise. The Wing's seat is more comfortable than the BMW's for both me and my passenger (wife). Of course the aftermarket can probably solve that, for a price. The GTLE exhaust note sounds good but is much louder than the Wing, and the Wing has better wind protection - larger windshield and fairing. However the GTLE has much better cooling for the rider, due to the smaller fairing/windshield and the flip-out wind deflectors that really give you a blast of air; so in hot weather you might be happier on the Beemer. In cold weather I suspect you'd prefer the Wing.

I compiled a comparison of my experiences with my GTLE and Gold Wing a while back, it's kind of long and since it throws shade at the BMW I'll probably get flamed for it... I hope some of it may be relevant for you. Here goes:

2014 K1600GTL Exclusive vs 1990 GL1500SE

Throttle:
BMW snatchy throttle/drive line lash
Honda is smooth
BMW drive-by-wire throttle has no friction, moves too easily when bike hits a bump etc., harder to control on steep twisties or slow parking lot maneuvers
Honda is much better, conventional two cable carburetor setup, good feel

Bike settings:
BMW complex, requires menus to do everything, even operating the radio is a pain
Honda is simple, pretty obvious

Fueling:
BMW requires magic incantation to open the gas cap (and mine does not always open reliably, which is fun at a gas station)
Honda no issues
BMW cap hinged at the rear for some reason, making it hard to get the fuel nozzle in place.
Honda no such issue
Honda runs on regular gas, BMW requires premium
Honda gas cap is down low, BMW way high - seems like a silly complaint until you've tried both
Honda is much easier than BMW to get onto the center stand
Honda is just easier to refuel for a number of reasons

Center stand:
Honda center stand is easy to use, goes on and off without too much work
BMW center stand is murder to use, requires all the strength I have - in spite of BMW ~100lbs lighter

Audio:
BMW radio sounds terrible over Bluetooth - cannot listen even to AM radio - phone works fine though - strange
Honda wired audio connection sounds fine
BMW intercom won't function if helmets and bike not powered up in the right order
Honda intercom just works

Drive train, brakes:
BMW brakes grabby, though powerful
Honda brakes kind of weak, no ABS
BMW tranny loose and lashy
Honda is fine, other than the GL1500 shifter issue

Illuminated switchgear:
BMW doesn't
Honda does

Auto canceling turn signals:
BMW doesn't
Honda does

Oil level check:
BMW bizarrely complicated
Honda straightforward

Comfort:
BMW loud, Honda quiet
BMW poor wind protection, Honda much better
BMW seat not good, both driver and passenger always sliding forward; Honda no such issues
BMW suspension pretty harsh, Honda is softer
BMW buzzy near redline, Honda smooth throughout rev range
BMW foot controls a bit cramped, Honda more roomy
BMW passenger has non-adjustable foot pegs, Honda has adjustable floor boards
BMW doesn't have any warm air vents, Honda has leg, toe warmers
Passenger sits higher on BMW than Honda, gets more wind blast, makes bike tippier two-up

Other stuff:
BMW GPS invisible in direct sunlight, hard to see anytime, not particularly useful
BMW has too many electronic doodads that will likely break eventually (e.g. computer controlled gas cap - a useless waste)
BMW requires periodic valve adjustment, not easy to get to
BMW standard crash bars are worthless, must turn to aftermarket for real protection. Even then, rear protection is flimsy as there's no solid mounting point available.
Honda has effective crash bars standard, dropped bike can be picked up pretty easily
Honda has air compressor, can be used to inflate tires, nothing like that on BMW
BMW starter failed at 14000 miles
Honda has had no major problems in 70000 miles/30 years
BMW prone to overheating
Honda never overheats
GL1500 is a better looking bike to my eyes, smooth sleek design though lots of tupperware
Too much "surface excitement" on the BMW for my taste

Things BMW does better:
BMW is much more powerful, both engine and brakes
BMW has single sided swingarm, easier rear tire change
BMW handles better
BMW safety features far more advanced - ABS, stability control etc.
BMW has Duolever fork, though not clear that this is much of an advantage
BMW bodywork doesn't rattle/rustle like Honda
BMW bodywork easier to work on, doesn't snap together with tabs that can break
BMW seat removable without tools
BMW has power windshield, less buffeting than standard GL1500 windshield
BMW headlight is better, steerable HID. Also fog lights and LED auxiliary lights
BMW is lighter
BMW suspension more adjustable
BMW fuel injection runs the same cold or hot, though it is snatchy at moderate speeds
BMW doesn't pollute, doesn't stink - fuel injected/catalytic converter
BMW has central locking
BMW has passenger arm rests - though they stay in place if you remove the trunk, looks strange
BMW luggage is removable, side bags can be toted around like a suitcase. Trunk is also removable but cables have to be disconnected.
BMW has heated seats, grips; Honda doesn't
BMW has more much more powerful cool air vents
BMW has tire pressure monitoring, oil level monitoring

Bottom line, the GTLE is a fine bike in many ways but I'm not particularly happy with it. If you like your Gold Wing you may be disappointed with the BMW as I was, so choose carefully. Obviously most people in this forum love their Beemers, no disrespect intended, please be gentle, this is just my experience. Good luck with your decision.
 

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Cannot answer your question about adjusting valves or shock life but there are lots of threads on the forum.

Motorcycle Fit - You can go to this site and use it to compare how you sit on various bikes. That will give you a sense for basic ergos. How tall are you, there are riders of all sizes here posting some basic information about you will help guide others to share experience. Yes, Highway pegs are available from ilium.

Bluetooth. Yes the bike has bluetooth, yes it can be adjusted from the handlebars. The bluetooth is not the greatest and most people opt to either upgrade it (search for motochello) or I guess just live with the limitations (sound quality). Sound quality can be improved with the motocello, I just go direct to the phone.

Heat. Heat is fine, the left side is hotter than the right but neither is what is making me sweat when it is 95+ out. A

Luggage. Yes, all GT/GTLs have quick attach/detach luggage. The GA and B models not so much. I ride without the top box most of the time. I add the topbox and armrests (quick attach mod) when the wife wants to go for a ride or for long trips. Takes about 3 minutes.
Earthling... I haven’t heard of motchello before, thanks to your post I’ve looked it up. As all GTL riders with stock audio, I’m suffering here. I’m opting to buy a Cardo so that i can pipe the music / gps and phone to my helmet instead of the fairing speakers on the GTL. Any recommendations would truly be appreciated.
 

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I owned a 1990 GL1500SE for 29 years before buying a 2014 GTLE, so I have lots of experience on the Honda and about 1-1/2 years on the BMW. I have to say I'm happier with the Gold Wing in spite of its age. Here are some thoughts, hope something here helps you.

The Wing definitely has more legroom than the BMW, though as you mentioned the flat six doesn't give you a lot of options for foot placement. My GTLE has Ilium Works crash bars which are drilled for highway pegs (multiple holes, so several positions available) - that might work well for you. The GTLE came from the factory with three seat height options, since I bought mine used I don't know which one I have (how do I tell?). A higher seat would help with the legroom of course, but might also compromise stability when your feet are on the ground, especially if you have knee issues.

On an 800 mile ride I think the Wing would definitely be more comfortable in terms of butt comfort, ergonomics, wind and noise. The Wing's seat is more comfortable than the BMW's for both me and my passenger (wife). Of course the aftermarket can probably solve that, for a price. The GTLE exhaust note sounds good but is much louder than the Wing, and the Wing has better wind protection - larger windshield and fairing. However the GTLE has much better cooling for the rider, due to the smaller fairing/windshield and the flip-out wind deflectors that really give you a blast of air; so in hot weather you might be happier on the Beemer. In cold weather I suspect you'd prefer the Wing.

I compiled a comparison of my experiences with my GTLE and Gold Wing a while back, it's kind of long and since it throws shade at the BMW I'll probably get flamed for it... I hope some of it may be relevant for you. Here goes:

2014 K1600GTL Exclusive vs 1990 GL1500SE

Throttle:
BMW snatchy throttle/drive line lash
Honda is smooth
BMW drive-by-wire throttle has no friction, moves too easily when bike hits a bump etc., harder to control on steep twisties or slow parking lot maneuvers
Honda is much better, conventional two cable carburetor setup, good feel

Bike settings:
BMW complex, requires menus to do everything, even operating the radio is a pain
Honda is simple, pretty obvious

Fueling:
BMW requires magic incantation to open the gas cap (and mine does not always open reliably, which is fun at a gas station)
Honda no issues
BMW cap hinged at the rear for some reason, making it hard to get the fuel nozzle in place.
Honda no such issue
Honda runs on regular gas, BMW requires premium
Honda gas cap is down low, BMW way high - seems like a silly complaint until you've tried both
Honda is much easier than BMW to get onto the center stand
Honda is just easier to refuel for a number of reasons

Center stand:
Honda center stand is easy to use, goes on and off without too much work
BMW center stand is murder to use, requires all the strength I have - in spite of BMW ~100lbs lighter

Audio:
BMW radio sounds terrible over Bluetooth - cannot listen even to AM radio - phone works fine though - strange
Honda wired audio connection sounds fine
BMW intercom won't function if helmets and bike not powered up in the right order
Honda intercom just works

Drive train, brakes:
BMW brakes grabby, though powerful
Honda brakes kind of weak, no ABS
BMW tranny loose and lashy
Honda is fine, other than the GL1500 shifter issue

Illuminated switchgear:
BMW doesn't
Honda does

Auto canceling turn signals:
BMW doesn't
Honda does

Oil level check:
BMW bizarrely complicated
Honda straightforward

Comfort:
BMW loud, Honda quiet
BMW poor wind protection, Honda much better
BMW seat not good, both driver and passenger always sliding forward; Honda no such issues
BMW suspension pretty harsh, Honda is softer
BMW buzzy near redline, Honda smooth throughout rev range
BMW foot controls a bit cramped, Honda more roomy
BMW passenger has non-adjustable foot pegs, Honda has adjustable floor boards
BMW doesn't have any warm air vents, Honda has leg, toe warmers
Passenger sits higher on BMW than Honda, gets more wind blast, makes bike tippier two-up

Other stuff:
BMW GPS invisible in direct sunlight, hard to see anytime, not particularly useful
BMW has too many electronic doodads that will likely break eventually (e.g. computer controlled gas cap - a useless waste)
BMW requires periodic valve adjustment, not easy to get to
BMW standard crash bars are worthless, must turn to aftermarket for real protection. Even then, rear protection is flimsy as there's no solid mounting point available.
Honda has effective crash bars standard, dropped bike can be picked up pretty easily
Honda has air compressor, can be used to inflate tires, nothing like that on BMW
BMW starter failed at 14000 miles
Honda has had no major problems in 70000 miles/30 years
BMW prone to overheating
Honda never overheats
GL1500 is a better looking bike to my eyes, smooth sleek design though lots of tupperware
Too much "surface excitement" on the BMW for my taste

Things BMW does better:
BMW is much more powerful, both engine and brakes
BMW has single sided swingarm, easier rear tire change
BMW handles better
BMW safety features far more advanced - ABS, stability control etc.
BMW has Duolever fork, though not clear that this is much of an advantage
BMW bodywork doesn't rattle/rustle like Honda
BMW bodywork easier to work on, doesn't snap together with tabs that can break
BMW seat removable without tools
BMW has power windshield, less buffeting than standard GL1500 windshield
BMW headlight is better, steerable HID. Also fog lights and LED auxiliary lights
BMW is lighter
BMW suspension more adjustable
BMW fuel injection runs the same cold or hot, though it is snatchy at moderate speeds
BMW doesn't pollute, doesn't stink - fuel injected/catalytic converter
BMW has central locking
BMW has passenger arm rests - though they stay in place if you remove the trunk, looks strange
BMW luggage is removable, side bags can be toted around like a suitcase. Trunk is also removable but cables have to be disconnected.
BMW has heated seats, grips; Honda doesn't
BMW has more much more powerful cool air vents
BMW has tire pressure monitoring, oil level monitoring

Bottom line, the GTLE is a fine bike in many ways but I'm not particularly happy with it. If you like your Gold Wing you may be disappointed with the BMW as I was, so choose carefully. Obviously most people in this forum love their Beemers, no disrespect intended, please be gentle, this is just my experience. Good luck with your decision.
Great honest summing up the other thing. I should add having owned two Indian Roadmasters, the GTL is by no way as comfortable as the Indians are and the BMW stereo system suck compared to the Indians as well. Bluetooth using a Cardo or Sena will fix the issue with coms and music. Other than that the K1600 bikes are fantastic if you go with the GT or GTL the luggage bags come off easy and are great . as mentioned above the K1600`s are a way better bike for speed and handling but the Hondas are close.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I appreciate all the detailed, thoughtful responses. I've been spending a lot of time reading the forum, and getting the "new bike" bug (well, new to me, won't buy new). This one is looking really appealing:


My vacation plans are to ride to western NY (my old stomping grounds). An old friend puts on an annual benefit ride for a local children's hospital that I've been meaning to do. Then down to W. VA, TN and western NC to look into possible retirement areas; I've never spent much time there. Then to my brother's place in Alabama for a few days and head home. This has me thinking of flying into Manchester and save a couple days riding, have a short day's riding into WNY and do the rest of the trip on the K. Hmmm, gotta say I'm tempted.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, I had a chance to test ride a GTL today, dealer over in Missoula had a '18 in stock. I have a tough decision to make! My impression-the GTL is only about 130-ish pounds lighter than the WIng, but feels more like 300. Feels a lot more like my 1290 SAR than the Wing. Low speed, I found it much less heavy feeling and more controllable. More enjoyable around town, just more rideable. Engine is a gem. Shifting is louder, a little more "clunk" but, I guess I'd say not in a bad way. Precise I guess would be a good term the way it "snaps" into gear, not "agricultural" like the clunk of a Harley or most cruisers. Love the feel of the engine, gear ratios seem well sorted. Bike feels very "flickable" for a big touring bike. I like sporty riding and we have lots of great, twisty riding roads here in Idaho, this bike will be fantastic for that.

I got a chance to take it out on the highway. Definitely not the wind protection of the Wing. I'm not sure that's a bad thing-you know you're on a bike, not in a Civic. Maybe a set of Aerowings would help, especially on high-speed highway rides. Definitely not as solid and planted on the highway at speed as my Wing or the Rocket III I had. Was running 85 or so and really felt it kicked around by the wind blast from semis. Not unmanageable though. A bike that "feels" lighter is probably just going to be that way.

Even on my short ride, I find the seat to, well, suck. Short front to back so you're locked in one position. "Kickup" to the pillion needs to be moved back. Seat probably should be a little taller for me. This is one of the first bikes I've ridden where I feel I'd have to have an aftermarket seat, not just want one. I'm not that tall (about 6') but couldn't raise the windshield to try looking through rather than over-which is fine, I always look over.

In short, I pretty much just reiterated everything everyone else already said. Love the bike, it suits my riding style. It's just that at the moment I'm not sure I'd be up for those 800 mile day highway slogs with it when the need arises. I need to call around and see if anywhere does rentals. Only way to really answer that is to put on a good long day.
 

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LOL the K1600GTL does have auto cancel signals. I'm not sure why a post above said it doesn't. To me any used motorcycle purchase is risky unless the seller has proof all maintenance and recalls were done at the dealer. I say this because I don't care how good a garage mechanic is, the dealer has an obligation to provide warranty over certain services and to keep its reputation up. BMWs are complex machines and I rather have them perform all the work with the correct tools and brains than think that a seller didn't miss anything on his/her DIY maintenance procedures.
 

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LOL the K1600GTL does have auto cancel signals. I'm not sure why a post above said it doesn't. To me any used motorcycle purchase is risky unless the seller has proof all maintenance and recalls were done at the dealer. I say this because I don't care how good a garage mechanic is, the dealer has an obligation to provide warranty over certain services and to keep its reputation up. BMWs are complex machines and I rather have them perform all the work with the correct tools and brains than think that a seller didn't miss anything on his/her DIY maintenance procedures.
LOL my 2014 GTLE turn signals do not auto cancel. Maybe they're supposed to, but mine do not, never have.
 
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