K1600 GT Break-in Ride
I picked up my K1600 GT on Wednesday and trailered it home. Today (Saturday, May 28) was the first chance I had to actually ride it. I traded in an ’07 R1200 RT – a truly wonderful bike – so I couldn’t help but compare. The weather this weekend was forecast to be crummy, but I was anxious to ride.
First problem: I had wheeled the bike into the garage. To get it out, I could lean on the rear rack of the RT to lift the front wheel off the ground and then turn the bike with both wheels up and only the center stand on the smooth garage floor. I tried that with the K16 but couldn’t get the front wheel to lift.
Second problem: It was 40?? with a light rain falling. Since I have to go higher to get anywhere, I checked the road reports and weather radar. The road reports looked good, but the radar showed rain/snow mix. I set the traction control on “rain” and off I went.
The bike is probably the most solid one I’ve ever had. I find it hard to move when I’m standing next to it, but riding it even at walking speeds it is surprisingly stable, solid, and tractable. Every BMW I’ve had has been a boxer, so this one definitely sounds different. The riding position is very much like the RT. I can flat-foot it on the low seat setting (standard seat), which I couldn’t do on the RT unless it was fully loaded. And if you want a little more power, it gives it. You want a lot more, it has that too. It is a very easy bike to ride.
It rained most of the 35 miles or so across the flat Laramie Plains. I climbed up a thousand feet or so. The temperature dropped to 32, with snow:
And down into North Park in Colorado. The weather was definitely better, even though it was still in the low forties. The only problem I had now was keeping my speed down. This is a mileage-eater.
The pavement was still damp, but at least it wasn’t raining. I had lunch in Walden. A mess of motorcyclists came in. I asked them about the weather farther south – better. I stopped at a gas station where a couple of Gold Wing couples were filling up. They’d come from the east across Cameron Pass (10,276 feet). They said the road was great and there wasn’t any falling snow, so I headed up toward the pass.
The road was dry the whole way except where melt was crossing the road. I put the traction control on ‘road’ and could feel the difference. Temperatures stayed in the forties. This is the best shot of the top, despite my glove being in the way:
Down the east side the snow soon cleared and the temperatures rose to around 50 with some occasional drizzle. This is a lovely road but can be crowded. The GT has plenty of oomph to pass quickly. A couple of times it almost left me behind when it took off. This bike sure loves the curves. It’s more competent than I am. It keeps its poise even when I back off the throttle in mid-curve – no wobble or hesitation, just smooth execution. I put the traction control on ‘dynamic’ and hung on.
I headed home. The relatively straight road up over the summit to Laramie always seems really tame after Poudre Canyon. I put only a little more than 200 miles on the bike, but the cold and the layers of clothing wore me out. I may do the same loop tomorrow, but the other direction. The weather is supposed to be the same.
I think the seat and handgrips are harder than on the RT. I found the side-stand a bit awkward, but I’ll get used to it. (It hides under the foot peg.) It’ll take me longer to get used to the awful turn signal switch. It is the standard design instead of the wonderful BMW style. And my other complaint is that there is no usable fairing pocket. The right one will fit an iPod. The left one won’t fit an Anonymous book. The only thing I’ve found so far that’ll fit is a small roll of toilet paper for roadside emergencies.
Still, it is a fantastic motorcycle. My RT was wonderful because it just did everything well. The GT may do everything even better. I can’t wait to take it on a long trip.
That's a nice loop to ride, to start the break in on your new BMW! :)
I brought a new RS home through a snow squall. The first thing that happened when I rode away from the dealer, was the rear end kicking out on the slippery parking lot.
Have a wonderful summer on your new bike, Kate. :thumb
Wow, Kate. I'm so jealous. I rode a GTL yesterday for the first time. I want one!
Congrats on your new ride.
I have a service appointment Tuesday and wonÔÇÖt be able to ride Monday, so I thought I should put some more miles on the GT. It was 45?? when I left home but no rain. What a difference a day makes. HereÔÇÖs where I hit snow yesterday:
It was a sunny and windy day. It climbed into the 60s in the morning and stayed in the 70s all afternoon until I got back to Wyoming. I buzzed through Walden and hit Muddy Pass:
And then Rabbit Ears Pass:
Rabbit Ears has two summits. In the area in-between there were people on their snowmobiles, but the road was clear. I went up the Yampa valley and then took CO 134 over Gore Pass:
This is a wonderful motorcycle road ÔÇô good pavement, lightly traveled, and lots of curves. Too soon I was back on US 40, with lots of cars (and troopers). I stopped for lunch at The Depot in Hot Sulphur Springs. The place isnÔÇÖt much, but itÔÇÖs clean and the green chili burrito really hit the spot.
I took a little side trip to Grand Lake and then headed home.
Coming down into Wyoming I hit a strong crosswind ÔÇô 35 mph winds with gusts over 50. The GT handles wind really well, but that kind of wind makes riding difficult. I was glad to get home.
Today was a bit over 360 miles ÔÇô about the distance I like to ride in a day. There were some wonderful roads and the bike was flawless. We are starting to get used to each other. This is probably the easiest bike to ride IÔÇÖve ever had. But it sure wants to go fast!
Tuesday morning and I have an 8 o’clock appointment in Denver for Greta’s first checkup.
Packing up for camping much of the day at the dealer, I realize once again how good the bags are on this bike. They operate much as the RT‘s but easier and more smoothly. My laptop in its padded case just slides right in, lying flat on the bottom. It would fit in the RT, but I’d have to prop it at an angle and was always afraid of getting it bent if I put too much other stuff in there. Again, the GT is very much like the RT but at the next level.
I thought I’d be able to check out the fancy headlight, but it was already too light. I’ll have to wait until October – I don’t like riding in the evening. Here we are, ready to go at 5:20
The GT starts like a car – just push the button and it runs. No playing with the throttle, waiting for it to settle down. It did stumble once as I started off immediately after starting it. Perhaps it needs to warm just a tad when it’s been sitting overnight in the mid-thirties, about long enough to adjust my helmet. With the RT, I had to be suited up ready to go when I started it because it would stall if I let go of the throttle. The GT just hums away.
I love riding in the early morning, when it’s peaceful. It was 35?? with a cloudless sky, almost no wind. The wind protection on the GT must be better than on the RT, because I had to switch off the electric vest now and then despite the mid-thirties temperature. I took the two-lane south – I’d be on the interstate soon enough. The sun peeked over the horizon just as I got to the road summit.
Soon after starting up again, I saw an antelope on the side of the road, contemplating crossing. I slowed but it decided to go back away from the road. They tend to be smarter than deer, but what isn’t?
I had thought the menu with the selection wheel would be a problem to learn and operate, but I had no trouble learning it (once I re-read the manual), and it’s easy to work. It can still be a little distracting, but there’s nothing on there that can’t wait until a safe time to operate it.
As I dropped down into Colorado the temperature rose into the 40s and then quickly into the 50s. I got on I-25 at Fort Collins and joined the rush into Denver. The GT barely noticed the deep rain grooves in the concrete highway.
This bike can run with the big dogs or the little dogs or anything else. It is unflappable and inspires confidence. It makes a great freeway warrior. I found the traffic thrilling until we all stopped. Then it was touch and go until I hit the HOV lanes. Working the clutch a lot in the stop-and-go, I noticed again what a soft but solid touch it has. The clutch and gearbox are buttery smooth but secure, with no clunk and no slight lurch. Downshifting into first is the same as downshifting into any other gear. This is a very refined bike.
I live in a small town and am not used to the big-city morning rush. The HOV lanes were nice, especially seeing all the heavy traffic I was passing. But they end too soon and I was once again in stop-and-go. I would have made it to the dealer by 8 but stopped for gas. I know that you can’t go by just one tank, but the GT got 45 mpg – some of it break-in thrashing, some of it cruising at a steady 80, and some of it stop and go rush hour traffic. Not bad.
From the picture at sunrise until the gas stop, I hadn’t gotten off the bike in over two hours. My butt was a little sore. The seat is harder than the RT’s and the side edges are very firm, which I’m not sure that I like. But I usually don’t ride any farther without getting off the bike for one reason or another anyway.
Talking to a man at the dealer about the bike, he said the RT is competent but the GT is exciting. That captures it pretty well. I loved my RT because it did everything well. The GT is exciting and, by the way, does everything well, too.
I got a GS 650 as a loaner and rode into Lodo for lunch. The 650 is a nice bike, but I wouldn’t want to ride it coast to coast. Riding it pointed out to me how smooth and sophisticated the GT is. I took my time riding around, because they were putting on what they call a 3M clear bra to protect the paint of the GT. It was a good lunch and the 650 is fun, but when I got back the installer had shown up two hours late. Fortunately the customer lounge couch is comfy for a nap.
I was back in the Denver traffic at 5pm. The freeway was stop-and-crawl into town. It was 90??, and both the bike and I heated up more than when we run quickly. My toes got plenty toasty – a potential problem if you live where traffic is slow and it is often hot. Everything was fine again, though, as soon as I could get my speed back up.
I stopped in Loveland for supper and to let the traffic abate. Then it was another 100 miles home, stopping in Cheyenne to put on a couple of layers as I climbed in elevation and the day cooled. I got home after 8:30, just as the sun sank below the horizon. I still didn’t get to see the fancy headlight work, but I was ready to stop.
This is one terrific bike. Before this, all my BMWs have been boxers – air-heads and oil-heads. [B]WARNING:[/B] If you have a boxer and really love it, [U]DO NOT RIDE A K1600[/U]. You may never go back.
I need to quit reading reports like this on the K1600GT/GTL or I may end up doing something my wife won't be very happy about.
I enjoyed your review Kate. Had you tried the K1300GT? Just wondering how they compare. You have beautiful country to ride in.
Kate, great pictures and description of your rides. I was surprised to read the specs and find that the the GT has such a low seat height, 29". That is great for those of us who want to be flat footed. I finally got a BMW last October and love it but wish I were a little taller or the bike a little shorter. I'm looking forward to test riding the GT.
Awesome read and ride...
I love your photos, and enjoyed reading about your "then" new bike. You, as I, are blessed with beautiful places to ride. Thanks for sharing! :thumb