I sat on a demo 1600 GTL the other day and was totally impressed with its looks, creature comforts and, especially, how easily the 775 pound bike lifted from its sidestand. The fit and the finish are superb and the engine sounds like a Ferarri.
BUT...and, for me, it is a big but, the notion of trading my K12GT (new version) doesn't come readily to me. While I read glowing reports in all the BMW-related magazines and newsletters, I did read an article in Rider last week that gave me pause to consider any hasty moves towards a new K bike.
First, this new series costs about $25,000. The bike has NO tipover damage protection. I really hate listening to the flack that lines like this seem to create in forums...usually about how the key to not dropping a bike is "balance." Well, this is a simplistic and simple-minded response. We all agree that balance is key to keeping a bike vertical but stuff happens. I've never met an LT owner who hasn't dropped their bike. It has a bumper to prevent serious damage. The new GT/L does not. BMW does, apparently, offer an engine guard though it was not on either of the bikes I saw. Drop one of these and you've got a $4,000 repair bill. That's just nuts.
Second, the article I read identified clunky shifting. I'm still cursing my K12GT for it's clunky shifting. It tolerates absolutely no imperfections in technique. My daily rider is an '02 K12RS and shifting is as smooth as glass. So is the shifting on my X-Challenge. Why does a $25,000 motorcycle have driveline lash and/or clunky shifting? Inexcusable.
This post isn't meant as bait. I am a faithful and devoted BMW rider and always have two or three in my garage. But while it seems BMW owners take particular pride in denigrating marques like H-D, BMW is still willing to put to market stuff that really isn't what it should be. If you knock over an Ultra Classic, you pick it up and keep riding. You don't call your insurance company. When you shift the gears, while it's not smooth as glass, it is a definitive and comfortable thunk into the gear. So, while BMW is being so innovative and coming out with revolutionary new machines, they'd be advised to do some small evolutionary changes like smoothing out their shifting and providing tipover protection. I won't think of buying one of the new bikes until they do.