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Thread: K1600GT - things to think about

  1. #1
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    K1600GT - things to think about

    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.

    Curt

  2. #2
    A wandering Bird Vagabird's Avatar
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    I picked up my new GT a couple of weeks ago. It has no tipover protection. I've ordered the engine guards, but they aren't available yet - perhaps next week.

    I agree that tipover is possible/likely. I've only had two bikes that didn't end up on their side sooner or later (four, if you count the sidecar rig and the trike), and I didn't have either of those very long. Still, the only time I've had the scratches and damage repaired was when someone backed into an RT while it was on its centerstand. Their insurance paid the $1,400 bill.

    I haven't read the Rider article. The transmission on my GT is butter smooth - the smoothest I've ever experienced on a bike. I wonder if I'll miss that 'clunk' I was so used to.

    I have only 800 miles on the GT, but so far I'm delighted with it. I'll let you know if that changes in the next 80,000 miles.

    - Kate
    '12 K1600 GT

    What is it you intend to do with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabird View Post
    I picked up my new GT a couple of weeks ago. It has no tipover protection. I've ordered the engine guards, but they aren't available yet - perhaps next week.

    I agree that tipover is possible/likely. I've only had two bikes that didn't end up on their side sooner or later (four, if you count the sidecar rig and the trike), and I didn't have either of those very long. Still, the only time I've had the scratches and damage repaired was when someone backed into an RT while it was on its centerstand. Their insurance paid the $1,400 bill.

    I haven't read the Rider article. The transmission on my GT is butter smooth - the smoothest I've ever experienced on a bike. I wonder if I'll miss that 'clunk' I was so used to.

    I have only 800 miles on the GT, but so far I'm delighted with it. I'll let you know if that changes in the next 80,000 miles.

    - Kate
    Kate -

    Congratulations on your new bike and may it give you years of pleasurable riding!

    I'm not sure if the reviewer at Rider magazine got a bad sample to ride, where the transmission was clunky but it did resonate strongly with me since my '08 GT has the clunkiest transmission I've ever had on a bike. I ride my other bikes just to avoid the annoyance I feel every time I ride the GT and experience the clunky transmission.

    Curt

  4. #4
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    Only a test ride will answer whether the transmission is "clunky" for you. It was definitely clunky for me at first (picked up a GTL two weeks ago). However, the clunkyness (is that a word?) has subsided substantially with muscle memory. The clutch lever requires only a slight movement and the shifts are like butter. Of course there is the THUNK that occurs at the stop light when going from Neutral to 1st.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfoster View Post
    Only a test ride will answer whether the transmission is "clunky" for you. It was definitely clunky for me at first (picked up a GTL two weeks ago). However, the clunkyness (is that a word?) has subsided substantially with muscle memory. The clutch lever requires only a slight movement and the shifts are like butter. Of course there is the THUNK that occurs at the stop light when going from Neutral to 1st.
    I think you definitely have a point about the muscle memory. When you ride only one bike, you become one with that bike. Fortunately - or unfortunately - I have four bikes. I have no shifting issues with three of those bikes but the fourth - my K1200 GT - requires such precision in shifting as to make every trip an unpleasant one. I have never had this issue with any of the 12 other BMWs I've owned and the thought of buying another that may give the same problem (for me), is just a deal-killer. I'd rather buy a new Harley tourer or Goldwing, knowing these bikes tolerate poor muscle memory. It's not just about skill - or lack of same - it's about intimate familiarity with the bike and since I ride different bikes for very different reasons, I don't need clunky shifting - or however you want to characterize it - from my touring bike.

    Curt

  6. #6
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Well, some riders have a very fine feel for their machines.

    A buddy of mine had a highly modified K75S, which developed problems that were difficult to diagnose (this is the short version of a very long story). Over a long winter, the problems were diagnosed and fixed by our local indy, but my buddy felt the bike just wasn't as smooth as it was before. Two techs rode the bike and pronounced it OK, but my buddy was still bitchin'. I suggested he take the clutch/flywheel assembly to a machine shop, for balancing (there were multiple line up marks on the assembly). He did, and the shop got the right balance, first try.

    After the stuff was re-installed, my buddy was finally happy.

    The bike was rear ended a month later.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  7. #7
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    Tip-over

    I've only had one test ride on the GTL so I can't comment too much on the shifting, though I didn't notice anything that would make that the isuse to keep me from taking my preorder whenever it finally arrives.

    As to the tip-over protection comment from the OP ... I absolutely agree this was a major missed opportunity on BMW's part. Typical arrogance aside (e.g. if you don't drop it there won't be damage,), loose stone, slick spot, whatever ... things happen. Same reason we wear protective gear, ABS, etc ... things happen.

    While Victory's Vision isn't a bike that appeals to me, the day I was at a MC show and watched one of Victory's reps literally throw a Vision on its side on the trade show floor, then pick it up with no damage still sticks in my head as one of the most thoughtful design elements I've seen in a touring bike.

    I can understand why the rear bag would be sacrificed in a tip (the alternative being a protruding guard), but I can't find a reason the front fairing and mid-frame areas couldn't have been designed and engineered to protect the bike from a 0mph drop other than it just didn't make BMW's list of priorities. Given the buyers at this price range / size / level of sophistication, I think it'd make for a great selling feature.

    Enough to make me refuse to buy it? No ... But it does influence my decision.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    The bike was rear ended a month later.
    I feel bad for your friend, but that's just funny!

  9. #9
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    And that's not the end of it: the insurance company wrote off the bike, and my buddy ended up buying a new Wee Strom

    The first time he went touring in it, it developed a mysterious electrical ailment...
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  10. #10
    Westmichigan
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    Smooth shifting

    After my one test ride on a GTL1600, what impressed me most was the smooth transition between gears. If my hands and feet weren't moving, I wouldn't have realized I had switched gears. On the other hand, I was concerned about the short distance between the seat (high model) and the pegs. My knees were really bent! I'm waiting to see some highway pegs before taking the plunge.

  11. #11
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    I have to agree with the OP that tip over protection is non-existant on the 1600. If you recall BMW went to great pains to show the tip over protection of the 1200LT when it came out. I don't quite understand why they didn't do the same thing on the 1600. That said, I would strongly disagree with the comments about Harley transmission noise. I ride them for a living and they are some of the worst for noise and shift effort out on the market. True you MAY get one that shifts easily and shifts with little noise, but in general they make a thrashing machine sound like like a Singer sewing machine.

    Rick H.

  12. #12
    neanderssance man sedanman's Avatar
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    I spent a few months this year trying to decide which new bike to buy, I test rode many. One of the contenders was a Harley Street Glide. I had already ridden an R1200RT and was heavily leaning towards buying one ( I did). Anyway one of the turn-offs to the Harley was that at the end of the test ride i could NOT find neutral. I am not a newbie, I know where neutral should be, it just wasn't on the Harley.
    Paul
    "Friends don't let friends ride junk!"
    2011 R1200RT

  13. #13
    Registered User gsrider05's Avatar
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    The neutral thing is just a clutch adjustment. Sometimes when they get hot, it can be hard to find neutral. A small blipping of the throttle can help, or hitting neutral while still rolling before stopping. It goes into neutral great after the engine is turned off too.
    I know, flame away all you Harley haters.
    2011 BMW R1200RT - 2013 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Limited
    2005 BMW GS (Gone)
    BMWMOA# 154903
    Danny

  14. #14
    AZrider
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    shifting

    not an expert on this and am not sure of the specs. but isn't the K1300 and K1600 very quick reving engines? I don't think there is much weight for a flywheel effect so the rpms come down really fast between shifts. I have found using throttle to a certain rpm then just a quick shift. It is not ideal and not for a lazy ride day. But I love my 160 hp and torque that is very quick. Trade offs.
    R1200WGS 2013

  15. #15
    Tonk
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    What's the big deal about a clunky transmission? I rode Harleys for many years, and they clunked. I gotta R1200RT and sometimes it clunks. So what? Works fine.

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