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BMW K1600 B vs Road/Street Glide

 
  #1  
Old 07-12-2019, 10:44 AM
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Default BMW K1600 B vs Road/Street Glide

BMW had a sponsored demo event last weekend in my area. They are more strict than Harley when it comes to demo rides. Had to purchase a ride ticket, but it went to charity. A donation of $20 or more got you a pass to ride any of the bikes they had to test. The format is pretty similar to HD demo truck events. You sign up for what you want and rides go out every 1/2 hour.

I never really had much interest in BMW offerings as I never really cared for the sport touring segment. I don't like the ergos and setup and prefer a more laid back riding position. I have test ridden a Kawasaki Concourse and a Honda Sport Tourer before but just don't like that aggressive position and stance, especially for a long-distance ride. The only bike I was interested in trying from BMW was the new K1600 B 'bagger', which is supposedly BMW's take on a Road Glide. I don't care for fairings on bikes in general and especially never cared for the Road Glide as the stock bars are too funky and I can't get past that big bulky fairing on a motorcycle. A few weeks ago I test rode the RG Ultra and the RG Special when the demo truck was here. I also had ridden the pre-M8 RG models from the demo truck and pretty much ever touring bike in the lineup.

Hard to describe but the K1600B setup is kind of like riding with a fairing without it really visually feeling like it. The entire front end flows and blends into the lines of the bike. On HD tourers, the fairing is prominent and visually distinct and separate from the chassis and bodywork and is bolted on. Also, if you don't like a mid-peg riding position you won't like the K1600. I actually prefer mid controls over a more forward position as I think it feels more natural and organic when riding and I have more sense of control, especially in twisties. The K1600 also has forward mounted floorboards to place your feet but they serve only as highway pegs and there are no controls.

The difference in ride performance between the 1600 and RG is night and day. From a start, the V-Twin pulls like a tractor off the line. The BMW requires some revs and isn't going to win a three-second drag race off the line. But once things are moving, that's where the BMW really differentiates itself. I never rode a six cylinder before and 167 HP at about 7K RPM is something totally new for a novice rider to this category so I was making sure I kept the RPM in check for most of the ride. Once you get up past 5K things start getting really interesting and the bike turns into a total freaking beast at around the 7K mark. The bike pretty much offers the laid back cruising I am used to with the one caveat that it will get away from you if you aren't paying attention and decide to suddenly grab a handful of throttle in third gear.In fact you could pretty much keep the bike in third and never have to shift. Starting out would be no issue and you would easily break any legal speed limit wit plenty of power to spare. On the highway portion in 3rd gear at 65MPH I was around 3500 RPM. In 6th gear it was at 3000.

The BMW has a shorter wheelbase and more aggressive rake than what I am used to. It obviously has a much more sportier feel in terms of handling. It weighs about the same as my Road King(I think 30 pounds less) but out-handles it in low-speed maneuvering and more aggressive cornering. No perceived difference in highway stability. Biggest difference when cruising at highway speeds is the noise level. I do have S&S aftermarket slipons on my RK but they are of the more tranquil variety. First thing that struck me was the sound-or lack thereof. The noise level is subdued and environmental sounds dominate rather than engine or exhaust noise. Wind noise and head buffeting is also almost non existent when the shield is in the up position. With the shield turned down, there is a lot of wind hitting the face and upper body(which I like). The B trim does has a shorter windscreen than found on BMW's other touring models. The shield can be adjusted on-the-fly with a thumb control as can the riding and suspension modes--although I didn't experiment with those or any of the gadgetry. I did not try the sound system on the bike so can't comment. If I want music I use my Sena. But given the quieter ride, I suspect the soundstage for music when riding highways would be better if that is your thing. Bars on the BMW are kind of like drag bars and are adjustable forward and back. I could easily find the perfect position if I were taking it long distance. Riding position and ergos is upright--kind of like a Road King with mid mount pegs.

In the end, it's probably a bike you would either love or hate and no in-between. It lacks 'character' and that organic feel of riding a v-twin and has a more Cadillac vibe. But as a long-range tourer, I would prefer it over a Road or Street Glide on a long trip. They have a used demo model from last year at a heavy discount and I am seriously considering adding the bike to be my long-range touring ride now that I have my RK paid off. Will be going back for a dedicated test ride and see what they can offer in terms of price. Pricing had me surprised. I was expecting 30-40K but a new 1600 is right at the 20K mark. They have the used model at around 16K but can probably get lower. If not, will probably just walk. But it is kind of what I want in a long distance bike in terms of the whole package so will see what happens.

On another note, it's funny how owners of various brands get into cliques. I noticed at the demo event I was pretty much the only one there that wasn't a BMW groupie. Just like at Harley dealers, everyone was standing around with sparkling new full technical BMW riding suits, BMW patches etc.... I was there with a nine-year-old weather leather riding jacket and dirty riding gloves and looked like a total slob. I didn't have my modular with me because it was so hot and was rocking my dirty Bell Pit Boss. Everyone was kind of looking me up and down with a look like', what is this guy doing at a BMW dealer?' So it isn't just at Harley dealers where accountants and attorneys hang out in fresh attire.
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:13 AM
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The K1600ís are absolute beasts, thanks for the objective review. If youíve got time to kill when you go in for the next test ride, try out the GT or GTL. The riding position might surprise you a bit, and they have the same engine.
 

Last edited by Wowser; 07-12-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:20 AM
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Excellent write up of your experience....thanks
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Wowser View Post
The K1600ís are absolute beasts, thanks for the objective review. If youíve got time to kill when you go in for the next test ride, try out the GT or GTL. The riding position might surprise you a bit, and they have the same engine.
I didn't ride them but sat on them with the center stand. More sport-touring ergos -- higher seating position, slight bend forward etc....The 1600B is lowered a couple inches, lower seat, very upright seating, drag bars that are adjustable etc...
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:23 AM
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The K1600 is an impressive machine but everything is grouped options and the price skyrockets astronomically well into almost CVO territory. The cost of ownership is also very high and something to consider,when they break they break expensively.
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by MiniWolf View Post
I didn't ride them but sat on them with the center stand. More sport-touring ergos -- higher seating position, slight bend forward etc....The 1600B is lowered a couple inches, lower seat, very upright seating, drag bars that are adjustable etc...
At least you gave it a shot. The 1600B is a great bike, Iíve talked to a few of the owners at BMW rallies and they seem happy with them.
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:31 AM
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Thanks. I do enjoy reading reviews of motorcycles by HD riders that can be objective. I've not considered BMW so any information is interesting. Had to look it up to see what it looked like.



Saw this in a review...wow....

“Motor” is the only part of a motorcycle listed in the name, so I'll state the obvious: That’s an important part of the bike. The latest iteration of the K-series makes numbers that I actually find a little funny: 160 horsepower. OK, that’s not hilarious. A 12.2:1 compression raises my eyebrow. But 129 foot-pounds of torque? B-A-N-A-N-A-S. (And 70 percent of its peak torque is achieved at just 1,500 rpm!) You may remember that I knocked the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 for being too small in it’s motorvatin’ parts. The reason engine size matters is for bragging rights, and bragging rights only. If you have a BMW, you have six pistons, 24 valves, and more torque at a sleepy 1,500 rpm than the peak torque of most literbikes. These are numbers to brag about."

https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...st-ride-review

Big exhaust? You got it...


 

Last edited by Walter White; 07-12-2019 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Sparky357 View Post
The K1600 is an impressive machine but everything is grouped options and the price skyrockets astronomically well into almost CVO territory. The cost of ownership is also very high and something to consider,when they break they break expensively.
In the end it will come down to what you are looking for. The idea that you get what you pay for is blurred with this type of purchase because everyone has different criteria and requirements.

The bottom line is motorcycles are not cheap. They are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. But a fully loaded K1600 B is not anywhere near the price of a CVO. The K1600 B maxes out around $25K for all the bells and whistles. It starts just around $19K and most of them on the floor were around $21K ...the other trims like the full dress 1600 GT and GTL peak around $30K when fully loaded. But most of the stuff on the floor was much less than a base Street Glide Special. A LOT less.
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Walter White View Post
Saw this in a review...wow....

ďMotorĒ is the only part of a motorcycle listed in the name, so I'll state the obvious: Thatís an important part of the bike. The latest iteration of the K-series makes numbers that I actually find a little funny: 160 horsepower. OK, thatís not hilarious. A 12.2:1 compression raises my eyebrow. But 129 foot-pounds of torque? B-A-N-A-N-A-S. (And 70 percent of its peak torque is achieved at just 1,500 rpm!) You may remember that I knocked the Moto Guzzi MGX-21 for being too small in itís motorvatiní parts. The reason engine size matters is for bragging rights, and bragging rights only. If you have a BMW, you have six pistons, 24 valves, and more torque at a sleepy 1,500 rpm than the peak torque of most literbikes. These are numbers to brag about."

https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...st-ride-review
With that engine youíll need a couple Go-Pros.
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:49 AM
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I traded my 2015 CVO Street Glide for a 2018 K1600B at the end of 2017. Lasted a year and traded it for my 19 Street Glide.

The power was impressive and smooth, the quick shifter was trick (seriously trick, got used to that fast) as was the electric windshield. Adjusting the ride electronically was way more convenient than taking a bag off to change one setting. The ride modes worked well. It's a well thought out sport touring machine. The adaptive headlight works well too, actually angles itself into the corner. The stereo is junk. The bags opening out are hard to use once you're used to top loading, but the fact that they electronically lock is nice. There are virtually NO accessories, no options for a top box (unless you buy the Grand America version, and then the top box is permanent) and backrests are all aftermarket (and expensive). The nav has it's pluses and minuses being a Garmin unit that just plugs in to the dashboard. Stock heated grip AND heated seat, and the seat worked better than I thought. It's the one thing that my wife misses about that bike.

However, the biggest issue I had with mine was a high speed wander or wobble. Riding on the highway was especially terrifying. I was told it was normal because it was a light bike made to "handle" so it made the bike twitchier. I was told I would get used to it. I did not. First time I went away on a long weekend with a passenger was the nail in the coffin. It didn't feel safe to me. The GT or the GTL might be better, but those bikes didn't appeal to me and are way too tall.

In the end, I learned more about what I liked and didn't like and the moment I sat back on a Street Glide again I felt "home".
 
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