The big sixes are back! BMW’s K1600 series returns for 2022, including the K1600 GT (the sporty base model), the K1600 GTL (more touring-oriented), the K1600 B (the bagger variant) and the K1600 Grand America.
These models were in question last year, as they hadn’t been updated to Euro5. Well, they’re Euro5-legal now, and while max power remains at 160 hp, it’s now kicking in at 6,750 rpm, not 7,750 rpm as previously, Max torque is a bit higher, up 4 lb-ft to 133 lb-ft at 5,250 rpm. Generally speaking, the machine follows the modern pattern of making more power throughout the lower rev range.
Two knock sensors come standard now, and four lambda probes, which should help it run more smoothly.
The massive inline-six now has Motor Slip Regulation as standard equipment, which prevents the rear wheel from locking up on aggressive downshifts. The system uses input from the six-axis IMU as well as wheel speed sensors to keep everything in line, and its interference is controlled by the selected ride mode (Rain and Road see more interference, Dynamic sees less interference).
There’s also an anti-hop clutch and shaft drive, reverse assist and hill start assist, and an advanced lean-angle-sensitive traction control.
All bikes get lean-angle-sensitive ABS and cornering LED headlights (they use the IMU to determine lean angle, and then shine “into” the corners).
As far as electronics go, the biggest news is probably the new 10.25-inch TFT screen, which serves as an infotainment system when paired with BMW’s proprietary app. The app allows you to plan a route, or import one from a computer, and share it via Rever. Because of the size of the screen, BMW says the navigation map is so large that riders don’t need a secondary GPS unit; the TFT can do it all.
The app also allows you to take incoming phone calls (or hang up—Sorry, boss!). And, you can control music playback through your comm set, or through the onboard sound system (stock on the GTL and Grand America, optional on the more stripped-down B and GT models).
Speaking of that sound system, BMW put considerable effort into updating it, and talks up its clarity in the press release. It’s compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio, coming with a six-month free subscription when you buy the bike. The audio can be configured for optimal playback through an on-the-bike sound system, or through helmet comm sets, which is a practical and thoughtful design feature.
If you’re hauling your phone along, BMW’s new design includes a splashproof storage compartment complete with built-in charging cable and a cooling fan, to stop your phone from overheating.
The BMW K1600 models all come with electronically-adjustable suspension, which changes its specs to match your selected ride mode.
The fuel tank has 26.5-litre capacity, and all bikes come with heated seats and handlebars, so they’re well-sorted for touring from the showroom floor.
Wet weights vary widely, depending if you’re riding a stripped-down model (344 kg) or you have full luggage, windshield, and other add-ons (370 kg). Mind you, those are starting weights, too; add in accessories, luggage, and passenger, you’ve got a beast on your hands.
Each of the four K1600 models comes in a standard colour, or a Option 719 special paint option (which includes super-cool water transfer printing on the K1600 B and Grand America models).
When will they get here?
BMW says the machines will be launched in March, 2022, so expect them here by next spring. We don’t know pricing, though.