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BMW K1600GTL: The Ultimate Long-Distance Riding Machine

Craig Fitzgerald

I’ve done a lot of 12 hour days in the saddle, almost exclusively on bikes that weren’t really intended to have any human being on board for more than two or three hours. But up until now, long-distance tourers have been something that you retire to, rather than aspire to. The K1600GTL? A whole different story.

BMW K1600GTL - Dash

For years, touring motorcycles were the two-wheeled equivalent of a Hoverround: big, heavy, slow, made for old-timers and not much in the cornering department. Acceleration was measured with a sun dial, which was fine, because braking was an afterthought, too.

The K1600GTL, though, keeps the “sport” in sport-touring, and I’d love to have it not only for day-long comfort, car-like equipment and top-flight ergonomics, but God’s own torque curve, with 129-lb.ft. of torque on tap at a reasonable 5,250 rpm.

K1600GTL - Engine

Torque doesn’t often get tossed around in motorcycle data, because there usually isn’t any, and it’s usually available at somewhere around the engine speed that valves float.  But it’s here in this bike, thanks to a gorgeously packaged inline six-cylinder engine.

But with all its power, it’s not a high-strung, boy-racer wannabe. It’s a bike for grownups. At some point in my life, I’d love to hit Four Corners, or tick a SaddleSore 5000 ride off my bucket list. This is the bike that could make that happen.

K1600GTL - Action

Most intriguing for me is the optional Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA II) system. Every bike I’ve ever owned has had some kind of adjustable suspension, from the spring tension on my ’74 Honda CB450, all the way up to the myriad adjustments I could make on my KTM 950 Adventure S. Aside from seat-of-the-pants feel, none of it – sag, rebound, compression, preload – made any sense to me.

K1600GTL - Beauty

BMW’s ESA II makes it a breeze. Choose your configuration:  Solo, Solo with Luggage, Two-Up with Luggage. Then choose the desired stance: Comfort, Normal or Sport. Done. The system takes care of the rest and gives you exactly the suspension settings you’re looking for, from the seat, with no tools required.

BMW K1600GTL - Multicontroller

The K1600GTL is a rider’s touring motorcycle: it dispenses with the flash and rethinks almost everything a long-distance tourer might want out on the road, from a power adjustable windshield, to a Multicontroller that adjusts almost every function you could think of right from the handgrip, to a wonderfully heated seat that will be worth its weight in gold on a cold November evening.

K1600GTL - END

It’s an amazing machine. Now if I only had the chance to win one like you do…

eBay is giving you the chance to win either a BMW K1600GTL or an Audi A5 Cabriolet.  From September 2nd through September 30th, just head over to the eBay Garage and enter your vehicle. You’ll even increase your chances of winning by uploading additional images of your ride. As a bonus, eBay is giving  away $50 eBay Gift Cards daily. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.