BMW Motorrad stirred things up when it displayed the Concept 6 at the 2009 EICMA in Milan. They struck again with the K1600GT and GTL which both sported the tidy and smooth six-cylinder engine which BMW Motorrad first presented in that svelte motorcycle concept.
BMW Motorrad Naked
A naked bike from BMW Motorrad is not something new, not at all. There are not many in their current model line-up, but they do have plenty keeping them busy. The BMW K1300R is their present emperor sans clothes, but it is not available in the U.S. Here we must live with the R1200R, a sweet machine which adopted two more valves recently for a nice boost in power. However, BMW Motorrad’s flat twin is not necessarily considered a top-end powerhouse, so it is still not quite a direct replacement for the K1300R in the sense of a true naked sportbike.
Simply conceptualize a K1600GT without its skin and then throw in some of the urban-friendly aspects of the Concept 6; you get a picture of what BMW Motorrad would be working towards with a K1600R. One important concern before they could even consider producing such a machine would be to further develop that sweet inline-six engine; as it stands, those six pots produce 13 less horsepower than the engine in the K1300 series. BMW Motorrad would need a K1600R to excel against the K1300R in any category or it would not fare so well in that market as an upgrade.
Busy BMW Motorrad
The BMW S1000RR should be all you need hear as proof of the significant work going on at the German marque. The S1000RR has managed to seriously upset the sportbike landscape, though in a very positive manner. After all, it was BMW Motorrad who first released the electronics previously only seen in the FIM World Superbike and MotoGP Championships to the tech-hungry sport-oriented motorcycle riders of the world.
Of course, other manufacturers followed BMW Motorrad’s lead and we see that nearly every model of supersport motorcycle is bristling with sensors, silicon and LEDs. BMW also continued development on their 800 cc parallel-twin platform, actually creating an urban-focused F800R, and updated their top boxer engine in the R1200 line by adding double overhead cams derived from the HP2. And, all the while, BMW Motorrad was working on their K1600GT and GTL ultra-comfort touring bikes. We are leaving out the acquisition of Husqvarna here, but that’s another BMW story.
Will BMW Motorrad Build It?
Producing a K1600R would require BMW Motorrad to do some serious work – research, development and testing resources are needed, and that requires money. Thus, it is likely that sales of the K1600GT and GTL will determine whether another version of that powerplant sees the light of day. Considering the small price differential between the new models and the K1200LT and K1300GT, which some consider as being replaced by the new six-cylinder bikes, BMW Motorrad may just sell one or two of those K1600 models.
There is very little chance that BMW Motorrad could begin more than sketching a K1600R before next year, they are a busy group. But, the recent activity of this once staid company does lead one to believe that the K1600R is only a matter of time for the BMW we know today.