A Bavarian bagger? Really?
“Emotion and fascination with Six-cylinders in the exclusive Bagger style” is BMW’s tagline for the new K 1600 B. These bikes are so massive that we imagine the B might as easily stand for Battleship, or Bomber as it does Bagger. Either way, we think it will appeal to the American market better than some of the other ill-fated European efforts to break into the American Cruiser segment.
“This BMW Motorrad interpretation of motorcycling on endless highways, the dream of freedom and the embodiment of ‘Grand American Touring’ now becomes reality in form of a series version of the new K 1600 B Bagger.”
Munich describes the muscle/cruiser/tourer as a “...highly emotional and exclusive motorcycle… synonymous with elegance, power and luxury on two wheels and transforms every road, every tour and every moment into a particularly intense experience.” Whew, we’re breathing heavily already. Whether or not all this emotion translates to sales remains to be seen, but in terms of cruising baggers, this has to be a huge improvement over the R 1200 C. Sure, it may be a couple hundred pounds heavier, but 160 horsepower adds some serious appeal to a bike with this pedigree. A bigger better Bagger? We like the sound of it.
While Moto Guzzi was first to market with MGX-21 Flying Fortress, the K 1600 B will likely be the benchmark in this category. “The characteristic properties of the Bagger are its drop-shaped silhouette, whose highest point is the front fairing, the stretched drop-like silhouette in a ‘streamlining’ style and the deep-set side cases with integrated American-style rear lights. New fully chrome-plated silencers run parallel to the road and are an organic fit for the visual appeal of the bagger.” It even has an old-school hinged rear fender that makes rear wheel removal easier.
The Bagger also features electronic suspension (Dynamic ESA) with automatic damping adaptation as standard. With Road and Cruise modes, the former provides, automated damping, “offering the very highest level of comfort and ultimate traction on virtually all surfaces.” The Cruise mode offers very gentle damping for a high level of comfort at low speeds.
A new reverse-assist feature for ease of egress and Shift Assistant Pro for shifting up and down without activating the clutch are just a few of the rider assist tech that are deployed on this bike. Reverse is activated at the press of a button on the left-hand handlebar panel. Pressing the starter button initiates movement.
The “comfortable foot rests provide a “feet forward” riding position. Optional redesigned forged wheels with eleven double spokes each further enhance the exclusivity of the new K 1600 B.” The B is expected to retail in the low- to mid -$20,000 range.
An overview of highlights of the new BMW K 1600 B:
- Six-cylinder In-line engine according to EU4 regulations with an output of 118 kW (160 hp) at 7 750 rpm and a maximum torque of 175 Nm at 5 250 rpm.
- Bagger design with eye-catching stretched streamline-style silhouette and low rear section.
- Low rear frame for reduced vehicle height, dropped passenger seat height (-7 cm) and typical Bagger look.
- Fixed side cases with a new compartment design, rear central cover and integrated light units in US-American styling.
- Chrome-plated parallel silencers with ribbed end caps.
- Folding rear mudguard for easy wheel removal.
- Effective wind and weather protection with wind deflectors stretched further back.
- Typical short Bagger-style electrically adjustable windscreen.
- Electronic suspension Dynamic ESA with automatic damping adaptation and “Road” and “Cruise” damping modes as standard.
- Reverse Assist for even simpler maneuverability is an optional equipment item.
- Shift Assistant Pro for shifting up and down without clutch as an ex-works option.
- Intelligent Emergency Call as an option for rapid assistance in the event of an accident or in emergency situations (only in European markets where ConnectedDrive is available).
Stephan Schaller, President of BMW Motorrad: “After Germany, the USA will remain the second most important market for BMW in the coming years, too. This is where we see great potential. In the US alone we want to double our market share to ten percent in the next three years.” Schaller continues: “We will lay the foundation for outstanding growth with new products specifically tailored to the needs of the market and by expanding our sales base.”
Sometimes the artist rendered sketches of motorcycles and the end product don't look quite the same. In this case, it appears BMW engineers nailed it.