The American landscape has spawned a number of romantic leanings with regard to motorcycles. Perhaps most alluring is the notion of breaking free and getting out onto the open road. Out of this penchant has emerged a cadre of touring machines, cruisers and baggers; the latter being predominantly the domain of American-built V-twins.
For 2018, BMW Motorrad enters this most iconic of categories and strays from convention with the K 1600 B (the b is for bagger). Using the groundbreaking K 1600 GT as its base, the B model has been graced with a lowered sub-frame, backward sloped bodywork, and chopped windscreen draped appropriately in black to give the machine an unabashed bagger persona. Utilizing the technological poetry of the K series’ in-line 6-cylinder engine, the K 1600 B is emboldened with an incredible 160 horsepower (twice the class norm) to push its 741 pounds—a relatively lithe weight for a bike of its kind. The motorcycle has three ride modes; Rain, Road, and Dynamic, which are coupled with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) to ensure optimum performance and safety on virtually any riding surface.
That seductive 6-cylinder power gets to the pavement via a succinct 6-speed transmission mated with a hydraulically-operated clutch. The optional Shift Assist Pro—developed for racing but well-suited to this bike—ensures seamless, clutch-less up-shifts and down-shifts without requiring throttle closure. The system smooths the unintended jerk of centrifugal force transmitted to the passenger when shifting manually. There’s also an optional Reverse Assist that eliminates the need to precariously tippy-toe your mount backward into and out of parking spaces. BMW’s proven Duolever and Paralever suspension systems are coupled with electronically controlled settings for Road and Cruise that allow you to tailor your ride. Hefty disc brakes are controlled by a cornering-optimized ABS pro for superlative stopping power. Chrome-plated, low-slung parallel exhaust pipes round out the package for an organic bagger aesthetic.
The K 1600 B caters to the personal customization so dear to the cruiser crowd with a healthy assortment of options such as an adaptive headlight, keyless ride, Hill Start Control and central locking. One must-have upgrade is the rider floorboards that render a laidback, feet forward riding position (and matching floorboards for a passenger). Perhaps the most essential option, however, is Intelligent Emergency Call—a safety feature that is automatically activated in the event of an accident, sending location data of the motorcycle. The BMW K 1600 B is available in any color you want, so long as it’s black, specifically Blackstorm metallic black.