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In Search of a Bike

Bob Henig on a vintage motorcycle

Bob sitting on old BMW twin engine.

Yes, that’s really Bob sitting on a very unique old BMW twin, a bike Bob hopes someone out there will be able to assist him in finding. That photo of Bob was back in the days before Bob’s BMW, when it was called Bob’s Used Parts.  And judging by the t-shirt he’s wearing it’s even before he moved the operation to Jessup so this is likely circa 1983. Bob was attending an event in New Hampshire called Mayday Madness hosted by the Vintage BMW Owners Club (VBMWO) which was a 2 day Vintage BMW bike gathering, campout and flea market. This was well before the internet.
 
While Bob attended this event many times over the years both selling and acquiring items or just as an enthusiast he only saw this machine show up one time and the owner would not share any contact information. Bob does recall handing over a business card to that nice man who agreed to the photo you see here. Bob has told the staff here about this unique bike many times and he’d still love to acquire it to share in the Vintage Museum at Bob’s BMW so if you know who owns it, where it might be garaged or in some manner can get him information that leads to the acquisition we know there would be a generous finder’s fee involved. Email bob@bobsbmw.com if you have any information to share.

Cuba Baby!

Bob's BMW Cuba Trip

Video of Cuba TripWhose coming with us?! The dates are booked, March 2-14, 2015. Bob invites you to join him and MotoDiscovery on a 12-day motorcycle adventure through Cuba, an exclusive opportunity to explore a country rarely visited by outsiders…at least not legally. The tour will be led by Christopher Baker, a Cuba travel expert and award-winning author. This tour is more than your typical motorcycle adventure, this is an opportunity to travel back in time and experience the culture through people-to-people interaction with locals. You will ride through the Cuban countryside, stopping along the way to meet natives and make friends, and learn about Cuban history.

Bob’s BMW: People to People Cuba 2015
March 2-14, 2015

Cuba is a country that has long been off limits to visitors from the USA. Even after a half century of embargos, political saber rattling and intense debate, Cuba–a mere 90 miles from our shores—is as controversial as ever. But we choose to push politics aside and now MotoDiscovery is able to provide legal travel to Cuba for the U.S. motorcycle touring enthusiast.

Christopher P Baker

Photographs by Christopher P Baker

What makes this possible? You must be licensed by the US government or have access to a license that permits travel to Cuba. The licensed program must involve a full schedule of educational based activities that promote meaningful interaction with the people of Cuba as mandated by US Treasury Department and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

For MotoDiscovery, “people to people” (P2P) is nothing new. Wherever we ride in the world, we regard these encounters as fundamental to the travel experience. And in this country, where in so many respects the clock stopped in 1959, making friends is easy, made even easier because we will be traveling by motorcycle.

This itinerary has been designed exclusively for Bob’s BMW and friends and is unlike anything on the MotoDiscovery program. Cuba is on the brink of change. As we all know, windows of opportunity have been known to close when it comes to Cuba. But today we can ride Cuba thanks to MotoDiscovery, which received an OFAC “people-to-people license” in 2012. Cuba is on the cusp of major change, and there is no better time to experience it than now.      
 

ITINERARY
Suggested Date: March 2 – 14, 2015

Overlook of Havana

View of Havana

Day 1. Arrive Miami – The tour commences with the rendezvous in Miami. Arrivals should be scheduled in time for a 5 p.m. briefing. Topics covering riding in Cuba, expectations of OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control / US Treasury Dept.) safety, etc, will be covered. Dinner to follow. Sofitel Miami Airport
 
Day 2. Havana – expect to leave hotel as early as 5 a.m. (depending on flight schedules) for Miami Airport. Arrival Havana (about 40 minutes in the air) where we’ll be transferred to El Aljibe for your first Cuba dining experience. Check into the hotel, pick up the bikes and then a short ride along the Malecon, ocean boulevard for a cultural encounter (P2P) at the Fuster community art project; then to the home (P2P) and workshop of Luis Enrique González, president of Cuba’s harlista (Harley-Davidson) club to learn about motorcycle maintenance in Cuba. Return to hotel and then dinner at La Guardia. (P2P); an invited guest will join us for dinner.
 
Guitar Players in Cuba

Guitar Players in Cuba

Day 3. Havana – After breakfast (P2P) prominent architect and urban planner Miguel Coyula will educate us about the history of Havana and the challenges that the city’s contemporary urban planners face. A visit to the (P2P) H. Upmann cigar factory will teach you everything you ever wanted to learn about one of Cuba’s most noted exports and traditions. Ride to the edge of town where you’ll experience an encounter with young students and teachers at the (P2P) San Antonio de Los Baños School of Arts. Lunch at Il Divino (P2P), a private restaurant where we’ll meet the owners and learn of how private restaurants are a fresh development in Cuba society. Continue to (P2P) Museo Hemingway, the former home of Ernest Hemingway, for an exchange with the museum director and staff. Return to hotel, then dinner at one of Havana’s finer private restaurants with invited guest (P2P).


Day 4. Cienfuegos
 – Depart Havana via the Autopista, lightly traveled main highway running the length of the island. In route we’ll stop near Matanzas at Australia to engage with engineers who maintain (P2P) a still functional steam train that serviced the former sugar mill. From here we make our way to (P2P the Guama crocodile breeding center to learn about ecology and conservation. Then ride along the coast to Playa Giron, (P2P), sight of the Bay of Pigs invasion, to visit the museum dedicated to the battle. Continue to Cienfuego. Dinner at El Lagarto then (P2P) enjoy a welcome reception and exchange with community members at a neighborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
 

Horse Buggy Ride

Horse Buggy Ride

Day 5. Trinidad – Ride to Trinidad, stopping en route at (P2P) the Botanical gardens for a guided walk; and the adjoining Pepito Tey former sugar processing community (P2P) for a fascinating exchange with historian Nancy Robaina about this American founded empire. On arriving Trinidad—the most authentic and complete Spanish Colonial town in the country—enjoy lunch. Then walk the colonial city accompanied by city historian (P2P) Nancy Benitez, including a visit with artist Lazaro Neiba (P2P) to learn about artistic creativity, expression, and training. Dinner at La Guitarra, where we’re joined by a Cuban guest (P2P). You’ll be encouraged to walk the cobblestone streets, follow the sounds to witness and participate in the passion of Cuban dance.  This town is probably, well deserving of two nights.  NOTE: Accommodations in Trinidad will be in casa particulares (P2P) home stays.
 
Day 6. Trinidad – Layover day. This morning gather with the local fire department (P2P). Then meet with entrepreneur Julio Munoz (P2P), Cuba’s “horse whisper,” to learn about his Proyecto Diana teaching humane equine training to Cubans. Lunch will be at Finca del Chino, allowing for interaction (P2P) with campesino (peasants). Mid-afternoon, ride to Tope de Collantes in the Sierra Escambray, and stop to visit (P2P) coffee growers along the way.  You’ll have dinner with our hosts (P2P) at the private homes, allowing for interaction to fulfill the people to people requirements. The town invites evening explorations.
 
Countryside in Cuba

Mountains in Cuba

Day 7. Camaguey – Departing Trinidad we ride through Valle de los Ingenios, stopping at the (P2P) Hacienda Iznaga to engage with lace makers and conservationists involved in restoring the “Valley of the Sugar Mills.” We happen to know Cuba’s motocross champion; we’ll visit with him (P2P) in Sancti Spíritus to talk motorcycles! After lunch the ride takes us through Ciego de Ávila to Camagüey, where we’ll hop in “bicitaxis” (P2P) to engage with freelance taxistas while exploring the colonial city center. Then to the hotel, check in and invite local hunters to join us at Paladar 1800 for dinner (P2P) and share with the group the sport, conservation, gun ownership laws, etc. related to hunting in Cuba.
 
Day 8. Holguin – Departing the hotel we’ll stop in Minas at the violin factory (P2P) for an exchange on production of traditional musical instruments; then ride to San Basilio and join up with the cowboys (P2P) at Rancho King, where lunch will be served inviting the vaqueros to join us (P2P). Arriving our destination, we’ll settle in and be joined this evening by members of the local Harlista club (P2P), who proudly show off their pre-1959 motorcycles.
 
Mural of Che in Cuba

Mural of Che

Day 9.  Baracoa – On the road to the far eastern tip of the island, an educational stop will be arranged at (P2P) Biran, birthplace of Fidel Castro. Then ride via Mella and Mensura to Salto de Mayari, high amid pine forests, where we’ll meet with environmentalist (P2P) and enjoy lunch. Continue to Parque Natural Alejandro Humboldt (P2P) for an exchange with park rangers. Dinner at a paladar (private restaurant), with a presentation (P2P) by city historian, Alejandro Hartman.
 
Day 10. Guantanamo – A brief exploration of town includes a stop for a chocolate fix and learning exchange (P2P) at the Casa de Chocolate and a meeting (P2P) with artists at the Casa de la Cultura. This region of Cuba is known for its unique legacy of pre-Columbian indigenous culture; we journey to the village of Guirito, where the indigenous community members (P2P) teach us the traditional music and dance known as Kiriba & Nengon. After lunch here, ride to Guantánamo via the La Farola switchback mountain road to meet with English-speaking Cubans and former U.S. Naval Base employees in the (P2P) British West Indies Welfare Center. Dinner followed by music and dance performance (P2P) with Tumba Francesca.

GS motorcycle in Cuba

Cuban CountrySide on a GS

Day 11. Santiago – After breakfast the ride takes us to the site of (P2P) the famed Spanish American War battle of San Juan Hill, where we learn about this seminal event from a local historian and composer. We then explore (P2P) El Morro castle with a local guide. After lunch the group visits with Leonardo Matanzas and (P2P) his private motorcycle training school. After settling into our hotel we’ll be joined at dinner by (P2P) members of a local motorcycle club.
 
Day 12. Santiago – A presentation on the Afro Caribbean Santeria religion (P2P) by historian Carlos Lloga Dominquez will follow breakfast. Afterwards, specialists in revolutionary history will explain the key moments of the Cuban Revolution, launched at Moncada Barracks (P2P) in 1953; and the life of nationalist hero José Martí while visiting his mausoleum at the Cemetery Santa Ifigenia (P2P), where we also witness the changing of the guard. Ride to lunch, then to Parque Bacanao to visit with (P2P) artista Pedro Jorge Pozo and with (P2P) Santeria priest Gil Clemente Rios at El Oasis. The day’s people to people activities are wrapped up with a visit (P2P) to the Museo of the Cuban Spanish American War. A final dinner is sure to be a fiesta!
 
Day 13. Fly out to Miami – transfers to the airport for flight Santiago-Miami
 
Map of Cuba

Map of Cuba

INCLUDES:
• Round trip airfare Miami – Cuba
• Cuba Travel visa
• Accommodations for 12 nights (double occupancy)
• Dinners on travel days, all breakfasts and occasional lunch
• Numerous people to people educational activities
• Support/luggage van & driver
• Licensed Cuba tour guide
• Riding Tour Guide
MotoDiscovery representative
• Necessary airport transfers
• Museum entrances
• Maps
MotoDiscovery apparel gift
• Pre-tour information packet
• Fuel for rental motorcycle
• Selection of F800GS and 700GS BMW rental motorcycle

DOES NOT INCLUDE
• Airfare or transportation to start of tour in Miami
• Emergency medical evacuation insurance
• Alcoholic beverages
• Tips for staff or special services

PRICES: (double occupancy)
Rider renting F700 or F800GS BMW….8,975 USD                  
Passenger or participant in support vehicle….6,789 USD
Single occupancy supplement (anyone in a single room)….940 USD     

TERMS, CONDITIONS, etc.
• Reservations with deposits for the required minimum of 10 fully paid persons should be received by no later than 60 days prior to the tour date.
• Additional people may be added after this time based on ability to obtain visas and other circumstances.
• All participants must have a current passport with six month validity.
• A 1,500 Euro security/damage deposit is required when renting a motorcycle.  

Participants will be advised on the regulations related to travel for US citizens and will be obligated to comply with OFAC rules concerning mandatory participation in scheduled people to people (P2P) activities.

Participants are required to sign statements of this understanding.

What do you think? Sounds pretty amazing right?! If you are seriously interested in joining us, email bob@bobsbmw.com for further discussion.

23rd Annual Ride to Work Day

Ride to Work 2014

Bob’s BMW supports Ride to Work Day this Monday, June 16th. For more information about this event, go to http://www.ridetowork.org.

Jeremy’s Schedule and Results

Date Race Results
April 5-6 Jennings GP, FL Results
April 12-13 Carolina Motorsports, NC Results
May 3-4 New Jersey Motorsports Park, NJ Results
May 24-26 Summit Point Raceway, WV Results
June 28-29 Summit Point Raceway, WV Results
July 19-20 New Jersey Motorsports Park, NJ Results
August 23-24 Summit Point Raceway, WV Results
September 6-7 New Jersey Motorsports Park, NJ Results
September 20-21 Virginia International Raceway, VA Results

Perfect Gift for Dad

Bob's BMW Gift CardStill not sure what to get your dad for Father’s Day? Bob’s has got you covered! Stop by this week and pick up a Bob’s BMW gift card…it’s sure to bring a smile to any rider’s face! You choose the dollar amount and let him do the shopping.

Not local? Buy Online TODAY!

FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!

FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!

Now thru July 31 with the purchase of any 2014 model listed below, Bob’s is offering $250 OFF helmets and jackets! Act before June 13, and Bob is throwing in a FREE rain suit—choose from BMW, Rev’it!, or FirstGear—up to a $160 value!

So while Bob’s BMW is singing “Rain, Rain, Go Away,” our customers are outside doing the rain dance with their fingers crossed hoping the forecast calling for rain the rest of the week does not change!

Eligible 2014 Models
Monthly Payments* ONLY at Bob’s**
G 650 GS
$99/month FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!
F 700 GS
$129/month FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!
F 800 GS
$149/month FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!
F 800 GSA $169/month FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!
C 650 GT $129/month FREE Rain Suit plus $250 OFF Helmets & Jackets!
*Estimated monthly payments include current BMW sales incentives, assume $750 down and a 48 month 3asy Ride Financing Option. 3asy subject to credit approval. Freight, Set-up, Doc, Taxes, Title & Tag fees, and accessories are additional. Offer based on non-promotional rate-rates subject to change. Current BMW savings cannot be combined with other special sales programs.

**To qualify for Bob’s rainy day promotion it must be raining at Bob’s during the sales process and/or at time of delivery; payment in full or a non-refundable $1,000 deposit is due by Friday, June 13. Any brand rain suit up to a value of $160 is applicable. This offer is non-transferable and cannot be redeemed as cash. Ask your sales representative for complete details on program eligibility and guidelines. Bob’s $250 helmet/jacket credit expires July 31, 2014 and cannot be combined with any other special sales program accept Bob’s rainy day promo.

2014 Picks from Bob’s BMW

SHOIE GT AIR HELMETS

SHOEI’s all-new stylish GT-Air makes it easier to adapt to the ever-changing conditions that Mother Nature places in our path. Features such as the convenient flip-down internal sun shield, free-flowing yet easily adjustable ventilation system, superior aerodynamics, and Pinlock Anti-Fog System ensure greater comfort and thus more time in the saddle than ever before.

REV’IT AIRWAVE PANTS

Rev’it! brings you Summer riding air mesh at its best: rugged and strong, yet soft and comfortable to the touch. Stay cool and safe at the same time. Fully equipped with CE-approved armor plus an attention to detail not usually found at such an affordable price. With a long side entry zipper, these pants can be put on and taken off in the blink of an eye – making the Airwave trousers the perfect summer commuter pants.

SCALA RIDER QZ SYSTEM

Whether you ride your motorcycle for business or pleasure, you need to stay connected at all times. The Qz allows you to safely and easily make and receive phone calls while riding, connect to your GPS and receive in-the-ear instructions, and tune into your favorite playlist.

Upgrade to the Q9 system and get helmet to helmet communication with up to 9 people!


BMW STREETGUARD WOMEN’S JACKET & PANTS

The new BMW StreetGuard jacket and pants (sold separately) offer flexibly equipped for all kinds of weather, from the heat of summer to the depths of winter, and numerous clever extras and comfort features that demonstrate detailed design and innovation. StreetGuard represents BMW’s premium touring apparel and is the first choice for riders who appreciate functionality as well as quality.

KLIM VENTED SOCK

The Klim Vented Sock is our most ventilated technical sock designed to wick moisture away from the skin allowing the foot to stay dry and comfortable. Strategically-placed soft mesh panels allow for maximum moisture removal. The Klim Vented Sock is best suited for aggressive riders and/or warmer conditions and works great for any rider looking for minimal bulk and maximum dryness.

BMW COOL DOWN VEST

You say it’s too hot to ride? Not anymore, with this new vest from BMW that uses evaporation to keep you cool The vest uses the HyperKewl system to lock in moisture. That moisture is stored in the material for up to 8 hours, providing a constant cooling effect through evaporation, reducing heat by around 11 to 22º F compared to the ambient temperature. Repeat the process as many times as necessary. And as you ride cool, your clothing stays perfectly dry! The ultra-lightweight garment fits comfortably beneath most summer-weight textile jackets.

REV’IT! CHRONOS GTX JACKET

The REV’IT! Chronos GTX takes highly functional gear to the next level. This two-in-one jacket is ideal for commuters, distance tourers, and day riders alike in all weather conditions during the warm and hot seasons.
Features include large air-mesh panels for optimal ventilation, excellent reflection, plenty of adjustability to fine-tune the fit, CE-approved ProLife® armor at the shoulders and elbows, and a comfort mesh lining.
SHOEI RF-1200

The NEW RF-1200 represents a big leap in SHOEI’s sport helmet evolution. Years of development, wind tunnel testing and on-track rider feedback have contributed greatly to this model’s emergence. We’ve tried it and we LOVE it!
REV’IT! PACIFIC H2O RAIN SUIT

When Rev’it! developed the PACIFIC H2O rain suit, one of their main goals was to make it easy to put on in just a few seconds – about the time it takes you to get soaked in a heavy shower. Mission accomplished. The solution lies not only in the long, diagonal front closure, but in the newly developed, non-stick, PVC-free coating on the inside of the Power Nylon outer shell. The result is a 100% waterproof, breathable, and very practical all weather companion that will meet the demands of any rider. Convenient features include a storage pocket on the upper leg. For safety, reflection panels on the shoulders and upper legs ensure great visibility.

KLIM ALTITUDE WOMEN’S JACKET

The Women’s Altitude Jacket is a fully functional, feature rich jacket that was, from concept to completion, specifically designed to fit the female form. This jacket promises to break new ground in women’s motorcycle apparel.

The Altitude Pant for Women is a proud new addition to the Klim lineup. The fit is, of course, designed specifically for women, but you get more than just fashion.

SCORPION SG3 GLOVES

SG3 GLOVES from Scorpion are the sport rider’s gloves with high performance features designed for the track, yet comfortable enough for the street. Best of all: Affordable!
BMW AIRFLOW LINE

When it’s hot out you want AirFlow.
For 2014, the famous two-piece summer suit, for warm weather is better than ever, includes a windproof cover jacket, and is available for men and women.

The lightweight summer gloves have excellent ventilation with leather in the palms and textile on back. Choose from 2 colors: Silver or black.

The airflow boots complete the famous line and are better than ever! You don’t have to sacrifice protection or good looks to ride in cool comfort with the Airflow boots.

Fun with Jeremy Cook

correct_size

Bob’s BMW Motorcycles Memorial Day Sale

Schuberth-Memorial-Wknd

LIMITED TIME ONLY…Sale Ends May 31!

Get professionally fitted for your NEW Schuberth helmet—your comfort and safety depend on it.
Certified Apparel Specialists at Bob’s BMW are ready to personally assist you today!

Interested in the C3 helmet?
You can TEST RIDE this model today at Bob’s BMW and experience the Schuberth difference yourself!

*Sale ends May 31, 2014 at midnight (PST) or May 31, 2014 at 3:00 a.m. (EST). S2 graphics, Matte Black C3, and C3W not included.

2014 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive Review – First Ride

2014 bmw k1600gtl exclusive

Grand-Touring Luxury just got grander

By Kevin Duke May 21, 2014 2
Photos by: BMW and Mary Buch
2014 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive

I was on the glorious Pacific Coast Highway aboard the new K1600GTL Exclusive when I had a thought that might be controversial. I imagined that Soichiro Honda, if given the choice, would prefer to be riding BMW’s new flagship rather than his eponymously named company’s iconic Gold Wing.

Let’s not forget that Mr. Honda’s company had a rich history with inline six-cylinder engines long before the Gold Wing’s flat-Six debuted in 1988. It was under Soichiro’s guidance the RC165 was shown to the Grand Prix paddock in 1965, a six-cylinder moonshot to battle two-stroke machines in the 250cc class. The shrieking 250/6 blew eardrums and minds but, unfortunately, handled poorly and was unreliable. Then, with input from the legendary Mike Hailwood, the RC166 earned 10 victories in 10 races and the 1966 world championship. And the 1967 title, too.

Eleven years later, the CBX streetbike was unleashed, a 1047cc six-cylinder machine that made indelible impressions in the minds of every gearhead. Six cylinders laying in a row across the frame had been seen in a production motorcycle only once before (the Benelli Sei, produced in limited quantities beginning in 1972), and the CBX’s cylinders spilling out the sides and 24 valves sitting under its massively wide twin-cam cover screamed motorcycle like nothing else. Then, in 1981, Honda transformed the CBX into a sport-touring machine, complete with a relatively large fairing and hard-shell luggage.

And it’s that same formula for BMW’s K1600 platform, of which the GTL Exclusive is the latest iteration. Except the K16’s 1649cc inline-Six benefits from an undersquare bore/stroke ratio and packaging innovation that significantly narrows the engine (21.9 inches, just 2 inches wider than the old K1300’s four-cylinder motor) relative to the CBX’s, allowing cornering clearance despite 63% extra displacement the Honda could only dream of.

052014-2012-BMW-K1600GTL-exclusive-engineSo, while riding the BMW Exclusive on twisty heaven in the Big Sur area, leaning it over further than any Gold Wing (Honda’s contemporary luxo-tourer and a legend in its own right), I was guessing Soichiro would prefer the sportier dynamics and heavenly exhaust song more than the dowdier Honda.

The K1600 platform has impressed us from the moment we first threw a leg over the luxurious GTL and sportier GT – both large but definitely in charge. Its tuneful exhaust note and incredibly agile handling redefined what’s possible with a plus-1600cc motorcycle. In our testing, the GT first knocked down Kawasaki’s much cheaper Concours 14, then the GTL dethroned the venerable Gold Wing. Either K16 is pricey, but their riding experiences are supreme.

2012 BMW K1600GT Review

Diagram of 2014 BMW K1600GTL

While the GTL Exclusive will be sold in other markets, it’s built primarily for chrome-loving Americans. The Exclusive package also includes a unique color scheme based around four coats of Mineral White Metallic paint, the most expensive stuff from BMW’s car side. The luggage gets accents in Magnesium Metallic Matte, while the seat is a new Magnesium Silver color. The fuel tank is capped with a classy brushed-aluminum cover.

Now comes the Exclusive version of the GTL, slathered with every option previously available for the GTL (including ESA II, adaptive headlight, passenger armrests, heated seats and grips, driving lights, crash bars, luggage liners and more) plus a few new ones. “Industry Firsts,” says BMW, are Hill Start Control, backlit-illuminated indicator dials, and a radio film antenna embedded in the topcase lid. “There is no ugly stick,” notes BMW Motorrad USA’s product manager, Sergio Carvajal.

2012 BMW K1600GTL Review

Also, exclusive to the Exclusive is a new seat that is wider and longer in the passenger section, as well as a heated upper backrest and additional padding in the lumbar area. A navigation unit is the only option, although the bike is prepped for the seamlessly integrated and fully featured unit ($800 approx.).

Keyless Ride is another innovation on the GTL-E, using a proximity sensor in the key fob to operate/activate the ignition, fuel-filler cap, steering lock, alarm and luggage locks. The central locking system automatically deactivates when the ignition is switched on, so the fob never needs to be removed from your pocket.

2012 BMW K1600GT vs. 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS

BMW says the GTL-E has the most comprehensive level of equipment and technology available in any motorcycle, although it has not yet received BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control as seen on the company’s HP4 sportbike. Regardless, its ESA II suspension system is quite advanced and performs flawlessly. Rear preload is electrically adjustable for various loads, while damping can be switched from the handlebar between Comfort, Normal and Sport settings that make a real difference in the levels of control. Its Normal setting would be fine on its own, but it’s satisfying to have the option to tailor the ride to road conditions: loosen it up while super-slabbing or firm it when sport riding.

Sport riding is encouraged by the GTL-E, despite its 793-pound curb weight. Keep in mind that mass is 100-150 pounds less than a Gold Wing or Harley-Davidson touring rigs. The biggest BMW snaps into corners with shocking alacrity for a giant luxo-tourer, and its cornering clearance is far greater than anything in its class. The GTL’s only dynamic flaw is an awkwardness at speeds below 10 mph, forcing a rider to be extra attentive when riding at a crawl.

Check out the significant spec-chart advantages of the GTL-E over its class rivals. It boasts significantly more horsepower, more torque despite the smallest displacement, a much greater top speed (about 140 mph), the most rear-wheel suspension travel by far, the biggest fuel tank, and the lightest weight. The Gold Wing still rules in luggage space, while the H-D Electra Glide Ultra Limited has more load capacity.
Check out the significant spec-chart advantages of the GTL-E over its class rivals. It boasts significantly more horsepower, more torque despite the smallest displacement, a much greater top speed (about 140 mph), the most rear-wheel suspension travel by far, the biggest fuel tank, and the lightest weight. The Gold Wing still rules in luggage space, while the H-D Electra Glide Ultra Limited has more load capacity.
When piloting a large motorcycle, one of the most precarious situations is stopping it on an incline. Helping the big Beemer feel more manageable in this situation is its new Hill Start Control, seen also on BMW’s new R1200RT. Firmly pulling pulling the front brake lever when at a stop activates the rear-brake caliper to prevent the bike from moving until you’re ready to roll again. It automatically disengages when fed power through the clutch, greatly reducing what BMW terms “launch anxiety.” It’s a much-appreciated innovation.

2012 BMW K1600GTL vs. 2012 Honda Gold Wing Shootout

Braking performance from the partially integrated ABS system is exemplary, with firm lever feel and astounding braking power for such a heavy motorcycle. While the rear brake is partially linked to the front lever, the rear brake pedal operates independently, which is our preference.

Passenger comfort was one of the only areas the GTL came up short to its competitors, but the GTL-E appreciably closes that gap. I brought my wife, Carolyn, for our ride from the Los Angeles basin to Monterey and back, and she was transported in regal comfort.

I’ve never had a better experience on a seat, even on the Gold Wing,” she raved, although it must be said she hasn’t yet sampled the pillion accommodations on Harley’s touring bikes. Wifey praised the extra security and comfort provided by the armrests and lauded the generous amount of legroom. “I didn’t have a problem with stiff knees like on some other bikes.” She also liked how the armrests could be flipped up to access the bike’s grabrails when I was riding more aggressively, although she noted the narrow apertures could be a tight squeeze for large hands.

2014 BMW R1200RT Review – First Ride

2014 BMW K1600 GTL

The K1600 GTL Exclusive’s passenger accommodations gets two thumbs up from Duke’s wife, Carolyn. “It’s a luxurious motorcycle ride,” she says. “And the heated seats; total bonus!” With the windshield in its uppermost position as seen here, airflow over both rider and passenger is smooth, with no annoying backpressure.

Despite the plethora of comfort and technology features, any K1600 experience is highlighted by one of the most impressive engines in motorcycling history. The wonderful inline-Six is dichotomous, stoutly delivering 70% of maximum torque at just 1500 rpm but also screaming to a glorious top-end howl reminiscent of a 1960s Jaguar or Aston Martin Le Mans racer. It entices a rider to rev it out just to hear it sing, becoming especially tuneful above 6000 rpm to its 8500-rpm redline, even though spinning it up isn’t required for a swift pace.

The first twist of a K16’s throttle reveals negligible flywheel effect, the engine gathering revs rapidly. Turns out the flywheel effect is low mostly because the K16 doesn’t use a flywheel, instead relying on the smoothness inherent of six cylinders located inline. The lack of crankshaft inertia initially made getting moving from a stop a delicate balancing act until I learned to feel the light-effort clutch bite before I added revs, dramatically simplifying smooth take-offs. Additionally, the GTL’s transmission, while not as seamless as a sportbike, is probably the best gearbox on any plus-1600cc engine.

The engine’s ride-by-wire throttle can be set to three modes: Rain, Road and Dynamic. I enjoyed the snappier responses of Dynamic, especially when riding at a sporting pace. But Road mode is better for two-up riding, as adding or subtracting throttle is less abrupt. Dynamic Traction Control adds a security blanket to throttle application, with settings applicable to each ride mode.

The GTL-E’s audio system features both satellite and AM/FM radio, plus iPhone/iPod and music player integration. Audio quality through the four cockpit speakers drops significantly above 65 mph, and the lack of rear speakers leaves passengers with only whiffs of music at highway speeds. Music fans would be wise to pipe tunes to a Bluetooth headset.

Props must be given to BMW’s Multi Controller wheel located inboard of the left handgrip. Most functions can be set or toggled through with simple turns or pushes on the disc. It’s a huge advancement in controlling many electronic gizmos.

I averaged mpg numbers in the high 30s during our trip. Those with less of a hooligan bent should be able to get at least 40 mpg, yielding 280 miles or more between fills of the 7.0-gallon tank.

Conclusion

There is no other bike that can offer the GTL-E’s opulent comfort cruising at 80 mph (with standard cruise control) on the highway while also being able to scream up PCH at a pace faster than some sportbikers. And, in case you were wondering, a slipper clutch on a luxo-tourer can be beneficial. A Gold Wing or H-D tourer is better coordinated at low speeds, but the GTL-E is dynamically tops in every other environment. Harley’s FL line falls short in every performance metric.

Interestingly, BMW says the GTL has converted many Harley owners, more than Gold Wing riders. The theory behind it supposes the K16 doesn’t contradict what Harley-Davidson does well.

While the K1600GTL Exclusive’s MSRP of $29,950 might frighten away the proletariat, it could seem like a bargain to a bar-and-shield devotee who just shelled out $38,999 for a CVO Limited. And I’ll bet Soichiro-san would like it, too.

2014 K1600 GTL Exclusive overall scores

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