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Thread: Who bought a 1600 as their first HEAVY bike?

  1. #1

    Who bought a 1600 as their first HEAVY bike?

    Hi guys. OK, my real question, "Can I/will I be able to ride a 1600 well?" is answerable only by me. I've never owned a bike of that weight. I did ride my brothers HD Electra Glide to the shop for him once and I can't imagine it was lighter than a 1600. Don't take offense but I thought it rode like a pig on a winding road I had to take. Topanga Cyn in Los Angeles if that means anything to anyone. I did own a 2010 RT as well as a K1200S and they were fine. My current ride, a 2015 R1200R is pretty light. I want a tourer for longer distance though. My head tells me to get a 2016 RT but my heart says I want that 6 cylinder! So I'm going to Vegas in a month or so and rent a K1600GT for a week but thought I'd ask if anyone had switched to a 1600 from something 100 to 150 pounds lighter. It seems a lot of people switched from other heavy bikes. I feel weird even asking this. I've been riding for 40+ years BTW. Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Registered User c4golf's Avatar
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    It is heavy pushing around in the garage or parking space. Get above a few miles an hour and it feels light and nimble, to me anyway. I went through the slow speed maneuvers class in Billings and handled most of the courses, (my fault for what I didnt get through) For what you want it for, it is perfect and what it was designed for.
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  3. #3
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    I am and have been an RT guy for quite a few years now. When the K16 was first introduced, our dealership had only one of two in the state at the time. It was, happily, a designated demo bike so available to ride. As noted by c4golf, the bike loses a lot of weight feel when it moves.

    My first ride on the bike found it parked on a concrete driveway pointing uphill, and about 40 feet away from the side of and aimed at the dealership building. I started the engine and was amazed at the sound, somewhat reminding me of a turbine whine. Clicking into gear and letting out the clutch resulted in an instant transformation from a heavyweight bike to a typical well handling BMW. The bike rolled into the instant 90 degree left turn down the driveway so easily it surprised me at the quick handling for such a large machine. Turning right out of the driveway onto the local street, a 90 degree rignt turn, resulted in the same quick roll into the turn and very light handling. I rode the bike through my usual test ride route, LA Hwy 22, along the bayou. It has a number of sweepers, hard 90 turns, and several short radius turns through its entire length. The bike handled as easily as my RT and if you did not know you were on a long wheelbase heavy bike, you could easily think you were riding a much lighter bike.

    Roll forward to last year: Several die-hard HD riders on their Ultra CVO's got on the K16 and came out of the darkness into the world of BMW. One, a good friend of mine, bought his Ultra three years before sitting on the K16. He rides up to Tennessee and North Carolina every years with friends and every time he came home he complained about the poor performance of the HD. He did the usual "upgrades" adding another $15000 to the cost of the CVO ($30K) and still hated the bike. I finally got him on a K16GTL and did the LA-22 run with me leading on the RT and setting a good lively pace. I watched him roll into and through the turns and finally we stopped at the midway point of the route. He had the biggest grin on his face and said "I was riding and trying to figure out what was wrong. Then it hit me... I could hear the radio, there was no vibration or heat cooking me, the brakes are fantastic and nothing scrapes through the tight turns !" He purchased the K1600GTL Exclusive the following week. Earlier this year his buddy on the other CVO sold it and purchased a RTW and is a happy camper.

    Either the RTW or the KGT is a great bike, and it simply boils down to what grabs you one way or the other. Either bike is excellent for touring. The RT is much easier to self-maintain and less expensive for dealership maintenance. Whatever you do purchase engine guards and sidecase guards for either. It will save a lot of expense if you have a drop.

    By the way... If you really want to confuse the touring issue, take a ride on the GS Adventure. Fantastic bike with excellent suspension and a really long cruising range.
    Last edited by ka5ysy; 01-30-2016 at 01:11 AM.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ka5ysy View Post
    I am and have been an RT guy for quite a few years now. When the K16 was first introduced, our dealership had only one of two in the state at the time. It was, happily, a designated demo bike so available to ride. As noted by c4golf, the bike loses a lot of weight feel when it moves.

    My first ride on the bike found it parked on a concrete driveway pointing uphill, and about 40 feet away from the side of and aimed at the dealership building. I started the engine and was amazed at the sound, somewhat reminding me of a turbine whine. Clicking into gear and letting out the clutch resulted in an instant transformation from a heavyweight bike to a typical well handling BMW. The bike rolled into the instant 90 degree left turn down the driveway so easily it surprised me at the quick handling for such a large machine. Turning right out of the driveway onto the local street, a 90 degree rignt turn, resulted in the same quick roll into the turn and very light handling. I rode the bike through my usual test ride route, LA Hwy 22, along the bayou. It has a number of sweepers, hard 90 turns, and several short radius turns through its entire length. The bike handled as easily as my RT and if you did not know you were on a long wheelbase heavy bike, you could easily think you were riding a much lighter bike.

    Roll forward to last year: Several die-hard HD riders on their Ultra CVO's got on the K16 and came out of the darkness into the world of BMW. One, a good friend of mine, bought his Ultra three years before sitting on the K16. He rides up to Tennessee and North Carolina every years with friends and every time he came home he complained about the poor performance of the HD. He did the usual "upgrades" adding another $15000 to the cost of the CVO ($30K) and still hated the bike. I finally got him on a K16GTL and did the LA-22 run with me leading on the RT and setting a good lively pace. I watched him roll into and through the turns and finally we stopped at the midway point of the route. He had the biggest grin on his face and said "I was riding and trying to figure out what was wrong. Then it hit me... I could hear the radio, there was no vibration or heat cooking me, the brakes are fantastic and nothing scrapes through the tight turns !" He purchased the K1600GTL Limited the following week. Earlier this year his buddy on the other CVO sold it and purchased a RTW and is a happy camper.

    Either the RTW or the KGT is a great bike, and it simply boils down to what grabs you one way or the other. Either bike is excellent for touring. The RT is much easier to self-maintain and less expensive for dealership maintenance. Whatever you do purchase engine guards and sidecase guards for either. It will save a lot of expense if you have a drop.

    By the way... If you really want to confuse the touring issue, take a ride on the GS Adventure. Fantastic bike with excellent suspension and a really long cruising range.
    Thanks for such a thorough answer!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by c4golf View Post
    It is heavy pushing around in the garage or parking space. Get above a few miles an hour and it feels light and nimble, to me anyway. I went through the slow speed maneuvers class in Billings and handled most of the courses, (my fault for what I didnt get through) For what you want it for, it is perfect and what it was designed for.
    I was hoping someone would talk me out buying either one!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    I've owned two K16s. Two GS Adventures. A beloved K1200LTC. Half a dozen Goldwings. Several sport bikes like Ninjas, CBRs, and even one poor Concours. I put around 100K miles on a bike and sell it.

    The K16 is light, nimble, and capable. It will amaze you at how light it reacts in corners. I've done Gymkhana type stuff on the K16 Exclusive. It is happy to play. It is NOT a heavy bike until you are trying to manhandle it like a dirt bike around the garage. The power on the K16 is silky and comes on when you want it not before. It will hold a wheelie through 3rd gear. Take the bags off the K16 and it transforms into a monster sport bike. It induces smiles. Unless you are me.
    OK...scales are tilting to K16. I just gotta' ride it as well as the latest RT.

  7. #7
    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudyinla View Post
    I was hoping someone would talk me out buying either one!
    We are good at helping people spend money

    I have to tell you that the biggest regret most of us have is that we did not get into a RT or other BMW bike much much earlier than we did. Don't wait too long. There are lots of roads that need exploring out there !
    Last edited by ka5ysy; 01-30-2016 at 02:23 AM.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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  8. #8
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudyinla View Post
    {snip} So I'm going to Vegas in a month or so and rent a K1600GT for a week but thought I'd ask if anyone had switched to a 1600 from something 100 to 150 pounds lighter.{snip}
    Renting for a week
    Many seem to forget this option- (although sometimes the option doesn't exist).
    OM
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  9. #9
    Registered User dmftoy1's Avatar
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    Only place I really notice the weight on mine is rolling it around the shop standing next to it. I came off of a HD Dyna low rider though. Do notice how much lighter my airheads are rolling around the shop.


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  10. #10
    I ride with DOG 2bikers1collie's Avatar
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    Jumping on and off our two bikes, the K16 definably feels heavier. It also absorbs the road better. I frequently scrape pegs on my daily commute, but that's just pulling on and off roads, nothing fast. At those slower speeds, she still feels right at home. I am sure a little lapse of judgment, and I'd be on the ground, but the traction control has saved me from wheel slip during that slow turn transition. Wheel slip, because the engine has such a HUGE amount of torque way down low in the RPMs (and all the way through to redline). The S1000XR is a different bike altogether. The K16 actually feels more secure at slow-rolling speeds than the XR. For me, I think it comes back down to the LOW rpm power, if I feel I need it I can just twist the throttle a little. The XR at the same speeds on the same turns wants to be higher reved, meaning I have to bring clutch control into the mix if I was it to give me the same control. It could just be the K16 and my riding mesh well too though. I am (somewhat) sedate on the K16, while the same cannot be said for when I ride the XR.
    ---
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rudyinla View Post
    Hi guys. OK, my real question, "Can I/will I be able to ride a 1600 well?" is answerable only by me. I've never owned a bike of that weight. I did ride my brothers HD Electra Glide to the shop for him once and I can't imagine it was lighter than a 1600. Don't take offense but I thought it rode like a pig on a winding road I had to take. Topanga Cyn in Los Angeles if that means anything to anyone. I did own a 2010 RT as well as a K1200S and they were fine. My current ride, a 2015 R1200R is pretty light. I want a tourer for longer distance though. My head tells me to get a 2016 RT but my heart says I want that 6 cylinder! So I'm going to Vegas in a month or so and rent a K1600GT for a week but thought I'd ask if anyone had switched to a 1600 from something 100 to 150 pounds lighter. It seems a lot of people switched from other heavy bikes. I feel weird even asking this. I've been riding for 40+ years BTW. Thanks guys.
    When considering matters of the head verses the heart... Go with your heart. Only the heart will hold the head in contempt.
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  12. #12
    Registered User RYD1WD's Avatar
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    I own a 2014 RT, and have put about 3500 miles on GTS, 1000 or so on GTL's.

    For my own personal measures I score the difference this way:
    The RT is...

    Less expensive to buy, roll, insure and maintain.

    Far easier to self maintain, significantly less expensive to maintain regardless of who does it.

    Significantly lighter (130 lb), with a noticeably lower COG = easier/less fatigue to ride in all environments. Coupled with the difference in geometry and shorter wheelbase, it's a far superior tool if you play deep in technical environments.

    Significantly better air management. The new RT has the quietest, calmest riders pocket of anything I have ever ridden.

    Better tank to tank range, and slightly higher load capacity.

    The only advantage I can see giving to the K16's is the power - specifically less noticeable loss under a heavy load... not that the RT doesn't have ample power fully loaded, you just notice the load a bit more. One up unloaded, the RT and GT are only .3sec and 3 mph apart in a standing quarter mile, if you care.
    Last edited by RYD1WD; 01-30-2016 at 06:57 PM.
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  13. #13

    Center of Gravity is relevant

    Quote Originally Posted by rudyinla View Post
    Hi guys. OK, my real question, "Can I/will I be able to ride a 1600 well?" is answerable only by me. I've never owned a bike of that weight. I did ride my brothers HD Electra Glide to the shop for him once and I can't imagine it was lighter than a 1600. Don't take offense but I thought it rode like a pig on a winding road I had to take. Topanga Cyn in Los Angeles if that means anything to anyone. I did own a 2010 RT as well as a K1200S and they were fine. My current ride, a 2015 R1200R is pretty light. I want a tourer for longer distance though. My head tells me to get a 2016 RT but my heart says I want that 6 cylinder! So I'm going to Vegas in a month or so and rent a K1600GT for a week but thought I'd ask if anyone had switched to a 1600 from something 100 to 150 pounds lighter. It seems a lot of people switched from other heavy bikes. I feel weird even asking this. I've been riding for 40+ years BTW. Thanks guys.
    2014 K1600GT (sport)
    There is a great deal of talk within BMW community about the heavy weight of the K1600 but when you step outside of the community you find that it is not considered a heavy-weight. A recent motorcycle magazine made a comparison of the new Harley and new Indian touring bikes as a potential competition for the Goldwing with each bike topping 900lbs. The reviewer concluded his review by noting that the lighter K1600GTL could easily compete with these heavy machines.

    More crucial than its gross weight is the center of gravity. I moved to the K1600 from a 2007, K1200GT because the center of gravity was compromising my handling of the bike at slow speeds. Talking with my service manager about my concerns, he noted that the only bike he felt uncomfortable moving around the shop was the K1200 (He felt little risk moving the K1600). When I did a test-ride of the K1600, I went into it with the expectation that I needed a smaller bike. I found that the K1600 was less difficult to manage at slow speeds (I even did a U-turn on the test ride) It was all about the weight distribution. The majority of time you do not feel the weight. The nice thing about this bike is that it is as comfortable on the two-lane country roads as it is on the expressway. I like riding with the bags removed and it really handles and feels like a sports bike (This is not a one-trick pony).

    With this said, there are times that the weight is a liability. On an incline, I need to use my break to keep the bike from rolling backwards and if the bike leans beyond 45 degrees while at a stand still, I am unable to correct the weight and the bike is going over. Also, I pick my parking with greater selectivity and regularly use the "Rain" mode for tight situations like garages. Nevertheless, most of my riding is two-up and I feel very comfortable with the weight of this bike.

  14. #14
    Cowboyatheart
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    This thread is an interesting read. I have a 2008 RT and I find it somewhat top-heavy at slow speed. I wouldn't want anything heavier myself. I rode the new RT wet head and man that is a smooth bike and lower to the ground and doesn't feel as top-heavy. Never riden the 1600 but they sure sound nice and look nice. I find the RT heavy enough for me personally. I'm actually thinking I might get a GS just to lighten the load, even though I find the new wet head RT a very sweet and comfortable machine, and truth be known I think I like it the best, over the GS. And truth be known I think I'd like it the best, over the GS
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  15. #15

    I did...

    The K1600 GTL weighs about 250-300 pounds more than the bike it replaced and, at first, I was intimidated by this. I agree with everyone one else who has commented that pushing this machine around the garage is an effort. I'm 6'2" and weigh 200 lbs. and the bike is a chore until you get on board and ride. I have never owned or ridden a HD or GoldWing (or had a lot of interest in it), so imagine my surprise when I was talking to a maybe 5'9", 170 lb. HD owner when were getting off the AutoTrain in Lorton, VA and he tells me his bike weighs north of 900 lbs. I was gobsmacked. I haven't griped about the deadweight of my BMW since that day. And, as stated, once we're underway - it's a whole other thing. I love it. Good luck find the right ride for yourself.

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