Mpamalanga – BMW Motorrad chose the scenic and sinuous roads of the Mpamalanga Escarpment to launch their latest entry into the cruiser market, the K 1600 B ‘Bagger’.
Based on the mechanicals of the K 1600 GTL tourer which we had previously reviewed, styling-wise the Bagger’s is a slightly commecialised version of the “Concept 101” concept study shown at the 2015 Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy.
The Bagger features a drop-shaped silhouette, which terminates in deep-set side cases with integrated US-style rear lights.
One look at the bike is enough to make it obvious that the United States is the primary target market, a fact which the general manager of BMW Motorrad SA, Edgar Kleinbergen, confirmed during the launch.
The fairing features a low but effective wind screen, and deflectors to protect the rider’s hands from the elements. The rear-view mirrors also match the design concept, but offer they a good view of the traffic behind thanks to the large mirror surfaces which include an aspherical element.
The electronically controlled Dynamic ESA chassis offers “Road” and “Cruise” modes. In the standard “Road” setting, damping adaptation is fully automated, while “Cruise” mode offer much more damping for comfortable riding at low speeds.
The net result is that riding the Bagger feels a bit like driving a luxury car, not unlike the sensation we noticed on the K 1600 GTL.
Of particular interest to me was the reverse assist feature. This is activated by pressing a button on the left-hand handlebar panel to select reverse mode, and then pressing the starter button which causes the bike to reverse under the power of an electric motor.
I had my doubts about this arrangement, but in practice it actually works extremely well – the bike backs up slowly with no effort from the rider, a handy feature on such a heavy machine.
The launch bike was equipped with the optional Shift Assistant Pro. While I have made no secret in the past of my dislike of quick shifters, I have to admit that I may now have met one that I could live with. The bagger’s shifter works particularly well at low revs and seems to prefer small throttle openings. Under relaxed riding conditions, shifting (both up and down) is smooth and effortless, adding to the Bagger’s luxurious feel.
Here’s an overview of some of the other features of the K 1600 B:
• 6-cylinder in-line engine compliant with EU4 regulations, and featuring a power output of 118kW at 7 750 rpm and maximum torque of 175Nm at 5 250 rpm.
• 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
• Chrome-plated parallel silencers with ribbed end caps.
• Folding rear mudguard for easy wheel removal.
• Standard equipment includes ABS Pro, dynamic brake light, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, xenon headlamp, heated grips and seat heating, multi-controller, three ride modes, and cruise control.
• Optional equipment includes Adaptive Headlight, daytime running light, Keyless Ride, Hill Start Control, and central locking.
• Wide range of original BMW Motorrad Accessories
BMW Motorrad confirmed during the launch that the South African price for the K 1600 B is R 325 000.