Pot Beemer

BMW announced it was working on a six-cylinder tourer last year, and now the German manufacturer has shown off the bikes which are expected to go on sale in the second quarter of 2011.

Designed to be simply the best mile-eaters motorcycling has ever seen the K1600GT and K1600GTL will offer high horsepower combined with effortless torque, impressive comfort and carrying capacity, while being lightweight for the class.

Six cylinder engines are famed for their smoothness and effortless power, but in the past have been very wide. BMW has addressed this problem by making the cylinders very close together and moving everything that could be away from the ends of the crankshaft, keeping the machines as narrow as possible. With an engine output of 118 kW (160 bhp) and a maximum torque of 175 Newton metres, the 6-cylinder engine provides superb propulsion in all conditions.

The technology abounds - ride-by-wire throttle, traction control, cruise control, heated grips, ABS, adaptive headlights, Electronic Suspension Adjustment, immobiliser and integrated audio systems - including USB and iPod fittings - will all be available. The adaptive headlights (an option on both models) help to point the headlight beam into a corner and change the angle under heavy braking.

The instruments also feature a TFT colour 5.7-inch display with a completely new design.

BMW has spent a lot of time making sure the new machines won't be too heavy - the motor weighs in at just over 100kg, so the GT tips the scales at 319kg (including fuel but without panniers) while the GTL, with more luggage and accessories, pushes the scales to 349 (including fuel, panniers and top box). Heavyweight motorcycles, certainly, but not ridiculous.

As befits big tourers, both GT models have adjustable screens -electrically adjustable with memory function. It automatically drops to the lowest position when you park, which is turn acts as an anti-theft system for the optional navigator system.

The GTL is aimed at the to-up touring market, with standard panniers and top case, a relaxed riding position and standard audio. The GT is just a little more sporty, with handlebars requiring a little more lean forward for better feel, no top box standard... Americans will call it a sports-tourer, but we wouldn't. ■

Above: The new K1600 GT looks surprisingly versatile for such a big motorcycle, while the K1600 GTL (below) has all the touring bells & whistles.

Yamaha's special offers

YAMAHA Motor Finance is offering free fire and theft insurance policies available on a wide range of off road Yamaha motorcycles and ATVs and a super-low 5.99 per cent interest rate deal on road bikes and scooters.

Yamaha Motor Finance's Swann backed Off Road Rider Insurance policy is available when customers purchase units with a YMF loan. The policy offers peace of mind to customers worried about dirt bike theft plus there are great additional benefits.

Full details of the policy are available from your Yamaha dealer. In broad terms the policy covers you against fire, theft, damage during transit and it even offers some crash damage protection.

Participating Yamaha dealers can also help you with the low interest YMF road bike deal, with the offer being available on every road (but not adventure, enduro or trail) bike in the Yamaha range. The 5.99 per cent rate is for repayments over two years, with the rate rising after that period.

Both offers run until January 24.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS?

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