RoadRUNNER Project Bike: 2012 BMW K 1600 GTL

Dec 13, 2012 View Comments by

The Bavarian luxury tourer is, without a doubt, a solid motorcycle. It even garnered our “Motorcycle of the Year” award in 2011. Millions of dollars were spent on research and development, and countless engineers were put to work to create the best luxury sport touring motorcycle on the planet. Arguably, BMW has achieved this.

The modifications done to this GTL are purely of a personal preference to create a motorcycle that fits like a shoe, can be picked out of a police lineup, and makes the seating flesh feel right at home.

Our “tech team” consisted of riders with sufficient wrenching talent who performed all of the modifications on a Saturday afternoon. However, we advise the use of a trained technician for any major modifications. How many BMW riders does it take to…?

Touring Enhancements Install
1. Flash2Pass Garage Door Opener: 45 min $89.95
Notes: To install the transmitter, we had to take apart the right side of the cockpit to access the headlight plug, which carries a pair of both high beam and halo ring wires. The two white wires on top are the ones we needed to tap into. The purple wires are for the halo rings, and the brown one is the ground. Using the Posi-Taps that were included in the package, we connected the transmitter and secured it next to the speaker housing with double-sided tape (not included). It doesn’t matter which transmitter wire goes on which high-beam wire.Next, the garage door button had to be replaced with the SmartPanel receiver. An indicator light let us know that it wasn’t getting sufficient power. After rounding up an old DC charger, we plugged the SmartPanel into a receptacle for effortless operation.It’s also good to know that the motorcycle has to be running for the Flash2Pass to work.
2. ZTechnik Windshield Z2463 standard height: 5 min $259.95
Notes: The ZTechnik windshield changed the airflow and reduced wind noise, but some buffeting is still present. It was a step in the right direction, though. The FMR coated polycarbonate that the ZTechnik windshield uses is three times more resistant to abrasion and 20 times more impact resistant than those from other manufacturers. It’s not just about comfort but about safety as well.
Review: The windshield offers great protection, especially by deflecting rainwater away from the rider’s helmet. Some road glare appeared near the top of the shield. Overall, it’s a great improvement and it helps that it doesn’t look like a trucker windshield.
3. Remus HexaCone Slip On Exhaust: 10 min
per side
Notes: The sound sample online simply doesn’t do it justice. Swapping out the pipes was a breeze. We chose to take out the baffle for a much better sound. The carbon exhausts weigh about half of their stock counterparts and increase the performance and torque. This modification feels great for the motorcycle and the soul.
Review: Quote from tester, “I LOVE this! Not only did the Remus exhausts get rid of the sewing machine sound, they also make all other BMW owners jealous.” The good-looking carbon pipes aren’t too noisy, but they bring forth a nice rumble that rises under acceleration.
4. Corbin Dual Touring Saddle with Heat Option, Carbon Fiber Trim, 02-SB Backrest, and Black Stitching: 5 min $866
Notes: It took longer to unpack this than to mount it. The standard seat latch had to be replaced with the Corbin unit by removing three screws. The Corbin is noticeably heavier, and we found out that the weight shaved with the Remus exhausts had been gained back with the seat. The rider can sit back farther for a better body position. Because the Corbin is a bit narrower for the passenger, the grab handles (mostly covered up by the stock saddle) are now accessible. The heated rider’s seat is still controlled as before, and the passenger controls are on the side.
Review: The best part about this Corbin is that the original pan doesn’t have to be sacrificed. The tester spent an additional 15 minutes flipping the holder mechanism for a taller seat. BMW tries to hinder GTL owners from doing so, but it can be done. (This might affect warranty, so check with a dealer before you do the same.) In addition, another hole had to be drilled on the Corbin bracket for the lock in the rear. Now the rider can slide forward when it gets curvy and relax on the open straight roads.
5. AltRider Engine Protection Bars: 25 min $394.27
Notes: Although we never want to actually test protection bars on the road, these heavy-duty 1-inch stainless steel bars are one of the best on the market. The auxiliary spotlights seamlessly mount onto the AltRider bars. In case of a tumble, these lights are protected from damage. In addition, the bars keep a tipped over K 1600 at a manageable angle for one person to pick it back up. Remember, it doesn’t have a boxer-style engine sticking out the sides.
6. RKA Topcase and Side Panniers Liners: 30
Notes: The high quality liners are a great addition for the K 1600 GTL. Not many companies offer a luggage solution for this motorcycle, so we’re glad that RKA makes a durable and functional product. They slide right in and feature carrying straps.

*Retail costs exclude taxes and shipping

When all was said and done, the bolt-on accessories took almost two hours to install, but with three people and lots to talk about, it consumed the better part of a Saturday. Other than riding, what’s better than spending some garage time with friends?
The total investment for the upgrades was $3,183.17. We achieved a better performing motorcycle that is even more comfortable on long tours and is more functional for everyday use. All of the products come with very good instruction manuals.

In the next issue, we’ll put finishing touches on an already personalized 2005 Yamaha FJR 1300.

Tags: , , Categories: Motorcycles, Technical Tips