Not wanting to be outdone by Honda and its new-for-2018 GoldWing, BMW brought out its own ‘Big Rig’ at last week’s Milan Motorcycle Show and pulled the covers off its own six-cylinder uber-tourer – the K 1600 Grand America.
The name says all you need to know about the new BMW. It’s based on the German brand’s 1600cc K 1600 platform, more specifically the K 1600 B ‘Bagger’ launched earlier this year, and is aimed squarely at the American market.
BMW says that the Grand America is in the ‘American highway cruising style’ and, like the GoldWing, comes packed with high spec and plenty of create comforts.
BMW’s electronic suspension, called Dynamic ESA, automatically adjusts the Grand America’s damping on the go and has a ‘Cruise’ setting that softens the ride up for a sofa style ride.
Although the Grand America looks huge, a poke around the tourer at the Milan show reveals it to be surprisingly low. The seat height of 750mm is the same as the K1600GT tourer and will be accessible for all but the shortest riders, although a weight of 364kg means that it’s no lightweight. To help with manoeuvrability, the Grand America comes with a reverse gear as standard, while hill start is an option that should prove fairly popular.
In many ways the Grand America is an evolution of the bagger launched earlier this year, with the big top box and settee-like passenger seat making it even more adept at racking up the miles. With integrated footboards and feet first riding position, it really is an American style bike – albeit with a straight six rather than the V-twin preferred by Indian and Harley-Davidson.
With all that extra weight, especially over the rear of the bike, BMW has restricted the top speed of the 160bhp Grand America to just 101mph – no doubt to ensure stability when fully laden – but high speed autobahn blitzing is not the name of the game for the new BMW. It’s a model aimed firmly at the American market, and fans of the laid back touring cruiser style.
At £22,150 before specifying any options, it’s not a cheap motorcycle by any manner or means, but you are at least getting a lot of metal for your money. It’s also another example of BMW’s relentless range expansion that has seen them move from purveyors of dull but worthy tourers to a manufacturer of everything from small scooters and bikes through to superbikes and super cruisers like the K 1600 Grand America.
It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with next.
Insure your BMW motorbike through Carole Nash.