2011 Motorcycle of the Year | Best Touring Bike

BMW K1600GT
The Teutonic Hyper-Tourer

The company that invented Grand Touring reinvents the Grand Tourer. That’s less than earth-shattering news until you settle into the cockpit of a K1600GT. We’ve settled into less comfortable Barcaloungers, and none of them came with a 160-horsepower, 24-valve straight-six, an adaptive xenon headlight array that helps you see around corners, satellite navigation, electronically adjustable suspension or traction control. That adds up to 703 lbs. of Bavarian luxury transport that should handle more like a Barcalounger Churchill II in double-fudge leather. But here’s the earth-shattering part: It doesn’t.

The K1600GT feels more like a BMW K1300S than your average long-distance luxury recliner, with handling that melts off 250 lbs. and acceleration nothing in the class can match. Honda’s GL1800 flat-six was good enough to lock up this slot for the last decade. And unless somebody comes up with a better way to repeal some heavyweight physical laws—gravity, for starters—BMW’s class-busting inline has what it takes to lock it up for the next decade. Or two.


Alternative Take

Kawasaki Concours14
The original 1986 Concours had a record 20-year run because it served up more long-haul for less long green than BMW or anybody else. After being recast in 2007 with ZX-14 underpinnings and refined for 2009, the 2011 edition won our recent supersport-touring showdown because it’s still the biggest dose of long-haul adrenaline $15,599 can buy.

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