2011 BMW K1600GT | Doin’ Time

Photography by Jamie Elvidge

WRIST: Jamie Elvidge
MSRP (2011): $20,900
MILES: 9980
MPG: 38
MODS: Gamin GPS, BMW seat

For months I’d been using the K1600GT to get from one place to another, but it was mainly connecting Safeway to Sears. Finally, a window the size of Texas showed up on my calendar, so I got on the BMW and rode right through it.

I ended up bouncing along the Mexican border from Southern California to Big Bend National Park, rediscovering treasures like the Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument and Bisbee, Arizona, along the way. By far, my favorite feature on the GT this trip was my new Garmin Navigator IV GPS ($899; www.garmin.com), which was created exclusively for BMW Motorrad. Any decent motorcycle-friendly GPS beats pulling over and unfurling a map, but the Navigator takes on-the-fly navigation to a whole new level.

Not only could I view the road ahead and find gas, food and lodging, I was wearing Vemar’s affordable Jiano Bluetooth helmet ($350; www.motonation.com), so I could use the GPS’s wireless technology to make and receive phone calls, or listen to music via my iPhone. Of course, out in the lonely desert I didn’t need a lot of map guidance, but I loved knowing where I was and when I might get where I was going.

I would never have been happy to spin off the long days (which included one 1100-miler) on the GT had I not changed the seat to BMW’s touring saddle ($599; www.bmw-motorrad.com). I’m still using the small K1600-specific tankbag ($273), though I’m disappointed to note some early degradation, including adhesive failure of the inlay base in the window pocket. During the trip oil consumption was consistent with prior reports, and to correct the reader who wrote in to assure me synthetic oil doesn’t “burn,” the big Six continues to use about a half-quart of the stuff every 1500-1700 miles.

To date, I’m still wild about the K1600GT. I only wish a few more of those Texas-size windows would open up—or maybe one the size of Alaska!

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