2012 BMW K1600GT | Doin' Time

Photography by Jamie Elvidge

WRIST: Jamie Elvidge
MSRP: (2012) $20,900
MILES: 11,370
MPG: 39
MODS: California Scientific Windshield


As my time with the K1600GT sped to a close, I was feeling lucky to still have a valid driver’s license. It just doesn’t seem right to dawdle around on such a super sleek sport-tourer, so over the previous eight months I’d had more than my share of conversations with troopers... all over North America.

No troopers would admit that their curiosity caused them to pull me over, but always had questions and comments regarding the BMW. And it wasn’t just the cops—my big red torpedo gathered curious admirers everywhere. “How’s the top end? How’s the bottom end? How fast will it go? How fast have you been?”

What I wanted to explain, except I was always a rush to get back to speeding, was that in addition to sporting fabulous performance features, the BMW K1600GT is an amazingly comfortable motorcycle, too, especially once you find the right seat and windshield combination.

Speaking of windshields, I’d first met Mark Lawrence, owner of California Scientific Motorcycle Windshields (Calsci), on a plane flight. We sniffed each other out as riders before the wheels were up, and spent the entire morning talking about bikes and, of course, windshields. His company’s philosophy is to make more aerodynamically efficient and comfortable windscreens, not just increase the curb appeal of your bike. “I understand this means many think my shields look like barn doors, and I have essentially no customers under the age of about 34," Lawrence says. "On the other hand, guys over 45 feel like they’ve already taken our life quota of abuse. And we certainly don’t need to take more from our chosen hobby.”

There’s certainly nothing sexy about the replacement shield Lawrence sent over for my GT. Based on my height (5-foot-10) and penchant for extremely long days in the saddle (500+ miles), he’d chosen the Large Touring version from the GTL replacement line ($210; calsci.com), not the GT line. The most surprising thing visually is the wide triangular hole in the screen’s lower half. Motorcyclist’s Fleet manager, Michael Candreia, and I pondered just how that gap is going to affect turbulence as we performed the simple four-screw swap. “It’s going to change the back pressure,” Candreia speculated. He was right.

The turbulence produced by the stock GT windshield always annoyed me. It swirled around the bike then pushed me ever so slightly forward with gusty shoves. It was fatiguing, mostly to my neck and shoulders, because it constantly jostled my helmet forward. Calsci’s shield virtually eliminates the issue. It is also quieter than the GT’s stock shield, though I would probably opt for the Medium Touring version ($210), for a clearer view over the top.

However, the windscreen did cause a minor blemish on the bike’s plastic mounting bracket. When questioned about this, Lawrence said he had heard of it happening. “Unfortunately, the shape that keeps the noise and turbulence down [to a minimum] is a very tight fit for that bike,” and he added that in the future Calsci will supply a small piece of black foam tape to keep the windshield off the brace.

My only regret about my eight months on the K1600GT was that I was in a hurry all the time (just ask the cops). If I were really to take advantage of the GT’s assets, I’d have untangled way more twisty roads and spent much less time on the highway. It’s one hell of a motorcycle; in my opinion, an unbeatable blend of top-shelf performance, technological sophistication and long-haul comfort.

Danke schön, Bavaria!

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