The 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America is the latest long-distance mile-muncher to emerge from Germany. And as the name suggests, it’s been developed to appeal particularly to American motorcyclists looking to complete big journeys in comfort and style.
It’s based on the existing BMW K 1600 B. That model evolved from a concept built with Californian custom builder Roland Sands into a production Bagger. Originally unveiled at the end of 2016, it wasn’t cheap at a base price of £16,750. But although the looks were unusual if you’re not a U.S rider, the result combined high levels of performance and technology, with luxurious comfort. Which is ideal if you not only want to ride across long distances, but also feel good when you arrive.
So what makes this a Grand America rather than a Bagger? Well, the most obvious addition is the topcase with integrated passenger backrest. Not only does it give you extra luggage space, and a bit more comfort for your pillion, but it also makes the 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America look a little more like a traditional touring motorcycle than a West Coast custom. Plus it also has an additional brake light in addition to those integrated into the side cases, along with the indicators.
It also gets some electronic aids as standard equipment. That means you get the BMW Dynamic ESA electronically controlled suspension which gives you two settings. Road mode will keep everything fully-automated, so the system will adjust to the conditions and road surface to give you comfort, traction and stability. But you can also switch to Cruise mode for a very soft damper set-up, which is good if you’re expecting smooth Tarmac for a while.
You also get reverse assist as standard. No need to push and waddle your BMW backwards. Just press a button on the left-hand handlebar panel, and then use the start button for the Grand America to start moving. Given that the low seat height encourages smaller riders, that’s a pretty useful feature when you’ve got a fully-loaded bike to move around. The passenger seat height is also 70mm lower, so pillions don’t need to struggle on and off.
Also standard are the feet forward floorboards. And a higher windshield to give more protection from the wind and rain. Which makes sense considering aftermarket companies have already offered a bigger screen for the Bagger. But if you want to keep cool, there are inegrated air ducts.
The standard equipment also includes engine protection bars, heated grips and seat, and cruise control. Which means you probably won’t need much in the way of extras – but BMW will happily sell you some if you do. The list includes clutchless shifting, hill start control, and intelligent emergency calls in Europe with ConnectedDrive.
And if you’re worried about getting bored, then there’s also a BMW audio system as standard, which will hook into your navigation system as well as playing your road trip soundtrack.
The 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America does share a lot with the K 1600 B Bagger. And that includes the chassis and 6-cylinder, 160hp engine. But while that same engine propels the K 1600 GT to around 154mph, and the Bagger to somewhere around 130mph, the Grand America is limited to 101mph (162 km/h).
You still get a hefty amount of torque (175Nm at 5,250rpm), but BMW are keen to promote it as ‘the American way of riding’. And they do also point out that fitting extra mass at the rear might impact wheel load distribution. So keeping the speed limited is one way to keep things nice and stable.
The 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America Standard Or Style Package:
The 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America is available as standard in Blackstorm Metallic.
Not bad. Although BMW are probably scraping the PR barrel a bit when they boast the trim includes a badge with the model and engine type on it.
But the 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America Style Package does get you the two-tone mix of Austin Yellow metallic with the Blackstrome, which looks pretty good. And some chrome on the front mudguard. Which looks a bit rubbish, if we’re being honest.
That’s about it, really. The 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America offers a bit more luggage, comfort and traditional looks than the Bagger, and includes more as standard to save you having to tick bits on the options list. But the trade-off is the limited top speed and a base price which will probably reflect the additional equipment.
If you’re tempted, then check out the extra photos and videos below.
The 2018 BMW K 1600 Grand America Gallery and Videos