Sample these wicked Japanese custom built K1600 GTLs, blessed by BMW Motorrad.
LatestMotorcycles.com: What’s new with the BMW K1600? The K1600 series is the stuff of what has made BMW Motorrad the torchbearers of motorcycle design. Its brand new 1649cc, six cylinder in-line, pumps out enough power to make this the fastest tourer there is. To further spice the mix, BMW Motorrad Japan has commissioned a couple of sensational custom versions of the bike.
Ignite Straight Six is the name of the project. It brought together two past masters of Japanese avant garde motorcycle design, Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory and Keiji Kawakita of Hot Dock Custom Motorcycles. The brief was simple; reimagine the K1600 as a radical custom built motorcycle.
The results were astounding. Kenji called his version the ‘Ken Factory Special’, a pretty futuristic iteration of the digger cruiser design – the twin aluminum front forks and minimalistic headlight cowl accentuating the K1600 GTL’s already low slung stance. Kenji reckons this stripping down, made possible by removing the subframe and setting up a low aluminum seat, makes the “in line six cylinder engine look even more prominent”.
Beauty In The Beast
But while Kenji went minimalistic, Keiji Kawakita turned up with the ‘Juggernaut’, his custom built K1600 GTL clothed in excess rippling metal. That excess metal is in fact aluminum tubing, which gives the K1600 GTL an air of combat readiness. Astride it, you can see how much bigger the instrument panel is, now with the extra width added.
Keiji Kawakita wanted to spare no futuristic fantasy when making the ‘Juggernaut’. But the tapering beak in the front of ‘Juggernaut’ is a clear throwback to BMW Motorrad’s legendary best seller, the GS series. “I found an old photograph of the cockpit of a convertible that looked like something from the future and I wanted to make a motorcycle with a similar feel”, Keiji confided in an interview afterwards.
The K1600 GTL is a superb touring bike and these two new designs show how it might evolve in the years to come. BMW Motorrad has already worked over the new version to give it real menace. Seems like it could develop into a motorcycle superheroes would ride.