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Trev concludes his 7000km in seven days epic onboard a 2017 BMW K 1600 GT

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Apologies for taking so long to get back to you with the conclusion to this Melbourne-Darwin-Proserpine trek aboard  the K 1600 GT, but there has been a few things going on to keep me busy.

Not least keeping up with the daily updates on MCNews.com.au, but also the launch of BMW’s new learner legal G 310 R, and trying to catch up on all the work that was put aside while I was partaking in this ride. 

Trev arrives at Airlie Beach aboard the K 1600 GT after a 7000km in seven days trek from Melbourne to Darwin via Port Augusta before concluding the ride on the Queensland coast
Trev arrives at Airlie Beach aboard the K 1600 GT after a 7000km in seven days trek from Melbourne to Darwin via Port Augusta before concluding the ride on the Queensland coast. Image by Dean Walters

The final day on this 7000km in seven days trek was a relatively simple 1000km run from Cloncurry through to the Queensland coast at Ayr before then continuing south to my final destination of Airlie Beach.

There was little of interest to report on this section of the journey apart from the shit state of Queensland roads, and the pain of 100 and 110km/h speed limits after enjoying the relative freedom afforded by the Northern Territory’s more sensible 130km/h limits. So let’s talk about the bike.

The latest navigator system is the best I have used by far. There is obviously plenty of processing power as complicated routes or re-routing are calculated almost instantly and the ability to control the zoom and functions via the controller on the left hand switchblock is fantastic. The whole experience is many levels above anything I have experienced with any other navigation system.

2017 BMW K 1600 GT - Image by KAJX
2017 BMW K 1600 GT – Image by KAJX

There could have been no greater two-wheeled partner for this trip than the K 1600 GT.  It cosseted my body like no other motorcycle ever has. Rain or shine, after big days in the saddle I felt fresher than I smelled, and was always eager for more.

It was the chore of many hours on the laptop at the end of each day that brought about the only drudgery of the journey, otherwise it was a great trip, reestablishing my determination to get out and about much more on two wheels, as I did with reckless abandon in my younger years.

The BMW K 1600 GT overlooking Darwin’s Fannie Bay – Image by Andrew Gosling

I should remind you that my mount for this ride was the most sporting variant of the K 1600, the GT Sport. There are more luxurious versions available, with even plusher seats and larger screens, but I favour the slightly more sporting riding position of the GT Sport.

It inspires more confidence when having a crack in the twisties via a slightly better feel for the front end, thus you feel more in control than on its more relaxed siblings. I have given more than one sportsbike pilot a hurry-up in the tight stuff during my time aboard this amazing motorcycle.

BMW K 1600 GT Sport
BMW K 1600 GT Sport

I have covered most of the features of the bike in the previous five instalments of this chronicle. From the delights of that brilliant 160hp/175Nm in-line six-cylinder engine, through to the sophisticated electronic suspension and traction control systems, or the convenience of reverse gear on such a large motorcycle. Virtually every question concerning the K 1600 GT is covered across those previous five entries. 

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BMW K 1600 GT Sport
BMW K 1600 GT Sport

There is no doubt that the K 1600 GT is the quintessential master of long distance motorcycle touring. There is nothing on the market that is remotely as comfortable or capable for open road touring than BMW’s big six. 

Honda is expected to debut a new Gold Wing in 2018. After only minor updates to the GL1800 platform over the past 15 years, Big Red will have to break new ground if they want to compete against the technological tour de force that is the K 1600 GT.

As for the comparison against any cruiser based touring motorcycle, there is virtually no point. Compared to the GT on any parameter, from comfort through to luggage capacity, the BMW is so vastly superior in every regard that comparison is meaningless. If performance is then brought into the equation, then the GT clearly operates in a different stratosphere. There is simply nothing that any big cruiser does better than the K 1600 GT. Nothing. 

BMW K 1600 GT Sport
BMW K 1600 GT Sport

What’s not to like? Not much in all honesty.

The fact that the speakers retain clarity to your ears only when speeds are at or below the metric ton was certainly an annoyance, and necessitated me using the excellent Uclear Amp Pro Bluetooth in-helmet speakers to enjoy listening to John Cleese’s autobiography via the Audible App throughout the journey.

On the upside, the standard USB charging port in the RH lower fairing pumps plenty of juice to charge an iPhone 7+ in no time, and keeps it at 100 per cent while streaming continuous Bluetooth tunes. However, to enable full control and direct piping of music on the phone a special accessory USB cable from BMW is required. Annoying.

BMW K 1600 GT Sport
BMW K 1600 GT Sport

The switchgear on the bars not being illuminated was another minor bugbear, and a little transmission lash at low speeds pretty much rounds out my minor complaints. 

Balance that against the almost endless streams of positives surrounding the rest of the bike and it is clear that my impression of the K 1600 GT is wholeheartedly positive. For big days in the saddle there is nothing that can hold a candle to the K 1600 GT. 

Likewise the BMW Street Guard suit proved itself to be the perfect riding gear from the rain down south to the heat up north, I was always comfortable, and dry. Shoei’s GT-Air protected my bonce and with the standard Pinlock system never once got foggy and was comfortable throughout. 

At the end of the ride I then got to fang around BMW’s new G 310 R at the Proserpine Kart Track before getting wet on a scuba diving trip out to The Great Barrier Reef.  A fantastic way to end a brilliant journey.

Trev scuba diving The Great Barrier Reef and getting up close and personal with a Wrasse.
Trev scuba diving The Great Barrier Reef and getting up close and personal with a Wrasse.

So brilliant in fact that today I embark on a new journey. This time around it is a trek from Cape York, the northern most point of the Australia, down to the southernmost point of the Australian mainland at Wilson’s Promontory.

With over a 1000km of that journey off-road, including sandy sections and river crossings, I have chosen a different weapon from the BMW armoury, the new R 1200 GS Rallye X. Stay tuned to MCNews.com.au for the updates from this 4500km next trek as they unfold over the next week.


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