Trev sets off for Darwin ASBK onboard a 2017 BMW K 1600 GT

To Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five Part Six


Trev rugged up in the BMW Street Guard suit behind the 2017 K 1600 GT. The wall behind is a feature mural on the wall of a motorcycle service centre in Alexandra, adjacent to Davenport Auto Electrics, opposite the Caltex Service Station.
Trev rugged up in the BMW Street Guard suit behind the 2017 K 1600 GT. The wall behind is a feature mural on the wall of a motorcycle service centre in Alexandra, adjacent to Davenport Auto Electrics, opposite the Caltex Service Station.
A late getaway due to morning work commitments made for a short 500km afternoon/evening

A busy morning loading all the race news on MCNews.com.au saw me certainly behind the eight-ball in my quest to venture north for the ASBK round at Darwin’s Hidden Valley this coming weekend.

I finally broke away from the computer about 1400 to hit the road and ride in to diabolical weather conditions. Rain was sheeting at times, which had me sheeting myself along some of the slippery sections of running water between Yea and Seymour. Perfect weather to test out the new BMW Street Guard suit!

This is what the BMW Street Guard suit looks like when modeled by people older and less attractive than Trev, LOL
This is what the BMW Street Guard suit looks like when modeled by people older and less attractive than Trev, LOL

Conditions were bloody horrendous at times and no liner is needed for the Street Guard in order for it to be waterproof, thus I managed to stay dry throughout.

There is one removeable thermal liner in both the pants and jacket, it was single digits on the temp’ gauge for the most part, and I had no thermals on, only the skin of my legs, and the sturdy new Oxford’s new Kevlar lined Kickback shirt (Link) beneath the jacket.

The shirt is a smart looking flanno that is built sturdy to give you some protection in a slide down the road, if you were only wearing the shirt. And I was 99% of the time warm enough with just the shirt and the BMW Street Guard jacket.

Available in several colour options the Oxford Kickback also features a water resistant coating
Available in several colour options the Oxford Kickback also features a water resistant coating

Lack of luggage space kept me from taking thermals etc. as I am heading towards warmer climes and can just suck it up for the first day or so. I suspected the tiniest bit of damp might have got in my now few year old Alpinestars SMX 5 boots around the toes.

They are far from new and have a few scuffs, but when I took my boots off tonight my socks and feet felt dry so maybe nothing at all got in. Dririder’s new Fluid winter gloves (Link), did their job and kept my digits dry and warm enough, for under $100 they are excellent value.

Dririder's new Fluid winter glove
Dririder’s new Fluid winter waterproof glove was put to the test and did their job well. The Dririder Fluid gloves are available for $99.95 RRP.

For this trip I am wearing a Tom Luthi replica edition Shoei GT-Air, complete with UClear Amp Pro Bluetooth system. Tiny microphones are mounted inside the top brow of the Shoei and all calls I’ve taken people can’t believe I’m riding a motorcycle.

The Shoei GT Air helmet in the Tom Luthi replica edition
The Shoei GT Air helmet in the Tom Luthi replica edition was fitted with a UClear Amp Pro system. The Shoei GT Air (Tom Luthi TC-3) is available for $979.90 RRP.

When organising a meet up with photographer Kendall Jennings we had a chat while I was riding, listen to the audio here.  I might need to reposition the microphones a little, they are tiny and tucked up above the eyebrow line inside the helmet lining, so completely hidden. Amazing really as you don’t even know they are there.

The UClear AMP Pro Bluetooth motorcycle audio system - Single kit
The UClear AMP Pro Bluetooth motorcycle audio system – Single kit. The UClear AMP Pro Bluetooth single kit is available for $399.95 RRP.

The K 1600 GT is, as you would expect, comfortable fast and sure footed. I really do love these things, they handle so much better than you would imagine, and go like hell when up them for the rent too. Yet have nice factory luggage, heated seats, heated grips, electric screen, stereo system, and latest technology traction control and ABS systems.

Image by KAJX
Image by KAJX

The 1649cc in-line six is just beautiful. A straight-six engine configuration offers almost perfect primary/secondary balance without the need for any balance shafts, and BMW are renowned for making some of the world’s best engines in this configuration across the car side of their business.

Smooth grunt everywhere, with gobs of torque, from a relatively simple singe throttle body layout that boasts 175Nm of torque at 5250rpm from its six 72mm pistons.

The 1649cc in-line six found in the K 1600 GT is a belter but could do with more exhaust sound
The 1649cc in-line six found in the K 1600 GT is a belter but could do with more exhaust sound

It loves a rev too, however, a 67.5mm stroke sees the peak 160hp arrive at 7750rpm and the big six will happily keep reving beyond that number, and kin ell it sounds damn good while doing it. If allowed a bit more bark it would be truly glorious.

Up/Down quickshifter makes the smooth, particularly for such a big engine, gearbox child’s play to operate. In the image below you can also see how the reverse gear operates off the starter motor.

Reverse gear on the K 1600 GT is driven off the starter motor
Reverse gear on the K 1600 GT is driven off the starter motor

The only bugbears I have discovered during my time on this latest generation K 1600 GT is that the fly by wire throttle gives me a little more rpm than I would like when taking off, giving a slightly unnatural feel when launching.

I feel this has been mapped in as somewhat of a fail-safe against riders stalling at low speed, as this would be a big motorcycle to stall in a tight turn. This is where reverse gear also can come in very handy, adding another level of amenity when in precarious parking positions.

The other small gripe is that the buttons, of which there are many, on the switchblocks are not illuminated at night.

The left switchblock offers menu controls, as well as the traction control toggles, hazard lights, screen adjustment and more
The left switchblock offers menu controls, as well as the traction control toggles, hazard lights, screen adjustment and more

This is the ‘Sport’ version of the K 1600 GT, there is a more luxurious touring version also on offer, while this Sport version pictured give the rider a sportier riding position and makes for a more natural feel when having fun in the twisties.

Make no mistake, these things are no slouch when things turn sporting, a well ridden one is much more of a weapon than any of the uninitiated would ever expect.

The Sport version of the K 1600 GT as tested offers just that, a more sport orientated version
The Sport version of the K 1600 GT as tested offers just that, a more sport orientated version

Oh, I forgot to mention it also has electronic suspension and the headlight points around the corners as you tip in….

I eventually pulled into the Ouyen Pub for the night, just south of Mildura. The last couple of hours were dark as I hadn’t got away until mid afternoon. So only a very wet and treacherous 500km arvo/evening to kick things off.

Image by KAJX
Image by KAJX

Old style country pubs in small rural towns are generally a hit and miss affair, the Victoria Hotel Ouyen was a hit. For sure, this beautiful old building is a little run down and needs some love, but it is clean, hygienic and bloody cheap!

$45 for a relatively spacious single bed room, shared bathroom down the hall, and to top it off a serve yourself basic continental breakfast in the morning!

Victoria Hotel in Ouyen proved a great choice, with good facilities and great food.
Victoria Hotel in Ouyen proved a great choice, with good facilities and great food.

Got in to the pub about 2015, food was still on, ordered the salmon/chips/salad for $20, it came out quickly and was really bloody nice = winning. #Nofoodpicsherethough.

A couple of takeaway beers, then it was up in to the room to start work, reflecting on how glad I was to have spent the day ensconced in the new BMW Street Guard suit, through the cold/wet and downright bloody horrible riding conditions.

Image by KAJX
Image by KAJX

The plan for tomorrow… I have no plan, other than to head towards Darwin. That will entail crossing in to South Australia over to Port Augusta and then start the northward run up the middle towards Coober Pedy. Hoping to get away before 9am after an early store working on the site.

We aim to update you every day or so throughout the journey, so come along for the ride to Darwin with me!


To Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six