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2023 Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello Review

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The rediscovered DNA


For those who don’t know me: I’ve never been a Guzzi lover. I have obviously known the Mandello manufacturer for a lifetime―I even drove past it last summer―and I have always vaguely known that it is a manufacturer with a great past and a present full of nostalgia. The first short test I did on the Mandello a few weeks ago (link to video―in Italian) really impressed me, so I organized a more in-depth test. In preparing the review, I dug into the history of this brand a bit and, I must say, I was fascinated by it. This road test has therefore turned into a veritable little monograph in which I not only describe how the V100 performs, but also how it was created, and what it means for Moto Guzzi.

A motorist in Mandello

A Bit of History

Carlo Guzzi, born in 1889, belonged to a wealthy Milanese family. A passionate motorcyclist with a sanguine character and not very suitable for educational institutions, he never even managed to graduate, but he had very clear ideas. When his father died prematurely in 1906, the family sold the apartment in the city and moved to the holiday villa in Mandello on Lake Como where the young man found work in a mechanical workshop. At the outbreak of the Great War, he was enlisted as an engine mechanic in what was then known as the Servizio Aeronautico della Regia Marina (Aeronautical Service of the Royal Navy) and, after discovering that aircraft engines were far more advanced, powerful and reliable than those used on land vehicles, he was struck by the idea of creating a motorcycle with a similar power unit. With his enthusiasm, he dragged two fellow pilots into the enterprise, Giorgio Parodi and Giovanni Ravelli, chosen not only as passionate motorcyclists, but also because the former was a member of a family of entrepreneurs, while the latter was a test pilot and successful motorcycle racer, known as the Italian Devil. After the war, Ravelli died during a test flight, but his friends continued with the motorcycle project. Parodi asked for funding from his father Emanuele Vittorio, a well-known Genoese shipowner, who immediately agreed to advance half of the requested sum but wanted to see the finished motorcycle with his own eyes before giving the other half. Guzzi immediately set to work with commitment, with calculations done by his elder brother Giuseppe, an engineer, and already in 1919 the G.P. 500 (Guzzi-Parodi) was born.

The G.P. 500. Note the horizontal shaft that drives the valves

This bike was so advanced―it featured a double spark, oversquare single cylinder engine with four valves and overhead camshaft driven by a bevel gear shaft!―that Parodi’s father, Emanuele Vittorio, agreed to finance its production, but only on condition that the mechanics were simplified to make it easier to produce and sell. Guzzi must have mulled it over a bit, but in the end he gave in. From the G.P. he drew the Normale―note the slight polemical vein―equipped with a standard two-valve timing with pushrod and rocker arm. In 1921 he set up the Società Anonima Moto Guzzi with the two Parodis―and two other partners wanted by them―who very chivalrously, as ‘merely financiers’ of the business, renounced the inclusion of their own name in the company name. In honor of their deceased friend Ravelli and to show their common military bond, the Eagle was chosen as the logo, it being on the coat of arms of the Navy aviators.

Speaking of the foundation, the official website of the House states that Moto Guzzi “is the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe”; but, in reality, this is not entirely true. Triumph, born in 1884 as a bicycle factory, had already started building motorized bicycles in 1902 and built its first real motorcycle in 1915. However, the English brand went bankrupt in 1985, to reopen under new ownership and company name in 1990 while Moto Guzzi, which also went through various and even complicated corporate events in its long history, never went bankrupt or stopped production.

Giorgio Parodi, who would alternate the management of the company with his commitments as a military aviator until his death in 1955, wanted to spare no expense to achieve success in competitions. He realized its potential as an advertising tool, so much so that he destined the first two Normale for them. The successes soon became a distinctive element of the Mandello company which, between 1923 and 1957, collected over 3,300 victories in official sporting competitions. With such results, Moto Guzzi soon became the symbol par excellence of sportiness and modernity, and achieved ever greater success in Italy and abroad, so much so that in 1930 it became the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe. The drive for innovation was evident in everything: Just think, among other things, of the unforgettable racing GP500 with V8 engine and gear-driven camshafts from 1955, designed by Eng. Giulio Cesare Carcano; or the wind tunnel, strongly desired by the Guzzi brothers, built in 1950 and inaugurated in 1954―the first in the world by a motorcycle manufacturer and the first ever in Europe.

Moto Guzzi GP500 8V
Testing the GP500 in the Moto Guzzi wind tunnel

This success story took a sudden and fundamental turn in 1957 when the main Italian motorcycle manufacturers―Moto Guzzi, Gilera, FB Mondial, and MV Agusta (which eventually changed its mind)―announced their agreement to jointly abstain from sporting competitions. The decision was taken on the basis of the launch of the Fiat 600 automobile in 1955 and the 500 in 1957, whose affordable prices kicked off the automobile boom in Italy. This would certainly have caused a strong contraction in the sales of motorcycles, which until then had been the only motor vehicles that Italian families had been able to afford; therefore the three manufacturers deemed it necessary to save the considerable costs associated with the races in order to reduce prices and improve retail competitiveness. Initially, thanks to this tactic, motorcycle registrations in Italy actually continued to grow from 251,000 units in 1957 to 283,000 in 1961; but from there, they began to fall inexorably to the dramatic minimum of 55,000 units in 1970. At the same time, however, the average income of the population was increasing, so a growing number of enthusiasts began to think of the motorcycle as a great toy to have fun with in their spare time. Motorcycle sales therefore began to recover; but this new audience favored even more models that won races, so Moto Guzzi found itself caught off guard, thus leaving the door open to increasingly fierce Japanese competition.

After the death of Carlo Guzzi in 1964, the House continued to innovate production and in 1965, the brand new V7 was launched, equipped with a 700 cc transverse 90° V2 with pushrod and rocker arms and cardan shaft designed by Carcano―already author of the V8―which over the years would become the basis for a myriad of variants with even much higher displacement and is still the quintessential symbol of Mandello motorcycles. But the accounts didn’t stop getting worse, so the company was sold in 1967 to the creditor banks, which set up the SEIMM (Società Esercizio Industrie Moto Meccaniche) to manage it. During this period, Eng. Lino Tonti, coming from aeronautics and taking over from Carcano, modified the V7 to beat the speed record of its class on the track. The enterprise succeeded, but the bike was heavy and not suitable for racing, so Tonti made the much lighter V7 Sport out of it in 1971. This marked the return of Moto Guzzi to competitions, with good successes at the 500 km of Monza and at the Bol d’Or. This extraordinary and iconic motorcycle, with its particularly close-fitting and modular, straight-tubes frame, initially painted red to highlight its novelty, beat the 4-cylinder Japanese competitors for performance and outstanding chassis.

Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Red Frame

Unfortunately, however, the V7 Sport costed one-and-a-half times the price of a Honda 750, so it didn’t solve the company’s economic problems.

In 1973, Moto Guzzi suffered the setback of being taken over by its enemy Benelli, part of Alejandro De Tomaso’s industrial group. As was his habit, the Argentine entrepreneur immediately launched a bombastic renewal plan based on the rapid development―usually at the expense of reliability―of numerous new models; but, being convinced that it was necessary to imitate the Japanese models in order to relaunch the brand, he abandoned again racing and development of what would later become the 850 Le Mans, and placed the Eagle logo on the tank of in-line four-cylinder Benelli motorcycles. Unfortunately, this strategy was disastrous for sales, so De Tomaso returned to focus again on the V7 Sport, which among other things was updated with integral braking, and he restarted the Le Mans project, set new models, including the famous California cruiser, and launched a new V2 (called small block to distinguish it from its older brother) designed by Tonti and inaugurated with the 1977 V35 and V50.

Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans III

However, the accounts continued to go badly. During this troubled period, Moto Guzzi went through various mergers and acquisitions until it was sold in 2000 to Ivano Beggio, owner of Aprilia. He was moved by love for Mandello’s creatures and had the best of intentions, but the purchase helped undermine his financial stability and, in the end, he was forced in 2004 to sell both brands to the Piaggio group.

With the new management that is still ongoing today, Moto Guzzi started a phase of recovery. The new Breva V1100, Norge, Griso, and the maxi-enduro Stelvio, although based on evolutions of the old Carcano big block, were basically modern bikes that were certainly equal to their direct competitors, i.e., the BMW R with boxer engine; and this was thanks to the new Ca.R.C. (Cardano Reattivo Compatto), a double wishbone rear suspension, especially in the version with the 1200 8V engine, 4 valves per cylinder with overhead camshaft. However, their good commercial career ended between 2011 and 2016 with no model ready to replace them. The imposing and splendid 2012 California 1400 cruiser was never rewarded by sales and disappeared from price lists in 2020, so Moto Guzzi’s fortunes rested for many years largely on the shoulders of only two models: the eternal Nevada medium cruiser, which left the scene in 2016; and above all the 2008 V7 Classic. Declaredly inspired by the 1971 V7 Sport, this naked was essentially a retro version of the first series Breva―set up in the Beggio era―and as such it lacked the Ca.R.C. suspension and had the same sleepy 750cc 48bhp small block. It was a bike suited more to a turn-ups and aperitif hipster clientele than to the hard core Eagle aficionados; but that audience liked it and still does, and so we must be grateful to it because, without it, Moto Guzzi would probably have become extinct.

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

The 2017 V9 cruiser (equipped with a slightly modernized 850 cc and 55 HP small block that also had ride-by-wire) and especially the later and particularly well-made 2019 V85TT crossover (also with an 850 cc engine but further improved with titanium intake valves and 76 HP) won’t go down in history as signposts of technology, but they did help the V7 bring oxygen to Mandello’s coffers and allowed the technicians to work―in secret―on a new model to relaunch the Eagle, that was unveiled a few months after the centenary of the founding of Moto Guzzi with this September 2021 video.

After a gestation also delayed by the pandemic, the V100 Mandello was finally born―a totally new motorcycle with which Moto Guzzi has rediscovered its original DNA as a manufacturer of innovative sports motorcycles. I analyzed it thoroughly and I will tell you everything I discovered.

How It Is


Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello

The look of the V100 is 100% Moto Guzzi because it clearly recalls some models from the past, reproducing the general look and various stylistic elements but, at the same time, it is very modern―to see it in the showroom next to the others models of the current range, it looks like an F35 in the midst of biplanes. It is characterized by a slim fairing culminating in a small windshield and therefore stands halfway between a naked and a sport tourer, a solution already seen in the past on, for example, the excellent Yamaha TDM. Obviously, the novelty of the line and the unconventional choice of the general setting did not fail to divide the most traditionalist category of mankind―yes, we motorcyclists―into total enthusiasts and perplexed critics. The comments of the latter range from “it’s too modern” to “they could have been more daring” passing through “it’s neither fish nor fowl” to “you can’t look at it”, and I really think that the design and marketing offices are doing a pretty tough job.

I like it a lot, both for the design itself, which is innovative and non-trivial, and because it immediately reminded me of models that I loved a lot when I was a boy, such as the 850 Le Mans III and the V35 Imola. Among the various details, I find very beautiful the horizontal full LED front light equipped with the by-now-classic running/daylight in the shape of a stylized eagle, the double-circle askew taillight similar to that of the V85TT, the short exhaust that leaves the beautiful rear rim in full view, the rounded and typically Moto Guzzi connection between the tank and saddle, and the passenger handles open at the rear. The refined design, the quality of the construction and the components, and the perfect integration of all the details are striking: Nothing is out of place and, on the whole, conveys a satisfying sensation of precision and solidity, even better than the already remarkable one of the California 1400s.

The bike is equipped as standard with a refined, electrically-controlled windscreen, of which a larger version is also available; and with the innovative adaptive aerodynamics consisting of two deflectors which, thanks to two electric motors, retract into the tank fairing when the ignition is off and emerge again upon ignition to increase protection of the legs. It is an absolute first which, not surprisingly, comes from a company that has 70 years of experience in aerodynamics. The only similar thing I know of are the flaps installed on the fairing sides of the BMW K1600 and the old K1200LT which, however, are manually adjustable.

Versions & Accessories

The bike is available in two versions, standard and S, which are distinguished by the equipment and color. The standard can be white―very beautiful in my opinion―or metallic red; while the S is supplied in two metallic two-tone pleasant liveries, one gray and green and the other in two shades of grey. There is also a special Aviazione Navale version, made in 1913 specimens―like the year of birth of the Corps in which the founders of Moto Guzzi served―and characterized by a beautiful gray livery with badges and details inspired by the fighters on board.

Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello S
Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello Aviazione Navale

The standard version is equipped as follows:

  • full LED lighting system with daylight
  • corner lights
  • cornering ABS
  • traction control
  • cruise control
  • riding modes
  • 5″ color TFT display
  • adaptive aerodynamics
  • electrically adjustable windshield
  • USB socket under the passenger seat

The special Naval Aviation version also includes:

  • tire pressure monitoring
  • heated grips
  • laser engraved serial number on handlebar riser
  • commemorative plaque
  • dedicated motorcycle cover.

The S version includes all the standard version accessories and the following:

  • Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 adaptive suspension
  • tire pressure monitoring
  • heated grips
  • quickshifter with auto-blipper
  • Moto Guzzi MIA connectivity system, fully compatible with Android and iPhone.

The following accessories are available in aftermarket.

  • Only for the standard version:
    • tire pressure monitoring (standard on Naval Aviation)
    • heated grips (standard on Naval Aviation)
    • bidirectional quickshifter
    • Moto Guzzi MIA connectivity system
    • For all versions:
    • side cases
    • luggage rack
    • top case
    • central stand
    • Theft Protection
    • fog lights
    • Touring enlarged windshield
    • additional USB socket on the left of the dashboard
    • paramotor
    • headguard
    • comfort heated high-, medium-, or low-seat
    • passenger comfort seat.

The V100 is also ready to be equipped with the LCDAS system, i.e., the radar which signals the presence of objects in the rear blind spots by means of a danger symbol on the corresponding mirror and an orange area on the corresponding lower side of the instrument panel. This accessory cannot be ordered at the moment, but Guzzi promises that it will be available soon.

Rear radar warning

The sample tested was in the standard version which, in any case, already offers many accessories as standard.


The V100 is all new and has practically no element in common with the other Guzzis. The frame is steel tubing, with the engine participating as a stressed member. The fork has upside-down stems, while at the rear there is a simple and elegant single-sided aluminum swingarm hinged directly to the engine with a lateral single shock absorber suitably inclined forward so as to ensure progressive springing without having to resort to kinematic mechanisms. The cardan shaft is housed in the single arm which, unlike on the other Moto Guzzis, is on the left and with characteristics―as we will see in the paragraph on the transmission―that have made it possible to eliminate the need for the Ca.R.C. double wishbone.

The standard version mounts Kayaba suspension, with a 41 mm fork adjustable in preload and rebound and mono as well adjustable in preload―by means of a particularly soft and well positioned knob―and in rebound. The S, on the other hand, is equipped with Öhlins adaptive suspension―43 mm Smart EC 2.0 fork and Smart TTX EC 2.0 shock absorber. Both are electrically adjustable in compression and rebound, while rear preload adjustment is always done manually with a knob. Some might not like this feature, but it offers the advantage of being able to fine-tune the adjustment based on the weight of the rider and passenger, rather than having to endure the limits of the predefined presets that the electrically-adjustable systems usually offer. In reality, it is also possible to adjust the front one, but the manufacturer recommends not touching it.

The bike has a kerb weigh of 233 kg with a full tank of 17 liters, and its main chassis dimensions are as follows:

  • front travel 130 mm
  • rear travel 130 mm
  • wheelbase 1,475 mm
  • trail 104 mm
  • rake 24.7°.

The measures are those that one would expect from a tourist with sporting ambitions. The value of the wheelbase is interesting, on average shorter than most other Moto Guzzis.

The wheels are alloy with tubeless tires in the usual sizes: 120/70 ZR 17 on a 3.5 x 17″ rim at the front and 190/55 ZR 17 on a 6 x 17″ rim. The specimen tested was equipped with Pirelli Angel GT II tires, perfect for this kind of bike.


The V100 engine retains the classic transverse 90° V-cylinder layout, but otherwise has nothing to do with what was seen previously in Mandello. Characterized by a particularly modern design, it is liquid-cooled and controlled by a ride-by-wire system, has four valves per cylinder distribution with double overhead camshaft and small finger rocker arms, and has the heads rotated 90° with respect to its predecessors. Intake and exhaust are now located respectively above and below the cylinders instead of behind and in front―similar to what BMW did on the liquid-cooled boxers―to improve intake flows and increase the room available to the driver. It is equipped with a counter-rotating shaft to reduce the typical overturning torque of longitudinal shaft engines to almost zero; while the lubrication, defined as wet sump in the technical data sheet, is actually a semi-dry sump―a solution already seen on the V85TT―because the oil sump, placed in the crankcase anyway, communicates with the crank chamber only through a reed valve. In this way, lubrication on strong accelerations is improved and the formation of foam in the engine is reduced, creating a slight advantage in efficiency and therefore in consumption. The very rational design has made it possible to obtain a crankcase about 10 cm shorter than the V85TT’s small block despite the larger engine capacity, and this ensures greater roominess with the heads well away from the drover’s knees, and allows for the simplification of the swingarm seen above.

With a displacement of 1,043 cc―bore and stroke are 96 and 72 mm respectively―maximum power is 115 HP at 8,700 rpm with the limiter set at 9,500 rpm, making the Mandello the most powerful production bike in the history of Moto Guzzi; while the maximum torque, which has a peak of 105 Nm at 6,750 rpm, is high above all at medium-low revs―at 3,500 rpm 86 Nm are already available and at 5,500 there are 100―and in any case it has a very regular trend along the whole arc of use.


The gearbox, while using some features introduced on the V85TT to improve maneuverability, is all new and for the first time at Moto Guzzi―only on the S version and as standard―a quickshifter with auto-blipper is available. The latter can be deactivated via the menus, which is a very good thing because it allows the pilot to have fun blipping the gas when downshifting, which would be prevented by the somewhat obtuse logic of these systems.

The gear ratios are as follows:

Primary reduction1.548
Final reduction3.166

The speeds at 1,000 rpm and when the engine begins to pull vigorously and express maximum power are as follows.

GearSpeed @ 1,000 rpmSpeed @ 4,000 rpmSpeed @ 8,700 rpm

The very wide range of use and the relatively short ratios―the maximum speed practically coincides with the maximum power regime―make it possible to travel almost always in sixth gear with great smoothness, also with lower consumption.

The wet multi-plate slip clutch is also outside the classic Moto Guzzi schemes and is operated by a highly refined radial pump symmetrical to that of the front brake.

The transmission shaft has a single cardan joint at the gearbox outlet, as per the tradition of the House; and it is hinged lower than usual and is particularly long, possible only because of the remarkable compactness of the new engine. Thanks to these features, and despite the absence of the Ca.R.C double swingarm, the Moto Guzzi technicians have obtained a behavior similar to that of motorcycles with chain transmission―i.e., without extension of the suspension under acceleration.


The V100 is equipped with two 320 mm front rotors with Brembo four-piston radial calipers actuated by a radial pump through steel braided pipes; while at the rear, there is a 280 mm rotor with Brembo two-piston floating caliper. The braking system is a standard two channel and ABS with cornering function that is standard on both versions.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

From the point of view of electronic driving aids, the Mandello is equipped as standard with a 6-axis inertial platform and offers the following functions in both versions:

  • Cornering ABS―anti-lock braking system with rear wheel lift control and Cornering function which reduces the initial braking power at the front when the motorcycle is leaning, and serves to limit as much as possible the effects of too abrupt an operation of the front brake when cornering
  • TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)― available only on the S version
  • MGQS (Moto Guzzi Quick Shifter)―quickshifter with auto-blipper, with the particularity[?peculiarity?] that the auto-blipper intervention can be deactivated from the menu
  • Cruise control
  • Riding modes―the four are: Sport, Road, Touring, and Rain; and they act on the following four systems:
    • MGCM (Moto Guzzi Engine Control)―system that varies engine delivery in relation to the position of the throttle
    • MGCT (Moto Guzzi Traction Control)―anti-skid system that takes into account the lean angle of the motorcycle
    • MGCA (Moto Guzzi Aerodynamics Control)―sets the operation of the flaps located on the sides of the tank, which can remain always closed or always open, or can swing open when a set speed is exceeded
    • MGCS (Moto Guzzi Suspension Control)―only on the S version; it acts on the semi-active Öhlins suspension which provides the following modes:
      • Automatic Dynamic―the suspension automatically adapts to the route and driving style
      • Automatic Comfort―like the previous one, but softer
      • Manual Dynamic―suspension behaves as if it were non-adaptive
      • Manual Comfort―like the previous one, but softer.


The handlebar controls are classic, well made, and offer a nice feeling.

On the left block there are:

  • on the front side, the light switch, of the type that you pull to flash and push out to switch to high beam
  • the traditional-type control of the turning lights, equipped with automatic shut-off on movement, which occurs after 500 m or 40 s.
  • The button for the horn―the usual scooter-like sad thing, unfortunately almost universally widespread―placed correctly under the command of the turning lights (I hope they read me in Honda)
  • the four classic keys for navigating the menus, the left of which (Mode Set) is used only to confirm and the others to scroll through the menus
  • above, the standard cruise control slider which, after reading the manual―not because it’s complicated, but it’s different from the BMW system I’m used to―turns out to be very functional. Note that, unlike on other bikes, here it is not possible to interrupt the automatic adjustment by blipping the clutch because, to do this, you really have to pull it all the way. Always used to doing this (badly), I risked the sin of sodomy with a truck.

When cruise control is off, the same command can be used to change traction control settings on the fly from any screen.

The Mode Set key on the keypad also provides quick access to power windshield adjustment using the up and down navigation keys.

On the right block are:

  • the rational rocker button for engine start and kill switch
  • at the bottom, the key to change the riding mode
  • at the top, the button for switching between day and night lights―which in any case can be set as automatic using the menu―and, with a long press, to activate any optional fog lights.

The keyless system is not foreseen on the S either, which considerably increases my already high esteem for the Mandello, given that, as my readers know by now, I consider this system only a source of useless complications. On the other hand, the button for the hazard lights is missing; but it is possible to set them to automatically switch on during emergency braking, and their activation is always triggered in any case of serious failure which involves the risk of the motorbike suddenly slowing down.


The V100 is equipped as standard with a beautiful 5″ color TFT display housed in a frame containing various basic warning lights: immobilizer/gear shift RPM, direction indicators, ABS, cruise control, high beam, engine failure, traction control, reserve, and neutral. Navigation is carried out using the four keys on the left block with the following screens available.

Standard View

Dedicated to driving, it is pleasant and shows everything you need to know in a single glance:

  • digital speedometer
  • analog tachometer
  • fuel level
  • water temperature
  • gear engaged
  • riding mode active
  • Now
  • ambient temperature
  • when cruise control is active, the set speed
  • when the fuel reserve is reached, the remaining autonomy
  • open side stand light
  • a myriad of other warning lights and indicators for all the various standard and optional accessories

The lower area is intended to house alarm messages and indications of various kinds, while a large area on the left is dedicated to the following tabs, which can be accessed by pressing the right key:

  • two travel diaries separately resettable
  • heated grips setting (if present)
  • heated rider seat setting (if present)
  • tire pressure (if the MIA system is present)
  • Information relating to telephone calls (if the MIA system is present)
  • Information relating to music tracks (if the MIA system is present)
  • Different information relating to the multimedia system (if the MIA system is present)

In turn, the travel diaries allow, by pressing the up and down keys, to alternatively view the following data:

  • total odometer
  • trip odometer
  • travel time
  • full speed
  • average speed
  • average consumption
  • instant consumption
  • distance traveled in reserve (only with reserve warning light on)
  • setting of the MGCT (Moto Guzzi Traction Control)

Navi View

The Navi screen, available only if the MIA multimedia system is present, is similar to the standard one and includes all the important information and the lower and left information areas of the standard screen, but has smaller digital speedometer and gear position indicator to make room for graphical indications of the next turn, the current speed limit, and the next turn—info taken from the GPS app of the smartphone. Other information appears in the lower bar―name of the road traveled and north direction, while the destination address can be retrieved from the tabs in the left area.

Launcher Menu

From this view it is possible to access the various menus available:

  • Vehicle
  • Service
  • Dashboards
  • Riding Modes
  • Multimedia (only if the MIA system is present)
  • MGCS (Moto Guzzi Suspension Control), only on the S version.

Each menu has personalized graphics with an image of the system to which each item is dedicated, and everything is really pleasant and well done.


It includes:

  • Headlamp mode―sets automatic or manual switching from daytime to night lights
  • Shift light―selects the speed at which the gear shift warning light comes on
  • MGQS down (only if the quickshifter is present)―activates or deactivates the auto-blipper
  • Emergency brake―sets the automatic activation of the hazard lights on or off in emergency braking
  • Calibration―allows you to recalibrate the traction control if different types of tires are installed
  • Rear radar―turns the radar on or off, if equipped

It includes:

  • Change user code―sets the personalized unlock code in case of immobilizer failure
  • Code recovery―restores the factory code if the code has been forgotten
  • Windshield―selects the maximum operating speed of the electric windshield (130 km/h for the standard windshield and 110 km/h for the Touring)
  • other items relating to the software and reserved for assistance

It includes:

  • Backlight―adjusts the backlight of the display
  • Clock―adjusts the time and select the format
  • Units―sets the units of measure for speed, consumption, temperature, and pressure separately
  • Language―sets the dashboard language to Italian, French, English, German, or Spanish
  • Riding modes language―sets the language of the riding mode names to either Italian or English
Riding Mode

It allows you to customize the four systems included in each of the four riding modes, choosing from the following settings:

  • MGCM (e-gas) – 1 = aggressive 2 = medium 3 = smooth
  • MGCT (traction control) – 1 = off 2 = minimum 3 = medium 4 = maximum
  • MGCA (retractable flaps) – Off = always closed On = always open On-km/h oppen at a freely set speed
  • MGCS (adaptive suspension) – A1 = Automatic Dynamic A2 = Automatic Comfort M1 = Manual Dynamic M2 = Manual Comfort

The factory settings of these systems are as follows.

Riding ModeMGCM
(traction control)
(retractable flaps)
SportaggressiveminimumclosedAutomatic Dynamic
StradanormalmediumclosedAutomatic Dynamic
Turismonormalmaximumopen from 60 km/hAutomatic Comfort
PioggiasmoothmediumopenAutomatic Comfort

The decision to set the traction control of the Rain mode to the medium level rather than the maximum appears curious.


Present only if the bike is equipped with the Moto Guzzi MIA system, it includes:

  • Device status―list of associated devices
  • Device pairing―pair a device
  • Reset pairing―reset all device pairings.

Present only on the S version, it allows you to set the different parameters of each of the four modes available for the suspension.

  • In Automatic Dynamic and Automatic Comfort―the adaptive modes―three parameters are available: front damping, rear damping, and fork support under braking, adjustable on a scale from -5 (soft) to +5 (firm)
  • In Manual Dynamic and Manual Comfort, the non-adaptive modes, it is possible to electrically adjust the front and back hydraulic brakes in compression and rebound on a scale of 1 (hard) to 31 (soft).

The factory settings of the suspension parameters are as follows:

ParametroAutomatic DynamicAutomatic ComfortManual DynamicManual Comfort
Front damping0-5
Rear damping0-5
Fork support under braking0-5
Front hydraulic compression brake2831
Front hydraulic rebound brake520
Rear hydraulic compression brake3031
Rear hydraulic rebound brake1015


The V100 features a full LED lighting system with cornering lights as standard to improve visibility along curves. They work with a different logic from what I’ve seen on other brands because they have only one spotlight on each side instead of the usual three, and they come on only when the bike leans more than 25° rather than almost immediately. Given that these lights are usually quite dim, it makes me think that Moto Guzzi has paid attention to the point and has foreseen this as a more effective aid only when it is really needed, and that is precisely when you lean a lot and the headlight points too much towards the external edge of the road. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to check it because I rode in the city in the evening where public lighting doesn’t allow you to check; and, while in the garage, I had no chance to reach the necessary inclination. Anyway, the low beam and high beam work very well.

As with many motorcycles, the V100 does not feature a quick system for adjusting the height of the headlight beam according to the load. The low beams are adjusted individually using two screws located under the dashboard, while the high beam is adjusted with a screw located under the fairing. It is therefore important to adjust the preload when riding with a passenger, an operation made very simple by the presence of the handy wheel.

Driving position

The riding position is comfortable and much more for a naked than a sport tourer, with the handlebars wide and open enough, the torso slightly leaned forward, and the footrests well distanced from the saddle and moderately back. The saddle is quite comfortable and allows the greatest freedom of movement for the rider.

There is no lowering kit, nor is there a seat height adjustment. The heated comfort saddle, available only in the aftermarket, can be activated through the menus and is available in three different sizes. The possible seat heights are as follows:

  • low comfort saddle 800 mm
  • standard saddle and medium comfort saddle 815 mm
  • high comfort saddle 835 mm

The mirrors are good and well spaced, at a height that does not interfere too much with those of the cars; they do not vibrate noticeably; and they allow a good view. If the rear radar is present, they show

 the danger indicator, besides the one appearing on the LCD display.


The passenger sits on a separate saddle that is sufficiently wide and comfortable – but not heated; has a nice pair of comfortable handlebars and footrests that are a little higher than those of the rider, but which nonetheless allow for a comfortable position.

Load Capacity

The V100 is also designed to travel two up and can be equipped on request with dedicated two-tone light and dark gray 30- and 29-liter rigid panniers, beautiful and well integrated with the line of the bike, which can bel installed directly without the need for frames, and they are locked with the ignition key. Also available is a 37-liter two-tone top box that requires the purchase of a specific luggage rack. This is certainly robust―the homologation is for 12 kg―but not beautiful or up to par with the rest of the bike; and it also causes a top case position that is slightly too raised.

Wide Magazine

There is also a (very) small storage compartment under the passenger seat, which is equipped as standard with a USB charging socket.

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How It Goes


The new DOHC starts promptly and without the usual transverse shaking typical of the other Moto Guzzis, with a very regular idle around 1400 rpm. When the throttle is opened, it revs rather rapidly and has almost no overturning torque, thanks to the anti-torque countershaft and the general work of reducing inertia. Furthermore, it is completely devoid of parasitic noises due to pushrods and rockers or other; while the exhaust is civil, it always lets you hear the beautiful note typical of the V2. In short, this twin-cylinder definitely sounds like a Moto Guzzi, but it seems to be made by Honda—and when speaking of engines, I couldn’t come up with a better compliment.

On the move, the V2 easily accepts turning at very low revs, so much so that it is possible to accelerate in 6th from 40 km/h (corresponding to approximately 1,550 rpm) at full throttle, of course with many vibrations; and already from[up around] 50-60 km/h (around 2,000 rpm), it becomes smooth and starts pulling satisfactorily.

In acceleration, the engine offers a consistent and regular thrust starting from 2,000 rpm, increases progressively without leaps, becomes noticeable already at 4,000 rpm, and remains so up to the maximum power regime beyond which it is decidedly not advisable to go because the torque fades immediately, even though the engine would continue to rev without any increase in vibration. We are not talking about an arm-stretching motorcycle, but there is enough power to have a lot of fun and not suffer from an inferiority complex towards anyone else on the road.

The throttle response varies significantly between the different modes, from gentle in Rain to quick in Sport, and is always perfectly suited to the situation. The different driving modes do not affect the engine torque.

The test took place in January with temperatures at or below 10 degrees Centigrade, so I could not detect any heat problems.


The V100 surprises because, in terms of sensation, it clicks much better than any other production Moto Guzzi I’ve tried before. I am certainly not referring to the V85TT, and much less to the V7 and V9 (the comparison would be merciless), but to the Griso 1200 8v, which was the lightest of the bikes equipped with the most powerful big block ever (110 HP), but despite this, it gave that sensation of inertia from large flywheel masses typical of the company’s V2s, which is completely absent in the V100.

The start is immediate, thanks to the short first gear, the smooth clutch, and the well-distributed torque; and the bike continues to accelerate vigorously in all gears, which are spaced perfectly evenly. Obviously, we are not at the levels of a super sports bike―the power-to-weight ratio is about half that of a 1000 cc race replica―but the V100 behaves very well against competitors of equal, and even higher, displacements because, when you open the throttle wide, you get enough response to have a lot of fun while experiencing the gratifying sensation of not having to survive by being hung up on electronics which, in any case, are discreetly present to prevent wheelies in first gear.

I did the acceleration tests in Sport, but I think the results would have been almost equivalent in the other modes as well.

The V100 reaches 100 km/h from a standstill after 4.28 s and 63.1 m and 200 km/h after 15.07 s and 554.5 m. The absence of the quickshifter does not worsen too much the shifting―around 0.3 seconds, given the promptness of the gearbox; but it has an impact on 0-100 time because the shift into second takes place at around 80 km/h. I am therefore sure that even better figures can be achieved with the S. On paper, these times might not seem particularly exciting to someone since you can generally read calculated numbers that have no basis in reality; but I guarantee that they are definitely adequate―the sensation is that of a very lively bike.

Pick-up in 6th Gear

The relatively short 6th gear of the V100 (25.7 km/h at 1,000 rpm) and the regularity of the torque allow the V100’s top notch pick-up capability. Furthermore, the engine’s ability to turn even at very low revs allowed me to carry out the test in the higher ratio, opening the throttle even from 40 km/h, corresponding to 1,560 revs/min, i.e., slightly above idling speed, a performance worthy of a 4 cylinder. In this case the vibrations are obviously evident, but the engine picks up again without any hesitation and, already starting from 50 km/h, it starts to turn nicely round and to push with increasing determination.

The passage from 40 to 120 km/h in 6th takes place in 9.63 s, an excellent time for a tourer, not only with respect to the engine capacity, but in absolute terms, practically identical to the already excellent one achieved by my K1200GT and close to the 8.8 s obtained with the 6-cylinder K1600. In practice, all this means that the V100 moves on the road with the smoothness of the big tourers―that is, it travels well even when fully loaded, and allows most passing to be done without having to downshift.


The wet clutch is relatively soft, perfectly modulable, and resistant to overwork―with the radial master cylinder making a big splash, but not bringing obvious advantages.

The stock gearbox is perfect: very precise and with a short stroke. The sample tested did not have a quickshifter, so I can’t comment on that. The very regular spacing between the gears allows you to always have the right gear for every need. In particular, when you’re in 6th gear and you want to overtake very quickly, you just need to downshift one gear to get a lot more thrust, which is not entirely obvious on other bikes. For example, on the mighty 6-cylinder K1600, which has very closely spaced 5th and 6th gears, if you want to overtake particularly fast, you had better downshift to 4th.

The final shaft drive has no noticeable backlash, is perfectly silent and works flawlessly. I can confirm that it behaves like a Ca.R.C. or a BMW Paralever double wishbones, but with a disarming constructive simplicity, really well done.


The braking of the V100 is prompt, powerful, resistant, perfectly modular, and above all, extremely effective, also thanks to the certainly rather low center of gravity and the not particularly short wheelbase –features that reduce the tendency of the rear wheel to lift. The figures are record-breaking: the Mandello stops from 120 km/h in 3.63 s and 64.40 m, leaving even a naked shooter like the BMW S1000R, which needs 3.95 s and 69.0 m respectively.

However, the ABS is calibrated in a rather aggressive way because it allows an impressive maximum possible decelerationon average around 1 g!―and only in emergency braking does some slight fishtailing of the rear wheel occur which, in any case, does not cause worry.

The ABS works very well and there is no forward motion feeling. The cornering function minimizes imbalances in the set-up when braking hard along a curve. If the front brake is applied decisively when cornering, the ABS intervenes well in advance of the actual loss of grip, drastically limiting the front braking power in the very first moments, and then gradually makes greater deceleration possible. In this way the start of braking when cornering is always made very progressive, as if the lever were pulled slowly rather than abruptly, all to the advantage of stability.

Steering & Attitude

The steering of the V100 is impeccable: precise and prompt as one could wish for, and never fatiguing.

The Kayaba upside-down fork of this standard version is very smooth and well supported even under the most violent braking, while the shock absorber in the standard setting is perhaps a little stiff―at least for the back of this splendid 57-year-old!―but it improves by acting on the adjusting screw. If you live in a bumpy roads area, you better choose the S version with Öhlins adaptive shock absorbers, In any case, the bike moves homogeneously, without imbalances between front and rear, and the excellent control of the suspended masses makes the Mandello very effective and reactive in sports riding.


The V100 is not very light on the scales, but the low center of gravity, the relatively short wheelbase (compared to the average Moto Guzzi), the fairly wide handlebar, and its compact dimensions make it very agile and easy to handle in town. It is also quite slim and this facilitates the vertically challenged, who still have the option of buying the lower seat. The highly manageable engine―even in Sport mode―and the smooth clutch complete a great picture, which would be excellent if the suspension better absorbed the deep bumps.

On Highways

The V100 is a rather comfortable bike, thanks to the relaxed engine speed―at 130 km/h in 6th the engine is at 5,000 rpm―to the absence of annoying vibrations, to the very natural riding position, to the comfortable seat, and to the suspension―a little stiff on this standard version, but satisfying nonetheless. The aerodynamic protection offered by the slim fairing is good. Raising the windshield obviously increases it, and the air flow that reaches the helmet always remains perfectly smooth. For those who still want more, it is also possible to mount the larger Touring windshield. The adaptive flaps have no effect on the chest and head and therefore their action is less conspicuous, but once open they protect the upper part of the legs well and are particularly useful in wet weather.

On Twisty Roads

Relatively short wheelbase, strong and always available torque at the wheel, ready and easily manageable throttle, effective gearbox, superb brakes, prompt and precise steering, and excellent control of the suspended masses give the V100 a rather sporty behavior even on very twisty roads, a particularly interesting result, because combined with a good level of comfort. The guide is really tasty and makes even the most savvy riders smile in their helmets.

Fuel Consumption

Consumption at constant speed measured by the on-board instrument are as follows:

  • at 90 km/h 21.5 km/l
  • at 130 16.5 km/l

The overall average from top to top, including some downtown, some highway, a lot of highways and much fast pace―including acceleration tests―was 16.2 km/l.


The V100 Mandello is an excellent sport tourer that offers a lively engine with flawless operation and a more than reasonable fuel consumption, very interesting performance for the category and in particular an excellent pick-up in 6th gear, great maneuverability on all kinds of roads, stunning braking ability, space on board adequate for two and for luggage, good comfort even at highway speeds, and well made electronics that are easy to use.

But the thing that impressed me the most is the build quality of the whole and of all the details. On the Mandello there is not a cable or screw out of place, an imprecise joint between panels, a less than excellent finish; all the components are perfectly integrated and everything conveys a gratifying sensation of precision and solidity in use, even in particular insignificant ways, such as the feel of the various buttons and plastics or the flawless opening of the fuel cap or the ease of removing and, above all reassembling, the saddles. In a nutshell, the V100 offers, even in this standard version, the refined components and charm of Italian motorcycles combined with construction worthy of the best Hondas―and I really couldn’t wish for anything better.

Ever since I was a boy, I have always seen Moto Guzzi scrambling to pursue the competition and maintain the greatness of its past. Here, with the V100, the House of the Eagle has finally achieved both objectives with impetus because, in my opinion, this is one of the best sport tourers on the market and makes an epochal leap compared to the rest of the Mandello production. To find an equally innovative motorcycle in the history of the House, you have to go back at least as far as the 1965 V7. Hats off to the Mandello technicians for this masterpiece! I wish them every success in sales, and I look forward to seeing and testing future models with the same engine.


  • Beautiful, solid, and well finished bike
  • Space for passengers and luggage
  • Pleasant, powerful, and very elastic engine
  • Excellent brakes
  • Flawless gearbox and clutch
  • Nice drive on all the routes, even raising the pace
  • TFT dashboard that offers all the necessary information at a glance


I really struggled to find one, but in the end I succeeded: The design of the optional tubular luggage rack is not up to par with everything else on the bike

Many thanks to the Moto Guzzi―Aprilia―Piaggio dealership Che Moto! of Rome for having made the bike available for the test.

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2023 BMW K1600B Review

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Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde


The term bagger comes from America and identifies that kind of travel motorcycle characterized by fixed panniers, a tapered downwards rear part, and a wide fairing with a low windshield, of which the Harley-Davidson Road Glide is perhaps the most typical example.

The K1600B (the “B” stands for “bagger”) presented at the end of 2017 is an example of how BMW moves when it approaches a genre that is traditionally not its own: It identifies the typical elements — those listed above — but then creates an absolutely different object from the norm and equipped with a decidedly BMW mechanical and technical scheme in general.

In the past, this same operating philosophy had inspired the creation of the splendid R1200C cruiser series, based on the traditional boxer twin. In our case, instead, the choice surprisingly fell on the 1649 cc 6-cylinder of the K Series which, displacement aside, is the furthest you can imagine from the American V-Twin in terms of design and operating characteristics.

The result of this operation is certainly an unconventional object, but apparently it has not completely satisfied BMW’s desire to expand in this sector, given that in 2020 it also launched the R18B with mechanics based on the new and gigantic 1802 cc Big Boxer twin-cylinder, much closer to American philosophy, and decidedly more classic in shape.

The bike tested is a Model Year 2023. Some improvements have been introduced starting from MY 2022, such as the TFT instrumentation and, above all, the Euro-5-compliant version of the inline 6 engine.

The K1600s were born in 2010 with a Euro 3 engine and that’s exactly the version I tested in 2013. I’ve heard someone complaining about the next Euro 4 series, released in 2016, which allegedly seems to have lost some edge under acceleration, so I’m curious to see how the current Euro 5 engine behaves. By the way, its technical data sheet shows significantly better data than those of the previous series, identical on paper.

The K1600B shares its entire mechanics with the other K1600s, except for slight variations relating to the suspensions, so all the considerations that will be made below are valid for any Euro 5 K, unless otherwise specified.

How It Is


The line of the K1600B certainly has a different personality from that of the classic GT and GTL but, in my opinion, it is not completely convincing in terms of consistency. The front view is the usual one: modern, imposing, and efficient, only with a shorter windshield; while the entire rear part, obviously tapered downwards as the genre requires—with its integrated bags with a tapered design, the retro-style tail, the two large exhausts cut into a slice of salami, and the perimeter rear lights with a very refined design—is marked by a simpering elegance which, in my opinion, does not harmonize perfectly with the front part.

The side bags, with a more streamlined design compared to that of the other K1600GT and GTL, are fixed and this fact has made it necessary to make the rear mudguard removable, to allow the replacement of the wheel.

Compared to the traditional Ks, some things have changed: the seats, particularly the passenger seat which is flat and wider than usual; the lower part of the fairing, which is less extensive and also leaves the gearbox-clutch group in sight along with the engine; and the black, tubular handlebar, which can be replaced on request by a more classic aluminum handlebar, similar to the one on the GTL.


The chassis is based on a sturdy double beam and open cradle frame in light alloy, conceptually similar—but certainly more beautiful to look at—than that of the 4-cylinder Ks. The engine is anchored below it, which limits the distance between the beams and therefore the overall width of the motorcycle. The engine protrudes laterally with respect to the frame and is left in full view by special openings in the side panels.

Full frame of the K1600GT and GTL

At the front, a bolted magnesium box supports the upper section of the fairing, the light unit, the dashboard, and the mirrors; while behind, there is an extruded aluminum frame, which on the K1600B and Grand America is shorter than the one present on the GT and GTL and includes specific tubulars to support the fixed side bags.

Rear frame of the K1600B

The chassis is completed by the classic BMW Paralever rear suspension and the Duolever front suspension.

The Paralever suspension consists of a hollow die-cast aluminum single swingarm, hinged at the front to the frame and at the rear to the unit containing the bevel gear and the wheel axle, and by a boxed bar parallel to the swingarm which also connects the frame to the rear unit. The transmission shaft is housed in the swingarm with two cardan joints, while the shock-absorbing function is entrusted to a central monoshock. This configuration controls the reactions induced by the cardan shaft on the suspension during acceleration and deceleration—the old transmission caused the suspension to fully extend under acceleration and sink completely under braking—and it is calibrated not to eliminate them completely, in order to ensure an anti-squat effect in acceleration similar to that caused by the chain in motorcycles with traditional transmission. Very interesting and inherited from the K1200/1300 is the fact that the shock absorber is mounted on a progressive damping linkage similar to the Honda Pro-Link system.

Paralever suspension of the K1600, the progressive linkage triangle is partially visible behind the footpeg

The Duolever suspension—commercial name adopted by BMW for the Hossack fork—consists of an inverted U-shaped element in die-cast aluminum which supports the wheel, connected by ball joints to two forged steel triangular wishbones hinged to the frame. There are therefore no triple clamp nor struts and the shock absorbing function is ensured by a monoshock that connects the frame with the lower wishbone. Steering takes place by means of two triangular connecting rods hinged to each other, connected below to the fork and above to a short steering tube on which the handlebar is mounted. This particular construction ensures interesting advantages compared to a traditional fork:

  • a much higher torsional rigidity, which gives impressive driving precision, especially at high speeds.
  • when the suspension swings, the wheel well moves almost vertically, rather than moving diagonally and parallel to the steering axis, and this has two effects:
    • the wheelbase remains almost unchanged as the suspension swings, ensuring superb stability under braking
    • lacking the horizontal component in the movement of the wheel, the front end of the bike dives much less than usual under braking
    • as a result of the reduced squatting, it is possible to adopt a significantly softer shock absorber than usual, with clear advantages on uneven surfaces.
Duolever suspension

The main dimensions are as follows.

  • front wheel travel 115 mm
  • rear wheel travel 125 mm
  • wheelbase 1618 mm
  • trail 106.4 mm
  • rake 27.8°

The only difference in the dimensions with the K6 GT and GTL is given by the rear wheel travel reduced by 10 mm, consistent with the visual lowering of the rear axle.

Some consideration must be made for the steering axis angle. For geometric reasons, the closer the axis is to the vertical, the more quickly the wheel steers with the same handlebar rotation angle – making the bike more maneuverable, but also more nervous at high speeds – and the less the fork dives in violent braking. Super sports bikes always have a rather small angle—the S1000RR, for example, sports an almost brutal 23.8°—to favor handling and set-up under braking, while fast touring bikes adopt a slightly more relaxed angle—25.5° on the S1000XR and 25.9° on the R1250RT —looking for more stability.

The Ks equipped with Duolever wishbone suspension are a conspicuous exception to this rule, as they have always had a very wide angle, partly to favor the stability at the high speeds of which they are capable, but above all because the particular kinematics of their suspension front considerably reduces the diving under braking and therefore allows you not to have any particular hesitations in this regard. Suffice it to say that the K1300S sport tourer, capable of over 275 km/h, has a steering angle of 29.6°, similar to that of a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 (!).

Seen in this context, the 27.8° angle adopted on all K1600s is quite sporty. The current Honda Gold Wing, completely comparable to the Ks including the wishbone front suspension, sports a much more touristic 30.5° angle.

The trail, on the other hand, directly affects the heaviness of the steering, because the longer it is, the more the front end moves towards the inside of the curve when you steer, opposing greater resistance. Obviously, the weight on the front end also affects this characteristic. It therefore appears clear that the reduction of the trail from 115 mm of the K1300GT to 106.4 mm of the K1600 was decided to favor handling in consideration of the greater weight on the front wheel. It is no coincidence that the prescribed pressure on 6-cylinder models is 2.9 bar on both axles, against the canonical 2.5 front and 2.9 rear of the K1300.

The wheels are made of alloy—a beautiful Classic forged rims set is available on request—with tubeless tires, in the usual sizes 120/70 ZR 17 on a 3.5 x 17″ rim at the front and 190/55 ZR 17 on a 6 x 17″ rim at the rear.


Thirteen years after it was first marketed, the 1649 cm3 in-line six-cylinder with DOHC 24-valve distribution and bank inclined forward by 55°—like the K1300 four-cylinder—is still a great piece of engineering, which ensures BMW an imperishable place in the Olympus of Gran Tourismo motorcycles alongside the equally sensational boxer of the Honda Gold Wing 1800.

As is well known, this cylinder configuration ensures the almost total absence of vibrations—therefore there is no need to adopt balance shafts—and fantastic smoothness of operation especially at very low revs; however, this is at the price of a rather heavy weight and a considerable width, normally about 20-25% higher than the already important one of a 4 in-line with the same engine capacity.

To contain the transversal dimension, the BMW engineers opted for an engine with a relatively long stroke (67.5 mm) in order to limit the bore (72 mm) and therefore obtain a narrower block. Even more interesting in this regard are the reduction of the distance between the cylinders, limited to only 5 mm against the approximately 10 mm generally in use, and the positioning of the electrical accessories next to the cylinder block and not at the ends of the crankshaft as usual. All these features make it possible to limit the total width of the engine to just 56 cm. For comparison, the 1301 cc in-line 4 of the BMW K1300 measures 50 cm. If we imagine pantographing it up to the 1649 cc of the 6-cylinder, the measurement would rise to 54.1 cm, so we can say that BMW has managed, all other things being equal, to contain the increase in width to a sensational 3.5%. Equally significant is the comparison with the inline 6 of the 1979 Kawasaki Z1300, which despite “only” 1286 cc, is 63.5 cm wide, a good result for the time, but still 27% more than the BMW 4 cylinders of similar volume.

Although limited in the maximum power possible by these choices, the BMW 6-cylinder is still capable of 160 HP, more than abundant for a touring bike which, moreover in this new Euro 5 version, is delivered at just 6,750 rpm against the 7,750 claimed of previous releases. Torque is even more interesting, with a maximum peak of 180 Nm at 5,750 rpm, 5 Nm more than in the Euro 3 and 4 versions. The work done by BMW engineers in adapting this engine to the strictest anti-pollution regulations is truly impressive.

The graph, taken from the BMW press kit of the K1600 MY 2022, shows, in addition to the fact that there are almost 120 Nm at 1,000 rpm (!), a significant increase in maximum torque between 3,000 and 7,000 rpm in favor of the Euro 5 version (light blue) compared to Euro 4 (blue), with a corresponding decrease in maximum power.

As far as weight is concerned, the scale reaches 102.6 kg, which is decidedly low for a 6-cylinder of this engine capacity, but a lot compared to the 81 kg of the 4-cylinder 1300 which delivers the same maximum power. Not surprisingly, the K1600GT first series weighed 319 kg against the 288 of the K1300GT with the same equipment.


The gearbox of the K6 is characterized by the construction on three shafts — usually two are used — to reduce its width in the footpegs area.

2nd and 3rd gears are relatively close to each other and so are 5th and 6th. The ratios are quite long, with the 6th gear allowing you to travel at 130 km/h at around 3800 rpm, a decidedly restful regime.

The slipper clutch is hydraulically actuated and with a special power assistance mechanism. The Shift Assistant Pro, i.e., the BMW quickshifter with auto-blipper, is available on request.

The transmission ratios, the same for all present and past K1600s, are as follows:


The resulting speeds at the most significant rpms are as follows:

GearSpeed @ real torque start (5,000 rpm)Speed @ peak power (6.750 giri)Speed @ rev limiter (8.500 giri)
4a123,4166,5(teorica) 209,7
5a146,7198,0(teorica) 249,3
6a172,4(teorica) 232,7 (teorica) 293,0

The final drive is, in BMW tradition, a shaft with two cardan joints.


The K1600GT is equipped with two 320 mm front rotors with traditional-style Brembo four-piston fixed calipers, while at the rear there is also a large 320 mm rotor with two-piston floating caliper. All brakes are actuated by traditional pumps through steel braided hoses.

The ABS system is of the semi-integral type, with the lever operating both brakes and the pedal acting only on the rear. As always in BMW, the two braking circuits are independent; the integral function is obtained via the ABS pump and is therefore active when the ignition is on.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

From the point of view of electronic driving aids, the K1600B is obviously equipped with a 6-axis inertial platform and offers practically everything as standard.

  • ABS Pro – Anti-lock braking system with rear wheel lift control and cornering function, which reduces the initial braking power at the front when the bike is leaning and serves to minimize the effects of too abrupt actuation of the front brake when cornering.
  • DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) – Disengageable anti-slip system that takes into account the lean angle of the bike.
  • Three riding modes – Rain, Road and Dynamic.
  • MSR (“Motor Schleppmoment Regelung”, i.e., engine brake regulation) – System that automatically regulates engine braking, decreasing it (i.e., accelerating) in the event of sudden downshifts, so as to avoid any rear wheel skidding.
  • Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) – Self-adaptive suspension system, which acts by automatically adjusting the hydraulic suspension damping according to driving and road conditions, automatically adjusts the preload according to the weight on board and allows you to choose two basic settings: a comfortable Road, and a stiffer Cruise. Note that on the K1600B, the possibility of lowering the height to a minimum, present on other models, is absent: Given the lower seat, it would not make much sense.
  • HSC Pro (Hill Start Control) – System that allows you to automatically keep the bike on the brakes when it’s stationary, with the advantage of having your hands free with both feet on the ground and simplifying hill starts. The system can be set to be activated manually by forcefully pulling the brake lever, or to be activated automatically if you keep the brakes pulled with the motorcycle stationary on a slope for at least one second.
  • RDC (tire pressure control) – System which shows the tire pressure on the display and warns in the event of a loss of pressure.

The DBC (Dynamic Brake Control) system, that shuts the throttle during brakings, present on other BMW models, is absent on the K1600s. It was probably assumed that a beginner, to whom is typically given such help, would never drive such a monster.

The choice of riding modes affects the behavior of the throttle, the DTC, and the anti-wheelie function to harmonize them with each other in the various situations, while the two settings for the Road and Cruise suspensions can always be selected in all riding modes. Below are the configurations foreseen in the various cases.


  • smooth throttle response
  • DTC adjusted for maximum stability on a wet road, it leads to a reduction in maximum acceleration on a dry road surface
  • anti-wheelie to the max.


  • normal throttle response
  • DTC adjusted for high stability on a dry road with delayed intervention compared to Rain mode
  • anti-wheelie to the max.


  • direct throttle response
  • DTC adjusted for high performance on dry surfaces with delayed intervention compared to Road mode. in the event of a poorly maintained surface, it is impossible to guarantee optimal stability.
  • anti-wheelie that allows a slight lift of the front.



In addition to what is indicated above, the following accessories are standard:

  • 10.25-inch TFT instrument cluster with connectivity option and integrated map navigation via the BMW Motorrad Connected app
  • full LED lighting with adaptive headlight
  • electric reverse assist
  • cruise control
  • heated grips
  • pilot and passenger seats separately heated
  • Intelligent Emergency Call system
  • side bags
  • storage compartment with USB-C plug
  • electrically adjustable low windscreen
  • manually retractable flaps for dynamic ventilation
  • bi-tonal horns.


The options available from the factory (in Italy, please check by your local dealer) are the following:

  • Comfort Package:
    • Keyless Ride
    • centralized locking of the trunks and compartments
    • quickshifter with auto-blipper
    • anti-theft alarm system (DWA)
  • Tour Package:
    • Audio 2.0 radio system with front speakers and navigation predisposition
    • additional LED headlights
    • paramotor
    • forward platform footrests
    • storage compartments
  • ground lighting
  • high seat (no extra charge)
  • Option 719 seat
  • Classic Option 719 forged wheels
  • forged aluminum handlebar
  • central stand
  • short tinted windshield
Classic Option 719 rim

Four types of bags to be mounted on the passenger seat, various chrome details, and a set of inner bags for the side cases are also available in the aftermarket.


The controls are the classic ones of the current BMWs, but with some differences compared to the other models due to the different on-board equipment. There are so many, especially on the left side, that the lack of a backlight is felt at night. Furthermore, the different functions attributed to some keys creates obvious complications in some cases, which we will see later.

The turning lights shut off automatically, which however can curiously be deactivated through the Settings menu. Their duration depends on the driving situation. I haven’t tried all the situations in detail, nor does the user manual contain an exhaustive explanation of how they work, but while driving, I’ve never found myself needing to restart a blinker that lasted too short a time. If the left indicator is switched on when the ignition has just been switched off, the parking lights turn on and are shut off automatically the next time the ignition is switched on.

The horn button is exactly where it should be and activates a two-tone system that will bring the surrounding traffic to a halt in surprise, hurray!

The high beam flashing is obtained by pressing with the index finger a lever located above the left block, while the light switch is activated by pushing the same lever outwards.

The left block also houses:

  • the Multi-Controller, i.e., the wheel to navigate and select the different options on the screen
  • the Menu rocker switch to scroll through the different TFT dashboard views and menus
  • the rocker button for electric windshield adjustment, which takes the place of the usual button for disengaging the DTC and selecting the D-ESA suspension mode
  • The red button for the hazard warning
  • The controls of the BMW cruise control, which is standard.

As usual, this is operated by a lever equipped with a sliding guard that acts as an on-off switch. Once the guard has been moved to the right, pushing the lever forward sets the current speed, which is maintained until you brake or pull the clutch or shift (but not if you upshift using the optional quickshifter) or force gas shut off. If, with regulation active, the lever is briefly pressed forwards or backwards, the speed increases or decreases by one km/h at a time—or by one mph, based on how the unit of measurement is set in the Settings menu. If you hold it down instead, the set speed increases or decreases in steps of 10 km/h—or 5 mph—and the motorbike accelerates or decelerates progressively until you release the command; while when the adjustment is deactivated, pulling the lever all the way back, the last stored speed is recalled.

In a supplementary element placed next to the left block there are:

  • The R button to engage the electric reverse assist
  • The button for switching on the anti-fog lights.

On the right block there are instead:

  • The optional central locking button, which replaces the heated grip control
  • The riding mode selection button
  • The rocker switch for engine start and kill.

The central locking controls the side cases and, if fitted, the additional storage compartments. In any case, each suitcase and each compartment is also equipped with a key lock which, if blocked, prevents opening with the centralized locking.

The start button is also used to engage reverse assist. The electric reverse is activated by keeping it pressed after pressing the R button on the left block with the engine running in neutral and the brake is pulled. The engine idle rises automatically to compensate for the high electrical absorption and moves the bike with good progression and at an easily controllable speed.

Retromarcia elettrica

In an additional element located next to the right block, under a cover clearly highlighted by the SOS sign, the key of the Intelligent Emergency Call system is housed as standard for obtaining help in emergency situations. The system uses its own SIM and therefore does not require the possession of a smartphone. When the button is pressed, or automatically if the system detects an accident, the system calls the BMW Call Center, which addresses the rider in his language via a loudspeaker and microphone installed on the bike, and activates the rescue chain as needed .

The different function assigned to some buttons entails the drawback that, to manage many functions—D-ESA suspensions, heated grips and front seat, radio, and others—it is necessary to access the relative settings in the vast Settings menu. It might seem only a minor detail, but often it gets really annoying. For example, to turn the heated grips on to maximum, an operation that usually requires pressing a dedicated key on the K1600 and on the R1250RT, you must first press the Menu key several times (depending on the screen you are in) to reach the Settings menu, after which you must perform five distinct operations with the big wheel, each comprising one or more pulses:

  • down to Heating
  • right to enter Heating
  • down to Knob heating
  • right to enter Knob heating
  • up to select the intensity from 0 to 5.

And then you have to go back to the home screen, of course. All this stuff requires an expenditure of time and mental energy disproportionate to the required action. In addition, it must be repeated every time you want to adjust the temperature or turn off the heating. I understand how the complexity of the equipment requires an effort to simplify the controls, but here it borders on sadism.

In an attempt to remedy this problem, BMW has inserted four customizable buttons in the left fairing on the Euro 5 version, each of which can be assigned a specific function. The intent is commendable, but on the one hand this forces the user to do a programming job that not everyone wants to do—always assuming they read the user manual; on the other hand, the keys are in an awkward position; and, in any case, you have to remember which key is dedicated to what or consult the menu to get the list. In my opinion, it would be much more logical to reassign to the central locking button—whose function is already performed by the key!—the control of the heated grips, which is the command that is used the most, and add a couple of keys above the reverse gear and emergency call blocks.

The Keyless Ride system is also available on request. The key remains in your pocket, while the ignition and steering lock are governed by a key in place of the ignition lock. When the key is near the motorcycle, pressing the button briefly turns the ignition on, pressing it again briefly turns it off, while holding it down for a couple of seconds also engages or disengages the steering lock. The system also acts on the tank cap, which can be opened only when the ignition is off and within a couple of minutes of switching it off. Among the various systems of this kind that I have tried, this is undoubtedly the best, yet I still prefer the traditional key system, which is faster to operate, is practically indestructible and—above all—allows the user to always keep the key under control. If contact with the key is lost with the engine running, it does not switch off, for obvious safety reasons, but the warning appears on the dashboard that the key is no longer nearby and that it is no longer possible to restart the engine. The warning is pretty big, but it can happen that you don’t pay attention to it, especially just after a start. As long as the rider is still the same and keeps the key in a secure pocket, all is well; but any variation from the norm—key dropping from a trouser pocket or forgotten in the passenger’s jacket after dropping him/her off at home, motorcycle lent by a friend, etc.—it can mean wasting time to retrieve the key or, worse, being stranded at the first stop.


The dashboard consists of a huge 10.25″ display, exclusive to the K1600 and R1250RT, housed as usual in a frame containing the various basic warning lights: direction indicators, main beam, daytime running lights, fog lights, generic warning triangle, ABS, DTC, and engine failure.

The large width of the display offers the possibility of splitting the screen in two, with the selected view narrowing to make room for a smaller supplementary display on the right-hand side, which can be one of the two available Trip Computers or Navigation or Media. This feature eliminates the only real defect of standard BMW TFT instruments, i.e., the impossibility of simultaneously seeing more than one piece of information from the on-board computer together with the speedometer and tachometer.

The Pure Ride display is the standard one and includes a large tachometer bar, the red sector of which is larger with a cold engine and narrows as the temperature rises, digital speedometer, speed limit indicator (with smartphone connection), cruise control activation indicator with set speed, gear engaged indicator, current riding mode, digital clock, ambient temperature, range remaining, and just one of the data on the My Vehicle or Trip Computer screens—fuel level, trip mileage, average consumption, etc.—and numerous secondary spies. [?secondary spies?]

The Menu display instead allows you to select one of the following menus:

  • My vehicle – information system including several switchable tabs:
    • My vehicle displays total mileage, coolant temperature, tire pressure, on-board power supply voltage, range, and service interval indicator
    • Trip computer – – hows average speed, average fuel consumption, total trip time, total stop time, partial and total mileage, last reset date.
    • Trip computer – it is the same as the previous one; it allows you to collect data on a different section and it resets itself after six hours of stop or when the date changes
    • Tire inflation pressure – in addition to the pressure compensated with the operating temperature visible in the My vehicle tab, it also shows the actual tire pressure
    • Maintenance Needed – Indicates the expiration date and remaining mileage until the next maintenance
    • any additional tabs containing the check control messages
  • Radio – Manages the on-board digital radio, which can be listened to through the on-board speakers—even with automatic volume adjustment based on speed—or in the helmet hands-free system
  • Media – Works if a compatible device and a helmet with a compatible hands-free system are connected and allows you to listen to the music on the device
  • Navigation – Works with a smartphone using the BMW Motorrad Connected app; allows control of navigation functions and display of either a smartphone GPS-operated map or a simplified display with arrows and text
  • Phone – Works when a compatible device and a helmet with a compatible hands-free system are connected and allows you to make and receive phone calls.


The K1600B has a particularly sophisticated and decidedly unique full-LED lighting system as standard. A single large optical assembly includes two pairs of high-beam headlights on the sides, each edged below by the slim profile of the daytime/running lights. The center is occupied by a pair of low-beam headlights connected to the inertial platform that governs the bike electronics. This allows the low-beam headlights to follow any curve of the road, compensating for any pitching and rolling movement of the bike, thus staying always at the correct height and with the upper edge perfectly horizontal, even when cornering: wonderful!

My test took place during the day. The only way I found to verify the operation of the headlight was to go to the garage. The video clearly shows the light beam remaining horizontal during cornering.

Adaptive headlights

A functionally similar system had always been available on the K1600s but made differently: There was only one low beam, lenticular, fixed, and aimed upwards to intercept an adjustable mirror. However, this system had the defect that the low beam was a bit weak compared to the two powerful high beams, while here the LED lighting is very abundant in all circumstances.

Through the Settings menu of the instrument cluster it is possible to set by default the low beam to always on or to daylight, which switches to low beam automatically in the event of a reduction in ambient brightness; and it is always possible to manually choose between the two modes using the button on the left block.

Riding Position

The riding position is excellent, as is often the case on BMWs, due to the spot-on triangulation of the seat-footpegs-handlebars, which allows for a touristic but not slouching posture similar to that found on the K1600GTL. The seat is 75 cm from the ground and there is no height adjustment; but, upon request and at no extra cost, the bike can be ordered with a high seat (78 cm), as well as with the quilted Option 719 seat, available at an extra cost.

The additional footrests included in the Comfort package are placed in the right place, neither too high nor too far forward, and allow for a truly comfortable position. Furthermore, they are hinged and equipped with a lower pin like the footpegs and therefore do not create problems when hard leaning.

The mirrors are large—more so than those of the first series—and well placed, obviously do not vibrate, and allow a very wide view.


The passenger sits a little higher than the rider, on a very wide and comfortable seat, with well-spaced footpegs, and has two large, comfortable handgrips. The result is a very comfortable posture.

Load Capacity

Unlike all the other K1600s, the Bagger does not provide for the topcase assembly, which in any case can be had by opting for the Grand America model.

The fixed side cases should have a capacity of 37 liters each, for a total of 74 litres. This bike will hardly be used for two-up trips, so the capacity is sufficient. Additionally, there are four different types of passenger seat bags in the aftermarket catalog.

The bike is also equipped with a storage compartment with USB-C charging and cooling fan, dedicated to the smartphone and located above the TFT display. To open the compartment, it is necessary to raise the windscreen. To prevent theft, the windscreen always lowers to a minimum every time the ignition is switched off, but returns to the memorized position when it is switched on.

Also included in the optional Tour package are two small stowage boxes housed in the fairings in front of the rider’s knees, lockable with a key and connected to the central locking system.

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How It Goes

Engine and Performance

The K1600 engine has a unique character, also different from that of the Honda 6-cylinder, from which it differs in terms of sound and much sportier general behavior.

Starting is very prompt because of automatic valve lifters that reduce the effort of the starter motor. The timbre, dark and powerful, and the furious rapidity with which the engine revs up when the gas is opened are truly exhilarating and unique.

Once started, the six-cylinder runs extremely round and fluid, with almost non-existent vibrations throughout its entire operating range. The torque available is truly impressive even at very low revs: Just think that it is possible to open the throttle in 6th gear even from idle speed, set at 900 rpm—which corresponds to 31 km/h—and the bike accelerates immediately without the engine having the slightest hesitation or gasp.

The torque of the 6-cylinder is overwhelming at any rpm. The curve has an almost semi-circular shape, which grows from almost 120 Nm at idle to 180 Nm at 5,750 rpm, to then drop back to just below 120 Nm near the limiter at 8,500 rpm. The top rpm figure is not exciting, but the acceleration when pulling the gears—which is certainly not inferior to that of the first series—is, in any case, of a decidedly sporty level and is particularly impressive when the size of the bike is taken into account. Even more than with the previous versions, it is better to shift up with the Euro 5 version well before the limiter—in this case around 7,000 rpm—to obtain maximum acceleration because the thrust fades notably beyond this speed. Despite the long first gear, which requires a bit of clutch play, in my test I did the classic 0-100 km/h in 3.5″ and 0-140 km/h in 5.6″—times that perhaps could be slightly reduced by mistreating the clutch. Up to 100 km/h, no motorcycle, not even a super sports one, can dream of outdoing the K1600, and its rider would have to work hard to get the same times which, on the six-cylinder, are within reach of any motorcyclist with a minimum of blood in their veins.


The monstrous torque certainly allows for longer ratios than usual, to the advantage of comfort and consumption. However, BMW has perhaps gotten too carried away: The 5th and 6th gears are really very long and rather close to each other, so they end up mortifying pick up, also thanks to the very high weight. The paradoxical result is that the K1600 picks up in 6th gear less than instinctively expected and, given the data in hand, it behaves worse than the various 1250 boxer models and also compared to the S1000XR, which at normal speeds has only half the crankshaft torque guaranteed by the 6-cylinder, but weighs much less and has much shorter ratios. The passage from 40 to 100 km/h in 6th takes place with a truly incomparable smoothness, but requires 6.3 sec, a very good figure overall, but similar to that of the K1300GT with “only” 135 Nm. In fact, to overtake really fast, it is better to downshift a couple of gears because the 5th gear is also particularly long; and all this also applies to this Euro 5 version, where the increase in midrange torque helps, but is limited to an average of 4% plus, that doesn’t change the substance. However, one point must be scored in favor of the K1600 when one considers that the situation becomes more favorable to the six-cylinder if there are also a passenger and luggage on board because their weight is less relevant in relation to the greater mass of the bike.

The following table compares the torque available to the engine and to the wheel in 6th gear at 90 and 120 km/h with different models in the BMW top range. As you can see, the crankshaft values are unattainable, but what really matters for recovery is the torque to the wheel in relation to the weight, and in this case the K1600 looks comparatively bad in 6th compared to its sisters at both speeds.

rpm @ 90 km/h in 6th2.6003.1003.4003.3003.800
Crankshaft torque @ 90 km/h in 6th Nm15311811211877
Wheel torque @ 90 km/h in 6th Nm489482500510393
Wheel torque/kg ratio @ 90 km/h in 6th Nm1,421,731,732,051,74
rpm @ 130 km/h in 6th3.8004.5004.9004.7005.900
Crankshaft torque @ 130 km/h in 6th Nm16113011813694
Wheel torque @ 130 km/h in 6th Nm515531526588480
Wheel torque/kg ratio @ 130 km/h in 6th Nm1,501,901,832,362,12
All values are taken from data and torque graphs published by BMW.

It’s not a tragedy, mind you, because already in 4th gear the K1600 becomes uncatchable at any road speed. Evidently, BMW intended to create a motorcycle with a dual personality, extremely comfortable on the one hand, and very sporty on the other; and it is precisely through the gearbox that the rider can decide whether to be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

The electronic throttle control behaves very well, has no open-close effect, and has lost that inconsistency between position and result that sometimes characterized the first series. The promptness of the command increases going from Rain to Road to Dynamic, while I don’t think I have found evident variations in the acceleration with wide open throttle between the Rain and the other mappings. In fact, neither the press kit nor the manual mention torque reduction which, however, was present on the K1600 Euro 3 and, to a lesser extent, on the Euro 4. Probably on the Euro 5 they considered that the progressive throttle control and the excellent traction control DTC were sufficient to ensure safety in wet conditions.

The DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) system is precise in its intervention and minimally invasive. It can also be deactivated while driving via the Settings menu (but it takes time…) and is reactivated each time the engine is restarted.

In Dynamic mode the engine fully expresses its potential; the response to the throttle is immediate and the DTC intervenes with a certain delay, in order to make possible a certain margin of drift, rather amusing and never excessive. Switching to Road and Rain modes offers increasingly progressive throttle response and increasingly conservative DTC intervention, to the point of preventing any hint of drift.

The test took place in December with temperatures between 10 and 15 ° Celsius, so I could not detect any heat problems. I imagine that the Bagger Euro 5 performs quite well, as usually happens on the K.


The standard gearbox is less pleasant than the average BMW, as it is precise, but has a slightly longer stroke and is noisier while shifting. The clutch is soft and certainly better than that of the first series because it is slightly less abrupt and no longer has those lever movements that occurred in the throttle on-off.

As always happens, if shift assistance is present, the lever becomes more contrasted and rubbery. The system works well at medium revs, particularly when downshifting—it is also possible when cornering without problems—but becomes abrupt in sporty driving, is rough at low revs, and in some circumstances requires you to pay attention to the throttle position on pain of refusing to change or the feeling of gears that don’t like each other. Personally, I prefer the traditional shifter for the better feeling of the lever and because the perfection of the shifting depends only on me and not on the behavior of the assistant.

The shaft transmission is certainly quieter than the first series which was affected by audible “clacks” in the passages between shooting and release, now not entirely absent, but certainly less evident.


The braking is very ready to be a touring bike and is powerful, resistant, and well adjustable, all this in spite of the weight and the dated-looking calipers. The attitude during the violent braking remains irreproachable thanks above all to the very long wheelbase and to the Duolever anti-dive front suspension which drastically reduces nose diving and prevents the wheelbase from being shortened when braking.

The ABS is non-invasive and there is no forward-movement feeling in the event of its intervention. The Pro (cornering) function, active with the bike leaning in all riding modes, minimizes imbalances when braking along a curve. If the front brake is applied decisively when cornering, the ABS intervenes well in advance of the actual loss of grip, drastically limiting the front braking power in the very first moments, to then gradually make greater deceleration possible. In this way the start of braking when cornering is always made very progressive, as if the lever were pulled slowly rather than abruptly, all to the advantage of stability.

ABS Pro in curva

Steering and Attitude

The steering is extremely precise, quite ready, light enough to make driving easy, but at the same time it still allows you to tackle even very sporty driving without any apprehension.

The absorption of the semi-active suspension is excellent on Road and good in Cruise and allows good control of the suspended masses and the line set also on bumpy roads.

The behavior of the Duolever fork is truly superb in all circumstances, the extraordinary steering precision and the almost flat attitude of the bike even in hard braking are impressive; and even the Telelever rear suspension, although less original, contributes to the absolute imperturbability of the attitude. The elderly remember well that the BMWs and Guzzis of yesteryear “kangarooed”, that is, they stood up on the two wheels when accelerating and crouched when braking; so it’s hardly surprising that even today I meet people who, when they see a BMW, comment thoughtfully that “the cardan shaft is hard to ride and unbalances the bike”. The fact that the Telelever system has been around and conceptually unchanged since 1988, and that similar systems have also been introduced long ago by other manufacturers such as Moto Guzzi and Honda, does not seem to have affected their beliefs in the slightest.


The remarkable maneuverability of the bike also makes driving at low speeds and in traffic relatively easy, you just have to pay attention to the dimensions and keep in mind the length of the bike when you slip between the cars. The considerable weight of the Bagger, 344 kg with a full tank, is managed quite well in normal conditions thanks to the seat at 75 cm from the ground, but in particular circumstances—for example, when you stop on an uphill slope crossing and have to start again turning to the right—you need to pay close attention to what you are doing: The margins for correcting any imbalance are decidedly smaller than usual. In short, as with all very heavy motorcycles, it is essential to plan any slow speed maneuver very carefully.

On Highway

The Bagger is a purebred kilometer eater, which guarantees unrivaled driving smoothness. The excellent level of springing (even if, to be fussy, there is a slight worsening on sharp bumps, due to the reduction of the rear travel), the rock-solid stability guaranteed by the chassis, the very comfortable riding position, the absolute rest guaranteed by the ratio (in sixth gear at 130 km/h, the engine is at around 3,800 rpm), the almost total absence of vibrations, and excellent aerodynamic protection all combine to ensure peace of mind and therefore superior comfort. The short windshield protects more than you might think and has the great advantage of not obstructing the view even when it’s all the way up, in which case, the slightly disturbed airflow hits the helmet more or less in the center of the visor, while lowering it decreases the protection only marginally—there is still a huge fairing—but the airflow becomes more clean, so choice is more a matter of taste.

Given the relative softness of the suspension, BMW has decided to electronically limit the top speed to 200km/h, which in theory (ahem…) should be further reduced to 180km/h if the optional footpegs are installed. The RPM limiter (re-ahem…) doesn’t keep the speed constant but triggers an annoying continuous bounce. Anyone intending to travel along German Autobahnen is warned.

On Twisty Roads

The Bagger is also a bomb in sporty driving on very twisty roads. I understand that reading such a thing about such a heavy monster makes you smile, but I can truly assure you that the K1600B does not suffer from the slightest inferiority complex compared to any other touring bike on any route and, if ridden competently—and with confidence in one’s own ability not to go broke because of a crash—it is able to leave many other riders speechless even on their much lighter motorcycles. The magic is given by the perfect harmonization of all the elements: the extraordinary torque of the engine ensures lightning-fast accelerations out of the corners, but with all the sweetness you could wish for while leaning; the Duolever front suspension ensures absolute precision of the trajectories and allows you to lean the bike even on hard braking without any imbalance; the powerful and tireless brakes guarantee supersport decelerations; the seat allows you to move in any direction without problems (pun against the S1000XR intended); and even the ground clearance, although lower than that of the K1600GT, but better than the K1600GTL, does not disappoint even at rather high lean angles.

Nel misto


The six-cylinder is beautiful, the comfort is beautiful, everything is beautiful, but the K1600 drinks more than the other BMWs. The overall average of the test, including some urban stretches, some motorways, some highways, and some sections done at full speed, was 14.8 km/l. A relaxed pace can certainly do much better, but on the other hand this applies to all motorcycles.


Thirteen years after its debut and despite the various updates made over time, the project has not deeply changed: The K1600s are still a great piece of engineering and an absolute reference in terms of comfort and driving characteristics. The extraordinary overall balance of the bike and the amazing sound of its magnificent straight-six are things that everyone should experience at least once, at the risk of falling madly in love with it.

However, when at the end of the test I returned to my 2007 K1200GT, I found a bike that was just as comfortable, protective, and with speed and dynamic performance as exciting from all points of view, but lighter by a good 56 kilos; and I thought again that BMW should never have abandoned the four-cylinder K.


  • Very well made bike
  • Powerful motor, extremely elastic and with a unique sound
  • Powerful brakes, well adjustable and resistant
  • unexpected handling
  • Very effective guide even on twisty roads
  • High level comfort
  • Adequate accessories
  • Very well done TFT dashboard


  • Pickup in high gears mortified by the very long ratios
  • Quite heavy weight
  • Cumbersome activation of several commands via the menu system

Thanks to BMW Motorrad Rome for making the test bike available.

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2022 BMW S1000R Review

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Purebred Horse


It was April 2007 when BMW, the Bavarian manufacturer known for its touring bikes powered by boxer engines, announced that it would participate in the Superbike championship. It sounded more like a joke, but the Germans who had uttered it were very serious; if  they were joking, they must have studied at Buster Keaton’s school.

To be fair, BMW didn’t make only quiet twins. For twenty years it had also been producing, among other models, excellent four-cylinder touring bikes, the K series, that since 2004, had made a significant technological and performance leap when the heavy K1200RS gave way to a range of decidedly more modern and lighter bikes, including the K1200R which, at its launch, was the most powerful and fastest naked bike in the world. For this bike BMW had also put on a championship, the BMW Motorrad Power Cup.

But this was BMW’s only competition activity, and the K remained substantially a niche product in the BMW range, appreciated by only a group of enthusiasts. The general riders public saw only that German motorcycles had protruding cylinders on the sides, the shaft that unbalanced them, and they lived far from the tracks.

Until April of 2008, when BMW released this photo.

A shock. Such stuff had never been seen in BMW; moreover, it looked Japanese. It was the track version of the S1000RR, the beast that did not win the SBK championship – and continued not to win it even afterwards – but moved the bar so high in the road supersport category so as to become its undisputed queen and to remain so for many years to come.

With such a base, it was obvious to obtain a hyper naked; and so it was that the end of 2013 saw the launch of the BMW S1000R, essentially an RR stripped of the fairing and with the engine weakened to “only” 160 hp. On paper, the figure might seem disappointing to some since the KTM 1290 Super Duke R had recently appeared with 180; but, in reality, the Bavarian naked bike turned out to be a beast with remarkable performance, providing even greater torque than its track sister.

In 2019, the new S1000RR was launched, completely renewed and lightened compared to the previous series and equipped with a more powerful and torquey redesigned engine with a variable valve timing system. From this new beast was born at the end of 2020 the new naked S1000R, the object of this review.

The tested specimen was a MY 2022, which remained unchanged for 2023, and was equipped with standard rims and Dunlop Sportsmart Mk3 tires, definitely suitable for the type of bike.

How It Is


The S1000R follows the general approach of the previous series even though it shares practically no component. The optical group, which has become single and symmetrical, is the same as the F900R; but, otherwise, the similarity between the two bikes is not very marked; the S looks much meaner, almost post-apocalyptic, due to the design of all the details, including the trellis rear subframe. Interesting is the weight reduction compared to the old series from 207 to 199 kg (unladen weight, road ready, fully fuelled) obtained mainly in the engine – with some help from removal of the optional footpegs and passenger seat. Equally interesting is the fact that the S weighs 13 kg less than the twin-cylinder F900R.

The choice to supply the production bike in single-seater configuration is consistent with its general setting, clearly aimed at motorcyclists who intend to ride on the track. In fact, the license plate holder and other details can be easily dismantled.


Chassis and suspension of the S1000R are those characteristics of the new S series. The fork is 45 mm upside-down, with steering damper adjustable in preload, compression dumping (left strut), and extension dumping (right strut), while at the rear there is an aluminum trussed swingarm with a progressive Full Floater Pro type kinematics – for a detailed explanation of the history and operation of this scheme, see my article Full floater Suspension Systems – and monoshock also adjustable in preload and  compression/extension damping. The particular geometry of the rear suspension allows it not only to have a progressive absorption, but also to keep the mono at a considerable distance from the engine and the heat emanating from it in order to ensure maximum constancy of operation.

The main dimensions are as follows (in brackets are the data of the first series).

  • front travel 120 mm (120 mm)
  • rear travel 117 mm (120 mm)
  • wheelbase 1450 mm (1439 mm)
  • trailing stroke 96 mm (98.5 mm)
  • steering tilt angle 24.2° (24.6°)

You notice the sportier numbers of the steering.

The wheels are made of alloy with tubeless tires in the usual sizes of 120/70 ZR 17 on a 3.5 x 17″ rim at the front and 190/55 ZR 17 on a 6 x 17″ rim at the rear. The optional forged M rims come with a rear 200/55 ZR 17 tire.


The engine that equips the S1000R and XR derives from that of the S1000RR and is completely redesigned compared to that of the previous series – besides, it is narrower and lighter. It is a classic four-cylinder in-line mounted transversely with four non-radial valves per cylinder, indirectly driven by two overhead camshafts through the interposition of small rocker arms, according to a scheme widespread on the latest models of the Bavarian firm.

The main differences compared to the super sports S1000RR are the power—reduced from 207 hp at 13,500 rpm to 165 hp at 11,000 rpm to favor torque at medium revs—and the elimination of the variable valve timing system. The choice was dictated by cost containment and because the engine expresses maximum power at a much lower speed than on the super sports model, making it possible to set a valve timing to obtain better behavior in the medium range. All true, but the fact remains that the variable valve timing system of the RR guarantees a much higher torque than that available on the R and XR—not only above 10,000 rpm, as would be expected, but also between 5,000 and 7,500 which are important speeds on a road bike.

The graph highlights the above. The maximum torque curve on the S1000RR is very high and tends to be flat from 5,500 rpm upwards, while that of the S1000R and XR, which has its peak of 114 Nm at 9250 rpm, is more uneven. It shows an evident leap at 7,000 rpm, below which the thrust is “only” that of a good four-cylinder 1000 cc. Although the relative weakness in the mid range can be seen as a defect on the XR, the choice on the R is fully justified by its greater lightness, the sports use, and the lower price.


As on the S1000XR – and unlike on the S1000RR – the gearbox on this new series has the ratio of the last three gears significantly lengthened, so much so that now the 6a is about 7.5% longer and the revs at 130 km/h have dropped accordingly from about 5900 to about 5500 rpm. In this way, driving on the motorway is significantly more relaxing and also benefits consumption. The gear ratios are as follows (in brackets the data of the old S1000R/XR and the S1000RR).

4th1.476 (1.500)
5th1.304 (1.360)
6th1.167 (1.261)

The resulting speeds at which the engine starts pulling hard and expresses maximum power are as follows. With the optional 200/55 ZR 17 tire, the values increase by a scant 2%.

GearSpeed @ 7,000 rpmSpeed @ 11,000 rpm

The slipper clutch is operated by cable. The Gearbox Assistant Pro, i.e., the BMW auto-blipper quickshifter, is available as an option.


The S1000R is equipped with two 320 mm front rotors with four-piston Hayes radial calipers, while at the rear there is a 265 mm rotor with a two-piston floating caliper. Despite the distinctly sporty intended use, there is no radial pump, while there are steel braided hoses as per BMW tradition. If M forged rims are required, the front rotors are those of the S1000RR, with their thickness increased to 5 mm.

The ABS system is semi-integral, with the lever that operates both brakes and the pedal that acts only on the rear. As always at BMW, the two braking circuits are independent, and the integral function is obtained by means of the ABS pump which is active only when the ignition is on.

Driving Assistance Electronics

From the point of view of electronic driving aids, the S1000R, which is equipped with a 6-axis inertial platform, offers the following accessories as standard.

  • Riding modes – Includes Rain, Road, and Dynamic riding modes.
  • ABS Pro – Anti-lock braking system with rear wheel lift control and cornering function that reduces the initial braking power at the front when the bike is leaning to minimize the effects of a too abrupt use of the front brake while cornering. Its behavior changes according to the driving modes and can be either deactivated or limited to just the front wheel.
  • DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) – Anti-skid system that can be disengaged. It takes into account the lean angle of the bike.
  • HSC (Hill Start Control) – System to keep the bike braked by pulling strongly the brake lever, in order to have your hands free and to simplify uphill starts.

On request there is the following.

  • Dynamic Pro Driving Mode – It is fully configurable and also includes the following:
    • Launch Control – Automatic acceleration regulator for track use. It is activated by holding down the start button until the number of launches still possible without overheating the clutch appears on the display. Once activated, by starting the bike with the throttle wide open, the system keeps the engine at 9000 fixed rpm while trimming the torque as necessary. It works up to 70 km/h unless the throttle is closed or brakes applied, or if the of the bike lean angle becomes excessive.
    • Pit Lane Limiter – First gear speed limiter. Once activated via the Settings and set the revs between 3,500 and 8,000 rpm, by keeping the start button pressed the engine remains at the set speed even with the throttle wide open until you release the button.
    • Wheelie Control – Wheelie control adjustable via the Settings menu.
    • MSR (“Motor Schleppmoment Regelung”, i.e., engine brake adjustment) – System that automatically controls the engine brake, decreasing it (i.e., giving gas) in case of sudden downshifts in order to avoid any slipping of the rear wheel.
    • DBC (Dynamic Brake Control) – Function that in emergency braking increases the pressure on the rear brake and closes a forgotten open throttle, improving stability and braking distances.
    • HSC Pro – Advanced hill start assistant, which can also be configured to automatically engage when the bike is stationary and braking, without having to pull the brake lever hard.
  • DDC (Dynamic Damping Control) – Self-adaptive suspension system that automatically adjusts the suspension extension dumping according to the driving conditions and the route. When the bike is stationary, it allows the electric adjustment of the preload for rider, rider with luggage, and pilot with passenger. The peculiarity of this system compared to the D-ESA that usually equips BMWs is that here it is possible to manually set all the parameters of both suspensions – preload and extension/compression dumping – in order to tailor the suspension to any riders preferences.
  • Shift Assistant Pro – It allows in many situations to shift gear without clutch and it includes the auto-blipper.

The choice of riding modes influences the other electronic aids and harmonizes them with each other in different situations, while the two settings for the Road or Dynamic suspension – available only if the DDC is present – are always selectable in all riding modes. Below are the configurations provided in all riding modes.


  • gentle throttle response
  • reduced torque in lower gears
  • maximum engine brake
  • DTC adjusted for maximum stability on wet tracks, resulting in a reduction in maximum acceleration on dry surfaces
  • anti-wheelie to the maximum
  • anti-stoppie active


  • normal throttle response
  • reduced torque in lower gears (this is what is written in the user manual; but, if it is true, the torque is still much higher than in the Rain setting)
  • maximum engine brake
  • DTC adjusted for high stability on dry track, results in a slight reduction in maximum acceleration on dry surfaces
  • anti-wheelie that allows a slight lift of the front wheel
  • anti-stoppie active


  • normal throttle response
  • reduced torque in lower gears
  • medium engine brake
  • DTC adjusted for high performance on dry surfaces
  • anti-wheelie that allows a slight lift of the front
  • anti-stoppie active

Dynamic Pro

  • Fully customizable driving mode, the settings remain stored even after the ignition is turned off.
  • ABS Pro cornering function disabled
  • ABS can be deactivated only at the rear or totally
  • DBC deactivable
  • normal or soft throttle response
  • maximum or reduced torque in lower gears
  • medium or idle engine brake
  • DTC for maximum performance, adjustable
  • anti-wheelie that allows high wheelie, adjustable and deactivable
  • adjustable and deactivable anti-stoppie

The Dynamic Pro mode is activated only after the 1,000 km service by inserting a connector located under the saddle. The presence of the connector is indicated in the TFT display by the symbol of an electrical plug.

Surprisingly, the throttle does not provide for quick adjustment even in Dynamic Pro mode. Probably in BMW they fear that, given the remarkable performance of the engine and the lightness of the bike, the command will become too abrupt.

In addition, I noticed during the test – quite thorough from a performance point of view – that the torque limitation in the lower gears is clear in Rain, but not in Road, which seems similar to Dynamic mode. This has its consequences on fast accelerations, as we will see later.


The handlebar controls are the classic ones of current BMWs, aesthetically pleasing and characterized by the presence of numerous buttons to operate all the services available as standard or on request. There are so many, especially on the left side, that you feel the need of a backlight at night.

The turning lights are operated with the standard control and have automatic shutdown. Its logic, similar to that already seen on the F900 – but not on the K1600B – is very sophisticated and particularly functional. The novelty is that here the control behaves differently if you slide the switch briefly or if you hold it for a second.

With a quick tap, the lights turn off:

  • below 30 km/h, after 50 meters
  • between 30 and 100 km/h, after a stretch of road that varies according to speed and acceleration
  • above 100 km/h, after 5 flashes

With a prolonged touch, the turning lights always turn off after a stretch of road that varies according to speed. From some tests made, you find that at 130 km/h they blink 14 times, and more as speed is reduced.

This logic is very functional and solves an ancient problem of this system, namely the need to repeat the operation when you want to signal the exit from a motorway.

The high beam is switched on by pressing on the lever above the left block with the index finger and it is flashed by pulling the same lever outwards.

The horn – of very sad scooter quality usually found on motorcycles – is operated by the button correctly located under the command of the turning lights while the hazard light is operated with a dedicated button above the left block.

Also in the left block there is the rocker button to deactivate the DTC and to adjust the optional DDC suspension system, plus the settings of the practical BMW cruise control, also optional.

On the right block there is the button for the driving modes, described above, the one for the optional heated grips with three options – rapid heating and two intensity levels – and the usual rocker button for the engine start and kill switch. The engine start also manages, if present, the Launch Control and the Pit Lane Limiter.

The Intelligent Emergency Call system is available as standard. In this case there is an additional block on the right with a large red button protected by a safety lid with a SOS inscription to avoid accidental calls. The system uses its own SIM and therefore also works without a smartphone. In case of an accident, either the rider can press the SOS button or the system automatically detects an accident and its severity. The BMW Call Center answers in the rider’s own language and it is possible to communicate via a loudspeaker and a microphone installed in the block. The proper rescue chain is then activated depending on the severity of the accident described by the rider or detected by the system. Interestingly, the system control unit can be removed without tools for use on the track.

The Keyless Ride system is available on request. The key remains in your pocket, while the starter and steering lock are governed by a button in place of the starter lock. When the key is near the bike, pressing the button briefly turns on the ignition, pressing it briefly turns it off, while holding it down for a couple of seconds it also engages or disengages the steering lock. The system also does not serve the tank cap, which must be opened with the key.

Among the various systems of this kind that I have tried, this is undoubtedly the best; yet I still prefer the traditional key system because it is faster in operation, it is practically indestructible and, above all, it allows me to always keep the key under control. If contact with the key is lost when the engine is running, the engine does not stop, for obvious safety reasons, but a warning appears on the dashboard that the key is no longer nearby and that it is no longer possible to restart. The warning is nice and big, but it is possible not to pay attention to it, especially just after departure. As long as the rider is always the same and keeps the key in a secure pocket, everything is fine; but any variation from the routine – the key falls from an open pocket or is forgotten in the passenger’s jacket after dropping him at his home, or the motorcycle is loaned to a friend, etc. – can mean wasting time retrieving the key or, worse, being stranded at the next stop.

As for the foot controls, optional adjustable sports footpegs are available and, as standard, there is the  interesting possibility of reversing the functionality of the gear lever – i.e., first at the top and all the other gears at the bottom – for use on the track. The gear lever has two eyelets for fixing the connecting rod, one in front and one behind its axis. To reverse, simply connect the rod from one eyelet to another.


The S1000R is equipped as standard with the TFT color Dashboard with 6.5″ display typical of current BMW production, housed in a frame containing the various basic lights: turn signals, high beam, daytime running lights, general alarm triangle, ABS, DTC, and engine failure. As usual, the TFT can be operated by means of the Multicontroller — the practical ring by the left handgrip — and the Menu button on the left block.

The dashboard includes several visualizations, some of which are dedicated to driving and others to ancillary information. The basic information — speed, gear engaged, time, ambient temperature, and whether automatic daylight switching is activated — is present with any display while the others appear only in some modes or are alternative to each other.

The Pure Ride display is the standard, simple but of a certain effect which, in addition to the basic information, shows a large and scenic tachometer bar and only one of the data present in the My Vehicle or On-Board Computer screens (for example, fuel level, partial mileage, etc.).

The Sport 1 display is characterized by a nice semicircular analog tachometer placed in the center of the screen and some interesting indicators:

  • reduction of engine torque induced by the intervention of DTC, instantaneous and maximum, in %
  • instantaneous and maximum lean angle for both sides, in degrees
  • Instantaneous and maximum deceleration, in m/s2
  • The Sport 2 display is aesthetically similar to the 1, but is meant for use on the track and therefore shows the following indicators:
  • instantaneous and maximum DTC-induced RPM reduction, in %
  • Current lap time
  • Best lap time — today’s lap or best ever can be chosen
  • gap of the last completed lap or the current one compared to the best lap chosen

The lap times are marked using the light switch lever, or automatically through the GPS Laptrigger M, an on-the-track riding data recorder made by the German company 2D and available in the aftermarket, provided that its predisposition has been requested at the purchase. The recorder keeps track of the main parameters of  the bike at all moments of the lap and allows an in-depth analysis of all phases of riding.

The Sport 3 display looks totally different and features all the info available in the Sport 2, plus the instantaneous and maximum lean angle.

BMW S1000RR 2019: rompiendo moldes
S1000RR Sport 3 display. The R has the same, but it tops at 12,000 rpm

The My Vehicle display allows you to select one of the following menus at your choice:

  • My vehicle – shows total mileage, coolant temperature, tire pressure, battery voltage, range, and service deadline indicator
  • On-board computer – shows average speed, average consumption, total travel time, total parking time, partial and total mileage, last reset date.
  • Travel computer – is like the previous one and allows you to collect data on a different stretch; it resets itself after being stopped for six hours or when the date changes
  • Tire inflation pressure – in addition to the pressure compensated with the operating temperature visible also in the My Vehicle tab, it also shows the real tire pressure
  • Need for maintenance – indicates the expiration date and remaining mileage until the next maintenance
  • any additional tabs containing eventual Check Control Messages.

The Navigation screen works if a smartphone is connected with the BMW Motorrad Connected app. GPS navigation takes place through the driving directions provided by the smartphone navigator (for example Waze or Google Maps) only via the audio in the helmet. Even without an actual map, you still can see distance and time to arrival, distance until the next turn, name of the current road and the one to be taken at the next turn, pictograms describing the intersections and roundabouts ahead, and speed limits along the route. The system is very clear in operation and does not miss a map too much.

The Media screen has a particularly well done search engine and works via Bluetooth with a compatible device and a helmet with a hands-free system, allowing you to listen to music along the route.

The Phone screen allows you to make and receive phone calls if a compatible device and a helmet with a compatible hands-free system are connected via Bluetooth.

Among the options I did not find the predisposition to the BMW GPS device.


The S1000R comes standard with a full LED lighting system and, on request, the Adaptive Light Control, a system that is activated when the bike leans and allows a deeper illumination of the trajectory in curves.

The front light cluster, vaguely trapezoidal in shape and the same as that of the F900R, is divided into three parts—from top to bottom: low beam, daytime/running light, and high beam—flanked by adaptive cornering lights. If the adaptive cornering system is present, the stylized R in the centre of the headlight assembly is backlit.

As on most nakeds, the S1000R does not have a practical system of height adjustment of the headlight depending on the load, so it is necessary to loosen the fixing screws. In this case, given the very low probability that this bike will go around with a passenger, this is a non-problem.

Through the Settings menu of the dashboard, it is possible to set the low beam always on or the daytime running light with automatic switching to low beam at night, and you can always choose manually between the two modes through a button on the left block.

Light power, width, and homogeneity are excellent. Adaptive lighting, however, is nothing spectacular: Outside the actual headlight beam, only a limited extra area of the trajectory is weakly lit, thus offering a marginal advantage.

Riding Position

The driving position is sporty, with torso inclined rather forward and footpegs quite high and set back, although not as on the RR. As in all sports bikes on the planet – except the S1000XR with its basin-shaped saddle – the seat allows the rider to move freely in any direction.

The handlebar is adjustable in two positions.

There is no lowering kit nor is there a seat height adjustment; but, on request and at no extra charge, the bike can be ordered with a low or high seat. The M seat dedicated to use on the track is only an aftermarket item. The possible seat heights are as follows:

  • low seat 810 mm
  • M seat 824 mm
  • standard seat 830 mm
  • high seat 850 mm

The mirrors are the standard ones of non-faired BMWs: a bit small, but set wide, they do not vibrate and allow a view that could be wider.


The bike is sold as a single-seater, but a passenger seat and footpegs kit is available on request for the passenger who either loves the rider very much or is a bit masochistic. If the two qualities coexist, even better.

Load Capacity

Given the distinctly sporty setting, for the S1000R there is obviously no type of rigid suitcase, but there are two tank bags, two for the passenger seat, and a kit of soft side bags specifically dedicated to the model, although rather small (21 liters). So, if you want, you can travel, strictly alone.

An interesting fact: The total weight allowed for the bike is a whopping 407 kg, therefore, with a payload of 208 kg, it is a rather high value for a hyper naked and says a lot about the capabilities of the chassis.

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How It Goes


Startup is ready. The racing origin of the engine is immediately noticeable from the idling speed, which is rather high for a 4 in line, around 1300 rpm, and rises to around 2500 rpm when cold. The mechanical noise is high. The exhaust sound, on the other hand, is pleasant, full, but never intrusive at any rpm. The very high idle when cold and the rather abrupt clutch can cause the bike to jerk forward abruptly at first, so particular attention is required when starting off and maneuvering.

The test took place in January with temperatures at or below 15°C degrees, so I could not detect any heat problems.

Once underway, the four-cylinder easily accepts even very low revs, so much so that it is possible to accelerate in 6° from 40 km/h (corresponding to 1,700 rpm) at full throttle without the slightest jolt. At constant low revs it surges a bit, but it is not a big problem.

Opening the gas, the engine revs up to 7,000 rpm with a decisive and regular push which, after this threshold, becomes impressive, also thanks to the short gears ratio, and it remains so practically up to the limiter located at 12,000 rpm. The acceleration that results when pulling the gears down is even excessive: I’m sure not many owners of this bike will have the guts to experience it to the fullest.

The response to the rotation of the throttle grip is very sweet in Rain, a little quicker in Road, but strangely remains unchanged in both Dynamic and Dynamic Pro. Personally, I felt the lack of a more direct control.

In Rain mode, the torque remains quite high overall, but is limited in the lower gears – certainly in the first three, but it didn’t seem to me in fourth. According to the user manual, the torque should also be limited on Road, but while riding I was able to ascertain that the bike actually pulls much higher and similar to the sportier modes, even if I can’t say if it’s exactly the same, because the performances in maximum acceleration are almost scaring and it is practically impossible to perceive certain differences.


The exuberance of the engine is such that the bike can be managed thanks only to the DTC and, in any case, only up to a certain point. Already starting from the Road mode, the front wheel does not want to stay on the ground at any rpm in the first two gears, making it necessary to choke the throttle to maintain an acceptable trajectory. Paradoxically, in acceleration tests at street speeds, I set the best times in Rain mode which limits the torque and keeps the wheelie at bay. With relative ease, I achieved a 0-100 km/h in 3.45 sec. With numerous attempts in Road mode, I never got below 3.87—it seems to ride a rodeo horse and you are forced to choke the gas and anticipate the 1st-2nd shifting a little. I probably could have done better with further launches, but probably not any better than with the Rain mode. It would really help if the Road mapping prevented the wheelie altogether.

The potential of the S1000R emerges in full above 100 km/h. In Road mode, it took me just 9.01 seconds to reach 200 km/h from a standstill – in 250 m!

By way of comparison, my 2007 K1200GT with 152 HP, which also posts considerable times for a tourer and almost equal to the K1600, covers the 0-100 km/h in 3.85 s, i.e., just 0.4 sec above the S1000R, but to reach 200 km/h , it takes 12.46 sec and 346 m.

The g-trend clearly shows why the S1000R fails to do better on short sprints, despite the excellent power-to-weight ratio. In fact, the curve is substantially constant up to about 90 km/h, because it is precisely limited by the tendency of the bike to wheelie around 0.9 g.

I also tried to do some throws in Road mode without using the quickshifter, to see the difference. In the 0-100 km/h, I lost 0.11 sec, while in the 0-200, I lost 0.74 sec. The shift assist does indeed save some time; but, at road speeds, the advantage is minimal—even more reason not to want it on my bike.

The DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) system can always be deactivated while driving, is precise in its intervention, and minimally invasive. Honestly, it seems really stupid to deactivate it. On the Sport screen, you can check the percentage of power lost when exceeding the grip limit during acceleration. If the DTC is deactivated, the value is always equal to zero, while in the event of maximum acceleration in low gears, the system intervenes – a lot! – also on a perfect and clean asphalt, given the exuberance of the engine.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to use the Launch Control. It doesn’t make sense on the road, but I’d still be curious to see if I’d get better lap times, even if I don’t think it can work miracles.

Pick-up in 6th Gear

Although the gear ratios are the same as those of the S1000XR, here one does not have any impression of sluggishness in pick up at low revs, due to the lower weight, but perhaps also to the different mental predisposition – something more is expected on a sport-touring crossover. The following table compares the maximum torque available at the wheel by opening the throttle in 6th gear at 90 and 130 km/h on the S1000R and XR and, for further comparison, on the F900R, in absolute value and in relation to weight.

Max wheel torque @ 90 km/h in 6th Nm               393393            356
Max wheel torque per kg of weight @ 90 km/h in 6th Nm1.971.741.62
Max wheel torque @ 130 km/h in 6th Nm                    480                  480            406
Max wheel torque per kg of weight @ 1300 km/h in 6th Nm2.41                       2.12                 1.85

As you can see, the S1000R offers a significantly higher pull in 6th gear at road cruising speeds than the XR. The transition from 40 to 120 km/h takes just 7.43 seconds and is the same in all driving modes. I hadn’t taken the times with the XR, which certainly does a little worse, while the K1600B covers the same distance in 8.8 sec.

The slight hesitation around 150 km/h, clearly visible in the instant g graph below, corresponds exactly to the down in the torque curve around 6,500 rpm.


The standard gearbox is pleasant, very precise, and with a short stroke while the clutch is soft, but rather abrupt when starting off. However, on the tested bike with about 10,000 km on the counter, there must have been some clutch problem – I tried to adjust the cable, but with no improvement – because it was practically impossible to find neutral with the bike stationary, while maneuverability was perfect on the S1000XR tested, equipped with the same engine and gearbox. There was also the quickshifter, which makes the lever more contrasted and rubbery. The system works well at medium revs, particularly when downshifting, which is also possible when cornering without problems, and in sporty driving; but it is rough at low revs and, in certain circumstances, requires you to pay attention to the position of the throttle on pain of refusing to shift. The case that typically makes me blush is when I’m in a short gear when going downhill and I want to shift to a higher gear to avoid excessive engine braking: It just can’t be done with the gas closed. Personally, I prefer the standard gearbox not only for the best lever feel, but because I can shift when and how I want.


Braking is powerful and resistant. It doesn’t have the almost violent bite of super sports bikes, which may disappoint some; but, in any case, it is quite good for sporting use and is always very easily adjustable even for those with less experience. The fork behaves very well even when braking hard and the bike always remains perfectly stable, unlike the S1000XR which suffers from some slight twisting.

Braking from 120 km/h required 3.95 sec and 69.0 m

The deceleration graph below clearly highlights how the ABS limits deceleration to around 0.9 g to avoid rollover.

It is really interesting to note that my K1200GT, despite weighing 288 kg, a good 89 more than the S, obtains almost identical performance given that, in the same situation, it needs 4.0 sec and 68.3 m.

The ABS Pro works very well, there is no delayed-braking feeling and it minimizes imbalances in the set-up when braking hard while cornering. In such a situation, the ABS intervenes well before the actual loss of grip, drastically limiting the front braking power in the very first moments, to increase it gradually after. In this way, braking when cornering is always made very progressively, as if the lever were being pulled slowly rather than abruptly, all to the advantage of stability.

Steering and Attitude

The steering of the S1000R is precise and prompt, but at the same time less nervous at high speeds than that of the previous series. The improvement is probably also due to the longer wheelbase and more effective rear suspension.

The upside-down fork is well supported and very smooth, while the monoshock of the test sample was rather hard even in Road mode. I haven’t had the opportunity to adjust the suspension, but I’m sure that the various adjustments, which are available even if the optional DDC is present, allow you to make it softer without problems.


The S1000R is very light and streamlined and allows easy control to the vertically challenged, who also have a lower seat available. The engine is quite manageable – even if at times a bit clumsy – because the throttle control is very progressive in all mappings and the torque at low revs is that of a normal bike – almost; but you need to be careful with the clutch, which is a bit abrupt. It is for this reason, rather than for the power, that the S is not very suitable for beginners.

On Highways

Freeway trips are not the best on such a bike, but the S is no more uncomfortable than the average naked bike, given that the suspension can be tailored, the position is not extremely forward-leaning, and the seat, all in all, is acceptable. It is also possible to mount a Sport windshield, not present on the tested bike. The excellent stability guaranteed by the chassis, the not excessive rpm allowed by the ratios – in sixth gear at 130 km/h the engine is at 5500 rpm – and the absence of particularly annoying vibrations complete an overall satisfactory picture.

On Twisty Roads

On twisty roads the S1000R is a killer weapon, especially when the curves get wider. The very powerful but easily manageable engine, the effective brakes, the perfect chassis, the excellent ground clearance, and the promptness of the steering all contribute. The maneuverability in the tighter twists is not that of a motard, but the S behaves very well here too, thanks also to its light weight. It’s a bike made to go fast: The higher the pace, the more the steering precision improves and the more one feels in tune. Part of the credit for this certainly goes to the progressive full floater rear suspension.


Consumption at constant speed measured by the on-board instrument is as follows:

  • @ 90 km/h 20.4 km/l
  • @ 130 16.2 km/l

The overall average from top to top, including some urban sections, some highway, a lot of out of town riding, and several sections done at a fast pace, was 15.0 km/l.

The 16.5-litre tank allows mileage of 200-250km.


The S1000R, while not for beginners or passers-by, is definitely a thoroughbred that I would really like to have in my stable. It’s made to give sensations that not many other bikes can deliver, and in a balanced and truly convincing package.


  • Well made bike with aggressive aesthetics
  • Very powerful, elastic and well manageable engine
  • Excellent brakes
  • Very effective in very sporty riding


  • TFT dashboard that does not allow all relevant information to be displayed on one screen
  • Rubbery gearbox if shift assistance is present
  • On the sample tested (but not on others), it was almost impossible to find the neutral when stationary.

Thanks to BMW Motorrad Roma for making this test possible.

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