- Special K on two wheels
- 6 cylinders in line of 1,649 cm3, 160 hp, 175 Nm, 310 kg full made, 39 liter fuel tank, tubular frame, Dynamic ESA suspension…
- In the saddle
Special K on two wheels
6 cylinders in line of 1,649 cm3, 160 hp, 175 Nm, 310 kg full made, 39 liter fuel tank, tubular frame, Dynamic ESA suspension…
BMW has always been able to maximize the number of model segments that can be reached with its different platforms. It is therefore surprising that, since the introduction of its top-of-the-range six-cylinder K1600 models in 2011, the more than 50,000 models sold have not given rise to other versions than the road K1600GT and GTL not to mention the bagger. K1600 B. Not even a custom against the Honda F6C nor a production version of its Concept 6 which was all the rage at the Milan show 2009. And above all, given the resounding success of the R1200 Boxer version, no K 1600 GS . Well, not yet because one can expect drawings and maybe even a prototype to probably exist somewhere deep in BMW’s R&D department. !
Test of the Bakker BMW K1600 GS Mammoth
“I bought a K1600 GT for my job and I am very happy with the engine, which sounds good and is very pleasant to drive,” said Willem, 61, a returning rider who had said goodbye to two-wheelers for get married and start a family. Sound familiar to you? But with his business booming and his grown-up children, at 48 Willem returned to motorcycling, riding the R1200GS to visit his clients across Europe, from London to Milan, from Stockholm to Paris..
I much prefer the motorbike to the car for long distances. If I only do 20 km I take the car because it is more practical not to have to put on and take off all my equipment. Months to go from my home near The Hague (Netherlands) to a client in Berlin 700 km away, I always go there by motorbike. It’s a lot faster, especially with all the work being done on the Autobahn these days and it’s nicer anyway. So my BMW dealer suggested that I buy a K-16 and I did. But when I gave it back to him for the first service, he saw that I had rubbed the crankcases on both sides, that’s when he told me to go see Nico Bakker !
Willem Heijboer and his ‘Mammoth’
Bakker is the chassis maker tailor, weld magician, and the go-to guy when looking for a quality frame to create a unique bike that holds up. Plus, not many people can compete with Nico’s experience to design a better BMW. In addition to bringing to market the first Deltabox aluminum chassis for the air-cooled Boxer engine, Nico worked as a consultant for the German manufacturer in the development of the Telelever for the R1100 RS. Outside of BMW’s R&D department, he knows better than anyone how to design a manoeuvrable Boxer chassis and it was under his brand that the first sports car using the 8-valve air / oil Boxer with the Bakker BMW Bomber was launched. But the creation of the K1600 GS Mammoth, as Willem aptly baptized it, was the first for which Nico had to design a frame for a BMW in-line multicylinder engine.
Nico Bakker’s workshop
Willem came to my store and asked me to make a GS type version of his K1600GT. My first reaction was "Are you really sure you want to do this?!". But after talking with him, I realized he knew what he was doing, especially since he already owned a 1200GS. So I told him it wouldn’t be easy or cheap, but that I was going to give it a try !
To create the Mammoth, Willem Heijboer purchased a 2018 K1600GT from his local dealer; an already slightly revamped K1600GT with new catalytic converters and updated engine management. An evolution which allowed the six-cylinder engine with double overhead camshaft of 1,649 cm3 and 24 valves to comply with the Euro 4 standard without any loss of power, namely 160 horsepower at 7,750 rpm with a maximum torque of 175 Nm at 5,250 rpm and 70% of which is available from 1,500 rpm. The bike is also equipped with a ride-by-wire throttle offering three modes (Road, Dynamic and Rain) as well as ESA Dynamic as standard, this system which automatically adjusts the suspension settings in Road and Dynamic modes..
Nico Bakker at work on the K1600 GS
By receiving this motorcycle and all its standard equipment, Nico dismantled it to keep the engine, the final drive shaft, the trio of 320 mm brake discs with Brembo calipers and Bosch ABS as well as all the electrical and electronic systems, including the ESA function and accompanying suspensions. Everything that came out of the project was sold to the BMW dealership. Bakker then measured everything and started designing the frame he chose to make from CrMo steel tubes in order to achieve the best stiffness / weight ratio..
I wanted to make the bike lighter and easier to handle than the stock K1600, while also fixing Willem’s ground clearance issues with the engine. To be fair the engine is already very narrow for an inline six, it’s just the way it was fitted that needed to be changed..
The tubular frame was custom designed
Indeed, to create the most compact inline six-cylinder ever on a motorcycle, BMW designed a 24-valve semi-dry sump unit with chain-driven DOHC timing and which, despite its short stroke of 72×67.5mm , is only 555 mm wide, barely more than the majority of 4 cylinders. It weighs only 102.6 kg with its 10-disc clutch in oil bath, 6-speed gearbox, alternator and 52mm throttle body, all kept on the Mammoth with a modified airbox to allow more space to a larger fuel tank.
The 6-cylinder in-line of the K1600
When designing the Mammoth’s chassis, Bakker slightly lengthened the wheelbase to 1,635mm from 1,618mm on the production model and significantly refined the steering geometry. It ditched the Fior-style BMW Telelever fairing in favor of a more conventional but fully adjustable 48mm WP inverted fork and tailored to the specific needs of the Mammoth by Dutch specialist HK Suspension who also adapted the rear ESA shock absorber to its new application.
There is now an inverted WP fork at the front
The fork’s caster angle closes at 25 ° with 100mm of drag versus 27.8 ° and 106.4mm. To adapt the design philosophy of the R1200 GS to the K-16, Bakker opted for a 19-inch front wheel to match a 17-inch rear and because Heijboer likes the look of the spoked rims, got a kit from Kino from Forged aluminum rims with steel spokes allowing tubeless tires to be fitted. These are a Pirelli Scorpion Trail II train in 120 / 70R19 at the front on a 3 "rim and a 190 / 55ZR17 on the 6" rear which had to be specially manufactured for the Mammoth in order to be able to integrate it. transmission by shaft. "It took them a while to do it, otherwise we would only have taken 6 months to design the bike from A to Z."
The Mammoth adopts Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires
But the big difference is in the weight: the Bakker K 1600 GS weighs 310 kg with a 48/52% distribution to the rear and all the full facts, including that of the huge 39 liter tank! You have to put that in comparison to the 319 kg of the K1600GT with only 90% of the full capacity of its 24-liter tank. For a liter of fuel weighing 0.77 kg, that gives us a dry weight of 280 kg for the Mammoth versus 299 kg on the stock GT, each without luggage..
Although less heavy than a K-16 GT, the Mammoth lives up to its name
As far as luggage is concerned, the Mammoth carries two left R 1200 GS suitcases, one of which was adapted for the right by Bakker who also mounted a rack to place a top case. The side stand is accompanied by a central stand.
The Mammoth is also adorned with everything you need in terms of luggage
The liquid cooling radiator fitted to the Mammoth comes from an Aprilia RSV1000 and comes with an overflow tank on the right side of the bike. The Akrapovic 6-2 exhaust with its two carbon silencers from the Slovenian factory at the request of the brand agent and former superbike rider Mile Pajic, was also specially designed for the Mammoth and came to satisfy Willem’s wish to "sound a little better than the production BMW, not noisy, but just a little more exciting and efficient, plus it really makes it look better".
Kineo rims and Akrapovic mufflers were made to measure
The original BMW ECU has been modified by local electronics wizard Rens L’Ami de De Jong Alphen BV to optimize the injection mapping with the new exhaust, but also to refine the adaptation of the ESA to the construction of Bakker.
After taking possession of his Mammoth in April 2018, Willem Heijboer covered no less than 17,000 km in 14 months, not counting from November to March as he put it away to ride his R1200GS on salt and frost..
I ride all year round, except when it snows, and I travel about 25,000 km per year. The Mammoth totally exceeded my expectations, although it is a heavy bike, the smoothness and ease of handling provided by the production model now equals the handling. And the engine is not touching the ground anymore, just the footrests !
Willem even took his Mammoth on the racetrack !
It’s quite common to come across well-driven R1200GSs on track days in Europe that put sports to shame, but I wonder how many drivers Willem shared the track with realized they had just been dropped off by a 6 cylinder adventure tourer.
In the saddle
Willem generously insisted that I could test drive the bike to see for myself how well it met his expectations..
The original K-16 speedometer is still present
You have to prepare for this imposing motorcycle at rest and giving off a feeling of comfort. After climbing aboard and settling into the very comfortable GS saddle, I found myself in a fairly upright position, well protected by the screen and its subframe, both taken from the GS, just like the headlight. front and the wide handlebars complemented by hand guards, an essential accessory for riding in the rain or in the cold, just like the heated grips. This subframe also leaves a spot used by Willem to mount his TomTom GPS, but it is also his only source of criticism of the Mammoth: "The screen flexes a bit when I cruise 200 km / h in Germany. C is irritating, I have to try to fix it. "
Part of the cockpit is directly from the R1200GS
I did not encounter any ground clearance problem on the Bakker GS apart from the scraping of the toe clips on both sides, these being quite low. The driving position is quite spacious for a 1.80m driver like me and is ideal for long distances. Willem is 1m87; it is therefore designed to be comfortable for him. The saddle perched at 820 mm, however, only allows me to touch the ground with my tiptoes when stationary, the bike inevitably being wide between the legs due to the tank..
If the saddle is not very high, the width of the tank makes it difficult to put your feet on the ground
The sound that escapes from the Akrapovic carbon twin silencers is melodic and musical, the note of the Bakker GS thus resembles a "sotto voce" version of the wonderful sound produced by the manufacturer’s racing touring cars. It begins to sing as soon as the start button is pressed then comes to life and settles on an idle of 950 rpm.
Bakker BMW K1600 GS Mammoth road test
Despite its long wheelbase, the Mammoth is a true fan of small spaces. It provides a very balanced ride at low speed in town, also thanks to its light clutch and its perfect mapping in Road and Rain modes (it didn’t rain, but I had to try). Dynamic mode is exactly what is written and on Dutch country roads delivers an extra touch of acceleration.
Despite its size, the Mammoth is at ease in small spaces.
The engine is so smooth and supple that it is possible to let it run at 1,500 rpm in the last gear, which corresponds to 40 km / h on the TFT screen, then to open the throttle fully so that the power arrives smoothly up to 8,500 laps of the red zone without the slightest hesitation. With its offroad capabilities that allow it to come home by road, we end up with an Adventure model capable of reaching 250 km / h. So if the R1200GS is a Range Rover on two wheels, the Bakker K1600 GS is the equivalent motorcycle to a Lamborghini Urus.
The Bavarian 6 cylinder is a model of flexibility
But the most captivating thing about this bike is the simple yet precise way it negotiates corners at low and medium speeds. It is a rail in curves at 120 km / h. But in the corners to be taken half as fast, it is incredibly comfortable for a bike so big and long. It doesn’t shift effortlessly from corner to corner on winding roads, but requires minimal rider investment when changing direction in a very safe and confidence-inspiring manner. The choice of geometry allows you to keep control when setting on the angle without having to sweat or ground clearance becoming an issue.
The Mammoth is much more agile than you might think at first glance
At low speed, the massive bike is bulky but well balanced, with the clutch and fluid mapping of the electronic accelerator allowing confident U-turns or maneuvers in town. And the 320mm triple disc is undeniably effective, with the two 4-piston front calipers paired with the rear dual-piston through the adjustable lever and the original BMW ABS providing an extra margin of safety on wet spots..
The Bakker BMW K1600 GS Mammoth on Dutch back roads
We quickly forget the large engine, with its oil tank integrated at the rear of the crankcase to offer a lower center of gravity to the whole bike. This is partly because it cannot be seen from the saddle anyway, but also because it apparently has no effect on the behavior of the K1600 GS. Looking at the bike from the side, I guess the reason is the way Nico Bakker positioned the engine crankshaft with the cylinders facing forward at 55 ° almost in the center of the bike. This means that the EVO K-16’s center of gravity is close to its peak, resulting in more neutral handling and greater agility that you notice as soon as you drive..
The Mammoth is very well balanced
Sweet, sleek, sporty, seductive, sophisticated and blazingly fast, my apologies to Kellogg’s, but the Bakker BMW K1600GS is the Special K on two wheels. What a beautiful motorbike.
So much so that we can’t help but think that BMW should make one. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that Nico Bakker has taken care of product development for them! Assuming they don’t, how many would ask Bakker to build a twin of Willem Heijboer’s transcontinental express? "We can do it again, that’s no problem. Expect double the price of a standard K1600GT to turn one into a GS. But it takes time, we need six months from ordering." This equates to 50,000 euros and wheelbarrows. Amateurs ?
The Bakker BMW K1600 GS Mammoth
- Smooth and powerful motor
- Handy and precise
- Powerful braking
- For large sizes
- "Tailor-made" motorcycle with the corresponding price
The technical sheet of the Bakker BMW K1600 GS Mammoth
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