BMW Motorrad Japan’s Ignite Straight Six customization project has yielded some pretty incredible work from some of Japan’s best custom builders. Following up on the success of the four R nineT custom projects, Beamer has now unveiled two more custom builds with both being based on the K 1600 GTL.

The pair of highly modified and reinterpreted K 1600 GTL’s are the works of Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory and Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles, to leading Japanese customizers who evidently know their way around the luxurious tourer. Nagai and Kawakita had dramatically different interpretations of what they thought a modified K 1600 GTL should look like.

For his build, Nagai wanted to make the K 1600 GTL more prominent to look at it. So instead of simply turning the tourer into a bagger, which was his original plan, he called an audible and opted to take the digger route, an approach he says would bring out the aggressive and menacing side of the K 1600 GTL. It also seems fitting that Nagai would name his masterpiece “Ken’s Factory Special” because the work he put into infusing his own style and ideas into the bike was evident in its final look.

In some ways, Kawakita had a similar idea in mind. He was looking to showcase the K 1600 GTL as a bike that could be used as a weapon of intimidation, a dark and brooding machine that may lacked in minimalism but more than made up for it with its unapologetic masculinity. Apparently, subtlety isn’t one of Kawakita’s strong suits and that became evident when he unveiled his creation, appropriately called “Juggernaut”.

There’s no denying that both Nagai and Kawakita more than lived up to BMW Motorrad’s expectations. Each builder did such a masterful job on their respective builds that it’s hard to imagine that “Ken’s Factory Special” and “Juggernaut” were once K 1600 GTL models now operating under different and more controversial guises.

Looks like BMW Motorrad Japan enlisted the right people to work on these projects and see them through.

Continue reading to read more about the two heavily modified K 1600 GTL models.

Why it matters

I’m always amazed at the level of ingenuity and creativity custom bike builders have. They see things about bikes that most people don’t. They understand angles that most wouldn’t even think about. But most importantly, these builders always have a vision of what they want to do and they take the necessary steps to see these visions through.

Kenji Nagai is a perfect example of that. As I’ve mentioned, he initially wanted to give the K 1600 GTL a bagger look before ultimately deciding on doing it digger-style. That late change-of-heart worked beautifully because “Ken’s Factory Special” turned out to be a hell of a looker that reminds me of a more industrial-looking Tron cycle. The work on this bike was extensive as a lot of the bike’s stock components were taken out and replaced with parts that fit more into Nagai’s design interpretation. Take the K 1600 GTL’s original full fairing for example. That’s now gone in case you haven’t noticed, and in its place is a small aluminum front cowl that houses the headlight. Same thing with the stock rear subframe and the seat. Nagai ditched those two components in favor of a low positioned aluminum seat to help enhance the long, thin digger style of his creation. With these new components in place, Nagai finished his work by putting in a 23-inch front wheel and a 20-inch rear wheel to bring home the K 1600 GTL’s dramatic transformation from an all-day tourer into a piece of mayhem on two wheels.

Over on the other side, Keiji Kawakita’s ‘“Juggernaut” fits its nickname to a tee, right down to its similarities with the X-Men super villain of the same name. Ok, this Juggernaut can’t exactly run through walls, Kawakita designed it to make you want to run through walls in the event this bike is chasing you. The Juggernaut’s noticeable transformation is largely to a skeleton of aluminum tubing that Kawakita installed to give the K 1600 GTL a broader and more imposing look. It’s as if the custom builder wanted to give the K 1600 GTL overnight muscles, except that these are the kinds of muscles that does wonder in increasing the bike’s, for lack of a better term, street cred.

Both projects are really something else, but let’s be real. You can only throw so many superlatives around before it starts becoming redundant and annoying. That said, I’ll make an exception for “Ken’s Factory Special” and “Juggernaut” because these two creations are both really incredible to look at. Kind of makes you wish you can at least take one of them out for a spin.

What do you think?
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