It’s a grand tourer with a host of features now standard equipment

LISTEN 09:58

BMW spruced up its Grand America ahead of 2021 with a host of improvements, most of which were offered as optional equipment on the previous year-model. A powerful flat-six engine drives this long-distance tourbike, and the attention to detail is evident throughout the comfort amenities to make this a serious contender for the U.S. full-dresser market. Hard bags and a topcase, that provides a backrest for the pillion, join a vented windshield and broad front fairing to protect both rider and passenger.

  • 2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Displacement:
    1649 cc
  • Top Speed:
    101 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    26395
  • Price:

BMW K 1600 Grand America Design

  • Touring-capable ergonomics
  • Xenon headlights
  • Premium audio system with Bluetooth
  • Comfort high windscreen
  • Cornering lights and daytime running lights
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963527
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963523
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963521

No doubt about it, the Grand America is a worthy member of Beemer’s storied tourbikes. It carries itself with a low-slung midsection that offsets the visual weight added by the front fairing and high windshield up front and the top case out back. A broad front fairing leads the way with large headlight housings behind clear covers.

The factory drops the auxiliary LED headlight for MY2021, but carries last-year’s-optional cornering lights as standard equipment. As for daytime visibility, the previously optional daytime running lights now also come as part of the stock package. LED tech covers all of the lighting bases aside from the Xenon headlight that splits the night.

Since the windscreen is vented, it mitigates the wearisome head-buffet effect that can otherwise develop where the slipstream meets the rider’s wind pocket. Dual analog gauges join a color digital display to handle the instrumentation. If you like to take your jams with you and even share them with the rest of the class, Beemer has you covered with its stock audio system. A navigation system is an available that the Grand America comes pre-wired for, so it’s a plug-and-play option for the most serious long-trippers out there.

The tall-rise handle bar sweeps back dramatically from the upper tripleclamp to give it a tiller-style steering arrangement. This pushes the pilot upright so that your back alone supports your weight to give your arms, shoulders and wrists a break over long hauls. Mid-mount foot controls define the lower line of the control triangle with a relaxed leg position for most riders, though shorter riders may find the forward footboards that serve as highway pegs to be less than confidence inspiring under way. The passenger enjoys a full-width backrest that’s built into the topcase and has, close at hand, a beefy set of J.C. handles for their security and peace of mind.

Stock, slash-cut panniers join the top case for secure, dry storage that can support long-distance work or carry some serious sundries as a grocery-getter. Stock heated seats wrap up the package to potentially extend your riding season.

BMW K 1600 Grand America Chassis

  • Straight-line stability with eagerness in the corners
  • ABS
  • Hill-Start control
  • Dynamic electronic suspension
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963520
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963525
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963519

The Grand America comes built around a bridge-type aluminum frame and uses the engine as a stressed member to complete the structure. Beemer’s Duolever suspension floats the front end with dual fork sliders that rely on a central spring strut for support and damping duties opposite the Paralever rear end. Not only are the stems adjustable, but they fall under the control of the Electronic Suspension Adjustment feature that dynamically and automatically tunes the damping values under way so it always delivers a plush ride regardless of changes in the road quality. They deliver 4.5 inches of travel up front with 4.9 inches out back, and those figures are definitely considered sufficient for civilized travel.

The steering head establishes a rake angle of 27.8 degrees for straight-line stability with 4.2 inches of trail that encourages a certain eagerness in the corners. Symmetrical 17-inch cast-aluminum rims round out the rolling chassis and mount some pretty serious rubber with a 120/70 and 190/55 on the front and rear respectively, all in the highest speed rating available.

All-around 320 mm discs work with dual, four-piston calipers up front and a twin-piston anchor out back with BMW Motorrad’s ABS feature as part of the stock equipment package. Beemer’s Hill Start Control also comes stock and it automatically applies itself when you stop on a grade greater than five degrees so you can safely put both your feet down at a stop.

Frame: Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine
Front wheel location / suspension: BMW Motorrad Duolever; central spring strut
Rear wheel location / suspension: BMW Motorrad Paralever
Suspension travel front / rear: 4.5 inches / 4.9 inches
Castor: 4.2 inches
Steering head angle: 62.2°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear: 6.00 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR 17
Tire, rear: 190/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: Dual 320 mm floating disc brake, 4-piston fixed calipers
Brake, rear: 320 mm disc brake, dual-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral)

BMW K 1600 Grand America Drivetrain

  • 1,649 cc inline-six engine
  • Cruise control
  • Dynamic traction control
  • Reverse assistant
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963529
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963522
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963530

The Grand America’s engine brings six cylinders to the table in an inline arrangement that sits transversely in the broad frame. Bore and stroke mic out at 72 mm and 67.5 mm respectively to give the mill a whopping 1,649 cc total displacement with a sizzlin’-hot 12.2-to-1 compression ratio that’ll put you at the premium pump every time.

Waste heat is carried off not only by an engine water jacket and radiator with an oil cooler that doubles down on the protection for the engine’s lifeblood. Dual over-head cams time the valvetrain that sports a quartet of poppets per combustion chamber that ensure adequate aspiration and exhaust flow. RbW throttle control conveys rider demand to the engine control where a host of modifiers are applied. Cruise control and traction control have a hand in the throttle oversight as well to deliver comfort and security under way.

For safety and convenience when you are negotiating a parking lot, the Reverse Assist feature’s push-button functionality will help you back out of your parking spot, even if it has to go uphill to do so, with tractable power that’ll give your legs a break. As for the engine’s power, it boasts a 160-horsepower output at 7,750 rpm. This comes backed up by an astonishing 129 pound-feet of torque that maxes out at 5,250 rpm and produces 92 pounds o’ grunt at a low 1,500 rpm so this engine has something to give at all stages of throttle position and at anywhere in the rev range. Top speed is a spirited 101 mph, which is plenty for public-road use.

Engine: Oil-/watercooled 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, two overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 72 mm x 67.5 mm
Displacement: 1,649 cc
Rated output: 160 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 129 lb-ft @ 5,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.2:1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system
Emission standard: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Clutch: Multiple-disc clutch in oil bath
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical-cut gears
Drive: Shaft drive 2.75:1

BMW K 1600 Grand America Price

2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963526
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963524
2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963529

The 2021 K 1600 Grand America rolls for $26,295. It comes shot in your choice of Mars Red Metallic, Black Storm Metallic or Hockenheim Silver Metallic.

Standard Features: ABS Pro, Audio system with Bluetooth, Cruise control, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), Engine protection bars, HSC Pro, Multi-function controller, Reverse assistant, Rider footboards, Seat heating, Topcase, Windscreen high, Xenon headlight
Colors: Mars Red Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Hockenheim Silver Metallic
Price: $26,295

BMW K 1600 Grand America Competitors

2020 BMW K 1600 Grand America
- image 963528
2019 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low
- image 799402
2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited
- image 935291

There is no shortage of American-style tourbikes from which to choose, but since this machine is clearly for a slice of the U.S. market, I decided to draw from both domestic tourbike builders: Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle. From the former I picked the Ultra Limited model. It’s not the tippity-top of the line from H-D’s touring line, that distinction falls to the CVO Limited, but it’s close enough for my purposes here. Same thing with my Indian selection; the Roadmaster Limited that cedes the top touring position to a sibling.

Across the board you can count on ample forward protection with wide fairings and windscreens, and as they all qualify as proper dressers, they come with secure dry-storage space in a set of bags and topcase. Both of these worthy competitors get a leg up in the infotainment department, even with the Beemer’s optional navigation module.

The American-built bikes carry V-twin lumps that serve as part of the aesthetic appeal rather than treating it simply as a beast of burden. Harley powers its entry with an 1,868 cc Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 that delivers 122 pounds o’ grunt while the Indian model runs a massive, 1,890 cc Thunder Stroke 116 that brings 126 pound-feet to the table, both of which fall short of the stump-pulling 129 pounds o’ grunt BMW claims.

Both competitors also provide similar ride-quality and safety packages, whether it be stock or optional, though the electronic suspension on the Beemer definitely puts the Grand America on the top of the pile in ease of operation and comfort. BMW scores at the checkout with its $26k sticker that is mighty inviting compared against the $28,699 Harley price and even prouder, $30,749 sticker on the Indian.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited.
Read our full review of the Indian Roadmaster Limited.

He Said

Honda’s Gold Wing Tour scores an honorable mention as another U.S.-style tourbike. The price is comparable to the Grand America and it carries a six-cylinder engine as well. Thing is, BMW is competing more against the U.S. brands in the U.S. market than against another import, so that puts it back up against the models I picked. Gotta’ say I’m a little surprised at the shortfalls of the infotainment system, an area where BMW would do well to take a lesson from its competition.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “When BMW put out the K 1600 B, it only made sense to put a topcase on it and here we have the Grand America. For 2021, features that were options last year are now standard, such as the Safety Package, cornering lights, daytime running lights, and tire pressure monitoring. We now get the up/down quickshifter and the aux LED headlight is gone in favor of the new Xenon headlight. It’s a nice tourer; it’s comfortable and considering how expensive a luxe tourer can be, the Grand America isn’t all that bad.

BMW K 1600 Grand America Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:  
Engine: Oil-/watercooled 4-stroke in-line 6-cylinder engine, two overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 72 mm x 67.5 mm
Displacement: 1,649 cc
Rated output: 160 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Max. torque: 129 lb-ft @ 5,250 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.2:1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system
Emission standard: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Clutch: Multiple-disc clutch in oil bath
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical-cut gears
Drive: Shaft drive 2.75:1
Chassis:  
Frame: Aluminum bridge-type frame with load-bearing engine
Front wheel location / suspension: BMW Motorrad Duolever; central spring strut
Rear wheel location / suspension: BMW Motorrad Paralever
Suspension travel front / rear: 4.5 inches / 4.9 inches
Castor: 4.2 inches
Steering head angle: 62.2°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear: 6.00 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR 17
Tire, rear: 190/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: Dual 320 mm floating disc brake, 4-piston fixed calipers
Brake, rear: 320 mm disc brake, dual-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral)
Dimensions & Capacities:  
Length: 100.8 inches
Width (incl. mirrors): 39.4 inches
Height (excl. mirrors): 56.7 inches
Wheelbase: 63.7 inches
Seat height, unladen weight: Extra High Seat: 31.9", High Seat: 30.7", Standard Seat 29.5"
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: Extra High Seat: 71.7", High Seat: 69.7", Standard Seat 67.7"
Curb weight: 802.5 pounds
Permitted total weight: 1,235 pounds
Payload (with standard equipment): 432 lbs
Usable tank volume: 7 gallons with approx. 1 gallon reserve
Fuel type: Unleaded super, octane number 95 (RON)
Top Speed: 101 mph (est)
Electrical system:  
Alternator: Three-phase 700 W
Battery: 12 V / 19 Ah, maintenance-free
Details:
Standard Features: ABS Pro, Audio system with Bluetooth, Cruise control, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), Engine protection bars, HSC Pro, Multi-function controller, Reverse assistant, Rider footboards, Seat heating, Topcase, Windscreen high, Xenon headlight
Colors: Mars Red Metallic, Black Storm Metallic, Hockenheim Silver Metallic
Price: $26,295

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com

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