The BMW K1600 GTL Custom Project
For modern custom builders, BMW’s are all about the iconic boxer engine and retro stylings; very few builders stray from the well beaten path but here we have two superb motorcycles cut straight from the K1600 GTL, the pinnacle of BMW’s luxury tourer range.
For these special machines, BMW called in two very talented builders to create the centerpieces for their display at the 2015 Osaka Motorcycle Show. The two motorcycles are very different, both from each other and from their donor. No one ever thought that the 1649cc behemoth could ever look so good.
BMW chose two of the most prestigious Japanese builders of the moment. Keiji Kawakita and Kenji Nagai.
Keiji Kawakita of Hot Dock Custom Cycles, based in Tokyo, has a long history of restoring, rebuilding and customizing Harley Davidsons and is also a racing legend in his own right.
Kenji Nagai, owner of Ken’s Factory, is another Harley specialist who has shops in both Japan and the USA. He’s built bikes and supplied motorcycle accessories for riders all over the world and knows exactly what he’s doing.
The finished articles are hard to classify in terms of style; they don’t conform to the current custom trends at all. And it’s refreshing to see something different for a change!
Starting with Hot Dock, the aptly named ‘Juggernaut’ K1600 is a beast of a bike. With a length of nearly 2.5 meters and a weight of 767lbs, it’s not for the faint hearted.
Complete with aluminum bodywork, the already powerful K1600 GTL motor can now reach speeds just shy of 200km/h. Sure, it’s got a new muffles and airbox but this build is all about the visuals.
Many journos have been quick to dub this build as a steampunk inspired motorcycle but they’re wrong. For all subculture fanboys, this is cyberpunk – and to the max. The gauges, cases and pipes are from the future, not the past. This is Final Fantasy VII on wheels.
Kenji Nagai’s offering is another amazing feat of engineering. He’s modified the K1600 GTL into a low rider, drag racer. The rear has been removed and the rake and trail have been expertly elongated.
The wheels are 23 inch alloy up front and 20 inch disc at the read, wearing 220-section Avon Cobra tires.
Overall, the bike carries beautiful lines, crafted with a minimalistic, aluminum vibe. The front fairing with an isolated LED headlight is the icing on the cake. It’s another futuristic build but no less inspired than the first.
It’s refreshing to see custom motorcycles embrace a futuristic and fantastic formula, rather than settle with classic designs. The buzzwords like ‘retro’, ‘vintage’ and ‘bespoke’ should be shelved for a while and real, enthusiastically bizarre builds should take the center stage more often. What do you think?