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Best six cylinder motorcycles

The six-cylinder engine is becoming a rare proposition in the modern world, although there are still some examples available for those with pockets deep enough

WITH ever more stringent emissions regulations that seem to almost strangle outlandish designs, the six-cylinder motorcycle is becoming a bit of an oddity.

In the golden age of motorcycle development – the 70s and 80s – many manufacturers had a six-cylinder machine or two in their line-up, although now the number of major makers with a six’ in the range is dwindling.

There are a number of smaller manufacturers pushing forward with the concept. Here are the best mainstream and boutique six-cylinder motorcycles you can buy today.

BMW K1600

BMW’s K1600 has been a mainstay in the firm’s super-touring range since 2011. The silky-smooth 1,649cc engine provides the sizable oomph for the GT, GTL, Bagger, and Grand America variants of the biggest Beemer in the touring line-up.

With 160bhp on tap and a mammoth 130lb-ft of torque available, the BMW also offers sports bike levels of performance to match the long-distance refinement – well, in a straight line anyway.

FGR Midalu 2500 V6

CZECH-BASED manufacturer FGR has been producing the Midalu V6-engined, 2500cc, 240bhp naked machine in limited numbers for a few years now.

Six years in the making, the project was partly funded by grants from the Czech Ministry of industry, with work starting in 2004 on the development of the new engine.

Given its size, the bike's 270kg total weight is relatively light, thanks largely to a self-supporting carbon-fibre seat unit and a fuel tank of the same material, while the chassis is a straightforward trellis-style design.

As usual with these ambitious projects, the scope of production isn't quite in the Honda league yet, with numbers for annual production been estimated in double figures only.

Horex 1200 VR6

The Horex VR6 is a bike that has been around for some time now, sprouting a number of different models along the way. It’s an innovative machine out of the six-cylinder pack, in that it’s the only that utilises the narrow-angle VR6 layout, giving the engine a neater profile and allowing it to pack the unit neatly in the space a large-block four-cylinder would fit.

The clever part of the design is that it allows a single cylinder head to be used with three camshafts operating the intake and exhaust valves.

Honda Gold Wing

The most easily recognised, bestselling and longest-serving six-cylinder motorcycle on the planet is the Honda Gold Wing and that lovely flat six-cylinder engine.

The configuration is a key part of the Gold Wing DNA, allowing the engine to carry the capacity such a large bike needs while allowing the centre of gravity of the machine to be held low in the motorcycle, helping to mask some of the bulk.

The bike underwent massive updates in 2018, with the suspension, frame, braking system, and styling all getting a clean sheet makeover. It did though loose some of that Gold Wing charm and seemed to shrink in size a little. That said, few bikes command the road quite like a Gold Wing, if you’ve never ridden one, it really should be on you bucket list!

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