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2009 BMW K1300 GT first ride review

The new 1300GT is BMW doing what they do best; a fast, comfortable mile-muncher

Click to read: BMW K1300 GT owners reviews, BMW K1300 GT specs and to see the BMW K1300 GT image gallery.

Anyone out there packed in smoking for a New Year’s resolution? I didn’t, but I can definitely recommend the K1300GT for those looking for something to do with their hands. I counted ten things that I could poke, push, pull and prod that didn’t involve the clutch or just hanging on. And that was on the lefthand-side alone. The GT version of BMW’s new K1300 platform will certainly keep you entertained if you get idle hands. And if you don’t, thankfully the engaging riding dynamics of the revised tourer will hold your interest.

Ridden normally in pretty much every riding environment I found something to like. Filtering through the Spanish rush hour I enjoyed the improved torque spread of the new model over the outgoing 1200. A substantial 99ftlb at just 3500rpm provides plenty of shove, though quite what the traffic makes of it as you steamroller your way through is a different matter.

On more open stretches the glitch-free gearbox, smooth as silk shaft-drive and 160bhp made easy work of keeping my child-like attention span in check. And, like the other two new 1300s, the GT was more than happy to hitch up its panniers and get a wriggle on. Persistence and idiocy rewarded me with a (factory option) sat nav-verified 160mph. On a touring bike. Marvellous.

Once into the thick of the twisty stuff the GT seemed to give up sucking its stomach in and puffing its chest out and let itself down. Don’t get me wrong, two-up with a weekend’s worth of kit for two, this bike will shine. But, after belting along fast A-roads like it can, the GT puts you in a sporty riding frame of mind, which if you try and apply to more demanding roads will result in the rear twitching and the front slowly refusing to comply.

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overall and specifications

The fuelling that had been great everywhere else seemed to loose its fluidity when I was trying to piece together blind, second-gear corners connected by sporadic bursts of full throttle, with only the amazing brakes keeping up the pretence of perfomance. I think what I’m getting at is that this is a great bike, but it’s a GT – it isn’t designed to be thrown around like a hand grenade. Even though it tricks you into giving it a try, the outcome will be inevitable, painful and expensive.

I was mindful of the riding position following some research before the launch. I wanted the screen to be a little taller than the old one – unfortunately it still seems a little short, even in the tallest position. This was remedied by simply ducking down a bit; obviously only a short-term solution to a long term problem. That said there is over an inch of adjustment in the handlebars and built-in room for improvement in the seat, so a morning spent fiddling with the set-up would have the bike tailored to your needs perfectly. Again, like the other two models, the GT benefits from second generation ESA (electronically adjustable suspension), ASC (traction control), heated everything (including individual controls for the pillion) and normal indicators. The GT also gains cruise control.

The new 1300GT is a bike of two personalities. Tickle along and it’s a German Pan European. But rev it to the redline, work the gears and it’s a heavyweight superbike with serious power. Entertaining.

Specifications

Price: £12,240
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 16-valve, inline four, 1293cc
Power: 160bhp @ 9000rpm
Torque: 99ft.lb @ 8000rpm
Front suspension: BMW Duolever
Rear suspension: BMW Paralever
Front brake: 320mm discs, four-piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 294mm disc, two-piston caliper
Dry weight: 255kg
Seat height: 820mm
Fuel capacity: 24 litres
Top speed: 165mph
Colours: Metallic Red, Metallic Blue, Metallic Beige

Visordown rating: 3/5