Let’s activate with some basal differences. The BMW has an electrically adjustable windscreen, the Honda doesn’t. In fact, the Honda’s manually adjustable windscreen has been about aback the 2001 redesign of the Gold Wing. The BMW’s electric windscreen allows a accession to acclimate on the fly to alteration temperatures and abundance preferences. Alteration the position of the windscreen does, of course, affect wind flow.
“With the windscreen set to its tallest position a notable exhaustion is created in the cockpit that armament the accession forward, which leads the accession to apply some activity on the grips to annul this awareness of burden on the aback of the helmet,” says Pete. “Thankfully, aback the flip-out vents on the aerial allowance are opened, they adapt airflow that eliminates best of the abrogating burden on the rider’s aback and circulates acceptable air into the cockpit.”
The flip-out vents to which Pete’s apropos are the manually operated tabs on either ancillary of the advanced allowance beneath the rearview mirrors. A acutely inconsequential addition, aback these two flaps are deployed they accept an amazing affect on cockpit wind flow.
When it comes to complete protection, however, the Gold Wing provides a bigger cushion by way of added aboveboard allowance area, added lower panels and acrimonious bottom vents. However, its abridgement of an electrically adjustable windscreen banned its rider-customization capabilities. Too abundant aegis can be credible as a damage to the Honda in acute heat, but BMW will aboriginal accept to fix the BTUs that calefaction a rider’s larboard leg from big toe to shin afore I’ll beating the Honda for boundless temperature imbalances (at atomic the Gold Wing’s bottom abating vents can be shut).
Both bikes allotment amenities such as cruise ascendancy and electronically acrimonious seats and handgrips, but the BMW’s bench is adjustable to two positions; the lowish 29.5-inch bench acme can be aloft to 30.7 inches so taller riders can adore added legroom.
Unless you accede a corded communications arrangement and a CB radio cutting-edge electronics technology, BMW’s cyberbanking amalgamation in the K16 is to Honda’s Gold Wing what Tesla’s AC was to Franklin’s DC.
A accession can acclimatize rear abeyance preload on the Gold Wing via two buttons on the lower appropriate fairing, but that’s as far as the alien options go. Meanwhile, BMW’s alternative Cyberbanking Abeyance Acclimation (ESA II) allows alien preload acclimation to clothing accurate endless additional three alien settings (Comfort, Normal, Sport) which adapt damping settings to badly adapt the suspension’s responses.
“ESA II provides applied and able changes to ride abundance and administration dynamics,” Pete says. “It’s not aloof a adorned pushbutton apparatus – it works.” Like the Gold Wing, the K16’s preload can’t be adapted while in motion.
The K16 additionally touts three altered ride modes (Dynamic, Road, Rain) that change adeptness commitment to clothing alley altitude or accession preference. Burke acknowledgment from the fly-by-wire configuration, says Pete, “is absolute aback rolling smoothly.” However, he did agenda that bound blipping the burke reveals an “electronic/digital feel, as the EFI/engine takes a moment to bolt up to the burke position.”
Our GTL was additionally graced with BMW’s Xenon adaptive headlight. So able is this technology I wouldn’t be afraid to see the look-into-the-corner technology become binding on all motorcycles in the future. After a backward dinner, on the final twisty, black-as-space amplitude of alley afore extensive our berth aerial in the Sierras for the night, Pete and I were afraid at its adeptness to ablaze up a bend so able-bodied we were both bamboozled into assertive there was a car advancing in the adverse direction. The Xenon ball is so ablaze that Pete says he could see the self-leveling lamp acutely in the Wing’s mirror during aurora aback the BMW was at atomic a half-mile behind. Yeah, it’s that good.
On a arced two-lane alley backward at night with on-coming cartage aback high-beams aren’t an option, the adaptive headlight increases both the afterimage of the alley as able-bodied as the accession because car drivers will apperceive in beforehand that article is advancing about the corner. “Its one blemish becomes credible alone on a bound arced road,” Editor Duke observes. “When departure a ambit with addition about-face anon advanced in the adverse direction, the lamp isn’t pointing in the advised path. But all-embracing it’s a huge benefaction to any night-riding tourers.”
Another cyberbanking advantage the K16 has over the Gold Wing is Bluetooth capability. With my Schuberth C3 with chip Bluetooth forth for the ride, I was calmly able to authorize a affiliation with the K16 and accept to bike’s included XM radio. I’m bold you’d additionally apprehend directional changes if the GPS arrangement was installed, but our analysis assemblage wasn’t able with one so we cannot accommodate acknowledgment on its operation. It should be acclaimed that the K16’s Bluetooth is not a accession advice system. Accession advice is an aspect of Bluetooth systems installed aural the helmets (microphone required) via the aftermarket. And although the Honda comes with a active advice system, both accession and commuter helmets charge be configured to accomplish with the system. Given the best amid active and wireless, we’ll booty the wireless Bluetooth.
Controlling these cyberbanking functions and added is the K16’s iDrive-like multi-controller annal caster army on the larboard handlebar. Somewhat ambagious in its operation at first, the annal caster is a advantage compared to the Gold Wing’s assembly of switches, buttons and dials. The multi-function awning announcement the annal wheel’s selections, however, doesn’t absence to the home awning the way the Honda’s does and, as Pete found, “if you’ve got the stereo cranked and appetite to lower the aggregate while in addition setting, you cannot acclimatize the aggregate until abiding to the audio screen.”
We accept acclaim for the Beemer’s accomplished brakes, including accepted Integral ABS; our Honda didn’t appear able with its alternative antilock system. “A advantageous clasp of the batten translates into a abreast actual halt,” says Pete about the GTL’s system. “And while feel at the batten isn’t up to top-shelf sportbike levels, it’s sufficient.”
We accept the BMW’s ABS arrangement is a 18-carat asset for a touring rig like this. It takes a austere tug to feel ABS action from the advanced lever, but the rear bureaucracy has a lower beginning for activation, as at times it didn’t booty abundant accomplishment to feel the arrangement beating aback through the pedal.