BMW Ignite Straight Six project transforms K 1600 GTL

By CARSIFU | 24 April 2015

TOKYO: Two Japanese bike customizers came up with their take of what a BMW motorcycle should look like by using a BMW K 1600 GTL as the base.

The bike comes with a six-cylinder engine and 1,649cc of displacement and the frame for Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory and Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles to design around.

Ignite Straight Six project - 02 (L-R) Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory with the Ken's Factory Special and Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles with the Juggernaut
But in this case, Kawakita decided to retain BMW Motorrad’s Duolever front suspension on his ‘Juggernaut’ creation.

As for Nagai, he went with a hand-made aluminium girder-type front forks that’s been raked out chopper-style that uses a modified headstock for his ‘Ken’s Factory Special’.

The K 1600 GTL’s original full fairing was replaced by a small aluminium front cowl housing for the headlight and the stock rear subframe and seat were replaced by a low positioned aluminium seat.

Ignite Straight Six project - 39 Kenji Nagai's Ken's Factory Special of Ken’s Factory
“At first I had a bagger style in mind that grew out of the tourer image. But simply transforming a tourer into a bagger was a bit too obvious a choice. So I thought of a different approach,” said Nagai.

He added that he settled on the digger style to make the in-line six-cylinder engine look even more prominent.

With a dramatically low seat height, the narrow motorcycle uses a 23-inch front wheel and a 20-inch rear wheel while more aluminium was used for the fuel tank covers, radiator and handlebars.

Ignite Straight Six project - 20 Keiji Kawakita's Juggernaut of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles
Kawakita’s ‘Juggernaut’ went with a dark, masculine stature that’s simply loud and proud in its appearance.

Aluminium tubing was used to broaden the naked K 1600 GTL’s chassis with instruments at each side of the fuel tank to match its military looks and the dual fog lights and trailbike-like beak at the front seems to pay homage to the BMW Motorrad’s GS range.

Kawakita drew inspiration from an old photograph he found of the cockpit of a convertible that looked like something from the near future and got the idea of making a bike that had that kind of atmospheric feel.

“Looking at the front forks and Duolever suspension, I thought I could do this with the K 1600 GTL. But the actual work was long and hard, a tough job to handle. Even when I finished, I still wasn’t really sure whether the work was complete. But that’s the thing about customizing,” he added.

It is in this way that BMW’s ‘Ignite Straight Six’ project continues to engage the ideas of customizers in Japan - the land of the rising sun.