K1600 to H2?

Non-H2 SX motorcycle discussion.
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atc250r
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K1600 to H2?

Post by atc250r » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:02 am


I currently ride a BMW K1600GT, that I’ve put 55,000 miles on in 3 years. I’m 5’7”, 150#. The K1600 is a great bike, good power and torque, with some real nice features. My bike has been very reliable, and cost of ownership has been surprisingly cheap, as I do most of my own maintenance. However, I’m 42 years old and the H2SX SE is intriguing. Most of my riding is 100+ miles, and often I ride to TwinCities area which is 450 miles from my home. I do the ride non-stop with my K1600, just stops for fuel. Often setting cruise at 95mph amd enjoying the ride. I know a couple guys here, @mobilemitch and @2HYPR also have K1600’s so I hope they chime in and offer their unbiased opinion, if I would be happy with a SE. I plan to read the forum more too, to learn about reliability and such, as that is a prime concern. I’d like to put on 50000+ miles without any major maintenance or reliability concerns. Any and all input is appreciated guys. Please advise on reliability and comfort, features, power, etc. My Winnipeg dealer won’t let me ride one, as they don’t want any miles on their showroom bike. Not sure how they expect to sell bikes without test rides, but safe to say I would buy elsewhere based on that reason alone.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by scurvydawg » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:50 am


I bought my H@ SX SE+ from a dealer in Georgetown, TX. Up front, they definitively stated no way no how will we allow anyone to test drive the bike. Once I showed up on my MT-10, along with my age, then that addressed that 1) I can ride a powerful bike, and 2) I'm not a kid and understand discretion. Finally, they knew I was serious as we pre-negotiated pricing before the test ride. I told them it takes me a week to make a decision and they went ahead and let me test ride with a lead rider from the dealership. I understand as these bikes MSRP at $25K USD and they don't want an inexperienced rider taking them out.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by danham » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:22 pm


I traded my '09 BMW F800ST for my SE. Not quite the same as your 6-banger, but I can compare parts and service costs. BMW has a bad rep along those lines, but I'd have to say they are no worse (or better) than Kawi. Like you I do most of my own wrenching, but even so the Beemer cost me a fair amount in parts over its 10-year lifespan in my possession -- drive belt $400, for example.

As for reliability, BMW (and German vehicles in general) are still coasting on the myth of "superior engineering" that was born back when BSA and Triumph would leave you sitting by the side of the road. Today this is nonsense and from what I have seen here and elsewhere online, plus my own bike, I'd say the SE is reasonably reliable, especially when you consider the complexity of the supercharged engine.

My guess is you will really like the SE. Like you, most of my riding is long haul to get to the fun stuff -- a typical trip is 3k miles. The Kawi's best feature is its split personality. In mellow cruise mode, it will be very much like your 1600. In the twisties and when you pull its tail, it will morph into a crotch rocket, then settle right back down if you want mellow cruise. Not many bikes can pull that off without serious compromises in comfort, reliability or handling at the far ends of that spectrum.

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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by wellcraft » Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:05 am


I own both, 2016 K16GTLE and 2018 H2SXSE and the H2 is not a good replacement for the K1600. The H2SXSE is a good companion bike to the K1600. If I had to own only one bike it would definitely be the BMW over the Kawasaki. Since you already know the pros and cons in regards to the K1600 I'll share my thoughts on the H2SXSE.

In my opinion the H2 is a sport bike with factory panniers
and slightly less aggressive riding ergonomics. Lots of guys put a lot of miles on their H2SX's but for me my H2 is for day trips of about 250-300 miles. I took my K16 from PA to Pigeon Forge, TN which was 750 miles in 2 days but no way I would have wanted to ride my H2 that far. The K16 has way better wind protection and way more comfortable for me to ride long distances.

The H2 excels when it comes to performance and handling and will easily beat the K16 when it comes to accelerating, handling twisties and long sweepers. If you want sport bike performance with the ability to tour the H2 is your ticket because there's not much that comes close to the H2 as a sport tourer.

Gas mileage on the H2SXSE can vary wildly depending on whether or not you're in full, medium or low power setting plus how hard you like to twist the throttle. There are a few aftermarket accessories that make the H2SXSE a bit more touring friendly. Bar risers are available to provide a more upright riding position and theres a handlebar kit by ABM that runs about 500 bucks but makes a big improvement in riding comfort. You can also add lower pegs and a taller windscreen for more comfort. Kawasaki just released a naked version of the H2SXSE called the Z H2 which comes with handlebars and a riding position similar to the K16.

The H2 is a great bike and theres nothing else like it on the market but I wouldn't give up my K16 for it. Another option you might consider if you want lighter and faster with the capability to tour is the 2020 BMW S1000XR. Probably no where near as fast as the H2 but with 165hp quick enough for most riders, 200+ lbs lighter than your K16, takes factory panniers and has a comfortable upright riding position. Hope this helps with your decision

The K16 is without a doubt the better bike when it comes to riding two up. I wouldn't consider for a second riding two up for any kind of distance on my H2SXSE except for short rides of less than a 100 miles. The H2 is just to cramped for two up riding for me but I'm sure others may have a different opinion.
Last edited by wellcraft on Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by black-k1 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:08 am


I agree with pretty much everything wellcraft has said but for one thing. Unless you regularly have a requirement for long, two up touring trips then I think the H2 SX is the better bike to have. The K1600 is a great touring bike with sports abilities. The H2 SX is a true sports tourer that, on the road, can mix it with full sports bikes and with full dress tourers. Other than the requirement for an Airhawk I've happily done 650 mile days on one day and scratching across mountain passes the next.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by Tony Nitrous » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:39 am


As I said in the other thread, there are better tourers, there are better sportsbikes.

It’s not a case of if the SX is a good / great bike, it’s just if it fits your needs and where you find your happy place between touring and sports. If you’re more focused either way you might find it isn’t ideal.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by wellcraft » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:22 am


black-k1 wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:08 am
I agree with pretty much everything wellcraft has said but for one thing. Unless you regularly have a requirement for long, two up touring trips then I think the H2 SX is the better bike to have. The K1600 is a great touring bike with sports abilities. The H2 SX is a true sports tourer that, on the road, can mix it with full sports bikes and with full dress tourers. Other than the requirement for an Airhawk I've happily done 650 mile days on one day and scratching across mountain passes the next.
I forgot to mention the seat on the H2SX is just about the worst I've ever sat on. While some guys love it there's an equal or greater number of riders that hate it. You definitely need a custom seat, Sargeant makes one, or an air hawk or a gel pad. Some days I can barely go 45 minutes on the stock seat so I added a gel pad from Revzilla.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by Tony Nitrous » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:01 am


wellcraft wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:22 am

I forgot to mention the seat on the H2SX is just about the worst I've ever sat on. While some guys love it there's an equal or greater number of riders that hate it. You definitely need a custom seat, Sargeant makes one, or an air hawk or a gel pad. Some days I can barely go 45 minutes on the stock seat so I added a gel pad from Revzilla.
Yeah, if you want to throw the bike around the mountains the seat suits it, but it’s certainly not great for long days. I’ve done over 800K’s / 500 mile days and I can live with it, but I certainly don’t get off telling folk it’s good!

I did a breakfast run down to Ballandean recently, only a 500K (300 mile) round trip, it’s a pretty boring route if I don’t use the back roads. I have a $2500 crashed and battered old GSX1400 that is soooo much nicer to do the boring roads on.

If I start putting in regular long days I may look at bar and seat options too.
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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by danham » Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:54 pm


Not to contradict any of the above -- we all come built a little differently from the "factory" -- but my very bad back (I used to have L3 and L4 discs with goo still in them) quite likes the stock bars on the SE. Sitting up straight can be very bad for a fragile spine and I get enough wind pressure above 45 mph to keep weight off my wrists.

As for the seat, like Tony N above I won't try to claim it's great, but I used an Airhawk on my BMW (whose seat was once described as having been designed by someone fired from the Yugo engineering staff) and after some miles, decided I didn't need it on the SE. As my riding pal (SE+) says, we run out of gas before we run out of ass.

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Re: K1600 to H2?

Post by Vex » Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:17 pm


I may get a sergeant seat in the future, but I'd say the SX seat is far from terrible. But then again, I toured on a 6R for years whose seat was basically cardboard. /Shrug And while I'm not in my later years (mid 30s), I have severe nerve damage that affects most of my body, but especially my back and legs.

In my opinion the SX is a jack of all trades except instead of being mediocre at everything it's pretty fantastic instead. You can't be the best at everything. A lot of this stuff is really based on personal preference and what your body needs.

I have no issues with the bar height. I have no issues with the seat. I have no issues with the pegs. I'd rather lean forward then sit up straight. I'd rather my legs be under and back than forward. These are three things I see others bemoaning because it doesn't work for them.

It's all about you, how you ride, and what you find comfortable.

At the end of the day, there's just something about the H2...
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