Ken’s Factory Very Special BMW K1600 GTL

1BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-291bisBMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-29 2BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-274BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-27Two very special custom motorcycles were created as part of a BMW Motorrad “Ignite Straight Six” contest between 2 Japanese builders, Keiji Kawakita from Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles and Ken Nagai from . Although both customs have a lot of merit, the one created by Ken’s Factory that I feature here has my preference. The reason? The BMW K 1600 GTL with its 1,649cc straight-six cylinder engine is a quite complicated machine and Ken Nagai succeeds in making his makeover as good as a naked motorcycle built from the ground up.

5BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-276BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-31Constraints imposed by BMW Motored were to keep the factory frame (could be modified) and of course the engine. Doesn’t make the customization process as simple as it may sounds. Turning the high-class BMW K1600 GTL touring bike with ergonomics designed for long trips into a Digger required a lot of studying and planning. Not doubt that the K1600 in-line 6-cylinder engine is the most efficient and compact motor ever installed in a production motorcycle series. So, why not make it serve a machine with a completely different personality, one more in phase with what the Ken’s Factory likes to build when dealing with a V-Twin motor.

7BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-318BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-31 performed surgery beyond recognition, ripping away from the factory BMW comfort by chopping anything ornamental and unnecessary, emphasizing only the 6-cylinder engine. Hundreds of pounds were shaved with the bike going from over-dressed to raw and aggressive looking, emphasizing the K1600’s powerplant architecture.

10BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-319BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-31Frame neck was raked to install, chopper style, a one-off aluminum girder-type front end. Bodywork is hand-made from aluminum with a special mention for merit to the fabricated front cowl housing incorporating the headlight, then the rear sub-frame and the low seat. The “Ken’s Factory Special” BMW now rolls on a beautiful 23-inch front and a 20-inch rear wheel. A cool machine proving again that whatever brand and factory model you end up with, anything and everything is always possible to make it to your own taste and purpose. . (photos courtesy BMW Motorrad for Patumwan)
riding-shot11BMW-Ignite-Straight-Six-project-31

24 Responses to “Ken’s Factory Very Special BMW K1600 GTL”


  1. 1 Jay Horton's Private Shop May 11th, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Sweet piece. Later Jay

  2. 2 Mike Corbin.com May 11th, 2015 at 8:40 am

    That ain’t Grand Pa’s Beemer (:-)

  3. 3 G. Messera May 11th, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I know a little about BMW. Tough job to accomplish this.

  4. 4 Mike Greenwald May 11th, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Gracefully brutal.

  5. 5 TJ Martin May 11th, 2015 at 9:50 am

    It aint …. another Retro Metro ‘Hipster’ Cafe Racer
    It aint…… another Retro Metro ‘Hipster’ Scrambler
    It aint …..even yet another Retro Metro ‘ Hipster ‘ excuse of a ‘ Bobber ‘

    So whether its completely to my tastes or what ever it is … is completely irrelevant .

    Cause what it is is Original … Different … and extremely well done !

    ” Gracefully Brutal ” to borrow Mr Greenwald’s words summing it up quite nicely

  6. 6 pop May 11th, 2015 at 11:53 am

    A lot to chew on. At first blush, as fine an example of CAD augmented motorcycle styling as I can recall. That’s real praise in this time and place.
    OTOH I’m too ancient to ever get comfortable with the words aluminum and girder in the same sentence.

  7. 7 AFT May 11th, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Well done Ken. Can’t wait to see it in person.

  8. 8 Jim Gianatsis / FastDates.com May 11th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Great Job Ken! I hope you can bring it to this year’s 2015 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show to pick up another Best of Show trophy to add to you collection? 🙂

  9. 9 pj98rider May 11th, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Originality and bad ass from a Beemer…Quite a feat and nicely done.

  10. 10 Ted Sands May 11th, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Great design, great execution, you continue to amaze me. Great to see you at JOINTS Japan!

  11. 11 Blackmax May 11th, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Now that is a “muscle bike” !!!!
    I don’t like “Beemers”, but that bike is cool !!!!
    Very Nice, Ken !!!!

  12. 12 john reed May 11th, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I think this is one of the best customs I have seen for a long time.

  13. 13 Ken Nagai May 11th, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you Cyril .
    Always great article .And Thank you for many positive response !

  14. 14 Iron Horse May 11th, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Great looking bike, love the long low lines. I really like the girder front end and the style of the front wheel too, kind of reminds me of the Halibrands.

  15. 15 Mike Tomas, Kiwi Indian MC Co May 12th, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Ken, your bikes are always amazing. This one takes you to a whole new level. A true pro builder indeed. BMW is lucky to have you. Well done and congrats.

  16. 16 Freedomlaw May 12th, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I want to ride this bike. Very cool.

  17. 17 martin twofeather May 12th, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Words can not express the talent and the grace you have made in a BMW big block,excellent job…

  18. 18 Zenaldo May 12th, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Its interesting….not sure what to call this….

  19. 19 badams May 13th, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Ken :: You rule. Period.

    Now, can you let us in on those wheels, like the same ones used on the Blow’n Digger???/

  20. 20 Ken Nagai May 13th, 2015 at 3:32 am

    badams
    You can get them(Blown diggers wheel) thru Kensfactory USA .

  21. 21 Wilhelm May 13th, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Far out, man!

  22. 22 badams May 13th, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Oh Ken, I am so happy, and the fact you are 20 minutes away! I’ll be in touch!

  23. 23 nicker May 15th, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    WAY COOL….!!!!

    -nicker-

  24. 24 Bigalyts May 18th, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Ken I am just seeing this article now. Ken, BMW Engineers could never GET THIS, or Design this without your Over the Top design, Fabrication & Presentation, without Your doing a NUMBER 1. Their investment in you is Cheap in retrospect ! This BMW Custom was beyond their Design Team until you did this UNBELIEVABLE CUSTOM. This Bike will be at their Shows as a show Stopper for BMW and a Concept that will never be produced. Ken, I like BMW’s cause they are the best Motorcycle Manufactured in the World. I am a V-Twin lover also, but the quality and design of BMW’s are supreme. Ken you have built a Masterpiece. Cyril thanks for the Article and your insight into Quality and not being predjusted in reviews of only V-Twins .

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