Ken’s Factory Special sounds like too much of a tame name when you consider the strong appearance of the chopper at hand. As the story unravels, you’ll find the name is actually quite suitable, despite being unimaginative. Its name aside, the motorcycle itself could never be accused of being unimaginative. It is the result of Japanese artist Kenji Nagai’s painstaking and truly remarkable conversion of the BMW K 1600 GTL.
Powered by a six-cylinder engine offering a displacement of 1649 cc, the BMW K 1600 GTL is quite the flagship model and BMW can’t really help flaunting the powerful engine, and thus into the light comes the Ignite Straight Six project. The project is BMW’s idea of inviting artists to ‘reinterpret’ the K 1600 GTL, with the focus staying on the engine. Looking at Ken’s Factory Special and comparing it to the stock K 1600 GTL, you realize just how far modifications can go when you have that powerful an engine to work with.
The modification does go quite far. In fact, all the Factory Special has left of the original bike is its engine and frame. It’s basically an all new bike, with the macho looks a chopper lover would swoon to and drool over. The original motorcycle’s full fairing gives way to a small aluminum front cowl that also plays host to the headlight, while the rear was replaced with a low position aluminum seat with a sleek taillight making itself visible.
The illusion of a narrow motorcycle with a dramatically low seat height is enhanced by the use of a 23-inch front wheel paired with a smaller 20-inch rear wheel. That’s the beauty of it. With the figures available, one gets a fairly good idea of the size of this giant. A bare look at the image, though, would make you believe in the illusion Kenji has created.
Aluminum covers for the radiator, fuel tank, and handle bars go exceptionally well with the chopper, with its broadly spoked front wheel, and a solid filling for the rear wheel. Kenji had initially planned to convert the stock K 1600 GTL tourer into a bagger. He gave up the idea because it was way too obvious. And boy, are we glad he did! The Ken’s Factory Special is a treat for the eyes.
Source BMW Motorrad