BMW Motorrad Japan Ignite Straight Six Project

In the past year, four known Japanese customizers have put the BMW R nineT spectacularly in show with their outstanding creations. By now, the project ‚Ignite Straight Six‘ follows, being created one more time by Japanese customizers. This conceals two radically modified BMW K 1600 GTL with six-cylinder engine of a displacement of 1649 cc.

Another two leading Japanese customizers, Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory and Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles, where in charge of interpreting the K 1600 GTL’s six-cylinder engine a completely different way.

The only retained relations to the original bike are engine and frame, and, in the case of Keiji Kawakita’s creation ‘Juggernaut’, the BMW Motorrad Duolever front suspension. Kenji Nagai’s creation named ‘Ken’s Factory Special’ relies on hand-made aluminum girder-type front forks raked out in chopper style using a modified headstock. The K 1600 GTL’s original full fairing was replaced by a small aluminum front cowl housing the headlight and the stock rear subframe and seat were replaced by a low positioned aluminum seat.

Kenji Nagai: ‘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. I settled on the digger style. The long, thin digger style would make the in-line six-cylinder engine look even more prominent.’

The illusion of a dramatically low seat height and narrow motorcycle is enhanced by the use of a 23-inch front wheel and a 20-inch rear wheel. More nicely manufactured details made from aluminum like covers for fuel tank and radiator or handlebars are completing Kenji Nagai’s artificial craftsmanship.

Keiji Kawakita’s ‘Juggernaut’ is a complete contrast by way of its dark, masculine stature. There’s no sign of minimalism here and the loud and proud appearance makes ‘Juggernaut’ rather looking like a synthesis of Mad Max metal and Jules Verne’s imaginations.

A skeleton of aluminum tubing broadens the naked K 1600 GTL’s chassis and instruments at each side of the fuel tank fit neatly with the military look. Reminiscences to the BMW Motorrad GS range are the dual fog lights and the front trail-like beak.

It’s a monumental feat and the desired custom finish was, according to Keiji Kawakita, inspired by history: ‘I found an old photograph of the cockpit of a convertible that looked like something from the near future, and I 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, isn’t it?‘

In a spectacular way, project ‚Ignite Straight Six’ continues the engagement and the ideas of the customizing scene in the land of the rising sun. BMW Motorrad can’t wait to see the impetuses both the new creations are giving and what kind of new projects the future is going to bring.

More information on the project ‘Ignite Straight Six’ is available on

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