The K series is an important milestone in BMW Motorrad’s history. The K series changed the direction of BMW Motorrad and created a broader product range through cutting edge technology, powerful engines and modern styling. At the time, product development away from boxer engines was a controversial move for BMW Motorrad.
The liquid cooled, inline engines (with three or four cylinders) were mounted longways and were visually integral to the K series’ success. A key strategic concept for BMW, this series took the brand into a new era that continues today with the six-cylinder K 1600 GT and GTL and the four-cylinder K 1300 S and
K 1300 R.
The K series has been around for 33 years and 2016 will see the last of the
K 1300 S and K 1300 R. The models have played an influential part in BMW Motorrad’s presence in both the sports touring and roadster segments.
K 1300 S
The K 1300 S combines supreme riding precision and agility with engine power and riding performance. The ‘Motorsport’ colour scheme accentuates the model’s character as a real world sportsbike. With it are HP accessories such as milled rider and pillion pegs, forged wheels and an Akrapovič Silencer.
Comfort and safety are at the forefront of design with ABS and traction control as standard.
K 1300 R
The K 1300 R is known for its aggressive stance and rocket-like acceleration.
Australian Motorcycle News Editor, Chris Dobie, describes the K 1300 R as a ‘real surprise package’ after the recent BMW RR Experience Event in Phillip Island. “What a bike! I never knew the K 1300 R was such a capable beast. As I had been eyeing off the S 1000 RR I was a little put out by the offer of the big 1300, however, Marketing Manager, Miles Davis assured me the bike wouldn’t disappoint. Within two laps I felt totally at home on the 1300 and I have been hounding BMW to get back on one as soon as possible.”
The K 1300 R comes standard with ABS, traction control, quick shift and electronic suspension adjustment, to name just a few.
The BMW Motorrad K 1600 GT and K 1600 GTL are also popular K models, renowned for their luxury on two wheels. The ergonomics of these K models are designed for long trips and leave nothing to be desired for either rider or pillion passenger in terms of comfort. Both models provide excellent handling and every detail is designed for maximum riding pleasure.
BMW K Series History
We take a trip down memory lane and review some of the popular K models throughout the years.
K 100 (1983–1990)
The K series of motorcycles began in 1983 as a single model, a naked K 100. The model was a new look for BMW Motorrad and was before its time with a longitudinal engine. It was also one of the first production motorcycles in the world to feature fuel injection. The K 100 is commonly referred to as the ‘flying brick’ due to the look of its flat engine.
K 100 RS (1983–1992)
K 100 RS was a sports model to the existing K 100, which featured a carefully designed aerodynamic fairing for maximum speed. The model featured low handle bars to provide a more athletic seating position and fairing with adjustable wind deflectors to create the perfect combination of speed and styling. With over 34,000 unit produced it became the top selling K series model of the first generation.
The K 100 RS represented the ideal image of sporty flair and touring comfort, opening up the brand to a new target market. It was also one of the first models to feature ABS, and in 1988 the revised model played a leading role in introducing this technology to the motorcycle world.
K 100 RT (1984–1989)
In 1984, the K series was extended with the addition of the K 100 RT, which was based on the K 100’s technology. Specialised equipment addressed contemporary expectations of what a touring and travel motorcycle should be. The K 100 RT set the benchmark in its segment with rider comfort and storage solutions.
K 75 (1985–1996)
In 1985, BMW presented the second in-line engine in the company’s history.
The K 75 models are essentially the engine of the K 100 with one less cylinder. The K 75 was introduced first, followed by the K 75 C where the cockpit fairing was fitted firmly to the handlebars. The K 75 S was the sporty version with a slimmer frame.
K 100 LT (1986–1991)
In 1986, the K 100 LT was introduced and featured a luxury upholstered comfort seat, radio, topcase and special paint finish. The response was so positive it went into mass production. Its comfort and fitting left virtually nothing to be desired, making the luxurious touring bike the role model for a whole new generation of extravagant BMW travel motorcycles which can still be seen today in the
K 1600 GTL.
BMW set a milestone in aerodynamics with its launch of the K1 in 1988. The K1 was the first BMW model with four-valve technology and where the fairings were all integrated to form a sleek, almost spaceship-like exterior. Unlike previous models, the K1 featured small storage spaces in the rear section. This was an exciting development as previously storage was only possible by means of bulky pannier systems. Due to its cleverly devised, aerodynamic design, the K1 was able to achieve top speeds well above 230 km/h while still maintaining stability.
K 1200 S (2004–2008)
The K 1200 S was introduced to market in 2004 as a radical new model built to take on the popular Suzuki Hayabusa and Honda Blackbird. Introduced in 2008,
the K 1300 S included technology updates like quick shift, increased power, riding performance and fuel efficiency compared to the K 1200 S.
K 1200 R (2004–2008)
The K 1200 R entered the muscle bike arena in 2004, featuring hulking lines which belied the technological innovations underneath. The MotoGP “Power Cup” class was a support class with a full field of K 1200 R’s. These race prepared machines were fitted with motorsport components and provided some great racing entertainment for MotoGP fans. The K 1300 R was introduced in 2008 and replaced the K 1200 R.
For the riders who have enjoyed these machines for the last 12 years, it is a sad time, as the K 1300 S and K 1300 R are being discontinued this year. Now’s your last chance to secure a piece of history!
There is no doubt that the technology and innovation from these models has helped pave the way for the new generation of performance machines like the S 1000 RR, R and XR.