View Full Version : Choosing a K75

08-28-2003, 11:04 PM
My experience has been mostly with airheads, but I'm looking for advice on choosing a K75. Not a particular model, but rather a "best year" or range of years. Also opinions on K75 ABS systems and other things to look for.

Thanks, Joe D

08-29-2003, 01:30 AM
The '86 thru '95 models seem to be the best. :)

09-01-2003, 03:25 PM
Joe--if you don't mind, I'll tag along. I am also on the prowl for a "new" (to me) BMW, and the K75 is looking better each day. I like the S-model the best because of the riding position and fairing, and after that it's a toss up over mileage, price, and color (in that order). Newer is probably better because of the tendency of a manufacturer to fix identified faults over time, but I don't know any specific facts about the K-75 to back up this premise. Everything I have found on the internet thus far (in about two weeks of looking) ranges in price from $2500 for a high-mileage late-80s model to a top of $6,000 for a low-mileage 1995 model, with everything in between.

09-01-2003, 09:03 PM
There's a whole lot less info to give in response to the "which K75" question than with other bikes, because a) there were almost no mechanical changes in the machine from introduction to discontinuance, and b) they are approximately as sturdy and reliable as anvils.

I've had two: a 1988 K75S bought new and sold in 1997, and a 1995 K75A/3 bought earlier this year (with 4400 miles!).

If they push your button, they're wonderful: smooth, dependable, fast enough, and they'll last forever. If they don't push your button, perhaps because they're *too* smooth, with little character, not fast enough, and don't require much fiddling...notice how the categories are reversed?...then you'll think they're pretty dull. I like them.

Look around, you'll see a variety of bodywork styles: bare K75, early K75T with bags and BWM clear shield, K75S w/sporty small fixed fairing, K75RT with the big touring fairing, and a factory low-seat option. Mileage, as with most BMWs, is relatively unimportant: the condition of (and care spent on) a particular machine is more significant than its age or mileage. ABS-1 was made available in 1991 or 1992. There are other small differences between models (fork specs are stiffer for the S models, for example, and there is some variance in wheel size) but they are almost all mechanically completely identical.

You can get a good idea of jobs the owner can take on by browsing the IBMWR tech pages at http://www.ibmwr.org/ktech.shtml

When you look for a bike, I'd be careful to pay attention to shifting ease. Ks require periodic lubrication of both the transmission input (clutch) splines at the front end of the gearbox, as well as of the driveshaft splines. A poor-shifting bike (notchy, for example) may well require this service, and, of course, may also indicate an owner who's taken less care than he ought. As with any older bike, rubber bits are suspect.

09-04-2003, 11:53 PM
Hi Joe.

I just sold my 1988 K75S in June, with 170k on the clock and most everything you have read in this thread is true. One thing that havn't mentioned is that the pre-1990 K75 motors have conventional vs. pinned oil control rings. My short block assy. was replaced under warranty in 1992, including pinned rings). This would cause the earlier bikes to smoke after throwing them onto the sidestand for a bit, not to mention overnight.

Mechanically, there is some debate as to whether the triple's engine harmonics induce premature input shaft wear. I don't think so. I replaced mine at 37k, including clutch assembly. That was >US$800. I also replaced the differential twice and, hence, the drivshaft twice. The bike was always lubed at more generous intervals than BMW called for. I could go on... but I hung on to it and loved it!

Even though my new bike has ABS, I would opt for a 1990 - 1992 S model without ABS. Then replace the stock shock with a premium unit.

Good luck.

Fred Burgess
'MOA #47966