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Thread: Questions From a Non K-bike Owner

  1. #1
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    Questions From a Non K-bike Owner

    I am curious about the K-bikes and how they seem to be treated (outside the BMWMOA) by the motorcycling world.

    It appears at a glance that the k-bikes are seen as less than desirable or boring to the motorcycling world.

    I am a long time rider who recently purchased my first BMW, a 1995 R1100GS.

    I always wanted a GS and this bike is all I hoped for and more. However, while shopping for a BMW over the years I would see k-bikes for sale and the price was lower than other models and no one seemed to have any love for them.
    I find them very interesting and would like to ride or own one someday.

    Can you dedicated k-bike owners tell me more about what's to love about them?

  2. #2
    3 Red Bricks
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    More power!!!

    Smooth.

    Reliable as a Brick.

    Easy to work on.

    The Ss and RSs still look sexy even after 25 years.

    They STILL don't make a boxer that can hold a candle to a K12.

    Other than that, not much.



    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
    Mine, Hers, Spare

  3. #3
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    I really can't speak to how the non-BMW world views Klassic K-bikes - or any other BMW models for that matter. Generally, it's been my perception that the devoted riders of one brand (or model) typically only know about other brands by "reputation" which is usually based on uninformed hearsay. I think you get much closer to the truth about a given bike by talking to someone who's owned and ridden both that bike and other bikes. Allowing for their riding style and expectations, you are at least getting one person's opinion. However, like with almost anything else, it's your opinion of a bike that counts the most. If you like it, it does what you need, and especially if it makes you grin to ride it - then who cares what anyone else thinks?

    One thing to consider is that the Klassic K-bikes hit the market in Germany in 1983, so the K100 & K75 designs are approaching 30 years old. The K1100 was an upgrade but still on the same basic platform. The K1200's are totally different other than the engine design. Any 30 year old bike is going to be "boring" by modern standards. However, if you look around you won't see any other brand models from that period in daily use like the K's - other than the Kawasaki Concours. That bike was copy of the K100 and was basically unchanged from 1986 until just about three years ago when it was replaced by a totally new design. The classic Connie has a very loyal following in the COG (Concours Owners Group) for many of the same reasons people like the Klassic K-bikes.

    Having said all that, I like the Klassic K-bikes for a number of reasons. They are reliable, more than adequately powerful, take little maintenance, will last for several hundred thousand miles, and with simple upgrades to the tires, suspension, and brakes handle extremely well, even by modern standards. The K75 is a special joy because it's the smoothest bike ever built by anyone, and is just sweet to ride within it's performance range. The K100's, 1100's, and 1200's will run all day at well above 100mph with ease, and will be dead stable on the road.

    I have five K's (two K75 standards, a K75S, a K1, and a K1200RS) in addition to my 1972 R75/5. I've had a number of other airheads (including two R100RSs) and have put a lot of miles on later model Oilheads. There is no doubt that the modern BMW models have fantastic power, handling, and brakes - especially the brakes! However, with some tweaks to the front forks (oil, springs, preload), good tires (Bridgestone BT45's in bias or good radials), EBC HH pads, steel braided brake lines, maybe aftermarket semi-floating front rotors, and a good after market rear shock, the old K's will keep up with anything on the road in the corners or in the straights.

    I know they will always start. There is something about how the old K's fire up so quickly and settle into a solid idle is both reassuring and encouraging to me. It can get as cold as it wants at a rally and I know my K-bike will light off immediately.

    To take care of it I change the filters and fluids on schedule (never add oil), and in a very great while check the valves and change the plugs. I've only had to change two valve shims ever, and checking them is as easy as an airhead. I run Techron in my gas and do a tank treatment every so often and *never* have fuel system problems. The charging system has plenty of output for heated hear and accessory lights.

    They do have a reputation for reliability, apparently even among non-BMW riders. I'll tell a story told to me by someone who got it from the source, and you're reading it on the Internet, so it has to be true. A rider on a K75 was in the middle of Wyoming and stopped to stretch his legs and take in the view. After a couple of minutes a guy on a Harley-based chopper came by and pulled over next the the K75. With the engine still running, the chopper rider looks at the K75, then at the rider, then again at the K75, and then says to the rider in an almost pissed off tone of voice, "You're riding one of those damned flying bricks. You're not broke down!", and then rides off.

    At the end of the day, you can buy a clean, well cared for K-bike for a very reasonable price. So, get one, get it sorted out correctly, and ride if for a year. You'll either find a new love or be able to sell it for what you paid for it. Either way you'll be as much of an expert as you'll need to be about these bikes.
    Greg Feeler
    BMW MOA Director & Ambassador
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  4. #4
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    The k-bikes I have seen for sale were for the most part high mileage and very worn.

    I get the impression that K-bike owners do not part with them, thus the ones up for sale do not reflect what most people experience.

    I have always been interested in their unique design but could not get any owner feedback until I joined the BMWMOA.

    I assumed that since I heard nothing about them they were not prone to trouble.

  5. #5
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benton629 View Post
    The k-bikes I have seen for sale were for the most part high mileage and very worn.
    What do you consider high mileage?

    I get the impression that K-bike owners do not part with them, thus the ones up for sale do not reflect what most people experience.

    I have always been interested in their unique design but could not get any owner feedback until I joined the BMWMOA.

    I assumed that since I heard nothing about them they were not prone to trouble.
    No - not prone to trouble at all. They are a machine and need care, but not much. What kind of riding do you do and like best? What are you looking for one of these bikes to do for you, or are you just curious about the unique design?
    Greg Feeler
    BMW MOA Director & Ambassador
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  6. #6
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    The k-bikes I have seen for sale were 150k+ mileage and very few for sale.

    I am really just curious about the k-bike and find myself drawn to it by the unique design. I could see myself using one for long distance riding and touring.

    The reason for this thread was to get feedback from riders and owners of these bikes. What you have posted confirms what I assumed regarding reliability.

    I guess I'm just gonna have to buy one for myself in order to complete my research!

  7. #7
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benton629 View Post
    I guess I'm just gonna have to buy one for myself in order to complete my research!
    And then you'll have to ride it a lot - all in the name of research. Tough assignment, but someone has to do it.
    Greg Feeler
    BMW MOA Director & Ambassador
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  8. #8
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    My BMW experienced started with a 85 K100RT, followed by a K75RT, then a R80RT and a R1200CLC. The K100RT was very dependable and fast but was buzzy at 60-65 MPH (smooth as silk over 85). I switched to a K75RT because it was silky smooth but with far less power. The K bikes did EVERYTHING better than the boxers but they just didn't speak to me. They don't stand out to ther general public in as being different from UJMs. Many people didn't know what kind of bike they were until they saw the BMW emblem. Nobody mistakes the boxers as anything but a BMW.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  9. #9
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    no affiliation to ACES, just aware of this bike. clean, very low miles, some nice upgrades. good excuse for a road trip- fly in, ride home.

    http://www.acesmotorcycles.com/vehic...w+k75%2f5.html
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  10. #10
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    Oh my! That is frikkin beautiful.
    The black color scheme matches my 2 current motorcycles.


    Thanks for putting my 401k in peril......

  11. #11
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Mine does most everything well, has enough idiosyncrasies to give it a personality, elicits positive comments from non-bikers and most bikers, smooth & dependable, good parts availability and cost, no canbus, easy to work on. Ridden newer that are certainly nicer but not 10- 15K nicer, and I couldn't work on 'em. Owned airheads before and never looked back.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  12. #12
    ONE LESS HARLEY 04r1150rs's Avatar
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    I had a K1100RS for 48,000 miles, my main complaint.........the heat off the exhaust, very, very uncomfortable. Also hard on fork seals, heavy front end, but this is comparing it to a telelever..

    Great motor, good power and torque, smooth, great interstate bike.
    Richard
    2004 R1150RS
    1984 R80 G/S
    2003 Suzuki DRZ 400S

  13. #13
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35634 View Post
    Mine does most everything well, has enough idiosyncrasies to give it a personality, elicits positive comments from non-bikers and most bikers, smooth & dependable, good parts availability and cost, no canbus, easy to work on. Ridden newer that are certainly nicer but not 10- 15K nicer, and I couldn't work on 'em.
    +1

    Picked up my '87 K100 up in late September 2004 with a 121,000 km on the odometer. Seven years later, it reads 233,000+ km. It should have about 50,000 more kilometres, but it shares me with the '98 oil head.

    There is never any hesitation about taking it on a several thousand km ride. Fortunately, a non-mechanical individual (me) can keep this machine easily serviced.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  14. #14
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    I remember a Cycle World article many years ago on what made a bike a keeper. It listed things like not being obsoleted every model year, parts availability, factory luggage, easy to change rear tire, hinged seat, centerstand, versatility (sports, distance, commuting) Nothing about mind blowing hp or knee dragging abilities, which really are track attributions. There was more, but it described the KRS and K75s to a tee.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  15. #15
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    I have never heard a comment from any non BMW owner, that K bikes are boring, or less than desirable.

    I don't think that many other brand riders give much thought as to whether any particular BMW is an R, or an F, or a K, or whatever.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

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