Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Cult of the 'K' Bike

No shipping content in this post - it's dedicated to the BMW K series motorcycles and my fascination with them.

With the K1200LT, BMW's production of the K series longtidinal four cylinder ceased after 27 years. The K series produced 16 road models (but no dual purpose variants) from 750 to 1,200 cc. The K series was designed by BMW's Dr's Eng Josef Fritzenwenger and Stefan Pachernegg, with the first bikes released in 1983.


The design's revolution was to take a four cylinder engine, integrate the gearbox and drivetrain, then turn it in its side. There is a wealth of material on the 'Net on their design, modifications and 'How to' resources. This posting is about the five K series BMW's I have owned since 1988.

BMW K100

K100 (1988 to 1996)
My first K100 was bought in Melbourne as our transport while I was a student in Tasmania. Over eight years, it transported us around Tasmania and the east coast of Australia, before sailing across the Tasman with me when I worked my passage on 'Union Rotorua'. Sold in 1996 for a BMW F650.


K100RS (2003-2005)
My second (K100RS) was bought sight unseen on eBay - I rode it back to London from Norfolk. We were moving to Australia from the UK, and my 2001 Ducati didn't qualify for importation. At 20 years, the RS was able to be loaded into our household container for a sea trip to Melbourne and new life in the Colonies. Great handling sports tourer, sold on eBay and moved to South Australia.


K1200RS (2005-2006)
The third was an ex-Police K1200RS, which had been converted back to dual-seat configuration. Despite the telltale white, the K1200 was a weapon of smooth power, comfort and long distance weekend runs. Sadly, the only bike I've ever written off - embedded in the back of a sub-compact on the daily commute.


K100RT (2008 - )
My fourth is another ex-Police K100RT. The 'RT started life in Tasmania with a fellow uni student, migrated to New Zealand for a while then back to Queensland and now Melbourne. Like an old racehorse, she has been put out to pasture and the odd weekend ride. Roadworthy, but with only 107,000 km on the clock after 26 years, plenty of riding left.


K1100LT (2011 - )
My fifth and current squeeze is K1100LT full dress tourer. For less than the price of a scooter, it's got full luggage, stereo and an 1,100 cc powerplant that pulls like a tractor. This will be the mount for my forthcoming East Coast road trip (2 weeks plus or minus). What has made the K series a legend? K series bikes are bulletproof and will run to 300,000km. The gearboxes are legendary for smoothness and parts are readily available from after-market suppliers worldwide. Hopefully, there will always be a K in my garage.

The Antipodean Mariner
10th April 2011

1 comment:

  1. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks.

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