Buy a used BMW K 1
It is a bad rumor that K 1 drivers only dare to go outside at night. The disguise artist certainly does not meet the mass taste.
It’s your own fault. On page seven of the BMW press kit 1989 it is written in black and white: “With it (the K 1), BMW is moving from its classic market domain of touring bikes into the segment of so-called supersport motorcycles.” This homemade classification made life unnecessarily difficult for her , because the K 1 was compared with Japanese super athletes.
E.The K 1 was never a sales success, but 6790 copies worldwide, of which 2050 were sold in Germany, are simply too few for BMW standards. A much greater success, however, was the PR hype that the shellfish caused when it was presented at IFMA 1988. Even before a customer had even ridden the K 1 one meter, the MOTORRAD readers voted it “Motorcycle of the Year”. The contingent planned for 1989 was sold out in a flash. What followed in the form of lost comparison tests seemed rather sobering. At the latest with the four-valve K 100 RS presented in 1990, which is almost identical except for the fairing and can still do almost everything better, the euphoria was over. Slowly but surely the K 1 disappeared into oblivion. There was one last rebellion at the end of 1991, when it was announced that from now on ABS, catalytic converter, hazard warning lights, side supports and additional instruments would be standard.
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Buy a used BMW K 1
The end of 1993 came with the special “Ultima” model. Today, used K 1 clocks are the record-breaking clocks at the friendly BMW dealer. No other model from Bavaria is so difficult to sell second-hand. Those who try their luck as a seller in private often find after weeks that nothing has happened except advertising expenses. The seller’s suffering is of course the buyer’s joy, because apart from the K 75, the K 1 is meanwhile also the most misunderstood BMW model and therefore extremely inexpensive in the truest sense of the word. However, a little courage is required to drive K 1, because anyone who shows up at biker meeting places with a motorcycle reminiscent of a James Bond mobile, may get a shake of the head, and in the worst case, roaring laughter. This, however, by absolutely ignorant people, because anyone who has covered a long distance quickly on the K 1 knows its true qualities.
It has this primarily thanks to its unusual casing. The K 1 lies so well in the wind that sustained speeds of over 200 km / h are no longer strenuous. The wind and weather protection corresponds to that of a full-fledged tourer. Even a heater is standard. A little involuntary, however, because the waste heat rising behind the cladding ensures grilled knuckles, especially on the left side, in summer, and effectively prevents pork legs in the cooler season. If that bothers you, BMW-Mertinke in Frankfurt / Main (phone 0 69/58 27 83) for 998 marks can get matching lining inserts, which were already standard in a similar form on the Swiss version for noise reduction.
The seat cover can be easily removed, revealing a comfortable pillion seat. However, that must be sacrificed if you want to travel with luggage. Cases do not fit the K 1, the two integrated “violin cases” only hold six liters each. If you want to take something else with you besides toothbrushes, bathing trunks and bank cards, you have to rely on the BMW luggage system, which costs 422 marks, and that is now installed on the pillion seat.
On a long tour, you quickly get to know the special characteristics of the 100 hp engine. The four-valve engine developed from the K 100 two-valve engine takes a bit of getting used to, because below 5000 rpm it’s quiet, up to 6000 rpm little is possible, and from 6000 rpm everything works. The “homogeneous power output” familiar from the old K 100 models is completely absent from the K 1 engine. The in-line four-cylinder installed lengthways wants to be turned vigorously. At 9400 rpm, a rev limiter puts an end to driving. The speedometer reads 260 to 280 km / h, which corresponds to a real 230 to 240 km / h. In view of the excellent fairing, that’s a bit disappointing, because a longer fifth gear would be a little more possible.
The K 1 was not only the first series BMW with a four-valve cylinder head, but also the first with digital engine electronics of the new generation, with four-piston brake calipers and the first K model with a Paralever system on the rear swing arm. The Brembo brake system was able to keep up with the best Japanese systems from the start, but the K 1 still made an embarrassing faux pas when it came to brakes: the brake pads could come off the brake disk under extreme loads. The adhesive bond was impaired by the effects of road salt. The consequence was a recall campaign with replacement of the affected parts.
The new pads and supports are marked on the top by two white lines. Used buyers will have difficulties recognizing this immediately, because there is a clear view only after the two-part front fender has been removed. An occasional clutch defect, which usually caused major consequential damage, was also a bit embarrassing. The riveting of the springs on the pressure plate came loose, the springs rotated “freely in space” and milled the gear flange in the process. BMW incorporated an improvement into the series. Joint fractures were just as annoying and not that rare. The repair costs could quickly amount to a few thousand marks, but in almost all cases BMW settled on guarantee or goodwill.
Anyone who was able to show a completed checkbook was replaced long after the warranty period and with relatively high mileage. However, there is no doubt about the fundamentally solid basis of the K 1. The engine and assemblies normally achieve mileages that are otherwise only used in automobile construction and the best Japanese motorcycles, that is, beyond 100,000 kilometers. Only a few small things are annoying, such as the fork seals that usually leak very early on and the electronic flaws that are often caused by contact difficulties.
The vibrations complained about by some K 1 owners are evidently subject to a strong series distribution. Almost all drivers find the shock absorber too hard. The K 1 is extremely sensitive to choosing the right tire. Dunlop Sportmax and Bridgestone BT 50 and BT 53 are the favorites. The injection system works reliably and, above all, economically. The starting behavior is excellent.
The used prices are also excellent, namely extremely low in relation to the new price. The K 1, which last cost 27,500 marks, is sometimes available for half of its original price. Courageous interested parties should strike in the near future, because it is foreseeable that the grandfather clock will one day become a real collector’s item.
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