Sunday, October 16, 2016

K bikes

BMW motorcycles come in lots of styles and engine types. I happen to favor the K series that was introduced around 1985. It was a radical departure from the horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine that was BMW's standard design since the Bavarian Motor Works began making motorcycles in 1923.

The horizontal twin - known as R bikes - continues to dominate BMW motorcycle sales, however, going through continual refinements. The GS series of R bikes (Gruenwald/Strasse, or Forest/Street) is widely recognized as the Swiss Army Knife of motorcycles - a go anywhere, do anything bike made for global adventuring.

The K bike niche is narrower, embracing sport, touring, and sport-touring with limited off-road appeal.

My first two BMWs were R bikes - a 1971 R50/5 and a 1981 R100RS. I was seduced by the powerful, responsive K bike engine in the spring of 1991 and bought a '91 K100RS that carried me more than 160,000 miles before it developed a terminally expensive engine problem and had to be parted out on Ebay.

I replaced it in 2003 with an '03 K1200GT - a 1,200cc luxury sport touring bike that is about to turn 79,000 miles. In autumn of 2000, I bought a 1994 K75S for Maria. Her enthusiasm for riding has waned so it has fallen to me to keep the battery up and ride it often on local errands.

Fellow K bike enthusiast Jack Riepe, who write humorous columns for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America's monthly magazine, decided to champion the cause of the (we believe) underappreciated K bike by creating the Secret K Bike Rider's Club, complete with club t-shirts.

I ordered one from him and it came this week. He asked that I send him a photo of myself wearing the shirt next to my K bike(s), so here it is.

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