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Thread: K1200S vs. K1300S

  1. #1

    K1200S vs. K1300S

    Hi All,

    I'm trying to understand the differences between the different models and years. Here's my story.

    For a few years now, and especially since selling Gigantor, I've been wanting to get a high-performance sidecar rig. I'm heading towards one like Hannigan's had at the National - the K1300 in black and yellow.

    My first step will be deciding on a donor bike. I was thinking of a K1200S because it will be somewhat less expensive than a K1300S. If I go that way, is th 2008 the best model year to get?

    I don't need every last hp so that's not a discriminator between the models and years. And one posting here alluded to the K1300S having had all the issues of the K1200S worked out. That might be a consideration if I understood what that meant.

    Any help mucho apreciado.


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    Last edited by psikora; 12-16-2011 at 11:05 PM. Reason: adding caption

  2. #2
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The biggest difference ,I believe, between the 12 & 13 is frame geometry. They lengthened the bike a bit and changed the rake on the front end. Have ridden a 13S, but I cannot tell a big difference other than the speed shifter option, which is cool.

    The first gen K12 models have an old style cam chain tensioner that was upgraded on the 13's. It is a common replacement part for a lot of 12's now. Now a chain jump guard has been added on the cam chain drive sprocket as well.
    If I were to do it over again on the 12S, an 08 would be a good pick.Still need the mods done to them for extended life. Nothing wrong with 06-07's either in the big picture either. I think mileage would be a factor ...for me this time.

    Early 05's had an airbox issue, some clutches chattered, some fuel management software glitches.
    We have two late '05 builds and they do not have those issues. One however is currently apart as I am replacing the cam chain and sprockets at 32K. We bought it with a slappy chain before all the fixes came along. It sounded like marbles in the valve cover at start up, but goes away quickly. The other '05 I bought with less than 3000 miles and did the upgrades before the rattle started.

    There is a service bulletin or advisory recommending a 30K chain and sprocket overhaul on the wedge not know if it covers the 13's since the new tensioner is there from day one.

    A wealth of info and opinions on this site...worldwide input and opinions as well

    I'll stop now...
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and SABMWRA Prez

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  3. #3
    One Man Wolfpack Kent Niederhofer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    West Bloomfield, MI

    K1200S vs K1300S

    For a bit more on the difference between the two bikes, check out this link:


  4. #4
    Phil... FWIW, have owned an '05 K1200S since, well, '05. Except for a fuel strip failing, zero issues. None. Has been one of the best bikes I have ever owned.

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    I would suggest looking here...

    ..much more K-Bike fanatics

  6. #6
    Thanks, all. Will keep looking.

  7. #7

    K12 vs k13

    I bought a new K12S in Jan of 06-

    @8500 miles the bike started jumping in 2nd gear under hard throttle-as if I was pulling in the clutch and letting it out fast-My very excellent dealer installed a new transmission under warranty. Inspection revealed the "dogs", the 4 square-cut teeth that hold the bike in gear had worn on the 2nd gear.

    @41,000 miles the bike starts jumping out of 2nd gear again.
    The K13 had come out by now, and I read that one of the changes was the "dogs" were no longer square, but beveled slightly on the leading (load) edge. The beveling helps to actually engage the trans gears tighter, pulling them closer together under high torque. My bike was out of warranty now, but with my dealer's help and several letters, the 2nd tranny was going to only cost me about $1000, instead of over $3000.

    Since I was paying part of the cost-I asked for and received a new K13 trans, instead of the K12. The clutch interface was different so I ended up with a K13 clutch also.

    Miraculous difference!! Shifted smoother, neutral was now a snap to find at idle-I was tickled.

    @42,000 miles (yep, 1000 miles later) I throw a #4 rod-through the bottom of the case-but still managed to ride the bike the 2 miles to home on 3 cylinders.

    No real definitive answer as to why-perhaps some of the metal from the first two trannies ended up in an oil path to a rod bearing-the bearing race showed some heat, but didn't look superheated to several motorhead/customers I showed it to. One of the bolts had pulled out, threads of the bolt were stripped and the rod threads were damaged some, but I could still thread a new bolt in. The other bolt had snapped in half-the head was in my belly pan and the threaded part still in the rod.

    I posted this sad tale on Shiva's site and got 18 replies of similar (always #4) rod failures around the world.

    A new motor was out of the question-over $6000, so I gave Beemer Boneyard a call and for about $1600 I had a K1200S motor and trans with about 15,000 miles delivered to California.

    The swap was simple-Bike runs great now, I miss the K13 trans though-and I am a lot easier on 2nd gear throttle, and can't find neutral at idle again.

    I have nearly 60,000 on the bike now, and I love it. I guess you could call this a love/hate relationship-when the bike is good, it is really, really great to ride-smooth, incredibly quick and agile for a big, long bike, stops on a dime with one finger-great mileage-I average 45 mph on the flat at 70-80, doesn't burn oil, always starts-even in very cold temps-no other issues whatsoever.

    In conclusion-I think the K13 would be a better choice-especially considering the higher loads a sidecar brings to the running gear.

    Good Luck
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    Last edited by rickmayer; 12-29-2011 at 04:34 PM. Reason: typos
    "Inside every man is a child yearning to play"
    Currently riding; '04 RT, '06 K12S
    Local Club Affiliation: River City Beemers
    MOA # 13632, Iron Butt Assoc. # 321

  8. #8

    rickmayer engine/trans replacement

    Why were you not able to take your K13 transmission and install it with your used replacement engine for your K1200?

  9. #9
    Thanks, Rick. I'm wondering if even a K1300 motor is gonna be as bullet-proof as I want it to be, let alone adding a big chair to the load. The suggestion to consider an R1200 has me second guessing the donor bike. I guess I'm stuck in the form over function dilema. If I use a Hannigan Bandito car, or similar, it will look so much better on a K12/13 than an R/GS. Plus having the duolever instead of having to sway an R front end out would save a significant amount of money. Back to the drawing board...
    Thanks again,

  10. #10
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Have seen some really nice rigs using a Brick engined K12RS or GT. A very bulletproof, proven engine platform.
    Steve Henson-Mod Team and SABMWRA Prez

    Be decisive, right or wrong.The road of life is paved with
    flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision~unknown

  11. #11
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    south of Los Angeles
    First, here's my VERY LIMITED experience:
    I have about 1 day on a friend's K1200S, and about one-half day on a friend's K1300S. Both rides were on assorted roads at, um, assorted speeds.
    Both bikes had been to the dealer for software fixes.

    Yes the 1300 makes oodles more power (but the 1200 is nontheless Quite impressive!). I had zero issues with either bike's handling at any speed. Both bikes were new enough that they both shifted well.

    Now the difference:
    The 1200 was much easier to throttle at low RPM, and felt smoother and a little torquier below about 3500 RPM. While both bikes have incredible power, the 1300 needed to spin up above 3500 before the power actually came up (and wow did it ever!) and smoothed out.
    I have to think that the 1200 was built with the idea that "Ve vill attract many riders who vant great wideband power", and the 1300 was built with the thought of getting more top-end power at the expense of a bit of bottom end.

    A sidecar rig might be better off with the 1200...

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