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Thread: Reasons for switching from R bike to K bike?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Akron, Ohio

    Reasons for switching from R bike to K bike?

    I am currently on a R1100RT, but am thinking of switching to a K bike. Anybody done that? And why? The K style seem to have several advantages, although they often seem like the unwanted stepchild in the BMW family. I'm wondering if they are 1) a lot smoother engine, 2) quieter 3) generally have more power, or power that isn't straining 4) more trouble free. It seems like BMW has spent years trying to improve the boxer engine to get it to where the K engine began. ( Liquid cooling, wet disc clutch). I really value smoothness and quiet in motorcycles, and I am wondering if you just can never get those qualities in any twin cylinder bike. I should note that I would be staying in the flying brick engine style. The only problem I see is that the K75s are getting pretty old, and look too small for two people. And I don't see too many K bikes with much storage capacity. The K1200LT is too big for everyday use. Maybe an 1100LT? Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    No longer a member here
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Early flying brick Ks are rather buzzy, due to the fact that the engine is a solid mount in the frame. I have a 1990 K1 and I don't think it is that much smoother than my 99 R1100RT. The RT is an awesome bike and in my book ranks all the way on top of the list of bikes BMW has ever made. I only wish mine was a 6-speed 1150.

  3. #3
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    SW Iowa
    Quote Originally Posted by jconway607 View Post
    The only problem I see is that the K75s are getting pretty old, and look too small for two people. And I don't see too many K bikes with much storage capacity. The K1200LT is too big for everyday use. Maybe an 1100LT? Any thoughts?
    How about a 03 or 04 K1200GT? 130 HP at the crank and very smooth.
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  4. #4
    3 Red Bricks
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pleasanton, Ca.
    If you are looking to replace the RT with a Brick for two up riding and are looking for improvement in every area, I would suggest a K1100RS or better yet, a 02-06 K1200GT. Similar size, smoother, more power, better brakes.

    K75s are better suited to one up riding.

    (Lee beat me to it while I was distracted by a phone call)


    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

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

  5. #5
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Ash Grove, MO
    I just sold my K100RT. It was near perfect condition and ran flawlessly. I loved that bike up to speeds of 60mph. The motor was strong from idle all the way to the redline. Smooth like an electric motor, would be turning 5000rpm plus at interstate speeds, and it was really 'busy' feeling. And it was also 'buzzy', but foam grips and filling the handlebars with silicone caulk really helped that. But like I said, it just felt like you were going 100mph when only going 60mph. My new to me R1100RT is just the opposite. At low speeds it seems to be lumbering along and not happy. Get it to speed and it really smooths out.

    I test rode several K1200Lt's, and man o man, motor and ride was smooth as silk! Never had the chance to test the 03-04 K1200GT's...and it wasnt really and option due to the very limited side case storage on the exhaust side. But the 1200 brick engine is very smooth, like a sewing machine.

    I will buy a K1200LT with in the next 4 years, just wasn't ready for an 'old man's bike' yet!
    Mike Davis
    "Old n Slow" It's a way of life!
    1985 K100RT

    1998 R1100RT

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Northern Front Range, CO
    fwiw, not until the new wedge K bikes did they go with wet clutch; all brick Ks are dry clutch like the boxers.

    I went from airheads, to Ks (K75s and K11RS), and back to twins (oilhead). Except for 2up touring, i have no interest in a K bike.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Northern New Jersey
    If you are looking for a difference in power, sound, and smoothness, you may not even notice any, and if you do, you'll be disappointed in the smallness of the difference. That is, when comparing a modern, similar model year K and an R. The newer boxers are quite smooth and powerful. And no one has ever complained, AFAIK, about the noise from ANY BMW.
    "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why" -- Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Wine Country, Northern California
    The first generation K bikes are a steal when you look at them from a "bang for your buck" aspect. I went from a Slash 6 to a K75 and have been very happy with it. If you need more than a 750, consider a K1100. Not only do you get more power because of the bigger engine, you also have a better front end and superior braking.

    Personally, I don't want or need anything bigger that a K75. However, I would like to build one with a Paralever tail and K1100 brakes and front end.
    Then I would have the best of both worlds.
    MOA #57883
    Current Ride: 1995 K75 Standard
    Past: 1978 Yamaha XS 750, 1976 BMW R60/6

  9. #9
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    I have put 36,000 miles on my R1100RT and 76,000 miles on my '87 K100RT. I really like the R1100 but the favourite is the K100. The R is has a greater range, carries more luggage (with touring lids), is not as easy to walk for this short 150 pounder, but it does have way more torque than the K. For me R is not as smooth as the K and I prefer the K on gravel. However, having said that, after being very happy with a several thousand mile tour on whichever bike, when I get home and get on the other, I say to myself, "Wow, this bike is great!"

    If I had to get rid of one of the two bikes, it would be the K simply because mine does not have ABS, which on one occasion saved my hide.

    I would imagine the new Ks would match or exceed the torque on the R1100s. As mentioned above, older K's are a good value; simply get a K (with ABS) to add to the stable.
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders #298 & Knights of the Roundel #333

  10. #10
    No longer a member here
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    simply get a K (with ABS) to add to the stable.
    Exactly, Paul! That is the correct answer. Get a K and KEEP the RT!

  11. #11
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hillsborough NC
    The Brick K1200RS/GT and the R/RT are such different bikes. Riding positions are very different, riding style is different, overall feel is different, level of wind protection is very different. This is not to mention a weight and handling difference.

    Performance differences are ones you might never truly see. At the track I had caught up with a light rider on a R/ST His style was pretty different than mine. In the curves I was waiting for him but once upright on the straight, I see the exhausts puff as he opened the throttle and then down the straight it was a drag race. His bike being 100 lbs lighter, rider being 50 lbs lighter offset my having 25 extra horse power. From 70 to about 120 it was pretty even.

    It takes a very active riding style to enjoy the K/RS in twisties. Much less so on an RT. Your helmet and shoulders are going to be in the wind on the K/RS.

    Gas mileage will range from most K/RS-GTs 35-40 (some.. thats a few will get 39-44).

    I have ridden an RT some and found the change back to the K/RS welcomed. I have RT friends who find the K/RS equally not their cup of tea.
    All this said, it isn't just a change of engine design that you will be experiencing.

    I wouldn't sell the RT until after you have ridden the RS/GT for a while to see if it truly works for you.

    Let us know how this comes out for you.

    Last edited by ncstephen; 05-10-2013 at 06:44 PM.
    03 K 1200RS (Black is Best)
    03 Honda RC51
    74 Honda CB750 K4

  12. #12
    I was riding a first year oilhead, a 94 R1100RS, when I bought a K100 as a second bike. The K just clicked for me and I've owned a half dozen Ks since then, and no Rs. Reasons for the liking were many, and they may not all apply to you. The well used K I first bought was no longer depreciated while the still semi-new R1100 was dropping every year. I like to tinker and the old K100 needed love while the R11 didn't ask for anything.
    Even though they were both RSs, they rode differently. The K did buzz a bit, while the R tended to throb. I found neither objectionable. The K cared less about what gear or what RPM you were using. The R would shake if whacked open at too low an RPM, and it didn't spin as high before redline, so the K could be easier to ride when you weren't really paying attention.
    I wouldn't bet on either being more reliable than the other. It seems like a coin toss as to whether things go wrong for you.
    I agree with much of what is said above. K75s always struck me as underpowered, and I would not recommend one if two-up is in your plans. The 2-valve k100s are getting pretty old now and seem dated and a bit crude. The 4-valves are a bit more modern, but IMO the K1100s are the way to go for that era bike. They do throw off some serious heat, however.
    I've currently got a K1200RS and like many things about it. The smoothness is oft-mentioned, but it comes with a weight penalty. It's also a lot thirstier than the K11s and has a compromised left-side hardbag. It has very strong (and complicated) brakes, electronic cruise, and feels very refined. It is a good two-up bike, if you don't mind stopping often for fuel. Of course the GT version offers a few more minor farkles.

  13. #13
    "Enthusiast" King's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Hudson, IL
    All the responses are on target. K75 is great for solo, not for two up. K1100LT was buzzy up and down the RPM range with one smooth spot (and it threw off a lot of heat). K1200RS is smooth everywhere with maybe one buzzy spot at about 4800 RPM. That's not a show stopper since it's so smooth you can just blow by with more throttle or shift gears (at times I've hit the rev limiter because I forgot I was in 3rd gear... it's that smooth). Great power, brakes, handling and reliability for sport touring two up. The fairing does a great job of ducting the heat away from the rider/passenger. Trouble free, simple (no can bus, ESA, etc.). There are plenty of RS/GTs out there with 150K mileage and still going strong. Suspension replacement is $. Storage capacity is limited, but if an LT or GS is not your thing you can get by. It's a heavy bike, but the riding position, seat height and ergonomics make it easy to handle. Test ride an 02 -05 RS or GT. It's all good.
    Don Braasch # 9049
    2003 K1200RS 1981 R100RS
    1974 R75 "S" 1977 R60/7

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Lake Havasu, AZ

    Cool R1150RT to K1200LT

    I've had the 1150 for five years (an 03) and have each year logged about 10 thousand miles on one or two long trips each summer.
    Last week I purchased an 05 K1200LT and the seller allowed me to take it on a demo ride for over two hours before we came to terms.
    Man is it sweet. So smooth compared to the RT with real cruise control!
    At 66 years of age, healthy and fit, the weight of the K still gave me some concern having never ridden one. At 5'9 and a 30 inseam, getting it off the center stand the 1st time was somewhat problematic since the seller told me if I bought the bike he wasn't coming with me to push me off and now was as good a time to figure it out. At least he told me how to do it. After rocking forward three or four times I realized that fear of dropping it was limiting my aggressiveness.
    So what the heck, went for the gold and literally pushed all my weight forward while pushing the ground with my toes. Literally pushed it through his garage doors. (just kidding) The bike came off the center stand and maintained its upright balance perfectly. Weight wise it didn't feel any different than the R bike. After finding a large unused parking lot I practiced some 180's, 360's and continually slowed speed and radius until a comfort level arrived. After testing the brakes several times, ventured onto the street and after awhile the freeway where I could open the throttle with gusto. The K doesn't have the 50 to 80 speed that the R bike exhibits but the smoothness was never in question.
    Since the K had (yes, I'm serious) the original tires with 13000 miles I zapped it to 95 for a few seconds then stayed at the speed limit for about 30 minutes.
    After pulling off the freeway, found a shaded area and practiced getting it on and off the centerstand, (which will require a lot more) played with the reverse gear for awhile, checked the VIN # and paid for a history report. As soon as I brought it back, we struck a deal and the 05 K1200 LT was mine.
    The seller was kind enough to follow me to a BMW dealer where it is being serviced, new tires, etc.
    It will be picked up Wednesday and I will have 180 miles to ride it home.
    Will keep you posted on my thoughts and will decide if the 1150 goes up for sale.

  15. #15
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    The R1200RT has a LOT smoother engine, too.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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