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Thread: The Joy of K Bike Ownership

  1. #16
    Registered User VIEJO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r80rider View Post
    I have an opportunity to add a '92 K100RS to my garage. Ive been riding an '87 R80 with an RT final drive. I love the bike, but my eye has been drifting toward this K bike. So, loyal K bike riders. How much do you love/hate your bikes? Thanks in advance!
    Comparing K bikes to R bikes (especially Airheads) is pretty much an apples to oranges comparison..... I have both and they are two different experiences in almost all respects.

    Aside from the obvious difference between the engines the primary difference between a K and an R is in the weight distribution. (Note: my experience with K bikes is almost exclusive K1200s, virtually no time on K75s which, I am told, are much better balanced/behaved at low to moderate speeds). My R bikes (1976 R90/6... sadly sold a few years ago, and my current 1981 R100) were/are beautifully balanced at low to moderate speeds. Even steering lock turns at parking lot speeds didn't/don't always necessitate coming off the pegs.... on the 2003 K1200RS I have considered taking out a special insurance rider for speeds less than 30mph. The CG of the K1200 is considerable higher and farther forward than on the R bikes which gives it a tendency to dive into hard turns at low speed; I am usually off the pegs at anything less than 10mph. Slow rolling up to a stop in a perfectly straight line on the R bikes was never a problem, on the K bike it's a wish only seldom granted.

    However.... once the K is rolling it's a whole different animal. Between about 30mph and 80 mph the K rides/tracks/handles quite nicely for a 600lb+ machine. Over 80mph the aerodynamics of the fairing come into full play, the bike plants itself solidly, and questions of socially responsible riding begin to present themselves. While the LT and GT models were designed for comfortable extended touring the RS was designed to go fast (although I was surprised by the rider ergonomics after my first 700+ mile day; certainly not as comfortable as my R bikes but not as uncomfortable as most sport bikes. I'm 6' tall and initially found the peg placement a bit high on the RS but it doesn't really bother me anymore.)

    Now, if you enjoy enjoy wrenching on your bike(s) the K will leave you high and dry unless you have a fairly well equipped shop. Anything past routine maintenance requires a slew of special tools which BMW doesn't really want you to possess (although they are available for a price) and proprietary diagnostic equipment which BMW really doesn't want you to possess.... in many cases these tools are not even "owned" by an authorized BMW dealer but rather "provided" by BMW with the understanding that they revert to BMW if the dealer loses their franchise for any reason. NOTE: this is dated information and I would appreciate correction/updating if this is no longer correct in any way

    The only satisfactory solution to this dilemma is have (at least) one of each.

  2. #17
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    I have no idea who does or doesn't won the dealership tools, but I'll counter the "high and dry" comment on the wrenchability of the K12s.

    I've replaced the clutches on several K12RSs due to rear main leaks. Replaced and rebuild a couple of final drives, and bled a good number of the whizzy brake systems. I don't have any fancy factory tools, just a good set of mostly old Craftsman, and a willingness to get creative when needed.

    If your baseline is wrenching an airhead, or even an 80's vintage K, the later K12s can be intimidating. But to me the issue is not about diagnostics and special tooling, it's about the density of the packaging and all the crap you have to disconnect (and hopefully reconnect properly) to get at what needs to be worked on. With You Tube videos on how to do everything, and the ease of taking pix to record how all the bits are organized, there isn't a lot that can't be done in your garage if you're game.

    Do-it-yourself ability is, to me, getting more important. The value of these K bikes has plummeted while the cost of paying for their repairs continues to climb. If we have to write a check to the dealer for all the work they'll need as these bikes age, we'll eventually be exceeding the bikes' worth in repair costs. I think this issue often drives riders to buy newer models, figuring they'll need fewer repairs. They may, but what service they will need will be all the more difficult to perform.

  3. #18
    Registered User VIEJO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffDiCarlo View Post
    I have no idea who does or doesn't won the dealership tools, but I'll counter the "high and dry" comment on the wrenchability of the K12s.

    I've replaced the clutches on several K12RSs due to rear main leaks. Replaced and rebuild a couple of final drives, and bled a good number of the whizzy brake systems. I don't have any fancy factory tools, just a good set of mostly old Craftsman, and a willingness to get creative when needed.

    If your baseline is wrenching an airhead, or even an 80's vintage K, the later K12s can be intimidating. But to me the issue is not about diagnostics and special tooling, it's about the density of the packaging and all the crap you have to disconnect (and hopefully reconnect properly) to get at what needs to be worked on. With You Tube videos on how to do everything, and the ease of taking pix to record how all the bits are organized, there isn't a lot that can't be done in your garage if you're game.

    Do-it-yourself ability is, to me, getting more important. The value of these K bikes has plummeted while the cost of paying for their repairs continues to climb. If we have to write a check to the dealer for all the work they'll need as these bikes age, we'll eventually be exceeding the bikes' worth in repair costs. I think this issue often drives riders to buy newer models, figuring they'll need fewer repairs. They may, but what service they will need will be all the more difficult to perform.
    Hola Jeff!

    Your comments are well taken and I think probably put things in better perspective than mine as to what the home wrench can do on a "K" bike with patience and the willingness to learn. However, I would say with regards to You-Tube videos....caveat emptor! If you don't already have a pretty good idea of what you should be seeing you don't really have any way to judge what you are seeing. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be daunting and that's where Forums such as this are worth their weight in gold. One of the first things I learned in the Merchant Marine was don't bang your head against a wall trying to answer a question someone else as already answered.

    As you surmised, my baseline in wrenching on my own machines started in 1964 with a 1961 G12 Matchless. I made my own repair manual for that one by photographing everything with a Polaroid camera as I worked my way into the bike as needed. By the time I got to my 1976 R/90/6 that was pretty much my MO for any new (to me) motorcycle.... that and a good support group of highly motivated/poorly financed fellow riders.

    As to the "density of the packaging", I think that's really my main beef with working on my "K".... getting to the job site.

    Thanks for the good response.

    Viejo

  4. #19
    In writing my Benchwrenching column in the ON for 20 years I often stressed my conclusions that at least 90% of maintenance and repair is fundamental mechanics and less than 10% is model specific. Changing tires, shocks, brake pads, oil and lubricants etc is what many folks can do on virtually any model BMW.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  5. #20
    Registered User VIEJO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    In writing my Benchwrenching column in the ON for 20 years I often stressed my conclusions that at least 90% of maintenance and repair is fundamental mechanics and less than 10% is model specific. Changing tires, shocks, brake pads, oil and lubricants etc is what many folks can do on virtually any model BMW.
    True enough, Paul.... your quote from Bertrand Russell is especially germane.

  6. #21
    Registered User VIEJO's Avatar
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    up-date

    As discussed earlier one of the issues with working on a "K" bike is getting to the job site..... I'm trying a new approach.

    On my way to a club breakfast Saturday morning I had a brief but unfortunate encounter with a deer. Fortunately it was a slow stretch of very narrow rural road and a fairly small deer (just out of spots). I didn't go down and when I found a place wide enough to get turned around without backing and filling I went back and found no trace of the deer so hopefully it got off as easy as I did (although I did find a tuft of deer hair in the cracked left side fairing). I found a safe spot to park the bike and gave it a thorough inspection, found nothing damaged except tupperware, and so rode on to breakfast and then home again. Bottom line is I will need to replace the left side panel and the forward upper trim piece.

    The good news is now that I have all the bodywork removed I can get around to doing all the stuff I have been procrastinating about for the last year or so. Perhaps everything does happen for a purpose.

    In all seriousness though, even though this was a very minor deer hit by Texas standards it was still a hit, and I believe the main reason I didn't go down was that the shattering fairing absorbed the brunt of the impact. Doesn't make the replacement parts any cheaper, but it does make them worth the price.

  7. #22
    RK Ryder
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    Many, many years ago in my youth, I drove electric fork lifts at the local brewery. You'd put your foot down and the machine would quietly and really, really accelerate. No sluggishness like the gas and propane fork lifts.

    It dawned on me last week that the K I've owned for 15 years is very similar to the electric fork lifts I used to drive back in the 60s and 70s. It accelerates so quickly and smoothly, almost like what I'd expect an electric motorcycle to feel like. My friend's K75 is even smoother!
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders & Knights of the Roundel #333

  8. #23
    Registered User VIEJO's Avatar
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    update update

    Quote Originally Posted by VIEJO View Post
    As discussed earlier one of the issues with working on a "K" bike is getting to the job site..... I'm trying a new approach.

    On my way to a club breakfast Saturday morning I had a brief but unfortunate encounter with a deer. Fortunately it was a slow stretch of very narrow rural road and a fairly small deer (just out of spots). I didn't go down and when I found a place wide enough to get turned around without backing and filling I went back and found no trace of the deer so hopefully it got off as easy as I did (although I did find a tuft of deer hair in the cracked left side fairing). I found a safe spot to park the bike and gave it a thorough inspection, found nothing damaged except tupperware, and so rode on to breakfast and then home again. Bottom line is I will need to replace the left side panel and the forward upper trim piece.

    The good news is now that I have all the bodywork removed I can get around to doing all the stuff I have been procrastinating about for the last year or so. Perhaps everything does happen for a purpose.

    In all seriousness though, even though this was a very minor deer hit by Texas standards it was still a hit, and I believe the main reason I didn't go down was that the shattering fairing absorbed the brunt of the impact. Doesn't make the replacement parts any cheaper, but it does make them worth the price.
    I just go through ordering the replacement fairing parts to repair the damage done from my deer hit last week and I came on something interesting in the Max BMW fiche section. Normally I order from Max directly online but in this case I decided to phone in the order to make sure of availability and timeline for delivery..... glad I did. When I talked with Greg at the New York location he confirmed the part numbers from the [I]fiche[I]that I had looked up and told me that the price shown was for painted parts and not primed parts as shown in the fiche. He then proceeded to make my day by telling me that the price for primed parts (all that was available and what I actually wanted to start with) was about half the cost shown in the fiche.

    Had I ordered directly online using the price shown I'm sure Max BMW would have caught the price difference somewhere in the ordering process and refunded the difference to me in a timely manner, but the moral of the story is "when in doubt, ask".

    As always, Max BMW was great to work with.... I've never had a bad experience with them.

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