BMW K1 - Classic Motorcycles


The BMW K1 was a motorcycle that was so ugly it was, well... ugly. Sorry, this one isn't on my list of 'most beautiful bikes ever built'. (I'd take a Benelli TnT1130 any day on the looks front.)

BMW went for the heavy aerodynamic styling in 1989 after a 'voluntary' power limit of 100bhp on their bike range (effectively imposed by the German government) left them struggling for performance against their Japanese rivals.

Their only option, once they couldn't simply increase the power, was to improve the use of the power they already had by pursuing aerodynamic efficiency, hence the K1 and its rather odd styling, which appeared even more outlandish when it was originally introduced. But with bikes like the Carver One around perhaps it isn't so oddball any more.

BMW K1 | Source

The engine was their ubiquitous (at the time) and bomb-proof 987cc in-line four, water-cooled, shaft-driven engine from the KR100RS. (The BMW RS models were the sports-tourers of their range, with RT the full-blown touring model.) It was an engine that had powered many police bikes in Germany and Britain, and was well known for its reliability.

The K1 weighed in at rather un-svelte 259kg but still managed to perform perfectly well with 0-60mph coming up in under 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 149mph being possible. If you kept control of your right wrist it could also top 60mpg. The K1 was the antithesis of the Aprilia RS250, but it did exactly what BMW intended in supplying perfect high-speed cruising ability with great reliability.

The BMW K1 stayed in production for 4 years and sold almost 7,000 models so not everyone would seem to share my aversion to its looks.

Technical Specification: BMW K1

Engine: In-line four, 16-vlave, water-cooled, 987cc

Bore: 94mm

Stroke: 71.5mm

Compression Ratio: 11.0:1

Weight: 259kg

Max Power: 100bhp @ 8,000rpm

Max Torque: 83.4Nm @ 5,500rpm

Max Speed: 149mph

BMW K1 on You Tube

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