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Post 230: BMW Madness

Oh to have been a fly on the wall at the design meeting when the normally same BMW boffin's came up with these new 'K' series bikes. It probably started off on safe ground with the K1300 GT and S models which are both fast, practical and in BMW terms, totally conventional. I can only imagine that BMW were offering work experiences to a student who was then invited to contribute to the proceedings. The result of that contribution was the K1300 R. The 'R' I suspect stands for 'Roadster' put probably owes more to the 'Reefers' that the student clearly passed around during the lunch break ...... The K1300 R is totally insane.

Roadsters such as the Suzuki Bandit 1200, the Yamaha XJR 1300 and the Honda CB1300 have been around for some time and a similar example from BMW shouldn't really come as anything of a surprise. The conventional wisdom has always been to take a proven sports bike engine, slide it into a street bike frame and adjust the power to compensate for a lack of wind protection. It generally works quite well and you end up with a bike that's both practical and fun. However, BMW seem to have forgotten one major element in the design of the K1300 R ...... At 176 bhp, they didn't reduce the power.

The 'R's' handlebars are quite low and BMW have added a tiny bikini screen to deflect the worst of the windblast, but when you open the throttle in any gear, this bike just vanishes towards the horizon and if your arm and neck muscles are strong, you might just be lucky enough to keep up with it. For the first thirty minutes it's fun, but any longer than that and it's difficult to think of anything far beyond your own mortality. With a flick of the wrist in any of the first three gears the front wheel lifts into the air but thankfully usually lands in a straight line. The top speed is really quite academic because your arms and neck will never be strong enough to reach it. Unless you're laid flat along the tank like a teenager on his FS1E, anything above 85 mph becomes quite painful but I suspect that the 180 mph limit of the speedometer is not overly optimistic. The only subtle thing about this bike is the light grey paintwork, but it also comes in bright orange. The K1300 R is not the fastest bike that I've ever ridden ........ but it certainly feels like it.

We had a great time messing around on these three bikes and although I really wanted to love the K1300 R, my heart was lost to the bigger and more expensive Grand Tourer. The K1300 GT is definitely the fastest, safest and best handling touring bike that I've ever had the pleasure to ride. It has every gizmo imaginable, it hides it's weight well and any bike that allows the pillion passenger the ability to determine the warmth of their own arse at the flick of a personal button ........ has got to be given respect.

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