The return of the Cruise missile. The BMW K1300s Motorsport limited edition Motorcycle review.
As a platform almost a decade in production, one could say that BMW k1300s has had its day. True, it is not the freshest platform or does it feature the latest tech.
Being ahead of its time means that a decade later, the BMW K1300s motorsport is still rather impressive — equipped with some features that are not available on many of today’s models.
Not to mention that it’s still one of the most powerful bikes out there on the road today. The horsepower alone still blows many bikes off the road, but its the tremendous torque from low-down that makes this machine a true two-wheel terminator. And just like the T-600, it may be a discontinued model but devastating nonetheless.
With 175HP and 140nm on tap, you’re never going to feel the K is lacking.
To put this in perspective, the BMW K1300s generates as much torque at 4,000 rpm as the BMW s1000rr makes at 11,000rpm. And for real-world travelling, that makes a big difference when the power comes on like a hammer. Unless you’re pressing the life out of most litre class bikes, they can feel a bit anaemic lower down compared to the k1300.
The result of this low-end grunt is a rider can be quite lazy with the gear changes, and virtually overtake in any gear. It’s possible to forget to change gears for a full section of road. Alternatively, if you feel like it, you can twist the throttle, let the beast howl and ping up through the quickshifter – but you better hang on tight!
For a royal military-salute send-off, the big Bavarian bruiser was well equipped with all the goodies in the sweets drawer. This motorcycle review was composed across a time-span of 6 months while I formed a definitive view of the k1300s.
The ‘Motorsport’ bits
The motorsport edition adds plenty more for the big K fan club in addition to being a fully optioned k1300. A fantastic (BMW Motorsport) colour scheme which looks superb with a finish that’s second to none. The forged HP wheels that not only look the business but also weigh a good deal less than stock are a big drawcard.
The weight saving is genuinely noticeable as you tip this big beast into a bend. That’s not to say it magically feels like a 600 supersport but the once portly k1300, feels a good deal nimbler and far less intimidating in the corners. In fact its one of the only bikes I’ve ridden to the edge of the rubber on the road, within a week of getting on it.
Third, on the list of added goodies is the legendary titanium-clad Akrapovic slip-on silencer. Co-branded by BMW, means you get a classy laser etched logo instead of a ghastly red-yellow sticker on your hardware. For some it may not be worth it, but if you have your eye on this bike you prbably care about details.
Other neat add ones include the finely-crafted adjustable HP rider and passenger footpegs, which by themselves cost about as much a small car. In addition to looking the part, these pegs are super grippy.
K1300s Natural habitat
This is a bike that’s happiest in open spaces and letting loose a bit…or a lot.
The K platform is highly versatile, taking you from comfortable touring two-up with luggage, through to blasting through the twisties on your own with massive confidence. While it’s relative nimbleness belies its weight very well, this is still a 250kg machine on two wheels, and at times you will feel it. For those familiar with the BMW K1300, know that it’s not a small bike.
The bike pulls nicely even at low RPMs which is handy in the city. And then on occasion, you have a chance to let her go a bit, and it is always shocking when it pulls your arms from your body and eyes into their sockets!
Riding the motorsport
The BMW k1300s motorsport is a remarkable machine, but it’s also a serious bike. By that I mean it’s not something you want to go dicking-about on without knowing what you’re getting into. The size, weight and mind-bending power need to be respected.
Akin to strapping into an f16 fighter jet, which you don’t do just for shits-and-giggles. Exciting, yes, but also frightening if you know what comes next.
Once you get twisting that throttle, you’ll be passing bikes, cars, and other objects at warp speed which could easily be you in a tree you didn’t anticipate would arrive so quickly.
Not that the k1300s is a hard bike to ride, but not flat-out easy either. Definitely recommended for experienced riders who know how to manage the weight and speed.
It’s easy to see that the k1300s, which is designed and built in Germany, would feel at home in the motherland storming the ‘Bahns and smooth mountain roads. Our shithouse roads here in and around Sydney don’t do it much justice for speed or quality.
The handling of the big Bavarian is precise and stable. Being a large machine, it takes some planning and effort to get the best out of it in the bends, but in the right hands, a very fast bike while also being something you can ride all day. Sporting the BMW duolever suspension up front, the way it goes about its business is quite different from a standard telescoping setup.
The suspension on the k1300s is very stable, comfortable and isolates you from a lot of the road harshness. A bonus the bike doesn’t dive on harsh braking which gives added control on hard stopping. Some riders have described the sensation as a bit numb, complaining that they don’t feel enough feedback. I can see why they would say this, but like with anything, I think it just takes some getting accustomed to.
The forged alloy wheels that come standard on this Motorsport edition do make a remarkable difference in its agility. Throwing the bike through a series of bends is far more comfortable than it should be on a quarter-tonne machine. On top of that, they look schmick!
What’s not to like?
For a top-specification motorcycle that is as well-built as this, it’s hard to pick faults.
No motorcycle is going to be perfect for all circumstances, and the same goes for the K1300s Motorsport.
Pushing this thing around in a parking sport or slow tight manoeuvring are not enjoyable with this beast. However, unless you are in bumper-to-bumper traffic, a city run with moving traffic is no dilemma.
The clutch action is a little heavy, and it pulses a bit as it catches. For around town, there are much better bikes. Not the ideal partner for Bankok-style traffic, the K doesn’t revel in going slow.
The moderately restricted steering lock make u-turn and slow-speed manoeuvring a handful.
As a design and concept, some areas of the bike are showing their age – for example, the digital dash part of the tacho looks like something pulled from a cold-war era submarine. Sort of cool though.
What’s the Buzz?
One irritation I’ve always had with the k1300 series of bikes is the buzzy clutch and various frequencies of vibrations depending on engine speed. This is especially apparent because some part of the rev range and throttle-positions are butter smooth.
The first set of vibes comes in at 3-4k rpm when on the overrun, decelerating with engine braking – the clutch basket will buzz like crazy. The second set, which I don’t mind as much will come on about 7-8k rpm and then smooth out as you climb higher. The high range vibes are probably sufficient to remind you that you’re about to exit the stratosphere.
Its a four cylinder problem.
To be fair though, this sort of vibration is inherent to 4 cylinder sportbikes across all categories. I tried the 2018 Honda CB1000r the other day and was surprised that even this honda s buzzed quite a bit around the 5-6k mark.
On the flip-side, if the BMW k1300s were any smoother, getting into trouble would be even quicker than it already is.
The quick-shifter can be sensitive to the correct technique. Still smoother than some newer BMWs especially the Twin-cylinder models. As with most of these units, they are temperamental if not used the right way.
You need to be on the gas relatively hard and be deliberate in your foot action. In short, it works fine if you use it as intended.
Today, contemporary bikes come out with a myriad of tech that just wasn’t seen only just a few years back. BMW always led the tech & feature list on motorcycles.
For its day, being an ageing man-of-war, it was a burger with-the-lot as far as options went. Impressive even today. 6-speed gearbox + quick-shifter, Electronic suspension adjustment (front and rear end) 3 modes + pre-load selection. Add to that ABS brakes front and rear, traction control, heated grips, trip computer…
A host of touring options available as well.
Realistically the only thing I would add to this bike is cruise control.
Anytime there is a road trip or even a weekend ride that affords a decent distance, space and speed - the BMW k1300s is my weapon of choice. Fast, stable and comfortable.
Now discontinued, the BMW k1300 will roam the earth for many decades to come. Some parts of the bike are ageing (like the dash) but the k1300s is still an impressive hulking motorcycle with an absolute thug of an engine makes it an occasion every time I get on.
Impressively engineered, wickedly fast and equally comfortable. There are not many bikes this big that look as cool -the Big K looks like a big supersport rather than a gre-nomad touring sled.
It may not be the best bike for everyday use; it remains one of my all-time favourite motorcycles.
Tested and bought at Procycles, Hornsby. If you want one, or any other bike for that matter – ask for Fernando.
If you’re in the market for a BMW K1300s, you may also consider:
- Suzuki Hayabusa (slightly quicker, but nowhere near as refined or comfortable)