BMW K1 Is a Throwback at Bulky Motorcycle Bodies from the 1990s


A good chunk of today’s young adults have never got the chance to experience the BMW K1 first hand. The German high-speed sport tourer with a sculpted body was in production for just five years starting 1988, making it a rare two-wheeler on today’s roads.

The K1 was introduced by the Germans to show the world BMW motorcycles do not exclusively mean flat-twin machines, and for that to happen they fitted a 987cc DOHC inside the frame. It was this piece of hardware that helped the motorcycle reach speeds of up to 150 mph (240 kph), but it was not the most visible, or the most impressive.

It fact, the engine is almost entirely hidden beneath a bulky shell made from fiberglass and intended to help the motorcycle push through the air better at high speeds. Thanks to its body, the motorcycle has a drag coefficient of 0.34.

Despite the body helping the bike fare better at high speeds, it’s not something people necessarily liked to see, so there was virtually no middle ground with this one: people either loved it, or hated it, and because just around 7,000 of them were made, we guess the hate side won.

For those who loved these bikes, the open market is now the only place to go in the hopes of finding a K1. And one just popped up on a specialized website.

With the bulky body painted in a ketchup and mustard motif, it is a 1990 model year, and has spent the past three decades in possession of the same American owner. It packs the original engine, and has an aftermarket Luftmeister exhaust system, a new battery, and a speedometer that shows a top speed of 180 mph (290 kph).

The motorcycle was part of an online auction that ended last week, with the winning bid sitting at $12,750.



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