BMW made 'old cock engines'. That was clearly the perception of the more dynamic motorcyclists after the arrival of the large, fast Japanese four-cylinder. But sturdy blond techies with square foreheads above their blue eyes can of course also go crazy. Also at BMW. If you just give them the chance. So the BMW K1.
The boxers would be 'phased out'
The K-series, which according to the BMW management had to follow the old-fashioned boxertwins, had already caused the stomach acid to rise to the lips of many old school BMW drivers. As good as the K100 and K75 were: They weren't Boxers! It was reprehensible novelty! And then came the BMW K1. And that left people speechless. They didn't speak up about it. And until a few years ago the mood in the market was such that a K1 could not fetch more than € 3.000. And then there had to be little, very little to criticize.
Ivanhoe's rocking horse
The uniquely styled BMW K1 (1988/1993), that was surely the most astonishing BMW ever made. The K1 had some construction features that could be traced back to the 'Futuro' concept car from 1981. That too was a fully streamlined machine with a basic paralever shape, but without a front fender at all. And that front mudguard was not to be missed on the K1. Like the Futuro, the K1 had integrated 'cases', but these were actually like the K1 glove boxes with a superiority complex.
The first set-up of the BMW was done in subdued black and those involved spoke fondly of 'the Black Widow'. They no longer spoke about 'fairing parts', but about 'the bodywork'. The Festively Wrapped BMW changed the idea of what kind of motorcycles BMW could make globally. What motorcycles could look like. He was revolutionary, with the necessary caveats that come with going, very bravely, untrodden paths.
Purists hated the "case-suppository" shapes and entire tribes were confused by the body graphics and color-painted wheels. Tastes are debatable, but the K1 was a masterful piece of equipment. The four-cylinder was made to blow on 'Autobahn' for a long time with a cruising speed above 200 km/h. The seven-part plating provided an air/drag coefficient of 0,38. The rider had to lie flat on the tank for this. Otherwise, the story collapsed.
Streamline as an emergency jump
That super streamline was a kind of emergency jump to get up to speed because of the power limitation to 100 hp imposed by German importers and dealers themselves. The K100 delivered 90. The K1 was equipped with a 16-valve cylinder head and delivered 100. Compared to the K100, the compression was increased and the crankshaft was made 1,3 kilograms lighter. The measurement and control work was done by a digital engine management. The K1 had a stiffer frame than the K100 and stood on - for the time - wide low profile tires. The result of all that effort was a bit disappointing. The motor was mounted directly in the frame and that caused some vibrations. All the plating and the wide tires made the K1 on the heavy side, even though BMW had kept the plating as light (as thin) as possible. And with its hundred horses, the K1 was no match for the Japanese machines of about 1000 cc in terms of acceleration. But the two-wheeler, equipped with its unique body, was a wonderful, fast travel machine. A vehicle for which the Italians would have used the slogan 'GT' (gran turisimo).
And the time when you had a nice K1 for 3.000 euros? That time is over.