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David Shapiro 08-11-2010 02:30 PM

BMW K1300S owners-speak up!
Hi All,
I'd like to hears from K1300S owners. It's a bike that I find very intriguing, for it's power, riding position and looks. I just wish the "R" variant came to the US. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be my next bike.


ramon 08-11-2010 03:20 PM

I've had mine for about 2 or 3 months and I love it more every time that I ride it. It works perfect for my riding style at this point in my life. I need a bike that I can ride to L.A. and all around the Bay Area roads. I wanted comfort, but was not ready to give up sport.

I chose mine with only ABS and gear shift assist. Traction control would have been nice, but that would have meant ESA, which I did not want. I will add Ohlins in a month or so, but other than that, it was perfect right out of the box. Power, quality fit and finish, comfort and style all in an affordable package, just what I want in a bike these days :evil

apessino 08-11-2010 04:50 PM

All right, you asked! :D

I bought mine immediately as they became available in April 2009. I have owned lots of bikes (14 new ones just the past 4 years), I always have at least 5 in my garage, but there is always one that is my main transportation, the one I ride practically every day (I don't use a car since I can't stand four wheeled vehicles). My fully loaded S was purchased for that role.

She now has ~12K miles - mostly commuting, occasional long trips, rides up to Santa Barbara every few weeks, I even rode her to the track and back once (but rode a different bike on the track :norton).

Here is my review after one year of ownership:

- The engine: absolutely fantastic. The power is intoxicating, the acceleration bordering on the insane. Low RPM fueling is not perfect (like the S1000RR, for example) but not too bad - just the slightest hint of hesitation on pickup at times. Overall, however, the fueling is great. The bike is also surprisingly frugal for such a monster - I am a bodybuilder (a little over 6', over 245 lbs. at the moment) and even with my heavy ass and crazy right hand the bike gets around 45 mpg with mixed riding.

- The brakes: superb. Until I got the S1000RR I didn't think a motorcycle could stop better than the S does. The ABS is the best I've ever experienced - it never intrudes, and when it activates it is to save your ass. Smooth, efficient, powerful and modulable. If you push it really hard you can get a bit of fade (she's not a light bike, after all) but for general use you can't wish for more.

- Traction control: a bit crude (compared to the S1000RR, definitely) but still better than nothing - it is a life saver when you ride a beast this powerful in the rain or ice. The most fun thing about it is its anti-wheelie/anti-spin that, combined with the quickshifter, lets you take off from stopped by dumping the clutch, throttle wide open, and then bang the upshifts while the world literally warps around you. Just make sure you hold on tight... :D

- Handling: I love it. This was my first bike with the para/tele suspension, and it just freaking works. Some people complain about lack of feedback - which is fair, you do not get as much info back from the frontend as you do with a conventional fork, but the added stability midcorner and the immediacy and precision with which cornering is initiated are worthwhile tradeoffs on a bike primarily intended for road use. The suspension is a big part of it, but the chassis is really what makes the handling so exceptional. The K1300S is supremely well balanced, stable and it is fun in the corners because it is so predictable (once you learn to trust it).

- Shaft drive: this was the first bike I ever bought with a shaft, and I swear to you if it weren't that I see it when I dismount I'd forget it's even there. Lash is almost non existent, and overall the bike is very smooth. There is, to be fair, a bit of shaft-induced vibration at ~7K RPM and higher, but nothing too bad and generally you don't go that high in the revs for very long (the road tends to end, with your license... :D). You cruise at 90 mph at around 4K RPM in 6th, and believe me, if the need arises you do not need to downshift to let her rip!

- ESA II electronic suspension: do not buy it without it. Once again, the BMW gadgets actually work. The ability to adjust the rear shock at the touch of a button is amazingly useful if you ride the bike in a variaty of situations. There is this section of 101 freeway between Camarillo and Ventura here in Souther California where the surface is bumpy in a way that seems designed to crush your teeth if you are on a sportbike. I have taken it on a whole bunch of bikes - the worst ever was my Ducati 1098 and its brutally stiff suspension, those few miles I swear were enough to give me a splitting headache and make my nuts go numb. Normally I keep the K1300S in Sport mode, with rider + luggage selected (I can't stand soft bikes - I like 'em stiff and handling well). I remember the first time I got to that section of road and, sure enough, the shaking and chattering was starting... I reached for the button, switched to "Comfort" and literally felt as if the road was being smoothed out under me. Holy shit that was awesome! :D Totally worth the money, believe me...

- Ergonomics: perfection. To me and my body this is the ultimate motorcycle. Mine is stock, and I can literally ride all day without a hint of pain or discomfort. Some people find more upright bikes to be better suited to their bodies, but that is certainly not hte case with me. I could not sit upright for hours at end and be comfortable, a bike is no different. The not-too-forward but still half-fetal position of the K1300S is perfect for me. Reach to the bars is comfortable but sporty and it allows for spirited cornering when needed, there is plenty of leg room, wind protection is excellent. Even the passenger accomodation is good, if you need to carry someone. The electronic suspension helps tremendously here too.

- Others: every detail about the bike is useful and works great. The (easily adjustable) headlight is the best I've ever had on a motorcycle, the heated grips make winter riding a pleasure, the electronic tire pressure and oil level monitoring are great peace of mind. The dash is readable, informative and the auto-adjusting backlighting is flawless.

- Problems: the initial run of K1300S had two common issues: stalling and failing switchgear. My bike never had a stalling problem (maybe twice the first month I had it, never an issue since) but I understand some owners were unhappy back then. I have not heard anything about it in a long time, so I assume the problem has been resolved (like I said, never an issue for me...). The faulty switchgear was replaced as part of a recall a few months back. Mine failed twice (indicator switch and high beam stopped working) the first month - was replaced once, then again for the recall and I have not had a problem since. The new BMW "traditional" switchgear is actually quite clever (it is fully modular, CAN compatible and it has no wires at all) but the initial run had some defect that caused them to fail after a short time. All fixed now and none of the new bikes have those issues anymore.

- Quality: my bike is well over a year old, and while 12K miles might not seem like much for a daily all-year rider, you must consider that I ride the other bikes as well and, most of all, that in October 2009 while riding home at night I was t-boned by a 16 year old moron (he had gotten his license that morning, and had four friends in the car). I hit the rear of the idiot's car at well over 50 mph, rolled for a while and when I came to a stop the bike had slid all the way onto the sidewalk. I always wear full gear (and I mean full: one piece leather suit, back protector, gloves, boots, helmet) so I walked away unhurt other than a seriously swollen foot (but not broken), and even more amazingly the bike only received cosmetic damage. The fairings on the left side were destroyed, but the frame and shaft didn't even have a scratch! The kid was 100% at fault, of course, and at the end the dealer replaced the fairings, left handlebar, mirrors, windshield, pegs and shifter, a chip that got smashed in the collision, etc. but that was it, no major damage at all! Luckily, I had replaced the little plastic cover on the shaft drive with a slider from R&G because I thought it "looked cool" :D It was literally ground down to nothing as the bike slid on it for 30 feet or so. If it weren't for that thick piece of plastic I am sure the shaft would have been in really bad shape. Of course I got another one as soon as I got the bike back (you can see it in the recent picture below). The worst part of it all was that it took 2 months for all the parts to come in from Germany (I was not happy about that) but at least the bike was back to perfect afterwards.

At the end, the bike was int he aforementioned collision, it has been in the rain, in the freezing cold up in the mountains, in thick fog, even in a dust storm and a crazy ash cloud during the brushfires last year, yet it looks and rides like new. The paint is still perfect, the plastics are black and deep - she looks awesome. That shoudl be a testament to exceptional build quality, I think.

So... here's the short version of my review: my 2009 BMW K1300S is the greatest single motorcycle I've ever owned. If I only could have one bike, she would have to be it. There are other bikes that are better at specific things (like my incredible S1000RR) but nothing comes close to the big K as an all 'rounder. She is the perfect blend of comfort, fun, practicality, insane speed, gadgets, quality and frugality. She was my first BMW ever, my first bike with a shaft drive, first bike with heated grips... :D I truly, honestly love it and I can't imagine you not loving one if you decide to buy it.

Cos 08-12-2010 01:26 AM

Yes, but how do you REALLY feel about it?


A most excellent review :thumb

If only the freakin things didn't cost 20,000 Euro here :bluduh

Vince 08-12-2010 02:44 AM

My mate has a K1200s with the electronic suspension,he tends to ride in the comfort setting,the softer setting HELPS keep his license,makes it easier to notice your speed,ride them in sports mod and its very easy to loose your license,he loves his.

Mowster 08-12-2010 04:18 AM

I dont understand why the K1300R is not available in the US :huh

The K1300 is surely the 1 bike which can do everything....
...including license loss in 2 seconds flat :rofl

+1 on the comments above....
17k kms on my R model; every kilometer a great one :D

scrannel 08-12-2010 07:37 AM


Originally Posted by Mowster
I dont understand why the K1300R is not available in the US :huh

The K1300 is surely the 1 bike which can do everything....
...including license loss in 2 seconds flat :rofl

+1 on the comments above....
17k kms on my R model; every kilometer a great one :D

Have a K1200R, love the bike. But they did not sell well in the USA. Maybe they'll try again once the recovery is under way? However, Americans have very boring taste when it comes to design. K1300R is the only bike I'd trade for.

r90 08-12-2010 08:44 AM

I love mine. I highly recomend a Remus hexcone. The sound is amazing. My only issue is I can almost never get out of 3rd gear, it's scary fast.

Saso 08-12-2010 08:52 AM


Originally Posted by apessino
So... here's the short version of my review: my 2009 BMW K1300S is the greatest single motorcycle I've ever owned.

This is the only bike on the market today that I would ever consider replacing my Blackbird with. Love that color, BTW.

ovd 08-12-2010 09:26 AM

I will be repeating what has been said above several times by saying that K1300S is the best all-rounder and/or sport tourer (with the emphasis on sport) I see on the market at the moment. I think the only thing I may add is I would not recommend it for the track. Though its still good for the twisties, it is simply too much of a bike for the track. It is too "composed" and too focused on its mission: sport-touring. Not pure sport.

bradatlarge 08-12-2010 09:37 AM


Originally Posted by r90
I love mine. I highly recomend a Remus hexcone. The sound is amazing. My only issue is I can almost never get out of 3rd gear, it's scary fast.

if the motor / gearing are anything like the K1300GT's that I had as a loaner in SoCal earlier this year, its like a freakin' warp drive....

I wanted to see what she had so, on a stretch of freeway with little traffic, I gave her the beans - hold on, indeed. I barely could!

lucky6600 08-12-2010 10:08 AM

I enjoy every single mile on mine

r90 08-12-2010 11:54 AM

+1 to OVD, I had mine at a track day. It was fun but not what the bike was built for.

Grumpy 08-12-2010 11:56 AM

" Appesino " you said it all !!!

rhinoWERX 08-12-2010 01:43 PM

I've recently joined the ranks - picked up a used 09 with all the bells and whistles. First time K bike owner (owned lots of Airheads and several Oilhead boxers in the past).

Much has been said that reflects for me also - awesome bike that gets me excited just thinking about riding it :D

I did go ahead and install some bar risers as I found my wrists were a little uncomfortable.

I think another point worth mentioning - this is one of the first bikes that I haven't felt the need to do much 'moding' too; tinted windshield, GPS mount, frame sliders and 'maybe' a slip on pipe. The bike certainly doesn't need to be 'hopped' up, and other than the handlebars for me, the ergos, seat and wind protection are great.

Other BIG pluses - quick-shift assist :clap, on board computer, and I'm digging ESA (although, should the shocks fail over time, I'll probably go ahead and replace them with manually adjustable Ohlins).

As others have said, one of the best all-rounder bikes out there :thumb

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