Looking at K75s: need advice

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by hammick, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    I'm looking at a 1992 K75s tomorrow and need some advice. Photos are attached. Owner's description as follows:

    Beautiful K75S, low miles (16,000), BMW luggage (new, only used on (1) trip.) BMW tail rack (new), Corbin Seat, ABS, Heated Grips, owners manual, Haynes service manual, good tread on tires, all books from when bike was new


    The bike has 16k miles. Everything works including ABS and heated grips. He says it runs great. He gets an intermittent battery and ABS light on the dash. Claims ABS works just fine and it charges just fine. He doesn't know if the splines have ever been lubed but said BMW dealer said with 16k miles it shouldn't be an issue.

    What should I pay particular attention to when I look at this bike tomorrow? What is it worth? He says the bags are brand new and he keyed them to the bike. Does it look like it is missing any fairing pieces? He does not have the original seat. I assume the belly pans were optional?

    Thanks.

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    #1
  2. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Bellypans were not optional. That one is missing......shit, the brackets are still there! :lol3

    The Corbin was the standard seat in 1992.

    Its worth 3000-3500.

    YOU GOTTA DO THIS THO: Open the gas cap, unscrew the four Phillips screws, remove the cap assembly, and have a good long look around the inside of that gas tank with a flashlight. Everything else is salvageable on that bike if its been parked, but if the inside of the gas tank is corroded, just walk away.
    #2
  3. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    Thanks for the info. Very helpful. Keep it coming guys.

    Owner is asking $3,500 but will negotiate. Not sure how much. I'll ask if he has the bell pan but I'm sure he would have mentioned it.

    I'll tell him I need to look in the tank. He told me he removed and drained the tank when he bought the bike. He had to replace or repair the fuel pump when he purchased it and then he said it fired right up.
    #3
  4. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    I have a little K75 experience and that is a fine example. Can't comment on cost in a different market but at that mileage it can last you a long time.
    S- bars are low and narrow so expect a set of barbacks in your future though some go with the C model bars to alleviate position issues.
    Up here the belly pan was optional and that is the first time i heard of Corbin as a stocker. I have used a Corbin but found the stock seat to be more to my liking.
    #4
  5. dmac57

    dmac57 Long timer

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    The Corbin looks like a period-correct seat that could have been OE on a K75RT. Better than stock by any measure. I'd agree with the OP in that AFAIK, all K75S-es came with the belly pan. Either it got damaged and removed, or removed and lost. Not cheap, so should lower the value.

    The advice about the tank is spot-on. The advice from the dealer about he splines absolutely is not. This is a 20-year-old motorcycle. If the splines haven't been lubed recently, the lube is old at the best, and the splines need to be cleaned and re-lubed, both the clutch and drive shaft splines.

    Check the brakes. The calipers can stick from disuse, and the master cylinders can fail. I'd be more worried about the front, because that's the one that I've seen go.

    Look at the manufacture date on the tires. Older that 4 years, and you should look at replacing them.

    The intermittent ABS failure light suggests that the battery is getting feeble. Probably not an indication of charging issues.

    That's what I can think of. What you want to do is decide how much you want to spend, all-in, look at what you have to spend on catch-up maintenance and replacements, and figure what your purchase price has to be. HTH!
    #5
  6. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    Thanks. Pretty sure I can tackle the splines myself. Will give me a chance to clean everything good. Hopefully he is willing to move off his price.
    #6
  7. Riteris

    Riteris Dessert Runner

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    By 1992, BMW had been making the bike long enough that off the assembly line, it was as perfect a bike as they would make it.

    As has been pointed out already, any issues with this bike would be due to the aging process AND lack of use. A low mileage older bike is not always the deal it might seem to be.

    I would offer a really low price with the thought that you will be spending a lot of effort to replace aged plastic and rubber bits.
    #7
  8. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    It's a magnificent machine, all things being equal. But, it's still an old machine. Even if the bike is low miles, the spline grease is still aging every day. So, it needs to be done.

    The abs light gremlin is probably no big deal.

    Looks like a solid example but should be checked for aging issues.
    Other than what has been mentioned, look at the vacuum caps on the engine and see if they're old and cracked. Look at the injector seals and see if they're old and cracked, leaking, staining the area around the injectors.

    It's a used bike. So, it could blow up the second you leave his driveway with it. The trans could drop. The clutch could start slipping. Some of those old school electronics could crap out.
    Be prepared for that. It happens.
    #8
  9. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    There is not much of a chance of a rusty tank, unless something exceptional happened, as the K75 has an aluminum tank. I'd pop a new fuel filter in. The BMW one is pricey, but Anton (below) I believe has a cross-reference to a NAPA part that works.

    The belly pans sometimes took a beating. This isn't a bike that's blessed with a ton of ground clearance. Lowers can be found and color matched, but it's a fairly expensive process to get it right. That's a negotiating point right there.

    Anton Largiader www.largiader.com/ has a ton of solid information on this model. The brake thing isn't a huge issue. It's about a three minute process to re-set the ABS "brain." The procedure is clearly outlined.

    By modern standards, the K75 is no powerhouse, and it lacks the charisma of an airhead. However, if it is properly maintained, it's a mile-eating maggot. I own a '95, and my riding partner a '92s. They return between 45-50 mpg, and will go all day, every day with no fuss or bother with proper care. The engine seems bland at first, and the exhaust note sounds rather Jetson-like. However, at the end of a long day, you'll appreciate the linear powerband and smoothness of the bike. They are a very solidly built. BMW didn't cheap out on much on this machine.
    #9
  10. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    I took a good long look at the bike this morning and rode it for about a half an hour at city and highway speeds.

    Both front and rear ABS work (the old ABS is certainly different than the modern BMW systems).

    At first just the battery light was dimly lit. It has an Energizer battery in it. Not sure if that is the cause. We put a voltmeter on it and the battery read over 12v and then close to 14v when started and revved.

    Eventually the ABS light came on blinking and the red triangle was blinking in unison. The ABS still worked though.

    Not sure if a new battery would take care of both these issues. Also at times the bike seemed to be struggling to keep an idle and at one point died. Could be the battery also I guess.

    The deal breaker was the bike had a head shake at about 57mph with pressure off the bars. We got the front wheel in the air on the centerstand and the bars would not flop lock to lock. Not sure if this is normal (caused by the fluid dampner).

    Anyhow the guy will take $3,000 for the bike. I am concerned I may get burned with an expensive steering assembly repair and/or electrical repair. On the other hand, it may just need a new battery and new tires.

    Otherwise the engine, drivetrain and body of the bike seem to be in good shape.

    What does everyone think?
    #10
  11. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Not rust but corrosion. Happened to a few of them at the lower rear seams where the water may accumulate and then they corrode from the inside out and leak. Really inspect the paint there, if any bubbling not a good sign.

    Recent thread somewhere else on that little problem. Maybe not so significant nowadays because the corn juice should keep the water in suspension.
    #11
  12. BuddingGeezer

    BuddingGeezer Been here awhile

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    Lower left seam by the seat. Water settles to this spot and corrodes the tank over time. I repaired the exact pinhole leaks on a K100 with JB Weld. Had no problem for the 20K+ miles I had the bike. Temps from 15 degrees F to over 165 degrees F tank temp in the sun.
    #12
  13. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    And steering head bearings....if they never were serviced the old grease is probably congealed. Needs servicing and maybe new bearings. Not hard to do on them and not all that expensive them bearings. Funny they are available from bearing suppliers but probably cheaper from BMW, looks like they buy lots of them and get a deal. Supply and demand drives the price on bearings.

    I wouldn't call that a deal breaker....just a good way to negotiate a better price. -$300.00 for that....!:wink:
    #13
  14. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    Three grand is a whole lot of money for a K bike with any issues at this time of year. The head shake would be a deal killer for me. It's certainly NOT a normal condition.

    I purchased my '95 from an inmate in the fall a couple of years ago with just 20k on it in super condition. It had been serviced, fresh spline lube, new fuel and water pump, and an all-around satisfying deal from a very good fellow. Right now, I think I'd be hard pressed to get more than $3500 for it with 30k on it. I added a NEW $$$ Hannigan fairing, which is far more comfy than that on the S, a custom seat, HID lighting, and a real GIVI top case rack.

    Don't get your pee hot on this one. There are certainly good ones out there within your budget. When they are good, they are an excellent machine. An abused one can suck a grand out of your pocket in pretty short order. Low miles are not a guarantee of a good machine.
    #14
  15. A. T. T-W

    A. T. T-W Can't be bothered.

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    I recently purchased an '86 75S that had been stood for some time. It too was wayward at higher speeds, it was the fluidbloc. It had seized to the steering stem and then been freed by wrenching the bars resulting in the two grub screws cutting through the damper's outer shell. The new part has an aluminium outer now.

    Steering bearings are cheap and easy to replace and if it's the fluidbloc damper, that too is cheap and even easier to replace than the bearings. Good points to reduce the asking price.

    As for the spline lube. I cannot get my head around the fetish for spline lube here. There's no reason to believe that the original grease has deteriorated with such a low mileage. It won't have evaporated. Optimol is a paste, it's very thick and once the surfaces of the splines are coated and mated, it's no more prone to evaporating or otherwise disappearing than it is in the tube it comes in.

    If you are separating the splines for any reason, fine, clean them and re-lube but otherwise don't bother.

    The ABS issue is likely to be the battery. Re-setting it is easy once a decent battery is installed.

    I can't comment on the asking price (different market) but the things that you mention shouldn't devalue it too much.
    #15
  16. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    I don't have a fetish for spline lube, but I can tell you it's very nice to have it done by the PO with receipts to prove it.

    As a point of comparison on price, I was casually tracking a bike that was listed here about a month ago. Good shape, moderate farkles, including a new rear shock, the Corbin and heated grips, and had been ridden recently. It started at $3500 asking, and finally went out the door for over a grand less. Somewhere in the 30k miles range, but that isn't an issue with this engine.

    I'm just saying that there are bikes with no issues to be had for this price or less.

    If I was buying one with stock suspension, I'd also factor in the cost of a new rear shock and new front springs. Neither were anything to write home about from the factory.
    #16
  17. nedodjija

    nedodjija Been here awhile

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    I had one exact like it. Same color, same year. Great bike. I got it for 2 grand and sold it for 3. It was in perfect shape, so that might tell you how much the bike is worth. The one I had had 26k on the odo. I sold it to make more room in the garage and buy a bike that would not feel so similar to my dl650. Good luck
    #17
  18. A. T. T-W

    A. T. T-W Can't be bothered.

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    If it was showing a lot more miles, if it looked as though it's regularly been used to ford rivers or had spent its life in a particularly hot environment, I'd agree that it might be nice but 16,000 miles?

    Sorry but there's a tendency for people to over-emphasise the need to check the splines. At times it's almost as though there's a desire to scare prospective owners off buying.

    On the missing parts, the two small black filler pieces that sit under the lower, rear edges of the fairing are AWOL too.
    #18
  19. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    I had a 650 Strom and the K75 in the stable at the same time. I decided to keep the K75. As much as I liked the WeeStrom; it's manners in a strong cross-wind scared me at times. However, the Wee had quite a lot over the K in several departments:

    1. The transmission on the Wee was one the best I'd ever ridden. Silky and precise, and six gears are very nice. The K75 trans was better than the airheads I've owned, but still isn't the pinnacle of refinement.

    2. The Wee had better suspension.

    3. The DL650 makes you a cornering expert, instantly.

    Why did I keep the K75? It's built like a flippin' tank, handles well in the wind, and doesn't tempt me to take it too far off-road. I knew I was going to get in trouble in the woods with the Wee at some point. My Wee was equipped with all the goods -- bash plate, tank guards, and all. It was fantastic on gravel, but would soon give a warning if taken too far into the woods. It made the KLR seem light in the crud.

    A good K75 will take you pretty far, particularly if skinned up with a mild dual-sport tire. Just wait for the right one.

    I wouldn't discount the standard K75 models at all, if I were you. The "S" bars are not as comfy as some of the other offerings in the long haul. This is basically a standard, not a sport bike.
    #19
  20. dmac57

    dmac57 Long timer

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    The cost of refurbishing any of the splines, or buying a replacement drive shaft or tranny makes it hard to over emphasize. Exposed to air, grease degrades, surfaces become exposed and prone to corrosion. Not saying that it has happened to this particular unit, but if there's no evidence of having been serviced, that's 20 year old grease. If you recall, BMW couldn't make their mind up what to use for a good while, so who's to say the flavor of the day in 1992 is what is "standard of care" today? The bike may be fine, but that's the first thing I'd do if I bought it, and I'd factor that cost into any offer I made.

    YMMV, but better safe than surprised.
    #20