Additional photos are available here for your perusal.
Introduced at the 1988 Cologne Motor Show, the K1 was BMW’s first attempt at producing a modern sportbike. The Bavarian brand was best known for its boxer-powered tourers, and it hoped the futuristic K1 would change the pubic’s perception of what the company was capable of while also attracting a younger demographic.
Powering the K1 was a heavily revised engine based on the K100’s power plant with a lighter crank, higher compression pistons, four valves per cylinder, and an advanced “Motronic” fuel-injection system that “retuned” the engine 300 times every second. The liquid-cooled, 987cc, DOHC, inline-four — which was mounted longitudinally on its side rather than the traverse-mounted setup used on Japanese i4’s —pumped out a claimed 74 ft-lbs of torque at 6,750rpm and 100hp at 8,000rpm — 500 revolutions shy of the K1’s redline.
The K1’s sub-four-second 0-60mph time and 150mph top-speed were possible thanks to its radical bodywork. Born out of extensive wind-tunnel testing, the bulbous seven-piece fiberglass fairing and a two-piece front-fender that draped over half the wheel gave the K1 a drag coefficient of 0.38, making it the most slippery production model in existence upon its release. Taking the K1’s utterly unique appearance one step further was its bright, in-your-face paint schemes; this deep red livery with bold yellow graphics combined with the black accents emulates the three colors on the German flag.
The K1’s bodywork — which was originally designed back in 1984 — also gave it impressive mileage, with a single tank being good for up to 400-miles. And when combined with the K1’s more than 600lb wet weight and 61.6-inch wheelbase (four-inches longer than any of its sport-touring competitors), the futuristic model was incredibly stable at high-speeds. The cockpit also got heated grips, and an easy-to-read main display supplemented by round analog gauges sunken into the fairing inlays on either side of the tank.
Another major highlight on the K1 was its suspension. Up front, there was a 41.62mm Marzocchi fork, while in back the bike featured BMW’s Paralever, a single-sided swing-arm, and driveshaft which helped to mitigate the shaftie’s “jacking effect” under hard braking or acceleration. This system had previously been implemented on the firm’s rugged G/S model, though the K1 marked its first use on a K-series machine. Hidden beneath its fiberglass bodywork was also a steering damper.
Stopping power came from dual front floating 305mm discs with “double-action” four-pot Brembo calipers and a “single action” 285mm disc in the rear, all courtesy of Brembo. Of course, the forks and brakes weren’t the only Italian hardware found on the K1, with its stock three-arm aluminum wheels — an unorthodox set up with a 17-inch front and 18-inch rear — being provided by FPS.
The K1’s Brembo units were aided by ABS systems (with toothed ABS rings), making it one of, if not the first production motorcycles to boast the now-ubiquitous safety feature. While the K1’s ABS was an optional add-on, it was a standard feature on all K1’s sold in the US market (where a 95hp version was sold instead of the 100hp-spec other markets received). The K1 was also reportedly the first production motorcycle to sport a three-way catalytic converter.
After four years of production BMW pulled the plug on the K1 in 1993, the same year the manufacturer introduced the K1100RS. A bit of a commercial flop, in total BMW, sold less than 7,000 K1 units, however, the company ultimately succeeded in reshaping its image. The K1 marked the first step in an evolution of BMW sportbikes that continues to this day with models like the mighty S1000RR.
This example is VIN: 6372714K1. It came to Iconic as an import from Japan; prior history is not known.
The odometer shows 42,806 kilometers (26,598 miles).
In preparation for the listing, the seller had us perform a safety inspection and confirm that the bike runs.
Yonni did the work, he notes the following in his condition report:
Tire Year Front/ Rear: 2012/2012
Tire % Front/ Rear: 70/80
Tire Press Front/ Rear: 33/42
Brake % Front/ Rear: 80/80
Oil: level overfull, quality ok, age unknown
Coolant:low, age unknown
Low Beam: ok
High Beam: ok
Tail Light: ok
Brake Light: ok
Plate Light: ok
• Gas cap stuck
• Forks leaking
• Oil leak from cam cover gasket
• Engine oil leak from weep hole between engine and transmission
He would recommend addressing the following:
• Oil leak diagnosis
• Oil change
• Transmission oil change
• Final drive oil change
• Coolant change
• Tire change
• Fork seals
• Gas cap replacement
It has been repainted (the red is slightly darker than OEM).
Aftermarket handle bars, top triple hardware, bar ends.
It is riding on Metzeler Racetec Z6 tires with date codes of 2312 and 3312.
Cosmetic Blemishes: please see the album up top for all known cosmetic blemishes. Here is a selection:
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this BMW is offered on a clean Oregon title. Please note that as an import, this bike lacks certain compliance and emissions stickers that the state of California would require to transfer a title. Have any K1 stories or questions about this listing? Let us know in the “Comments” tab!