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Blade Runner Meets Kraftwerk: 1991 BMW K1

Looking back, it's hard to see any way the BMW K1 would have ever been anything but controversial, with such a heinous striking profile and the infamous Ishihara test livery, but BMW came at its design as only the Germans can: With an eye for both problem solving and pushing the envelope.

1991 BMW K1 for sale on eBay

The K1 was aimed at pushing BMW into the youth market, catering to buyers who wanted the sporty fairings and race bike queues of Japanese and Italian machines, while satisfying its core group of high-speed touring-oriented buyers.

So, the Bavarians threw a 1,000-cc longitudinal four cylinder at the equation, and then added shaft drive and a single-sided paralever swingarm. The engine was limited by BMW to 100 horsepower, which meant achieving 150-mph autobahn blasts would require aerodynamic trickery.

Enter the now-dated bodywork, which caused either reverence or revulsion, and achieved an 0.38 drag coefficient.

The 1991 BMW K1 for sale here wears the most controversial red and yellow color scheme, and is in very nice condition with a couple caveats. The seller says the ABS was removed when they purchased the bike, though it was supplied with all the ABS parts. They do not say whether it was reinstalled. The digital clock is also broken.

On the upside, it comes with a full titanium Remus exhaust.

From the eBay listing:

Selling My 1991 BMW K1. I purchased this ICONIC motor bike with a great sounding REMUS exhaust system installed. The first for me hearing this type of sound from a BMW motorcycle, Sweet. The ABS System was also removed when purchased. I didn't ask why, but the parts came with the bike. It has a very strong engine and power train that launches the bike effortlessly and the Remus exhaust isn't overpowering with noise while cruising. New battery and tender purchased last year, tender also sold with bike. This BMW K1 is a daily rider and will be sold as such. Starts every time. Display cluster LCD clock not working properly.

Clear title in My Possession. Sold in As Is condition.

The starting bid on this rare and wild beast is $5,500, and with more than six days left in the auction, it has yet to attract any bids.

8 Comments

  • appropriate listing given that this bike is often referred to as the “Ronald McDonald” color scheme and the new IT movie came out last weekend.

    • I’m lovin’ it!

      Seriously though, while a bit oddball in the looks department these are really great bikes(even if the color schemes did not age well).

      -Mike

  • Somewhere deep within the bowels of the BMW factory there is an Ugly Department-and the K1 has to be one of the best examples of the breed.
    Ugly, no hideous when new, now merely old and hideous.
    Back in the day, I had a K100, known as the Flying Brick, an excellent tourer and very comfortable even after several hundred miles of mixed motoring-but always an Ugly Mother.
    BMW followed on the tradition of added ugliness with the entire range of unfinished sheds they call Adventure Bikes-yes I know they are the best way to get to the North Pole, Siberia, wherever, but they are an assault on the eyeballs, then folks stick tinny square toolboxes all over them.
    And most modern manufacturers have travelled the same route, even hallowed design beasts like MV have inflicted the Brutale on us-the shame, the shame.
    Once upon a time bikes looked dead sexy, we all have our favourites, but sadly designers have been allowed to get away with aesthetic murder.
    End of rant.

  • This will surely be remembered as one of those “what the hell were we thinking” moments at BMW Motorrad. Maybe I just don’t get the quirky styling or the obvious effort to hide all of the sexy bits, but I don’t see anything about it that is appealing. What comes to my mind is a German built Honda Pacific Coast. Some things are rare for the wrong reason. Maybe this is one of those times.

  • Unbelievably hideous. Would absolutely love to have one

  • It’s been already stated well by the comments above, but I’ll attempt to find something positive to say about this thing. Look at those handlebars- they appear to be a perfect bend of comfort and practicality. Are they stock?

  • I really like these things and would love have one, but in the blue or charcoal grey color scheme.

    The Mickey D’s paint job is a non starter.

  • A bike only it’s mother could love you. You will always love it because it’s your child, but it’s still ugly.
    Weightc like a 1200cc bike, power of a 600cc bike. Mediocre handling, ugly colour.
    I really like it, I have always wanted one.
    I have never had a bike, I didn’t like.
    If you have a bike you hate. Send it my way, I will show it love.

Comment rules: Add something useful and constructive, and don't be a jerk. Comments that don't add value will be deleted. Comments will automatically close after 30 days. Thank you. -dc

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