For Sale: 1992 BMW K1
When it was first released back in 1988, the BMW K1 was something of a sensation. Based on BMW’s recently introduced longitudinal four cylinder “K” configuration engine, the K1 featured new motorcycle technology such as ABS brakes along with stunning bodywork developed from hours and hours in the wind tunnel. Intended to be a teutonic tour de force, BMW relied on aerodynamics to produce an autobahn missle dispite the European cap of 100 horsepower (Erik Buell did essentially the same thing with his Battletwin bike, as seen here). Since BMW Marketing was also in a funk – replacing the boxer engine with a four cylinder left BMW without a clear plan, strategy or image – the K1’s aesthetics were magnified by garish paint schemes, graphics and wild colors.
As the 1980s turned into the 1990s, BMW realized that the George Jetson look of the K1 was not selling. Thus, in the final years of production, the paint schemes were subdued slightly. And while the bikes did receive some updates throughout the model run, there continued to be many concerns with vibration (the engine was solidly mounted), heat radiating from within the confined space, and panels cracking. The last issue plagues most K1s; to save weight on an already large and heavy bike, the panels were engineered to be as thin and lightweight as possible. As such, they are prone to cracking at stress points. Even with the lighter bodywork, a K1 still tips the scales at over 500 pounds – before you add fuel or rider. High speed distance is the strenght; acceleration, low speed handling and turning radius work against it.
From the seller:
This particular bike was owned by a casual collector who always wanted a K1 and finally bought one several years ago. Showing 20,367 miles, he has replaced the fuel pump and had it regularly serviced by the local BMW dealer in Medford. He gave us the service records he has paid for and the records from the previous owner. The bike comes with the factory soft luggage and stock colored front wind screen. The bike has been ridden and is not a trailer queen, but it is stunning to view today as it was twenty years ago. There is a crack on the upper right fairing where the mounting screw attaches the two panels, the tank has three scratches that have been brush touched and the front of the lower fairing has rock chips from the front tire as can be seen in the images. The bike is not new, but it is original as you can see by the decals and finish. It runs excellent and rides great. These bikes are rare and collectable today yet can be ridden and serviced.
BMW moved a reported total of 6,921 of these wild machines between 1988 and 1993. As far as rare and collectable bikes go, that is a huge number. To BMW (or any other mass-market player), that was not even enough to cover design and product costs. The K1 faded from sight and only occasionally crop up on the open market. When they do, they are generally well loved and have some pretty respectible mileage on them. That should tell you the important bit: these are great machines to ride – in the right circumstances and if you can accept their limitations.
This auction is on right now, and the current bid is only $2,650. The reserve has not yet been met, and the volume of bidding has been above average. Some research on the ‘net indicates that low mileage, excellent examples should trade for $7,000 – $10,500. This one, with high mileage (for a collector) and paintwork issues will struggle to meet that. Depending on where the reserve is set, this could be a collection-filling bargain in the making!
To find out more information, read more of the details, and review more photos, . Good Luck!