BMW K1300R Road Tested – Page 3

1 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on BMW K1300R Road Tested – Page 3
BMW K1300R

BMW K1300R Review / Page 3

By Trevor Hedge

Under brakes the K1300R remains composed and surefooted at all times. Particularly so with the optional ABS system that in this latest incarnation is barely perceptible in the way it goes about its business.

Even when performing maximum effort stops, at the front the ABS can be heard more than felt. Plenty of power and feel is available at the lever and there is never any shortage of stopping power from the 320mm discs and four-piston calipers.

The EVO brake system available on the K1300R also calls on the 265mm rear disc when the front brake is applied but still offers independent control of the rear brake when using the rear brake pedal in isolation. Simple really, and in my opinion exactly the way brakes should be linked.

The lack of front end dive inherent in the Duolever front end makes it virtually impossible to lift the rear wheel off the deck. If it did happen though, the ABS system would react and save your bacon but, trust me, you won’t be having problems with the rear lifting under brakes.

The ASC system comes in handy on slippery surfaces but is not as smooth in its operation as the amazing system Ducati uses on its high level sportsbikes. It is also quite abrupt and is clearly devised as a safety feature rather than a variable assistance to improve lap-times and should be seen as such.

Of course, should you so desire the ASC can also give you the confidence to simply whack the throttle wide open on the exit of turns and rely on the system to save your bacon if things go pear shaped. Just make sure your mate isn’t following close behind when the system starts cutting the power.

At Phillip Island I enjoyed the K1300R much more than the fully faired K1300S. Both machines share identical trail, castor and head angle figures but somehow the S felt more cumbersome compared to the R. Sure, the R does carry a little less pork, 11kg less to be exact, but that’s not enough to explain such a difference in feel. I must put it down to the ergonomics of the R, as the machine just seems to shrink around the rider more than its supposedly more sporting sibling.

During the two weeks I enjoyed the K1300R on the road, I really became quite attached to the big German and have to list it as one of my all time favourite rides. Even two-up on a 20km dirt section that I was sternly warned to avoid by a motorcycle riding local, was still enjoyable on the K1300R.

The K1300R rolls on a 1mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor due to the lower mounting point of the revised Duolever front end. A new lower longitudinal arm and pivot point has reduced the steering head angle from 61° to 60.4°. Correspondingly, the K1300R has 104.4mm of caster compared to the 101mm of the K1200R.

When discussing how the K1300R handles tight terrain the engine braking characteristics of the four-cylinder mill must be mentioned. The engine braking is absolutely spot on and combines with the lack of backlash through the shaft drive system and negligible dive from the Duolever front end, to make for a wonderful dance partner through your favourite set of tight bends.

Those traits actually made me feel so comfortable that I found myself pushing the front ContiSport Attack front hoop more than would be advisable on public roads. The stability and lack of fore and aft pitch change when riding aggressively lures you into faster and faster entry speeds. Thankfully my testicular fortitude ran out before the tyres could cry enough and pitch me down the road.

Aiding that sense of invincibility is the light and precise steering that when aided with a bit of peg pressure makes the K1300R far more agile than a 217kg (dry) machine has any right to be.

At the rear of the machine things aren’t quite as great.

No matter whether set to sport, normal or comfort the rear struggled to cope with a continuous run of bumps. It felt as though there was perhaps not enough compression control and the rebound perhaps a little too slow which prevented the system from responding quick enough to a series of quick hits. It certainly isn’t bad and is probably only shown up by the rock solid front end more so than any inherent deficiency in the design.

I would like to try a K1300R on different tyres than the Conti’s our testbike wore. These tyres have quite a hard carcass with little give and I would like to see if a set of Michelin Pilot Powers or similar help the rear suspension to shrug off irregularities.

Our test bike was fitted with the optional ESA II system which adds a plastic element called an ‘Elastogran’ to the rear shock which in conjunction with the conventional spring takes up the forces transmitted through the inbound stroke to help, BMW claim, to reduce any sagging motion at the rear of the machine. This plastic sleeve is adjusted remotely through the ESA system and changes the amount of resistance by the positioning of the sleeve being adjusted by a small stepper motor.

Perhaps it is the characteristics of this new system that gave me the impression of the rear suspension struggling to control a hard succession of hits. The machine never became unruly so obviously the rear end was still fulfilling its intended purpose but it just feels, well, different, and not great. Continue.

BMW K1300R Review

Page 1 (Intro) / Page 2 (Drivetrain) / Page 3 (Handling) / Page 4 ( Dollars and Sense ) / Page 5 (Wallpaper)

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