BMW K1300S

20 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on BMW K1300S
Moto Guzzi Californian  Cruiser

2010 BMW K1300S Review

Photos supplied by BMW.

As the BMW’s speedo needle passes 163mph, it becomes apparent we are going to run out of straight road before I can find out what the new BMW K1300S will really do. With an eye on the rapidly approaching corner, I finally see the secondary digital display showing 167 before slowing down. As its powerful brakes begin to bite, the big BMW loses enough speed to allow a downshift before we negotiate the bend and pile the power back on.

After riding the latest version of BMW’s sport touring machine to come from the warped and wonderful mind of Mr. David Robb, it’s hard not to be impressed. Not just for the straight-line speeds, either.

The way the new K1300S handles cornering and braking duties and the amount of safety features that are packed into the bike is little short of amazing. And yet the typical rider’s perception of BMW motorcycles is probably that they are made for conservative old men in Aerostich suits who ride hundreds of thousands of miles in pursuit of a new badge to stick on their saddlebags.

Now before someone from the AARP calls me up and chews me out, I should say I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. BMW people, like the machines, are really in a class of their own when it comes to how many miles they ride. It’s just that your average motorcyclist doesn’t expect the bikes to perform in such an extreme manner, and this just makes me smile when I think about the new “S”.

Even with its rocket ship levels of warp speed, sportbike level braking, and rock solid handling, it has lost none of its BMW engineering excellence and Teutonic reliability. Nor has it lost any of the attributes and abilities that allow people to cover so many miles in comfort on this particular brand of motorcycle. As Bon Scott sang in the legendary AC/DC song A whole lot of Rosie, “You could say she got it all.”

While not really an all-new motorcycle (the 2010 K1300S is based on BMW’s previous K1200S), the larger engine capacity and multiple upgrades ensure this isn’t just a light makeover of last year’s model, even if it appears almost identical. The upper fairing section is slightly narrower; the cockpit trim is new, and the speedometer and tachometer have been redesigned. New side fairings, new LED taillight, and a more compact muffler complete the visual changes, with the big news happening under the vast expanse of bodywork.

2010 BMW K1300S Review

The manufacturer quotes figures of 175 bhp @ 9,250 rpm and 103 ft-lbs of torque at 8,250 rpm, so it’s no surprise to find that the new K1300S packs some serious German muscle when you twist the throttle. These figures indicate a 7 ft-lb increase in torque from as low as 2,000 rpm all the way to 8,000 rpm, but without the old bike there to compare, we couldn’t really notice the difference.

Both bikes have enough power to send you to jail in less time than it takes to write this sentence, and with top speeds on the north side of 165 mph, these figures are a tad academic when riding on a public road. What this incredible amount of power and torque does, though, is make the new K1300S even more effortless to ride at any speed than its predecessor was. Want to overtake, go faster, or shoot some adrenaline through your veins?

Just twist the throttle and hang on.

To gain this extra capacity and power, the original bike’s 1157cc displacement was increased to 1293cc, achieved by enlarging the pistons by 1mm and lengthening the stroke by 5.3mm. The new larger, lightweight, high-compression pistons feature an extra short piston skirt and thinner rings. Everything else inside the compact motor appears the same, and it remains one of the most sophisticated inline fours in production.

2010 BMW K1300S Review

One thing that both journalists and customers complained about with the K1200 range was the fueling. I had a long term K on test and had it back at the dealer on more than one occasion to try and smooth things out. It did get a lot better, and I’m happy to announce the new K1300S suffered none of these problems.

Some of my peers were experiencing a small fueling issue coming off a closed throttle during our test, but try as hard as I might, I never really noticed it on my particular unit.

All-new engine mapping was aimed at improving partial-load situations, and kudos to BMW for listening to the complaints and for fixing them. The bike now uses dual throttle cables, replacing the previous single one, and revised exhaust valve timing. There is also a new metal idle-control valve to replace the previous plastic version, a re-designed airbox and ram-air ducts—all revamped to help improve the fueling situation.

Leaping on the new K1300S for the first time and running through the pre-flight checks make you wish you had graduated from computer school. There is no flipping the petcock, tickling the old Bing Carburetors, and swinging out the kick start to fire the bike to life before heading out to ride.

Instead, there are a number of complex technical choices to be faced before riding, and while they seem complicated to this somewhat simple-minded journalist, they are extremely practical and aimed squarely at making the “S” one of the safest motorcycles on the market. Once I got the hang of things, it was a breeze. But the first time I was faced with the ABS, ESA II, ASC, and BMW’s Gear Shift Assistant, it seemed a little complicated.

2010 BMW K1300S Review

The ABS was the easiest. Anti-lock brakes have been with us for a long time now, and the BMW system has come a long way. I have very vivid memories of putting the system to the test on an old “flying brick” back in the mid eighties and wondering if I would lose my lunch or a few fillings when it went into its manic lurching behavior after I yanked on the lever at 80mph.

I’m pleased to say the new system is nearly flawless, with hardly any pulsing when it’s activated. It is also possible to turn it off when you want to, but this operation has to be performed at a standstill, and the system always defaults to being on when the bike is restarted.

2010 BMW K1300S Review

The ASC (Anti-Spin Control) quickly made sense, too. It is used to stop the rear wheel from spinning faster than the front one. Consequently, it also stops the bike from pulling wheelies, which is probably a good thing with the amount of power the BMW has on tap.

Unlike the ABS, the ASC can be turned on or off on the fly and is a safety feature I’m sure all bikes will come with one day.

Moto Guzzi Californian  Cruiser
Moto Guzzi Californian  Cruiser

Situations like pulling away from a traffic light and getting in a diesel spill or some stray oil, or applying too much power leaving a gravel parking lot, can spell disaster on two wheels without ASC.

Finally, we come to the ESA II. This is an electronic suspension adjustment system, and while it’s not new to BMW. this is the latest version from the German manufacturer, and has undergone improvements. You should note that this is an option and doesn’t come standard on the $15,259 base model K1300S. It is provided with the $2,250 premium package that also includes the ABS and the ASC.

Basically, at the push of a button located on the left handlebar, you can set the suspension to one of three modes: Sport, Normal or Comfort.

Each of these positions has a choice of three further settings to give nine different pre sets. In sport mode the settings are a little more aggressive than in the older system, and in comfort mode they are more relaxed. Thus, the range is wider and the feel is more noticeably different from the normal mode.

2010 BMW K1300S Review

While the K1300S uses the same frame as before, the front Duolever suspension has a lighter aluminum control arm for more sensitivity. I am a big fan of BMW’s radical front end design. The lack of dive under heavy braking is very comforting when coming to a rapid halt from high speed, and I have never had any problems at extreme lean angles.

Some people obviously found fault, so the spring weights were firmed and the trail reduced by a fairly substantial eighth of an inch. After taking part in the usual Journalist GP out on the deserted Californian roads, I happily gave both front and rear ends two thumbs up.

After flicking through a series of tight bends and marveling at the lean angles and maneuverability of the new K1300S, I had a hard time getting my head around the fact that this bike weighs 560 pounds full of fuel and rolls on a 62-inch wheel base. I’ve been caught out by a couple of big girls at line dancing in vertically stripped dresses, but the BM uses no such tricks.

It’s also incredible to me, having grown up on a ’78 Guzzi Le Mans, how smooth and unnoticeable the shaft drive is. This is still BMW’s unique Paralever system, but as you might imagine it’s new and improved in the latest model with all sorts of new friction discs and polyurethane elements to make things even smoother.

2010 BMW K1300S Review

BMW also has a racer-style quick shift system on this model. Allowing clutchless up shifts at full throttle—the way it’s done on a race bike—it is an option that comes directly from the street/race HP2 Sport. I used it all the time and it works flawlessly whether short shifting or running hard through the gears to maximum rpm.

It saves you precious time on your up shifts, and should get you to the coffee shop on Sunday mornings a few seconds ahead of your buddies.

Ultrafast, slick, and comfortable, new K1300S is just about perfect now. There are no more niggling fuel injection issues, just more of what made the old bike so popular. Wind protection is excellent, and typical BMW options like heated handlebar grips and electric-gear hook ups make it as versatile as you could want for extended riding duties. Heck, it even comes with conventional turn-signal controls for the first time.

What more could you ask?

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