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BMW K1300R: Still turning heads

2013-02-25 10:02

FUTURISTIC LOOKS: BMW's K1300R was radical back in 2009 and it's still radical now with its Road Warrior looks and awesome power. Image: DRIES VAN DER WALT

DRIES VAN DER WALT


BMW has a number of excellent bikes on the market: the S1000RR, the F-series adventure bikes, the K and R-series tourers and their king of the hill (and pretty much all of the terrain surrounding that hill), the hugely popular R1200GS.

These bikes garner a lot of media attention so there are some models that languish in relative obscurity despite being extremely good machines in their own right.

One such is the K1300R.

LOOKS DEPARTMENT

The basic principle of the bike dates back to 2005, originally with a 1200cc engine. In 2009 the bike (along with the rest of the K-series) received a 1300 engine as well as a new look. It retains that look and the engine into the 2013 model year, despite the fact that the K-series tourers now sport 1600cc power.

Image gallery

In the looks department the radical, futuristic appearance of the K1300R has dated well – the bike still attracts attention wherever it goes. Its faired sibling, the K1300S, looks comparatively bland despite being the more practical bike.

The 1300R feels surprisingly nimble despite being a big bike with an overall length of 2228mm and weighing 243kg wet. It's also remarkably narrow (856mm across, including the mirrors) which makes it much easier to handle in rush-hour traffic than its size would have you believe.

RAIN NO PROBLEM

The tiny "bug shield" screen (covering little more than the instrument panel) proved to be more effective at highway speed than I would have expected,but for serious open-road riding the 1300S with its full fairing would be a much better option. The 1300R is an urban warrior par excellence but definitely not a multi-mission machine

The review bike was equipped with BMW's stability control, electronic suspension adjustment and anti-lock brakes, which gave me a great deal of confidence on the few rainy days in the review period. The bike seemed to shrug off the uncertain road conditions, allowing me to ride at near normal speeds.

Bike specifications

While gear changes were slick and positive, the 1300R lacks the weighted clutch found on some of BMW's other models. The clutch was painfully stiff, which became an annoyance in stop/go traffic. Thanks to the engine's torque, however, it was less of an issue in slow but flowing traffic – keeping the bike in third gear, I could comfortably ride anywhere from 20km/h up without labouring the engine.

The 1300 engine produces prodigious torque and that endows the bike with a claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 2.9sec. Combined with a decidedly forward-canted seating position and excellent handling, despite its weight, the 1300R feels much sportier than you would expect from what is essentially a muscle bike.

BIT ACADEMIC

As expected, power delivery was strong and linear throughout the rev range. Like the Kawasaki ZX-14R and Suzuki's Hayabusa and B-King (the latter probably the 1300R's most direct competitor), the Beemer's acceleration is relentless. It starts early in the rev range and never really lets up until you hit the rev limiter.

Beyond 200km/h this becomes a bit academic, as the lack of wind protection precludes any extended time in that speed range.
 
In summary, the 1300R is typical BMW: well-made, well-equipped and a pleasure to ride. It's atypical, however, of the BMW's of bygone days, being fast, nimble and endowed with exceptional riding dynamics.

Had it not been for the lack of wind protection (inherent in any naked bike), it might well have been a bike for all roads.

PRICE: R172 400

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