BMW’s Best Failure: The K1300S

If this is a failure of a motorcycle, then I wish more bike companies would fail like this.  Because this bike is one of the greatest motorcycles ever made.   Unfortunately, the bike was a commercial flop and BMW abandoned it long before they finally killed the production.  What remains is a bike that should garner a zealot worthy cult following and you should start to see these bikes gaining in value over time.   Because they are just that bloody good.

These bikes feel like they are powered by one of the jet engines out of an SR-71.  The bike has effortless power in any gear, in any RPM, at any speed.  The engine is an Inline 4, 1300cc’s, that cranks out 175 Horses and 103 pounds of Torque, and the bike is fully capable of reaching 175 miles per hour.  All BMW’s claims on these bikes have turned out to be the definition of “humble bragging”.
The bike isn’t just about the power.  It’s incredibly comfortable.  The ergos on these beasts are similar to the BMW R1200RS, BMW’s only remaining Sport Touring bike.  The Shaft final drive means you don’t have to deal with the Chain Ritual every 500-600 miles.  This means you can throw your leg over and just ride Coast to Coast stopping only for Gas and Snacks.  And that trip will take you only about six hours on this thing.  This was BMW’s most powerful Sport Touring bike… And they just gave up on it.  While all the other bikes were getting upgrades in the Switch Gear and Electronics and Instrumentation Packages… The K1300S didn’t get any of it.  The bike was essentially never updated from the original 2008 Launch.  It soon because dated while everything else from BMW and in the market enjoyed a continual parade of upgrades and improvements.  The K1300S became a Dinosaur.

The K1300S deserved some love.  And it leaves a big hole in BMW’s product line.  I’d really like to see BMW bring this bike back in spirit with the S1000 engine in it.  Some might say, well, there’s the XR… but that’s not the same thing.  I want an S1000S is what I’m saying.  RS ergonomics with Sport Touring capabilities, lighter weight, and using the RR’s 200 Horsepower engine.
Of course, the whole Sport Touring segment has retracted and Adventure has been the growth segment.   But still… the loss of the K1300S leaves the market diminished.

10 thoughts on “BMW’s Best Failure: The K1300S”

  1. I love sport touring bikes. But that designation seems to be a the kiss of death in terms of sales. It is almost like the salesmen can’t decide if they are fish or fowl and don’t know how to push them. Yamaha seems to have done it best with the FJR, by making them order only. It is hard to get to sit on one to see if it is something you would like to spend your money on.

    1. As it stands right now, really the only two true Sport Touring bikes on the market that remain are the FJR and the R1200RS.
      And for as good as the FJR is, the RS is the king of the hill. It is only a little more than the FJR, but you get a lot more bike for the money.

    1. KTM – Throwing bags on a street fighter. Councours – Touring Bike. H2SX – Sport Bike. Multistrada – ADV bike.

  2. Unfortunately, the game of rock,paper, scissors gets played constantly between riders, engineers and bean counters. It always means that good stuff falls through the cracks regardless what industry you’re talking about. Sad, but apparently inevitable.

  3. I started riding in 1975. Found BMW by chance in 2005 and got an R1200GS. Switched to a K1200S in 2007. Bought a K1300S in 2015. Will ride this bike until the end of time. Luxury feel, strong and smooth, fast and beautiful. The best part of going to work is the K1300S commute. Done 80K most of it touring and the only thing I can say is WOW every time the ride is over…

    1. Wow is right. Each and every time I return from a ride or tour, I shake my head and say “what an awesome piece of engineering!”

      1. Indeed. I so wish they had continued to improve the bike. It could have been a contender against the likes of the Busas and ZX-14s.

  4. I had a ’06 K1200S “bumblebee” for fourteen years and loved it. Like others have said, it’s quite comfortable as a sports tourer yet slamming through the gears from a standing start its acceleration is violent. I mean that in a good way.

    Last year I was fortunate enough to snag a ’16 K1300S in the motorsport paint scheme. It’s in beautiful shape and has less than 6K miles on the clock. That’s going to change this year.

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