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My First K Bike

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My First K Bike

Post by kirkpatrick3890 »

I met my future wife, Melanie, and soon after she asked for a ride on my Kawasaki, a KZ400, which I had ridden some 14,000 miles but I had no one to ride with so had put it up for sale. In fact it was sold, but not delivered.
She really liked that short ride and asked if I really had to sell the bike, which of course I did, but I told her (rather excitedly) "Well you know, one can always buy another motorcycle."

We got married and I told her she should take the Motorcycle Safety Course prior to riding, and I said I would take it along with her as I had not taken it. We both learned a lot (such as the life saving concept of "counter steering".

While at the outside course a couple rode up on two BMWs, an R65 and an R100RT (this was 1987). I dashed over to meet them as I had always wanted a BMW and struck up a conversation.

My wife and I went through several bikes each, such as a Yamaha with a non working electric starter, a Honda CX 500 (the closest I could afford to a shaft drive BMW) and others. We then started looking at BMWs that would work for her and found a plain R80, which she successfully rode and announced it would do, so I knew she could ride anywhere on that bike. Then what bike for me? We went to RK BMW in Deptford, NJ and I tested a K100RS. Whoah, WHAT power, but my mind was really taken over by it simply being a BMW, a long held desire since my youth. So we bought a 1987 K100RS Motorsport for me (pearl white with blue/red stripes), which I rode many places and sold it with 125,000 miles on it. I modified it a lot, even retro-fitting ABS. We went to many rallies, cross country, to Nova Scotia, and more.

Other bikes came and went for both of us, a K1100LT upon which I had mounted by BMW Motorrad of St. Louis, Missouri, an EML GTII sidecar once we were going to have kids, a K1200RS (yes, it hit an indicated 160 mph, but I lost the picture I took of the speedo at that speed, along with pictures of Yosemite :-( many airheads; R90S, R100RS, R27, R69S conversion, R80G/Ss, etc., and oilheads, but it all started with a BMW K bike of which I have very fond memories.

Your story?
Mac Kirkpatrick
President, VBMWO

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Location: Carson City, Nevada

Re: My First K Bike

Post by snowbum »

Mac, I'm sure you know that I had a K1100LT, pulling a GT2 chair.....Penny and I did our around-the-USA trip on that rig. I had other motorcycles available (not with chairs), but the sidecar rig was Penny's favorite...I had quite a nice passenger setup.
She would ride with me on any of my other 2 wheelers, but hated knocking helmets in particular... :-)

It had EZS wheels and car tires and the expected "frame" changes, & with the EML chair, and a lot of fun stuff I did to it, would really eat the miles. Early-on I had REMOVED the ABS and sold the $$$ parts, because I hated the effect of ABS on certain...ah...ah....riding conditions, and the weight of the early ABS parts was atrocious, and in the way of other stuff.
The rig would loft the front wheel upon over-use of the right hand, mostly due to the small wheels, giving the effect of a much higher rear drive ratio. It stopped as well as it went, though.

I was going to go to Alaska (was to be my 8th and last ever trip there)... on that rig, ...never having taken a rig to AK, ....but sold it in 2019, when we had decided to move. Photos on my site.

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by Twocams »

I had sold my 84 R100RT in 1998 & thought I should have a K bike. I found A 1988 K100LT In Fresno Calif.
Rode it for couple yrs & got tired of it. Then I found a nice 93 K1100 LT with ABS, that never worked. Put it in my pickup & haled it around with my camp trailer in tow. We went from Alameda Calif. to Camp Pendleton, USMC where I worked as a civilian for 2 yrs. Did a lot of ridding around So Cal.
One day reading the for sale adds. I saw a nice 2003 K1200GT for sale in Los Angels.( 2004 now) Had less than 10,000 miles & I needed it. Came with battery charger, nice leather up to elbow gloves & 2 heated vests. What a sweet bike, 130 HP, 150 MPH. Had not made the first payment yet when a guy in a pickup was backing up while I was off. As I was yelling at him to stop he taped my KGT in the rear & it went over a concert parking block & did $5000 damage as it lay on its side. BMW dealer fixed it along with his insurance. I just sold it about a yr ago with 50,000 miles on it. Great bike but now that im 71 yrs young I went back to Air Heads. They are lighter & easier for me to handle. And I dont need to go 80 mph in 3rd gear anymore like I did with my 6 speed K1200GT.
The End
92 R100RT/69 R69S
2004 Aprilia Atlantic 500cc single cylinder Scooter
83 Honda V65 Magna, fastest production bike in1983
2015 Can Am Spider SE6 1,688 miles
2018 Moto Guzzi V711 Special

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by daveblewett »

In 1991 we were living in Green River, Wyoming when one of my coworkers said he wanted to sell his motorcycle in order to buy a Harley. At the time I wasn't riding much, as my old Triumph 650 had not been road worthy for many years. Turns out he was selling a 1985 K100RT, that he had purchased the previous year from a fellow in Fort Collins, CO. It had about 7000 miles on it and was completely stock. I was familiar with BMW airheads because a fellow I knew had an R75/5 back in the early 70's, but had no idea that BMW was making water cooled 4 cylinder machines.

On our first two up trip we attended a Rider Magazine rally in Cody, Wyoming. Our butts were hurting from that stock saddle. Corbin had a booth at the rally and they happened to have the perfect saddle for us. It went on immediately and stays there to this day.

After a few years the company moved us to the East Coast (now in Southeast PA) and I decided I wanted to do some real touring. Did a few rides to the Klassik K Kampout at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground and met some really friendly K Bike riders. But I needed more distance, so I did the 4 Corners tour of the lower 48 states. One year I rode to Key West, another year I rode it to Madawaska, Maine. The next year was Blaine, Washington and a year later it took me to San Ysidro, California. The only problem I ever had was when the headlight quit working in California and I had to ride home with no headlight. When I got home the H4 headlight socket crumbled in my hand as I tried to remove it.

The bike has been crashed a few times and looks pretty forlorn, but still runs strong. I think I'll remove the fairing so it won't be an "RT" anymore, but I don't think I can ever sell it. It still has plenty of roads to run.

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by scottiesharpe »

Great post, Mac. My first BMW was a brick and I loved that thing. I bought it from the local goodwill donation lot for $1200 and rode it for about 4 years. I made many repairs and upgrades to that bike including the K1100 electric windshield, Ohlins shock, driving lamps, Corbin seat, reynolds rack and more. It was a great bike, but I sold it to buy something else, perhaps an R1150RT or something. I still have a brick in my garage - a 1992 K1, which I really enjoy! Since I know 2-valve bricks pretty well, it is the ONLY fuel injected BMW we will service at Scottie's Workshop. We have a lot of customers who love their 2-valve bricks, and we love them too. Image
Scottie Sharpe, Proprietor
Scottie's Workshop, 3282 E Hwy 4, Murphys CA
Full Service Workshop for vintage and classic BMW Motorcycles http://blog.scottiesharpe.com

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by jclausscwbio@gmail.com »

The year was 2003. I was riding my late father's R75/6 as a daily commuter, about 50 miles a day. I was quickly running the bike into the ground. One morning on Route 66 in Northern VA I hit the brakes only to have a catastrophic failure of the front master cylinder. No crash and I made it home safely taking back roads. But I decided that I needed a "new" bike for commuting and I could redo Dad's bike and save it for please riding.

I looked at a couple of dealerships in the area, but none would allow a test ride of their bikes. So I looked up Morton's BMW in Fredericksburg VA. They had a nice, red, used K1100RS for a reasonable price. I called them up and they got it ready for a test ride. I went down and rode it for about an hour. I was very happy with it. I could do things on it that the airhead could never do. Like "pass to merge" and the brakes (with ABS) were outstanding compared to the R75 as well.

I just sold that bike last spring with just under 100K on the odometer and bought a used K1100LT as it is more suited for my aging bones and joints. The RS was totally reliable and with basic maintenance could always be counted on.
"No matter where you go, there you are."
1975 R75/6
1997 K1100LT

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by Viejo »

My first "K" bike was, and still is, a 2003 K1200RS.

In the spring of '03 my wife and I went in to Lone Star BMW in Austin to pick up a drive shaft boot for my R100/7 and discovered that for a limited time, as an anniversary promotion, BMW was offering to make the first five payments on any new 2003 BMW. I was a diehard Airhead man at that time (still am) and a "K" bike was exactly the kind of motorcycle I swore I would never own- too many cylinders, too much electronic voodoo, too much bodywork, CPU's, ABS brakes, radiators, fuel pump...... you get my drift. To my way of thinking a modern BMW motorcycle was everything a real motorcycle wasn't, but that K1200RS on the showroom floor kept grabbing my eye.

Now, I had just been diagnosed with throat cancer earlier that year and was still waiting on a prognosis so I said to my wife- "Kathy, I could be dead in six months but I could have a free motorcycle for the first five".

And so, to make a long story short, twenty years on from that day at Lone Star BMW I've still got Kathy and I've still got the K1200RS. The bike I swore I'd never own has become the bike I swear I'll never sell (but I've still got two /5 Airheads, a '94 K75C, and an '81 Triumph Bonneville).

(Cancer free for twenty years now and even though I know it would be a bit of a stretch to credit the "K" bike for my good health, it damn sure hasn't hurt it any.)


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Re: My First K Bike

Post by Gumby »

Hi Mac, your first bike is my 'old' 87 Motorsport! I sold it back in 2010 to Doug who was a good friend of MAX BMW, its good to see that it had served you very well, I allways loved that bike so in 2020 I found another 1987 K100 Motorsport
1987 K100RS Motorsport.jpg

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by weh8127 »

I owned my 1996 K11 for 15 years and spent a lot of time on it. In 2006 I rode it from Massachusetts to Humboldt County, California to visit family. Coming home, I attended the RA rally in Boise, then went north into Canada and rode east to Quebec, crossing back into the U.S. at Champlain, NY. On the way home I attended the MOA rally in Essex Junction, VT, the only time I was able to both rallies in the same year. I was 58 at the time. I made a similar journey in 2009. That K11 was the best highway bike I ever rode. Fast, smooth, stable, it never let me down. Somehow though, it never quite had the charm of my airheads.
Bill Husted
Barre, MA USA
1963 R60/2 w/ 1955 Steib S500
1973 R75/5

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Re: My First K Bike

Post by marciano »

I still have my first K-bike. Bought in 1987, it's a 1985 standard K100 in grey. I bought it with 2500 miles for $4000. It has 25,000 miles on it now. Still love it as much as the day I got it!

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