BMW K1300R Review


It may look largely the same as the outgoing model but the latest version of BMW’s naked K1300R has had a host of small changes that add up to a much better bike all-round. With a claimed 173bhp and some seriously clever optional electronically-adjustable suspension, traction control and a long list of options to choose from, BMW has built a bike that almost defies naked bike logic. And don’t forget the new K-series range now has proper indicators rather than the confusing triple switches of old.

The motor is the biggest single area of improvement over the previous model. Engineering development was handed over to the spanner magicians at Ricardo – the same firm that designed the gearbox for the 1000bhp Bugatti Veyron hypercar. This is the first time BMW has worked with Ricardo on one of its bikes. The result is a claimed 173bhp from an increased 1293cc four-cylinder motor that is much smoother with bundles of power and torque. It’s one of the best big-capacity motors on the road today combining lovely refinement with a racing engine snarl when pushed. And yes, it’s very, very, very fast. The only question is how long you can hang on.

The BMW K13000R is actually a little easier to chuck around than the faired BMW K1300S model thanks to wider, taller handlebars which give loads of leverage over the fairly substantial weight of the bike. Use of aluminium rather than steel on the Duolever front suspension has taken 1kg off the unsprung weight and this has added a bit of feel to the slightly numb handling feedback on the outgoing model. The ESA II system and ASC traction control are brilliant and well worth the cash.

Spec up a BMW K1300R with all of the options BMW has to offer and it’s going to be an expensive machine. There are some must-haves though and the ESA II at $990  is one of them as it offers a great deal of adjustment and takes the guesswork out of suspension adjustment. ABS is another one. After that there are some lovely choices. Heated grips, hard luggage, Akrapovic exhaust, onboard computer and a quickshifter. There are also carbon bits, mini-indicators and crash bungs as standard on the R. Most are worth a look although we would give the quickshifter a miss as although it works just fine, it seems out of place on a bike like this.

Few bikes shrug off winter better than a BMW motorcycle but it will still need regular attention to keep it looking shiny. The uprated shaft drive means less maintenance and expense than a chain.  A few owners of the BMW K1200S previous model seemed to have suffered from vibration and quite high oil consumption but the new engine should stop that happening.

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