When you look at the k1 from 1988 you eventually realize that the k1 is the most remarkable technical milestone in BMW motorcycle history, as so many innovations were incorporated into the 16V K models and aerodynamics on the k1 in one fell swoop like never before.
My intention for this website is to share my passion for the k1 with you or bring it back to your mind. This bizarre, quite rare and technically unique milestone from the beginning fascinated me.
The k1 was delivered from end of May 1989 to September 1993 and shares this epoch
with the first paralever 2V boxer R80GS, R100GS, R100R and R100GS Paris Dakar as well as the Z1.
The k1 was launched at the IFMA exhibition in Cologne/ Germany and introduced to the public
the 20th Sep 1988.
According to the BMW press release in 1989 the k1 was the brand new 4-valve top model of the K-series after a 100.000 of the well-known "flying brick" 2-valve K-models been sold since 1984.
The k1 is another remarkable milestone in the BMW history like the 2002 flagship M1 sports car,
as well as the iconic boxers; R100RS, R90S, R80G/S and “Paris Dakar” and its successors R100GS+ R80GS with paralever (1987-1995). etc.
The history of BMW's milestones shares the k1 also with a 1 in its type as the famous BMW M1, Z1
as well as the C1.
The k1 was in part, developed to achieve a market share of the existing sports bikes segment dominated by Yamaha FZR1000, Honda CBR1000F, Kawasaki ZX-7, ZX-10, Suzuki GSX-R 1100, Bimota Dieci, Triumph Daytona 1000, etc.
Due to the existing German commitment of a 100bhp limit for motorcycles in the 1980s a technical alternative was required to take part of the competition on existing sports bikes with up to 145bhp.
The k1 was the very first motorcycle featured with an all-enveloping two-piece front mudguard and main fairing, which has been completely developed in a wind tunnel, following the same exhaustive research as experienced by the R100RS in the end of the 70s.
BMW has achieved to balance the given performance gap of about 30bhp with an increased aerodynamic feature by creating a class leading drag coefficient of CwxA = 0,335 by the time a value of CwxA =0,45 was ordinary.
The k1 - form follows function!
In the Eighties the bikers did neither realize why the k1 looks like that nor see their advantages.
The unfamiliar wind tunnel design of the k1 did not get the expected echo whether innovative or not.
Next to the high price to less people bought the k1 because it was to far ahead of the development.
That is why the k1 is rather rare nowadays...
The future design of the k1 would have fit for the movies "Back to the future" as well as "Star Wars" and would have supported to grow in popularity as it happened to the DeLorean DMC-12...
Even if the k1 is like fallen off the face
of the earth these days
the k1 remains the most memorable BMW milestone to me.
Even after decades it is still a pleasure to ride
the k1 and I appreciate it's advantages very
Due to the advanced tire technology provided these days even more then in the end of 80s
which has a very positive effect on the handling of the k1 .
Best regards from one of a growing number of excited k1 owners