About the BMW k1


Well, now it’s known that the wind tunnel design and the introduced colours of the k1  as well as the 4-cylinder engine, to be very economical, was not very much appreciated by the BMW customers in the 80s.


Actually the k1  was a shock to the quite conservative clientele, still in love with and accustomed to the existing 2-Valve Boxer motorcycles well known for decades, never have been asking for anything else.


Additionally the k1  was not able to mount solid panniers for touring, as was usual for the BMW clientele.


Finally the k1  was extremely expensive in the 80s, let’s say quite exclusive for most of the people, but especially for those customers who would prefer the cheaper Japanese motorcycles anyway.
Myself, I had to starve for two years before I could finally afford to buy a two-year-old k1  in 1992 with a 15.000km on the clock.
Nonetheless it was still more expensive than a new Japanese sports bike or even a small-range car!

Recapitulating, it can be said that the k1  was too expensive and the design too far ahead of it's time.

According to the given key points, what is unique about the k1  then?

  • The k1  is immediately distinguished between any other groups of motorcycle...
  • The k1  is extremely rare these days. When have you last seen a k1  on the road?
  • The k1  was one of the 1st motorcycles with an anti lock braking system (ABS) - usually today!
  • The k1  was one of the 1st motorcycle with a controlled cat converter - usually nowadays
  • Due to its fairing the k1  provides an extremely high level of protection against wind/ weather!
  • Due to its fairing the k1  provides a remarkable low noise level to the rider!
  • Due to the redirected wind pressure you can ride the k1  fast and effortless for a long distance
  • Regarding the age, the k1  which has a top speed of 240-250km/h is still a quite fast motorcycle
  • The k1  offers a class leading passive protection against front collision by an ergonomic sitting position

Even after decades, there are still spare parts for the k1  available!
Thank you very much BMW for the support to keep 
the k1  alive.


Facts & figures:


Development milestones:

September   1983 - First design studies
June,  22nd  1986 - Presentation of the k1  prototype to the board of directors

January         1988 - Release of the changes, the k1  design now close to the final series

September   1988 - Presentation of the k1  to the public at the IFMA in Cologne

8- 16th May 1989 - Presentation of the k1  to the press in Italy, 50km south east of Rom
and finally May 89 - Sales release


Sales figures:

Total of 6921 k1  have been produced between 1988 and 1993

1988:        12
1989:    3574
1990:    2120
1991:      763

1992:      310

1993:      142

About 2050  of the k1  have been sold in Germany

About   670  of the k1  have been sold to America
The last 100 of the k1  are called "Ultima" colour dakar-yellow/ black  – enumerated from 1 to 100 

It is rather likely that just a third of the 6921 k1 s remain on the road since the first production date in '88.


The result of my brief global survey on facebook was:

Germany - approx. 500
France     - approx. 200

Spain       - approx. 50-200

UK           - 27 registered


Series colours:

fairing  code gear-box+ drive wheels decals seat
marrakesh-red   222 broom-yellow broom-yellow broom-yellow black / yellow
laguna-blue metallic   233 broom-yellow broom-yellow broom-yellow black / yellow
classic-black metallic   162 silver silver none grey
royal-blue metallic   270 silver silver silver black
silk-blue metallic   338 silver silver none black
dakar-yellow   267 black silver black black
    230 broom-yellow broom-yellow broom-yellow  

From 1988-1990 the k1  was just available in marrakesh-red / broom-yellow or laguna-blue / broom-yellow.

Approx. 80% of the k1  were sold in one of that two initial colours.

Classic-black, royal-blue + silk-blue with silver drive, wheels+decals were available from 1991 on.


A last 100 k1  Ultima's were offered in dakar-yellow/ black seat+decals and silver wheels in 1993.

Rumour has it that the edition of  k1  Ultima's were produced by the parts have left in the stocks.


- 50 of the k1  Ultima's  were built with all of available options (ABS, CAT, heatable handles) 

- 25 of the k1  Ultima's  were built without CAT but with heatable handles

- 25 of the k1  Ultima's  were built without CAT and without heatable handles

You can take it that even the edition of last 100 k1  were not sold over night.

However, to less milage might be just as well or bad as high milage.
High milage is in general not an issue to the
 k1  at all as you can see at "Records".
Basically the k1  is quite reliable and long-lasting.
It is just a matter of regular maintenance ... as it should be for any vintage car/ motorbike anyway...

There are some blind spots and costly wear parts you might have to spend an amount of four-digit Euros/ Dollars after purchasing.
Pay attention or ask a specialist what to look at before you buy one of a rare k1  !
You will find advice on the net (see "Links") and related specialists on demand.