The BMW K1300S is one of the most sought after used sports tourers on the market. It’s a bike that has created a strong following among seasoned riders who crave the luxury, comfort, power and style that this bike offers.
With its powerful motor, advanced suspension system and aerodynamic design, the K1300s is designed to provide an exhilarating ride while still being comfortable enough to handle long distances.
BMW K1300S Review
The BMW K1300S replaced the earlier K1200s that had been in production since 2004.
The new bigger in capacity (by 136cc’s) unique machine was going to be the BMW motorcycle that would directly challenge the Japanese hypersport tourers.
While the blueprint from the K1200S is certainly visible in the K1300S design, the design team ensured there were enough changes to make the new bike better than anything that had come before.
Sports bike at heart with all the premium features of a bonafide touring motorcycle, the K1300S for many is the best bike sports touring motorcycles ever made.
Let’s not forget they produced the worlds first sports tourer bike with the BMW K1 back in 1989 so it should be no surprise that 20 years later, they’d refined their idea to near perfection.
With all that said then the best place to start our review is to look at the powerhouse of a motor.
Engine and Transmission
BMW made enough small changes to the motor and transmission to make it feel like a new engine altogether for the K1300S.
The motor had been handed over to Ricardo – an engineering firm known for their development of high performance components. Ricardo was the firm tasked with the gearbox design for the Bugatti Veyron Supercar which would eventually unleash 1000 horsepower.
It was the first time engineering had been outsourced by BMW to Ricardo but it showed the commitment they had to produce a top shelf performance motor.
The result was a motor that balanced sports-like performance with touring practicalities.
For a start the power delivery is immense, at just 3,000rpm you have access to 70% of the peak torque, so you can pretty much ignore the gears and you know you have enough power to pull you out any situation.
You get a top speed of just over 170 mph and 175 horsepower out of the motor which is more than enough to satisfy even the most committed sports rider.
With the power accessible to the motorcyclist so low in the rev range, the rider has to be conscious of the throttle response as the K1300S is essentially a missile on wheels.
In the 6,000-8,000rpm range it pulls hard all the way to the red line, it is a certainty that the bike can sit above any speed limit all day long and will do it again day after day.
BMW chose to implement a final shaft drive over a more traditional chain drive, which made the K1300S truly stand out in its class. The shaft drive ensures fuss-free maintenance, which is why shaft drive is so often implemented on big tourers.
A bonus of this is the smoothness of the engine and gearbox, the smooth nature of the motor really made it stand out amongst the competition.
Fitted with a quick shifter the bike clicks into gear with total ease. You also had the choice of fitting a gear shift assistant, which eliminated the need to use the clutch, the rider just has to shift into gear.
Gear shifts are therefore quicker and more in line with sports riding, and with that much power on tap, it can make a thrilling ride.
There are some fun engine sounds created, that give a serious mechanical vibe to the experience.
It isn’t all about performance however, as the K1300S’ engine is also known for its excellent fuel consumption, with an average 49mpg the bike is more similar to a middleweight street bike over that of a hypersport.
This certainly aligns the bike more as a credible and practical touring bike than the sporty monster it is quite capable of being.
Chassis, Suspension, Brakes, Handling
As big bikes go the K1300S is surprisingly easy to handle, agile and matches the performance focused engine.
The chassis consists of a long aluminum frame using the engine as part of its construction. Paired with the frame is an aluminum single-sided swingarm, everything is kept therefore super lightweight but with excellent rigidity.
Riders will find the chassis of the full sized bike extremely stable both for straight-line riding and throwing it around bends.
In terms of suspension BMW implemented ESA II which is their Electronic Suspension Adjustment system. The ESA II controls the duolever/paralever suspension system to ensure the perfect balance between the front and rear .
There are 9 settings to choose from which cover all riding scenarios, so whether you are solo riding or fully loaded on tour with a passenger and gear.
Being able to adjust your suspension settings at the push of a button when riding was pretty revolutionary at the time of the models release, it was certainly not as common as it has become today.
Feedback from the front end is great, steering is precise and stable, this is equalled by the feedback on the rear from the rear wheel, which solidifies rider confidence regardless of the road surface.
The K1300S is not a hard bike to ride, it does exactly what you need it to do confidently and precisely.
It is a big bike, bulky and stocky, you will feel like you are wrestling a Grizzly in the bends, until you twist the throttle and the engine straightens you back up and takes the pressure off.
In a straight line the bike’s missile-like feeling is most present, however, the weight in the bends, lazy steering and long wheelbase can cause you to lose your nerve.
However, if you ride with confidence and with faith in BMW’s engineering then you will soon find yourself enjoying riding with a bit of spirit on the back roads.
Styling, Comfort, Electronics
The bike’s weight is noticeable at stops and when undertaking slow speed maneuvers however, it does have a low center of gravity and feels well-balanced. This reduces some of the concern the owner might have about dropping the bike while stationary.
The BMW’s ergonomics are pretty sporty, more so than that of a touring position. This is actually more favorable though because you have much better control over the powerful engine.
You have a lot of room to move around, but most riders will be reaching over for the bars and unless you are used to this position it might take some getting used to if you plan on touring.
As with all modern BMW motorcycles the K1300S is loaded with rider aids, electronics and premium features, some of which came as standard and some were add ons.
Some of these features included:
BMW Sport mode and comfort mode
BMW Traction control
Low seat option
Official BMW branding
Akrapovic exhaust designed for specifically for the BMW
As always with BMW a wide range of accessories for the bike were made available at the same time including BMW branded luggage.
For those that still prefer a bit of the old school, the bike uses a real key start function not a key fob.
The light up dashboard adds an ease of use to the tech fitted to the bike, everything is accessible and pretty easy to navigate.
BMW K1300S Specs
Engine and Transmission
Engine – Four-stroke, transverse four-cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Capacity – 1,298cc
Bore x Stroke – 80 x 64.2 mm
Compression Ratio – 13.0:1
Cooling System – Liquid-cooled
Starting – Electric
Induction – Electronic fuel injection
Transmission – 6 speed
Final Drive – Shaft
Clutch – Wet multi-plate
Max Power – 175 horsepower
Max Torque – 140 Nm
0-60 mph – 3.3 seconds
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame – Aluminium bridge frame with load-bearing engine
Front Suspension – BMW Duolever
Rear Suspension – Cast aluminum single swing arm, with spring pre-tension and hydraulic adjustment
Front Brakes – 2 x 320mm discs, 4 piston caliper
Rear Brakes – Single 265mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Wheelbase – 1,585mm/62.4”
Length – 2,182mm/85.9”
Height – 1,221mm/48”
Width – 905mm/35.6”
Seat Height – 820mm/32.3”
Dry Weight – 228 kg
Wet Weight – 254 kg
Fuel Capacity – 19 litres/5 Gal.
2008 – K1300S unveiled.
2012 – K1300S Sport and HP versions revealed.
2013 – Sport 30 Year Anniversary model released.
2014 – Motorsport Edition launched.
Prices for a K1300S vary from $9,000-$14,000 in the US.
In the UK you can pick one up starting from £4,500 and going up to £12,000.
How did the K1300S stack up against its competitors?
There were just a few motorcycles that the K1300S had to contend with and these mainly came from the Japanese manufacturers.
The Suzuki Hayabusa and the Kawasaki ZX-14 were the models main competition, hypersport tourers, with high-performance engines built to go the distance.
Out of the gate the BMW K1300S is a premium feeling motorcycle comparatively but in terms of styling it has a less aggressive edge when lined up next to the Hayabusa.
The Kawasaki is quicker off the mark than the BMW and the Hayabusa has the edge up to around 4,500rpm. The top-end rush of the BMW is exciting after 8,000rpm but it is slower to get up there compared to the other bikes.
Sports bikes having shaft drives is unheard of so in this department the BMW stands alone, but for a touring bike this gives the model the edge.
In terms of handling the Hayabusa is lighter, pretty neutral whereas the ZX-14 requires a firm hand and pressure to maintain lean angles.
The BMW is different in this regard as it can be changed with the ESA II and the duolever/paralever system really changes the bike’s handling depending on what you want out of it.
Unlike today with many bikes coming standard with ABS the BMW was the only one out of the pack at the time. Neither the Busa or ZX-14 had ABS even as an option.
When it comes to buying used, the BMW has held its value over similar model years of the Suzuki and Kawasaki. However, all three are considered to be reliable, solid and will outlast the rider.
With BMW however, parts do come at a price and there is a premium so it is worth bearing that in mind when comparing the hypersport-tourers.
The BMW K1300S had two tasks assigned to it – to be a top sports bike and to be a top touring bike, even when two up. This isn’t an easy balance, but it did so very well and remains one of the best sports-tourers to date.
It walks the line between performance and practicality with only the finesse that a BMW could.
How Fast is the BMW k1300S?
The BMW K1300S has an estimated top speed of 170mph
What years did BMW make the K1300S?
BMW produced the K1300S motorcycle from 2008 through to 2016
How much horsepower does a BMW K1300S have?
The BMW K1300S bikes had 175 horsepower and a maximum torque of 140Nm which is 103 lb-ft at 8,250 rpm