BMW, the German automobile and motorcycle manufacturer, introduced its K line in 2005, producing four models with 1147cc engines. For 2009, the company upgraded three of these models, giving them larger engines and changing their names accordingly, calling them the K 1300R, a standard bike; the 1300S, a sport bike; and the 1300GT, a sport tourer. Only the 1200LT remained unaltered.
The 1300 models all have 1293cc, liquid-cooled, horizontal, four-cylinder, four-stroke engines with dual overhead cams and fuel injectors. These models have six-speed manual transmissions with shaft final drives. The gearbox ratios have been tweaked, and the new Duolever central suspension girder struts absorb the road bumps in front. Paralever single-sided swing arms with adjustable spring preload shocks and rebound damping handle the rear suspension.
The K 1200LT, BMW’s stalwart touring bike and still the biggest and heaviest machine in the line, continues to use the 1172cc, liquid-cooled, longitudinal four-cylinder, four-stroke engine it was endowed with years ago. Like its siblings, it has a dual overhead cam and fuel injection. A Telelever telescopic fork with four inches of travel provides the front suspension; the rear is a single-sided swing arm with rebound damping. It has a five-speed manual transmission with reverse, and a shaft final drive. It’s the only bike in the K line to come with a CD-player and speakers, and it has the largest selection of luggage options.
These bikes are all designed to cruise at high speeds on the autobahn and to handle twisting mountain roads with ease. BMW offers an enormous variety of optional equipment tailored to the purpose of each model – high windshields, an assortment of seats (though the stock seats get high marks for comfort), onboard computers, accessory power outlets (because these days an iPod and a phone are more important than a CD player on a long ride), even a cup holder.