1992 BMW K75S REVIEW (K75C, K75RT, K75)
UPDATED: 12/02, 08/05, 11/08
ORIGINAL COST(new): $12,000 (w/abs) in 1992
PRICE PAID(used, 11/01) $3,600
LOCATION: San Diego, CA, USA.
FUEL DELIVERY: Fuel injection 750cc, inline 3 cylinder mounted sideways.
Full Fairing (RT model).
Miles ridden: 3,500 (RT), 12,000 (K75S) TOP SPEED:115mph (K75RT) @ 8,500 rpms
ECONOMY: 40mpg @ 80mph & 42-45mpg (RT Model), 52mpg @ 63mph highway
ALTERNATIVES: Honda ST1100 /ST1300 is superior in many ways but is much more pricey in the used market, also weighs 200 lbs more and as it ages it is a real oil leaker (from the engine), and is $$$ to fix, easily 1200+ for an engine seal replacement.
FULL fairing, Lower fairing deflects cold wind and directs engine heat on to your legs ... great in spring, fall, winter.
ENGINE: Perfect car-like starts in a range of tempertures: hot, dampness rain. Power deliver is the most linear of any bike I have ridden except the Honda ST1100.
TRANSMISSION: When you shifting into first gear the bike doesn't move. But, it is easy to hit false neutral spots all through the gear range.
THROTTLE LOCK (cruise control).
KICK STAND: pull in the clutch lever and a cable makes the side-stand pop-up.
CENTER STAND: it has one!
CHOKE - very easy to use, 2 basic settings, one of the best / consistent starting bikes I have ever scene, but takes a LONG time to warm up fully. When fully warm-up idle is 1000rpm with no choke.
STORAGE: Huge (for a motorcycle) roomy luggage.
OIL CHANGE: Easy but drain plug is a weird huge ~ 10mm Allen bolt. Std oil car type filter is completely enclosed in a recessed area on the bottom messy and time consuming to chg. BMW dealer time for the average rider.
STEREO: great volume and tuning controls on the handlebar, but reception is poor, might be a loose wire to the antenna?
GAS MILEAGE: getting ~ 45mpg, and that's averaging 75 mph +on the highway, with a good mix of in town driving.
EXHAUST: all stainless steel means no rust.
SPARK PLUGS: easy to access! Oil leaks: minor, not bad considering the bike is 10 yrs old with almost 50K (RT) now 8/05 my K75S has gone from 36K to 50K and did develop a leak from the oil pump which is a know issue with the oil seal. Cost was $200 mostly for parts: shaft/gear, seal, $40 to have the dealer install the seal, I performed rest of the labor. If everything was done at the dealer probably $400-500.
HORN: Great, same as a car, gets you respect when you use it.
SHAFT DRIVE: among the smoothest / best I have ever ridden, less clunky than even the Honda ST1100, and that's after 46,000 miles and 10 yrs of ridding, but shifting is poor - large spaces between gears and shaft must be greased about every 30K and that is a 5 hr job. Also, many shafts fail due to weak design costing ~ 1,000 for labor an dparts. There is no excuse for that.
GAS TANK: Big 4.6 gallons means a cruise range of ~ 150 miles fuel pump is in tank so there is never any smell of gas.
PRICE: $12,000 in 1992!!
EXCESSIVE RPM's (with some buzz) Highway - over 55-60mph starts to buzz, once the buzz starts it just keeps going. There are very few bikes of any make, model, year with less buzz; the motor seems to be revving a lot. Could use a 6th gear to cut rpms.
MAINTENANCE: Day to day operation there is very little to do on this bike, but when you eventually need to perform maintenance the bike appears to be designed intentionally and needlessly difficult so you will take it to the BMW dealer.
EXAMPLES: Removing the rear wheel requires unbolting the rear brake caliper and fender piece which increases time from 5 minutes to 35 min, etc.... The front tire also takes longer than it should.
BATTERY: Nice and big almost car-like, but access to check acid level is a bizarre BMW-inspired arrangement. Not bad after you have done it a few times. Again, it could have been simpler. Also alternator service - 3 rubber blocks need replacing ever ??? 30K? It is a stupid design that no one uses and the alternator gets much hotter that it should because it is in direct contact with the motor.
OIL FILTER CHANGE: Weird allen bold that takes quite a bit of strength and a very large allen bolt. The filthy mess of the oil filter having a needless cover over it which circulates oil through the filter and OUTSIDE the filter!! enclosed in a compartment is a stupid sensless mess serving absolutely no purpose..
BODY NOISE: rough roads cause the saddle bags to make plastic noises that sounds like something is lose, like the fairing is going to shake apart.
WINDSHIELD / fairing: great most of the time, but fogs up at night removes you from the reality that you are on a motorcycle and need to watch the road. An inherent problem of all full faring bikes. On my K75S I had a custom shield made for $135 and mounted it to the parabellum mount.
CLUTCH: Too hard to pull the lever (even with a brand new cable) esp in stop & go traffic + city driving!!! Square lever shape hurts my hand.
GAS TANK: NO PETCOCK valve, instead a worthless light comes on when you still have ~ 2 + gallons of gas, so you can only guess how much gas you have left and when your out, your out!
BULKY: (Full fairing RT model) - trying to go in between the cars even when they are at a dead stop to get to the front of the line is challenging.
WEIGHT: Excessively heavy, makes backing up difficult and turning around + getting in and out of places difficult + stop 'n go traffic, bike can be tiresome on short city type trips - this is due more to the bike being excessively tall rather like most BMWs..
HEIGHT: Reaching the ground is somewhat difficult esp. on a hill and I'm 5-10! Way too TALL!
HEAT: Too much of a good thing in the summer (RT model, K75S strikes a better balance). Wearing shorts in 60 degree weather your legs are almost burned by the engine heat.
HANDLING: Awkward at very low & high speeds -- the bike is top heavy (weebles woble but the DO fall down). Quality of bike is German inspired but handling is not. Bike bobs and destabilizes oddly over bumps (K75RT model, not the K75S) esp when leaned over.
BRAKES: Annoying squeak even with new pads - will try to sand the disc's to get rid of glaze.
LUGGAGE: (Genuine BMW) - stupid lock/unlock latch setup.
1992 BMW K75S (Standard model)
I bought it after riding my roommates bike because it offered: shaft drive, abs (that still works), was in good shape, for less that $4000 and 36,000 miles.
HANDLEBARS: converted to the K75RT (touring) handlebars.
STOCK WINDSHIELD: too small especially after adding the larger handlebars.
MPG could be better av 40-42 mpg @75mph, 52mpg @63mph.
PARTS: extremely expensive, for example, Aluminum Gas Tank unpainted $700, painted $1400! Computer (FI unit) $1500, speedometer (motometer) $500 to rebuild it, $1500 new, Alternator 32Amp $750 w/ tax at the dealer 8/05
CONS / KNOWN DESIGN FLAWS: Motometer speedometer is for an enclosed airplane. Direct sunlight such as the southwestern united states warps the plastic backing. The trip meter fails. Engine smokes if the bike is parked on on the side stand more than a few days, center stand snaps eventually do to excessive use (since motor smokes when left on side stand), my gastank leaked when rubber cushions wore out since it contacts the frame, oil/waterpump seal made wrong fails much sooner that it should .... that is a $500 repair. fairing hard to put back on and oil takes 45 min to change when it could take 15 or less with a small modification of the existing design. Headlight Hi/Low Switch fails ~ $70, keep in mind you hardly use it - again a know design flaw - not too hard to replace ~ 1 hr, Fan failed at 30K- insufficent lubrication - know issue, 2.5 -3hrs hrs to replace cost ~ $140, Shaft should be maintence free except for gear oil like all other bikes. The stupid greasing is profit for the dealer ~ 5 hr job!! Also, many people have their shaft fail 2x in 50K it is a weak design - no excuse for this. I never down shift or shift roughly. Transmission: smoothese into first gear - bike doesn't move, but rest of gears far apart like on older harleys and easy to misshift - poor shifting is the hallmark of all K75/100's. I'm missing a few other items, and older models had a bunch of other flaws like the breaking center stand that were resolved in my year 1992.
PROS / LIKES:
If you want to settle on one bike that has terrific internet community support and photos of all major repairs including several I have done it is a great riding experience. The motor and bike has great longevity: Many people have ridden 100, 200 and even 340,000 miles [search for "old smokey"]! without a motor rebuild or even major maintenance! When it comes to heavy duty riding / commuting for a decade or more this bike can do it - if important, not necessarily regular, maintence is performed. This bike does not need a spring tune up like many bikes. It just needs the know problem areas to be monitored and taken care of. The rest of the time you do nothing but ride day in and day out. I only change the oil filter once a year and use cheap oil every 2,500 mi. The gas tank is alumium and never rusts. The limited engine power and linear power curve keep you sensible and safe and out of trouble with the law. Many motorcyles are unecessarily powerful and temp you to go fast and get hurt.This bike is about getting out there all year and acturally riding instead of fantasizing about riding.
ALTERNATIVES: There are very few bike to choose from in the shaft drive catagory. The Honda ST1100 is too heavy. The rest are short handlebar monster over powered crotch rockets: Ex Kawasaki ZZR1200 (170 mph+), Yamaha FJ1300 (ditto on mph). The Suzuki Burgman 400 or 650 or Honda Silverwing are great + no clutch if you don't mind a scooter/motorcycle. The Harley is very expensive + chrome and theft. Although, my future bike will probably be a used Harley (low maintenance belt drive) with no chrome, and alloy wheels, a big windshield and giant trunk + hard side bags - I love the mellow low rpm / vibration engine (88 ci), it is one of the best most enjoyable rides around - Ultra low rpm crusing unlike any other bike on the planet.
I bought my bike in 2002 for ~ 3,400 but it needed about $1000 including tires to cover basic issues. I invested a lot of additional time adding a custom windshield, handlebars, lights - front and rear, touring handlebars (9 hours of work). Factoring my time I would say I'm into this bike for $6,500, this past year the alternator failed and the oil pump leaked and I changed the front time. The rest of the time I was riding the bike constantly. And in Southern California it is easy to ride year round and with traffic and parking the bike offers great advantages. The bike is super practical and excels at real world riding. If I ride it another 5 years and 30K without doing a lot of maintence it will be a great investment.
FAIRING: much smaller makes it much easier to get between cars.
FUEL INJECTION: Replace filter yourself every 15K or so and other than that you never touch the system and it works perfect every after 13yrs and 50K miles. Rubber should be replaced eventually and requires highpressure fuel line - it will split regular black fuel hose in 6 months.
MOTOR: is smoother than my roommates, and one of the lowest vibration of any motorcycle at ALL rpm's! There is NO buzz spot or rpm range. Even at redline there is only a slight vibration.
APPEARENCE: non motorcycle riders like it and thinks it is just a few years old. Easy to clean and care for.
PRACATICAL: people that don't ride admire the practically that the big hard luggage bags offer + good appearance. Shaft drive is a dream. My first bike with ABS (that still works despite the flashing red warning light)! I ride it about 50% of the time ~ 6000 miles per year.
Hope this review was helpful, paulc 12/2002, updated 8/05 with another 12K miles of riding on my '92 K75S