One of the three major lines of BMW motorcycles
, in addition to Airhead
twins (1923-1996) and Oilhead
They feature an odd but effective engine configuration, with the cylinders laid on their side, DOHC heads to the left and crankcase on the right. This configuration leads to a very low centre of gravity, giving K-bikes a very light feel in low-speed maneuvering.
The K stands for "Kompakt", which makes sense if you compare them to the width of BMW's existing Airhead motors at the time when the K-series was introduced.
The K series introduced several innovations that were rare or unheard-of in the motorcycle market until its introduction:
- Electronic fuel injection
- Electronic ignition
- Electronic instrument panel
The K line comprises:
- The three-cylinder, 750cc K75 series, including the K75C, K75T, K75S and K75RT;
- The four-cylinder 1000cc K100 series, including the K100, K100RT, K100RS, K100LT and (briefly) K1;
- The 4-cyl 1100cc K1100 series, including the K1100LT and K1100RS;
- The 4-cyl 1200cc K1200 series, including the K1200RS and K1200LT.
Rumours have been circulating for years that BMW is planning to replace the K series, down to two (albeit popular and well-regarded) models in recent years, with an entirely new design, possibly a four-cylinder boxer.
- K-whiner: K-bikes are generally very quiet, and produce a unique whining or whistling sound.
- Flying Brick: The K engine looks a bit like a large aluminum brick.