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1Back to top Go down    K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:05 pm

Be made

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So . . . we made this purchase a few weeks back, on 06 October, 1000k's from home and rode it back over a period of 2 days. Once I started to do the initial maintainence assessment, and info gathering, I found a K1200RS Tips Page Abridged Edition (complied by Larry Wilbers 12/7/2000 5:58 AM) which was pretty helpful info and I also found the K1200G Factory Workshop Manual in PDF on the net

First came a complete birthday, doing

  • a full body wash. tar removal, cut and polish
  • removal of the fairings
  • a full fluids and filter changes, brake pads all round, spark plug, front front fork seals and valve clearances
  • removed the Radiators and blew them out and straightened some cooling fins
  • Aside from re-inflating the tyres with nitrogen to 40F/40R and installing decent horns that was about all the bike needed to get it up to scratch
  • I have yet to service the drive shaft splines but that's not too far away

So . . . having previously owned and loved the K100 naked version I found this new bike a little frustrating, needing to remove the fairings to get to anything and with little mounting space for any extras. The other thing I “discovered” is that the fuel tank is under pressure, not like the K100 one. With the K1200 you need to be really quick with a container to catch the petrol as it is pushed out

Apart from those 2 things I found the bike pretty good to work on. The seat is very easy to get off and on, a lot easier than previously and the battery is dead easy to remove, not like the squash fit on a K100. And the air filter is easier to get at, being under the tank, not under the frame.

Aside from that the ergonomics of the bike, while pushing it to turn it around, is a little difficult. You have to be VERY sure footed and make sure you have a bit more clear space than with the K100 as the 1200 is a wee bit longer.

At less than walking pace the approx. 285 kgs is around 50kgs more than my naked K100.

It is quite ungainly at very slow speeds but, as Larry (the tips guy) puts it, you get used to these things. And there is a "rider break-in period" after which the soreness in the elbows, hips and knees disappears. I can testify that it does and is no longer any problem

But I DID lower the foot pegs. I just felt a little too bunched up in the seat and was getting a little cramp in one of my hips. The lowering of the pegs seems a sensible modification.


  • Annoying around the suburbs in 50k zones
  • I have a temperature gauge to monitor and it seems to fluctuate (a LOT)
  • Luggage capacity is reduced compared to the K100. You cannot fit a full face helmet in there like you could with the K100
  • Locking system on the Panniers. I find the necessity of having to use the key every time I want to access the panniers very annoying and I don't think it is one of those things I will just “get used to” (but you never know, I might!).
  • It' quite wide. With the panniers on the 1200 is a good 150mm wider than the K100.


  • NO vibrations in the handlebars. I can ride all day and not get any tingles
  • Speed. It feels like a Turbine or a Rocket. 0 - 100Kph in first gear and acceleration is blinding. 160Kph in third, well over 200 in 4th, 5th saw 220 + easily and after that my helmet was shaking so much I could not read the speedo so I slowed down. Bear in mind I had my partner on the back and she told me afterwards not to do that again with her (180 on the k100 was her limit previously)
  • Acceleration. There is so much that it is scary. Passing cars is so simple now, compared to the K100. No more changing gears if you don't want to. At 100kph just roll on the throttle and there you are. If you are in race mode chop it down to 3rd and TAKE OFF. Your gone man, out of there so fast it's not funny
  • Smoothness. This thing is so smooth it is unbelievable. You cannot feel the change from neutral to first. When changing through from 1 - 6th gears, at lower revs around town, the shift is barely noticable. The transmission is a real dream.
  • Quiet. This bike is deceptively quiet. If there wasn't a sticker saying so it would be real hard to think it was a 1200. More like a 400 or a 600 (until you open it up but around town, at less than 3000 revs its a purr as opposed to a roar. (reminds me of a jaguar car – very smooth and quiet)
  • Stopping power -absolutely brilliant. Not an integral ABS model (in 1998) but I have to say, compared to the single piston calipers on the K100 the twin pots brembo's are the shit. The 1200 comes to a standstill very quickly
  • Touring ability with ease. This bike is sitting on 100kph at only 3000 rpm in 6th gear and it feels like its idling, not even working, and it probably isn't. You can ride all day, dish out whatever you like and you still feel that you have not punished the motor. It has a lot of excess and I found it pretty hard to exceed the capabilities of the engine. If anything I need longer roads for a bike like this
  • Stands - balance – WOW - I thought the K100 was good. That's nothing compared to this. Simply push through about half your weight on the stand and the bike flops backwards. Real easy stuff. And the side stand is precisely where you want it, right behind your heel at the peg
  • Idiot lights. - They really light up (maybe they are leds) even in direct sunlight -you can see them easily
  • Clean lines. This bike looks like a race bike. And it's stock standard. There is nothing to do, nothing to improve on, aside from the obvious cosmetic mistake of having an aluminum bar coming up half way through the bike which isn't color matched with the rest of the fairings and body work.
  • The mirrors. Yes they are ugly and look more like an after thought than a planned addition but they WORK even at very high speeds they are not vibrating their head off.

Conclusion: *******I have found the K1200RS to be a highly upgraded version of the K100, along the same lines by design but nothing like it by comparison in terms of performance. If you thought you were rocking, in 1983, when the K100 made its initial appearance the K1200 would be blowing your mind. The 1200 is obviously designed to be a track bike and I suspect that this is where it would win out against a lot of bikes.

Bear in mind that it is 18 years old by design it is still, today a winner in my eyes.

If I were to do an old timer's type of comparison, now, after having clocked up a few K's on the 1200 and quite a few on the K100 it would sound like this:

“Once upon a time I had a 250 C11 BSA – and then I got Rocket 3 – nec minute – holy shit!”

That, to me, is about how much difference there is between the 2. They are worlds apart. One has 95hp, the other 130, one was built for touring, the other designed a lot more for the track

I love my K100, dearly, having got it to look and feel just the way I wanted, and will be sad to see it go out of my life when it gets sold. That bike has given us so many hassle free and enjoyable kilometres, on so many trips to so many destinations. 2 years of fantastic voyages, 20,000k's, all to far away places. I set it up for very comfortable cruising at speed but once I had ridden a K1200, prior to buying this one, I knew there was no going back.

Now, whilst I am selling my much loved black beauty, and have crossed over to the world of the next generation of K's, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the mighty and legendary K100 and, whenever I see one I will always feel a great deal of respect and recognize where that rider is in their journey of motorcycling ownership.

If any of them make it to a K1200 then they (as I have) will know a completely different way of biking life, involving effortless cruising, almost unlimited power and the joy of a ride they could never have obtained on their old bikes.

I hope some day that this review helps someone to make a better decision as to whether a K1200 is right for them. You won't know until you ride one for yourself.

If you can handle the change in ergonomics that the 1200 brings then, in my mind, it is easy to see anyone falling in love with the rest of the attributes the bike has. They are big, beautiful, powerful and tireless.



2Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:17 pm


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Nice honest to God review Bemade. From time to time they come on the market here at reasonable money but the don't enjoy a great reputation for ease of working on, so I'm glad to read you comments. 

It's interesting to hear also about the hip position which would likely be an issue for me as is a forward riding position which put a pull across your shoulders. Some people have expressed mixed views on the graphics too but I kinda like them. 


Last edited by 88KE on Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

88....May contain nuts!

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine from 1600 years ago & still true!

Bike: K100LT 1988. 0172363. AKA the Bullion Brick! Mods: k1100 screen and stands.
K1: 1990. 6374189. Custom Stealth Black paint.

3Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:17 pm


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Wow Very well written, thanks,

Keith - 1987 K75c with r100rt replica fairing and half of a 1984 K100rt 1992 K1100LT a blue one

The Clever are adept at extricating themselves from situations that the wise would have avoided from the outset - QUOTE from david Hillel in Out of the Earth.

4Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:31 pm

Two Wheels Better

As an active fan of the K12 I have to agree on a fair few of your points. The bike is super smooth, has abundant power on tap as compared to its older siblings, and can run all day long with ease, making a roadtrip to another state or another country an easy task. One dismounts at day's end with freshness befitting an elegant touring car. I love my two K12 Bricks.

However, to clarify a coupla small things from my perspective and in fact, the K12's front calipers are four piston Brembo and the K100 8V uses a two piston Brembo design up the front. The air cleaner is buried in the middle of the bike and all of the acres of main plastic and the petrol tank has to come off to access it. One can have a K100 air filter out in half the time of a K12. Sure, the access port on a K12, once reached, is easier to open than a K100's. There are two quick release fuel connectors on the right hand side of the bike just above the right engine cover which allow for fast removal of the tank without having to release any fuel over you or the bike. As for track use, a K12 was never intended to be a track bike. It would be left behind at the back of the pack by the second corner, I'm afraid. It's a sports-touring machine at best. Its lengthy wheelbase, considerable weight and mass/girth would not allow it to be flicked into corners with any alacrity as compared with any current litre-plus bike, even a bike from its era. You do get used to the System Case closing method, also used on Oilheads since '93, with its key-to-open and key-to-close. Just don't snap the orange-fluoro tab off the double handle locking mechanism and you'll be golden.

What makes it a 'better' machine than a K100 to me? Smoothness due to rubber mounted engine/gearbox. Telelever front suspension, which while far more complicated than a set of forks, work amazingly well over subtle bumps and larger potholes, with no perceptable change - as well as virtually no front end dive - in wheelbase length when braking really hard. Paralever rear suspension, which completely eliminates any jacking effect you get from a semi-rigid swingarm when accelerating and decellerating rapidly mid-corner or in a straight line. It's just a more refined package overall, albeit with some trade offs like increased weight and maintenance complexity. Also, I return far better average fuel mileage on my K1200GT than I ever could on my K100RS. The thing pulls like a bloody great whacking fully-loaded goods train with power on tap at just about any RPM, and the sixth gear makes higher than legal cruising speeds an easy spin.

Yep, count me as a fan, too.


'87 K100RS, '93 K1100RS frame with '02 K1200RS motor, brakes & wheels, aka the Big Block.

The problem with being sure God is on your side is that you can't change your mind, because God sure isn't going to change His.
~Roger Ebert

5Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:28 am

RicK G

The thing pulls like a bloody great whacking fully-loaded goods train

Chug Chug Chug

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."  from Mencken's 1919 Prejudices

Bikes 1993 K1100 LT, 1998 K1100 LT, 1993 K75 RT, 1996 K75RT, 1986 K75 GS, 1979 Z1300 Kawasaki X 2 for now

6Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:10 am


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Welcome to K12 ownership! You have what is affectionally known as a K12 Taxi - based on the colour scheme. I am restoring a K100RS at present hence my presence here however my main ride for the last 13 years has been a 2002 K1200RS, and I have loved every moment of ownership with no intention to sell it. Ever. I do big mileage days with 800km days not uncommon, and my best was 1000km's in 12 hours taking in Haast Pass, Arthurs Pass, Burkes Pass and the Lindis Pass.  No, they are not a track bike, but properly set up, they will hold their own on the road with all but the most super powerful sports bikes on the market today. 

Here is my take on servicing and maintenance.
The fuel quick disconnects are located on the R/H side of the tank and are male/female and female/male so you cannot mix them up. If you do not have these a PO has changed them out. If they are there and original they will be made of black plastic. These should be replaced with stainless items available from Beemer Boneyard in the States.
These oem QD's have a history of failure with dire consequences - the fuel pump pushes fuel through the broken fitting all over a hot engine... And the resulting fuel stain on your magnesium cover WILL NOT come off. 

Splines do not need the regular lubing that K100's do however it would be good to check their status. Clymer make an excellent manual and should be purchased before commencing any major work. Engine main seal and O-ring are the big fail culprits with this bike and although the main seal is pretty robust the O-ring is a POS and should be replaced with viton when going in there. Engine seal is generally replaced as you are in there anyway. Unfortunately the first sign that the O-ring has let go is a slipping clutch. I replaced mine as pre-emptive maintenance along with a host of other items before they failed as it is cheaper in the long run as the clutch will not be damaged. Replacing the O-ring is becoming rite of passage with these wonderful machines and there is fantastic information on the process over at i-BMW.  
K1200RS/GT -

Hydraulic clutch means a slave unit on the back of the tranny and these are another known fail. Look for hydraulic brake fluid weeping around the slave although unfortunately when they fail the fluid runs inbound, destroys the seal and damages the clutch... Clutch slave can (and should) be replaced with only the removal of the lower frame cross member. I would recommend you do this sooner rather than leave it until it fails. Again, available from Beemer Boneyard as an after market item, but identical oem fitment by Magura. 

Final drive crown wheel bearing is another item to keep an eye on as are pivot bearings on the drive shaft just up from the final drive rubber boot. 
This can be checked by rocking the rear wheel at 12/6 o'clock and 3/9 o'clock and check for play. Use a second person to "listen" for the play using a wooden dowel held to your ear to find the source of the play. No dowel? a screw driver handle to the ear also works just fine. 

Brake lines will be getting past their usefulness and should be replaced with braided items. Lots of options out there with Speigler being an excellent brand with quality fit. I am currently ordering lines for my K100 from Hel in Australia and they are very well priced so would probably look there first. 

What mileage on the bike? Stock shocks are not the best as the mileage creeps up. I swapped out to Ohlins at 80,000km's and with 147,000 km's on mine now (owned from new) Ohlins were absolutely without question the best upgrade I have done to this bike. Pharking pricey though, but cheaper than a bike upgrade and can be on sold if you sell the bike one day.

These are the most important maintenance items to look after. Lucky for you your model has ABS-2 which is not only more robust than the i-ABS (ABS-3) but can be fully rebuilt by Module Master in the US should the need arise. 
If you are venturing into serious maintenance like the O-ring replacement I have all the special tools (homemade of course) that you will need and I'm happy to loan them to you. I have a mate in Hamilton who is very familiar with these bikes and I know he will be willing to help too. We are both helping out another K12 owner in the Waikato with his O-ring replacement at the moment. 
Also available to discuss any issues or questions you might have.
Hope this has been helpful


7Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:24 am

Be made

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Thanks for all of that. I deliberately chose a non-integral ABS model due to hearing about the probs with the mk 3 version

I will def. be getting around to doing all of the things you mention above

Thanks again guys for all your helps. Much appreciated



8Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:22 am

92KK 84WW Olaf

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Very useful indeed.

Sadly for me I first had the K100LT and which I hadn't quite realised I was struggling with but let it fall over a few times. Then got a K100RT and felt wow this is nimble. Being able to compare the two side by side a few things came up but the biggest one was weight and centre of gravity. Almost 30k weight difference, the RT is listed as 253 kilos and to be honest I found it far superior. Both bikes had good forks/shocks/headbearings but just the weight difference was huge. So, I tried a way, its back up over the K100LT. I figure K1200 would be same for me.

I changed the panniers to Krauser K2 and you need key to open and to lock them on to the bike etc so you cannot ride off with them open or about to fall off. I never had anything else and its by far the most secure arrangement. The panniers do take a full face helmet but seems the BMW panniers will take the BMW System helmet.

The quick release for the tank should definitely be changed to stainless steel as Kiwi says.......they make getting a tank off so very simple. As for the rest of the plastics I have found with the LT/RT [plastics are same] you get the feel for it very quickly and plan your maintenance.

With anything of this age preventive maintenance is the way to go and if you do you get amazing reliability. Unlike something new with an older machine you know where the fail points are going to occur and can act in advance. Kiwis list is very comprehensive and having an ex BMW friend over here its also exactly what he would recommend too. On the pivot bearings and boot.....replace them anyway!.

Happy riding!!

1992 K100LT 0193214 Alaska Blue 101,000 miles
1984 K100RT 0022575 Baja Red bought 36,000 now 89,150 miles
1997 K1100LT 0188024 Mystic Red 58,645 now 69,000 miles

9Back to top Go down    Re: K1200 Owner Riders Assessment Writeup on Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:08 pm

Be made

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Hi guys

Yep, the quick release fuel connectors have been removed and I only have hoses and hose clips. Never mind

Previous questions I had not answered:

The bike has traveled 54,500 on date of purchase
It is a 1998 model (could be 97 but first reg = 98)
The rear shock is a Showa and seems to be working good at the Mo
Has a chromed exhaust canister end, not the black painted one

Aside: Removed the driveshaft yesterday to find the output shaft dry as a bone and needing lube but the final drive shaft was good. Easy to work on but high tourque values on the swingarm >> frame and final drive >> swingarm nuts


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