Aren't BMW K series bikes fantastic? Warning, long and boring.

Discussion in 'UK Motorcycles' started by deadmail, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. deadmail

    deadmail Guest


    Cases in point.

    1. K75LT, 1992, appox 250k miles

    I've been a little stressed of late and this has resulted in my maximum
    commute speed heading up from 90 to flat out for sections of up to 20
    miles (motorway).

    Naturally, on an 18 year old bike with over 250k under its belt
    something's going to give... The something was the radiator.

    I thought I smelt a little coolant on Tuesday but lack of time and
    complacency meant I did nothing about it. Got to work on Wednesday and
    it was everywhere; all over the engine, all over my trousers. Whoops.

    Was rather pissed off about other stuff so didn't bother looking at it
    or organising recovery, thought about what to do when I left work at
    8pm; started the bike and it sounded a little clattery. Decided to see
    just how tough the bike was and rode home at 60mph on A roads[1] (about
    60 miles). It made it home with the oil light flickering briefly at
    the bottom of my drive.

    Had a look yesterday and sure enough, the radiator is leaking and there
    was only 1.1l of coolant in it (rather than 3l). I filled with water
    and it started, still a bit clattery. Let it warm up and then drained
    the engine oil. Whoops... only 700cc came out (rather than about 3l).
    Some of the oil will be in the filter so I guess the engine only had
    about 1 and a bit litres rather than 3.75...

    Filled it up with cheap oil and it *sounded* ok. Took it out for a
    ride, it pulled fine. Excellent.

    Replaced the radiator with one that didn't quite fit. Plan is now to
    use it for a few hundred miles and if it's not drinking oil, rattling
    badly then give it a proper service and replace the radiator.

    2. K1100LT, 1996, 54k miles

    Been standing over winter for six months plus.

    Charged battery[2].

    Hit starter, starts within 10s; it's done this after being laid up
    (parked...) for three winters.

    Even though the Honda PanEuropean was clearly a more modern bike than
    the K1100LT I prefer the K1100. However, since I'm probably going to
    need to do a 200mile daily commute in the not too distant future I
    *might* be going back to a Pan for this simply because they are newer...

    3. K100RS 1988, unknown mileage (more than 35kmiles)

    Bought for the leading link front end and sidecar tat with an
    expectation it would end up being broken.

    Wanted to ride a K series solo with leading links (just 'because') so
    tried to start it. Bike had been crashed in the spring of 2007 and
    parked; so probably hadn't been started for more than a year (radiator
    missing, fuel injection control box removed etc.)

    It had about a litre of fuel at the bottom of the tank. Seems enough,
    even if it is a bit old.

    Cobbled it all back together and tried starting it, no joy. Ah...
    that'll be because I haven't connected the fuel to the injector rail.
    Reconnected and hit starter, churned for about 30 seconds and it caught.
    Nursed the throttle, bike settled into a lumpy idle after about two
    minutes. Took it out for a ride of about two miles and discovered that
    leading links are weird, weight transfers forward when riding but it
    doesn't dive like telescopic forks. Strange feeling. The rear knobbly
    wasn't exactly confidence inspiring- so that goes to the
    elefantentreffen but as a spare 'just in case' we have to deal with
    snow- bring it on...

    Got the bike nice and hot (with the leaky K75 radiator) and the lump
    disappeared from the idle.

    It's too nice to break so will be putting this one back on the road in
    standard trim; possibly in an RT or naked guise.

    So, there you go. I'd ignore most of Lozzo's ill informed output if I
    were you; at least the parts about BMWs. (or more specifically since
    I've no experience of any other BMWs the implications about K series
    BMWs being unreliable.)

    [1] A really strange sensation, pulling over to let cars overtake.

    [2] Do these Hawker Oddysey batteries *really* need a special charger or
    is an optimate good enough? Seemed to work... After all, they need to
    cope with the same alternator as a standard lead acid battery.
    deadmail, Sep 14, 2008
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  2. deadmail

    sweller Guest

    Hmmm. How much?
    sweller, Sep 14, 2008
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  3. deadmail

    Krusty Guest

    Did that for three years in a cage. It sucked mightily.
    I've used an Optimate with a Westco (same AGM type as Hawker) for a few
    years with no problems.

    Off-Road Classifieds

    '02 MV Senna '03 Tiger 955i '96 Tiger '79 Fantic Hiro 250
    Krusty, Sep 14, 2008
  4. deadmail

    Andy Bonwick Guest

    Should I hang onto that Wessex sidecar a bit longer?
    Andy Bonwick, Sep 14, 2008
  5. deadmail

    wessie Guest

    I hated 36 miles to & fro. That was on mainly rural roads and a short
    urban bit crossing Hereford. I couldn't tolerate a daily grind down the
    M4 and onwards to Paddington.
    I've used an optimate mk1 with a Hawker battery. Only for topping up after
    a winter being gradually discharged by the LCD clock. No issues after 3-4

    Reading batteries_wanderer.htm
    and other stuff referenced at it appears that
    AGM batteries don't tolerate charging voltages over 14.5V. IIRC, for a
    deep discharged battery the Optimate whacks in a much higher voltage in
    an attempt to desulphate a wet lead/acid battery. So, for topping up I
    guess an Optimate will be fine, just don't use it to recover a fully
    discharged AGM battery. Honda owners had better avoid AGM batteries
    wessie, Sep 14, 2008
  6. deadmail

    Beav Guest

    200 miler per day? That calls for a few lessons and the purchase of a small
    commuter helicopter.


    VN 750
    Zed 1000
    OMF# 19
    Beav, Sep 14, 2008
  7. deadmail

    deadmail Guest

    wrote in message

    Well, 600 miles on. It's used a little oil (but it did that anyway).
    Mind you the cheap stuff I've 'tested it' on is 20w50 so I guess it'll
    use a little more 10w40.

    It sounds and pulls the same. Fuel consumption the same too.

    I think it's survived. Worst case is if the oil consumption is
    excessive it will get a new set of rings (not what I really want to do
    but, well...) Done this before and it's a bit of a pain because the
    conrods have got to come off to get the pistons out... so that's new big
    end shells too, and then there's the question around the valves and
    valve guide oil seals... Anyway, if it's running ok and doesn't need
    work it's a summer job, not a winter one.

    I hate to admit it but I've probably got some sort of an emotional
    attachment to this bike. God knows why. Wonder if I'm about to change
    my name?
    deadmail, Sep 27, 2008
  8. deadmail

    Champ Guest

    Champ, Sep 30, 2008
  9. deadmail

    wessie Guest

    BMW used to recommend 10W/40 oil. For the UK they now recommend 20W/50, for
    the boxer twins at least. This was to address the excessive oil consumption
    that some owners experienced. Something to do with oil slipping past piston
    rings in cold engines IIRC.
    wessie, Sep 30, 2008
  10. deadmail

    Malc Guest

    I've been running my RS on 15W40 and I've not noticed any consumption
    issues. I might use 20W50 in the summer though.
    Malc, Sep 30, 2008
  11. deadmail

    Champ Guest

    So it's about thin oil slipping thru gaps, yes?
    Champ, Sep 30, 2008
  12. deadmail

    deadmail Guest

    As below, thinner oil gets sucked intot he bores easier.

    However... it's not a good idea to run a K on too thick oil because the
    starter clutch doesn't like it in the winter (refuses to engage and just
    spins- a design flaw that this is splash fed at the top of the engine
    and can 'gum up').
    deadmail, Oct 1, 2008
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