Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Wilmington, DE, USA
I just 'upgraded' from a 2004 VFR to a K13S in December. I really loved the VFR and put about 25,000 miles on it in the 5 years I owned it (bought it used), mostly commuting. I was looking for something newer, and while I've been a 'Honda guy' forever, the new VFR just didn't do it for me. Mainly in the looks department.
So searching around, just like you I also noticed the K1300S. I was looking for a new/leftover 2011 when a slightly used 2010 showed up at a dealer nearby. With only 5100 miles on it and almost 2 years left on the warranty, plus a great price compared to new, I snapped it up.
Like you said, it can be outfitted to be a very practical sport tourer and commuter bike. I put the BMW sport panniers, tank bag, and center stand on it to make it my idea of a decent sport-tourer, with the emphasis on the 'sport'.
So now, 3500 miles later, all I can say is I am VERY happy with it! I've been commuting on it almost every day, thanks to the very mild Winter we've had. I did the 6000 mile service myself with the help of a GS-911, and just replaced the tires (OEM Metzeler M3's) with some Michelin Pilot Road 2's. The handling is exceptional. Power is way, WAY more than the VFR, as you might imagine. I joined the local BMW owner's club and have been out with them on some great rides. I've put 3500 miles on it since Christmas. While that short time and miles hardly makes me a K-bike expert, I've been following all of the relevant forums and I've been reading all I can about it.
Yes, the ESA shocks may fade at around 25,000 miles or so. But I am anticipating that some company will soon come up with a reasonable option to rebuild the stock shocks rather than having to pay out the wazoo for replacement BMW units (I would rather go the Ohlins or Wilbers route and maybe give up the ESA if I have to).
I don't know what you're saying about starting issues, unless you've read something about early units (2009) that needed the handlebar switchgear replaced?
All I can say is - do it, man, you will not regret it!