Long trip ride report on K1300GT - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2009, 11:50 am Thread Starter
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Long trip ride report on K1300GT

Well I have had the bike a few weeks now and have put about 4,500 miles on it, mainly with a long tour from Surrey (UK) to the Italian and Swiss Alps. We got back yesterday. The bike has been worked extremely hard as we were with a fast, experienced group.

I have seen quite a few forum posts on K1300GT faults that tend to suggest that a lot of these bikes are faulty, so I though I would relate my experiences as I expect the reality is that faults are endlessly discussed whereas the vast majority of satisfied owners mainly keep quiet. I am in the satisfied camp.

Switchgear. No issues at all. Temperatures ranged from 30 deg C to below zero in the mountains. Hot Mediterranean sun and sharp rainfall once or twice at high altitude.

Stalling. Not once. Engine has never missed a beat.

Vibration. Well, I have a ducati and also had a boxer twin. They vibrate. This murmurs a bit. I know some owners complain of vibration at around 5,000 rpm, but to me this is very, very slight. Pillion had no issues either.

Mountain hairpins require a lot of 1st and 2nd gear work and the gearbox can be clunky between the two, and sometimes a 1st to 2nd change delivers neutral. When that happens the clunk back into gear is quite hefty. However, it is not all the time and I think it only happens with very fast changes when perhaps due to an overtake off an uphill hairpin for instance, I am not super smooth on the clutch. I will mention it to the dealer though. Otherwise the gearbox is great.

Performance is exceptional - fully loaded and two-up, we could easily outpace a number of sports bikes, and (solo) GS's were quickly dropped off except in very twisty bits. Overtaking ability is remarkable.

The bike feels very stable even at extreme lean angles (pegs grinding on the road). It feels very secure for the pillion and my partner was far more comfortable with fast bend work on this bike than I expected.

She finds the heated pillion seat very good. I am not super impressed with my seat. I can stand it, but my thighs hurt after a few hours. This needs a solution.

The Swiss roads can be a bit slippery at times as the high granite content can become polished. This led to a couple of alarming rear wheel slides, that all of us - on various bikes - experienced. I had to dab a foot down at one point to push us back up when the back stepped well out as a bend tightened up. The bike is on Metzler tyres and although I can't fault them as they gripped at speed and with plenty of lean, I suspect I will feel more secure on slightly softer rubber. This may be in my head - bikers are funny about tyres ;-) I am happy to trade off a bit of wear resistance for a more grip so will probably go for Michelin Pilot Road 2's next as I have them on another bike and like them.

Originally I thought the electric tall screen was too low (I am 6' 2") but I find that although it is a bit noisy it is very effective at keeping the bugs off my vizor.

I remain of the view that the ESAII suspension is best at its hardest (sport) setting 95% of the time. Comfort is useful on cobbled roads, normal is irrelevant for me. Traction control works well.

Fuel economy. Very good indeed. We didn't do much on motorways, but when we did, cruising at about 80 mph, I was getting 68 mpg or more. Push the pace up to 110 mph and the economy drops to mid 40's. Most of the trip was on fast bendy roads and we got around 48 mpg on average, which considering I very rarely used 5th or 6th gear is excellent in my view.

Speed. We had the opportunity to push the bike up safely into the higher speed ranges. It cruises quite happily at 130 mph and is still accelerating quite hard at 140 mph. I very rarely do this kind of speed, but it was interesting to see how it behaved. The absence of wind blast makes it easier than on a sports bike.

Slow riding. The bike is fine for doing tight u-turns etc, but at times it can give me heart failure when parking or reversing, especially if the pillion shifts a bit or the road surface is a bit loose. Parking in a dark garage one night after a long day of riding, I was extremely lucky to stop it going down. It is a heavy machine and I was at the limit of my strength when it just edged past the tipping point (pillion on board). Close!

Finish quality is very good. The bike cleaned up like brand new when I wiped it down at home. Engine, wheels etc are immaculate as the full fairing keeps everything pristine.

Xenon headlights are really excellent. Mine need adjusting for more right bias so I see less of the hedge by the road and more of the actual road, but when that is done they will be superb.

The locks on the glove box and cases are a tiny bit temperamental. The glove box jammed open at one point which was a bizarre fault. Entirely trivial and was fixed with the application of brute force. Panniers and top box are excellent, easy to remove, waterproof and ....weigh a ton!

Cross winds. Two up with full luggage, it presents a barn door shape to side winds. Coming back through France we picked a very windy day and although lateral movement was not enormous, I did have to pay close attention at times when we passed lorries or there was big gap in the roadside vegetation. Inevitable with a big fully faired bike I suppose. Pillion buffeting is much worse in cross winds for some reason. Odd.


I am really very impressed with this bike. It's looks have grown on me and I think it is a very safe and easy to ride machine that flatters its rider. It is deceptively fast and agile.

15k for a fully loaded bike is quite a lot I suppose, compared with a typical car, but contrasted with say an exotic Italian or KTM sports bike at a similar price, I would say the K1300GT is good value for money.

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2009, 1:00 pm
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New York, NY, USA
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Great review and road stories. I am impressed with your mileage as my 08 GT got a high of 50mpg and a low of 42mpg on a recent 2600 mile cross USA trip, with me running 65-75 mph, one up, no top case.

Enjoy your great machine and thanks for the balanced report.

2008 K1200GT, Custom Paint, Vivid Black, Aeroflow WS & Aeroguards, Givi E52 Maxia Topcase w/AdMore Lighting, Zumo 660, Suburban Footpeg Lowering, Sargent Seat

2009 R1200GS Adventure, Magnesium Grey/Black, Adventure Cases, Zumo 660, Touratech Unobtanium Accessories

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2009, 2:06 pm Thread Starter
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I'm not sure what difference US versus Imperial gallons makes - I think the (25l) tank has about 5.5 UK gallons and 6.6 US gallons. I find this bike surprisingly economical - especially when run on 98 or 99 Octane (e.g. Shell Ultra) fuel. Depending where you are in Europe the difference in price between 95 RON and high octane fuels can be small or substantial. Where the difference is small I run on high octane and find that the fuel economy goes up far more than the extra fuel cost.

I reckon if I stuck to a bit below strict continental speed limits (130 kph = around 80mph) and kept the bike in sixth gear and with cruise control on, it would consistently deliver over 60 mpg and deliver a range of over 300 miles. At times the computer showed a theoretical range of 350 miles. I don't actually ride like that, but occasionally it is interesting to monitor the fuel economy - or to stretch the distance if one is looking for a petrol station in rural France on a Sunday....

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2009, 3:10 pm
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Location: Garland, Texas, USA
Posts: 291
Great summary of the first 4,500 miles on your bike, thanks much for sharing. Like you said, people only tend to speak up when things go awry and not utter a word when there's nary a problem.

Straight away I was going to ask what OEM tires (tyres) BMW is putting on the K13 bike and you kindly provided that information. My 2008 K12GT came with Bridgestones which I couldn't wait to get off in favor of the Michelin Pilot Road 2's. Think you'll be incredibly pleased when it's time to change the Metzlers.

I can't believe the mileage you quoted as I always run premium here in The States and see about 45 MPG. Wouldn't say I have that aggressive a right hand but that's relative as I do enjoy the bike. While it doesn't have the added hp and torque of the K13, it's still darn fun to take through its paces.

You also had me with the Italian & Swiss Alps. I love living in Texas but c'mon. I can't envision those sites ever getting old.

Continued enjoyment of your bike and thanks again for the summary.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2009, 3:16 pm
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Using Versaverter, I get this:

68 mi/gal (UK) = 57 mi/gal. (US)

Still the number seems a bit high just because the Prius auto does better than the bike on mileage. I've never been able to best 45 mpg (US) or 54 mpg (UK) on the 1200GT, unless it was a very, very long downhill, or they use a Roman mile which is a bit shorter (4,855 feet) than a U.S. mile? I don't know. My head hurts thinking about it.

Where to get the handy and free Versaverter? Versaverter link.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 14th, 2009, 4:26 pm Thread Starter
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Hmm. I have to say that my mileage figures are based entirely on the bike's own trip computer. I have not checked it with physical calculations.

But maybe there is an explanation. Although I ride briskly, I am gentle with the throttle and quite sensitive to how an engine is pulling. My sports bike has a dry clutch and these are wrecked very fast if you are heavy handed with the throttle on revvy pull always from standstill. Since I am not racing I move off from every stop at just above idle speed and roll on the throttle gently before cracking it open. I also brake very little as I like to set the entry speed for a bend on the throttle and then carry it through with a bit of gas wound on to maintain momentum.

It may also be that this bike just happens to be very economical. There is another guy in my bike club who has got one, so I will compare notes when I get the chance. I am not much concerned with fuel economy so it is a bit ironic really. That said, I relish the contrast as on track days my Ducati gets 70 miles to a tankful of fuel (15 litres I think) and even riding it quite gently I am looking for fuel at 110 miles as the reserve light comes on. So this GT is quite amazing to me.

The handling and performance interest me more than the economy!

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old Sep 15th, 2009, 10:52 am
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Location: Olds, Alberta, Canada
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I commute 60km each way daily, rain or shine, and have a good variety of twisties, go straight like hell and brake for the 90 degree turn, and 60km/hr through 2 small towns (about 1 or 2 km each).

If I ride it like I stole it (fast as I can and reaching 240 km/hr in the straights) I get 42 mpg (US) which translates to 50 mpg Canadian.

Yesterday, as an experiment, I rode it very gently rarely breaking 4000 rpm and I got 47 mpg US = 56 mpg Imperial: not a huge difference!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 9:02 am
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Location: Bristow, VA, USA
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It must be me...on the 08 GT I got about 38 MPG. On the 09 I'm getting about 39 MPG. My daily commute is 105 miles round trip. Guess I should slow down and see what the mileage is....not....
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2009, 12:22 pm
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Great post and story

I too have Z6's and although ok will replace with PR2's when it is time.

As to milage - 39-43

2009 KGT1300 Apple Red (mine)
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old Nov 10th, 2009, 3:49 am
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Excellent review. Fits my 1200 almost as well, so I guess I won't upgrade just yet.

Panniers and top box are excellent, easy to remove, waterproof and ....weigh a ton!
Sounds like you weren't using inner liners then. If not, get some! They make things sooo much easier on the road. No lugging heavy, dirty panniers around, and actually a better use of the available space.
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