1987 BMW K 75 S

Summary:

The smootheset, most practical and best all round sport tourer BMW ever made

Faults:

Electronic speedometer failed and electronic component needed to be fixed or replaced.

Speedometer and tachometer fog up (inside glass) during cooler/damp weather -- not fixed.

Gas tank leaked due to moisture pooling/corrosion at bottom of tank -- needed to be welded/repaired and repainted (at tank bottom, left side).

Front disc rotor 'warped' and was replaced due to rough/wobbly stopping action.

Gas tank fuel pump (rubber seal, etc.) needed to be replaced due to fuel going bad and sitting for a riding season -- expensive! (Use Stabil, keep tank full and ride it! (Yes... it was stored inside, but still soured)

Drive shaft splines were greased once... this is important to stay on top of.

General Comments:

Where do I start? I'm a neo vintage bike collector of sorts and this is the ONLY bike I ever bought brand new. And I certainly don't regret that choice... more than 22 years later.

When BMW came out with their 3 cylinder 'smaller' version of the K bike in 1986, they were instantly highly rated and favorably reviewed compared to the heavier, hotter and more vibration prone (at he time) 4 cylinder bigger brother K100s. Physically, K100s and K75s are the essentially the same, but the K75S model was the 3 cylinder line-up's 'hot' sport bike -- fast, quick and sporty, but with a decidedly civilized manner and flair in about a 50 lb lighter machine. In reality, it's the "RS" of the K75 family. In trail position coming up from behind, you can tell a K75 from a K100 by the muffler end -- triangle shaped for the 3 cylinders, square for the 4 cylinder K100s... :-)

The K75S was and STILL is arguably one of BMW's 'best', most nimble, practical and enjoyable all round sport bikes ever made. A worthy successor to the R90S ground breaking classic of the mid 70s. It's designed around the stress membered 3 cylinder 750cc liguid cooled DOHC block -- with fuel injection and 'compact drive unit' integrated wtih tranny, shaft drive and mono shocked rear end unit' that was really trick in it's day (same layout as K100). In fact, the K75S (and only the K75S) used the same rear end and disc brake (not the drum brake on other K75s)assembly the K100s used. Like the K100s, the K75s feature factory supplied/tuned stainless steel exhaust/headers so good that -- to my knowledge -- no aftermarket vendor tried to improve on.

Fit and finish was second to none. More than that, BMW's 3 cylinder flying K lump version was probably the SMOOTHEST and most reliable (next to an air head boxer) engine BMW ever built! It's smooth even compared to other triples out there. (at least certainly back in the 80s and early 90s). Runs quiet and quite cool, with a nice broad torque band that still can make good, lively RPMs and throttle response -- with minimum fuss, but with that distinctive 'trademark' K bike tranny techno whirly whine or hum. Compared to the 4 cylinder K100 brick engine (good for extra cylinder + 25 more HP), the K75 2-valve 3 bangers got you noticeable unhurried smoothness, good gas tank range, reliability and lively performance (for a 750) largely because of it's 120 degree 'naturally balanced' crank shaft and understressed components. (Not to mention its GREAT fuel management/electronic computer ignition system).

To me, the K75S is a stand-out 'classic' largely because of it's being a very tidy understated sport ride in a purposeful and beautifully styled/sculpted unique machine. And it all came together and worked in a nicely balanced sport tourer package and price (@ $5.5K in 87). Configured with a tank bag and BMW factory hard bags, you could carry just as much as the touring K75s and K100s. Whilst 'humming along' in the Green Mountains of Vermont, I was SURE 'Scotty' transported us to Bavaria and its perfect touring scenic smooth mountain roads... where the K75SS concept probably gelled in some BMW engineer/rider's mind. :-) Point? Not sure, but his is no rice burner hyper bike ready for the short track.

The fairing (bikini styled, yet "full") really works to cut down wind noise and afford riders with some protection. The seating ergonomics are gentlemanly and civil (for average sized me at least)...narrow, modest lean forward biased bars plus nice and 'roomy' foot/peg arrangement makes you feel like it's bigger size than a 750 going down the road at speed. (60MPH @ 4250 RPM). Mine was early 87 model with the nice "hot lava red" paint (prone to fading... so watch out for that sun!!), trick fairing/cowling and rear disc rotor. Other than maintenance points noted above, it exudes ROCK solid quality, design and reliability. I'm told a cared for K75 engine is good for over 100K miles without needing ANYTHING.

The K75S holds up well to this day. FYI... these '1st gen' K bikes were all beautifully styled and even received kudos from the home of UJM Japanese experts via "G-mark" design award, etc. It's probably the best handling Beemer of it's day. I also have 90 K1 and 88 K100RS and while the K75S may not be the best long distance interstate mile shredder or more powerful tourer the others are, it is certainly the most "fun" to ride and flick around on short to middle distance trips on or off major thruways.

BMW made it that way. A competent, relaxed, capable sport tourer for the "practical gentleman rider" (BMW's messaging, not mine) It wasn't the fastest in its day or pretentiously posing as a 'wanna be' repli-racer. True to BMW roots (which it seems to have departed from lately), it was and still is a very good 'all rounder' type Euro sport ride. However, it's tighter/shorter cropped suspension will give you a stiffer, rougher ride on questionable pavement.

Sadly, BMW discontinued their 3 cylinder line well before their time -- no doubt to make room for another line-up and broader market/rider 'price points'. So parts might be an issue someday. But any 3 cylinder K75 will satisfy and reward, and the K75S will surely grab your sport riding soul -- in only the way a sporty and trusty BMW could or can. Oh... did I mention I mention it's a good 'commuter bike' too? It's in the parking lot today... :-)

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2009

15th Sep 2010, 17:03

Great review... it is very accurate and covers the general aspects of this fantastic motorcycle in a very comprehensive manner. All of the author's words can be concurred by myself, because I too, have an 1988 K75S and it is built like a "rock".

28th May 2011, 03:00

I have owned a BMW K75S for nine months now, the mileage is approx 44k. I bought it for £900, have spent a further £500 or so (including Aero Flow windscreen - good!) and recently taken it for a spin across the English Channel to Amsterdam and back. If it has any faults, these are a) its weight (475 kilos ex luggage) and b) it could probably do with a sixth gear. Great bike, and would recommend it.

21st Nov 2011, 17:41

I've owned a K75C for 7 years now, and must concur with all the points in this article. I'm trading it for a K75S Sport, but only because the K75S is newer.

Smoothest bike I ever rode! Recommend them to anybody! Well, anybody over six feet tall; you need long legs to put your feet flat on the ground when standing.

And they're 227Kg with a full tank. The commenter above must have weighed his with the wife and all four kids aboard.

Get one; you'll love it!

1991 BMW K 75 S

Summary:

An extremely versatile and reliable motorcycle... will never part with it!!!

Faults:

Front brake disc warpage.

General Comments:

I purchased the motorcycle new when I returned from Desert Storm.

I have taken it back and forth to the US and Germany, and have driven on both continents.

I have taken short day trips, long trips (Scotland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, etc), and used it as a primary daily commuter.

I have purchased over the years a Parabellum windshield, all BMW hard and soft baggage, and heated grips, and recommend all those options.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2006