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Old 07-15-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
Rick Lee OP
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K1200S vs. K1300S, telll me about it.

I've been on the hunt for a K1300S, but they are scarce in AZ and I obviously can't test ride or check out the ones far away. I test rode one when they first came out, but it's been so long, I can't remember my impressions. Today I met up with a nice guy with a K1200S who wanted to try swapping to see if we liked each other's bikes. I came away feeling the K1200S was too sporty, low and uncomfortable and with far less wind protection than my GS has or even my previous R1200S had. Is the K1300S any different in that area? I do a lot of 6-10 hr. days and the GS is perfect for those. Is a K1300S gonna be any better than a K1200S there? AFAIK, the differences between the K13S and K12S are just the shift assist, a few horsies and ESA as an option. Those things don't really matter to me, so I'm wondering if I'm better off saving some $$ and going with a K12S....except that I'm not sure it's comfortable enough for my fat ass on longer hauls. And are there some tranny issues with the K12S that were fixed on the K13S? Anyone here have some experience with both?
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:56 AM   #2
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There are improvements: tranny, new version of ESA (which can be had on the K1200s in its earlier form), I believe improved clutch... but I felt, when I tried one, that the riding positions were very close. I have a K1200R which has a more 'relaxed' position and I find I am comfortable all day. But, of course, it doesn't have the full fairing etc. Aftermarket seats for fat-asses are avail on all. If you lived anywhere in the world except the US and Antarctica, you could get the K1300R.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:18 PM   #3
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Thanks. I've been considering the K1200R too, but can't find one anywhere to test ride. We have no sales tax on private party sales in AZ. So if I were to buy from a dealer, even out of state, I'd get hit with the full sales tax when I register it here. The only way to avoid it is to trade or buy private party. Dealers in AZ got nothing in stock when I'm looking, ever.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:19 AM   #4
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The k1300s fairing is larger than the k1200s, and they did fix a lot of the k12's faults, mainly the rather spotty throttle response. It also likely has improvements to the cam chain tensioner and a guide in the head that keeps the cam chain on it. Clutch and tranny problems were addressed with some TSBs on the k12 series.

The short answer is that its doubtful a k12/k13s will ever be as comfortable as a GS, and the GS does just about everything better than the k12/k13s except achieve speeds over 130 mph. I own both an 05 k12s and an 05 r12gs btw.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by eric2 View Post

The short answer is that its doubtful a k12/k13s will ever be as comfortable as a GS, and the GS does just about everything better than the k12/k13s except achieve speeds over 130 mph. I own both an 05 k12s and an 05 r12gs btw.
Though I have the K1200R, have ridden both. My personal, but probably uninformed opinion is, the K1200s/K1300s were crafted with no speed limit riding in mind. Friends who have the S version and love them ride like mutherfuckers, armed with radar and a super natural ability to smell cops.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:04 PM   #6
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The k1300s fairing is larger than the k1200s......
I know the styling changed between the K12S and K13S but where is the K13S fairing larger? The stock windscreens and lower fairings (the flat black bottom sections) even have the same part numbers between the 1200 and 1300 models.

Just curious.

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:42 PM   #7
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I'm also curious what parts are interchangeable between the two. Last night I saw some expandable cases on the German eBay that supposedly fits both bikes. Really? How about mufflers?
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:25 PM   #8
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Rick, I don't believe there is anything notably different in the ergos between the K12S and K13S. Your impressions of riding the K12S, ergonomically, will be the same as the K13S. Many parts are interchangeable. Example... I can take the full Akrapovic exhaust off my K12S and place it on the K13S seamlessly. The K13S has some refinements versus the K12S, but I've heard some say the "untameness" of the K12S is more appealing. The K13S has four more HP and four more LBS. They are 90%+ the same bike. Given the song one can pick up a K12S for, one must really want the K13S to spring for it. Both are outstanding. The '05 K12S here is one of my all time favorite bikes. A fuel strip replacement has been the only problem. I find it comfy for long rides, as I do the 12GSADV here.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:34 PM   #9
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Thanks. Yours is a sobering post for me. I don't know if I can buy a bike in the hopes that it grows on me. When I rented a GS in NV about six yrs. ago, I knew the second I hopped on it I had to have one. I bought my R1200S without ever having ridden one and liked it right away. Maybe the K12S I rode on Sunday wasn't set up right. I know it didn't have ESA. And the owner was a lot shorter than me, so he had no use for Helibars. I felt the gearing was strange or maybe it was just an uneven powerband. I don't know what kind of engine speed you're supposed to run those things for steady cruising. I always shift around 4k on the GS when riding non-aggressively. That didn't seem to even begin to touch the power of the K12S.

I have heard the K12S has some tranny issues which require full tranny replacement, not repair. But I haven't read up on that one yet. I have done pretty well with warranties in the past, so that's another bonus of the K13S for me.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:36 PM   #10
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If the K/S doesn't immediately appeal to you, don't jump into it. Life is too short to waste time on bikes that don't speak what you want to hear.

I just returned from a 3500 mile tour - my first long tour since owning my K1300S. As a former owner of a 1200GSA (absolutely outstanding bike), I have to admit to having some worries about the comfort of the K for such a trip, having come from such an amazing touring bike. I'm 6'2" and loved being able to stretch out on the GSA. I can candidly say the K1300S was supremely comfortable - even by comparison. But it's a different comfort, and one that may not come until one has enough miles on the K to acclimate to the different ergos.

While it's true you simply don't have the room you are given on the GS, the K is comfortable in other ways. For example, at speed, windblast for me is a non-issue. The easy forward lean provided by the K/S is perfect on the slab. The wind supports you and I find zero pressure on my arms/wrists.
My longest day was 715 miles from Buena Vista CO to Milford, NE, and I had no issues.

And while in the mountains, the K1300S was pure magic. An outstanding bike.

But I am by no means talking you into it. I'm just wanting to clear up the idea that the K/S is only an autobahn tool; that it is too much bike for the real world. It has an abundance of power for sure, but it really is an amazingly civil and easy bike to ride. Having also owned a K1200S, I would say the bikes are different, but the 13 isn't necessarily better. I happen to like the lines of the 12 better. The 13 is a bit more refined all around. Ergos not discernibly different, nor is the view from the cockpit. Some say the K13 feels faster. To me, it's irrelevant. They both have mind-blurring power if you want it, but if you have a bit of self-control, it isn't a bike (to me) that encourages a lot of hooliganism. It's really just a very smooth, tractable and comfortable blend of sport and touring that makes it a really special bike in my eyes.

Good luck with your decision. I'm truly thankful to ride in an age of motorcycling when we can choose between multiple magnificent bikes.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:12 PM   #11
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Thanks. Very interesting stuff. On my GS I feel like I'm riding a sofa, it's that comfy. Even with a Corbin seat and Helibars on my R12S, it got uncomfortable after a while. My longest day was 650 miles from Mammoth Lakes to Phoenix, and I wasn't dying, but was ready to walk. On my last ride on the R12S from LA to Phoenix in July, it got so bad, I almost parked it and walked the last five miles home. I traded it for the GS the following weekend and felt right back at home. I ride it to LA all the time and it's a breeze.

But I get the itch every two years and the K13S is calling my name. I know I'll go back to a GS eventually. But they grow on trees and I need to scratch this itch.

I was in Europe in May and stopped at the BMW Motorrad Zentrum in Munich. Man, they had more pre-owned bikes there than most US dealers have total bikes on the floor. While driving from Salzburg to Munich, as soon as we crossed into Germany and the speed limit went away (we were all doing about 130 k/h in Austria), a K13S flew past me like I was stopped. It was just so cool to see him pull away like he was being launched off a carrier deck. That's what sealed it for me.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #12
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Now it's getting to be decision time. I have a dealer who will probably offer me $10k in trade for my bike and their K13S is $12.5k. So that minimizes the sales tax bite. But I'd want to add an aftermarket warranty and have to ride my bike 650 miles to them and then the new bike back home. If I really want a K13S, this sounds like a good way to get into one. Might be able to swing a business trip out of this to get the company to cover hotel and meals, though couldn't expense that kind of mileage. I don't know what to do and I just about never wrestle with decisions.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:36 PM   #13
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Rick,

What is the year/miles/condition/options of the K13 the dealer has? Take it from a guy who did virtually the same trade you are contemplating: you have an in-demand bike currently, and you are trading for a bike that frankly is somewhat difficult for dealers to move. Don't feel rushed, because you are in a great position to make a good trade.

*edit* I would also add that if you do end up doing the trade, give yourself time to get used to the K before feeling the regret set in.
I did that going the other direction: had a K1200S, and traded it too soon because I never got settled with the riding position after coming off of a Triumph Tiger. After selling the K, I regretted it immediately, and thought about it for two years before finally trading back. The second time around I knew what I was getting into (and what I felt was missing without it), and the bike has only gotten better with miles. As you already know, it can be a bike that takes just a bit of time to grow on you. But it most definitely will.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:43 PM   #14
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Thanks. The K13S I'm looking at is 2009 with 12k miles, side cases, 12k miles service just done, seems impeccably maintained. If it were magma red, I'd probably jump on it. But the metallic white doesn't grab me as much. It's liveable, but doesn't compel me to do something stupid like a red one would.

I just had a chat with my local indep. BMW wrench and he told me I am looking to have an affair with a K-bike, but will eventually come back to my wife, the GS. He knows I drive an air-cooled 911 too. I sort of agree. I don't think I can part with my GS and I know I can't get a K-bike and keep the GS. Alas, I think I will call this dealer and tell them thanks, but that I have to stick with my current wife.

However, since I was planning to drop some more cash on this K13S deal, I think I will instead spring for Lennie's sprockets and a performance muffler, just to spoil the wife and repent for my near affair.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:56 PM   #15
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You are wise. If you still feel so strongly about the GS - and I understand why you do - you wouldn't have been happy. As a K1300S owner, I can say that anyone who buys a K/S because they think it will "outrun" a GS on normal roads will be sorely disappointed. You simply have to just like the whole package.


Good decision on a great bike.
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