1989-1993 BMW K1

(Page 3 of 4)

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While it’s doubtful BMW expected the K1 would top the sales charts, sales were still disappointing; production stopped with the 1993 model after 6,921 units. But the K1 was a success in helping shift public perception of BMW from a builder of staid tourers for old men to a manufacturer of modern, high-speed sportbikes. The K1 helped BMW change its persona forever, and it remains one of their most memorable machines. MC

New school sports-touring rivals to the BMW K1
1988 Ducati 906 Paso
- 80hp @
 8,000rpm/
 137mph
- Water-cooled,
 SOHC V-twin
- 6-speed
- Dual disc front,
 single disc rear
- 518lb (wet)
- 40-50mpg
- $2,500-$4,000

Although certainly the least radical of our featured trio, the 906 Paso was still revolutionary in its own way, a high-speed sport-touring machine with technology and styling that, Ducati hoped, pointed the way to the future.

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Although based on the 750 Paso introduced in 1986, the 906’s V-twin (which was actually a 904cc) borrowed heavily from Ducati’s 8-valve 851, including the latter’s meatier crankcases, 6-speed gearbox (the “6” in 906) and liquid cooling. Although the changes didn’t result in impressive horsepower gains (depending on whose dyno you used, the 906 was only 2 to 10hp up on the 750), they did, along with very slight suspension tweaks, result in a significantly refined bike.

While the 906’s handling was still considered heavy, it was praised for quick steering and excellent stability, with precise control under any road condition.

Comfort was highly rated, too, thanks to a riding posture — inspired, it’s said, by the Yamaha FJ1200 — cited as ergonomically superior by reviewers.

But for all its positive attributes, the 906 never lived up to expectations, and was replaced in 1990 by the 907 I.E.

Although somewhat unloved even today, the 906 is strong, fairly reliable and relatively cheap, making it an interesting and stylish alternative to Japanese liter bikes of the time.

1993 Yamaha GTS1000
- 96.7hp @
 7,500rpm/ 
 139mph
- Water-cooled,
 DOHC inline four
- 5-speed
- Single disc, front
 and rear
- 641lb (wet)
- 30-40mpg
- $2,500-$5,500

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