The same four-piston BMW calipers...
The same four-piston BMW calipers biting on 320mm rotors handle braking on the K1300S, and ABS is now standard. Thankfully, the servo-assist system found on the K1200S has been dumped, and braking feel and modulation have improved as result.
As would be expected on a bike with a 62.4-inch wheelbase (slightly longer than the K1200S's 61.8 inches), stability is a strong point in the BMW's handling repertoire. But don't think that the K-bike is truckish by any means; it can still carve tighter corners surprisingly well, with nice, neutral steering characteristics that don't require a lot of effort due to the wide and moderately-positioned bars. Front-end feedback is definitely improved, especially on corner entrance, due to a slight amount of pro-dive built into the Duolever geometry that gives some of the weight transfer necessary for good cornering bite from the tires. Suspension action was very good on the standard/one rider setting, swallowing up big hits without being too stiff or compromising chassis stability midcorner, and ground clearance was more than adequate.
Braking was noticeably improved as well, even with the ABS left on. Its activation threshold seemed higher than the K1200S (although that could have been because of the excellent grip offered by the stock ContiSport Attack tires), and even when activated its feel and performance were much more transparent than before. We never really noticed the linked braking system (using the front brake also actuates the rear brake to a set degree) on the K-bikes, which we attribute to the Duolever's natural anti-dive tendencies.
Where You At?
It would have been easy for BMW to just leave the K1200S alone and spend the extra R&D and tooling costs on another model. Thankfully the company has a new competitive streak going on, and it's showing a lot of kraft in taking on the established brands in a very competitive market. The K1300S has addressed most of the issues we had with its predecessor, and appears to have enough performance to keep pace with its competition while offering optional amenities they can't match.
But is its performance enough to hang with the big dogs? We'll be gathering the pack once again in the near future to find out. Stay tuned.
'09 BMW K1300S
MSRP: $15,250 (base model)
Type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC inline-four
Bore x stroke: 80 x 64.3mm
Compression ratio: 13.0:1
Induction: BMS-K fuel injection, 46mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl.
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Continental ContiSport Attack
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Continental ContiSport Attack
Rake/trail: 29.6 deg./4.1 in. (104mm)
Wheelbase: 62.4 in. (1585mm)
Seat height: 32.2 in. (818mm)
Fuel capacity: 6.3 gal. (24L)
Claimed wet weight: 635 lb. (288kg)