The previous telephone-pole-size...
The previous telephone-pole-size muffler is gone, replaced by a shorter and more stylish stainless steel unit with an integral catalyzer to help keep emissions in check. Ground clearance is more than adequate.
The engine received a 136cc displacement increase (for a total displacement of 1293cc), care of 1mm larger bore (now 80mm) and a whopping 5.3mm-longer stroke (now measuring 64.3mm). Despite the larger bore, each piston is 12 grams lighter due to its slipper skirt design plus thinner compression and oil control rings. The cylinder head intake ports now feature internal edges to help promote swirl in the combustion chamber, and revised exhaust cam timing to work with the displacement increase. The airbox, filter, and intake ducts have been redesigned with the larger engine in mind as well, with revised engine mapping aimed at improving partial throttle performance. Dual throttle cables (one for open, one for close) and a new all-metal idle control valve complete the engine changes.
The instrument panel has also...
The instrument panel has also been redesigned, thankfully with a much larger tachometer and white-faced speedometer. On-board computer LCD display can show numerous functions and readouts. Fuel reserve "miles remaining" readout was impressively accurate.
The previous ballistic-missile-size exhaust muffler is gone, replaced with a shorter unit that features an integrated catalyzer to help meet the strict emissions standards of both Europe and the USA. Also new is an integral exhaust valve to control back pressure throughout the rpm range for better power and torque in the lower portion of the powerband. All told, the changes result in a claimed peak power figure of 175 horsepower at 9250 rpm, but the bigger news is a major increase in torque to 103 ft/lb, with a claimed seven-ft/lb increase from 2000 to 8000 rpm.
The hydraulically-actuated clutch now features a larger slave cylinder for easier lever effort, with new friction plates, springs, and stronger spring plate to handle the increased torque. Gearbox action was also attended to, with a revised pivot point for the shifter, shifter rod now running in ball bearings, and new 3-contact-point shift forks (versus the older two-point) for easier shifting, and undercut gear engagement dogs with greater engagement surface for more positive gearchanges. The driveshaft now features a two-stage damper system; the first stage handles small torque changes with a spring-loaded friction disc, while bigger load variations are handled by polyurethane bushings encased in the rubber damper portion of the driveshaft system.
Our K1300S was equipped with...
Our K1300S was equipped with both the ESA II (Electronic Suspension Adjust) and the ASC (Anti-Spin Control). The ABS and ASC can be turned off. And wait—are we hallucinating? Is that a single-button turn signal actuator on a BMW? Praise the Lord!
In an effort to improve front-end feedback from the Duolever front suspension, the geometry of the A-arms and "wheel carrier" (basically what comprises the fork in a conventional telescopic fork) has been changed. The lower control arm is now made of aluminum, saving 2.2 pounds of unsprung weight, and the spring/damping rates are now firmer overall. A second-generation version of BMW's Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA II) that now alters spring rate as well as preload and damping is available as a $900 option (more on that later).
The BMW ABS system is now standard with the K1300S, and it can be shut off if desired. It has also thankfully jettisoned the servo-assist system used with the K1200S that made modulation and feedback poor at slower speeds. A no-cost option is a 1.1-inch-lower seat that drops the seat height to 31.1 inches, allowing more riders to fit the K1300S (this is an option that will be available through much of the BMW range for '09).
The BMW's front fairing and...
The BMW's front fairing and windscreen provide good wind protection, and mirrors provide a decent rear view with little vibration fuzziness. Headlight is one of the best we've used on a sportbike, providing a wide swath of light ahead.
BMW has also debuted an ASC (Anti-Spin Control) traction control system on the K1300S as a $400 option. Because the BMW already has wheel speed sensors as part of the ABS, it was a relatively simple matter to fit up a traction control system. There are the usual host of other options available, from heated grips to a GSA (Gear Shift Assist) powershifter. BMW will also be offering two additional "special package" models with various options included. Besides the $15,250 base model, there is the "Standard Package" with heated grips that runs an additional $250, and the $17,500 "Premium Package" that includes the GSA, ESA II, heated grips, tire pressure monitoring system, and ASC.
One last change to the K1300S that will also soon be standard issue with all BMWs: after decades of saying "we'll do it our way," BMW will now be joining the rest of the world (other than the lone exception of Harley-Davidson) in adopting the single-button turn signal actuator. Hallelujah!