BMW’s K-series of motorcycles gained the nickname the “flying brick” for their block-like laid-down inline engines. At three cylinders, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe K 75 is the smaller of the series. Let’s see if this classic bike’s price makes it a perfect building block for future fun.
The comments on yesterday’s 2013 Ford Flex SEL AWD were an interesting mix. Some of you felt the wagon was ugly and overpriced, while others found it handsome and overpriced. The rare 20-inch wheels were also called out as being an unfortunate oddity as they would likely prove expensive to re-tire, i.e. overpriced.
Ownership cost—purchase and on-going—was one thing that seemed to bind you all, and at $13,000, that Flex seemed too expensive to fully 65 percent of you, dunning the car with a Crack Pipe loss. Geez, you could have been a little more... Flexible.
When you think of BMW Motorrad what springs almost immediately to mind? Most likely it’s images of horizontally-opposed air-cooled twins and cool progressive fade paint jobs. Much as Porsche did with their pancake fours and sixes, BMW motorcycles gained fame for the company’s sideways-sliding twins.
Of course, nothing in this life is permanent, save for that face tattoo you got that one drunken evening. Sorry about that. In the case of BMW’s bikes, global emissions standards began to put the large two-pot engines at a disadvantage. Part of making an internal combustion engine less polluting is controlling the operating temperature, and that’s a heck of a lot more difficult with an air-cooled engine than one with a liquid intermediary. It’s especially so when you’re trying to manage combustion on opposite sides of the mill.
Those issues led BMW Motorrad to develop the K-series, a whole new take on the standard motorcycle concept and something that, save for its shared torque tube final drive, was radically different from the bikes the company had spent decades culturing.
This 1986 BMW K 75 is the second model of the line the company introduced in the ‘80s. The first was the four-cylinder K 100 which gained the nickname “flying brick” for its compact cross-ways engine. The 750 cc K 75 followed with three cylinders in the same layout. These bikes not only embraced liquid cooling but also fuel injection with an electronically-controlled system provided by Bosch.
As equipped, the K 75 offered 75 horsepower to channel through its five-speed gearbox. The frame features twin downtubes and uses the engine as a stressed element. The final drive is via a shaft enclosed in a box section monolever swing arm. Braking is by way of dual hydraulic discs upfront and, strangely enough for so tech-heavy a bike, a mechanical drum in back.
This ’86 looks to be in solid if a bit unkempt shape. According to both odo and ad, it’s done 24,700 miles. Those show on the seat, which looks to have suffered some nicks and wear, as well as on all of the alloy bits which are dishwater dull and could stand a good bit of elbow grease to bring back some shine.
Or not, everything at issue here is purely aesthetic. Mechanically, the bike seems to be solid. The ad notes new oil and a filter, as well as a recently installed rear tire and battery. No major oil leakage is apparent from either engine or gearbox, either.
The bike looks to be a ’T’ which was a U.S.-only model that offered the handlebar-mounted mini-fairing and the panniers as a package. Experts in the audience, correct me if I’m wrong here.
Instrumentation is via a compact cluster on these and is very car-like in design. The binnacle beneath the fairing houses a large speedo and tach, along with idiot lights for the ancillaries. It looks to be in good shape with no water or other damage evident.
While the ad notes the wear and tear evident in the pictures, the bike is all complete and that counts a lot as parts for 3-decade old bikes can be hard to come by. The title is clean and the bike is located in Santa Barbara so you could potentially test it out by taking it up bodacious Highway 154 through the Santa Ynez mountains. Trust me, that’s a good ride.
Before you can do that, however, there’s the issue of the purchase, and that brings us to the price. The seller is asking $2,900 for the bike, and while in some ways it’s a bit tired, in others it’s a perfect basis for a project bike or just a run-what-ya-brung.
The question for you all is whether that $2,900 asking is a good starting place for any of those options. What do you think, is this classic Beemer worth that $2,900 asking? Or, does that price have you thinking not-oh K?
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