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What Killed The BMW K75?

One of the most reliable motorcycles ever made is gone from this world. Why?

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If a motorcycle engine has more than one cylinder, the number is more often than not — Triumph and Yamaha notwithstanding — an even one. Bike engines are also usually mounted transversely, so that a chain can spin the rear wheel. This, too, has the added benefit of packaging — keeping everything nice and close together, tip to tail.

But what if a motorcycle maker just... didn’t? What if a company threw a three-cylinder engine into a bike, mounted it longitudinally, and drove the rear end with a shaft? What if, just for kicks, the manufacturer threw the engine on its side — a flat inline triple? Well, that might just make for something great. Something a lot like the BMW K75.

The Million-Mile Motorcycle that BMW Abandoned - K75 Review

That, at least, is RyanF9's appraisal of the K75 — an engineering marvel, cut short before its time. Interestingly, his reasons for loving the bike have nothing to do with performance; horsepower, torque, or handling. Instead, he loves the K75 for its longevity.


The shaft drive means no chain maintenance, no pesky cleaning and lubing. The fully exposed cylinder head means changing spark plugs is a breeze. And the undersquare layout of the cylinders means the engine runs cool and with low internal stress — a recipe for a long, healthy life.

FortNine’s videos are always masterpieces of production value, and this review of the K75 is no different. Get yourself home from work, pop your shoes off, and throw this on the TV while you kick your feet up on the couch. There’s no better way to spend a 94-degree Friday night, I can assure you.