BMW 30th anniversary K-series

Three decades of water-cooled fours

BMW might have been making headlines with the S1000RR for the last couple of years but the firm's experience with liquid-cooled four-cylinders dates back decades before that. In fact BMW is celebrating 30 years of inline fours with a new version of the K1300S.

The “30 Jahre K-Modelle” version of the K1300S gets a special white, red and black paint scheme and tinted screen, plus most of the stuff that's usually optional on the K1300S fitted as standard. You get all sorts of capital letters – ESA II, RDC, ASC and ABS – thrown in.

For the uninitiated or fans of plain English, that means second-generation Electronic Suspension Adjustment, tyre pressure monitor (RDC stands for Reifendruckkontrolle) and Automatic Stability Control. We're guessing you already know ABS.

And the upper-case initials don't end there; HP shift assistant and HP footrests for both rider and passenger are also included. There's an Akrapovic silencer, heated grips and on-board computer, too.

In terms of the 30-year history of the K-series, the range dates back to the 1983 K100, the first water-cooled, four-cylinder BMW. That bike's unusual layout, with the engine mounted longitudinally – crankshaft running front-to-back – and horizontally, so the cylinders lie flat, continued until the 2004 K1200S introduced a more conventional transverse arrangement.

Even back in '83, that first K came with fuel injection, and since '88 the K has had four-valve heads. Although initially fours, the K-series spawned triples (the K75) and most recently six-cylinder machines in the form of the K1600.