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BMW K1

Published: 29 July 2001

Updated: 19 November 2014

Launched at the 1988 Cologne Show, there were feelings from some quarters that it would have been better off launched off the nearest cliff.

Remembering the success it enjoyed after introducing the first fully-faired production bike in 1976 with the R100RS, BMW reasoned that if it added as much fairing as it possibly could to another bike, it would be laughing.

Well, there was plenty of laughter, mainly from the public gallery because it looked quite a lot like a four-poster bed cross-fertilised with the bastard son of a Dalek and a double-decker bus.

BMW came up with all sorts of logical excuses for why it looked like it did, but the bike was a typically weird and wilfully ugly answer to a question nobody had actually asked.

Aerodynamics were claimed to be paramount, but the K1 was an object lesson in just enough science being a good thing and too much a very unattractive thing indeed.

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