Friday, November 25, 2011

1990 K1 known as Maggie

Sometime around 1996 or 97 Duncan's shop picked up a 1990 BMW K1 that had been in a heavy down and around accident. The shop needed a few electrical items off the chassis and that was it. The bodywork was pretty much done and not really repairable. The frame was bent in three different places and the wheels were less than round. In fact the frame was so bent that even with wood blocks under the center stand the wheels still touched the ground. Quite the shorted wheel base at that point.

Alongside the rear plastic side panel was a ditto tag with the word 'MAGGIE' on it. Because the center stand was not very functional the bike was strapped in the van by its suspension points. As the van's suspension bounced up and down the K would bounce in unison; I got the biggest kick out of this. It seems to me that 'MAGGIE' was happy to be back on her wheels and on the road.
As more and more bits were stripped from the chassis the overall simplicity of the BMW engine/ transmission assembly caught my eye. BMW called this the CDS or Compact Drive System and presents itself just as that. I became more in tune with Maggie's beauty and design.
The K1 engine was one of the first 16valve engines and for this BMW changed from the LE Jetronic system to a Motronic control system. The old Jetronic system would have two control units; an ignition control unit that resides between the frame tubes near the steering head and then a fuel injection control unit over the battery. The Motronic unit is both systems contained in one box. This simplifies wiring to a full plug and play harness that can be used with almost any 16valve K engines. The Motronic unit also does away with the air flow meter used on LE Jetronic systems. This allowed for the use of independent K&N air fliters added to each of the snorkels for the throttle bodies. When one looks at the CDS all the possibilities become endless at to different uses.
After removing the ABS wiring from the harness it was time to put bits back on. A less bent frame was found and tweaked into a usable shape. The wheels had most of the dents removed as best could be done. The addition of F650 bars and a braided brake line made for a quick reassembly. I was eager to ride Maggie and on a cold spring day rolled her out into the parking lot for a short spin. No seat, no speedo and with those forward wide F650 bars it felt much like being Superman with my arms out streched.
Somewhere in the archive of Maggie's history is a picture of her in the shop sporting the original yellow tank and an aftermarket fairing. The seat was an early 1984 K100 sport seat; these seats are different than later models and have brackets to attach side handles for the passenger. They worked to be great attachment points for a cut down K tail light. Its very easy to find K tail lights with the corners broken off. This can be 'cleaned' up with a hack saw, just cut the sides off.

The yellow painted tank was the only color on the machine and after riding her around for a season I decided that it might look better with the yellow removed leaving her in a more 'bare' state. Out came the 5F5 stripper and a few hours later we had a nice alloy tank. The wheels were sent out for power coating. The aftermarket fairing held the speedo and a R65 headlight. The front fender was made from two front/'rear' sections of oil head fenders pop riveted to aluminum strips

In 1999 Duncan and I decided to go to the BMW MOA rally in Reinbeck NY. Duncan ran his new R1100s with Corbin bags and I with Maggie. We rode out Route 2 with another rider from the shop. At some points hitting speeds of several figures! A great time was had by all and the rally was one of the best I,ve been to. There was a good turn out for K1 owners that year 26 or so I believe. Maggie was the only naked K1. It was a great rally, many people had never seen such a naked K. Later that Saturday Maggie and I rode up to Northfield Vt to visit my Girlfriend.
Feeling like a hooligan I took Maggie into work on Tuesday after the MOA rally/Vt run. It was just a really great sensation to ride such a light and powerful machine. All during the time I spent at the rally she could run with Duncan's R1100s and other big dogs. Handling.... well that was so so. The k1 rear sets and the 'Superman' F650 bars make for acquired faith of performance.

The one thing that I've hadn't done was to feel out Maggie's top speed; K1's are able to lope along at 145 mph all day long without laboring. Top speed should be around 165mph. It seems like the thing to do as I'd just about be living on the bike for a week. So on my rip down Rt495 I'd give her the bit. She was pulling pretty good at the 120mph mark but at she broke 135mph she began to shake her head strongly as if to say 'I don't think so...' I knew hitting the brakes was not cool so I just screwed it on hard! As I regained control and as I began to reel it all in the adrenaline surged down my spine like ice water. Within twenty minutes from this point I was in a total zen state. Everything was perfect and the lulling drone from Maggie was relaxing. Total control and all awareness of my surroundings.

As I rolled into town a woman not paying attention to the traffic jumped out in front of me. Still on an adrenaline rush I was able to stop Maggie short of hitting her but only to be rear ended by the car behind me. I heard the car hit but never felt it. As Maggie was being pushed from underneath me I stepped onto the roadway and spun on one foot as she folded up under the car's front bumper.
Once again, Maggie had been totalled; her frame twisted, Wheels bent and now the engine block was broken as the frame pulled away from CDS mounting points on the top of the engine. I think I was banged up too but don't remember much. All I wanted to do was go for a ride...

At some point around that winter a totalled 1995 K1100LT came into the shop; its front end ripped clean off and the oil/waterpump were quite smashed in. But the block was intact and that was the most important thing to me. A few more bits came along that winter and with the motivation of a a few people that never got to hear Maggie run I put her back right. She was still sporting her K1 cams but now with a Luftmeister Exhaust and a chipped computer. qa little more angry in presence but happy to be back on the road. Duncan rode her out to the Canadian MOA rally and I used her a little in that time but not to the extent that I did before my accident.
A few weeks ago Duncan's assistant pulled Maggie from the back of the shop in a state of interest and also made an observation that the throttle was unable to open completely. I made adjustments to correct this and with a fresh battery and fuel she was fire up and running. Minor changes and bits have 'moved' on since her slumber, the fork seals are leaking and the once sticky tires are loosing their grip but Maggie will always be Maggie the K1 to many that know her.