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Bike Review - Posted 15th December 2014
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1985 BMW K75C

Back in the mid-1980s, BMW's three-cylinder 750 was the sensible option for the long-distance motorcyclist. Mark Holyoake suggests that it's now an easily affordable and extremely competent classic bike...

After an enjoyable romp from the east to west coasts of the UK on my Guzzi Nuovo Falcone, earlier in the summer, I retraced my steps on a recently acquired 1985 BMW K75C. I just loved the roads round the Marches and wanted to try then again – which was also a good excuse to go for a run on the aforementioned triple.

This particular 750 came with the BMW low seat and the standard C handlebars. I find them to be both more accommodating for my frame than the K75S I enjoyed a few years ago. Being short-legged, the seat being lower helps and the bars are far better for my aging, injured wrist. The bars on the C are not flat, but not like the RT and they seem to position your upper body angled into the breeze, but not in a sport-racer position. The footrests seem well positioned and are fine for me – someone with a longer inside leg may find some cramps with this set-up but for dwarfs like moi it suits me fine.

1985 BMW K75C

The K75, as smooth as reputed, has a wide power range that makes touring and general running around a real pleasure. It’s true you can play with the gear lever and use some revs but equally you can just leave it in a high gear and enjoy the pull of the three cylinders beneath you. It’s a bike that will never set too many speed records (it didn’t when new and isn’t going to now), but it has enough performance to make enjoyable and rewarding progress.

The K75 has a gear-driven counter-balancer which, apart from one less cylinder, is where it differs from its bigger four-cylinder K100 brother. The 750 has the LE Bosch fuel injection and the customary dry clutch of the time; a five-speed transmission and shaft final drive. It rides like other 1970s/80s Beemers; they seem to have a certain way they go about their business that grows on you after a while.

1985 BMW K75C

Like some later BM twins the K75 has the single-sided monoshock (not paralever like later oilheads). The suspension does seem to differ from the K75S. A bit more movement and set up more for touring I think. Not a worry and seems to ride very well. The fork dives a bit more than the 75S but, for a touring type ride, it’s just about right.

The K75 is smooth at low revs and high revs and seems to just glide along. On a twisty road this K’s lighter weight (than the fours) and a little less than the K75S made it feel ‘light’ and ‘smaller’. It's not a lightweight and isn’t any kind of racer (not like the Japanese 750s of the time), but it gets round the bends efficiently and quickly enough. Two words to describe the handling: easy and natural.

1985 BMW K75C
K75s on Now...

I had recently renewed the pads (fitted some non-sintered EBC pads) and found the brakes powerful and just about fine. This bike has Brembo calipers – they look like the sort found on the bevel Ducatis and Laverdas of the time and still do a fine job.

My journey across Wales and back was executed faster on the K75 than on the Nuovo Falcone, but it used a little more fuel. My average mpg was around 58/60mpg, which doesn’t seem too bad. The bike, being the lightest K, was also manageable at rest. As I get older this is a blessing.

1985 BMW K75C

Examples of BM’s bricks have been known to knock up mega/stellar miles and stay generally reliable and bulletproof – more so than some recent offerings from the company. My K did experience one problem: it almost forgot how to idle after one comfort break. I think a crankcase breather pipe is a bit perished and cracked and may be affecting the running. As the K is almost 30 years old, you’d expect some odd pieces will need replacing. Even a bike which is reported as ‘bullet proof’ and ‘long lasting’ will still need servicing and maintenance. Even with this issue, it got me home without incident.

On my ride I was accompanied by my brother on his Triumph 955i Sprint. It’s around 17 years younger than the BMW and was, as expected, quicker on the straights. But at the speeds we were doing the Beemer was accomplished and really was able to set a pace that the Triumph was happy with. If anything the K seemed just as happy in the twists and turns. Certainly my brother suffered with leg cramp and needed to stop more to ease his wrist ache. The Sprint hasn’t got clip-ons but the riding position is more aggressive; more sports than touring, while the K75C is more touring than sport.

1985 BMW K75C

Both bikes were happy to accommodate the B-roads around Devil’s Bridge and some smaller unclassified roads too. The sheep across the mountains seem unmoved by the K whistling past. The bikes were also competent on the A44-type roads, those sweeping A-roads which seemed to be designed for the motorcyclist with undulations that are a bit missing nearer home on the fens. Away from longer rides, the K is very much at home and fun on little local runs, on any sort of tarmac road you throw at it, even those with grass growing up the middle.

This K and similar machines from its era are available for between £1000 and £1500, which I think has got to be a bit of a bargain. Insurance is cheap-ish too. Makes a modern super- scooter or a Deauville seem expensive: for far less cash than a 125cc would cost, you could enjoy some miles on a Teutonic marvel. It benefits from a good supply of spare parts, both new and used, which makes it quite straightforward to keep on the road. Its wheels are sensible sizes, so you can even get rubber for them.

1985 BMW K75C

When Bike magazine originally tested the K75 they used the title ‘Captain Sensible’. At the time that may have been derogatory, as it wasn't as exciting and flash as the Japanese supersportsters nor as exotic as the Le Mans / 900SS / Jota. But it was among the first with fuel injection and although very different to the Boxer twins, it carried on in the established Beemer way.

To top it all, on my ride on the K75, I covered another 650 miles in and across Wales and didn’t get wet. Again! Is that a record?


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