BMW K100

  I, like many bikers, had the idea of one day doing a project bike. Every bike I’ve owned has been modified to my personal taste, this is my K1200R which was dead stock when I got it.


I had talked about wanting to do a proper build for some time. My very supportive, beautiful wife asked me what I was waiting for? I stumbled across the following bike on the BIKEEXIF and got motivated!

Robock K100

I was blown away that a K100 could look so good! This blog is how, over 4 months, I turned this;


Into this.

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And after my mate crashed it, this.

BMW K100 Rebuild (9)

I found the donor bike in Adelaide as an unregistered trade-in advertised on gumtree. My Dad and I did a quick 1540km round trip, and the real journey began!

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Bought a bike lift off ebay.

Digital StillCamera

Fairings and seat were stripped and sold to a wrecker for $450, No turning back now!

Digital StillCamera

Being my first build, I’m still trying to work out the sequence of work. It is a bit daunting! I decided to start easy and do the front guard. K100 Project (16)

I marked out trimmed shape I wanted

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and went at it with the dremel.

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Have ordered 3M carbon fibre wrap to finish it off.

Dad did a good job of trimming unwanted metal tags from the subframe

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I took a slightly different route for a radiator overflow tank!

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Pace should pick up now, the goodies that arrived this week; Rear sets from BSK SpeedWorks Speedo from Daktota Digital

The rear-sets were an easy fit, and very well made


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I was hoping the exhaust collector I found would be easy to rotate 90 degrees to get the angle I wanted. Not possible! It will only fit in the header pipes one way.

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Have found Mick at Valley Engineering, who has modified it to suit.


He also has fixed the Clip-On bars, making the bars 22mm and the mounts 41.3mm. I’m getting a rough idea of the seat unit style I’m after. I want to follow the line from the fuel tank base through to the rear tail unit. I’m not after a particular style, but aiming for a look that is a cross between café racer and street fighter.

Seat Unit Idea

Clip-ons were an easy fit after mods to the bar diameter and fork clamp!

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The Speedo mount is done. Longer brake hose fitted.


Lowered the speedo a bit, happy with it now

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Decided to only use one horn. Made a bracket and mounted it on the left, behind the radiator.


Rear brake reservoir mounted.

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Getting rid of the last of the frame tags.

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Bike is now off to Valley Engineering for some surgery.



Mick (on the right) is going to do the tasks I can’t do at home.

– Hone out the hole in the upper triple clamp to hold the ignition block.

– Fabricate an exhaust hanger.

– Cut and brace the sub-frame.

– Manufacture the seat unit and tail piece.

Mick has form, turning his Ducati Monster SP into a café racer with the radiator moved to under the sub-frame!

One week later …………………………………………………..

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Extra bracing of the sub-frame.

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The smaller battery is now enclosed.

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The ignition now fits in the clamp,

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The seat unit is just how I wanted it. It continues the line from the tank, and the frame.

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Fortunately, I provided accurate drawings, and a scale mock up to work from!

Seat Unit Idea BMW K100 Project (70)

The exhaust is now finished!

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The tank and seat unit are off again for painting. My mate Pete of Peter’s Panels has offered to do the job for a couple of bottles of scotch! On the condition I do the preparation work. The colour is from a new range called ‘vibrance’. It is a nod to the BMW 1970’s colours, but with metal flake.

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I bought some bar end indicators off eBay to use in the frame holes. Internal wiring was an interesting job!

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Front fender now covered with 3M carbon fibre wrap.

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Battery connected and installed in custom made box.

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Now for the part I’ve been dreading!

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We have ignition!

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I’ve managed to get most of the cautions working, I can’t get the neutral light working for some reason. I need the tank and seat unit back to run the engine to check tacho. Then to see if the OEM speedo signal will work………  nope!

I ended up getting a sensor unit from Dakota Digital and mounting it on the front wheel. It counts the wheel studs.

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The master at work, putting on the base silver coat.

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The paint job by Pete is flawless!

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The wiring is coming along. Yellow spaghetti! Thank you self closing braided line!

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I’m away for work the next week, will book in the seat fabricator when I return. Reassembled to get the seat done.

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Got the seat back, great job! Put the bike together and added the headlight to preview the finished bike.

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After 6 days work, back into the wiring. This is a boring picture, but it is satisfying to get it right. Now have a waterproof quick release connector  for easy seat removal. IMG_1050.JPG (2)

I later changed to a smaller, completely waterproof connector.

K100 Project (95a)

I took the tank and seat back to Pete for a final touch up today. Pete surprised me with a sticker he’d got made up. It turns out the colour I chose is called “hornet orange”. Since I flew hornets in the RAAF, Pete had the sticker made. The bike now has a name!


I’m now just waiting on a couple of 12ohm resistors from eBay. They need to be installed next to the flasher unit under the tank so the LED indicators work properly. While waiting I’ve changed the oil, oil filter, fuel filter, bled the brakes, and done some polishing.

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I’ve got the indicators working, tank and seat back on. Given it a start up. Almost done!

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After initial rough running and stalling (I think it was air in the lines due fuel filter change), it settled down and ran smoothly. The exhaust is surprisingly not much louder than stock! Programmed the gear indicator and calibrated the speedo. The weight loss was apparent from the first crank of throttle! It is a bit of a reach to the bars, but at 100km/h the weight comes off the wrists and it should be good for longer rides. I still have few things to do. The rear mud guard looks like it can be chopped into a small fly screen to cover the instrument wiring.

I have been a bit remiss by not acknowledging my co-builder, dad. He provided the workshop, tools, and lots of unwanted advice (some of which was useful)!

Digital StillCamera

I did not like that the speedo wiring was visible (even though it was covered in black shrink wrap). The removed rear mud guard was made of plastic. I thought it looked about the right width. Cut to shape, then covered it in carbon fibre wrap. No more visible wires and cables!

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I also took off the centre stand to tidy up under the bike.


The rear shock was on it’s last legs. Bit the bullet and installed a Hyperpro.

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I took the bike to get the shock dialled in. Bad news is that it has lost so much weight I need a lighter spring! Going to get it resprung and revalved for the new weight.

Couldn’t only do the rear, so the forks are off for some White Power springs and oil change.

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New springs and oil. I think I can now say it is finished! Cleaned up and ready to go.

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I had been working towards entering it in a bike show in Melbourne called “Oil Stained Brain”. It turned out it did not make the cut, and I only finished it 2 days before the show. The weekend of the show, without a decent test ride, I took it on 1000km loop into the snowy mountains with some mates! The only glitch was having to tighten the folding mirrors when they folded back at 170km/h! DCIM100GOPRO  gopro captures (5)gopro captures (1) gopro captures (8)Double Hump (5)Double Hump (7)

After the loss of weight, and suspension work, it was as fast as my K1200R in the tight stuff! I’m still tinkering. Was not happy with the quality of the mirrors, so have changed to these. K100 Project (115)

I finally took some photos with a real camera (instead of my phone).

Tank Paint Speedo Seat Rearset Left  Profile Right Profile Left1 Indicator   K100 Project (162) K100 Project (163) K100 Project (164) K100 Project (161)

I have found the rear indicators not bright enough in direct sunlight. Santa made a late delivery of these beauties! K100 Project (165) K100 Project (166)

Definitely bright enough!

The baby bottle idea for the radiator overflow turned out to have insufficient volume. I have replaced it with a 500ml stainless steel drink bottle. photo

The join between the steel collector and the aluminium exhaust has never been ideal, continually working loose due to different expansion rates. I think I now have a solution using a V-clamp. It also makes for easy exhaust removal (needed to remove rear wheel).

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I took the opportunity to paint the header pipes black. The paint needed baking, so I used the BBQ. K100 Project (168)

All done!

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I will take it on a decent test ride as the Hornet is going to Tasmania for a 7 day extravaganza the end of Feb!

The seat pan is attached to the frame by two pins at he rear, and one central bolt at the front. I have occasionally noticed a small amount of seat pan flex, which I have decided to fix. I found these plastic lugs in the cupboard (I can’t remember where they came from).

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I drilled the centers so they would fit snugly onto the alan head bolts that hold the rear tank mount. I had to shape the tops to match the seat pan, then paint them black. K100 Project (172)

Rock solid now, ready for Tassie!

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Day three of riding the great roads of Tasmania, my mate Kev lost the front end under brakes. The resulting low side caused too much to continue. Tank, engine casing, foot pegs, gear shift, left bar and switch block. I thought I had finished this blog, I guess not!

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Shannons Insurance were great in getting it home, after several stressful hours when they were threatening to write it off and leave it in Tasmania!……………………

After recovering the bike to Melbourne, the Shannons assessor decided  my poor bike was a write-off!

The good news is I’m going to fix it myself. I’ll take the opportunity to do some upgrades, stay tuned!! I’ve got my bike back in the workshop, build number 2 can commence!


I considered repairing the bike back to pre-crash condition, but it seemed a waste of money and effort to do all the work and end with the same bike. Having learned so much in the first build, I thought about what I could improve. The bike was a weapon in the corners, but I never had much faith in the tires (Kev, even less so now!). To run radial rubber, wider wheels are needed. A K1100 wheel bolts easily onto the rear. I know it is possible to bolt on a K1100 front end, which gives  4 spot calipers. I thought, but why take the front end 5 years into the future, why not 20 years? Old bikes with USD forks also look the biz!! IMG_1348

I’ve sourced some parts. Found a decent tank for $150.


The Valve cover will require bead blasting.

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I spent several hours at the wreckers looking for some USD forks in good condition. I needed a 3 spoke front wheel to match a K1100 rear wheel. The best solution was from a 2000 Yamaha R1. I put a deposit on the front end so I could take the triple clamps. I wanted to see if it was going to work before I paid the full amount!… I’ve got the triple clamps at Valley Engineering getting assessed for the transplant! The BMW post needs to be mated to the Yamaha clamps. If the R1 plan doesn’t work, I’ve sourced a BMW K1100 front end. In either case, I will need another solution to for the ignition key mount. I’ve decided to remove it from the triple clamp to clean  up the dash. I was scratching my head for a mounting solution when I spied the surviving mirror from the crash…. IMG_1355

Angle grinder and drill converted it to an ideal bracket for side mounting the ignition block! IMG_1356 IMG_1358

The R1 clamps are now fitted to the BMW shaft. Not cheap, but bolted up perfectly! Will now collect the rest of the front end and see how it fits. IMG_1361   IMG_1362 IMG_1364

Like a glove!


Collected the engine covers after cleaning by sand rolling at Competition Coatings. He did the valve cover for free, to see if I liked the finish!


The new rear-sets have arrived, slightly redesigned, now with knurled levers instead of rubber. Nice!

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I’ve used an angle grinder to remove the ignition mount and other tag from top triple clamp.

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Will use a bench grinder to tidy it up….. All done, and sent to get powder coated.

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The exhaust system is back after being ceramic coated front to back!

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I’ll leave the can off for now, as the new wheel is still getting painted. The wheels are back from the paint shop. BMW K1100 rear,  Yamaha R1 front, shod in Pirelli Angel GT tires.

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Lisa, trying to distract me from those sexy wheels!


The rear bolted on no problem. Good clearance on both sides.

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I used the damaged rear-set plate to fabricate the speedo mount. I had a small altercation with the bench grinder during the process!

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Good result though, wanted it flush with top clamp.

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Have decided to change the headlight to the MT-03 unit.

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I like it, but will have to see bike complete to be sure.

A whole new throttle quadrant was required. The K100 master cylinder is 13mm in diameter. This is OK for the original brakes, but would struggle to operate the R1 calipers. A K1100 (20mm) master cylinder is up to the task, but can only be fitted by replacing the whole quadrant. This necessitated a throttle cable change also.

I was going to re-route the front brake line to keep the top clamp clean, but I like the K100 design.

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The bar controls all done, just need to get some brake hoses fabricated.

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I had to modify the K1100 hubcap to fit the K100 hub. Found the carbon fiber badge on eBay.

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A rat tail file allowed the headlight bracket to take the indicators.

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The front end is now complete!

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I got the tank and seat from the paint shop today. The paintwork is exceptional!!

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The fuel pump mount was broken in the old tank. A new part tomorrow, then final assembly……..

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I was concerned the modern front end might not flow visually into the rest of the bike, but I couldn’t be happier!

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I used the remains of the bent gear shift as a stopper so the stand doesn’t hit the  exhaust.

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I took the bike for it’s first proper ride through the hills yesterday. With the new front end and Pirelli rubber, it now feels like a modern sports bike. It is much more planted to the road, and the brakes are now comparable to my K1200R. I can now say the blog is complete (17-05-2014). The rebuild took just under 2 months.

Thanks for checking it out! It has now featured on The Bike Shed,  twicePipeburn, and Silodrome.

I was also contacted by BMW Australia who featured it on their website, then I was incredibly stoked to have it feature on the international BMW Motorrad website!

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My bike was accepted into the 2014 Oil Stained Brain bike show.

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I finally got around to weighing it!

It now weighs 215kg fully fueled. Stock bike is 249kg, so it has lost 34kg. Distribution is 51/49 front/rear.

On to the next project


I haven’t updated this post for a long time now. After 4 years of trouble free riding, I’m considering letting the Hornet go. If you are interested, drop me a message.

335 thoughts on “BMW K100

  1. rear assembly is going to look wilder than anything BMW could engineer! Paint job on tank looks unusually detailed for its vintage

  2. Looking good. Wish I started with a running bike…
    Just joined the K100 Forum to get ideas and assistance with my own K100 project. Bought an abandoned K100RT café race, gone wrong project…
    Biggest headache is to work out what all the disconnect and cut cables should do.
    Found a great interactive wiring diagram online…
    And what parts are missing…
    Will do a similar blog on

  3. Have not checked in for a while and today…wow…literally wow. At first I was cynical about the burnt orange but there it is, lovely.

  4. Great complete build. I’m doing the same build right now and am planning to do many similar things. I was wondering if you remembered where you got that 4-1 exhaust collector?

  5. Looks awesome, Im working on a K100 project and I m wondering were you found the 4 into 1 exhaust connector?

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  7. What an inspirational bike, I love the style and colour. I’ve already got an original naked K100 that I want to keep as standard but you’ve definitely got me thinking about a future project. Thanks for posting this.

  8. Love it bro, I’ve just started a project on an ’85 K100RT. I didn’t realise this was a popular platform to start with until after after I already had one. In my head I had plans almost identical what you have done, all except for the tail section. still not sure what I will do there… Everything else looks sweet!

  9. What is the Diameter of the turn signals you’ve shoved in the piped? My 87 K100 and yours look a lot alike because we are templating off of the same bike by Master Robrock.

      1. Ah! Well done. I may have to give that a go. I’m not super happy with my current LED signals. But then again, I’m trying to use the original tail, so it could be problematic.
        Looks great!

    1. So how are the 120ohm resistors working for you? How did you tie them in? Did you do the chain across before the LED’s?

      BMU=|=L (where ‘=’ is two wire [+/-], ‘|’ is one 120ohm resistor, and ‘L’ is the LED tied in to the wire)?

      Killed my BMU on the last ones, and it may be because it was old, or I didn’t have the proper resistance.

  10. Hi their. I love the job you Don onyour k100. I recently saw the same bike you got inspired from online and bought a k100 to do the same build. Is their any tips you could give me before I start that may save me some headaches and some money during my build.

    Kind regards Jacob K

  11. Hey mate, did you need to get a longer brake line made when you put the clip ons on? or where you able to use the original? It seems a little short to me…

    1. FYI, I used the same brake line, but I flipped the heads upside down. The brake line had an angle on each head that pointed up to the original handlebars, but because I added clip-ons, flipping the hose upside down kept a clean look through and through with no tension.


      1. Thanks for that, I found the same with mine and it works perfectly. Although I now have a problem with the throttle, the new handles are the same diameter as the originals and the left grip went on fine but the right grip was tight and difficult to fit and now the throttle is not operating smoothly and does not return when I let it go. Did you find something similar, because it seems to me that I may have damaged it somehow when I forced the grip on to the new handle?

      2. Can you get the grip off, and see if the plastic throttle bar(?) is still loose? I assume it’s a plastic shell? If not, you may need to crack it open, and check the grease on the throttle chain, and possibly need a new plastic throttle bar.

        If it is, you need to 1) hone out the throttle grip, or 2) order grips that have a larger ID for the throttle bar.


  12. The throttle grip is necessarily a tight fit making it tricky to get in exactly the right position. Do you have bar end weights?? You might find that you haven’t pushed the grip far enough up and that tightening the bar end grips up is creating friction against the rubber grip.

  13. That is a sweet looking Beemer, a credit to you, great to see as I am just in the process of purchasing a K100 for the same purpose, great run down on the project and nice to get some ideas, thanks.

  14. OUTSTANDING job, inspiring work there.
    A few questions & maybe you could email me the info:
    Did the donor bike have ABS & did you dump that system?
    Rear sets- company?
    Front wheel w original forks- will the 3 spoke k1100 simply bolt on?
    Rear shock- company?

    1. The 3-spoke will not bolt onto the early K100 forks. The axle is a different size and the brakes will not line up.

  15. Beautiful work, Paul. Never considered a K-bike for such a project, but your build changes everything. I’m now shopping for a donor K100RS, but my aim is a Cafe Racer rather than Street Fighter. I know I’ll be contacting you for advice once I find the donor bike and get started.

    Luis Etchenique
    South Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. -USA-

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  17. Hi Paul,
    If you get a chance I have a question around the R1 front end. I’ve sourced a nice K1100 and wanted USD forks. I also want wire wheels and whilst I think I’m OK with the rear (R1200GS will fit I’m told) I may have to take a punt on an XJR1300 custom wheel or have one made up. I just wondered if this was something you considered and what mods you needed to make to the R! front end….did you need to lengthen it at all? Did you just get an All Balls kit and fit it straight on? It looks great so I’m hoping it was a straight forward fit.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Kent,

      I did not consider wire wheels, so can’t help you there.
      I took both the BMW and Yamaha triple clamps to the engineering firm I use (Valley Engineering), and asked if it was possible to mate the Yamaha clamps to the BMW post. It was not a simple job as the BMW post was a slightly smaller diameter. The Yamaha clamps needed to be drilled out so a plug could be welded in, which was then machined to the correct diameter for the the BMW post to be pressed in. The upper clamp had to be modified to suit the the top bearing nut (the knurled one that covers the top bearing). All this cost $650. He just charged me his $100 hourly rate. These guys are a heavy industrial firm, not bike builders, so it was a bit of a voyage of discovery for us both! The price you pay could vary a lot.
      So, no, it was not really straight forward.


  18. Thanks for the quick reply! OK so that’s quite a bit more than I was expecting. I think it must be an unusually narrow stem. I was reading about a K1100 front to K75 conversion where it was mentioned the diameter was narrower on the K1100. i wonder if its worth the trouble…maybe a HP2 front end? well I’ve got an idea of the cost and the pain now…many thanks again!

  19. Hi, inspired by your build (and others) I picked up two K100’s today. having only previouxlt owned modern jap bikes i was SHOCKED by how heavy they are. You mentioned yours shed a few kegs after its diet. Any idea how much it lost? Im going for the same naked style.


  20. Fantastic adventure, thanks for your storey. Inspired by this my 85 K100 arrives next week.

  21. HI paul Love the bike I have two 1984 units to play with you have done a good job could you tell me where you bought the speedo and how much it cost thanx Richard S QLD

  22. Hi Paul, I am now considering a 4 into 2 exhaust as an alternative to the 4 into 1. No other K bike I’ve seen has this and I think it will just be that little bit unique. Any thoughts?

  23. I thought I would leave this as a bit of help for those looking to do a front end swap for USD forks. I ordered a Moto Guzzi Griso front end and a set of wheels. It all arrived today and the triple bolts straight up to my K1100. I just need to get a set of bearings to match and it should be good to go. The rear wheel bolt pattern and lug nut sizes are a match but I have yet to get the ABS ring and rear brake off (a lot of heat and freeze spray required). If the rear wheel of a Griso fits it gives you a lot of options…they have some really nice wire wheels. Paul the Griso forks are 3 inches shorter than stock…were yours much shorter?

    1. Hi Kent , I’m looking also to mount a griso fork on a k bike , I really would like to contact you to discuss about it. How to !? Thanks in advance

  24. One commend from the country who is build this “wonderfull bike”. Sorry about my bad english. I have bought a K100RS last month and I want to rebuilt this bike maybe like yours. BUT! we have in GERMANY a Institution who is named TÜV! Whatever, your bike is very nice. I will send you some pictures when I am in the “area” like you.
    Best regadrs from Germany, Uli

  25. Hi, Awesome bike!

    I have a Dakota Digital MCV 7400 on route. Were you able to everything functioning? Can you provide any tips. Thanks.

    My project is at


  26. Hi Paul,
    Half way through my own build. I secured my tail light on the weekend and immediately thought of your project where you made up your own plug. Did you consider removing the loom from the factory tail section (which is what I did)?

      1. Hi Paul, what about using the factory plug would have prevented you from removing the seat? JC

      2. Sorry, misunderstood you. I split the brake and indicator wiring. The indicators are hard wired, so only needed a 3 pin plug

  27. Gotcha, you wanted to be able to remove the seat, which has the brake/stop light attached. The indicators however needed to be a separate circuit.

  28. Regarding the discussion of a 4-2 exhaust. I have a photo here if one, taken off the Facebook page, that looks awesome! It lives in Thailand.

      1. There is also a MV Augusta exhaust floating around which I would like to offer up to mine. That would cost 4x the cost of my bike however.

      2. Very cool, thanks. I’ve been looking got ages and I’ve never seen another 4-2. My collectors just arrived so I’ll post a photo when it’s done 🙂

      3. Did you buy collectors off the shelf? If so do you have a link?

        I’m about to “shorten” my factory exhaust but I have two bikes so considering what to do on the next.


      4. Hi Paul, question was to Ray as to where he got his collectors from? The only ones I can find locally are 1-1/2″ inlet.

      5. John, check out Cone Engineering in the US. Their web site has heaps of good info about exhaust design.
        The headers on my 84 K100 are 1.125″ I bought slip on adapter tubes to 1.25″ inlet 2-1 collectors with 1.5″ outlet. Their collectors are not welded or swaged/stretched, they are bent to shape from flat stainless to ensure consistent wall thickness and easy welding.

  29. Hi Paul,
    What were the issues you had with the fuel sender and the gauge? Was it just the warning light or the gauge itself? I was having a read of the instructions for the Dakota and I don’t know if its a new feature or not but it has a custom sender setup. I believe the K’s go from something like 130 ohms down to 30ohms (ish) but they work in reverse to most senders…so on most gauges empty will mean a full tank and visa versa. The Dakota seems to let you program it while filling the tank…so you’d think it would read it the correct way. Did you have no luck with this?


  30. Hey!
    I love what you have done for your K100. Me and my father have bought our own K100 after we sold our R80 (1000cc) Café -project. We are starting our K100 project and trying to lighten up it. We measured it weighted 275kg at original. We were wondering how much your K100 weighs after you finished your project?

    – Jani

  31. I was wondering what year r1 parts you put on the front end. I want updated forks and wanted to do a similar mod to my 1985 k100. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

      1. did the triples fit? I was wondering how they fit the k bike frame? or was there some modding?

      2. I took both the BMW and Yamaha triple clamps to the engineering firm I use (Valley Engineering), and asked if it was possible to mate the Yamaha clamps to the BMW post. It was not a simple job as the BMW post was a slightly smaller diameter. The Yamaha clamps needed to be drilled out so a plug could be welded in, which was then machined to the correct diameter for the the BMW post to be pressed in. The upper clamp had to be modified to suit the the top bearing nut (the knurled one that covers the top bearing). All this cost $650. He just charged me his $100 hourly rate. These guys are a heavy industrial firm, not bike builders, so it was a bit of a voyage of discovery for us both! The price you pay could vary a lot.

      3. I took both the BMW and Yamaha triple clamps to the engineering firm I use (Valley Engineering), and asked if it was possible to mate the Yamaha clamps to the BMW post. It was not a simple job as the BMW post was a slightly smaller diameter. The Yamaha clamps needed to be drilled out so a plug could be welded in, which was then machined to the correct diameter for the the BMW post to be pressed in. The upper clamp had to be modified to suit the the top bearing nut (the knurled one that covers the top bearing). All this cost $650. He just charged me his $100 hourly rate. These guys are a heavy industrial firm, not bike builders, so it was a bit of a voyage of discovery for us both! The price you pay could vary a lot.

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