What do the letters and numbers in BMW model designations mean?

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A. From a posting by Tom Coradeschi to the rec.motorcycles newsgroup (And be sure to check out the cycle chronology at http://www.bike.bmw.com/english/infobox/120modelle/chronologisch.html): Roughly speaking, R stands for "rad" which is German for cycle. K stands for "Kompact" (Kompakt?) and is BMW's name for the drivetrain layout on those bikes. All of the R bikes (at least those currently in production) are boxer twins, while the K bikes have inline 3 or 4 cylinder engines. As far as the letters go, if it has an S after it, it's a sport model, with a small fairing, belly pan and low handlebars. There is no K75R, but there is a K75RT, which is a touring bike: big fairing, moderately high bars, electrically adjustable windshield on the later model bikes, probably comes with saddlebags and possibly a top case. There's also a K75LS, where the LS stands for Low Seat - very low seat with different battery covers, etc to make room for it. For those who prefer a more systematic approach . . ... more
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