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BMW R1100RT Low-Buck Purchase

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by PatB, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. As it seems to be my night to hog NR bandwidth, I thought I'd post this account of buying a written off Beemer.

    After years of owning bikes that were either deeply unpopular or well into late middle age, I finally got the opportunity to own something a bit more upmarket and a bit less long in the tooth when a mildly crashed but still written-off BMW R1100RT turned up at Motorcycle Disposals in Sydney last winter. Year 2000, 42,000 km on the clock and suffering from the results of a low speed drop on the left hand side. $6,501 + admin fees to you sir.

    Sent a cheque sight unseen, and got it shipped over to the West (another $880).

    Once it was in the shed, the damage was assessed. Scrapes in plastic, main fairing support bracket twisted to the right, broken left front indicator, cracked right hand mirror lens. Daft little plastic crashbar mangled and rocker cover cracked. Panniers and top box missing. Flat battery.

    Bought andicator, mirror, aftermarket top box and used R/H pannier at Munich Motorcycles (about $500 all told as I recall) and all fluids, filters, seals and plugs for a full service (another $150 or so). Enquired as to price of fairing bracket. About $800. This, combined with the sheer volume of electrical gubbins that would require removal and replacement to change it, made me opt for the “get it as close as possible then live with it†approach.

    Managed to get the fairing reasonably straight. It’s still a bit of a trial to assemble and is slightly lopsided but it’ll do. I don’t notice it now.

    Pulled off the daft plastic crashbars and epoxied up the crack in the rocker cover.

    Did a service and buttoned everything back up after charging the battery and checking everything works. Changing the fuel filter was a bit of a chore, requiring tank removal and dismemberment.

    She fired on the first compression. Sounded a bit tappety compared to my previous K100 and kicked sideways quite noticeably from torque reaction when the throttle was blipped.

    Got a tempoary movement permit over the phone and took it down for licensing. She ran beautifully but the gearbox and drivetrain felt horrible. Clunky, notchy and generally unpleasant. Comfortable and quick though. Controls and switches were all pretty similar to the old K, including the three button indicator arrangement that everyone seems to hate but which feels perfectly natural to me. But then, I often seem to be a statistical anomaly who doesn’t really exist ïŠ.

    Got it inspected at Midland, where the examiner took it for a test ride. He commented on the lopsided dash, thinking the bars were bent, but I managed to convince him it was purely cosmetic (it is) and he wrote out a pass. Into the office to sort out transfer fee, stamp duty, plate and 6 months rego and I was legal for a total expenditure just on the far side of 8 grand. A bargain according to the Redbook price, particularly when you add the price premium that secondhand vehicles seem to carry here in WA. So much so that I can live with the scarred plastic, missing L/H pannier and knackered sound system for now.

    I’ve been riding it for nearly a year now, covering 10,000 km in that time. So far it’s cost me fuel, service items and tyres. Insurance is actually cheaper than for my old K100 that was worth maybe half as much, which seems odd.

    Until I became an old fart, I was always contemptuous of tourers with barn-door fairings, fitted luggage, heated grips and acres of plastic bodywork hiding the bits. How perspectives change. Now I love the tall screen I can smoke my pipe behind, the panniers I can carry my slippers in and the tape deck so that I can listen to my Val Doonican tapes on the move.

    Seriously though, if it was only a play bike, I wouldn’t want any of the refinements as I still love bikes with a raw edge. But as it’s my only bike, which has to be a capable all-rounder, it’s great, and I wouldn’t hesitate to set off for Sydney on it tomorrow.

    The transmission is now much less obtrusive, probably because of a combination of familiarity and running-in. The engine also seems to be becoming more refined as the miles mount up. It’s a BMW after all.

    Dynamically I’ve no complaints. As an 1100 cc twin it’s got a nice flat torque curve, with a particularly impressive level of urge between 100 and 140 in 4th, which is perfect for fuss free overtaking. It’s pretty decent off the line as well, although the enormous weight puts paid to any potential success on the drag strip against real opposition. It’s sufficiently relaxed that I’ve been known to forget to upshift into fifth, unlike my K100 where I was always looking for another gear beyond top.

    Handling is excellent with paralever at the back and telelever forks up front. Doing silly things with brakes or throttle doesn’t faze it in the slightest. A mate with an R1100S had a go and reckoned that the handling wasn’t noticeably inferior at real-world speeds, whilst the ride was far more comfortable (as you might expect really).

    One small disappointment is that the immense bulk of the beast limits filtering opportunities in traffic. I could get the old K through most snarl-ups feet up and making brisk progress, whereas the R frequently requires careful tippy-toe work or an enforced halt where there just isn’t enough room.

    Overall though, I’ve managed to obtain a luxurious, massively competent and durable fast tourer for a price I’m more than happy with.
  2. WOW cool bike for $8K, that's less than a mid 90's verson of the same bike.

    hmm gets me thinking it does. :?
  3. Good write up, glad you got it all together with out too much drama.

    So where's the pics??
  4. Yup,all sounds good...but at 42k,wouldnt the rear drive bearings be nearly due for attention?...I think G/boxes go at about 60k?? I'm told. Anyway just something to keep in mind & save for...
    yeah,any pics,Cheers,