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New To BMW's what to look for in a used BMW


DKR

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Hello All!

I'm going to be a new BMW owner one of these days (as soon as I find a bike) and would like to get some honest feedback from you BMW owners out there. I'm looking at 2004 and earlier RT's since the styling, size fit and need all seem to be best met by this bike for my current and future riding needs.

 

But what I'd like to hear from all of you is the good, the bad and the ugly about your experiences, problems (if any) or what to look for in a clean used BMW purchase.

 

Thank you one and all for all of you input and advice.

Damon

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I'm still a newb (1999 R1100RT, February 2008), but here's my two cents.

 

Service records, service records, service records. Check for rear wheel movement by grabbing the rear wheel and rocking side to side, at 12:00 and 3:00. If there is any movement, find a way to jam the rear brake on, then check again. If it still wiggles, the pivot bearings are worn, not the final drive. Replacing worn pivot bearings is not a big deal.

 

Go for a ride. If you're still interested, and unless it has immaculate service records, get gear oil (at your cost), and change the gearbox and final drive oil. Look for metallic sheen in the oil, and bits of metal on the drain plug magnets. A small amount of fine powdery residue on the magnets is OK; bits and chunks are not.

 

My R1100RT came with Öhlins shocks, Sargent seat, Throttlemeister, aftermarket windscreen, and brakelight modulator, all of which increased the price, but reduced the amount of time and money effort I had to make to spend it work the way I want. I have no comparison with stock suspension, but I can honestly say that the Öhlins give this the best ride I have ever experienced.

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DKR,

 

IMHO, the best thing you can do is to have the owner take the bike by the BMW dealership and have them do a pre-purchase inspection. It will cost you 1 hour labor and you will get a form with 60 some odd items that they checked. I had this done to a seemingly excellent bike I was about to purchase and the report showed oil weeping from between the engine and the tranny which was not at all evident when I inspected the bike. The bike was out of warranty and it would have cost me a bundle to fix.

 

I think the 2004 RT is a sweet spot as it has twin spark which solved some surging problems. Not that the ones before that were bad, but BMW thought it was enough of a problem to add twin spark to the 2004 model.

 

I know you are focused on the 1150 and earlier RT's. That is fine if you are going to ride maybe 5k to 7k per year. Much more than that I would look at the R1200RT and the features and upgraded mechanicals it provides. It will cost maybe $3k more. The '07 model is a sweet spot as it does not have the servo brakes (servo brakes can be extremely grabby in slow maneuvers - also found on the 1150 models) and it doesn't have the "service" light that the 2008+ models have. This light can only be turned off by the dealer. (It bugs me but you might like the reminder it provides).

 

There are probably many more considerations but these are the ones that pop out at me.

 

Some things you may know about purchasing but worth mentioning.....

 

Of course, this may be the best time to buy ever! It is winter, the economy is WAY off and people need cash. In terms of sellers, ther are the "players" who really enjoy the drama of the sales process and are not usually willing to deal much. They price the bike high, play up how great the bike is, enjoy the negotiations and don't care if you walk away. Then there are the people who need to sell and are willing to deal. You should price off of NADA, as the seller is probably pricing off the higher KBB (higher by about $2k). I usually target paying 25% of the price of the farkles (excluding labor) but will go up to 50% for the ones I really want like a topcase. New tires and current service done is a plus. My dad used to remind me of the three "D's" of getting a good deal: Death, Debt and Divorce.

 

Hope this helps - good luck in finding the bike that is right for you! Gael

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First off, let me say I *love* my 03 1150RT. With that said; here is my (hopefully) unbiased opinion:

 

-- The Good --

* Classic Styling

* Ergonomics

* Weather Protection

* All Purpose – Highway, Twisties, Commuter, All-Season, Solo or w/ Pillion

* Handling

* Riding Community

* **FUN** TO Ride

* Outstanding DIY community

 

-- The Bad –

* First Gen EFI… surges if not well maintained

* 6K valve adjust / throttle body sync interval

* Expensive to maintain (unless DIY)

* Price/Performance ratio past optimum

 

-- The Ugly –

* Not-quite-stellar Mfg quality control

* Customer feedback mostly ignored`

 

 

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Dances_With_Wiener_Dogs
IMHO, the best thing you can do is to have the owner take the bike by the BMW dealership and have them do a pre-purchase inspection. It will cost you 1 hour labor and you will get a form with 60 some odd items that they checked.

Agreed. Or find someone you can trust that can look over the bike with you. One CA dealer quoted me $200 for a pre-purchase inspection. Depending on your overall budget and mechanical aptitude, this may well be money well-spent.

 

 

I know you are focused on the 1150 and earlier RT's. That is fine if you are going to ride maybe 5k to 7k per year. Much more than that I would look at the R1200RT and the features and upgraded mechanicals it provides.
I strongly disagree. I had a 99RT that I rode for nearly 99,000 miles. I rode it hard on any road surface and it always performed like a champ. I would not hesitate to get another. About the only thing you want to keep watch for (on the earlier models, 1995-early 1996) is if they have the M97 transmissions. The earlier trannys (M93-94) have had problems. http://www.largiader.com/tech/oiltrans/

 

Happy shopping!

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ednowicki's statements are pretty accurate with one slight correction and I may be wrong, TBS adjustments are "as needed" and not every 6k so you don't have to remove any body work unless the valve adjust created some vibration. Also don't let the valve adjust deter you because they are quite simple by the third one.

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