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Newbie with a 27-year R-series itch


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After growing up on dirt bikes in Nevada, in my early adulthood-military days, like many guys my age I wanted to buy a street bike of some sort. I looked at all the usual suspects in the early '80s, Interceptors, Ninjas, etc., but nothing really grabbed my attention enough to sell a kidney to get it, which was the only way I could afford such a thing on an E-3 salary in 1985. While taking hang-gliding lessons, my instructor showed my his whatever-year-it-was R 75. I loved it instantly. The sheer different-ness of those huge heads jutting out to the sides hit me at a level I didn't yet understand in those young broke and stoopid years, but nonetheless, I swore I had to have one someday. I was so enamored with the "look" I was completely befuddled when my good friend (riding a daddy-bought Nighthawk) laughed out loud when I showed it to him, saying it was the ugliest thing he'd ever seen, but "It's perfect for you, though". He works at Wal-Mart now.


Fast forward a number of years of intervening life, marriage, bills, sucky jobs, etc, and somewhere around '97 or so I spied an R1100RT and decided right there, on the spot, that I WOULD NOT treat myself to ANY motorcycle until I could afford one of these rolling beauties sculpted by the hand of God himself. It had figuratively become my own personal '63 split-window Corvette. I saved and saved, then bought a house instead, or a new car, rinse and repeat. After moving here to the Boulder, Colorado area 8 years ago I had decided that I was finally going to buy a bike, but couldn't yet afford that bike of my dreams. I settled upon something more in my budget at the time, a '91 Honda ST1100. It was the closest I could get. I was actually quite happy with the bike, to be honest. It provided 7 years of great experiences riding all over the Rockies and building my skills as a rider. My wife especially liked it as well due to the comfort it offered. The rider forum is fantastic as well, and they patiently guided me through many upgrades, maintenance projects and the like.


Sadly, last week as I left my driveway and proceeded down the street toward work, a teenager on his way to the last day of school decided to make a U-turn directly in front of me. Exactly 7 houses from my own. They say most accidents happen close to home and apparently, "they" are correct. The bike is totalled, and I'm fighting with the insurance company for a fair settlement, but the silver lining is predictable: I'm buying my RT. No matter what. Don't know which one yet though I'm leaning toward a 2001-2004, preferably the latter. No 2005's or later will do, with all due respect to those who own them. I'm sure they're nice. What can I say, I'm all about the curves.


Anyway fellas, that's me in a nutshell, sorry for the lengthy post. Any advice or input you may have to offer, please consider me your willing sponge. Things to look for, danger signs, weather-beaten wisdom, whatever you have to offer, I'm listening.


Happy trails,


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......sorry for the lengthy post.......


Happy trails,




Dude......that wasn't lengthy enough to warrant an apology. Welcome to the asylum. I have an 02 RT and now an 01 R1100S to go with it. Good luck in your search. Check out the links to the annual UN-Rally, it's in your neighborhood in July, we'd love to meet you there an ride!



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Hello Jeff

Welcome to the forum.

Despite that I now own a R1200RT, the 1150RT is probably one of the best looking bikes, BMW ever build, at least in the Tourer division.

I would really wait until you find a 04/05 1150RT, as it has no surging issues and was the pinnacle of the 1100/1150 development.

Despite of what you might have read, the whizzy brakes are not an issue for many of us. So much so that I had zero issues to purchase a 2005 1200RT which also still has servo brakes.

Good luck with your search and keep us updated.

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Welcome Jeff! :wave: Ha, back in 1980 I would have agreed with your buddy. The two mother jugs just didn't make sense to me. Thankfully I've matured a bit (yeah, you can toss the bullshit flag on that one) and come to appreciate the boxer engine. :thumbsup:



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I started w/an R50, a couple years later got hit and runover by a truck.


Saved money until I could get an R/75.

Put a picture of BMW ad for 1972 on my refrigerator door.

Later that year I owned that bike.

The one in the ad.


Wait for the right bike.

'04 perhaps the one to look for.

Best wishes.

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Welcome aboard! I too fell in love with that unusual motor way back in the 60's. I went through a progression of bikes and now have that one I always wanted. Have fun, ride safe.

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Danny caddyshack Noonan


Glad you're ok. Pain and suffering should make up the difference to get an RT :rofl:


Welcome and best wishes. Checking out the riding in your neck of the woods in a couple weeks.

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2004s (in the US) are the best! I agree with you, the hexhead/camhead models, while they have grown on me somewhat, just are not what I want to look at when I walk to my bike.


Welcome to the board, and by all means think about going to the UNrally, even if you don't have a bike yet. It'll be a great place to look at a variety of bikes and accessories and discuss them with their owners.

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Welcome, among the many BMW's I've owned, was a '04 R1150RT. From when I first saw that bike, I had to have one. If I were you, I would wait for the right '04 RT to come along. It will be well worth the wait. Rode many miles on mine until I sold it in '08 for an '07 R1200R.

Sorry about your crash. Sounds like you faired well physically. In 1987 I had a 1971 R75/5 put me in intensive care in Daytona Beach. Whatever you decide to buy, stay safe. We look forward to your ride stories.

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Welcome to the board Jeff. I would also wait for an 04 as all the kinks were worked out on them. A fantastic bike...good luck.

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Welcome, Malthound...


First, glad that you (or anyone else) weren't hurt in the little set to...


Be careful - these things are an addiction, not a pass time or hobby.


I bought my 99 RT over three years ago with 83k on the clock. She now has 118k and is still going strong. I do agree with you about being one of the most beautiful bikes ever conceived.


I'll be picking up my second BMW, a K75s in a couple of weeks. After all, everyone needs a backup bike, right?


Happy riding,


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Welcome Malthound.


I bought my 99 R1100RT (Same looks as your idol) a year ago this month with 51K miles on it... I have put 10,500 miles on it since then and have no desire to upgrade the best looking motorcycle BMW ever built. Live your dream... and share it with us here. There is enought technical expertise on this and the other BMW forums to keep any R-bike rolling a very long time without ever having to see the inside of a dealership's maintenance shop... you just have to be willing to pick up the wrench and follow directions.


Most of the opinions focus on the 2004 model, I can support their position, but for the money and simplicity (especially the ABS brakes), an earlier R1100RT might be the ticket for now... and the price will be a lot lower...


Based on what I have read here and on other forums, I would avoid the 2002 RT models as they had a bad run of transmission case alignment and ended up wiping the clutch splines off of a lot a shafts...


Be sure and post photos when your new ride arrives!



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........No 2005's or later will do, with all due respect to those who own them. I'm sure they're nice. What can I say, I'm all about the curves.


Welcome to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood Jeff! :)


You hit the nail on the head with your statement above. I have both a 1999 R1100RT and a 2008 R1200RT. If you travel a lot across country the R1200RT is a great bike. But, my R1100RT will run rings around it in the tight corners. I used to have a 2004 R1100S with the twin spark oilhead as well. That motor, the 2004 twinspark is probably the best boxer motor I have ever ridden. If it hadn't have been for my aweful knees I would still have that bike. :)


A 2004 R1150RT is a great choice. If I had the descision to do over again with the R1200RT, I would be doing the exact same thing you are. :)



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old pic, but still riding it. bought it new. have always loved the looks. since then a givi topcase and big mak tankbag have been added. more dead bugs as well.



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