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newbee considering 1150RT


beemuker

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Hi all. I've been bikeless for a few years. let my wife talk me into selling my K75 a few years back. I've been riding since I've been 15. Started with a Honda 90, been through Honda 305, 350, 750, R65, K75, Suzuki Bandit 1200. Always been fond of the BMW's and am considering the purchase of a 2003 BMW R1150RTABS. I've moved to rural North Central WA. plenty of twisty open roads [and dumb deer] I'll be 60 this year so I'm looking for something comfy. It has 53k on the clock, sargent seat and throttle lock. 2nd owner says he purchased it from another elderly man and has kept meticulous records.He recently purchases a 1600GL. Asking $4400. supposed to be in excellent shape. I'd have to travel quite a ways to see it, worth the trip? anything specific to this model to look for assuming all the other things check out?

 

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Morning beemuker

 

The 2003 BMW 1150Rt can be a real nice bike, or be a money pit, no way to tell from a distance & sometimes no way to tell even looking at the bike.

 

Almost anybody with a little mechanical background can shine up & bubba repair a BMW to look good & ride decent to a new BMW rider.

 

You need to judge the seller & his/her other toys, cars & house to have some idea of what your are dealing with. Even then it isn't a for-sure just another pointer in your purchase process.

 

My suggestion to you is to read back as far as you can on the oilhead forum here just to educate yourself on things that CAN go wrong with the 1150 bikes.

 

A good 1150Rt is a very nice ride but a problematic 1150 is a monetary nightmare.

 

If at all possible have that bike looked at by a long time BMW rider or a BMW repair shop (could be money well spent)

 

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beemuker,

Welcome to BMWST. You have the place for answers on that '03 1150RT. I have the same model/year, and in your situation I would ask the owner to perhaps scan and send you the meticulous records, first, assuming he is that far away. Why not? We could probably help you decipher anything that you might find in there.

 

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thanks, I already did that, here was his response:

 

He had the bike serviced in the Tri-Cities at a motorcycle dealer there they did not have any BMW places. Prior to that the other owner had it serviced at the BMW shop in Fife. The only service that has been required is the brake fluid being changed and tires. I believe he may have done the brakes even at one point or not but all of that is logged in a notebook he has on the bike. In addition, he has every single mile he is put on the bike since letting me try to sell it for him, including gas mileage for each time he put gas in it.

 

When I get home I will take a picture of that maintenance log and send it to you.

 

the bike is about 5 hrs away, but he has agreed to meet at a point about 3 hrs away.

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I seem to remember from reading it here, that if you have the VIN, you can ask the service department at a dealer about the records. You mentioned that it had had at least some service performed at a dealer in Fife, it might be worth a call.

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^^^

On a prior used moto (R1150GS), I was told by the most local BMW dealer that they could access and furnish only records within their own database, i.e., not stored in BMWmotorcycles.com central database. Seems likely true for routine service if not for warranty/recall records. On my current (sig) RT, bike was sold and serviced at one dealer only, so a phone call to them resulted in those records furnished (emailed as a chronological log sheet in pdf format).

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Morning beemuker

 

A good 1150Rt is a very nice ride but a problematic 1150 is a monetary nightmare.

 

If at all possible have that bike looked at by a long time BMW rider or a BMW repair shop (could be money well spent)

 

I'm not sure how active/current the Inland Northwest BMW Riders group is right now. You can post a request for assistance at the BMWMOA site. Beemer owners can be pretty helpful for a pizza and beer.

 

But, I have to be blunt here, you are looking at a 12 year old bike that has had a lot of time for deterioration of parts exposed to heat/cold and sun/rain.

 

If you aren't mechanically inclined I wouldn't go there. It may be trouble free but it WILL need a lot of work.

 

At 12 years and 53K miles you have to make sure that the following have been done or you are willing to do them:

 

- clutch and brake fluid flush in the last year (needs to be done every 2 years). Look at how involved the procedure is in the FAQ section of this site.

- the ABS unit is functioning properly without faults (this is also an indirect test of the battery)

- the high pressure fuel lines are replaced and the recall on the quick-connects was carried out

- the clutch slave cylinder has been replaced

- the shocks have been replaced/upgraded

- you remove the starter and have a look at the clutch and transmission input slines with an inspection camera while turning the back wheel

- you remove the rear tire and connecting link on the rear drive and move the rear drive through an arc to test the pivot bearings - then rotate the wheel to assess the crown bearing

 

I sold my RT at 79k miles but I had done all the above at that time. The "new" owner has put another 5k miles on and just replaced some things that were "bugging" him (including the cam chain tensioner and one throttle shaft and bushing). Otherwise running flawlessly and we both expect he will get many more thousands of miles out of it.

 

Just sayin'

 

Mike Cassidy

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see the thread "02 RT grind grind grunch.... then coast off the highway" in this forum.

 

It's an example of what can happen with an older bike.

 

 

On the flip side of the coin, I love my '02 RT. I have no urge to upgrade to a latter model. And my bike is not only old, but fairly high mileage too (129,000 miles). If it died tomorrow I'd be looking for another R1150RT.

 

But, I'm a fair shade tree mechanic. I do virtually all my own work. The last time my bike saw the inside of a BMW shop was for it's 600 mile inspection, back in April 2001. So far it's never had a major breakdown. And it runs better than new.

 

Stan

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Easy for all us RT owners to just chime in with the "ya, greatest bike on earth!" lines, since we own them. But a sober look at what the RT is about, which is what is assumed you'd like, and what has been offered, does seem wisest.

 

To state some of what has already been said but in a little different way, older machines need more work, and can have more hidden issues. And the other obvious statement to make is that there are a lot of Japanese bikes out there that might be a safer bet from a maintenance requirement standpoint. Role of the dice in all cases, but just addressing the relative odds with these general statements.

 

I may get boo'd for offering this thought, but when people ask me about maintaining a BMW (or Ducati, Guzzi, etc), if you disregard the real good or bad luck cases, and assume you want it to always run properly, a very rough, "rounded-off" rule of thumb would be $1000/yr to have it maintained by someone else. Or you get good at doing it yourself and cut that number down to a fraction of that amount. So some years you skate by on an oil change and some minor recurring mx, but then sometimes you have clutch or something big to pump up your 5 year average. That's my loosely held opinion (your mileage may vary...).

 

I tend to buy borderline (or actual) basket cases so I have the financial excuse to tear into the systems and see what needs work, but that approach doesn't necessarily pay off given all the wonderfully anal BMW owners out there who sell their used machines, making your life easier, with some research and luck.

 

But when it comes to the RT, as a model in general, IMHO its real hard to beat for a great all-around bike (along with the GS). I have the 2003 1150RT(P), 70k miles, and its the only bike in the shop that I don't sell/trade for a newer one, and it gets ridden the most even when other newer, fancier bikes are parked next to it in my shop.

 

And if this is what you wanted to hear or confirm, that the boxer/oilhead motor is great, then yes, I'll say it. It is....it has "personality", and can be very long-lived. Telelever has its ups and downsides, but is solid and generally great IMHO. In the grand scheme of things the '03 shaft drive can be considered solid and reliable especially as compared to a chain, and with that Sargent seat (I have same), some hwy pegs, that throttle lock, and a proper windscreen, you can be a very happy rider for a very long time.

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thanks gmc. I can do a lot of my own work. as a kid I rebuilt my VW engine, but I'm now older and I would rather ride more and tinker less .The guy next door has a Honda chopper wannabe with only 9k, but I got a backache just looking at it.I don't think I can get it to a mechanic to look at, but if the records check out and it has really been owned by 2 elderly gentlemen, that's a plus. I don't know why, but I've always had a soft spot for German machines. From my beetle to Jetta to Passat and my R65 and K75. I'm more about the ride and while I've never ridden one, those newer R's look like the ticket for me. It couldn't hurt to burn a day and go check it out. I'll try not to rush into anything, but I don't want to let a good one slip away either. I guess you check it out the best you can then it's a dice roll.

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Where in Central WA are you? And I take it the bike's over in the Puget Sound area? I can't add much to the other comments about the bike, but you seem to have a level head about it. At some point, you're right, it's a crap shoot. And you just have to be prepared for an unpleasant repair bill.

 

Go over, see the bike, ride it around, then go play tourist. If you like the bike, you like it. You'll know what to do.

 

Maybe do some comparison shopping on Soundrider.com

 

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Where in Central WA are you? And I take it the bike's over in the Puget Sound area? I can't add much to the other comments about the bike, but you seem to have a level head about it. At some point, you're right, it's a crap shoot. And you just have to be prepared for an unpleasant repair bill.

 

Go over, see the bike, ride it around, then go play tourist. If you like the bike, you like it. You'll know what to do.

 

Maybe do some comparison shopping on Soundrider.com

 

He said the bike had been most recently serviced in the tri-cities - sounds like it's maybe around there...and north central WA...made me think of Omak/the Okanogan ... but who knows. Somewhere five hours away from the bike...and knowing eastern WA, there's probably not too much going on in those five hours.

 

 

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He said the bike had been most recently serviced in the tri-cities - sounds like it's maybe around there...

 

Doh! Yes, I read that, and then got stuck on Fife with the 5 hour drive.

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Good indications of whether or not it's a lemon is how long the current owner has actually owned the bike and why he wants to sell it. Of course, only you can decide if he's telling the truth. IMHO oilheads (and boxers, maybe BMWs in general) are either loved by their owners or hated. It seems to me that the original owner was probably in the former camp, but what about the latter? I'm not sure that I'd be comforted by a service having been carried out by a non-BMW expert either. Although to the knowledgeable these bikes are straightforward to service and repair there are some procedures that need to be done properly and on schedule. At the end of the day it's a gamble buying a bike like this without some knowledge of what a good one rides, sounds and "feels" like, but if it is a good one it's got loads of life left in it and, since you like Beemers, you'll really enjoy the RT. I'd take somebody with me. Just my opinion.

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Got you beat. My '04 R1150RT has never seen the inside of a dealer service area and is going strong at 46K miles which is low mileage for an 11 year old mc. My first time flushing the ABS was a learning experience for sure :mad: But I took care of that little problem as in no more ABS.

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If you are handy with a wrench, most all maintenance and R&R jobs on your RT are well documented and fairly easy. My 2003 model, a 2002 build has been trouble free since new. Only dealer service was the 600 mile initial service. I've done it all since then.

 

To keep issues down to a minimum, preventative/progressive maintenance is a must. In the past year or so, I replaced perishable tank internals/FI lines and all brake lines (with Spiegler's). Still love the bike and it continues to run like a champ, not selling it unless I ABSOLUTELY have to!

 

The build date on the bike is located on the headstock sticker on the RH side.

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I sold my 02R1150RT with 78K last fall built 4/2001. I did my own maintenance it was a great bike. You've gotten good advice one item that should of been replaced shocks for sure. The brakes flush is very important along with the clutch. I changed my final drive fluid every 6K.

 

Good luck,

 

Jay

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Where in Central WA are you? And I take it the bike's over in the Puget Sound area? I can't add much to the other comments about the bike, but you seem to have a level head about it. At some point, you're right, it's a crap shoot. And you just have to be prepared for an unpleasant repair bill.

 

Go over, see the bike, ride it around, then go play tourist. If you like the bike, you like it. You'll know what to do.

 

Maybe do some comparison shopping on Soundrider.com

 

He said the bike had been most recently serviced in the tri-cities - sounds like it's maybe around there...and north central WA...made me think of Omak/the Okanogan ... but who knows. Somewhere five hours away from the bike...and knowing eastern WA, there's probably not too much going on in those five hours.

 

The son-in-law is selling the bike for his father -in -law. the bike is in Seattle, the f-i-l lives in Kennewick.

I'm in Tonasket, Just North of Omak, 16 miles from the border.

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Good indications of whether or not it's a lemon is how long the current owner has actually owned the bike and why he wants to sell it.

 

He has owned ir since 2012. selling because he bought a 1600GTL

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Good indications of whether or not it's a lemon is how long the current owner has actually owned the bike and why he wants to sell it.

 

He has owned ir since 2012. selling because he bought a 1600GTL

 

Morning beemuker

 

Selling because he bought a 1600GTL is a good explanation --but did he buy the 1600GTL because he or his dealer found a problem with the 1150 bike during service that is going to cause issues in the near future?

 

You just never know, it might very well be a great trouble-free bike, but might just as easily be a future problem child to the new owner.

 

I kind of put good used bikes in the same category as GOOD used cars, if it is that GOOD of used car at a good price then why didn't a friend, neighbor, or family member buy it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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...

 

I kind of put good used bikes in the same category as GOOD used cars, if it is that GOOD of used car at a good price then why didn't a friend, neighbor, or family member buy it?

 

 

I can't see how that is a logical comparison. The number of potential buyers for a good used car from among friends, neighbors, or family members has to be hundreds of times greater than potential buyers in that same group that are interested in buying a 12 year old German motorcycle with 53,000 miles and very limited appeal to most people looking to buy a used motorcycle.

 

Even among the seller's acquaintances that are interested in motorcycles, most would already have at least one motorcycle of their own and are likely to have little interest in an older high mileage bike.

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53,000 not that high wrt mileage

In 10 years it will still be worth $2500 or more.

A good once over wrt cosmetic, a ride, and the willingness to but

some money into it and most likely a nice ride.

 

Doesn't sound like a flood bike.

;)

 

We saw how buying from a relative worked out with Patience.

:(

 

Go for it.

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...

 

I kind of put good used bikes in the same category as GOOD used cars, if it is that GOOD of used car at a good price then why didn't a friend, neighbor, or family member buy it?

 

 

I can't see how that is a logical comparison. The number of potential buyers for a good used car from among friends, neighbors, or family members has to be hundreds of times greater than potential buyers in that same group that are interested in buying a 12 year old German motorcycle with 53,000 miles and very limited appeal to most people looking to buy a used motorcycle.

 

Even among the seller's acquaintances that are interested in motorcycles, most would already have at least one motorcycle of their own and are likely to have little interest in an older high mileage bike.

 

Morning Eddd

 

Maybe in some circles but I usually sell my used bikes in great mechanical condition & I have friends & co-workers standing in line to buy them (correction fighting over them).

 

Sure the demand for good used cars is greater but the market is also full of many/many used cars.

 

Not as much demand for 1150Rt's but the market doesn't have many to offer either.

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53,000 not that high...and the willingness to but

some money into it and most likely a nice ride...

 

 

This is a good point, and we are not talking about major mechanical failures. It is just the nature of the bike that it is likely that it will cost you some money down the road. I took my 1996 R1100RT to 175,000 miles and had to spend money along the way. I was OK with that.

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...

 

I kind of put good used bikes in the same category as GOOD used cars, if it is that GOOD of used car at a good price then why didn't a friend, neighbor, or family member buy it?

 

 

I can't see how that is a logical comparison. The number of potential buyers for a good used car from among friends, neighbors, or family members has to be hundreds of times greater than potential buyers in that same group that are interested in buying a 12 year old German motorcycle with 53,000 miles and very limited appeal to most people looking to buy a used motorcycle.

 

Even among the seller's acquaintances that are interested in motorcycles, most would already have at least one motorcycle of their own and are likely to have little interest in an older high mileage bike.

 

Morning Eddd

 

Maybe in some circles but I usually sell my used bikes in great mechanical condition & I have friends & co-workers standing in line to buy them (correction fighting over them).

 

Sure the demand for good used cars is greater but the market is also full of many/many used cars.

 

Not as much demand for 1150Rt's but the market doesn't have many to offer either.

 

I don't know you, but I have to imagine that you're in a special category with regards to how many friends you have that are interested in this market segment, and in a very special category as to the quality and condition of your bikes when they go up for sale. I bet most of those here who buy used bikes would get in that line.

 

...which is all to say, I think Eddd had a good point and that you're not necessarily an example of the proverbial everyman when it comes to selling a bike.

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I've been searching, and the more I look, the more I think that in my price range an 03 or 04 1150r is my ticket. something like this. I may go look at it if my intial questions are +.

if you got a line on one, esp if you know the owner, let me know.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/mcy/4898357267.html

 

Afternoon beemuker

 

The picture you liked to is (K) bike not an (R )bike.

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I've been searching, and the more I look, the more I think that in my price range an 03 or 04 1150r is my ticket. something like this. I may go look at it if my intial questions are +.

if you got a line on one, esp if you know the owner, let me know.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/mcy/4898357267.html

 

Afternoon beemuker

 

The picture you liked to is (K) bike not an (R )bike.

sorry, used to have a k75 and that one looked sweet, if pricey.

meant to post this one

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/mcy/4892896056.html

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Post to you in your K bike thread.

Cycle Trader has a nice '03 R model w/bags and screen in your price range.

which one, where is it located? can you link it

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Afternoon beemuker

 

If you haven't ever owned an R bike I suggest you ride one before committing.

 

Some riders really like the R bikes & have no issues riding them.

 

For me personally I have owned a few R bikes & have never been able to get the frontal air management to my liking.

 

I have tried many types & brands of windscreens as well as air deflators & lips. I just can't seem to get the helmet buffeting to be acceptable to me at high speeds.

 

If you are not a fast rider then probably no issues as I only had issues at very high speeds. They do make a great city commuter bike.

 

It might also just be my body size, shape, & riding position , & how I fit behind the windscreen.

 

Not trying to scare you away just pointing out something to be aware of when looking at R bikes.

 

 

 

 

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Afternoon beemuker

 

If you haven't ever owned an R bike I suggest you ride one before committing.

 

Some riders really like the R bikes & have no issues riding them.

 

For me personally I have owned a few R bikes & have never been able to get the frontal air management to my liking.

 

I have tried many types & brands of windscreens as well as air deflators & lips. I just can't seem to get the helmet buffeting to be acceptable to me at high speeds.

 

If you are not a fast rider then probably no issues as I only had issues at very high speeds. They do make a great city commuter bike.

 

It might also just be my body size, shape, & riding position , & how I fit behind the windscreen.

 

Not trying to scare you away just pointing out something to be aware of when looking at R bikes.

 

 

 

thanks, I have owned an R, but it's been quite awhile. there are 3 used for sale in the Seattle area and am planning to ride them next week.One is naked, one ahs a screen, and one an RT. I don't plan on riding too much over 70mph, 60 is the limit on our main roads and lots of radar,. the last BMW I had was a K75, a very different ride.

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Reference point

 

Assume you're looking over at Ride West.

Good luck.

yea, I'm going by there 1st before I check a by owner out. it will give me a comparison.

 

We still have a house in Panama City, on the bay there. My cousin lives in Talla, has a few preschools there. I love that area.

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