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New member, Nearly bought a '99 R1100RT today


Kraken

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Hello, new user here. Almost a new BMW owner! Looking for a bike to commute to college on, was told the bike looked a little odd under a 23 year old (But who cares?.)

 

The motorcycle had been laid down, but garage kept. Had some desirable aftermarket parts and fit me extremely well for the ergos. The weight was a bit more than I expected (coming from a EX500), but manageable. I took it around the parking lot and enjoyed how the bike responded to handlebar input at low speed. Unfortunately, it stalled in neutral and wouldn't start back up. I walked away. It's a shame too, because the bike seemed well sorted, and it was the right kind of deal money wise.

 

The amount of electronics on that thing baffled me. Upon seeing it in person and having a chance to sit behind it, I also feel like there' a bit too much plastic for my personal tastes. I'd imagine I could get used to it though.

 

I really want something with an upright seating position, and rear bags. I don't want to be wind proof, just not catching fatigue from being buffeted at full force.

 

If you can't tell, I'm undecided on what I want for my second motorcycle. Suggestions and advice welcomed!

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Hello, new user here. Almost a new BMW owner! Looking for a bike to commute to college on, was told the bike looked a little odd under a 23 year old (But who cares?.)

 

The motorcycle had been laid down, but garage kept. Had some desirable aftermarket parts and fit me extremely well for the ergos. The weight was a bit more than I expected (coming from a EX500), but manageable. I took it around the parking lot and enjoyed how the bike responded to handlebar input at low speed. Unfortunately, it stalled in neutral and wouldn't start back up. I walked away. It's a shame too, because the bike seemed well sorted, and it was the right kind of deal money wise.

 

The amount of electronics on that thing baffled me. Upon seeing it in person and having a chance to sit behind it, I also feel like there' a bit too much plastic for my personal tastes. I'd imagine I could get used to it though.

 

I really want something with an upright seating position, and rear bags. I don't want to be wind proof, just not catching fatigue from being buffeted at full force.

 

If you can't tell, I'm undecided on what I want for my second motorcycle. Suggestions and advice welcomed!

 

R 1100/1150 R has bags, upright position and with a good windshield gives adequate protection.

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Same thought as Bud with the R1100R. Or, maybe you'd want a GS for that dirt road or path that's just begging to be explored. :thumbsup:

 

Where's your general location and what's your price range? We have shoppers here that don't mind helping you spend! :grin:

 

Good luck & welcome!

 

 

Pat

 

 

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My location is southeast Ohio, zip code 45714.

 

I really do like the look of those R1100R, This bike now has my full attention! They even weigh a bit less, I can get behind that! They seem to be more expensive than their plastic laden brothers. I wonder what the R1100RT looks like with the plastic off... The R1100RS fairing looks quite nice! I wish there was somewhere in between with the fairing and minimalism between the RT and the R but with the ergo's of the R or RT's.

 

On the R1100Gs... I've been on a motorcycle in the dirt one time. Didn't like the feeling, I don't think it will be a regular thing for me anytime soon.

 

I basically need something that can eat miles for my ~80 mile daily commute for college. I had thought that a full fairing would be nice for extending the riding season with winter hitting here, but I could deal with a minimalist windshield / aeroguard.

 

Here comes the funny part... My budget is $2k. Good joke right? I'll probably have to wait until winter to afford anything in decent condition. That's all I've got unfortunately. Perhaps a BMW isn't realistic at my price point, but I had some awesome delusion action going on earlier today. Can someone add some fuel to this fire? I know I already like the ergos of the R bikes, so I don't think it would be a bad idea to buy one of those when it starts snowing. Would give me some more time to save up money as well. Is the gearing much different between the two? If I understand correctly, the R1100 series after 1996ish had the M97 transmission that is most desirable?

 

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Another vote for a plain "R" bike here. Remember, they come bare, but you don't have to leave them that way. If fairing / protection is what you seek, you can always add a touring windshield, like this Aeroflow my wife added to her R1150R:

 

nov06%20056.jpg

 

It was practically an RT re wind protection at that point, and that's without the optional lower attachments to the windshield that are available.

 

You can also obviously add touring bags and a topcase or other storage means, like she did for our X-country trip:

 

swr269.jpg

 

The nice thing about all of this is that most of it strips off fast, and it's a cheaper entry point than the RT.

 

-MKL

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Older BMW's will require maintenance.

At 400 miles or more a week, the 6,000 mile servie interval will roll around fairly often.

Oil/filter/time to inspect valves/do TBS will addup.

Farkeling wrt windscreen/bags is expensive, figure if you're lucky to find used bags $350 and up (assuming the bike has the luggage rails to put bags on or that is more $$) w/screens 50-100 used (again assumong mounting system there or more $$)

Which is why either an R already set up or an RT/RS already w/stuff is best bet.

You can add soft bags to a naked bike but water/security are variables.

$2k will not get you much wrt BMW however they are out there.

BUT, better be ready to wrench and replace parts as you ride it.

 

If not in your budget of time and money, pass, find some UJM that needs very littls (a Ninja 250 comes to mind) throw bags over it and ride until you have the budget and desire to "own" a beemer.

.02

Best wishes.

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szurszewski
I wonder what the R1100RT looks like with the plastic off...

 

Ugly. But, I think they're kind of ugly with the plastics on too - and I have ridden mine a couple of summers with minimal tupperware. (Because of the design, it's not really practical to take it ALL off and ride the bike, but the side and belly panels are easy enough to remove - you get a sort of bloated streetfighter/madmax/bad crash kind of look).

 

Here comes the funny part... My budget is $2k. Good joke right? Can someone add some fuel to this fire?

 

There's a nice LOOKING RS on cl here in Portland asking $1900. It was on ealrier this summer too and then went away - makes me think there might be something amiss as it's a pretty low price. Maybe you could offer them $1500 cash and use the rest of your budget to get here and ride it home. Of course, like Tallman says, you could easily spend what's in your budget on the first round of repairs - particularly if you're lacking the space/tools/skill to work on the bike (I lack the knowledge, but have been adding to that over the years...and tools too - they are pretty simple if you're willing to get in there, do the work, ask questions, etc - but if it's going to be your only way to school, it's going to be frustrating when things don't work...)

 

Good luck with your decisions. If by chance you do look up that RS out here and talk to the seller and are maybe thinking about it, I'd be happy to go eyeball it for you.

josh

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I've got a Subaru Legacy to take me to school as well, but I don't think I should buy a motorcycle that is going to require a TON of work. I've read a lot about the HES going out, which looks expensive. I'm not afraid of fork seals, or valve adjustments... Suspension stuff isn't too bad, Although this is the first I've seen the BMW suspension. Lubricating drive lines? I'll learn. Beats changing a chain every season.

 

I did all my own wrenching on my '90 EX500, and that involved a whole lot of things by the time I sold it this summer. I can't afford to have someone else work on my motorcycle. I have access to a garage, and have tools (Not impact tools, but that's not usually a necessity.) The main thing that has me a little spooked from BMW are specialty tools / high cost parts.

 

I'm not very clever when it comes to electrical gremlins. At all.

 

Another thing I'm looking to avoid is the IABS, so '96-'01 seems like a sweet spot for my needs.

 

The RS seating position is a bit too far forward for my taste, unfortunately.

 

I'd imagine that $2.5-3k Over the fall/winter will buy me a MUCH nicer motorcycle than $2k will at the end of July. As much as I'd like to ride, I sold my Ex500 because I was ready for a change. I need something boringly reliable, and I want something comfortable. The hard luggage is definitely a want, but it sounds like it's an expensive one on these naked bikes.

 

I appreciate the offer of going to look over that bike for me, Szurzewski!

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So you have skills, that is excellent.

FWIW, I and many others find the slight forward cant of the RS preferable to the sit up and beg RT postion wrt long rides.

Again YMMV, there are bar backs available for the RS also.

 

There's an '85 K 75 RT in Louisville asking $1750, have a friend w/similar K75 and over 408,000 miles.

 

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szurszewski

You're probably right about better prices in the winter, though some of these BMW owners are pretty curmudgeonly and will stick with their ask :)

 

Some parts are expensive, but I wouldn't worry about the specialty tools. And some parts can be rebuilt (including that HES) instead of ordering new, as long as you've got the time to do that (and it sounds like you would).

 

Not saying though that a BMW is for you - just offering some thoughts. If you want something boring and dead reliable, you might want to consider a Subaru :grin: or my wife would be happy to sell you her Vespa GT. :wave:

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I see! The RS with barbacks would work, I think. It's a real shame you're so FAR away!

 

I'll add the r1100RS to the feed as well.

 

I've been told the R series is easier to turn a wrench on than the K series. Not trying to stir some huge stick, and I'd have to do more research to confirm. I was originally interested in a K75, but looking into it, thought it would be a better idea to look for something a touch younger. Hence my aiming for '96-'01 in a R1100 series.

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The pre-wasser boxers are easier, in general, but the bricks are not that difficult.

Example, my valves, in 83,000 miles one valve adjusted even though w/in spec.

To change my oil I have to remove a lot more that a GS or even an RS.

The coolant is a 2-4 year cycle.

The vintage boxer you cite is an excellent one.

 

As stated, no real special tools for routine maintenance.

Best wishes.

 

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How about drive line maintenance? AFAIK, you're only lubing the final drive as often as a tire change. I'm not familiar with BMW's suspension either. Is it just more of pain to get to than it is to work on / adjust?

 

408K miles on a K75? I don't even know what to say. Do car engines even last that long? Thanks for pointing out the '85 tallman. The age of that motorcycle scares me. I have a hard time trusting electronics that are 30 years old. But if your friend is shooting for half a million miles on his K75, its a testament to his dedication to maintenance or the machines resilience.

 

I'll look around to see how complicated a rebuild is on an HES while I'm contemplating these R series bikes. I've read that if It hasn't been replaced, to factor it into the costs.

 

This subaru has surprised me, it's made me a believe of boxer engines. Then again, I haven't had to do a lot of engine work yet, that might change as I run out of space to do just about everything in the engine bay... Ohh well

 

I don't think I'll be talked into a Vespa quite that easily! :P I had briefly considered a thumper for commuting to college, but that was only if it was at a silly price I couldn't look away from.

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szurszewski

I would put lubing the splines in the same don't worry about it category as the speciality tools. My understanding is that BMW doesn't offer any recommendation on when to do it, or even that it ever needs to be done. The most "frequent" interval I've seen recommended by anyone on the 'net who I'd trust is 40k.

 

Our current resident oracle here recommends doing it when you replace the clutch - which is to say not very often, and maybe never. (Like, every 80k maybe?)

 

For rebuilding the HES, it's mostly a matter of replacing the wiring, from which the insulation degrades allowing the wires to contact each other, in the pigtail connectors with better/new wiring. I haven't done it, but I'd try if needed, and there are members on this forum who have offered to do the repair for others for little or no cost. That said, even buying a new one isn't outrageously expensive - a few hundred or so. The expensive electronics on the bikes you're targeting are the ABS module (which can be rebuilt on some models, and removed entirely on any of the oilheads in your date range - assuming you're ok with no ABS), and the main computer, or Motronic as it's called, the controls fueling and such. You hear of ABS module failures from time to time (usually on later models), but the Motronic failures seem to be more rare.

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Yeah! Seems like an abs rebuild takes around $400... OUCH!! I think I'd go without. I guess a couple hundred isn't so bad... And that's required to make the bike go, unlike the abs.

 

I wish the local prices on the r1100rs would come down about $1k. Seems to be at $3.5k on the low end...

 

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Jim Moore has a beautiful S model in JAX.

Under $3k

w/bags

throw some bar backs at it

just a thought

 

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A great many years ago, I was in a same situation as you. During high school I rode an unfairing Honda. In my senior year, I knew that I needed something bigger. I found a 1973 BMW R75/5 that was going cheap. The owner had to sell within 3 days. Luckily my parents loaned me some of the money to buy the bike. I used the bike to commute the 60 miles (round trip) to college. The purchase worked out great. I rode it everywhere.

 

At first I didn't have a fairing. But, when a bird flew into my chest and almost knocked me out, I broke down and bought a fairing. The fairing was very useful during most of the school year because being cold just sucks. I was concerned about not being able to see the front wheel, but after a few weeks, my concerns were gone. Considering that you will be using this bike as a commuter to school, you would be better off with a fairing. If you choose an unfairing bike, you will need better gear to keep warm, so keep that in mind.

 

In regards to what bike to buy, you only have a few options. The bikes in your price range are the K75, K100, and R1100. The K bkes are bullet proof. The engines last forever. Quite a few with over 500,000 miles out there. The downside of a K bike is that they are watercooled, and they are heat monsters in the summer months. Once it gets over 80 degrees they become quite uncomfortable to drive. It you buy a K bike, find one without a fairing. The summer will be good, but you will freeze during most of the school year.

 

If you buy an Oilhead, I would try to stick to the 1998-2001 R1100RT models. They were the most reliable. The fairing on the oilheads is one of the best that BMW has made. It is cool in the summer, and keeps you as warm as possible in the colder months. Most, but not all, have heated hand grips. They are a wonderful invention, and work better then you can imagine. Always ask if it has heated grips, and that they work.

 

Like just about any model bike, Oilheads have a few issues that you need to be aware of when searching for the right bike:

 

1. The input shaft on the transmission needs to be greased (with a special grease) every 40k. Always ask the owner when the input shaft was last greased. Some people never grease them until they fail. Expensive repair for a college kid. Be aware of bikes at 40k, 80k, or 120k marks. If they just greased them, it can mean that the input shaft is almost gone. If they haven't greased them, and the bike is at that mark, then deduct at least $1,000 to do the job yourself. If properly maintained, most Oilheads don't have a problem. One way to tell is to pull off the left side of the fairing. Then remove the starter (2 bolts), and look in. If you see red powder around the shaft, it is almost gone. You can also check out the clutch, to see how much life it still has. Replacing either is expensive. It takes about 15 minutes to check.

 

2. The HES wiring needs to be replaced on almost all Oilheads. Ask the owner if they have replaced it. You can rewire it yourself for a couple of bucks. If it needs to be done, deduct money from the price.

 

3. The left cam chain tensioner was not mfg correctly by BMW, and most were replaced. But, this was left up to the owner to replace. If it was NOT replaced it could ruin the motor. When you start the bike up, listen for about 1-2 seconds of metal clatter. If you hear it, the tensioner hasn't been replaced. About $80 to upgrade. If it is a high mileage bike and hasn't been replaced, then walk away.

 

4. The deep-groove bearing in the Final Drive can go bad. With the bike on the center stand, shake the tire at 12-and-6 and then at 3-and-9. If there is play, then the bearing might need to be replaced. If you replace it yourself, it is about $150.

 

5. Check the oil sight glass. They have been upgraded in the last couple of years. There was a problem with them popping out. If the rubber is cracked or you can't see the oil through the glass, it will need to be replaced. About $30.

 

6. The brake lines have had a higher then average failure rate. Look for stainless steel lines. If you need to do it, the price is around $200.

 

7. The fuel lines inside the gas tank fail quite a bit. Ask the owner when they were last replaced. About $50 to replace. If they break open inside the tank, your bike will come to a stop. About 3 hours to replace.

 

Most Oilheads are very reliable if maintained properly. There are a number around with 500,000+ miles. One out there has 800,000 miles.

 

Right now, the prices of bikes are high. If you wait until Fall, the prices will come down. Probably not to 1k, but you might be able to pick up a great bike that you will be happy with for $2-3k. As a college kid you cannot afford to have an unreliable bike. Be patient, and spend some time and find the right bike for you. I generally spend about 3 months looking for the perfect bike.

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Thank you very much for all the wisdom in that post above! Speaking of that, that's a pretty impressive first post... Did you happen upon this topic on google or something? I find it interesting that there seem to be different opinions on lubricating the final drive...

 

Seems like it would be easy to spend ~$500 upgrading a R1100 that the average joe has had his hands on. The CCT is the only dealbreaker on that list to me though. That's funny, my last bike was bad about that too.

 

The forward lean on the S, even with barbax, is too much for my taste.

 

I'd imagine this fall/winter, $2.5k will buy me a R1100 in decent condition, and I can use the rest to finish making it reliable.

 

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szurszewski
I find it interesting that there seem to be different opinions on lubricating the final drive...

 

Try asking about how to check your oil...or which oil and filter to use.

 

Opinions, you know, they're like.... well, let's just say we all have them.

 

Lots of good advice in that, as you said, pretty amazing first post. The only thing I'd add/edit is about that final drive bearing. First, if it needs to be replaced, it needs to be done carefully and precisesly - remember what I said about not worrying about special tools? You might need some for that. I had mine replaced by a guy who specializes in race prepping Ducatis and such; I pulled the drive and took it to him for the replacement. He has a jig built specially for the job. When you're ready to go shopping this winter, I'd suggest reading up more on rear wheel play - there are two sets of pivot bearings (one on each end of the swingarm) that will also allow play to be felt by "shaking" the rear wheel, so play doesn't necessarily mean a bad bearing (but that would be the most expensive thing it would mean...probably).

 

Oh - I think I spent about $400 or so to have the bearing replaced - almost $200 for the part and a couple of hours of labor. Removing and replacing the drive has some specific steps to it, but it's doable with decent tools and patience.

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I can see that being a bit expensive to fix. Is there a listing of BMW mechanics by locality? I'm about 12 hours from affordable Beemer services. I guess it might pay to buy the tools and do that one yourself. Would likely require a fair amount of hand holding, though.

 

 

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szurszewski

To find a good nearby mechanic, you could start by looking at the Internet BMW Riders' page, which is here:

http://www.ibmwr.org/dealers-independent.shtml

(lots of other good info there)

you could google "BMW motorcycle mechanic [name of nearest biggish city to you]" (sorry - my wife's family is all from Springfield OH, but I don't even really know which quadrant of the state that's in).

 

or you could you could post a query here asking for ideas in your locale, or maybe over at Adventure Rider (lots more folks over there, but not as BMW-centric as here, and, while I like ADV a lot, I have to say, not nearly as cool as this place).

 

Rebuilds for things like final drives and transmissions can also be done mailorder if you're not in a super hurry to get the bike back on the road...or, like you said, buy the tools and learn to do it yourself :)

 

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I'll have to check that out. Reading some of the conversations between BMW and customers from the last decade has really concreted the era from which I'm comfortable looking for a motorcycle. Perhaps I should look again at the K75's, as they seem to maintain the reliability I'm looking for. Even at their age, they seem to continue to go.

 

I've never been brave enough to tackle anything that involved... I'd imagine I'd have to price a new unit before I'd attempt to rebuild one!

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szurszewski

You don't want to price a new final drive. Definitely loads cheaper to have one rebuilt or buy a used/rebuilt unit. Good news is there is lots of support for bikes you're looking as far as new parts, used parts and definitely knowledge here and other places online.

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First post doesn't mean inexperienced.

 

Kraken - didn't mean to overwhelm you. The K bikes have just as many known issues. I have owned them too. All bikes and cars have a list of known issues. By knowing some of the issues, you can avoid those bikes that have hidden problems. Saves you money and frustration. A knowledgeable buyer is a smart buyer. Right now I have an 99 R1100RT. Did all the checks I listed above. And, for the past 50k miles the bike has run flawlessly with no issues. Just maintenance, and the upgrades (HES & cam tensioner & brake lines).

 

In my opinion, I think you will be happier with an Oilhead then a K bike. If you have a problem, just post the problem online, and people will help you fix it. You can also download the BMW service manual, which is very good. I should also note that there is a big supply of used parts that are pretty cheap.

 

In regards to the deep-grove big bearing in the final drive. It is actually quite easy to replace. Just need a heat gun and some 1mm solder. No special tools needed. There is even a youtube video on how to do it. I have known a couple guys who have replaced it while on the road. If you replace the pinion gear, then you need to make a special jig, engineering blue, 36mm socket, shims, etc. But, replacing the pinion gear or bearing is pretty rare.

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Fair enough, you've certainly demonstrated that already! I appreciate you taking the time to help educate the less seasoned and more ambitious (ahem, me~!) among us.

 

I think you're right about the K series, especially considering the heat issue. I'm one of those ATGATT people, and leather isn't the most comforting thing when you're not moving.

 

I forget that I have time to research these upgrades and modifications. It wasn't as much being overwhelmed as forgetting that I have to understand an entirely different platform from what I'm used to when it comes to a motorcycle. I think it would be wise to find an owner who has maintained his R series bike in a way that you've mentioned. Someone who has attention to the bikes shortcomings, and has already addressed them versus paying less money for an example that I would have to reinvest the savings into anyway. Although, this would give me a good opportunity to learn more about the innerworkings of my new purchase, it's frustrating to put parts and time into a new vehicle.

 

Also, the RT that I went to look at has in fact failed because of the HES. I've made the owner aware that there is a much cheaper fix than the dealers quote.

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szurszewski

Sorry about that - forgot (didn't know?) that you needed to be logged in to view classified ads there.

 

It's a '90 k75c that needs a steering head bearing and shifter work - shop estimates $800 ish - and the seller is asking $700. Of course, it's in CA.

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That's the way fate would have it! I'm beginning to think cooking on a K bike is a bad idea.

 

I'm thinking about pushing back the model years that I'm looking at, it would allow me the opportunity to look at some local(ish) examples of the r1100rs. Are the m94 transmissions really that much worse than their m97 brothers that they should be avoided? Reading about it here, (http://www.largiader.com/tech/oiltrans/) it would seem the m94 towards the end of their production were essentially comparable to the m97 except orings between gears.

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szurszewski

My M94 will roll over 100,000 miles the next time I ride the bike...well, assuming it doesn't fail in the first few miles of the ride (parked it today at 99,9xx miles).

 

The great thing about researching stuff like this on the internet is you learn about all the potential problems.

 

the terrible thing about researching stuff like this on the internet is you learn about all the potential problems.

 

I think if I were you, I'd look for a local bike in my budget that I could go ride, and if it ran well, shifted well, stopped well, looked good and - very importantly - I got a good feeling about the seller, I'd buy that one - if possible, I'd have a shop, or failing that someone knowledgeable about the mechanics of that bike, check it out first. I wouldn't worry too much about getting one particular model, or one particular year of bike. ANY bike you buy is likely to have aspects you love as well as aspects you can just tolerate. And ANY bike you buy - even a brand new one - could have a major system fail on the ride home.

 

Also, if you buy it pretty cheap this winter and you don't like it (say you do get a K and the heat really is that bad), you can probably sell it for what you have into - maybe more if you fix it up a bit - next year.

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I found my new motorcycle today, but it's not a BMW. It's a '95 triumph sprint 900. Perhaps a BMW is a bit down the road! :)

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I've had two 1100 RT's - they are accomplished motorcycles for what they are designed to do, if a tad on the heavy side.

I've now got an 1100R - mine has a screen and laminar lip, hand guards and bmw panniers with a Givi top box.

It is 100kg lighter than the RT, and as such has more of the usable midrange grunt - add to that the lower seat height and easier manouverability and you have a nice bike - once I'd ridden it for the first time I wondered why I had not thought of it before - truth be known I'd always liked the weather protection and electric screen of the RT but I can live without those things for the sake of the other positives - I don't regret getting it at all.

 

 

IMG_0049-L.jpg

 

Steve

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