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Good morning, I'm Miguel! from Santa Cruz CA, 75 miles south of San Francisco on the northern tip of Monterey Bay. 


I just purchased a 2001 R1100RT in Opal Blue. 100K miles. Fantastic external shape. Superb record keeping by previous owner who worked on aircraft carriers for 30 years. Originally purchased in 2001 at BobBMW in Jessup MD (I used to have an office right next door and occasionally would drop in to ogle the new and old bikes there). I've ridden it 550 miles so far. I am having a full service done at Bens Motorcycle Works in Watsonville CA. Ben and his wife run a family business. Ben was a mechanic at Santa Cruz BMW for 5 years and formed his own business 6 years ago when the dealership closed (evidently poorly managed by the new owner). Ben and his wife Nikya have great Yelp reviews. They also service all the police R1100RT-P's for the highway patrol and local cities.


For the last 10 years I've been riding a Vespa GTV 250. It's a great bike but it was uncomfortable for Ms Miguel having to straddle the rear fenders. I still have it. Its definitely more fun in the tight twists than the BMW because its more responsive and no gear shifting. Its top speed is about 75 indicated and definitely freeway capable.


I've never had a larger bike and thought I better try one before too long. I was looking at a '14 R1200RT but have always loved the "Spaceship" look of the mid 90's - mid '00 BMW's. I like having all the engine compartment hidden behind the aerodynamic covers that is so aesthetically pleasing to the eye (my Vespa GTV is the same way). I decided for the 1100 because if I dumped it, it was not that much money and if I don't like it, I won't lose much either. The 1200 was a smoother ride and shifting was a LOT cleaner. 


Its been long time since I've ridden a shifty bike and I thought maybe it was my technique that was rusty but have since concluded the 1100 transmission is just not a clean shift. I find I lurch forward in the seat when I let off the throttle in 1st and 2nd. I'm hoping Ben will be able to make it smoother. He said the clutch cable was not properly adjusted. I'm sure there's a learning curve because at times I could work the throttle and speed to avoid the rough operation. We'll see.


Bike came with three(!) saddles: stock, BMW comfort saddle, and a Corbin (and pillion). Beautiful saddle. I live about 75 minutes from Corbin and had them install heat in the pilot's saddle. The weather is cool along the central Californian coast. I also bought an integrated backrest. I've only ridden once with the backrest and it was REALLY comfortable. 


One of the advantages of the 1100 over the 2014 R1200RT is the simplicity of the bike. Not a lot of extra stuff to distract me. Also, routine maintenance looks quite simple and remarkably not much different than my Vespa, for which I've been doing the maintenance for years. I'm still a bit baffled by changing the brake fluid through the ABS system. I haven't read much about it in the (included) maintenance manual and haven't found a good video on it yet. Pointer to a good video are welcome. 


Planned upgrades: I've already converted headlight to LED. I used the Cyclops. I initially shied away from it because of the fan but was convinced after reading a lot of reviews and Nikya (Ben's wife) says its what they install in most BMW's and have never had a problem. In her words, "Its what Cyclops does." The rear light and turn signals were replaced with an LED unit with clear lenses by the previous owner. I'll also replace the parking light in the headlight with an LED to match the headlight color. I've been debating installing a Kisan Signal Minder, I've read great things about them. I'm also considering converting the front turn signals to a white running light/yellow turn signal switchback LED and replacing the amber lens with a clear lens. Switchback LEDs are white (and the one I'm looking at is quite bright) and turn amber when the turn signal is engaged. The conversion can be done for about $50. I'll post details if I do it. I've take one step in that direction and purchase an 1157 bulb socket (~$7) that I think will work with the turn signal innards unmodified. The white running light will be powered from the low beam headlight wire and the yellow turn signal will be powered from exiting turn signal wire. I'm having Ben install the stainless steel brake lines (probably doing it now as I write). The previous owner had installed the Ohlin rear shocks. I'm also having the top half of the side cases painted Opal Blue to soften the black tail-end of the bike and balance the blue-heavy color of the front end. I'm also considering the changing the windscreen to an Aeroflow. I'll post separately about that because I've got some questions. 


I'm glad to have joined the forum and look forward to interacting with you all. I read the last year of forum posts and I like the forum's pleasant demeanor. Some other boards seem quite contentious. 








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Welcome to the board.  I moved your post to the forum for new member introductions.  Lots of members would never see your post if left in oilheads.  The bike specific forums can be ignored by those who don't have one of those bikes.  

Now that we are getting you noticed by the whole board, I think it would be good for you to post in oilhead with oilhead specific observations and questions.  I'd just cut and paste from your original post.  



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Welcome and great looking bikes.

You may have to get your technician to lube your clutch splines, that should help smooth out your shifting. 

But I am sure he knows about that.

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All. Thanks for the welcome.


Eddd: Thanks for moving my intro post to a more suitable forum. 


Bernie: The mechanic and I talked about the spline lube yesterday. The clutch was replaced by a reputable BMW dealer 20K miles ago and we agreed, it was going to be very unusual if they didn't lube the splines then. IIRC, he is going to remove the starter and see if he can verify they are lubed, that make sense?


I asked the mechanic to go through everything and gave him my two highnest priorities: keep me safe and keep me rolling. The previous owner did all the fluid changes and had the dealer do the bigger stuff. But evidently, a lot of the small stuff was either ignore or not done properly. For example, the valves were not adjusted properly. Fortunately, the gaps were all too wide and not tight so no damage done. So hopefully, having a mechanic that is quite familiar with the R1100RT  go through the bike systematically will correct and rejuvenate all outstanding issues and prevent future problems. 




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Welcome to the asylum... you can get a lot of information here, and if the norm continues many opinions on any subject or topic- which is a ll good.


Your bike looks great and there is a huge body of knowledge and information on it. Never hesitate to ask for help with anything.


Keep in touch.



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Miguel ... welcome and congrats on owning 2 very nice bikes!   My first BMW was a 1997 R1100RT and my high school buddy has a 2000 just like yours.  That 1100 motor is great and will run forever when properly maintained,  and it sounds like yours certainly has been well maintained.   And if ever I were to get a scooter it would be a Vespa.   I just think Vespas are cool!   Yours looks really slick.


Regarding the shifting .... the '96 to 2001 5 speed boxer transmissions were know to be a big clunky.  Nothing wrong ... its just the nature of that beast.  I owned a 1100, 1150 and now three 1200's and each vintage the trans got smoother.   The new Liquid cooled motor is buttery smooth.   But don't fret about the trans,  especially if you know the clutch was replaced.  You should be good for another 100K !   You may want to  swap out the gear box fluid and use full synthetic as some have found that helped the shifting. 


Good luck and hope you have many miles of BMW Smiles! 

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RTinNC. Thanks for the detailed info on the 1100 and its transmission. I'm glad to know its quirky and not defective. I'm sure I'll figure it out. Almost every review of the bike I've read over the last few months parallel your experience and only a few ever mentioned the transmission. Since the previous owner changed all the fluids himself and only had the shop mechanic fix the big things, I felt it was important to have a professional mechanic go through the entire bike systematically. He's changing all fluids and inspecting/fixing everything he finds. I gave him carte blanche.


The Vespa is a fabulous bike. There's a great forum for them: Modernvespa.com. I'm Miguel over there too and have posted 3300+ posts there one the last decade. The Vespa is a LOT easier to ride and drive than the BMW. And much more maneuverable in the tight twisties. But the BMW is remarkably more comfortable and I hope Ms Miguel will ride with me. She struggled with comfort as a Vespa pillion.


Thanks for you warm welcome and kind, informative words.




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