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New Member and New Ride


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This is my first post. I joined last Sunday but did not own a BMW at that point although I was in the market. I was looking for a touring style bike that I could ride two up with  my wife. I almost bought a Honda 2010 Honda NT700 last Saturday. By the grace of God, someone else was interested in it first and they bought it. So I kept perusing  CycleTrader and BMW’s in my price range kept coming up. I have been riding a 1996 Suzuki Bandit 600 and 1981 Yamaha Seca XJ750 (it’s been torn apart for a couple of years sadly). In 2016, my wife and I spent 10 days in Ireland and we rented a 2014 R1200Gs for a day and toured the Ring of Kerry. It was awesome. I decided someday I would own one of those. I started getting excited about the BMW’s that I was seeing but I was concerned about the general perception that they are unreliable and expensive to service. So I began reading the forums and learned I could do a lot of the  maintenance myself. Just for grins I googled BMW repair shops in VA. Turns out there is one here in Charlottesville ! A very good one apparently -   Virginia Motorrad. That settled it. I decided to find a BMW. 

I settled on two - both 2004 R1150RT’s. One close to home with 84,000 miles and lots of farkles like an extra fuse box and two sets of fog lights. And another 2 hours away with 44,000 miles and basically stock except for a Sargents seat and Throttlemeisters. I decided to check that one out. We drove down Tuesday with a threat of rain and the rain hit when we pulled up. This is what the owner emailed me about the bike:

“Here's the story about the bike. it"s all that I know. I purchased the bike 3/19/18 from a young man about 25-30 years old. According to his titlehe had owned the bike about a year. Bike had 34,588 miles. He was fairly knowledgeable about the bike(knew where all the switches were ect) but was now what I would call a seasoned bike owner. He said he had bought the bike from an older gent(probably meant my age!) in the local area(Lynchburg, Va) He had no service record history. I noticed that the bike had some "add ons" (sargent seat) and figured that the original owner had put some extra $ into his bike, and figured that people like that don't generally skimp on service. And for the young guy, he hadn't even owned it long enough for an oil change. 
> > > So now I own the bike, immediately did some service items to bring it up to speed. I did most of this work (will notate the one item I had a local shop do) 
> > > 3/18 replaced air filter, fuel filter(an s.o.b), alternator belt, oil & filter change, transmission oil change, final drive oil change add "speed bleeders" to brake calipers and did abs brake & clutch bleed (fairly complicated). 
> > > 2/19 replaced dual spark plugs, adjust valves, replace battery with Odyssey PC680 oil & filter change 
> > > 1/20 removed the charcoal canister (per Chris Harris you tube video)Oil & filter change, final drive oil change, replaced left cyl cam chain tensioner with the upgraded unit(recommended), replaced fog lamps with HI-viz yellow leds. Had local shop rebuild the rear brake caliper and then another abs brake system bleed. 
> > > today: thats where we are today bike runs fine 
> > > I have (at present) 3 bikes. And that is one too many for my space.I recently upgraded on the BMW side to a 2012 R1200RT . That is why I am selling the 1150. Everything works as it should, no eccentricities.”
So after hearing all that and seeing the bike in person, I felt it was a good buy BUT it was pouring down rain and he lives on a two hundred yard long gravel driveway with strategically placed pot holes. There was no way I was going to test drive it then. I put down a deposit and said I would return today. My wife dutifully accompanied me again (she sat on the passenger’s seat Tuesday and was very comfortable so I got the thumbs up) two hours down. I test road the bike and it was - WOW - very nice and felt great.  Sale consummated and I had a very enjoyable ride home through the beautiful rolling hills of Central Virginia. 

 I didn’t want to post here until I had bought the bike. Superstitious I guess. So I’m glad to be here as an owner. I apologize for the long post but it has been a crazy week and wanted to share. 
All that being said and based on what the owner has done to maintain this bike, is there anything else I should do to the bike now or I should look at? I have already contacted VA Motorrad and will take it in to have them give it a once over when they have time in their schedule. Thanks for reading and I look forward to learning a lot from you guys. 
Best Regards,


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Good looking bike JP! :thumbsup: Welcome to BMW ownership and to the site, also. It's a great place to hang when your're not motoring. :revit: JVB Productions will give you all you need to know on how to maintain the bike. Dirtrider here is also a great help to anyone that asks for it! :clap:

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Since it is an 04 model, it might be reasonable to change the brake lines to SS from the rubber OEM if this has not been done. Also, since it has an Odyssey PC680 you might think about upgrading the alternator to provide a higher voltage output to keep the battery better charged. The Odyssey needs close to 14.7V and the OEM provides less than this. Did these things on my 04 R1100S.

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The silver 2004 1150RT was my first BMW also. She is a remarkable machine and one of the best looking if you ask me.


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2 minutes ago, Rinkydink said:

The silver 2004 1150RT was my first BMW also. She is a remarkable machine and one of the best looking if you ask me.



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Welcome.  It's hard to believe I've been a member of this board as long as I have.  My recommendations?  Watch for upcoming rides.  Come to Torrey UT is you can.  That's a really great bike you have.  I know many people who have ridden thousands of miles on that bike.


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Welcome to the board.  Nice looking bike!   As you may have already read, there are some bike-specific forums with wealth of information, including the technical aspect.  

Depending on your riding style, you may be able to come visit some Riding Tours that are close enough to for regularity.


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  • As mentioned above, if the brake lines are still stock and look to be the originals, they should be replaced, preferably with aftermarket stainless steel lines.  
  • I'd think about changing the in-tank fuel lines, too, or at least buy a set (and maybe the necessary clamps and tool) and carry them until you can change them at the next fuel filter change, so you've got a way to get back on the road if they fail on you (which has happened to a few of our members).  The molded u-shaped hose is the usual culprit, and can look fine on visual inspection but still leak under pressure.
  • Maybe check the age of the tires (I assume you checked the tread depth) and replace them if they're more than 5 years old.  
  • The stock shocks may be kinda tired at 44K, but I know plenty of folks have ridden them far longer.  A good set of aftermarket shocks will give you fabulous ride and handling, but they'll cost nearly half what the bike is worth, and that's if you install them yourself.

Welcome to the board!  You found yourself a great bike!

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I bought my very first beemer, a 2003 R1150RT, after being away from riding for almost 30 years. I love this bike. You're going to love yours. Welcome to the club!


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  • 3 weeks later...

New member here as well. Welcome! You made a good choice - especially the choice to NOT look at the Honda NT700.  I had one,  rode it for over a year, but never warmed up to it. My wife HATED it and wouldn't ride with me. Mine even had the optional Hondaline tail trunk, so it's not like she didn't have a back rest. Worst shocks and suspension on a motorcycle I've ever experienced, and I've been riding 40 years and have owned somewhere around 25-30 bikes; with demos and test rides and rentals and borrowed bikes, I've probably ridden twice that number. Dog slow, too. Maintenance? Fuhgeddabout it! To do a rear tire change took 4 guys and 2 hours (all highly experienced hands too). 


Sounds like you're off to a good start getting the RT roadworthy. Wishing you many happy miles with her.

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Welcome ... and many happy miles of smiles!    My first BMW was a R1100RT with was the predecessor to the R1150RT.  I got hooked in 2000 and never looked back. 


Great advice here and all good suggestions.  I would change oil and filter and final drive fluid and as noted tires if needed. 

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On 6/20/2020 at 8:54 PM, Rinkydink said:

The silver 2004 1150RT was my first BMW also. She is a remarkable machine and one of the best looking if you ask me.


For sure!   Almost as pretty as the sienna red :grin:



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