BMW R 1100 RS [2015]

It is very difficult to reverse when you have started looking for a new motorcycle. I started looking for an used BMW in May. There have been few riding possibilities this summer, but now I am very pleased to have a “new” bike in the garage.

It all started when I was tempted to go and have a look at a red R 1100 RS that was for sale. It had some issues and I turned it down. However, the fire was lit and I started to search on As the market in Norway is very limited, I shifted the focus to the German site

I was looking for bikes from dealers, and preferably from BMW dealers. I found a R 1100 R, with the same paint scheme as my R 850 R. This was a 1997 model with only 12 000 km on the odometer and looked like it was brand new. However, I came too late to make a deal and then I found this R 1100 RS at Helming & Sohn in Nordhorn.

On the 24th of June I could pick up the R 1100 RS at the transporter in Drammen, a 1999 model with 28 900 km on the odometer and with original BMW side cases and top case. It was a little dusty after the transport, but aside from tires with more wear than anticipated from the pictures in the advert and a little damage on the front fairing, it looked very nice.

It will not start, a problem caused by the side stand switch. That is fixed by retracting the side stand twice and the motor starts promptly. I fill up the tank and rides home. After showing the bike for the technical test, having payed the tax the RS is ready for a Norwegian plate.

The first trip is in some ways also a disappointment. The RS turned out to be a beast to handle when compared to my FZ 600 Fazer. It would not turn, the brakes had no bite despite having been serviced before the bike was shipped to Norway, and the vibrations from the engine was quite strong.

The first weekend of my summer vacation was scheduled to be with the BMW to our cabin in the mountains. The evenings before was spent in the garage preparing the RS. Tightening bolts, putting in bolts where there were bolts missing and adjusting the seating position, in general trying to bond with the bike. When I wheeled the bike in to the garage on Thursday, I found that the brake lever hit the steering handle and there was a big bubble on the brake hose from the reservoir. The bike was parked for two weeks while I order a set of brake lines from Pro Brake in Germany.

Two weeks later I have the brake lines and after an afternoon in the garage all five brake lines are changed and the brakes bleeded. I also performed a quick synchronisation of the throttles with my homemade manometer. I also discovered a leak on the fuel line from the tank. This was fixed with a new hose clamp.

I have always had a tank bag, and for the RS I decided for the Trial bag with quick lock from SW Motech. It is easy to mount and has a practical interior and a size well suited for the RS. The original BMW side cases are easy to use and practical, but when traveling alone I prefer to use much slimmer soft bags.

I blamed the well-used Metzeler Roadtec Z6 tyres from 2008 and 2009 for the evil handling of the RS. It was unpredictable, heavy, unstable in curves, and very sensitive to unevenness on the road. I change to a set of Bridgestone tyres, BT 30 Evo up front and T 30 at the rear and the RS totally changed character. Now it is soft and predictable, and easy to handle in all conditions. Now I remember why I was so enthusiastic about the RS 1100 RS I rode over the Sella Pass in November 1996.

The bike is in good conditions, the engine is running smoother, the handling is brilliant and the bite from the brakes have improved thanks to the new brake lines. The next part of the project is to take a main service, including valve clearance check, new spark plugs, a proper throttle synchronisation, a check on the dynamo belt and new oils all round. And may be new fuel lines. A nice winter project.

However, before that I will have som nice autumn trips.

BMW R 1100 RS 1999

Engine: 2-cylinder four-stroke. Air/oil-cooled. Electronic fuel injection.
Compression: 10,7:1.
Bore x stroke: 99,0 x 70,5 mm.
Cylinder volume: 1085 ccm.
Power: 90 hp at 7250 rpm.
Transmission: 5-speed. Shaft.
Fuel capacity: 23 litres.
Frame: Steel, aluminium.
Tyres: 120/70R17 front, 160/60R18 rear.
Brakes: Two discs and callipers with two pistons front. Single disc rear. ABS.
Weight: 239 kg.
Top speed: 215 km/h.