BMW R 850 Roadster [1997]

When I bought a new bike after some years off biking I fell for the BMW R 850 Roadster, and the one withe to colour paint was my favorite from the first time I saw it. The 850-engine had a little less power and torque than the 1100. But with less mass the small engine was much smoother and in real life the difference in power was neglectable.

The side bags and the tankbag was bought with the bike and the R 850 R was destined for many and long trips. The pictures on top are from Valdresflya on a trip that started in Oslo and included Ringebu, Folldal, Hjerkinn, Vågå and Valdresflya before returning to Oslo. This was one of my favourite trips in one day and I used to do it twice every season. Another favourite was Oslo, Hol, Aurland, Lærdal, Årdal, Turtagrø, Lom and Valdresflya before returning to Oslo. This trip was normally done two or three times every season and in one day. I also had two trips to Italy and France.

After the first trip to Italy and France, hanging behind the wide handlebars, I decided that I needed a fairing and bought a handlebar faring from Wünderlich in Germany. I cut the windscreen in order to reduce wind buffeting around the helmet and got a classic looking fairing which allowed 160 kmph in comfort. I changed the original tankbag to a Freeway I bag from Polo in Germany. The BMW bag was not very roomy and it covered the warning lights and parts of the instruments when full, and besides it made some bad  marks in the paint.

The BMW never let me down, but I had some minor problems. The steering damper was changed, and after the first winter the tank was full of small blisters, both was changed under warranty. The workshop used Mobil 1 engine oil from the first service, which was not a good idea. Even after 60 000 km the engine was burning oil, and a day on the Autobahn I had to ad on litre of engine oil. A little to much, and my advice is to use mineral or semisyntetic oil for run in period of the engine.

The R 850 R was my perfect companion for touring. I have never felt so confident on any other bike. Even on wet roads the R 850 R was stable and felt very safe. The 850 is have for its power, its not sporty, but on twisty Norwegian roads it is perfect. The stability gives at relaxed ride, but the BMW is still competent on curvy roads. The ABS brakes are a treat. I never got to use them except when testing them.

I really enjoy the bike I have today, but on the long trips I miss “the bus”. I still like the design. I have seen the BMW on the road by several occasions, its very recognizable with the fairing. The BMW R 850 R had 60 000 km on the odometer when I sold it.

BMW R 850 R 1997

Engine: 2-cylinder four-stroke. Air/oil-cooled. Electronic fuel injection.
Compression: 10,3:1.
Bore x stroke: 87,5 x 70,5 mm.
Cylinder volume: 848 ccm.
Power: 70 hp at 7000 rpm.
Transmission: 5-speed. Shaft.
Fuel capacity: 19 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: 235 kg.
Top speed: 190 km/h.