Friday, October 26, 2018

Bikes I have owned part III. BMW R100R

Instantly recognisable head on view. Iconic
is a hugely over-used word but an airhead
Beemer merits it.

The third in an occasional series of self indulgent nostalgia trips...

In my enduring quest to find the perfect airhead BMW I decided upon trying the very last one, the R100R. I had until then owned an R65 (an excellent bike that I bought with an RS fairing fitted, I later removed the fairing and the bike looked a lot nicer but performance in every aspect was worst..) Then an unfaired R80, pretty good but not one to greatly inspire. Next up to come my way was the R100R.

The R100R was introduced to mollify the hardcore of old school beardy BMW riders who had been mightily upset when the airheads were dropped in favour of the new K Series flying bricks. The 100R was in essence a GS in roadster clothing. Overall the package was excellent, an old school engine in up to date running gear. Brembo brakes, Showa suspension and paralever swinging arm.

Handsome, even in nineties purple.

Nowadays the 100R is seen as being ahead of its time in the retro market. Not only that it was something of a pre-cursor to the super moto scene - in being a big torquey motor in a naked bike with nimble frame geometry borrowed from an off-roader and excellent brakes.

The 100R pushed out 60bhp, 10 less than an RS but considerably better on torque and it had great fun point and squirt characteristics. In fact on a twisty road it was as fast as anything out there. Now I remember the bike and write about it I kinda want another one...

Personally I found the downfall of the 100R to be its low gearing. As the bike was a parts bin model with most borrowed from the GS range BMW did not bother to go to the expense of changing the gearing to be more suitable for a purely road orientated machine. This was the reason I sold it in the end - I had wanted a motorway cruiser to back up my classic bikes but the 100R was way too buzzy for a big bike when pushed along at motorway speeds.

Definitely fond memories of this machine though and one I would recommend to anyone (unless motorway stonking is your thing..)

Essentially an R100GS in road clothing.

A great gentle backroads tourer.

Retro style valve covers. Chrome on aluminium never looks
anything but naff though and is a corrosion magnet.

Purple! At least it looks better than the vile aquamarine that
they also offered as a colour option.

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