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1977 BMW R100S
November 2010: For Sale on eBay.
I've had this bike for decades. For you old-timers I'm BMWMOA # 35,055. It's always been dealer serviced. As of 2005 it only has 18,000 miles on it. That makes four visits to the dealer in the past 28 years; I just did the 20,000 service early last summer. My apologies to you iron-butt types, but ever since the bike and I moved from New York to California in 1988 I've preferred to ride my bicycle in sunny California's warm weather. NY had plenty of cool, crummy days just perfect for the full leathers without which I won't ride. I moved to California primarily to be able to ride our wonderful two-lane twisty roads, but eventually preferred my bicycle.
I sold my R100S because I don't ride it and my new wife disapproves. That's OK since she's a fantastic wife and I honestly haven't ridden it in over ten years except to have it completely serviced and ride it from my old house to our new one last year (2004). It sat unridden for ten years in the corner of the garage at my old home since I had a free company car which took up its spot, and it was just too much trouble move cars anytime I wanted to ride. I paid $3,750 for it in 1984, and sold it for the same $3,750 on February 9th, 2006.
As you're all wondering, after 10 years idle I changed the gas, oil and battery. I flipped on the fuel petcocks, flipped the choke, hit the GO button and holy cow!, it lit right up as if it was still warm. It scared the heck out of me; all the naysayers told me it would never go due to the fuel gelling. Good thing I always have run it on a mixture of 100 octane heavily-leaded aviation fuel since my mom's a pilot and I can get all I want. Avgas is designed for long storage, hee hee. BMW makes no junk! This really scared me when it exploded to life, strong as ever. Anyway, per the dealer's instructions for resurrection as soon as I lit it up I drove it in for a major service and of course another oil change. That's 28 miles on that oil.
I just drove home a 2003 BMW 540 V8 sedan Saturday, July 9th, 2005, so this bike will be for sale when I get my other car and house sold. Wanna know something really spooky? My BMW V8 has the same black valve covers with silver stripes as my R100S!
I have not washed it since 1994; it's just that clean from being covered and not ridden in the garage so I haven't gotten it dirty. As soon as I get our garage cleaned out of the extra car I can hit it with S100 and see how great it looks. Stand back!
The only thing ever to die on me is the mechanical tachometer. 11 years ago when I last drove it frequently I thought I had a slipping clutch since at high revs and throttle opening I'd occasionally scare myself when the tach went off the chart. The dealer never found any problem. Firing it up again in 2004 I discovered the problem was that the tach was grabbing and flipping itself up to read high erroneously. It finally grabbed once too much and spun the needle around and around and broke it off. I told my girlfriend at the time (now wife) that I was going so fast I broke the needle off the tach. Anyway, I put a new tach in in November 2004. Good news is I hadn't realized it was so easy buying a new one from BMW. I also changed out the tach housing since the old one's glass was coming unglued.
I had the original 1977 front tire on it up till 2004. Even back in 1985 I had the Continental factory people look at it who told me not to worry about the minor sidewall cracks.
In 2004 even though the tread was fine I replaced both tires for sanity's sake. I've put a couple of hundred miles on them and they sit with my R100S in my garage.
Here's one for you preservationists: When I got my R100S I somehow knew I'd be keeping it for a long time. Maybe it's because it did everything just so perfectly compared to my earlier Honda CB750. Anyway, the R100S' original clock is the old-fashioned tick-tick-tick mechanical clock with an automatic electric winder. I realized that a mechanical (like a Rolex; not quartz) clock would wear out eventually and be tough or impossible to find, so I bought a VDO quartz clock in 1983 and swapped them out and have the original BMW mechanical clock sitting unused in the VDO's box! I prefer the accuracy of quartz, and for those who want authenticity you have it down to the 18,000 bpm movement.
Good news is my VDO clock still ticks away perfectly. I kept the battery charged and the bike always registered and insured all those years even if I never got off my butt to take it out and ride.
It only weighs 440 pounds, and all that is so close to the ground with the flat engine that it feels like a toy 175cc Honda, meaning FUN!
980cc flat air-cooled twin. This is the first year of this 1,000cc model and the last year before any emission controls whatsoever, so this bike runs like a bat out of Hell with instantaneous throttle response. Just crack it open a little and it's like the bike was just hit from behind by the Hammer of Thor.
65HP, more than the newest 2005 1,200cc BMW Montauk cruisers. Remember the 2005 bikes have to run on today's crappy 91 octane unleaded. The 1977 R100S is designed for much higher octane leaded that you could get everywhere to run your late 1960s GTO or Shelby Cobra back in 1977.
Today everyone tells me the bike runs great on 91 octane unleaded, although in the 1980s we were all scared that the lack of lead was going to kill the bike.
I've always run it on leaded!
I blend in 100LL avgas with each tank of pump unleaded premium just to keep my nickname of "Rocket Fuel Rockwell" I earned in the 1980s when the group with which I rode would have to pull over at stations that sold the hot stuff as it became scarce. You can look around in your own area for leaded premium as off-road racing and aviation fuel. Try these guys here. As you may have gathered, Avgas is perfect: reciprocating (piston) aviation engines are all air-cooled opposed flat fours or sixes. As you also know aviation engines are what BMW made first and that the blue and white BMW logo is a stylization of a rotating propeller combined with the colors of the Bavarian flag. BMW decided to graft one of these engines to wheels and thus the BMW motorcycle was born. It's perfectly legal to run avgas in your R100s; it has no cat converters and as far as I know it loves the stuff. I put in a gallon of avgas to each fill up of dull 91 octane unleaded. I bring it home in 5 gallon jerry cans so I always have it in my garage after a fill up; you pilots also can just putt up to the pumps at the airport. If you're not a pilot and not comfortable on airport flight lines you will want to skip this and just run ordinary unleaded premium as everyone else does.
94mm diameter pistons, bigger than a Corvette's.
I have the optional alloy wheels. Most other 1977 R100s have wire spokes which were standard. Both kinds use inner tubes. This candy apple metallic red was pretty popular.
I did most of my riding with the South Shore Motorcycle Club while I was on Long Island, NY. If you're on Long Island they are a fantastic bunch of folks to get out riding with.