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Thread: R1100R/r850r topcase options, R1150gs topcase retrofit?

  1. #1
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    R1100R/r850r topcase options, R1150gs topcase retrofit?

    Hello,

    I have a recently acquired 1996 R850R which I quite like but being an "orphan model", accessories are not easy to find. I have the BMW system side cases but would like to add a topcase. No top case was offered by BMW for this model during the production run, but it appears that the frame for the R1150GS is identical at the rear end to the R1100R.

    A local fellow is selling both the R1150gs top box # 46 54 2 316 287
    and R1150gs box mounting plate # 46 54 2 316 673

    Has anyone installed this on their R1100R or R850R? Any experts who might advise me if it's worth a try even it requires modification or retrofitting?00I0I_ggQHm7R5NO1z_0lM0t2_1200x900.jpg

    Thank you.

    Be well, ride safely.

    RK

  2. #2
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    BMW Motorrad recently lowered the standard price of the factory rear rack for the R850R and early R1100R models; I managed to snag one for $145 plus tax with the mounting hardware for my 1997 R850R, when it used to be $400 just a month ago.

    The price I paid is currently holding. Here's a link to their page on it: https://www.shopbmwmotorcycles.com/p...607682317.html

    That's probably your best option unless you want something else specific. Putting the factory rack on it will allow you to use any top case you want that has a reasonably flat bottom or a flat mounting plate. I have heard that the factory rack is quite overbuilt and can hold way more weight than you'd expect.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by htomsett View Post
    BMW Motorrad recently lowered the standard price of the factory rear rack for the R850R and early R1100R models; I managed to snag one for $145 plus tax with the mounting hardware for my 1997 R850R, when it used to be $400 just a month ago.

    The price I paid is currently holding. Here's a link to their page on it: https://www.shopbmwmotorcycles.com/p...607682317.html

    That's probably your best option unless you want something else specific. Putting the factory rack on it will allow you to use any top case you want that has a reasonably flat bottom or a flat mounting plate. I have heard that the factory rack is quite overbuilt and can hold way more weight than you'd expect.
    Good day,

    Thanks for the notice. I will snag one just to open up my options for a topcase. Since you have the same model as the '96 recently acquired, may I ask a couple of questions?

    1) Mine only has 20K and has been well-maintained but would it be wise to procure a Hall Sensor given that the cycle is 25 years old? My understanding is that heat eventually does in the wiring, usually between 50K and 75K for most owners, but does perhaps age play a factor as well?

    2) Any other mechanical quirks of the cycle you think a fellow owner should know?

    I love the simplicity and reliability of the oilheads (my other cycle is an F650gs Dakar). My only complaint is that the R850 riding position is a bit cramped for me even with seat at its highest position. It does not look like lower pegs are a viable option, but I may investigate this down the road when I want do some multi-day touring trips.

    Thanks again for the reference.

    Be well, ride safely.
    RK
    Last edited by miseenscene; 06-05-2021 at 06:52 PM.

  4. #4
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    1. My own Hall sensor installed in 08/1996 just failed at 34,500 miles with no warning signs I could detect. This bike had been sitting barely used for probably three years before I brought it back to life and after less than 10 rides and less than 100 miles, it broke on me. If you're on the original part, absolutely buy a spare, or the tools to fix it when it breaks. That original part was improperly built and it's simply going to fail eventually.

    2. I don't know what other motorcycles you've owned before your R850R, but for me this bike is completely different in every way from all the previous five I've owned. I had never owned an opposed twin, or a fuel-injected bike, or one that was air and oil cooled, or one that had a separate transmission case, or one from Europe, or one without common telescopic fork suspension, or one with an adjustable seat. Totally different beast.

    There are loads of things one might consider "quirks". The 18-inch rear tire is an obvious one; there are rather few tire options for a matched front and rear. I went with Avon. You very likely will not find any tire sets for closeout prices.
    Supposedly, the factory recommended tire pressure is wrong for these wheels. Factory recommendation is 32PSI front 36PSI rear. Chris Harris, the Youtube BMW mechanic, recommends you run 40PSI front and 42 rear. Avon told me I should do 36 front 42 rear. Chris and others all say you'll get terrible tire mileage and weird wear patterns if you run the factory recommended pressures. I have yet to experiment and see if this is true but at minimum I'm following Avon's recommendations.

    Fuel injection is expensive if it breaks. Fixing and refreshing the fuel system cost more than all my previous carbureted motorcycles combined, and I didn't even buy all-new BMW genuine parts. I substituted suitable items using forum advice, Ebay, and my local auto parts store and probably avoided spending double. The basic lesson from that is "do not let your bike sit." Mine sat for years with the same tank of ethanol gas in it under a neglectful previous owner, which broke stuff by corroding the fuel pump and mounting plate. If you ride the bike often, you'll notice issues faster and want to fix them.

    Do the preventative maintenance on time and correctly. Change your fluids and filters on time, including the fuel filter. It will save you headache long-term and these bikes really need it.

    Don't trust the factory brake lines and get them replaced as soon as possible if yours are still original. The rubber is too old and should not be considered safe. When they fail it's usually at an extremely bad time.

    I believe there is actually a peg lowering kit out there somewhere for the R1100R. These footpegs also mount in a somewhat "normal" way compared to other motorcycles I've owned, so it's also possible that you could find something else like a Kuryakyn lowered set for another bike that might work.

    If you change tires yourself, the rims scratch and gouge [B]very[B] easily with steel tire spoons or irons. Don't be an idiot like me at my first tire change. Get rim protectors and proper bead lube, or take them to a shop. Most shops can mount both tires but only BMW dealers can balance the rear wheel as it requires a special mounting tool. I have also heard that these three-spoke aluminum rims are soft enough to bend easily. There are a couple swap options if you want to spend some money and get stronger wheels.

    Other odd stuff: you'll need a set of good metric hex sockets, and odd wrench sizes that "normal" metric wrench sets don't have, like 16mm. The Germans make use of almost every millimeter between 10 and 20 for their fasteners whereas all my Japanese bikes didn't.

    There's probably loads of other things I could say. It's a complex machine, more so than any others I've owned. Well-engineered, certainly, but if neglected or abused they require quite a bit of attention to fix.

    Hopefully you're the responsible type of owner that cares about yours. I'm trying to be now that I've adopted my poor thing.

  5. #5
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    Aha, I found it. Bob's BMW has footpeg lowering adapters that fit our model. They're a little pricey but they're out there.

    https://www.bobsbmw.com/store/produc...-cooled-models

  6. #6
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    Good day,

    Thankfully, my R850R was well-maintained and properly stored. It did have mismatched front and rear tires (both in good shape however) when I purchased it which may be explained by the 18" rear wheel size. Myine has the spoked Behr wheels which was a prequisite for me when I was shopping around. Thanks for the tip on tire pressure. I will nudge up my pressures and watch the wear. I am averaging around 45 MPG but I am a pretty conservative rider.

    I have owned a range of motorcycles over my 40 years of riding but oddly, this is my first boxer as well. Personally, I have found it much easier to work on than my F650gs or the KTM's I have owned in the past as well as various Japanese enduro bikes I ran on in my youthful days. Believe it or not, I even owned a Bultaco trials bikes once but that's a tale for another post...

    Parts are expensive (welcome to BMW) but there are good options such as Beemer Boneyard and the forum marketplace for reliable used and secondary market parts.

    As you discovered with the fuel system, restoring and/or refurbishing old BMWs (which it appears you did) can be prohibitively expensive unless you have a well-tooled home shop, plenty of time, and a repository of parts. If properly maintained, the fuel injection system on the oilheads is reliable and robust. I am going to clean my injectors just to have a look at any deposits but it runs very well. I adjusted the valves and set the synchronization this past winter. By the way, if you wish to borrow my TWINMAX for the injectors, just let me know.

    Upon reflextion, I think this a fair statement for the entire cycle -- if maintained on schedule all the major components and the opposition engine in particular will last for 100,000 plus miles. The Hall Effect sensor being the one premature failure item all owners seem to acknowledge. I can not say the same for any other cycle I have owned but I doubt if I will put another 80K on my R850R to test this claim.

    Thanks for the reply.
    Be well, ride safely.
    RK

    Quote Originally Posted by htomsett View Post
    1. My own Hall sensor installed in 08/1996 just failed at 34,500 miles with no warning signs I could detect. This bike had been sitting barely used for probably three years before I brought it back to life and after less than 10 rides and less than 100 miles, it broke on me. If you're on the original part, absolutely buy a spare, or the tools to fix it when it breaks. That original part was improperly built and it's simply going to fail eventually.

    2. I don't know what other motorcycles you've owned before your R850R, but for me this bike is completely different in every way from all the previous five I've owned. I had never owned an opposed twin, or a fuel-injected bike, or one that was air and oil cooled, or one that had a separate transmission case, or one from Europe, or one without common telescopic fork suspension, or one with an adjustable seat. Totally different beast.

    There are loads of things one might consider "quirks". The 18-inch rear tire is an obvious one; there are rather few tire options for a matched front and rear. I went with Avon. You very likely will not find any tire sets for closeout prices.
    Supposedly, the factory recommended tire pressure is wrong for these wheels. Factory recommendation is 32PSI front 36PSI rear. Chris Harris, the Youtube BMW mechanic, recommends you run 40PSI front and 42 rear. Avon told me I should do 36 front 42 rear. Chris and others all say you'll get terrible tire mileage and weird wear patterns if you run the factory recommended pressures. I have yet to experiment and see if this is true but at minimum I'm following Avon's recommendations.

    Fuel injection is expensive if it breaks. Fixing and refreshing the fuel system cost more than all my previous carbureted motorcycles combined, and I didn't even buy all-new BMW genuine parts. I substituted suitable items using forum advice, Ebay, and my local auto parts store and probably avoided spending double. The basic lesson from that is "do not let your bike sit." Mine sat for years with the same tank of ethanol gas in it under a neglectful previous owner, which broke stuff by corroding the fuel pump and mounting plate. If you ride the bike often, you'll notice issues faster and want to fix them.

    Do the preventative maintenance on time and correctly. Change your fluids and filters on time, including the fuel filter. It will save you headache long-term and these bikes really need it.

    Don't trust the factory brake lines and get them replaced as soon as possible if yours are still original. The rubber is too old and should not be considered safe. When they fail it's usually at an extremely bad time.

    I believe there is actually a peg lowering kit out there somewhere for the R1100R. These footpegs also mount in a somewhat "normal" way compared to other motorcycles I've owned, so it's also possible that you could find something else like a Kuryakyn lowered set for another bike that might work.

    If you change tires yourself, the rims scratch and gouge [B]very[B] easily with steel tire spoons or irons. Don't be an idiot like me at my first tire change. Get rim protectors and proper bead lube, or take them to a shop. Most shops can mount both tires but only BMW dealers can balance the rear wheel as it requires a special mounting tool. I have also heard that these three-spoke aluminum rims are soft enough to bend easily. There are a couple swap options if you want to spend some money and get stronger wheels.

    Other odd stuff: you'll need a set of good metric hex sockets, and odd wrench sizes that "normal" metric wrench sets don't have, like 16mm. The Germans make use of almost every millimeter between 10 and 20 for their fasteners whereas all my Japanese bikes didn't.

    There's probably loads of other things I could say. It's a complex machine, more so than any others I've owned. Well-engineered, certainly, but if neglected or abused they require quite a bit of attention to fix.

    Hopefully you're the responsible type of owner that cares about yours. I'm trying to be now that I've adopted my poor thing.

  7. #7
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    Oh, with your bike being one of the rare R850R's that has steel spoked wheels, then the tire pressure recommendations may not apply to you! I would suggest you ask your tire manufacturer what pressures to run.

    I was operating under the assumption that you had the 3-spoke BMW-branded cast aluminum wheels. Those are the ones with a 17-inch front and 18-inch rear and that require higher pressures than BMW recommended.

    I really appreciate the offer on the Twinmax -- my dad has a Morgan Carbtune, though, and I'm going to use that for my sync if I ever get this thing running again. I'm about to post another thread here because after my Hall sensor repair it still won't start. Yuck.

    Once I work through this bike's issues, I sure hope it's as reliable as the reputation.
    Owner of the saddest 1997 R850R you ever did see.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by miseenscene View Post
    Good day,

    Thanks for the notice. I will snag one just to open up my options for a topcase. Since you have the same model as the '96 recently acquired, may I ask a couple of questions?

    1) Mine only has 20K and has been well-maintained but would it be wise to procure a Hall Sensor given that the cycle is 25 years old? My understanding is that heat eventually does in the wiring, usually between 50K and 75K for most owners, but does perhaps age play a factor as well?

    2) Any other mechanical quirks of the cycle you think a fellow owner should know?

    I love the simplicity and reliability of the oilheads (my other cycle is an F650gs Dakar). My only complaint is that the R850 riding position is a bit cramped for me even with seat at its highest position. It does not look like lower pegs are a viable option, but I may investigate this down the road when I want do some multi-day touring trips.

    Thanks again for the reference.

    Be well, ride safely.
    RK
    The original wiring will fail on every one. Mileage varies as to how hot the bike was operated.
    You can purchase a spare or get yours rewired with Aircraft Teflon High Temp wire.
    The fix is good for the lifetime of the bike.
    I provide that service
    PM me if interested
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  9. #9
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    Good day,

    Wow, you have dedicated a fair amount of effort to reviving this cycle. I do hope, one refurbished, it serves you well.

    Being an old enduro guy, I could never bring myself to own a cycle without spoked wheels. I did not however know that the standard R850R wheels were so soft.

    Given your experience and the advice of other forum members, I am going to order a replacement Hall Sensor this week, and have the original refurbished as my back up.

    One final question on the quirks of this model -- is your clutch lever painfully stiff? The action, play and function of my clutch is good but the lever has so much more resisteance than any cycle I have owned or ridden, including other BMW Rs. I have checked the cable routing and lubed the cable. Perhaps the springs are just really stiff on this dry clutch. I will also ask my local dealer if and when I take it for any sort of service.

    Best of luck with the repairs.

    Be well, ride safely.
    RK

    Quote Originally Posted by htomsett View Post
    Oh, with your bike being one of the rare R850R's that has steel spoked wheels, then the tire pressure recommendations may not apply to you! I would suggest you ask your tire manufacturer what pressures to run.

    I was operating under the assumption that you had the 3-spoke BMW-branded cast aluminum wheels. Those are the ones with a 17-inch front and 18-inch rear and that require higher pressures than BMW recommended.

    I really appreciate the offer on the Twinmax -- my dad has a Morgan Carbtune, though, and I'm going to use that for my sync if I ever get this thing running again. I'm about to post another thread here because after my Hall sensor repair it still won't start. Yuck.

    Once I work through this bike's issues, I sure hope it's as reliable as the reputation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by miseenscene View Post
    One final question on the quirks of this model -- is your clutch lever painfully stiff? The action, play and function of my clutch is good but the lever has so much more resisteance than any cycle I have owned or ridden, including other BMW Rs. I have checked the cable routing and lubed the cable. Perhaps the springs are just really stiff on this dry clutch. I will also ask my local dealer if and when I take it for any sort of service.
    If it's stiffer than other dry-clutch BMW R-bikes you've ridden, then there's definitely something wrong. I wonder if a previous owner routed the cable incorrectly or the cable's completely worn out. If you're unlucky it could be indicative of a clutch problem. Definitely have it looked at.
    Mine is no worse than any other bike I've ridden even after it sat for so long, and I haven't done any maintenance to the clutch cable (but I have a new one and it's on my list of things to do). I have read that the factory cables are Teflon-lined and do not need lubrication (silicone oil cannot hurt but petroleum-based oils definitely can). However, if the inner Teflon sleeve is simply worn through, then you're rubbing a braided steel cable against a steel coil every time you move the lever and a new cable would fix it right up.

    GSAddict is the Hall Sensor expert and I've seen photos of his repairs; as an electronics repair amateur I think they look fantastic and completely professional. I definitely recommend his refurbishment service.

    I just noticed you're in Chattanooga; I'm in Nashville. Maybe we'll see each other at a Tennessee event sometime...once I get mine all fixed up and running well.

    Thanks for the good wishes. Same to you. Ride safe around those big hills.
    Owner of the saddest 1997 R850R you ever did see.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by htomsett View Post
    If it's stiffer than other dry-clutch BMW R-bikes you've ridden, then there's definitely something wrong. I wonder if a previous owner routed the cable incorrectly or the cable's completely worn out. If you're unlucky it could be indicative of a clutch problem. Definitely have it looked at.
    Mine is no worse than any other bike I've ridden even after it sat for so long, and I haven't done any maintenance to the clutch cable (but I have a new one and it's on my list of things to do). I have read that the factory cables are Teflon-lined and do not need lubrication (silicone oil cannot hurt but petroleum-based oils definitely can). However, if the inner Teflon sleeve is simply worn through, then you're rubbing a braided steel cable against a steel coil every time you move the lever and a new cable would fix it right up.

    GSAddict is the Hall Sensor expert and I've seen photos of his repairs; as an electronics repair amateur I think they look fantastic and completely professional. I definitely recommend his refurbishment service.

    I just noticed you're in Chattanooga; I'm in Nashville. Maybe we'll see each other at a Tennessee event sometime...once I get mine all fixed up and running well.

    Thanks for the good wishes. Same to you. Ride safe around those big hills.
    Yes, I do hope we cross paths to compare R850Rs in TN or perhaps elsewhere out there. I may riding to Denver in late July and could stop by Nashville if you happen to be free.

    Be well, ride safely.
    RK

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