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Thread: fair price for a 1983 R100RS restoration project?

  1. #1
    Ran Bush
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    fair price for a 1983 R100RS restoration project?

    Need advice from the group: I have a 1983 smoke-gray R100RS I've owned since 1985. It has about 125K miles on it. I was planning to restore it, but in 2012 I found another 1983 R100RS with 54K miles on, in very nice cosmetic condition. So I parked the gray one in my shop in 2013 and haven't moved it since. Now a buddy of mine wants to buy the gray one and is asking how much I want for it; I have no idea what it's worth.

    It was well maintained before I retired it, and I have all the service records since I bought it. But obviously it will need to be taken apart and all the rubber and seals etc should be replaced. Maybe all the bearings, motor, final drive and trans. Wiring harness, too. Powder coat and paint if he wants it pretty.

    But that's his decision, not mine. Anyone have any idea what a fair price would be for the bike, as is?

    1983 R100RS Gray.jpg
    Ran Bush in NorCal

  2. #2
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Fair Question, fair answer

    OKAY, so let's get this out up front; I just restored a 84 RT from the same condition your bike is in now. I spent roughly $8900 for paint, powder coat, chrome, all new wiring harnesses and a bunch of other things. This is FAR more than what the bike is worth even now it has been restored.

    Honestly a bike with 125K miles, that has been sitting since 2013, in my estimate would be worth no more than $1000. This is based on the pictures only and not a personal inspection of the bike. The plus you have is the painted fairing seat, and gas tank look good, so the new owner may not have to spend $4 or 5K to paint and pinstripe.

    So, that is my estimate and I base it on my understanding or what it takes in cost to restore, labor, and the fact bikes with less miles in running fairly good condition are selling for about $5K. This is the second time I have restored my bike, I only spend the money on it because of irrational sentiments and my warped sense of keeping things looking good and keeping things I like going for as long as I can. If I were to restore any bike with no sentimental attachment, I would never have spent the money I did.

    In 2017, I had a 78RS restored from an accident, the cost for that was also far more than the bike is worth. Again, sentiment played into my decision to rebuild from the accident rather than just replace for less money.

    I could be wrong on my estimate of what your bike is worth, and I am sure I may catch flak, I don't really care, I am of the mind I don't like seeing people get bit by the BMW bug spending large amounts of money they don't have to. I will finish up with a question, when you parked the bike, what did you think it was worth then? Vehicles do not appreciate unless they are rare sought after ones. St.

  3. #3
    To me your question about value has a number of intangibles. You have a good buddy that is interested in this bike. Lets use the $1000 figure mentioned above as a starting point.

    Is the buddy going get the bike, put another $1000 of elbow grease, fluids, and tires into the bike, and then sell it for $4k or $5k to someone else? This might leave a bad taste in your mouth and he might not be such a good buddy afterwards.

    Or, is the buddy going to get the bike and then spend a couple of years going through the bike in a very thorough manner, perhaps with your periodic input/help, and wind up with a nice, reliable ride? And then will you both take some trips together?

    If it is the latter case, the selling price is really less important than the friendship and bonding you all will have together.

    In my case I purchased a 77 R100RS from a dealer as a project bike around 2002 for $1400. Soon after purchasing the bike I had a photo of the bike as a screen saver on my laptop; a colleague saw the photo and got pretty excited. He proceeded to tell me a good bit about the history of the airhead RS. I caught his enthusiasm and ended up spending more on the painting / pinstriping than I did the initial bike's purchase price. Over the next couple of years I went all over the bike. In the end it has become a very reliable bike that I would ride anywhere in the US.

    Shortly after getting the bike back together a feller nearby mentioned a co-worker that was interested in a 77 RS. The interested feller came by my house and we chatted. I did not want to sell my 77 RS and he subsequently found another 77 RS that was shipped to him. In the years since he and I have travelled to many rallies together, including the 40th anniversary of the RS. We both got Hans Muth to sign our rear fenders.

    So to the OP - do you want to hang onto the bike? Or do you want to help your buddy out with a project?

  4. #4
    Registered User Motodan's Avatar
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    $1,000 seems low, however it is just a 500 pound paper weight currently. Inspect it for animal inhabitants, change all the fluids and oil filter, clean the carbs, install a fresh battery and nothing but fresh gas in the tank (should get by for less than few hundred dollars if you provide the labor). Now fire it up, if it starts and idles properly and isn't leaking here and there, ask $3,000. Let the buyer spend his first $1,000, after purchase, on tires, tubes, plugs, filters and what other surprises may await him.
    '17 R1200RT '93 R100RS
    MOA #46783

  5. #5
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Bonding and buddy time

    When it comes to buddy time, bonding and such, then any price is right. A price can't be put on things that bring people close together in a positive way. The flip side is, it can also tear things apart.. One of the worst things I had thrown at me years ago when a friend bought an item from me was "you told me it wouldn't cost so much to get going!" Luckily, we worked things out and are still best friends.

    Yes, it is now a 500lb paperweight. With the amount of bikes coming onto the market because guys like me are getting older or passing on due to age or illness, airheads are not increasing in value for the most part. Yes, there are a few noted examples of higher prices being paid for them. Those are rare and drive me crazy because after a bike sells for an enormous amount of money, all of a sudden a lot of sellers raise the prices thinking their bikes are in the same class as the exception to the rule. I give as an example a recently auctioned R50/2 with a side car that fetched over 40K on an auction site. Funny thing was on the same site, a pristine R69S sold for less than I expected. I base my pricing for bikes on many years of daily watching the sales and auctions of them. Also, having a shop near by which does restorations as well as repair work solely on airheads gives me a good view of what can be great deals for great prices or great rip offs and folly for some. Sadly, the latter is the slightly higher percentage of the case.

    Regardless of what you do, have fun at it, good luck. St.

  6. #6

    You made the smart move

    Buying a low miles premo bike was the smart move instead of restoring your original bike. You come out way ahead in the long run since it's only "new" once.
    I can't think of a less desirable purchase than a high miles, hasn't been running for years, restoration project. This would have to be some extremely rare bird.

    Since it is not, the only justification would be to do all the work yourself to experience the journey of putting it back on the road. So in my way of thinking I would say run away. But if your buddy is aware of what he is getting into I would be kind and take $500.

    My .02 YMMV

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    It is worth 2-3 times as much running than just sitting there. As it is now there is a bunch of "unknowns". As a buyer I would assume the worst and make my offer on that basis. Running and drive able, but not perfect I can now hear the engine run and take it for a ride ans see how it shifts, runs and rides.

    I question if the $1,000 is not too high. NADA values it at between $1400 and $5500 depending on condition. not running and i would be below poor condition, IMO.

    Good condition and I assume running they value it at $2400.

    I have had people give me motorcycles in similar condition, not a BMW, but I don't know if that matters on an older, non-collectable ride. I would do the minimum, get them running and somewhat ride able and resell them as is.
    From the only real Fargo, ND!

  8. #8
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
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    If it were me, it would depend on my buddy. Maybe the buddy already rides an Airhead, but wants to add an RS to his stable, or is he’s getting into riding and this is his first bike. Also, how much knowledge does his buddy have with regards to “spinning wrenches.” All these things would influence my decision. As others have noted, money can often tear friendships apart, so a little extra caution here would go a long way.

    On a side note, I would have a hard time sleeping at night selling a bike like the one above to a friend who is just learning to ride and learning working on bikes.

    Since the bike has been sitting for about eight years, there are many unknowns as others have mentioned. Probably the best course of action would be for the two of them to work together to get the bike running or even roadworthy with the OP paying for the parts. That way both parties will know the condition of the bike. The costs spent getting the bike running/roadworthy would be factored into the sale price. And, spending an afternoon or two or three with a buddy having fun can never be a bad thing.

    At the end of the process if his buddy doesn’t want to buy the bike for whatever reason, his buddy has spent only his time and the OP will have a running bike he can sell. Having the bike sit in his workshop is not doing it any good.
    Jeff in W.C.
    1988 R100 RT (the other woman)
    "I got my motorcycle jacket but I'm walking all the time." Joe Strummer

  9. #9
    Ran Bush
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    Thanks to all for the thoughtful input. Much appreciated.

    I'll let everyone know how it turns out.
    Ran Bush in NorCal

  10. #10
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Looking forward to it

    I will be looking forward to what ever you do. Follow up on threads is always welcome on the forum. Good luck, what ever path you choose. St.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by STEVENRANKIN View Post
    ...

    Honestly a bike with 125K miles, that has been sitting since 2013, in my estimate would be worth no more than $1000. This is based on the pictures only and not a personal inspection of the bike. The plus you have is the painted fairing seat, and gas tank look good, so the new owner may not have to spend $4 or 5K to paint and pinstripe.
    ....
    The paint does look good. This color scheme never had pinstripes though.

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