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Thread: I want to "modernize" my tires, wheels, and brakes on my r100s

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    danville, pa

    I want to "modernize" my tires, wheels, and brakes on my r100s

    I have a 78 r100s. I love the basicness of it but want more modern tires and wheels. I was thinking of trying to make a sort of blend between an r1100s and a r100s. Has anyone put modern bmw wheels and tires on an airhead? How about better/bigger brakes (probably depends on the wheel used). I would think the final drive may be the biggest problem.
    what do you guys think?
    anyone done this already?

  2. #2
    Registered User widebmw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Reno, NV
    If you have a stock 78 R100RS and want a more modern bike,
    Sell it. If you start making changes to it then it is junk.
    Buy a bike that has the stuff you want on it.

  3. #3
    Rally Rat donkey doctor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Vancouver Island
    Hello; I put modern (?) tires on my 77 R 100, and it transformed it The original Metzlers were harder, it was hard to not drift a little, the bike seemed to wiggle from time to time. The new Michelin Pilots stopped that wiggle cold, the bike was planted, it felt more secure in a curve. It also had better traction which made accelleration easier. I was going to go with Bridgestone Battlaxs, but I got a better deal on the pilots

  4. #4
    Registered User kioolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    I would think that wheels from a more recent bike would be to wide for your bike. There is very little clearance between the swingarm and the tire as it is.
    2004 R1150RT 186,800 miles , 1991 K100LT 128,700 miles, 1982 R100RT 106,900 miles
    Total 422,400 BMW miles
    The cheapest thing on a BMW is the nut that connects the handlebars to the seat.

  5. #5
    Registered User R75_7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Del Rey, CA
    Updating tires and changng from spoke to alloys is cool. But I think if you sold it you could buy a newer bike with all of the updated items for about the same price. Thereare a lot of great deals out there and more coming as the new line of bike is released.

  6. #6
    You could put an '81 and up front end on your bike that would be equipped with the brembo brakes which are better than your current ones. If you don't have a disc brake rear end your could get one pretty easily. There are more modern tires to be had that will fit up to your ride, but I wouldn't go to a larger size. Lester mag wheels are marginally lighter that snowflakes and can be fitted with tubeless tires. And a fork brace of some type (telefix) will also give you a benefit. I am all for taking a great classic machine and improving it where you can. Good Luck

    '79 R100S

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    danville, pa
    thanks for the replies. I dont want to buy a newer bike. I have had many oilheads and the such and I like them, but I like the aircooled engine and such as well. I think I will look into more modern tires for the wheel sizes I have now. My bike has 2 disc brakes up front and one in the rear. I am guessing this was an option on the 78 r100s ( as opposed to rear drum brake).

  8. #8
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Twin Cities - MN
    I just put new tires/tubes on my '77 R100RS. I went from Metzler ME77's to Metzeler 880's. I kept the original spoked wheels as instructed by some of my other Beemer-owning buddies.

    My old tires were really shot, so this bike went from being shaky to like riding on a rail. There are some things you can do to brakes as well, I haven't done anything yet other than replace the rear drum, and change the fluid, which would be part of normal maintenance. My front pads still have many miles in them, and I was thinking of perhaps updating the pads as well as putting on SS braided lines. Maybe later this year.
    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  9. #9
    On the Road
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Ventura County CA
    Hello folks! Just discovered that the MOA has a forum, I belong to a few other forums and it's staggering how much info can be learned from likeminded others out there!

    I bought my '78 R100S (early '78, spoked wheels, rear drum, red metallic. Smoke-red, cast wheeled, 3-disc version IIRC was a later mid-year model change that included newly-mandated EPA-friendly carbs) and although two of my brothers rode R90S's back then this motorcycle felt DIFFERENT in a way that I liked!

    This thread caught my eye because my bike is basically in original configuration, since the last time I rode it (about 3 years ago) I decided to return some of the stock parts to the chassis in order to return it to the much more wide-spectrum machine it was when I bought it.

    I believe that you don't have to be Ricky Racer to appreciate the benefits of newer tire designs, but although I tried a few different combos over the years the 1.85F/2.15R hoops on my bike can't cut it with the wider profiles of more modern tires... I have the good fortune to have three brothers with several BMW's among them and back then the Snowflake in 2.15F/2.75R on one '78 RS running the same tires as on my S would allow much greater lean without uneasiness at full tilt. 120/90 Marathons mounted to my rim would pinch at the bead and give back horrible mileage, same tire on an RS would go 12-15000 miles!

    I'm considering lacing some new wheels to my 100S, 2.15F/2.50R. They'll look original and I'll be able to take advantage of newer rubber. I would really like to find a set of the snowflake wheels but they are brutally $$$ (especially the rear drum version) and heavy and sometimes porous and the early ones dented incredibly easily! If anyone seeks to pick up some of those wheels make sure ya get the post-recall versions!

    Keep in mind what others have said here, you can build a dinosaur into a crisp-for-its-time dinosaur, but there are major hurdles to overcome (with lots of $$$) to get it to run with current sporting machines. Quick trip on my brother's new R1150RS yesterday woke ME up...!

  10. #10
    Sir Darby Darryl Cainey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Fenwick, Ontario Canada


    I have a 1977 R100RS that has just turned over 390,000 miles on it on the way home from the National Rally.
    18 years ago I also wanted new wheels to dress up my ride!
    I installed gold anodizes Sun rims that are a bit wider than stock
    and Buccanon stainless steel spokes. A had the wheel hubs powder cowted black gloss and now have a new paint job Dodge Viper Red with gold pin striping.
    You can run a bit wider tires but the rear can rub the swing arm unless you get a offset spacer.

    Good luck, every improvement you make will make that bike vour own special ride!


  11. #11
    I've been pouring over my manuals lately getting my new R75/5 roadworthy and IIRC, it would be a pretty simple affair to put a dual disc fork on your bike. Combined with some new rims relaced to the hubs and some modern rubber, should improve matters a lot and remain relatively stock looking.
    Buchannons is a good bet. Britech is another, Jay is selling San Remo shouldered rims for $99 (would look sweet on a R100), although he doesn't recomend them. I just bought a pair of Morads (parent of Akront, which as I understand from Buchannons are NLA for BMWs) for a Ducati I'm restoring and they were ~$600 including new SS spokes and nipples and freight from Spain. And believe me, these babies are THE BOMB. I'd post a pic, but my photo server is down right now.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    I did a few things to upgrade my old Airhead's wheels, tires, and brakes,
    (1980 R100T).

    (1) I moved the master brake cylinder from under the gas tank to the handlebars.
    It gives you a more modern look, and a more direct braking feel. See the
    new right brake perch below.
    Brake Pearch copy.jpg

    2) I also went with modern Michlin Pilot tires, and a wider rear tire (120/90-18).
    You need to change out your rear axle sleeve to a 36 31 2 301 737 SLEEVE
    for the wider tire.

    Screen Shot 2021-07-19 at 11.43.16 PM.png

    Finally I added new RaceTech springs and Gold Valves. I sent my complete upper and lower fork tubes off to RaceTech for a rebuild. Note, their spring calculator is off. The springs they sent were way too stiff. I had to reorder new springs with a lower tension.

    Valve-01.jpg Valve-02.jpg

    You can get the new perch and axle sleeve from MaxBMW.

    Hope this helps someone
    Last edited by nevadaslim; 08-06-2021 at 03:02 PM. Reason: More Information

  13. #13
    If you like the simplicity and character of an Airhead, but want some features of a more modern bike, you could upgrade to a more recent Airhead (i.e. a monoshock version). I have an R90S and had an '85 R80. The difference in the handling and braking is striking.

  14. #14
    In addition to the above recommendations, doing what you can with the suspension will help. Good shocks and Gold Valve emulators are the way to go. And the bar mounted MC will make a big difference.
    '13 690 Duke, '13 Daytona 675R, '18 Street Triple RS, 2020 R1250R, '19 Ninja 400 (track bike), '21 Duke 890R (gone but not forgotten: '61 Clubman's Gold Star, '76 R75/6, '84 R100, '76 R90S)

  15. #15
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Spencerport, NY

    There are shops

    Hello, there are shops who will build you an airhead in almost any configuration you want, from concourse original to radical custom. If I am reading your post correctly you really are looking to build a custom bike. I understand the desire for better braking and handling while I have never ridden anything newer than an 86 K100RS, (didn't like it) I know, the newer bikes handle and stop way better than my two stock airheads. LOL, I am beyond the point where it makes such a difference to me now, old and slow.

    Seriously, do a little digging on the net and see just what you find for custom shops, they may be the key to building just what you want without the trouble of making parts fit that were not meant to be used on an airhead. It all depends on how deep your wallet is after all BMW sometimes means Bite My Wallet. We love them and sometimes go crazy with them.

    Now, there are as some of the other people answering your post different tires to try, different aftermarket brake rotors. One upgrade I am considering myself on my 78RS is a change out of the under the gas tank master cylinder to the handle bar system as well as a change of the ATE single piston front brakes to a Brembo system. My reason for doing this is the much better braking I have on my 84 R80RT with the Brembo brakes. Also the Brembo system is so much simpler, no cable, no fussy calipers to align and mess with after changing pads. Not a huge improvement such as found going from ATE brakes to the brakes on an oil head bike but maybe enough to bite the bullet over the winter to swap out. This as far as I can see is not a huge job as there are obvious differences in fork legs and such. The parts sometimes show up on Ebay or used parts lists. I won't say it will be a trouble free swap and I may not even do it but, it is perhaps reasonable to do.

    Anyway, that is my two cents, enjoy the riding, St.

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