I am in the market for an oilhead and want advice on what years and models to avoid or pursue. I presently ride an airhead with a windscreen and don't want a lot of "extra plastic" (e.g. RT or RS), though I am not a cafe racer or hotshot.
I don't even know if I'd want an 1100 or an 1150, so I'm looking for advice (opinions are valid only if they're backed by facts).
OK - if you don't want an RT or RS - you can get an R or a GS.
The absolutely underrated ugly ducking of the Oilheads is the R1100R which is a very nice motorcycle. In some ways a more tractable and pleasant motorcycle than the R1150R.
ABS is nice. The power "whizzy" brakes are awesome stoppers but not very popular, and BMW stopped making them.
And of course - the GS is BMW's best seller in all three variations 1100, 1150, 1200.
Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
"The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
Theres nothing really to avoid except possibly the servo brakes of the 1150s. But thats individual taste. (personally no ABS or servos for me) Offer to change the transmission oil and if it comes out like coffee mocha youve got a bum transmission. Also check the trans for popping out of gear under hard acceleration like in second or third. Known trouble spot and a rebuilt one is $3000 installed if you dont do the work. (you get to worry about both the 1100 and 1150 for this)With the bike up on the centerstand check the rear wheel for play indicating an FD about to go. Look for oil on the rim and wheel also. A 1150 is going to have a hydraulic clutch. Possible trouble because the slave cylinder can leak fluid right up to the clutch disc ruining it and requiring cutting the bike in half to fix it. An 1100 will have a cable activated clutch...less potential trouble. Check for clutch slippage on test ride.
Thats all I got. Really I would put more stock in the overall condition the bike is in. What kind if person is the owner...ie did he beat the bike or did he treat it like his mistress. I tend to go for less complicated machinery so the 1100 would be what Id be looking for.
Last edited by jingdog; 10-21-2009 at 01:25 PM.
i think a jump from an airhead to a R1100 would be nice.
if you jumped to an R1150 it might feel a little too much like a Japanese bike for you.
don't get me wrong, i loved my nighthawk 750, but the R1100 seems more 'throaty' to me, if that means anything. And that's what got me riding the R1100 in the first place.
try them all out. you'll know in an afternoon or two what feels right.
I can't speak as to the specific mechanincs of it, but I looked long and hard for a good 2004 R1150RT. In my mind a very beautiful bike and having the twin-spark motor to cure engine surging that was reported to have occurred in earlier models. Every time I found one I liked it got snapped up before I got to it. I bought a 2009 R1200RT instead and am well pleased with it and it's technological advantages over the 2004, but for significantly more money.
Having said that, I'm learning more and more about the absolute utility of a GS. I won't be surprised if I end up with one of each. I will go used on the GS though, hoping to eventually retire and have the opportunity to ride both.
I mostly agree with all prior comments but having gone from an airhead to a 2000 R1100R and then to a 2003 R1150R, I find the transmission of the 03 model a treat in comparison to the 1100R.Overall, the 1100 and the 1150 are not a lot different for me. The seat height is easier to play with(on the cheap) on a 1100. As to throaty?-neither one is that without an aftermarket exhaust which I would like to have but am too tight to buy! I can't say the HP difference is too much to notice. Look around, it is easy to buy newer R bikes and get some years up on an 1100R without spending a bunch. They go reasonably on eBay all the time and many are garage bikes with few miles. Less than 10k(while not an essential, if well maintained) is very common in motorcycles you find for sale. You will no doubt pay more for a GS bike no matter the year , due to their popularity. Ask yourself if you are really wanting to ride a bike that heavy, off road, or if will you go off road at all. Most GS bikes are ridden as street bikes. Looking at the TN rally just compare the amount of action in the mud pit to the number of riders going out into the region for a street ride.
Besides eBay, check out the R1150.org website and Advrider.com for flea markets with lots of bikes for sale. Craiglist search too.
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