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Thread: Tell us how you came to own your first BMW:

  1. #421

    By way of Milwaukee

    Sometime back in the mid-1990s I was working for a group at MIT's Sloan School of Management, and one of the companies we worked with was Harley Davidson. I was nearly 40 at the time, and totally convinced that motorcycles were an unnecessary and dangerous indulgence. I went out to Milwaukee for my first day of consulting and, as I usually did, asked to view the place where "the real work happened" - in this case, the factory floor. I saw gleaming V-Twin engines stacked four pallets high floor to ceiling and my heart started racing.

    I had to learn how to ride, but I didn't know anyone who rode. I took the MSF course, and bought a Honda 450 Nighthawk to scratch up while I learned (I'm still learning), and went to my local dealer to put in my order for a Big Twin, which, I was told, would take months to fill. The salesmen looked me over and said, "You know, you should be on a BMW."

    A month later I found a red K75 with full luggage, and it became "my bike".

  2. #422
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Boca Raton, FL
    My wife complained that the recently acquired Goldwing felt more like a couch than a motorcycle. So a new 2009 KT1200LT was the answer. Now I can't get her to take trips on any of my other bikes.

  3. #423
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Piedmont area of NC.
    Response to RevWillie;

    No I have not made it over to the bikers breakfast yet, maybe soon.

    It's a pretty long haul from Lewisville , really boring if i take the interstate, and not much interesting scenery if i take back roads in that part of the state IMHO.

    I did eat there one year after the old Raleigh Rumble where i had spent the night before. I think the place was called Michael's then.
    The ride home was not all that great

  4. #424
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Hot Springs, South Dakota

    My First BMW Motorcycle 1985

    I was riding Honda's up to 1984 when a high school kid came by my house to sell magazines for a school project. He showed me the various selections to choose from and I found one I thought I could take an interest in: "Motorcyclist"
    I received a few issues and upon examining the latest issue I was greeted with photos and a tech article about the NEW Beemers in the stables of the BMW mark, the K bikes. I knew, at that moment this was going to be the bike for me.
    The spring of 1986 I rode home, from the shop, a slightly used 1985 K100LT.
    I have owned three since that encounter.
    I am presently looking for an inexpensive replacement.


  5. #425
    Encouraging Entropy joeybones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    After almost three years of once-in-a-while stopping by the dealership to drool over BMW's, Ducati's and Triumph's but never feeling enough passion to pull the trigger, I stopped by one Saturday and saw this:

    And my knees got weak.

    After riding it for six days and coming to understand the essence of BMWness first-hand, I went back and traded my V-Strom for a new RT.

    Two bikes in one week. Yes I'm still married. Of course the '04 has the old style turn signals and the RT doesn't, so I end up beeping the horn every time I want to take a left, on either bike (or is it the other way around?). Oh well...
    Last edited by JoeyBones; 09-27-2011 at 02:39 AM.
    - Joe ('11 DR650 & '11 R1200RT)

    My Motorcycle Courier Adventures

  6. #426

    My first was a 1973 R90 / 6

    My first BMW was a 1973 R 90/6. I remembered having seen pictures of the R90S in that same cool Daytona colour. Not knowing anything about the BMW clan at the time I thought I was buying the S. Not a problem though, it turned out to be a great starting point for a collection that is now consumming alot of restoration time. That R90/6 is gone as well as my 1979 R65 but have been replaced with a 1973 R75/5, 2 x 1978 R100/7, 1984 R80RT with Velorex/Jawa 560 Boat tail sidecar, 1978 R80/7 with Velorex 563 sidecar, 1985 R65, 1973 R60/5 converted with a 1982 R100RT drivetrain, 1982 R100RS with an Authority "Traffic" sidecar and finally a 1998 R1100RT-P with a Tripteq "Heeler" sidecar.

    I guess I better get out to the garage and get some work done.


  7. #427
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    North Ridgeville OH

    minor thread hijack

    Joe - I just started reading through your courrier adventures - good stories and writing - no pictures needed

    ok - back to the regularly scheduled programming

  8. #428
    My mother bought me my first BMW - an R69S - when I was almost 30 and headed for Vietnam. She wanted me to have a good reason to come back. When I did return I used it to commute to school at Berkeley where it proved to be very unreliable. I remember stuffing it somehow in my VW bus to get it to a dealership in Oakland. Mercifully it was stolen one day from the MC parking at school. At the time I had no time to be messing with it. Now, of course, I'd love to have it as a restoration project.

  9. #429

    Will try to paste this in . . .

    My first Beemer was my '99 R1100RT Boston Green. I was so happy to get it, I wrote up my account and posted it on the web. That was in 2003. My ISP has changed about 24 times since then, however, I still come across the page when I do obscure google searches. There is a HowTo for seat risers linked to the page that still exists on the web and I still get emails from people each year thanking me for it (for some reason, I got about 6 replies alone on that one little mod).

    Anywhoo, this is the link to the page, but just in case it should disappear, I am attempting to paste it into this thread for you to read, skip, complain, etc. . .

    [Note: This was written in the Spring of 2003]
    OK, I am a ‘«£Beemer Convert‘«ō having wanted a BMW Two-Wheeled-Variety-Vehicle for some time now. This past winter I started the search for an R1100RT. My hopes were to find one that had semi-low mileage, was in excellent condition, had a trunk, looked cool, and didn‘«÷t cost a fortune. I think I found what I was looking for. I live in Southern Maine, which is not necessarily the center of the universe for BMW‘«÷s, Motorcycles, or Good Weather for that matter. We are conveniently located within mere minutes (well, 40 of them in a row) of a pretty good BMW Motorcycle Dealer, Max BMW, check them out.

    I hit all the traditional sites while searching for my bike (eBay, BMWSportTouring, and many others) and some ‘«£not-so-normal‘«ō BMW Touring Club of Detroit, Bikez Motorcycle Classifieds). I basically searched every combo I could think of out at Google pouring through the literally tons of hits some of my queries pulled up, skipping the gratuitous porn hits that come up when searching. When I started my search, there was about 3‘«÷ of snow covering all things green in this region, and (more importantly) 2 ‘«Ű 3‘«ō of ice covering the important things black on my driveway. Needless to say, there were not too many people listing their bikes (BMW or otherwise) in the local papers, etc.

    My wish was to find one close by, I could have my wife drop me off so I could ride it home. Another issue at stake here, we have three kids which would seriously affect the ‘«£Drop Off Radius‘«ō allowed by said wife. As luck would have it, I settled on a bike near Utica, NY, a mere 5 hours and 45 minutes away according to Mapquest. I have been married for a little while now (wife keeps reminding me that it will be ten years this summer) and I knew better than to ask for a ride. That is when the Engineer in me hit‘«™

    How would I pick up this bike?

    I figured there were a few ways of getting the bike back:

    1) Ride it back
    2) Trailer it back
    3) Ship it back via a trucking company
    4) Have the seller disassemble the bike and mail each piece back in a small envelop, each requiring a 37 cent postage stamp.
    5) Quickly invent the Star Trek ‘«£Transporter‘«ō and have Scotty Beam the bike over to me.
    6) Have the seller attach the bike to an email and send it to me.

    A few of the above choices were obviously nixed immediately. I noticed right off the bat that #6 simply would not due as there has not been a ‘«£Meeting of the minds‘«ō in the SMTP community to agree upon a standard for sending non-digital attachments. It would simply be too hard to get all the dissimilar systems to pass the info onto me. I think #5 was nixed because of some kind of flux in the space-time continuum and #4 was going to be hell as each piece would need to be send certified mail to help preclude the ‘«£Missing puzzle piece‘«ō syndrome (imagine the USPS missing just ‘«ˇone‘«÷ important piece of the bike, more like one per system).

    That left options #1 ‘«Ű 3 open for further discussion. I really couldn‘«÷t fathom paying some trucking company to spend more time prepping the bike for shipping than it would take to transit it so we were left with two valid options. Both of these options had a lot of interesting caveats.

    ‘«£Ride it back‘«ō
    Well, this sounds easy, but how do I get there? I searched for local airports (in Utica), Greyhound stops, and Amtrak stops. A rather interesting fact is that Utica has an Amtrak station, a Greyhound station, a Hertz rental car branch, and an airport. It looked like, save for skydiving or barge access (and I think there might even be a canal near Utica) I would have a lot of choices. Greyhound had the best prices, but arrived at a rather odd time (2am) besides there was this little clause (which I cannot find at this moment) that said something to the affect that even though I took the time to purchase the ticket way ahead of time AND made a bunch of plans around this, that some other joe can, on a whim, take the last available seat on the bus before I get there and I will have to wait for the next one. Didn‘«÷t like that idea (even though the chances are rather slim). I didn‘«÷t have a lot of free time to be put on stand by at the bus station.

    The Amtrak approach was a little overboard so I nixed that one as well. There is no scheduled commercial service into Utica and it has been about 11 years since I flew a plane (Private Pilot, one of my ‘«ˇdormant‘«÷ hobbies) leaving the one-way rental car approach. I booked my one-way rental via the website.

    ‘«£Trailer it back‘«ō
    You guessed it, Utica even has it‘«÷s own U-Haul branch. I had a few choices here, rent a trailer locally and transport it both ways or rent it one way from Utica to somewhere near where I live (we have lots of U-Hauls around here, woo hoo). I had some kind of vision of a ‘«£Motorcycle Only‘«ō trailer, though I am not sure where that idea came from. My first attempt at rental was to call the local dealer to see what I would need and where I could get it. They suggested a 6‘«÷ x 12‘«÷ trailer and that I call the central reservation center to book the one-way rental. It turns out you can call U-Haul‘«÷s central reservation center where they can help you select the wrong size trailer for your application. The person I spoke with told me that a 4‘«÷ x 8‘«÷ utility trailer would be plenty big enough to haul a motorcycle in. I booked it immediately based on that tidbit.

    ‘«£Be Prepared‘«ō
    Someone once told me to ‘«£Be Prepared‘«ō. I would like to think it was some ancient warrior who had taken an oath to prepare me for some enchanted battle in a past life. It was either that or it was the Boy Scouts. I prefer the former, but have a sneaking suspicion that it was the latter. I really, really, really, really wanted to ride the bike back (yeah really). It being a Sport Tourer and all, riding it back the 300+ miles made really good sense to me. It also would serve to A) prove the bike‘«÷s worthiness and B) to help open the riding season for me. Reality has to enter into most every equation when dealing with things like plans so, based on the winter of hell that we had (actually hell has no winter, so it would have to be something like an eternal winter of someplace cold, like Pluto) I decided that I needed to book both options. Both options had a money-back cancellation policy with pretty good terms (cancel at least 24 ‘«Ű 48 hours in advance and though shalt incur no loss).

    As the pickup date approached (Saturday, April 12th, 2003) I kept tabs on the weather via Weather.Com trying to figure out which option would win out. I forgot, of course, that the same weather-prediction mechanism had pretty much failed all winter to provide us with anything remotely resembling riding weather. I also had a serious problem with the ‘«£My shopping cart‘«ō feature at Weather.Com, I kept trying to add the ‘«£70‘«÷s and Sunny‘«ō item to my shopping cart for the pickup date, but I kept getting an ‘«£Access Denied‘«ō error. As it turned out, there was light snow and rain predicted for Saturday morning on my drop dead day (Wednesday). I played it safe and canceled the Hertz one-way car rental.

    Since I knew I would be driving my own vehicle (1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, original owner, 120K miles) I decided to invite my oldest daughter, Miranda, to go along. She is very mature for her age (8) and took a long time to ponder the pros and cons and decided to go with me after a long pause of about 5 seconds. The six hour drive out Friday evening, followed by another one back the next day didn‘«÷t seem to worry her at all. She thought it would be cool to be able to bring her (well, my) portable CD player and listen to her ‘«£CD‘«ō. I convinced her to find a few other CD‘«÷s as one can only listen to Britney Spears so many times in a row before requiring serious therapy.

    The trip went very well, one important note, however, when trailering a motorcycle on a long ride, make sure it is perfectly centered before cinching it down. The bike would shift, ever so slightly to the right until I recentered it. No damage, just annoying to have to stop every once in a while to retighten here and there.

    ‘«£Bike comes home‘«ō

    A neighbor helped me unload the bike after I returned around 8pm on Saturday. I was very thankful, as I wasn‘«÷t too interested in leaving the bike in the trailer over night (more for the reason that I wanted to sit on the bike, open everything, and just play around with it). The next day was spent cleaning the embedded NY bugs from the fairing. I tried two special ‘«£Bug removing cleaners‘«ō trying to get the bugs cleaned off. I had more success with one of the two (Blue: Bluemagic Road Tar & Bug Gel) and less with the other (Green: Turtlewax Bug ‘«ˇN Tar). The bugs, however, still won and have a little memorial to their fallen heroes strewn throughout the front of the bike. You have to look real close to find them, but I know they are there. I will prevail in the end, however, with lots of elbow grease and determination. Spring, however, is on the way and there appears to be the beginnings of an aerial assault up front again.

    I had been informed that the bike would need new tires so I had prepared myself for the costs. I had figured that I could eek out a few hundred miles before dropping the cash though. What I didn‘«÷t expect was to find a pair of highway-worn tires. They were actually worn flat from miles upon miles of highway riding with little or no twisties to help wear them evenly. The tires were so bad that I thought there was a problem with the wheels or suspension when I first putted around the neighborhood at slow speeds. I would try to countersteer into a turn, but the front tire would actual force itself into the turn, scaring the hell out of me. I had witnessed similar flakiness last year when the tires on my PC800 had worn themselves beyond any use. I called Max BMW on Monday and had an appointment to replace the tires and perform the 12,000 mile service the next morning. Not bad service! I even had a 2002 (or 2003) F650GS as a loaner! That was a fun little bike, but I prefer the wind protection from a fairing. It had been a number of years since I had ridden a bike without a fairing.

    The service went well, the mechanics changed the oil, mopped the floor, replaced the tires, drank some coffee, and basically gave the bike a nice clean bill of help. I wish I took a picture of the license plate holder that I went into the shop with. The one thing I forgot to ask for when picking up the bike was the license plate bolts. I was left with a set of four holes, a license plate (that I got on Monday), and a strong wish to ride. Being a Yankee by birth, I kicked in the ‘«ˇole ‘«£Yankee Ingenuity‘«ō and fixed that plate on with 4 color-coordinated tire wraps (black). I didn‘«÷t take the time to trim them, had to ride the bike you know. So I never actually looked at the plate when I picked up the bike (I knew there was a point in here somewhere). I did notice something odd when I got home, gone were the tie-wraps, replaced by a good-looking ‘«£Max BMW‘«ō plate holder with four shiny new license plate bolts holding it all in place. Now I was stylin!

    While I was at the shop, I picked up a few goodies for the bike, a key blank and a roundel (more on that one in a second or so). I‘«÷ve read and heard about horror stories with getting spare keys made for the bike, mainly because the blanks you buy from your local beemer shop are steel and much harder than the metal (unknown what it actually is) used for ‘«ˇnormal‘«÷ key blanks. I called around and found a local locksmith that thought they might be able to give it a try. Once they saw the key blank they decided to not give it a try. They did a little research and found that the motorcycle key is the same as the BMW car key (which they had in stock). They were able to cut me a key that works fine, it just doesn‘«÷t have any ‘«£BMW-ness‘«ō to it. In a pinch, however, it works fine and can save you a few bucks as I think the total cost was something like $2.80 for the key and the cutting where the BMW blank along costs about $6. If I get a chance, I will post the blank part number on this page (note this is a reminder to me).

    The Roundel (1 ?Ę‘«ō I believe) has a self-adhesive backing and was the absolute perfect size to put on the cap just below the ignition. I couldn‘«÷t stand looking into all that blackness. This one little mod is probably going to give me about a 3 ‘«Ű 8 hp boost, +5mpg economy, cure the common cold, and create peace on earth. I don‘«÷t consider myself one of those ‘«£Custom jocks‘«ō who can buy a piece of machinery and customize it so much that it ceases to look anything like what it once originally was. The biggest custom job I did on my previous bike (‘«÷98 Honda PC800) was to install a set of trunk lights, let me tell you the chicks dig trunk lights! I might find myself getting a little carried away on the Beemer though. Thoughts of GPS, radar detector, intercom (Autocom)[1], accessory ports, and other various incendiary devices come to mind.

    I have added an RKA tankbag. Going on my original hope of riding it back, I ordered the 16 liter a tankbag from RKA. I really wanted a small tankbag that wouldn‘«÷t scratch up the tank, would hold a map, and could store some basic things like maps, keys, toll, and sunglasses. I didn‘«÷t want to shell out the $300 for the official BMW tank bag (besides, I really didn‘«÷t like the color or the height of the bag) and the $120 for the RKA seemed just right. RKA can even make up a bag in different colors. Boston Green is very hard to match or coordinate so I played it safe and went with the traditional black. I am very happy with the bag, my only wish/want would be some kind of small end pocket to store some change for toll. It is a bit of a chore to open the whole bag and fish out toll with a bunch of traffic behind you.

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