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Thread: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mechanics

  1. #1
    Registered User tangoalpha's Avatar
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    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mechanics

    Just thought I'd share this for those who are interested. About a year ago I was working in SLO in an office building located across the street from where CoastRiders Powersports was located previously. They've since moved further up Higuera, closer to downtown. Well anyway, my office was so close, I could walk directly across the street and be at their doorstep. Now having sold my 08' Harley-Davidson (Ultra Classic) prior to relocating my family to the Central Coast, I found myself without a bike and going crazy working in an office across the street from a motorcycle dealer, seeing and hearing bikes going in and out all day long. That's never a good thing for one's pocketbook. Well that lasted about 6 months and I found myself lurking around the dealership during my lunches. You know, "Just looking." Having owned two Harley's in approximately the past 15 years, a few other brands in between those years and several more over my 30 year riding career as a whole, I thought maybe....just maybe it was time for something entirely different....a project bike. It would be something that I could wrench on in my man cave to keep myself busy and out of trouble in my spare time. So here's a helpful tip. If you're looking for a project bike, buy a BMW. If you want reliability, buy a Honda. I'm kidding of course! Well.....sorta.

    Anyway, one fine day while eating my brown bag lunch at the dealership, I stumbled across an '89 BMW K100RS (anniversary edition) in the highly sought after blue/white color combo. In the mid '80's, as a teenager in high school, I remember lusting after the K100RS. It was the most high tech looking bike being built at the time and to my teenage sensibilities, also the sexiest looking. All the unique looking German gauges and switchgear really made the bike stand apart, especially when compared to other bikes of that period. I still remember a popular wall poster that hung in many teenage boy's bedrooms and for that matter...many men's garages, of a certain scantily clad young bikini model adorning a K100RS. Wow! What an image. 30 years later....I still remember it, but I digress.

    Getting back to the bike, at the low asking price of $2,000 it was almost a no brainer and I was tempted to just write them a check, but something stopped me. This bike was a perfect 10 foot bike. Meaning that from 10 feet away, it looked almost perfect, but up close it really showed its age, broken panels and pieces that were not so cleverly reattached with glue and painted over, etc.. As I really began to inspect it more closely, I began to feel that the bike wasn't merely showing its age and years of use, it seemed to me that it just wasn't properly cared for. Even neglected in some ways. It would take money to correct these deficiencies to at least bring it up to my standard. I rationalized, that if I could get the price down a bit further, it still might be worth it. So I took the next couple of days to think it over as I researched the cost of replacing the body parts I had noted earlier. Turns out replacing those obsolete and hard to find parts were so expensive, it made the project no longer viable. For this reason, many people opt to go the cafe bike route. They start with a good donor bike and they strip it down to the essentials completely transforming the look. If I were looking for a cafe bike project, then it would have been a good bike for that sort of project. However seeing it from my perspective, this particular bike was special, being an anniversary bike and the very last year the K100RS was made. So keeping the bike completely original was the only way to go as far as I was concerned. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be so I moved on to something else.

    The bike sat for months on the dealer's floor with a sign that stated sale proceeds would go to a certain charity which I can no longer recall. Eventually the bike vanished from the dealer's floor. As a bike that was on consignment, I don't know if the owner ever sold it or if he decided to keep it. Whatever the outcome, I hope that whoever owns the bike will restore it to it's original factory condition and not dismantle it, selling off pieces on eBay and transforming it in to a Frankenstein like K-motor cafe bike.

    So that brings me to my current bike which by now you've seen in some of the photos that I've posted on our site. In the intervening months, while doing more "research", I found an impossibly clean, well maintained and cared for 2002 BMW R1150RT in the color of Titan Silver. This happened again during one of my lunch breaks at CoastRiders. As the story goes, the bike was bought as a matching pair by person from Alta Loma. He apparently didn't like to ride alone, so he bought a matching set and kept both bikes at his second home to enjoy when he and his guests would come for a visit. This bike was the "spare bike" and when I found it, the odometer showed slightly less than 21,000 original miles. At that time the bike was 14 years old and with such low mileage, it meant the previous owner averaged less than 1,500 miles per year. Wow! I thought BMW's were always known to be high mileage bikes. Well anyway, this bike had all the service records, receipts and even the original sales paperwork and the correspondence between the buyer and dealer on negotiating the price for both bikes, along with all the accessories to be added before delivery. I must say....I like this guy's style. He has impeccable taste. I suppose that I can cut to the chase, because you already know how that deal turned out. I left the dealer a deposit, went home and told the wife of my intentions (read ask for permission) and returned the next day with a check in hand. That was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my riding life with the bike I refer to as, Der Beemer. So after purchasing the the bike, the next logical question was...."What the hell am I gonna do now with all this Harley clothing?" Ha! Ha!

    Next month is October which marks 1 year since I brought Der Beemer home to live in my garage. The year has gone by very fast and I haven't put on nearly as many miles as I would have liked, but I've been busy with work, family and life in general. However, I've learned a lot about the bike in that time. I've come to appreciate some of it's unique and even entertaining qualities and I've discovered a few things that I didn't spot or know about when I bought the bike (read little surprises). I'm currently in the process of performing the bike's first Major Service, which BMW calls for at 24,000 miles. It's also the first service of any kind that I've performed on the bike, but I'm equipped and prepared for it....or so I think. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

    To be continued.....

    Attachment 63711
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "Der Bimmer ist wunderbar."

    Tango Alpha
    2002 R1150RT

  2. #2
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Hello TA - Thank you for the interesting narrative regarding your experiences. It looks like you've ended up at the right place. Thank you also for the photo of your ride. It's great to see that bike posed in its element...off CA1 I think. We have family in Atascadero, so every time I ride out there, I'm in your area, enjoying the coast a lot.

    Your R1150RT looks really gorgeous and you're lucky to have it. I've only owned R1200RTs (two) so I have not had any experience with your machine. I did note that it looks like you have Michelin Pilot Road 2s (at least on the front wheel) on the bike. If that's how it came shod from the dealer, then you might want to check the date code on the sidewall to make sure that the tire is young enough to be safe. Michelin seems to still produce that tire, but the newest version is the Pilot Road 4.

    Seems like you've entered the Beemer world in grand fashion. Great reading you gave us!
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

  3. #3
    Registered User tangoalpha's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the kind words. Indeed you are correct, the photo was taken off CA-1 as I was returning home from a trip to Big Sur. The CA coastline really is quite beautiful and it certainly qualifies as one of my favorite, especially near that area because it's more remote with no traffic to speak of and the highway hugs the coast so you really get to experience the wide open ocean view unfolding before your eyes as you ride further and further North.

    You were spot on about the tires. We should change your user name to EagleEye. Impressive that you recognized those tires as PR2's right off the bat and with only a slight glimpse at that. You sure do know you tires. Anyway, I'm way ahead of you there my friend. I have a brand new set of Metzler Roadtec 01's sitting in my garage that just arrived yesterday. Before I take another ride, those tires are getting mounted. Also, since I'm in the process of doing my 24K service, I took the opportunity to install a TPS unit. The sensors go inside the rims like in a car or truck. Much cleaner looking that way and also less chance of the sensor flying off of getting stolen. I custom made a bracket for it and I must say, it really turned out nice. I'll update this thread once all the world is done with photos of the finished work. On Sept 24th., I will be participating in the Distinguished Gentlemen's Ride, a charity to benefit men's prostate cancer research, so the pressure is one to finish the work and get her back on the road ASAP. I can hardly wait.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExGMan View Post
    Hello TA - Thank you for the interesting narrative regarding your experiences. It looks like you've ended up at the right place. Thank you also for the photo of your ride. It's great to see that bike posed in its element...off CA1 I think. We have family in Atascadero, so every time I ride out there, I'm in your area, enjoying the coast a lot.

    Your R1150RT looks really gorgeous and you're lucky to have it. I've only owned R1200RTs (two) so I have not had any experience with your machine. I did note that it looks like you have Michelin Pilot Road 2s (at least on the front wheel) on the bike. If that's how it came shod from the dealer, then you might want to check the date code on the sidewall to make sure that the tire is young enough to be safe. Michelin seems to still produce that tire, but the newest version is the Pilot Road 4.

    Seems like you've entered the Beemer world in grand fashion. Great reading you gave us!
    "Der Bimmer ist wunderbar."

    Tango Alpha
    2002 R1150RT

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tangoalpha View Post
    Indeed you are correct, the photo was taken off CA-1 as I was returning home from a trip to Big Sur.
    How did you get by Pfieffer Canyon Bridge and Ragged Point?

    I grew up in SLO between 4th grade and 9th grade, then the family moved to Santa Barbara. I go ride down a few times a year from my home in Paradise, CA to see family and a few friends so if you PM me your email next time down I'd love to see your 'new' 1150RT--very nice looking! What did you pay for it if you don't mind?

  5. #5
    Registered User tangoalpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncpbmw1953 View Post
    How did you get by Pfieffer Canyon Bridge and Ragged Point?

    I grew up in SLO between 4th grade and 9th grade, then the family moved to Santa Barbara. I go ride down a few times a year from my home in Paradise, CA to see family and a few friends so if you PM me your email next time down I'd love to see your 'new' 1150RT--very nice looking! What did you pay for it if you don't mind?
    Hi again! At first it took me a moment to realize that your reply to my post was from you and not somebody else. The different user names threw me off. Anyway, I see that you got my PM, so I'm definitely looking forward to meeting you next time you come down my way. As for the photo, due to the road closure I was only able to go as far as Ragged Point Village. They were turning people around about a 1/2 mile further up the road. So I stopped for lunch, enjoyed the view, took some photos, relaxed a little then made my way home.
    "Der Bimmer ist wunderbar."

    Tango Alpha
    2002 R1150RT

  6. #6
    Since the road and bridge went out I have made a point of getting up to Ragged Point when visiting SLO area--it's such a lovely stretch of road. My preferred way to get from home to SLO is via Pacheco Pass > Carmel (bfast at Katie's Place is fantastic!) > SLO via the PCH. So looking forward to that again hopefully by next year sometime.

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