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Thread: RS ergonomics and fairings

  1. #1
    Registered User plehman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Arlington, MA

    RS ergonomics and fairings

    Recently bought an R100RS 1981. It's not perfect so my intention was to slightly modify it, make it my own, and make it comfortable and cool. My other bike is a R 90/6 with an S fairing, European bars, and fits me very well.

    I'm finding the RS difficult to ride with the very narrow bars, a heavy fairing, and somewhat long reach. I'm not that tall. It's heavier than the /6 and feels clunky. Fast on the highway, very stable, but awkward.

    Here are alternative solutions.
    1. Replace the RS fairing with a cafe style. It's totally the look I want, light, unusual. Then use the deeper cutout for wider bars. Unfortunately, I think I'd have to use clip-on, which might make it worse not better. I did want the RS for the existing brackets to hold such a fairing. Would require a bit of engineering (signal lights, brackets, brake hose hangers...)

    2. Crazy approach. Cut out an arch in the existing RS fairing to accommodate wider bars. Might look terrible and destroy a very practical fairing.

    3. Learn to ride the RS as it was intended. It's fantastic at speed on the highway (just tricky around town). The actual RS bars of course stay within the fairing. As do my knees, so it is nice in colder weather.

    Anyone have any thoughts or experience?


    This is what I had in mind:

  2. #2
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Las Vegas, NV

    Keep the fairing

    I've owned three RSs and have spent a lot of time trying to sort them out to my comfort satisfaction. I am 6ft. 1in. The easiest fix for handlebar comfort is to switch to K75 bars. I can't remember if they were C or SW model bars but they make the bike a lot more comfortable. They also work pretty well with the stock windshield! I've changed out windshields for several taller ones to try to get the buffeting zone away from my head but the best combination for me has been the stock windshield with the K bars. Of course, your mileage may vary. I would expect to hear from other RS riders with their comfort changes.

  3. #3
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    central Illinois
    The bike in the picture is sporting what is called a "Daytona" fairing. A popular period piece.

    Now, with respect to the original RS fairing, It is a fine fixture if you can learn to use it the way the Germans intended. I am a fairly large specimen and could never stand to ride my R100RS for more than an hour until I was taken by dis-comfort. In my case, I had to adapt to an extreme squat saddle position. In my experience, adopting a riding position where my elbows rest on my knees, put me in the envelope for the original wind screen/fairing to do it's job.

    What some riders do is to fit K75S bars with about a half inch knocked off of either side. It seems to create a slightly more relaxed position.
    1973 R75/5

  4. #4
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Trinity, NC
    Before you start modifying the fairing you should check the steering head bearings. The grease could be hardened or the bearing could be notched. These issues could be causing your low speed unstable ride.
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

  5. #5
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    DeLand Florida
    I've owned two RS bikes, a 1978 and a1988. Both bikes were difficult to ride comfortably for more than an hour until I replaced the bars with K75S bars. They are a bit wider and about 2 inches closer to you. Apparently there are two versions of K75S bars too, one set is slighter longer than the other. If you get the longer version, a hacksaw is all you need. The cables are tight, but will work with a bit of re-routing.


  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Mundelein, IL

    One more vote for the K75 bars

    I just purchased an '83 RS that already had the K75 bars on it and a stock windshield. It looks great and I can ride it for hours on end. I'm 5'11".

  7. #7
    I put 90S bars on my RS. Had to cut 3/4" off each end. I like your option 1. That looks like a Rickman fairing.

  8. #8
    I've done thousand plus mile days on my RS. In fact just did one yesterday - 1,220 miles from Jay, Vermont to Danielsville, Georgia in 20 hours. The keys for me were K1100RS bars (narrowed as much as possible while still fitting the controls) and a Russell seat.



    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    RS Comfort

    I purchased a 1981 R100RS a few years ago and had it completely rebuilt and repainted. I consider it my team bike, having always wanted a RS. I purchased a 2 inch taller windshield in the same shape as the stock windshield and left the stock handlebars on the bike. I am 6' tall. As someone already mentioned, you do need to have the steering head bearing cleaned up and re-greased or replaced (if needed) and make sure they are properly torqued. Tires play a big part in handling feel on airheads. I use Bridgestone Spitfires and run about 34lbs in the front. and 36lbs in the rear. You need to look at your riding style and how you sit on the bike. If you tend to lean forward and put a lot of weight on the handlebars, you will get tired very quickly and will find the handling feel to be "heavy". I have found that if I concentrate on arching my low back (into a proper lordotic curve, the natural curve in the low back when standing upright) that I take a great deal of weight off the wrists and hands and the buttocks and back remain reasonably comfortable. I have heard of using K75 bars, but have never tried it.
    I love my RS and while it is not as comfortable, as say a late model RT, I do find that I enjoy the look, feel and ride of a stock RS. The comfort is OK, recognizing what it is - the sportest model of its time.
    Good luck with the RS. Don't try to make an RT out of it. Give it some time and adapt yourself to it.

    Sam Creasman
    Member #44260

  10. #10
    MOA,ABC,AMA,NEF,BREC,CCA brownie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Pensacola, FL

    Cool RS comfort

    I've owned "Igor" for 33 years.....about 30 years ago I installed "Bar-Bax" fittings......bring stock bars closer, and slightly higher. Was perfect for years with Corbin touring saddle. About 6 years ago I replaced seat with Corbin "Canyon" saddle.....slightly farther reach to bars........still would not change a thing as mentioned in a previous post......I've gotten to used to it !!!
    Words to Ride by: Patience, Anticipate, Paranoia
    Shep Brown MOA 27510
    "Inga" '04RT, "Frederik" '78 SR500
    Pensacola, Floriduh

  11. #11
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Calgary, Alberta
    Quote Originally Posted by plehman View Post
    Anyone have any thoughts or experience?
    I had an RS for 15 years, and I suggest you spend some time with it before you make any changes to the handlebars. You want to keep your hands as close to the fairing as possible. My experience with both my RS's, and my ST, is that they're not the ideal machine for city riding.

    Also, if you have a fitness routine, work on your core exercises.

    Good luck, and congratulations.

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  12. #12
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    New Braunfels,Texas/Taichung, Taiwan

    alternative solution number 3

    I've ridden an R100rs for 37 years and believe that the design is perfect for it's intended purpose. That being as a long distance sport cruiser. I've owned an R90s also at the same time as the R100rs and they are two different animals. If my destination was city or mountains then the 90s was the one I would jump on. I agree the faring on the rs is heavy but it sticks the tires to the pavement like a train on a track. Would not change a thing on the 90s or 100rs. Tire pressure and steering head bearing maint. on both are important for a good ride.

    Everyone will have different opinions but that's mine and I'm sticking to it.
    1978 R100rs MOA#22600 125cc Kymco , 180cc Kymco Racing King
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

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