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Thread: Calling all RT owners

  1. #1
    Registered User jimbc's Avatar
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    Calling all RT owners

    Hello all.

    I'm thinking of adding an RT fairing to my 85 R80. I'm interested to know your likes/dislike of said fairing.

    I desire an upright riding position with a quiet ride. But first some back ground if your interested.

    In its stock (naked) form I find the air blast fatiguing.

    I've had a Hannigan ST fairing for many years and have enjoyed riding behind it. But it requires euro bars and now that I'm older my wrists are complaining.

    I tried a Parabellum Scout fairing for a couple of seasons (with "US" bars). Love the coverage plus it only weighs 5 lbs. But unless I tuck behind the wind screen the "dirty" air noise created by it is unbearable. I started with a 20" screen, cut it shorter many times but there was no change in the "noise". I always ride with ear plugs (I have both moulded and NoNoise plugs).

    Riding without a fairing I'm in "clean" air and only hear wind whistle. But I discovered that if I place my left hand above the cluster with my palm facing me I can recreate the "dirty" air noise I get with the Scout installed.

    My lid is an Arai Profile.

    Many thanks for your replies.
    Cheers
    1985 R80 Original owner, 1982 Yamaha XS400J 2nd owner

  2. #2
    Not sure this is much help but after years of using both Arai and Shoei, my (relatively) new Signet X is the first helmet that is noticeably quieter.
    '61 Clubman's Gold Star, '13 690 Duke, '13 Daytona 675R, '14 Street Triple R, '17 1290 GT (gone but not forgotten: '76 R75/6, '84 R100, '76 R90S)

  3. #3
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    I've owned to RT's, an 86 R80RT that I bought new in late 1985, and an almost new 95 R100RT that I bought in 1997. Other airheads include two R100RS bikes, and a R90S.

    The RT is one of my favorite bikes, right now I am considering buying another one. But, they are not without problems.

    First, they totally block the wind, almost to an extreme. This is wonderful in colder climates, but in hot, HUMID areas this can be a problem. They seem to funnel the heat from the engine to the rider. Removing the lowers does offer some relief, but not that much. However, hot climates that are DRY, like where we used to live (Lubbock, Texas), this was not much of an issue. Where you are at I think the RT would enhance your late fall, early spring riding experience.

    Second, the stock windshield, although it is adjustable, requires a person my size (6' tall) to look over the top. I prefer this, but you do get some buffeting from the wind over the windshield. On my 1995 I replaced it with a taller windshield that required me to look through it. It reduced the buffeting, but I did not like looking through the windshield, especially when it was raining.

    Third, the fairing adds weight, and I would suggest upgrading your fork springs. I did on both of my bikes to prevent too much nose dive. This made a big difference.

    Fourth, the lowers make it harder to change the oil filter, but since you do not have an oil cooler, it will not be as much of a problem as on bikes with oil coolers.

    Fifth, the extra storage space in the fairing is great, allows you to carry extra riding gear, phones, etc., without having to use the bags. I often left the bags home because of this.

    Again, the RT is one of my favorite BMWs. If they made new ones again, I know I would be buying another. The last one rolled off the assembly line in 1995.

    Hope this helps,

    Wayne

  4. #4

    Don't add an RT fairing---just buy an RT

    I have an '84 R100RT now, and it's been my primary motorcycle for the last 19 years. A lot of what Wayne has said is true, though at only 5'8" on a good day, I easily look over, not through, my RT's windshield. I think the OE windshield was 18", and my current vented Clearview shield is 20", but I still look over it, and have to slouch considerably to look through it. There's wind buffeting and I, too, use earmold ear plugs to manage it. Noise is more generally an issue with full fairings, and even if you get rid of wind-buffeting and that noise, I think it'll be substantially replaced by the reflected engine and drivetrain noise that the wind noise currently overwhelms.

    With wind noise managed, though, the RT fairing remains very effective at making cool, cold, and foul-weather riding do-able. You can ride comfortably down into the 30s with just an electric vest under your riding jacket, without the need for any other "hot gear". I've even ridden for several hours in cold rain at those temps in good shape. Daily mileages in the 400-500 mile range are easily do-able and replicable the following day, and the days thereafter---shunting the wind blast aside, it really makes for a less tiring long-distance riding experience, even 33 years after it was built. Conversely, it's not a bike that's useful for riding in the American midwest or south during most of June, July, or August, if you want more skin protection than SPF 70 sunscreen---the wind flow simply isn't there, even with a fully-vented/mesh summer riding jacket, at temps over 75F. In Ontario, though, it may be perfect.

    In any event, I wouldn't add an RT fairing to a currently naked bike. The RT fairing, while excellent for its purpose, serves a purpose that fewer and fewer airhead BMW riders really have, and the values of RT bikes tend to reflect that---you can buy an intact R80RT or R100RT for usually less money than an otherwise comparable naked or S-faired bike; in the general marketplace for airheads, an RT fairing is actually a decrement on the bike's value. Additionally, adding the fairing is more complicated than simply bolting on a few bits. Your bike's wiring harness will need to either be replaced entirely, or have some pretty major surgery done to lengthen it, in order to relocate the headlight bucket out onto the RT fairing main bracket. You'll also need new wiring to the fairing-mounted turn signals. If you intend to run the voltmeter and clock gauges to the fairing dashboard, you'll need to add that, as well. If you want it matched to your bike's nice Colorado Red paint job, there are seven separate panels to paint. While the RT fairings can be found for cheap (particularly if you can go get it, rather than ship it), the total cost of adding one may not make sense, given the price of original RT bikes.

    I used to have a naked R80 (a Colorado Red '86), and really liked it. How many miles on yours?
    Last edited by khittner1; 11-11-2017 at 02:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    Rt

    I agree 100% on the plan of just buying an RT. Yes, the main harness is much more than the naked bike harness. And considering your chances of getting a fairing with a matching paint color, you're looking at an extra $1k to paint one to match! You can use the saved money to play around with different windshields to find one that works for you.
    Boxerbruce

  6. #6
    Registered User jimbc's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input.

    Hope you're not suggesting parting with my bike in order to buy an RT?? The horror

    Adding an RT fairing doesn't seem like a big task to me. The Hannigan wired through the headlight bucket, so an RT fairing should be similar.

    Don't want lowers so oil filter access not an issue.

    I work at a car dealership with a body shop so paint would be maybe a case of beer?

    And there happens to be someone approx. 3 hrs from me with an RT fairing for sale from an 85 R80 that could be had for $100.

    Sounds like I've talked myself into it.

    Cheers
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1985 R80 Original owner, 1982 Yamaha XS400J 2nd owner

  7. #7

    RT fairing

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbc View Post
    Hello all.

    I'm thinking of adding an RT fairing to my 85 R80. I'm interested to know your likes/dislike of said fairing.

    I desire an upright riding position with a quiet ride. But first some back ground if your interested.

    In its stock (naked) form I find the air blast fatiguing.

    I've had a Hannigan ST fairing for many years and have enjoyed riding behind it. But it requires euro bars and now that I'm older my wrists are complaining.

    I tried a Parabellum Scout fairing for a couple of seasons (with "US" bars). Love the coverage plus it only weighs 5 lbs. But unless I tuck behind the wind screen the "dirty" air noise created by it is unbearable. I started with a 20" screen, cut it shorter many times but there was no change in the "noise". I always ride with ear plugs (I have both moulded and NoNoise plugs).

    Riding without a fairing I'm in "clean" air and only hear wind whistle. But I discovered that if I place my left hand above the cluster with my palm facing me I can recreate the "dirty" air noise I get with the Scout installed.

    My lid is an Arai Profile.

    Many thanks for your replies.
    Cheers
    I owned a '93 RT and thought my legs were on fire with anything over 65F. You might be better off in CA, but there's a minimal amount of air movement behind that fairing, from the chest down, so be prepared to deal with very warm legs.

  8. #8
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbc View Post
    Thanks for the input.

    Hope you're not suggesting parting with my bike in order to buy an RT?? The horror

    Adding an RT fairing doesn't seem like a big task to me. The Hannigan wired through the headlight bucket, so an RT fairing should be similar.

    Don't want lowers so oil filter access not an issue.

    I work at a car dealership with a body shop so paint would be maybe a case of beer?

    And there happens to be someone approx. 3 hrs from me with an RT fairing for sale from an 85 R80 that could be had for $100.

    Sounds like I've talked myself into it.

    Cheers
    If the RT fairing is a "take off" from another bike of the same year, it should be quite do-able. Be sure to get the mounting bracket and any sub-harnesses that are available. You might get the clock and voltmeter too. The wiring can be done without the harnesses for the turn signals and other accessories, but that can get messy. Also, the brackets are very specific for the RT and RS fairings. The rear view mirrors are integrated in to the fairing as well. Depending on what is not included, you could wind up with a fairly expensive project easily.
    Best of luck and do keep us updated.
    1973 R75/5

  9. #9
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    Dont forget the handlebars, cables, possible brake line. Here in N.E. Ohio, I love my 81 RT. Lowers and all!
    November Carrolton,Oh.jpg

  10. #10
    Your current Hannigan has a second headlight shell, out in front of the OEM piece that you've left in place, with just a headlight pigtail run out to the fairing's headlight. The RT is different---the OEM headlight shell, along with its internal circuitry, is further forward, out on the fairing bracket, compared to a naked or S-faired bike, hence, the need for longer/lengthened wiring harness. It can be done (years ago, I added an RS fairing--which has the same issue--to my R80 [RIP, sniff]), but it won't be as "plug and play" as your Hannigan was. The RT fairing's main mount bracket bolts to a couple of threaded bosses that are already on the head tube of your R80's frame, but you'll have to remove the headlight and headlight "ears" to install it it, and the fork tubes have to come off to get the old headlight ears off and to get them stuck through RT center section's bodywork.

    But looking at your current set-up, the Hannigan looks like it gives coverage that would seem to be pretty close to an RT's, particularly if you're not inclined to put on the lowers. If all you want is a more upright riding position, can't you just put on an RT's higher ("USA", I think) handlebar (with the associated longer control cables, and brake line) and be good, or is there an interference problem with higher bars and the Hannigan?

    Oh, and take-off RT fairings are fairly cheap, but you may want to look over that $100 RT fairing pretty closely for cracked and broken bits--with enough "no big deal" repairs required, you might have to throw in a bunch of cases of beer to cover your buddy's fiberglass work. Decent ones are more in the $400 range.
    Last edited by khittner1; 11-17-2017 at 02:31 PM.

  11. #11
    The RT is great for cool / cold weather , we love our 88 RT.

    IMG_0954 - Version 2.jpg
    ________________________________________
    The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

  12. #12
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    Right...

    I am in the process of fluking out an '85 R80RT that I picked up several months ago. I will check in with this thread as my project goes forward. All good guidance here from our members so far.
    1973 R75/5

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