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Thread: Modding an RT to something else?

  1. #1

    Modding an RT to something else?

    I sold my airhead threw years ago. Took a couple years off and bought an oilhead. Not gonna sell the oilhead because it's great but while I never rode the airhead as much as I should have I knew every bolt on that thing and can still remember details about it.

    So. I'm thinking of another airhead, especially after being at the Rally.

    I'd want a bigger one this time. Or something a little different. I saw an R100RT for a good price but it's got that big fairing. What's involved in modding that to an RS look? Or somewhere in between? I like the naked look.

    Is it just a lot of parts swapping or is there some fundamental difference I'm not thinking of?


  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    There is some swapping, new cables, relocation of the headlight, etc. People have gone down this path. In reality, I think you should look for a naked bike which will be an easier path...might even be cheaper.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  3. #3
    Registered User k12lts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I changed an 81 RT to an RS. Pretty simple afternoon project. You will need the main fairing mount, handlebars, cables, upper brake line and the upper fairing. The lowers and center section are the same. It's pretty much plug and play, no modifications were necessary.

    After riding it a while I found the RS was not for me, so I took all that off and put an S fairing and bars on and like that set up much better.
    2010 R1200RT, 2011 Ural Patrol, 1981 R100, 1975 R90S

    BMW MOA 37304

  4. #4
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Spencerport, NY

    RT versus RS

    I have both an RT and an RS. I ride the RT the most because I am older and the riding position is more relaxed than the RS.

    The RT has upright higher handlebars, and an upright seating position.

    The RS is very low and narrow handlebars with a bent forward seating position.

    Both bike's fairing offer excellent wind/rain protection.

    The RT fairing is wider and offers two storage pockets.

    The mirrors on the RT are better for rear view than the RS.

    Now, converting an RT to an RS as Kurt has mentioned is not a horrible problem. The wiring for the headlight, turn-signals, clock and voltmeter are the same between the two bikes. The difference in wiring will be the handle bar controls. The RS controls will be shorter. This may not be a problem as longer wires can be folded or fitted easier than shorter wires can be made longer.

    Control cables will be shorter on the RS and will have to be changed. Unlike the longer wires of an RT, they cannot be folded to fit.

    The Main fairing bracket for the RT upper fairing is different from the RS bracket. It will have to be changed from the RT bracket to the RS bracket.

    To covert the RT to a naked bike requires a bit more work in regard to headlight placement. The naked bikes have very different mounting for the headlights and turn signals.

    Handlebars on the naked bikes are usually pretty upright seating and wide. There are three main types of handle bars which can be used. The RT bars are the "tallest" widest, S bars are the next step lower and narrower. The RS bars are the lowest and narrowest bars. Almost like clip ons.

    If it were me, I would look for a used RS, if that is what I wanted or a used R100/7 or T if I wanted a naked bike. Unless I have a great attachment to the bike I am riding, I would not take the time nor make the effort to covert from one style to the other.

    All three styles of bikes come up for sale at reasonable prices at some time or another.

    Also, there are a lot of custom bike shops now building airheads to order. St.

  5. #5
    Thanks for all the insight. This clearly needs more thinking out on my part. I think what I actually meant was a R100S with the tiny fairing. I didn't realize there was three varients.

    I will keep my eyes open. I'm debating do I want a project or something more "done" and of course the money and garage space!

  6. #6
    Registered User barryg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

  7. #7
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Spencerport, NY


    Where are you at R65 Steve?

    My local airhead shop may be able to help you out. St.

  8. #8
    Northern Virginia.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2008
    B.P., MN
    Had an airhead with a Jammer, didn't like it, swapped out for naked and euro bars, loved it, sold it. Next an '84 RS, a beauty, smoked gray, didn't like it, the position, fairing too much for me, great for photos of rain in a wind tunnel, some loved it, sold it. Next 90S with shorty fairing, S bars, (like the euro bars), like it the best because it breaks the wind on the body but keeps the helmet in the wind, with ear plugs. The RS fairing gave me false confidence about what was going on as speed increased. It forced the bike down on its suspension, thinking, "O goody, this thing's on rails!" I'd rather know between my ears exactly what I'm getting into. Two cents, FWIW, thoughts on fairing'ed airheads.

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