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Thread: K100RS for Touring?

  1. #1
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    K100RS for Touring?

    Hello, All.
    I have been searching for an RT, either R or K, to some long distance touring. I recently saw a mid 80's K100 RS for sale. It is very low mileage, has maintenance records, 2 owners. So now I'm kind of lusting after an RS. Any thoughts on how it would perform as a long distance touring bike? I am 6'1" and wonder about buffeting over the windshield.

    Also, as age has crept up, I have conflicting back issues. Lumbar stenosis likes me to lean forward. Diabetic shoulder pain likes me to lean back. Any thoughts from those who have ridden these and/or had these ailments?

    Lousy winter weather here would preclude a test ride since ice and snow a still a reality. I'd be counting on the very low mileage. Blessings.

    BB

  2. #2
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerboy View Post
    Hello, All.
    I have been searching for an RT, either R or K, to some long distance touring. I recently saw a mid 80's K100 RS for sale. It is very low mileage, has maintenance records, 2 owners. So now I'm kind of lusting after an RS. Any thoughts on how it would perform as a long distance touring bike? I am 6'1" and wonder about buffeting over the windshield.

    Also, as age has crept up, I have conflicting back issues. Lumbar stenosis likes me to lean forward. Diabetic shoulder pain likes me to lean back. Any thoughts from those who have ridden these and/or had these ailments?

    Lousy winter weather here would preclude a test ride since ice and snow a still a reality. I'd be counting on the very low mileage. Blessings.

    BB
    Depending on the year - don't count on the very low mileage indicated. Almost all the early K bikes got an instrument cluster replacement sometime in their life since the original clusters had the reliability of Lucas Electrics. If it was actually very low mileage (I look at the rear brake pedal wear to get some idea of actual mileage) - I'd wonder why. Some of the early bikes - especially the '85's - are notably buzzy especially at US cruising speeds. That tended to keep the miles put on them down, which might also be a hint if you want to use it for long distance touring.

    As far as your fit? Well - there are aftermarket windshields for the RS and RT (it isn't clear which you're seeking) that can address buffeting. The standard RS seating position is generally a lean forward sort of position, but this can be changed with "C" bars or bar-backs. The RT position is a sit-up-and-beg position. One concern on an RT - will your knees hit the fairing? The fairing is rather close on the trailing edge to the rider, and many taller people found they had a problem with their knees hitting the padded rear fairing panels.

    For my money - since you asked - if it was me - and I could afford it - I'd be looking for an R1200RT - pretty much the standard for long-distance touring on a BMW. It's more powerful and lighter than the K100 - and the engine generally has a very relaxed feel to it even at silly high speeds that makes it great for touring.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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    I found my K1100's to be a bit buzzy, the K100 is worse. Also the RS has low, narrow bars that require one to lean forward, which was uncomfortable on my neck. There is no good windscreen solution. My first R1100RT with upright seating position was a revelation in terms of comfort - I went from 300 mi days to 600+. The oilheads handle better too. I would suggest a low mile R1150RT or R1200RT as Don mentions. If you buy an R1150RT, look for a 2004 with the twin plugs.

    Sent from my DROID4 using Tapatalk
    2012 R1200RT
    2012 Super Tenere
    2001 R1100RT (sold)

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your input.
    In looking over my post I see I didn't make the issue clear. I have been wanting an RT but when this low mileage RS came available I opened my parameters. Both previous owners were older guys who bought it in their mid 50's (just like me now). When I go to look it I'll verify mileage with condition and maint records.

    The owner has been very up front with me about splines never having been done that he knows of, cracked lens, shift indicator problems, repaired speedo wiring- all the usual. I'm not overly concerned about the splines if the mileage is actually 20,000 miles.

    Buzzing seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Some hate it, others seem to think it is minor. I rode a '76 Bonneville years ago and people laughed about the vibrations. Didn't bother me. But not having ridden a "K" I have no idea. My R69s was very smooth in comparison. Maybe the frequency is particularly annoying.

    Thanks again.

    BB

  5. #5
    Registered User Beemer01's Avatar
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    Beemerboy -

    I had a 85 K100RS and did a lot of long distance touring on it. As noted this tends to be a high reving engine, this does bother some people - it bothers the engine not a bit.

    I did the C handlebar conversion and that made a world of difference from a seating position and comfort standpoint - I was in my mid 50's at the time and the stock bar setup gave me neck cramps.

    I liked the bike, eventually selling it to a reformed HD rider and I bought a 2004 KGT. The Brick engine is a very solid design and overall the bike is easy to work on.

  6. #6
    Registered User 58058D's Avatar
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    I did quite a bit of touring, very long days and many miles on my '85 RS. The windscreen solution I found (I am 6') was the Parabellum. The guy with the '85 RS/RT restoration thread has one of the later black unpainted bases shown in his thread. With the proper height screen on it, it would do well for you. Mine was color matched to the red very well and when people saw me on it, they always thought it was an RT. I had a Russel Day Long saddle that was the best touring seat for me and my wife. While I did put bar backs on it and got a more upright position, I still had the narrow stock bars, so they were about as far up and back as my current K1200RS, but much narrower requiring more pressure to turn. As noted above, they are not the most flick-able beast. The buzzing on mine was such that I could select where I felt it....feet, butt, hands, etc ....by choosing the RPM I used (speed and gear selection). I found that while riding the '85 in a group, they tended to ride around indicated 60 mph, exactly where mine buzzed the worst for my hands...but at an indicated 65-70 mph it was very tolerable. The buzz is VERY different from the pulsing of a twin, so it is usually a tolerate or hate type of situation. The passenger pegs buzzed intollerably for my wife. We found that some 1" thick pipe insulation duct taped around them worked perfect and they were actually not that noticable and were easily removed. I also installed some aftermarket passenger peg relocators that were popular in the early '90s. Those placed her feet more up, but more importantly, farther forward so she had someplace to take her momentum when I braked - other than only sliding into me which is the only option with the leg position for the '85 stock passenger pegs. Once those things were done, that RS was an outstanding long distance tourer. The K1300S is the only K I have had that I did not start out in stock configuration and gradually migrate to a more GT/RT configuration....but then....it had a totally different purpose in my life.
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >135,000 miles my primary bike again,
    Gone: '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi
    '06 Kaw 650R track bike sold
    http://www.seagullbb.com/

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    Good info, Jim.Thanks.
    I sat on a buddy's airhead RS last night. I found it a tad hard on my elbows and shoulders. He actually has two in somewhat different handlebar configurations. They were both kinda too forward for my achy break bod. But I'll check this '85 K out and see how it fits. I doubt I'd want to ride for more than an hour in that position.

    I just always liked the K's when they came out so when I see a low mileage one it's hard to ignore it.The RS's are slightly more aerodynamic looking IMHO. I'd love to get my R69 on the road but that will be several years down the road if I start today. I'd like to do some riding while I still can. Who knows, maybe the buzz would be therapeutic ; )
    Blessings.

    BB

  8. #8
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerboy View Post
    Good info, Jim.Thanks.
    I sat on a buddy's airhead RS last night. I found it a tad hard on my elbows and shoulders. He actually has two in somewhat different handlebar configurations. They were both kinda too forward for my achy break bod. But I'll check this '85 K out and see how it fits. I doubt I'd want to ride for more than an hour in that position.

    I just always liked the K's when they came out so when I see a low mileage one it's hard to ignore it.The RS's are slightly more aerodynamic looking IMHO. I'd love to get my R69 on the road but that will be several years down the road if I start today. I'd like to do some riding while I still can. Who knows, maybe the buzz would be therapeutic ; )
    Blessings.

    BB
    What really fits one persons body can be awful for someone else - and I don't think you can really tell that without riding the bike. I had a '87K75 to which the original owner had added (at considerable expense) an RS fairing from a K100. When I rode it, there was too much wind pressure against my chest, so bought an Aeroscreen shield. Took their advice on height and that shield was perfect, except for bugs on the face shield. Duct taped up a shaped cardboard riser on that screen before ordering a taller one, just to be sure that is what I wanted. One of my brighter ideas! No bugs on the face shield, but totally dead air which would only be great for cold weather riding. Salvaged that shield after a wreck and fully expected to install it after I bought a '92K100RS. That bike came with a little Laminar Lip. To my amazement, the Lip seemed to perform exactly as the Aeroscreen but with much less frontal area. Both bikes are/were comfortable for me on longer days with reasonable protection from rain.

    A point about RT's which you can determine just by sitting on the bike on the center stand: Is there enough leg room? Bring your riding pants and see if you have some clearance. If your knees are touching the plastic, you are not going to be happy. Not as much an issue on KRS's.

    Besides the often replaced instrument clusters on early K bikes, there are several other issues which can get expensive: 1. ABS - if the bike has it and it is not functioning, finding the problem can be difficult and fixing the problem can be cheap or very expensive. 2. K100 bikes OFTEN broke exhaust pipes where they entered the muffler. (My low mileage bike has done so twice.) Specialized welding seems to be only a temporary solution. The PERMANENT fix was an after market exhaust system - now only available used. If a K100 you are considering has the original exhaust, even if no breaks and never welded, you are probably living on borrowed time. Cost - over $500 and the hassle of finding one. 3. Final drive splines on early K bikes, when they fail, are also expensive - $500-1000. They failed because of the quality of the lubricants recommended back in the day. I would DEFINITELY want to see those splines and, if still good, have them cleaned and re-lubed. 4. Saddles are another "sore point" on so many BMWs and hard to evaluate without a ride - unless it is original and, by definition, bad.

    Old K bikes are cheap and they have the reputation of lasting almost forever. (The engines, that is.) If you want a bike to ride this season, consider paying more for a machine which doesn't have the above problems, because a previous owner already fixed them.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  9. #9
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    Thanks for your insights, Doug.
    Question for you. As a fellow Canuck, how did you find the "heat problem" on your K's? Here in MB it gets plenty hot in summer (35C & 90% humidity). But on the prairies things can change quickly. When I lived in Calgary a ride of 6 hours could go from pressure cooker to ride-in-freezer and back. How have you found them to be?

    Also do you recall who made the laminar lip? Was it an addition to the windshield or was it one piece with it?

    I welded SS for about 3 years and am familiar with cracking around the heat affected zones in SS. SS also tends to work harden and crack fairly quickly. Much of the is depends on the specific alloy involved. Usually some kind of slip or expansion joint can solve the problem. SS tends to have a much greater coefficient of expansion than regular steel which leads to cracking as well. The heat affected zone already has a tendency to crack and all the expansion and contraction makes it fail at that weakest point - in this case the muffler. I'd have to research the fix further.

    BB

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    I have not had one, but I believe the trade name is Laminar Lip, so google under that and you should find it.
    I owned my '85 and '93 in the Sacramento valley with temps quite high in the summer and quite cool in winter (lotsa fog, too). With good riding pants, the heat was never an issue on my legs. However, in jeans, my calves would break out in a heat rash. With the stock fairing, the heat was not bad on the upper body, that was all from ambient temps.(110+ F, 42+ C)...and depending on those temps, you regulate that by adjusting all your venting to keep the furnace off your chest but keep enough flow so you do not pressure cook. With the tall screen, it can get stfling due to lack of airflow, so my full 'Stitch is not the best for that, a mesh jacket and pants might be better. On my K1200RS, I start mornings at 50 F at the coast and head into the valley. By 3PM for the 190 mile ride home, it can be 100-110 and then back down to 50 at the coast....so I start with lots of layers and fully zipped in the morning, shed all that for the return, but then gradually add some as things cool by the end of the return. That is with the tall Aeroflow on the K1200RS, pretty much equivelant to my tall parabellum on the '85.
    Jim Douglas '00 K1200RS >135,000 miles my primary bike again,
    Gone: '09 K1300S sold @ 22k mi, '93 K1100RS traded @ 78k mi, '85 K100RS sold @ 44k mi
    '06 Kaw 650R track bike sold
    http://www.seagullbb.com/

  11. #11
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    have had both airhead and K RSs. Airhead is a "tighter" fit than is the brick.
    RS fairing and K heat production are good for about 10-15 degs. which is nice in 30-50 degs ambient, but pretty well sucks at 80 or above. wearing riding pants is actually more comfortable (and potentially safer) than just jeans.
    nice 2-up or solo touring bike, but the heat production eventully got to me. Picked up a Ducati SS as my "summer solo, not touring" bike, and both were eventually replaced by my R11S- best of both world's. pretty much a more civilized Ducati.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #12
    Registered User Beemer01's Avatar
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    Note on heat and riding apparel

    The K-100 does throw off a bit of heat - I wore the BMW Summer pants and was fine, jeans would not have worked well in the summer months.

  13. #13
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerboy View Post
    Thanks for your insights, Doug.
    Question for you. As a fellow Canuck, how did you find the "heat problem" on your K's? Here in MB it gets plenty hot in summer (35C & 90% humidity). But on the prairies things can change quickly. When I lived in Calgary a ride of 6 hours could go from pressure cooker to ride-in-freezer and back. How have you found them to be?

    Also do you recall who made the laminar lip? Was it an addition to the windshield or was it one piece with it?

    I welded SS for about 3 years and am familiar with cracking around the heat affected zones in SS. SS also tends to work harden and crack fairly quickly. Much of the is depends on the specific alloy involved. Usually some kind of slip or expansion joint can solve the problem. SS tends to have a much greater coefficient of expansion than regular steel which leads to cracking as well. The heat affected zone already has a tendency to crack and all the expansion and contraction makes it fail at that weakest point - in this case the muffler. I'd have to research the fix further.

    BB
    Post #10 answered your question about the Laminar Lip. I think they are cheap enough to be a worthwhile try on any windscreen, assuming you are not happy with a stock KRS windscreen or indeed any other where you would like the airflow directed up a bit. They are somewhat adjustable too.

    The same post mentioned that in real heat good riding pants are far more comfortable than jeans. I couldn't agree more. In anything but cold weather (45F or below) I wear long light pants under my Rev'It riding pants and always leave the rain liner in. Counter-intuitive for sure, but my theory is that the air between those layers insulates my legs from both engine heat and that hot air just above the sunbaked tarmac. I can also doff the riding gear for a lunch break (ALWAYS in hot weather) and look as normal as I get. Just as important as the reasonable comfort over a wide range of temperatures, I don't have to be adding or removing layers on my lower half as temps and riding conditions change.

    Not sure how to (or even if there is a way to) combat both high temps and high humidity. Maybe ask the question in "Just Riding." High temps and LOW humidity are probably best beaten with a vented jacket (not a mesh one which flows too much air) and a heavy sweatshirt soaked with water. (A few years ago I was prowling a thrift store, saw this heavy cotton pull-over for $2, and saw the possibilities. The zip up neck was good. I amputated the sleeves and the lower half at about belly button height with scissors.) Soak that baby in a river or gas station restroom, wring out slightly, put it on against your bare skin, reinstall the vented jacket with vents open of course, and you can ride in reasonable comfort at temps up to 100F for several hours.

    If you have any idea how a welder could do a permanent job on those four SS pipes into the exhaust, you would earn my undying gratitude.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  14. #14
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    I have both bikes.

    I absolutely LOVE riding the K100RS. It is blindingly fast because of some modifications done by Blue Moon and the previous owner.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezT9zJV0pFE

    I keep it at the farm, North of Winston Salem and ride the twisties with much more speed and aggressiveness than a man my age should. I have never been too hot on it and the "buzz" is not noticeable. The Corbin seat keeps me in the saddle and is comfortable.

    I keep the R1100RT at the beach and put a lot of long distance rides on it. There is no way I would do two up on the K bike for any distance, but the RT will haul me, my wife and her dog for very long days with no problems.

    But the bike. Ride it. If it does not fit your every need, but another bike.

    Good luck and have fun.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  15. #15
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    One thing which has not been mentioned is that you get used to the forward-lean riding position.
    There is also a very definite "way" to a sport-bike. When in the saddle keep your elbows bent, and very little to no weight on your wrists. Keep the balls of your feet on the pegs & support the weight of your body with your upper thighs, and let the wind against your chest help to hold you upright. It seems a little awkward at first but after about a week (once you get used to it) it is a very comfortable way to ride. I'm 63, and 6'. 1000-1500 mile days are not a problem for me on my RS. I came from HD's with a riding position very much like an RT and to me an RS is much more comfortable.
    Ken
    IBA #44567
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
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