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If you build it, they will come: R 100 RS 40th anniversary celebration

Posted By Phil Sikora #9135, Monday, November 20, 2017

R 100 RS 40th anniversary celebration, Harleysville, PA, 14-17 September 2017

Just as he did for the commemorative R 90 S rally in 2014, Todd Trumbore dug deep and put together an amazing 40th celebration rally honoring the R 100 RS. Todd flew in Hans A. Muth from Germany at his own expense. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Mr. Muth had many recollections on designing this groundbreaking motorcycle. My favorite one was when a Japanese designer asked him for heuristics on design. How do you do it? Muth's answer was you have to feel it. He likened rider and machine to a centaur: rider and bike become one.

Back in the day, when I purchased my RS, I read that the flat finish on the fairing paint was due to supplying wind resistance to keep the front of the bike grounded, similar to the side pieces of the fairing. Mr. Muth said that the flat finish was chose to hide some of the surface bubbling imperfections from the molding process that was unacceptable to BMW.

Some of the other presentations included tech talks and recollections from Udo Gietl, Tom Cutter and Karl Myers. On the riding side of things, Ed Bach gave a presentation on his five year trip around the world, when he dropped off the grid in 2012, visiting 110 countries.

There were many more items on the agenda, such as a private museum tour of vintage motorbikes and motorcars in nearby Skippack Village each night.

This was a very poignant time for me. After a trip from New Jersey to Colorado to do some work for the National Park Service in the summer of ’76, I tired of my Honda 750's drive chain splitting and being thrown into the case. The repair required epoxying to keep the engine oil in. I decided to purchase an R 100 RS that October. I sold my Honda (with requisite Windjammer), sold my car, cleaned out my meager bank account and took out a loan. I never looked back. While I love my ’94 R 1100 RS to death, nothing will replace the feeling of pining over and acquiring that R 100 RS.

I have many anecdotes about owning that bike, including getting pulled over just so the officer could admire the machine. The funniest story was going around the green in Morristown, New Jersey, with my club just as church was getting out. A young boy pulled his mother to the curb, pointing at my bike, and exclaimed, "Look, Mommy! A space ship!" That bike did rocket me through some of the best times of my life.

As with any good rally, the time spent with new and old friends is immeasurable. Here’s a nod to friends Lou Stellar, Steve Bauer, Naomi and Bob Lonergan (of MOA National vintage display fame), the William Dudleys and Jim Danhakl.

Possible next rally: a combined R 65 and R 80 G/S commemoration. Maybe even a smaller one, peeking into Todd’s garage?

When all is said and done, the thing I think about still is Todd’s commitment to hosting these rallies. I can’t begin to appreciate the financial commitment. His expenses were not nearly covered by the paltry rally fee. He flew Mr. Muth over; Muth invited the Siebenrocks to come, and Todd covered that. He built the pavilion just for the rally; even more staggering was the time and mental and physical effort put in for our benefit. Wild. Then there was the support staff. Even the universe ponied up and kept the passing showers away from the grounds.

Ed Bach's blog is the most-followed thread in the history of and has over five million hits. It's split into two parts: the First Two Years and the Last Three Years.

Tags:  Airheads 

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Wayne Thompson says...
Posted Monday, November 20, 2017
Todd is a treasure to the vintage motorcycle community in our region and nationally. His willingness and ability to take on events like this, as well as many other smaller ones are a testament to his passion and generosity. As I stated in my own blog coverage of this event, Great guy, great event.
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