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Old 11-01-2010, 07:55 PM   #1
SDVET OP
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R90S vs R100S

Ok all you historians, why is the 74 thru 76 R90s held in so much higher esteem than the 77, 78 R100S models? How do the two bikes compare in performance. A nice 90S seems to bring about twice the dollars as later models.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:59 PM   #2
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Well teh R90S had those dellorto's, and the R100S was just bings. I think there was more HP out of the 90s, despite being fewer HP. All around more of a performance kit.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #3
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Why do people collect certain motorcycle and not others, why certain motorcycles are legendary? My guess is that the difference is mostly in people's mind, and the perception we have of a motorcycle is reinforced by what the community thinks. Collectors are somewhat conformist. The reputation of a bike will influence my opinion of a bike, even though I don't know anything about this bike...
If you don't see any difference between an r90s and an r100s, then good for you: you can buy the r100s, it's cheaper, and you will enjoy it like an r90s. Maybe the r90s was the first one, maybe it looks a bit nicer, maybe less were built, but maybe in theory the 100s is a bit more powerful... To some people, those facts will matter more than the actual riding feelings they get from the bike. But I think you are right, objectively, nothing justifies the price of an r90s compared with an r100s.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDVET
Ok all you historians, why is the 74 thru 76 R90s held in so much higher esteem than the 77, 78 R100S models? How do the two bikes compare in performance. A nice 90S seems to bring about twice the dollars as later models.
The R90S was a groundbreaking bike not only for BMW but for the entire motorcycling world.

At the time it came out, it was arguably the fastest, best built, most expensive production motorcycle in the world and the first attempt by a manufacturer to build and market a cafe-racer-esque bike to the top of the market.

Thankfully, it worked!

The R100S kept the styling of it's predecessor but substituted an updated 1000cc engine but with Bing 40mm carbs and had a somewhat stiffer frame. The speed difference between the two is probably a toss-up but Dells are nice to have on either bike.

The R90 is an iconic bike because it is just that, while the R100S bikes are still coming into their own and are on their way up. You should be able to snag a perfect r100S for around $5K while a perfect R90S might cost upwards of $12K.

If you want a rider, you can usually find decent R90Ss for maybe 4K depending on location or a nicer R100S for a smidge more. Me? Given the choice I might buy the R90S and hold on to it but a sweet R100S is a nice ride!

Come to think of it, I had that choice and went off and built my own!

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Old 11-01-2010, 09:20 PM   #5
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Values are subjective, as are opinions . . . still, here goes:

The R90S was hailed as an instant classic when first released in late '73. The press universally loved it. The R90S enjoyed some high profile race victories thanks to Udo Geitl and Helmut Dahne, which also added to the reputation the R90S created for itself. While it was in production, it was the premium model in the BMW range, and that added further desirability.

The R100S on the other hand merely built on the R90S's platform, and although it brought some worthwhile upgrades such as a stiffer frame, it was a development of the R90S as distinct from the R100RS which was a ground-breaking model due to the fairing. And since the R100S was no longer the premium model, it lost some of the potential appeal even though it was technically a better bike than the R90S.

Another factor is the R90S's short production run of three years, compared to the substantially longer production run of the R100S and it's subsequent R100CS update.

The R90S set the mold for BMW styling for the rest of the airhead production life, with the tank, gauges and seat profile creating the basic silhouette of most models to follow. The R100S didn't really create any "firsts" by comparison. It remained overshadowed by the R100RS for its entire production life, even though it was arguably the fastest production airhead available.

I saw an article about the R100S a few years ago in a classic bike mag, and the writer unfairly (in my opinion) panned it. He did make an interesting point though when he mused that BMW perhaps may have done better if they had left the R90S in production (in updated /7 form) alongside the R100RS instead of using the 1000cc engine in both. An interesting although debatable thought . . .

A friend of mine has had an '77 R100S for many years, and I've ridden it several times. I really liked it and felt that it was definitely a bike worthy of the "S" suffix. It has always remained a mystery to me that they have been so undervalued.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
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No pictures of this, so I guess it doesn't exist on the internet, but my friend who has his own shop I've been going to for 20+ years is a real air-header and over the years has had many of them. About 4 years ago he finished a little over a year build of a R90S entirely from NOS BMW parts. The only thing that wasn't from Germany were replica new Bing carbs from Poland, although they may actually be licensed from BMW, I 'dunno. He sourced the parts from his friend who owns a BMW dealership; interesting you can still get all this stuff. He wouldn't admit to saying how much more than 15k he had in it. Its smoke gray, and obviously it came out perfect. It now has about 20,000 miles on it.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lulu
But I think you are right, objectively, nothing justifies the price of an r90s compared with an r100s.
Nothing? except that is in fact what people are prepared to pay for them
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:37 AM   #8
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+1

Objectively there is little to separate the 2 models; what the "market" believes is purely a subjective assessment. If you don't need the R90s's paintjob the R100S/CS offers much better value.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istanbulian
..R100S/CS offers much better value.
ditto that one...and everything said here is true.

One thing to remember, if you are looking to buy, is that BMW is slow to change and improve their bikes. Folklore has it that the customers bitch for years forced to design their own upgrades, then BMW finally makes the same changes and calls it their own. Call it stubborn Krautness or shrewd marketing, they are slow to move.

That said, the R90S may be the cat's pajamas to some, but later models have improvements, high on collectable list or not.
My favorite is a first year '77 RS (cuz I had one once uponatime). I wouldn't shop for an R90S. Personal preference.

But seeing '77 RSs for sale now, I always stop and think...maybe I should get a later model RS...hmmmm....
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:35 PM   #10
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I agree with everything said here and just thought I'd add that the 90S has a couple of things over on the 100.

Better gas mileage
Less vibration
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istanbulian
+1

Objectively there is little to separate the 2 models; what the "market" believes is purely a subjective assessment. If you don't need the R90s's paintjob the R100S/CS offers much better value.
I agree it is all subjective. The one excites people like me and the other is just another very good bike of which there are dozens. If value for money is the important factor, why are we talking BMW when there are so many good, reliable jap bikes on the market?
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:27 AM   #12
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This addresses many of my own questions and sentimets - having recently bought a project '77 R100S.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
No pictures of this, so I guess it doesn't exist on the internet, but my friend who has his own shop I've been going to for 20+ years is a real air-header and over the years has had many of them. About 4 years ago he finished a little over a year build of a R90S entirely from NOS BMW parts. The only thing that wasn't from Germany were replica new Bing carbs from Poland, although they may actually be licensed from BMW, I 'dunno. He sourced the parts from his friend who owns a BMW dealership; interesting you can still get all this stuff. He wouldn't admit to saying how much more than 15k he had in it. Its smoke gray, and obviously it came out perfect. It now has about 20,000 miles on it.


Bing carbs? on his replica R90S?

Wonder what else was done wrong.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:28 AM   #14
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I think the main difference is simply that when the R90S was available, BMW could still claim that it was the ultimate sport bike, nothing else was faster. It was the number one, cost is no object, sport bike of its day. People always remember the top bike of the era.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:06 PM   #15
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Nothing else was faster?

I think you mean "Nothing else was a better package". I'm pretty sure that the Kawasaki 750 triple, 903Z1, and CB750 Honda were faster, but didn't handle as well.
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