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Old 07-24-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
drj434343 OP
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Location: The Great NW
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My first airhead, smoke red 82' R100RS, some impressions and questions

I've been riding bikes for 1 year; started with a 71' Honda CB500 last summer, although at the time I was looking at older SWB airheads as I always liked those crazy jugs jutting out. The Honda came along at the right time though, so I jumped on it.

This last year of riding convinced me of a few things. A) I needed some kind of fairing protection, the PNW is colder most of the year. B) I needed some kind of storage on bike, but couldn't find non factory options that looked decent on the CB500. C) More power couldn't hurt!

Weeks of reading later, I decided to jump into the RS. Love that fairing, and the Krauser bags! I finally found a smoke red 82' and trailered it across the state after a short test drive.



Since then, I've been on it a few times to get a feel. The first ride was awkward; I wasn't sure about the wallowing suspension, the giant thump power pulses when accelerating, and the riding position on stock bars. The CB500 was sewing machine in comparison. The second ride was different, as soon as I got on it seemed to fit more like a glove; I got more comfortable with the short bars, and began to see some of the charm that everyone raves about. It feels more like a bike I could take a long trip on; the CB500 does not.

That said, I have a lot of learning to do. A Clymer manual is in the mail, and in the meantime I've been exploring what I can throw at this to get it ready for some longer trips. I've also noticed a few things in my first few rides.

1. Charging light and volt meter have minds of their own. The light will go off above 2K RPM, but only sometimes comes back on at idle. The gauge reads about 12.6 V max while riding, and 12.2V idling. Sometimes it stays in the low 12's even when revving. I haven't put a VM on the battery directly yet. Do the gauges normally read low?

2. My oil cooler is cold to the touch after a ride. I've read there is a wax filled oil thermostat that can malfunction and not allow any oil into the cooler, but when I look through parts catalogs like Bike Bandit, a replacement does not seem available. Is it dangerous to ride without this? Could I remove it all together and switch to a vented front cover?

3. My idle has a mind of its own. Sometimes it falls to 1K RPM, sometimes it stays at 1.5K RPM. I've read the mechanical advances on these bikes can become sticky over time. Is this a common problem, or should I look elsewhere? I have confirmed the throttle action of the carbs is strong and returns to base without sticking. They were professionally synced before I got the bike.

4. Is there a good online source for factory parts on these bikes? I'm going to get a bunch of stage zero parts along with many misc odds and ends that are missing. Bike Bandit is the best I've found so far with part blowaparts. Are there other sources?

Cheers,
Jason
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #2
Ron Bernert
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The RS is a fantastic bike. Sometimes, it takes 'getting used to', but most of the time, you need to straighten out previous owner's errors. When the bike is set up for you, you'll grin from ear to ear. Stick with it.
For parts, I use Max BMW and Bob's BMW. There's some other really good sources, and I'm sure someone else will advise you on somewhere a little closer to home. Bob's gets my order correct 75% of the time. Max is 100%. Max's has the Fiche, so it's simple to order.

Out of all of the bikes I've owned, the RS is probably one of the best I have ever had. A true 4-season rider, almost weatherproof. If you can afford to spend a season or two dialing the bike in to your riding style, It might be the best bike for you, too! Enjoy it!
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:15 PM   #3
beemerphile
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A beautiful score. IMO you have the very best RS model and color ever. Try Hucky's for parts. Hans has no online fiche, but once you know what you want he is the real deal. An old school parts dealer for an old school bike.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
oldhippie1
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82 r100rs

You have a FINE motorcycle. Join the BMWMOA and go to one of their rally's. They are a good group. You'll also learn where to buy parts etc. I've been a member for 33 years. Your bike can be rebuilt over and over and is so much neater than the new stuff out there. Be happy with it and ride it for a lifetime.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:22 PM   #5
SOLO LOBO
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Depending on where your in OR, inmate Wirespokes is a great resource for BMW knowledge and assistance...

As far as parts go, I am a fan of buying local, and your local BMW shop can you you any parts you need, save the NLA ones.
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your bike is suitably dirty. Well done.
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:10 PM   #6
drj434343 OP
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I read Bill Stermer's R100RS book and was surprised to see that only 215 of these were made in 1982 for all of Canada, US, and Australia!
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:00 PM   #7
DoktorT
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[QUOTE=drj434343;21944245]

1. Charging light and volt meter have minds of their own. The light will go off above 2K RPM, but only sometimes comes back on at idle. The gauge reads about 12.6 V max while riding, and 12.2V idling. Sometimes it stays in the low 12's even when revving. I haven't put a VM on the battery directly yet. Do the gauges normally read low?

The gen light is acting properly. Believe that. You must rev the engine to activate the charging. Set the idle at 1100 and you will not see it glow again typically. Put no trust in the volt meter without comparing at the batt terms. Old volt meters on these do put out bad data in many ways.


2. My oil cooler is cold to the touch after a ride. I've read there is a wax filled oil thermostat that can malfunction and not allow any oil into the cooler, but when I look through parts catalogs like Bike Bandit, a replacement does not seem available. Is it dangerous to ride without this? Could I remove it all together and switch to a vented front cover?

You simply will not need the cooler in the PacNW. It is not getting warm because it is not getting hot enough to open the thermostat much if at all.

3. My idle has a mind of its own. Sometimes it falls to 1K RPM, sometimes it stays at 1.5K RPM. I've read the mechanical advances on these bikes can become sticky over time. Is this a common problem, or should I look elsewhere? I have confirmed the throttle action of the carbs is strong and returns to base without sticking. They were professionally synced before I got the bike.

You cannot sync carbs if they are not setup properly to begin with. A timing light will tell all on the advace function.

4. Is there a good online source for factory parts on these bikes? I'm going to get a bunch of stage zero parts along with many misc odds and ends that are missing. Bike Bandit is the best I've found so far with part blowaparts. Are there other sources?

OMG, don't waste a dime on Bike Bandit. You must use one of the known Airheads vendor. I use Tom Porter at Beemershop in Scott's Valley, CA. Airhead knowledge is the most important criteria for a parts supplier for these machines.

You have a very nice RS. Get up to speed with the airheads@micapeak.com for timely answers from hundreds like you and a handfull of the best gurus in the nation.

http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/index.html

http://www.largiader.com/index.html

http://www.beemershop.com/

Take the time to learn. Save time/money and enjoy the Airhead.
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:36 PM   #8
ME 109
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Top bike drj434343434343434344343 (woops)

First, you might be able to get a brand new front wheel from BMW for your bike.

Second, you indeed have one of the best airheads imo.

These bikes are hugely competent in just about all areas of riding. Do give yourself time to get to know it, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Your RS looks very nice, although I'll have to disagree with beemerphile! (the grey is better than the red )
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:39 PM   #9
ME 109
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I'll take the brand new front wheel back, on closer inspection.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:31 AM   #10
GCCR
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Great score, great machine! I simply love my airheads (4) but the RS is my favorite to ride. I'm currently giving it a face lift to meet more of my taste, but that's another story. As far as your question re. the oil cooler, yes you can. If I where in an area where I was running it hard in a constant hot area, then I probably would leave it, but since I don't...off with it! It's also so much easier to do oil changes without that monstrous oil filter cover in the way. It takes way to much time with it in place. You'll need to get a regular cover to replace the old one. You'll also need to remove the pipe in the oil filter housing. It simply unscrews with a broad tip screwdriver. You'll need to buy the shorter pipe and install it the same way. There's a video on how to go about doing this on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=LMdtV8w5-ig

Good luck, and enjoy this fine machine!
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:03 AM   #11
drj434343 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ME 109 View Post
I'll take the brand new front wheel back, on closer inspection.
Yup, it's definitely a replaced wheel. I confirmed before purchasing, as I wasn't sure you could still get them from BMW at this point.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:09 AM   #12
drj434343 OP
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[QUOTE=DoktorT;21947095]
Quote:
Originally Posted by drj434343 View Post

You simply will not need the cooler in the PacNW. It is not getting warm because it is not getting hot enough to open the thermostat much if at all.

OMG, don't waste a dime on Bike Bandit. You must use one of the known Airheads vendor. I use Tom Porter at Beemershop in Scott's Valley, CA. Airhead knowledge is the most important criteria for a parts supplier for these machines.
On the oil cooler, I was stop and go on a 20 min ride through my neighborhood, but the ambient temp was probably 70. Perhaps I can let it idle until I feel that it gets warm. I found the expanding element at Max BMW for $38 and wonder if its just a good idea to replace this. I know that's the first thing I'd do with a new car and the water thermostat. Do the elements go bad often?

Max BMW looks like the best bet at this point; their fiche is a little better than Bike Bandit, although both have about the same prices.

I know all about Ted at the Beemershop, I've already spoken to him a few times about sending my heads off to get modern seats installed. I think the big remaining questions is whether I spring for the 9.5:1 pistons and a dual plug setup at the same time. Has anyone here done that? What kind of performance improvement did you realize? Was it worth the ~$900 cost of additional hardware?

Thanks all for the great info,
Jason
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
Hookalatch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drj434343 View Post
I
The first ride was awkward; I wasn't sure about the wallowing suspension
Cheers,
Jason
You didn't ask about this but check out your shocks. There are several items in the steering and suspension that can increase the wallowling you experienced but if you still have original shocks they may have lost some effectiveness in 30+ years. New shocks usually greatly improve the handling of these bikes. The bikes do have some inherent flexibility but in my experience if everything else is good you can actually push them pretty hard be fore that becomes an issue.

Very nice find by the way!

Chuck
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:01 AM   #14
ozmoses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ME 109 View Post
Top bike drj434343434343434344343 (woops)

First, you might be able to get a brand new front wheel from BMW for your bike.

Second, you indeed have one of the best airheads imo.

These bikes are hugely competent in just about all areas of riding. Do give yourself time to get to know it, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Your RS looks very nice, although I'll have to disagree with beemerphile! (the grey is better than the red )

Don't listen to ME109, I don't even think he rides a motorcycle!

Only thing I'm sure of, the faster an RS goes the better it feels.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:04 AM   #15
drj434343 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hookalatch View Post
You didn't ask about this but check out your shocks. There are several items in the steering and suspension that can increase the wallowling you experienced but if you still have original shocks they may have lost some effectiveness in 30+ years. New shocks usually greatly improve the handling of these bikes. The bikes do have some inherent flexibility but in my experience if everything else is good you can actually push them pretty hard be fore that becomes an issue.

Very nice find by the way!

Chuck
The rear shocks are not original. They are Koni's, and the PO stated they're about 5 years old but with only 4K miles (he rode very little in the last few years). The front is probably all original. My plan was to refresh the fluid and probably leave it like that for now as the forks are not leaking.

My comparison is to my CB500, on which I installed new Hagons and stiffer front progressive springs. It is a firm ride. The BMW in comparison is soft but so far doesn't feel overly soft. Part of the reason may be that this does not feel like the kind of bike I want to whip around the neighborhood, that's what the Honda is good at. I want to take this on longer rides in the outskirts. The gentle road feel will probably be welcome there.

I'm finding the bike wanders a bit into sweeping turns at speed, but can't tell if it is a function of my getting used to the shorter bars, or something else. Some of the period reviews I've looked at indicated they did have a tendency to not be 100% sure going into turns.
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