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Pop Rivets to Repair Hard Bags

Stephen Karlan (Dali Meeow)  -  dalimeeow@adelphia.net



This article focuses on repair of the R1100 (1994-1998) bags. Rivets for other bags also are available if you remove and measure the rivets you need exactly and then contact me with the measurements and number you require, along with your eMail address, full snail mail address and phone numbers.

The hard bags for the R1100xx use pop rivets in two places -- eight of them per bag at the hinge area to hold the two halves of the case together and these are approx. 3/4-inch long -- and seven of them to attach the locking mechanism to the inside case, and these are approx.1/2-inch long. That means there are 15 pop rivets per bag, and sometimes these break, shake loose, are removed so you can paint the bag, or are damaged.

When you try to replace a pop rivet, you will find that the diameter of the pop rivets is NOT standard. In fact, if you have a standard diameter pop-rivet tool, it will not work with the BMW rivets. Many auto mechanics have Snap-On or Mac Tool pop rivet pliers that will handle at least four different sizes. Borrowed this tool for two minutes when you reinstall pop rivets on your bags -- it may be easier to borrow this for a few minutes use than trying to find a tool dealer who sells them.

The normal place to buy pop rivets is in auto and building supply stores. My Home Depot had lots of pop rivets, but not the BMW size. If you have trouble finding the pop rivets locally, I can send them to you if I know which length and how many you need. Send e-mail to

dalimeeow@adelphia.net if you are interested and I will send you the details.

If you think that the plastic of the hinge area has been damaged, please check that area carefully. One option for repairing this is to obtain a longer-than-normal one-inch rivet and to use one or more washers to reinforce the area. If you place the washer over the damaged area, the hinge area may still be strong and effective.

If you have a problem locating the longer pop rivets or the washers, or have another question, you can eMail me.

I found that removing the rivets and separating the top and bottom half of the bags made painting much easier. Also, if you damage the inside part of the bag, you will want to remove the locking mechanism by drillling out the seven pop rivets. It's much cheaper to order the bag bottom half and reinstall the locking mechanism, if it's still working. The additional reason to reuse the locking mechanism is that you will not have to get a new one rekeyed. BMW sells the bag bottom half without the locking mechanism.

The author has done his best to produce accurate information. However no responsibility can be accepted for any damage or injury caused by any errors or omissions in this article. Make certain that you understand what is described and why it is being done. Use at your own risk.


Comments, corrections and questions may be directed to
Stephen Karlan (Dali Meeow) at (305) 255-1010
or via email at dalimeeow@adelphia.net.
Updated Novemmber 23, 2004.

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Last Update: 09 September 2010