Oilhead Tech Pages


The BMW-R1100 FAQ file

5/3/94


Compiled by Brad Hepler from the bmw-r1100 mailing list (to subscribe send a message to majordomo@world.std.com with "subscribe bmw-r1100" (without quotes) in the body of the message)

My comments are in []




*What bikes are based on the R1100 (a.k.a. type 259) engine?


*Why is my R1100RS so hard to start?

You probably have an early version of the Motronic. As of 4/94, BMW has emphatically stated that there will be no upgrades to the newer Motronic. See the next questions for more details.

The technique to start early R1100RS's is: crank for two or three revolutions, wait for a second, and crank again. The engine should catch on the second cranking.


*Why does my R1100RS rattle in neutral with the clutch disengaged?

The gears in the transmission are rattling around on their shafts. [anyone care to add more detail?] BMW has assured everyone that this situation does not cause undue wear. This was improved starting with serial #311168.


*What are the differences between early R1100RS's and later ones?

Starting with serial number 311168, BMW updated the Motronic, transmission, and final drive. NO upgrades are available. All bikes manufactured in 1993 have the old equipment.

Hard starting: the Motronic was changed; the extent of this revision is unknown. It may be more than just a new chip. Newer R1100RS's fire right up like a fuel injected bike should.

Final drive: the final drive ratio was lowered [? to match the R1100GS].

Transmission: to improve engagement, first gear is no longer undercut. First gear was shortened overall; the other ratios stayed the same overall [except 5th?]. Since the final drive ratio changed, this means that all of the gears were updated. Many changes were made to quiet the rattle in neutral.

Clutch: the clutch was totally redesigned. The newer clutches have an easier pull, and are hopefully more reliable.

Suspension: the front shock is rumored to have received a stiffer spring.

Seats: BMW stopped shipping R1100RS's with teal and off-white seats. It is widely believed that those seats will become sought after and climb rapidly in value...

[These last two may have happened earlier than #311168.]

Very early R1100RS's had only a neutral switch, not a gear position switch. This makes the installation of the Rider Information Display much more difficult. The way to tell if your bike has the gear position switch: Squat down beside the bike (left hand side) and look for a wire or two tied to the rear subframe near its attachment point on the engine/tranny. If you see TWO wires, you have the gear indicator switch. If you see ONE wire, you only have a neutral switch.


*Why does the clutch free play move so quickly?

Your clutch is dying a slow death. In early 1994, BMW changed the recommended free play at the lever to 5 mm. Clutches were burning out too quickly with 2 mm of free play. 3 members of the bmw-r1100 list have had their clutches replaced as of 5/94.

BMW shortened first gear starting with #311168; they possibly felt that the tall 1st gear was contributing to clutch burnout. The clutch was also totally redesigned.

The older clutches have serious reliability questions, and BMW's warranty policy on the clutches is still up in the air. As of April 1994, the policy on burnt clutches is: if you have a leaking rear main seal, the clutch will be warrantied. Otherwise, the wear is "normal" and because of "abuse". [Bullshit! --ed.] When the clutches go, the drive splines often show serious wear. There is no warranty policy on the drive splines as of 4/94.

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com):
Apparently my clutch is fried even though I was extremely careful to always keep at least 5mm free play at the motor. I couldn't believe it. He also says my clutch spline is already showing signs of wear. This is at 14,500 miles only.

- I picked up the bike today and found out some interesting, if not disheartening, tid-bits. They did in fact put a new clutch kit into my bike, a $400.00 dollar item. This was warranty. So far Cal. BMW has done 2 and Marty's in LA has done 2. BMW KNOWS they have a problem because the new clutch is different. Kelly said something about Nickel in the plates. My new clutch shifts MUCH easier than the old one. It is much easier to pull in the lever. I don't know why.


*What's the technique for adding/checking oil?

The R1100 engine has a sight glass and a more convenient filler location than on the 2-valve boxers. This makes oil checking & filling much easier than it used to be; however, some care must be taken.

- the oil should be checked when the engine is cold. It takes a while for oil to work its way down from the cooler and the cylinders. The check is best done in the morning before the bike has been run.

- add oil slowly! for the same reasons given above (it takes oil a while to run down from the cylinder). Do not add more than ~ 200 ml at a time. The amount of oil from the bottom of the window to the top is not 1 quart. [anyone know about what it is?]


*Why does it leak so much oil?

The R1100's ooze from a number of places: the oil pressure sending unit on the left front on the engine seeps badly; so do the cam covers on the rear of the cylinder heads. The rear main seal and oil sight glass secrete oil on some bikes.

If your rear main seal develops a leak, it can ruin your clutch. BMW will cover this clutch replacement under warranty. There is a small hole on the underside of the engine which is intended to allow oil out of the clutch housing should the rear main seal leak. If you see oil coming from this hole, your rear main seal is suspect and so is your clutch.

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com):
The only thing that would stop the cam covers from leaking was to replace the O-rings with ones purchased at a plumbing supply store. The BMW replacements will not stop the leak.


*Is there a service manual?

Not yet, and the owners manual is no help for working on the bike -- it tells you the fluid capacities and how to remove the wheels and change the bulbs. That's about it. The valve clearances are listed on a sticker under the seat if you feel brave.


*What's so special about the Motronic fuel injection/catalytic convertor?

The Motronic system automatically compensates for changes in engine tune. If you add a pipe like the CC products slip-on, you do NOT need a new chip. The Motronic uses the signal from the oxygen sensor to recalibrate itself. Unlike the Jetronic system on earlier K-bikes, the Motronic system automatically compensates for changes in altitude (this is true whether you have an oxygen sensor or not).

The catalytic convertor allows BMW to tune the engine for maximum performance, then clean up the emissions after the fact. The cat removes 70-90% of the pollutants from the exhaust stream. It also precludes the use of unleaded fuel.


*how do I add more power?

Chris Hodgson of San Jose BMW/CC Products (sjbmw@aol.com):
As many of you know we have been racing our R1100 since the end of last year with some success; Daytona aside.(Daytona notes: if your valve cover gaskets start to "bulge", replace them right away). I have spent lots of time on the dyno looking for more power. So far we have only found only two things that make more power-D&D pipe and flowing the head.We've removed the screen, changed the intake tube, even removed the air box top- 0 change. The pipe- 7 hp, the right head work 8 hp. Everything else O. We even made a complete new exhaust system out of larger tubing with a smoother collector, can you say 0?. This is an on going process and in the end I know we will see big gains, but it's not easy..... I know everyone wants to believe there is a magic chip that will give their bike 10 more HP, if there is I don't what what it will look like, the std. piece is has been optimized by BMW for performance (you know they would like 10 hp more than anyone) With a cat. emissions are really not an issue in terms limiting the output. The chip we have address drivability and mileage only. Ya'll will be the first to know when we find more performance (chip or elsewhere)


*what are the differences between the RS and GS engine?

The engine on the GS has a lower compression ratio and different valve timing. The result is an engine with ten fewer hp (80), but with more peak torque (at lower RPM's) and presumably a broader torque curve. The GS engine will theoretically run better on poorer fuel, but RS's will run OK on cheap Mexican fuel. On either bike, leaded fuel must be avoided as it will poison the catalytic convertor.


*Is it true that a low battery can blow the ABS relay?

Ed Hackett (edh@maxey.unr.edu):
In a previous post Jean Lachaud mentions the ABS relay blowing up due to low voltage. This is not true. What is happening is that if the battery is low the draw of the starter drops the voltage to below about 9.8 volts and the ABS does set a low voltage failure which causes the ABS warning to blink. Many have thought this was a failure of the relay and replaced it under warranty. Turning the key off and back on will reset the computer. As long as the battery is low you will get this ABS failure warning. Recharging the battery and turning the key off and back on is all it takes to cure the "problem".

The battery is a lead-acid battery. The lead is alloyed with a small percentage of antimony. This does give them 13.8V at full charge vs 13.2V of a standard battery. Another plus is that the antimony reduces gassing and the associated water loss. There's nothing new under the Sun here either. This is the same battery technology that is used in low/no maintenance car batteries.

---
Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com) adds:
I spoke with Jean's dealer--the same dealer where I purchased my bike. He claims, and this seems to make some sense, that low voltage conditions can result in pitting and arcing in the relay, causing it to "burn up" and fail.


OTHER R1100 QUIRKS

Soft rims: the front rims bend easily. Keep a close eye on front tire pressure. Some people believe that the Battleaxes are more compliant than other tires and hence more likely to allow a bent rim. If you're regularly bottoming the front shock, you can and should get it (the shock) replaced under warranty. Front rims cost ~$700.

Surging and throttle abruptness: at light, constant throttle settings, some or all R1100's exhibit "surging". The best way to describe it is that it feels like you are running out of gas. Apparently this is caused by the way BMW set the ignition timing. Also, the throttle can be very sensitive at small openings. CC products has a chip that cures most of these problems.

Fuel lines: the fuel lines can get knocked off of the injectors, resulting in an alarming and dangerous condition where gas sprays everywhere. The BMW injector covers may solve this problem for $5.

Toolkit (feeler gauge and 13 mm wrench): the owner's manual mentions an ABS feeler gauge for when you take your wheels off. Not everyone got one. The toolkit is missing a 13 mm wrench, which is necessary to tighten the mirrors. The toolkit in general is not up to BMW's usual standard.

Horns: not up to BMW's usual standard either. Fiamms will fit inside the fairing, on either side of the headlight (with careful positioning).

Removing bodywork: the "Hedlock" velcro-like stuff used to fasten the bodywork has a tenacious grip. In fact, if the bike is too warm, it grips itself better than the glue holding it to the gas tank. Be careful when you take the bodywork off of a hot bike.

Taillight: Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com) reports that the thumbscrews holding his taillight tend to vibrate loose. They should be checked occasionally. [has anyone else had this problem?]

Saddlebags: the heat shield under the left bag can fall off. The bags are waterproof until you open them -- then any rain which has collected under the handle runs out of the clasp area into the bag.

Triple clamp 'BMW' badge: they fall off on early bikes. Put some silicone under it and forget about it.



*Rider Information Display

A BMW part which adds a fuel gauge, oil temperature gauge, clock, and gear indicator. Requires a different fairing panel on the R1100RS. Installation is reported to be very easy, with caveats:

1. BMW provides no means to attach the RID to the fairing panel. You have to be imaginative. Small dowel pins and metric screws are both reported to work.

2. Very early R1100RS's do not have the gear position sensor (see the first FAQ section).

There have been several reports of problems with the fuel gauges on the RID's always reading empty.

Jean Lachaud (73247.2567@compuserve.com):
Yes, I installed it myself. Since my bike has the gear switch, all that was involved was to remove the RH fairing cover, secure the RID to the new fairing cover (the one with a window and bosses for the attaching screws), plug the RID and reinstall the fairing cover assembly.

CAUTION: The proper [metric] screws to secure the RID to its fairing cover bosses seem hard to come by in the USA. As a matter of fact, when my dealer replaced last week the RID itself which had gone into some software problem, the shop used a screw much too wide and too long which now protrudes through the fairing cover. Tough for my dealer, who will have to part with a new replacement cover.

I recommend using the specific RID fairing cover. Jury-cutting/rigging an original cover may (maybe...) save you about $45, but it won't look good and most likely won't secure the RID well enough (can you say "vibrations"?). IMHO, not worth the trouble.

The RID is very convenient in that it tells you when the engine has warmed up. It also gives the time (24 hr format), fuel remaining (I don't rely on that gauge too much) and gear selected. Lighting of the RID has this yellowish tinge associated with older LCD panels, and the lighting is switched off when the side stand is extended. With the ignition off, only the time is displayed. The RID is very conveniently located, and easy to look at in a glance. The scheme used to display oil temperature and fuel level (LCD horizontal bars piling up) may seem crude at first. However, it is very user-friendly, especially when looked only at a glance.


*Solid mounted handlebars

The rubber mounts do damp a decent amount of vibration, especially over 4000 rpm. If you can't stand the rubbery feeling, you can get billet replacements for $50 from California BMW, 415-966-1183. Above 4000 rpm, the left mirror gets blurry with the solid mounts, and the vibration can get intrusive.

If you like to countersteer firmly/aggressively, you will probably like the solid mounts in spite of the added vibration. If you don't countersteer aggressively, you probably won't enjoy the solid mounts.


*Modified handlebars


			AMOL PRECISION CORPORATION
		  	   99 West Shore Avenue
			   Dumont, N.J.  07628
			      ( 201 ) 384-9333

FROM: AMOL MOTORCYCLES  (201) 384-1103

	1" handlebar risers, with bolts.		$ 49.95/set

	    AMOL Precision RISERS install easily on BMW R1100RS
	 motorcycles with adjustable handlebars. Custom height
	 Risers available on request.  Call for prices.  Dealer
	 inquiries welcome.


*Tires:

Maximum grip, worst mileage: the stock Bridgestone Battleaxes. Expect 4-8k out of a rear tire. [I thought they were kind of "squirmy"] [There are lots of other high-grip radials out there, but I haven't heard >from anyone who's tried them]

Intermediate: Metzeler MEZ1 (f) and MEZ2 (r). [anyone want to guess at mileages?]. Many users report better steering characteristics with the Metzelers than with the Michelins or Bridgestones. There is no MEZ1 (sport compound) yet in the rear size, only an MEZ2 (sport touring compound).

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com): I had 10K on my Michelins and they still had miles left. I now have 2500 miles and a CLASS session on my MEZs and they are just starting to look a little worn. I love the MEZs.

Best mileage, least grip: Michelin M89/A89. Some people do not like the rear Michelin in the rain, and some people say they feel "greasy". Others have no problems with the grip.


*CC products chip:

Brad Hepler (bdhepler@leland.stanford.edu):
As Chris Hodgson mentioned on this list, there can be no such thing as a "performance" chip for the R1100. Due to the presence of the cat, anything that BMW could have done to improve performance, they would have done. The CC products chip intends to improve drivability.

My main complaints with the bike had been the surging under light throttle and the abruptness under changing throttle application. Apparently the surging at least is an ignition timing issue, and BMW is resisting changing it because they are concerned about pinging. I have not noticed any pinging with the CC products chip. I use 92 octane fuel and consistently run at low rpm's.

The CC products chip solves at least 80-90% of the surging problem. I think the main reason I still notice any surging at all is that I had become so attuned to it previously. There also seems to be a bit less abruptness in the throttle action. There is now a tiny bit of surging around 4k rpm, but it's quite possible that it was there before. The most annoying surging, between 2.5k and 3.5k, is almost totally gone.

The chip is intended to improve mileage, but I can't really report on that, since my riding patterns are too irregular. I did get 47 mpg on a tankful that included riding over Mt. Hamilton. That is about 5 mpg higher than I had gotten on any previous tankful. Chris says that a guy at his shop who commutes from SF to San Jose now gets another 10-20 miles per tank. That works out to about 2 to 4 mpg better.

The only other behavior that has changed is in starting the bike when cold. The bike used to require two tries before it would fire up (crank, wait, crank, fire). Now it fires up on the first try, sputters a bit and dies, and will start again on the second try. The bike runs a bit poorly for the first 15 seconds or so, then is fine. If I start with the fast idle on the #2 position, the bike fires right up, then I have to hold it at #2 for a few seconds or it will die. After about 5 seconds, I can release the lever to position #1.

CC products will have a $10 upgrade policy for the R1100RS chip when new versions come out. The chip is $150. CC products is at 408-559-6602.

---

[Luftmeister also has a chip. Does anyone know anything about theirs?]


*Corbin seat:

The Corbin seat retains stock adjustability and adds a flip-up backrest for the passenger. With the backrest down, the seat has a "solo" look.

Brad Hepler (bdhepler@leland.stanford.edu):
Corbin already had a base made up for the R, so it was pretty quick to try out the uncovered foam. I had them build up the foam a bit in the front of the seat so I didn't slide forward so much. The Corbin on the R has different base lengths than the stock seat. The driver's section is longer than stock, allowing more room for taller riders (not me -- I sit at the front of the seat anyway). The seat is dished somewhat, and seems to provide more support than the stock seat. The foam is definitely firmer than stock.

The guys at Corbin had a LOT of trouble getting my passenger section to latch. This was, in fact, one reason that I went to the factory to get my seat. I wanted to make sure it fit before I took delivery, since the one I had seen at Cal BMW did not fit well, and the fit depended on which setting the front seat was on. Anyway, the seat was covered and ready to go by about noontime, but they struggled to get the rear sit to fit until about 2 pm. After a lot of shimming and adjusting and stretching covers, they got it to fit. To their credit, they said this was the first they had trouble with. I'd still recommend that anyone within reasonable distance go to Castroville to get this done. It's near Monterey, California.

Mike said that an almost-definite product will be a cargo bin that replaces the rear seat section -- presumably a Corbin rear section. He is planning to make a locking lid, and to colormatch them. Should hold a good 15-20 liters by my estimate.

---

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
I received my Corbin seat yesterday. Some initial comments: Looks great, on and off the bike.

I got their standard black nauga-weave material for the sitting area, with "graphite" gray vinyl for the sides and top of the backrest. The required seam between the two surfaces is in teal green--actually a good match for the bike.

I got the seat because I was very unhappy with the way the original off-white seat discolored and because I wanted a backrest for my wife.

The seat was very difficult to install. The back section is extremely difficult to latch. The front section doesn't follow the contour of the tank as well as the stock seat, so in the highest position there is more of a gap between the seat and tank. The front and back seats don't meet as closely, resulting in a larger gap if the front seat is in the middle or upper position. I'd be concerned about water leaking if I didn't keep the front section in the lowest position.

The backrest takes up ~4" of the seat room, moving the passenger closer to the rider. I think the hinge could have been designed differently.

The rider section is firmer, flatter, and slightly higher than stock. It also seems to slope forward slightly more.
[...]
In a previous message I described the trouble I had attaching the Corbin rumble seat to my R1100. I spoke to Corbin about the problem, and they were extremely apologetic and helpful. Apparently the mold that they are using for seat pans, based on a single bike, only worked well on, ah, that, ah, one single bike. The mounting holes for the "L" bracket that locks the seat in place are mis-aligned for most bikes.

They offered to make the repair free of charge, including shipping.

Since then, however, I test-sat the seat with my wife as passenger. The intent behind buying this seat was primarily to give her a backrest, and secondarily because the stock, "off-white" seat, looks and remains filthy. I know, vanity.

The Corbin seat looks great, but may not be usable. The front section is ~1 1/2 inches longer than stock, giving the rider more room. Using this room means, of course, sliding further back on the seat and leaning forward more. Not appealing to me.

The pivot mechanism on the backrest subtracts ~2 inches from the usable room on the passenger seat. All told, the passenger seat is about 4 inches smaller on the Corbin versus the stock seat.

I called to ask about modifying the [new, disappointing] seat, and they were very accomodating, though they couldn't state that changes would even be possible, much less estimate a price over the phone. The customer service rep, Cher [sic], did indicate that they would pay attention to the seat length if other customers voiced similar complaints.


*Other backrest options:

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com):
Built a backrest that attaches to the grab rail. Kari liked it so much he's having a welder make up some for his shop to sell. I made mine out of wood and padding, I use it as a combination backrest rack. It's held 20 lbs with no problems.


*Windscreens:

There are three: Luftmeister, Parabellum, and Aeroflow. There is also a BMW tinted screen that is the same size and shape as stock.

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
Parabellum Windscreen: Bought it prior to a 10+ day trip to NH, VT, and Maine. Put it on, tried it for a few days, took it off before the long trip, and now I'm returning it. I was looking for a screen that would give me slightly more wind protection in the upper position and a cleaner wind flow in the intermediate and low positions. The screen is wider and higher than the stock screen, and narrows at the top only very slightly--it looks like a tombstone. My real complaint with the Parabellum is that it doesn't curve back toward the rider. An axial section through the bike would show the screen as a straight line. This means that the Parabellum in the lowest position is similiar to the stock screen about 3/4 of the way up. The Parabellum in the hihg position is almost vertical. Note: I've spoken with some serious distance riders who are about 6" and they prefer the Parabellum. I'm 5" 9' and I don't get enough wind from the Parabellum in the low position. I may keep the Parabellum for winter use.

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
I just received and installed the Aeroflow fairing ($119 + 4.95 s/h). It is only available in smoke-gray, not clear. It's about 2~3 inches higher than stock, and wider, with a deeper curve. It resembles the ST1100 fairing. It does curve back toward the rider as well as curving laterally, and it has a gradual lip at the top. It's much more attractive and functional than the Parabellum. I returned the Parabellum in less than a week. This one I'm keeping.

I'm about 5'8" and I ride with the seat in the lowest position. With the fairing 4~6 clicks down from vertical, I can ride to ~60 mph with my faceshield open. At ~80 mph the wind noise and buffeting are less than stock. The manufacturer warns that above 85 the fairing should only be used in the fully reclined position to avoid over stressing the mounting holes or the adjustable mounting plate itself. Even in the fully reclined position there's distinct protection from the fairing and the wind noise is definitely less than stock.

Negative points: with the seat in the lowest position and the fairing _higher_ that ~4 clicks from vertical I'm looking through it more than I prefer, especially since it's fairly dark--probably not as dark as stock, though.

----

CC products gave the following recommendations:

1) Parabellum at about $100. From what we read in MCN it works better than stock. It sounds like it is not as good as the Aeroflow from what Mark says above. [Parabellum is available in stock height, +2" & +4", in tint and clear.]

2) Aero screens. Maybe this is the same screen Mark tested. They are out of Los Angeles and CC Products had not yet tested one of these.

3) Take a high speed grinder to the stock shield. Tape it at the re-curve line and take the lip off. You lose 2" worth of protection but you get back better air flow and less noise. He said he'd ridden a customer's bike with this done and it was much quieter. It did not look "home made" in his opinion.

---

Luftmeister makes 2 screens: a smoke screen that is stock dimensions, and a smoke screen that is taller & wider than stock.


*Extended front fender:

The front fender on the R1100RS is way too short, and allows the engine and exhaust headers to get very dirty, especially in the rain.

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
Get the extended front fender from Scooterville. Poor finish, very good fit, works extremely well. Now the muck/mud line is from the center of the horizontal section of the pipes down, and not all the way up the block. Much easier to clean, and dryer feet too. [$40]

---
The rear tire spreads a good amount of muck around (especially onto the swingarm) and could use an inner fender. [I don't think there's anything available yet.]


*Front running lights:

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com):
Run'in'Lites are made by Full Scale Designs in Connecticut. Their number is 203.736.6229. Run'n'Lites replace your stock turn signal sockets and bulbs so they function as both a running lite and a turn signal. He makes them for all BMWs and the quality is very good. A tail light enhancer is also available for the Ks but the R1100 fixture is too narrow so it won't fit. They cost either 27.95 or 29.95 I can't remember which.


*Aftermarket shocks:

The stock front shock seems to wear out quickly. Bob Gorman had his replaced under warranty at ~12000 miles. If you notice that you are bottoming the front end regularly, it may be time for a new shock, since the cheap BMW unit is not rebuildable. Also, each time you bottom your shock, you risk bending your soft front rim...

Here's what I know about the aftermarket shocks that are out or coming out. (as of 4/94). All prices in US dollars. Shocks which do not have remote reservoirs do not have adjustments for compression damping.

                        Ohlins             Works                FOX
Front:
 Type (emulsion,        emulsion            oil               emulsion
  oil-damped)
 Remote reservoir?         -           Y (piggyback)             -
 Adjustability:
  spring preload           Y                 Y                   Y
  compress. damping        -                 Y                   -
  rebound damping          Y                 Y                   Y
 Cost (approx):           $625              $400                $350

Rear:
 Type (emulsion,        emulsion         emulsion               oil
  oil-damped)
 Remote reservoir?         -                 -                   Y
 Adjustability:
  spring preload           Y                 Y                   Y
  compress. damping        -                 -                   Y
  rebound damping          Y                 Y                   Y
 Cost (approx):           $650              $600                $500

WP (a.k.a. White Power)   [unknown at this point]

The Ohlins cost as much as their Type 4's with remote reservoir and hydraulic preload, yet don't offer more features than the FOXes or Works. Ohlins, however, does have the best reputation for quality and rebuildability.

I have heard complaints about Works's damping setup -- apparently they force damping oil past a sprung ball rather than past stacked washers, and this setup is allegedly more suited to dirt bikes than street bikes. (The Works front shock reportedly makes a clicking sound every time it moves, which might be the ball hitting its seat.) OTOH, Chris at CC products says that his racers are happy with the Works front shock. It is worth noting that Works uses Freon, not Nitrogen, to charge their shocks.

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com):
The FOX [front] shock is really good. I can barely push down on the front end all but when I ride it soaks up the bumps nicely. It feels a LOT stiffer than the Showa but in the condition mine was in I am not surprised. The one thing I did notice was that the front tire gave much more feedback in the corners. The instructions for setting it up are very short and cryptic. I'll just ride it and see. I've already softened the damping by 2 clicks. There are 24 usuable clicks and I started on 8.


*Tank bags:

The BMW Multivario III bag attaches to a strap around the "steering head" in the front. The rear of the bag zips to a piece of Naugahyde which in turn is glued to the gas tank under the seat. It has a removable expansion panel and a yellow rain cover. Construction quality is good, but price is VERY high: about $300. Unlike other BMW Multivario bags, this one does not have a separate base which stays on the tank.

Other options:

Bob Gorman (bgorman@ccnet.com):
I'm using a custom tank bag from RKA in Santa Rosa and love it. I couldn't justify the cost of the BMW bag since they took away the best feature; the base stayed put while gassing up. The RKA was $105.00, is expandable, and colors to match my bike. Bottom half is black, top half is turquoise.

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
I've used my old, beat up, Eclipse "standard" (large) tankbag from the day I got the R11. No problems, no interference with the bars even with a fully loaded bag, very easy to mount and steady at, ah, high speeds.


*Luggage rack & trunk:

There is a BMW luggage rack that replaces the center section of the grab rail and has two metal support rods that bolt under the seat and come THROUGH the tail section to support the rear of the rack.

A large trunk will probably not be an option since the R1100's are so light on the front end already.

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
The word yesterday from the BMW employee in charge of technical accessories was that the luggage rack is a fairly easy installation, but you have to be very careful cutting through the plastic tail section. The adapter bracket to mount the small (20? 22? liter) top case will be available mid-May [1994].


*Painted saddlebags:

BMW Motorrad of St Louis and California BMW both sell R1100 saddlebags with the outer half colormatched. They both charge somewhat over $100 for the paint job.


*Throttle lock:

Mark Bergman (bergman@panix.com):
I had the "Wrist Rest" on my bike before I put on heated grips, and I've ordered another one. It's a great looking design, but possibly not quite as effective as the old clamp style. It's a replacement for the bar-end weight with a knurled knob that is used to press a spacer against the grip. It works very well to alleiviate throttle spring pressure, but can sometimes be difficult to lock the throttle completely. The lock has a weight on the end thus retaining the function of the bar-end weight.

---
There's a place in Montana that makes a "flip-a-lever" or something similar for the 2 valve R's and K's. This lever takes the place of the throttle screw and eliminates the constant drag. They say they will drill the throttle housings on 4 valve K's and R's to accept their doohickey.


VENDOR PHONE NUMBERS

Corbin Seats
800-538-7035
Castroville, CA (near Monterey)

Competition Accessories (mail order tires, BMW parts, etc.)
800-543-4710, 513-323-9793
Springfield, OH

Full Scale Designs (Run'n'Lites)
203.736.6229
Ansonia, CT

CC products (RS chip, slip-on pipe, etc.)
408-559-6602
San Jose, CA

California BMW (billet handlebar mounts for RS, Staintune exhaust)
415-966-1183
Mountain View, CA

RKA Acessories (tank bag)
707-579-5045
Santa Rosa, CA

Scooterville BMW (RS extended front fender)
919-834-5111, 800-TRY-BMWS
Raleigh, NC
Aeroflow (windscreen)
714-557-3119
Costa Mesa, CA

Parabellum (windscreen)
706-864-8051
Dahlonega, GA

Bob's BMW (cordura saddlebag liners, $88/pr)
301-924-5155
Jessup, MD

Works Performance (shocks)
818-701-1010
Northridge, CA

Noleen Racing (Ohlins shocks)
619-246-5000
Adelanto, CA

BMW Motorrad of St Louis
314-531-4010, 800-999-1269
St. Louis, MOO


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R-Tech pages maintained by: John Petty for the original author(s) and the Internet BMW Riders
Last Update: 09 September 2010