1977 BMW R100RS
The Seven-Piece Suit
Factory photos of the 1977 BMW R100RS with alloy wheels.
1977 BMW R100RS
Years produced: 1977-1984 (first generation)
Claimed power: 70hp @ 7,250rpm
Top speed: 108mph (period test)
Engine: 980cc ohv, air-cooled opposed twin
Weight (wet): 243kg (535lb)
Price then/now: $4,595 (1977) / $2,500-$5,000
In an era of increasingly sophisticated touring motorcycles, the 1977 BMW R100RS was the best-dressed of them all.
It was at once elegant, futuristic and bold. Its wedge-shaped fairing and icy, silver/blue paint sang the alluring song of long distances at high speeds with comfort, sportiness and competence. It could cover hundreds of miles in a day, then shrug them off and do many more, its rider ensconced in an envelope of unruffled comfort. It was the BMW R100RS, BMW's most competent sport-touring motorcycle yet.
When BMW introduced the 1977 BMW R100RS 30 years ago, its cradling cockpit fairing promised unsurpassed protection swathed in breathtaking style. Finally, the rider, while enjoying the ride to the fullest, did not have to suffer the slings and arrows of wind, chill and rain.
One of the joys of motorcycling is being out in the weather; one of the drawbacks of motorcycling is being out in the weather. The BMW R1000RS allowed the rider to enjoy the ride regardless of the weather. It enhanced the enjoyment of a fall day in the crisp, chill air; of taming coastal drizzles without the need of a rain suit; of crossing the snow-fringed passes of the Alps or Rockies with seamless style and comfort on a true "gentleman’s express."
And what style! When the BMW R100RS was introduced, nothing on two wheels had ever looked like this before, had ever functioned like this before, had ever shown so much — paint! Its seven-piece, frame-mounted fairing was something that the rider almost wore, something sleek, crisp, pleated and sculpted. Today, every modern plastic-wrapped sportbike and dresser owes a nod to the RS’s trend-setting style. It may not have been the first bike to feature dressed bodywork, but it was the one that established the trend.
Setting the stage
BMW motorcycles have always been about eating miles with style and comfort. Back in the 1960s, however, they were quickly coming to be regarded as — dare we say it — an old man’s motorcycle. Articles in period magazines often referred to BMW as "The Rolls Royce of Motorcycles." Though it was a compliment, it was understood that Rollers cost a mint, were staid and quiet, and were owned by old men.
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