1977 BMW R100RS
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Cycle World thought the handlebars were "just not right … [they] angle the wrists unnaturally and make the ride tiring after about a 50-mile distance." Of course, such vagaries are a personal thing. I frequently ride 300-500 miles in a day on my 1981 BMW R100RS, and other than a knot in my neck, I find the tucked-in crouch quite comfortable.
As for torque, Cycle stated it "has so much urge that you’ll seldom explore above 6,500rpm. It is the Roll-on King of the Universe." Personally, I find that vibration will sometimes put a hand or arm to sleep at around 70mph in top gear, but the mirrors generally remain clear. Cycle concluded: "It doesn’t devour distance so much as it transcends it, and there is no sense of deterioration or loss of freshness as the miles stream by below."
The second-edition BMW R100RS
The first-edition BMW R100RS, with many updates focusing on brakes and shifting, and those wonderful cast "snowflake" wheels, lasted through the pearl-white Last Edition models of 1984 when BMW dropped its R100 line and relied primarily upon its K-bike triples and fours to carry it forward. By 1986, the R65 and R80 were the only air-cooled BMW twins left. But the K-bikes were not as popular as BMW had hoped, and there was a worldwide clamor to bring back the 980cc twin.
To assuage these riders, BMW re-introduced several additional models including the R100RS, R100GS and R100RT, first to Europe in 1987 and then to the United States the following year. They were based upon the improved monoshock frame and single-sided swingarm of the R80 with updated brakes, so the 1988 BMW R100RS was a functional step forward, but other touches didn’t sit well with purists as its character had been changed. The fairing’s center, lower section had reverted to the original open grillwork of the earliest models, which was fine, but the front fender, side covers and rear cowling had all been abbreviated and softened. While the pipes had pleasing, sweeping lines, their ends were capped except for a small hole through which only limp sound emerged. Though the tank looked the same, it lost about a gallon in capacity to clear equipment sitting under it. More importantly, the engine’s character had been changed, tuned more for torque than high-end power. Though the quarter-mile times were nearly identical to those of the 1977 model (Cycle World got 13.3 seconds at 98mph), and the power was more usable for most riders, the RS was clearly no longer a Superbike, and the model was finally dropped in 1993. MC
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