1977 BMW R100RS

The Seven-Piece Suit

| January/February 2008

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    Factory photos of the 1977 BMW R100RS with alloy wheels.
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    Seven pieces make up the ground-breaking front fairing on the 1977 BMW R100RS.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
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    Unusually shaped for its day, the 1977 BMW R100RS was a pioneer in the steps towards aerodynamically-designed street bikes.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
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    The cockpit view of a 1977 BMW R100RS.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
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    A solo seat (top) came standard on 1977 models of the BMW R100RS. The dual seat (bottom) was standard from 1978-on, with the solo a special order item.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
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    A gentleman’s express of the first order: The 1977 BMW R100RS with solo saddle.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
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    A 1978 BMW R100RS Motorsport in Police White and Rennesport Red. Only 200 were produced with this color scheme.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
  • bmw8
    The second-generation BMW R100RS was introduced in 1987 but dropped in 1993.
    Photos by Jeff Whitlock and Mac Kirkpatric
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    A line drawing of BMW's boxer twin engine.
  • bmw10
    It's always surprising how funny period advertisements can look, especially after 30 years of changes in clothing styles and more.

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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
Transmission: 5-speed
Weight (wet): 243kg (535lb)
MPG: 42-50
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.

Tony Carlos
10/11/2012 3:26:20 PM

One of the world's most beautiful bikes, IMHO. And the fairing is the best I've ever ridden behind.




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