Out With The New And In With The Old?

Read about one editor’s nifty motorcycle find: a R100RS.

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by Landon Hall

It’s a funny gig being the editor of a motorcycle magazine. Sometimes rather than going looking for a bike, a bike finds you.

If you’ve been keeping up with Founding Editor Richard Backus’ column, some time back he mentioned how much he had enjoyed riding a Ducati Paso that belonged to a reader. Sure enough, it led to another reader offering him a Paso at a price he couldn’t refuse. The bike is now on Richard’s lift, and someday soon we’ll get an update on its ongoing revival.

Then it happened to me. Randy Clatterbuck, a friend and reader of the magazine, mentioned last spring that he’d just bought a 1988 BMW R100RS from a guy in the Kansas City area after finding it on Craigslist. After later hearing the background on the bike and how much Randy was enjoying riding it, I congratulated him. Knowing that many bikes have passed in and out of Randy’s garage over the years, I’m sure at some point I must have also told him to let me know if he ever decided to part with it. Well, last fall, I got that phone call.

My new-to-me RS isn’t a show bike, as it’s got about 45k on the clock and wears its original paint, but it’s been lovingly maintained and upgraded over the years. I’ll save the details for another time, but suffice to say it’s just as ready for riding season as I am.

What’s even sillier though is this isn’t my first R100RS. I bought a red 1988 R100RS in March 2012 from a friend of Richard’s who had too many BMWs, but it was a hot summer and sitting behind a fairing just didn’t turn out to be that appealing. Instead, I rode my R75/5. Once the weather cooled I put some miles on the RS, but it just never clicked for me. By the next spring, I was thinking I had one bike too many, and I sold it.

Funny enough, Randy was happily enjoying fettling and riding the white RS, until a friend of Randy’s decided his modern Triumph Scrambler should live at Randy’s house, rent free. Suddenly the BMW wasn’t getting ridden much, and that’s when he offered it to me.

So why did I buy another one? Well, I’m a sucker for a good deal, and it was just too easy. It came with two spare Corbin seats, along with a perfect original seat and a bunch of spare parts.

I also had another thought brewing: Could this replace my current tourer, a 2006 Yamaha FJR1300? Is the FJ too much of a good thing? At 650 pounds wet, it’s starting to feel like more bike than might be necessary. Maybe by fall I’ll know the answer.



Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!