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Old 02-11-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
SpeedoJosh OP
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Thinking of picking up an 1100 GS

So I've been looking for a bike, much unlike my XRs, to where I can hop on it, and cruise a state away to see family, or go for a 2-3 hour ride through the country side on a whim. The luggage capacity and dirt road ability have me looking at the 1100gs.

For those that have one, has yours served you well? I've read a little online, are the 95-96s really a ticking time bomb in reference to the trans?

Are they problem prone anywhere else? I know the engines are known for their longevity, but what about the rest of the bike?

How's its highway manners? Pretty good considering it doesn't have a huge fairing? Or just like any other "dirt bike"?


-Josh
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:39 PM   #2
mouthfulloflake
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Howdy,

I have a 95 1100gs

Ive had it, 4 years I think? im bad at math.

it had 80K when I got it, it has 95K miles now.
Ive had to replace a head gasket ( common on them, bad design from the factory, new design is improved)
took about 4 hours per side, and cost under $100 ( I did it myself)

My trans is skipping in 2nd gear, im a season or so away from having to deal with that, its done it for a few years, but it is perfectly rideable, but if you redline it in 2nd gear, it might buck pretty hard.

that scares the shit out of your the first time it happens, and every time after that pretty much. the bikes after 1997 I think have a better trans M97 that fixes that issue sort of.

otherwise, dirt simple, reliable, easy to work on, cheap parts..

oh my big seal on the final drive gave up on me on a short trip. I rode home on the interstate ( 70-90 mph) stopped and checked the level every 50 miles or so, made it 150 miles home, seal was $30, took 10 minutes to replace, it failed because I had over filled it with oil the night before the trip I am pretty sure.

exactly what you are talking about is why I wil never sell this bike.

I ride it to work most days, but I can just as easily veer off on a dirt road, or ride a couple of hundred miles to visit family.

expect 40-45 mpg, an oil change per year, and you will at some point have to learn how to balance throttle bodies, set the tps, and adjust valves.

all of that is dirt simple, cheap and easy.

highway manners, well I always joke that I can be texting while cruising down the highway at 80+
its a big heavy solid, well powered bike.

its not a sport bike, but its got plenty of power to get around pretty much any scenario ive ever seen on the interstate, and great brakes, and great handling to boot.
the telelever is a great set up, grab all of the front brake you want at high way speeds, and the entire bike slows, and just squats down. no worry of the rear coming up or anything like that.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
bdarling
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You're sure to get a wide range of responses to this question, but I'll share my experiences. I have had a few issues with my '95 1100GS, but none of the issues would have stranded me. Leaking head gasket, pulled head stud(s), electric gremlins near the steering head, etc. The bike has 91,000 miles and the transmission still feels and sounds solid, so no worries about the M94 here.

My '95 1100R had 80,000 miles and it felt even more solid than my GS.

Pound for pound, the 1100 is simpler than all of its oilhead brethren and that is a huge plus in my eyes. I keep a spare clutch cable and throttle cable routed along the in-service cables for quick roadside repairs and I have an externally mounted fuel filter for ease if access. A spare hall sensor and alternator belt are the only other critical-to-function spares you really need on a long trip in the states (I'm sure others may disagree).

The 1100 feels heavier than the 1200 by a long stretch, but I think it is more sure-footed on the road.

Oh, and the looks grow on you, I promise.

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Old 02-11-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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Mine is a 1998 and has done 140k+ and climbing. I used to see a lot of articles on the 1100 on this forum but not anymore. You will get a varied reaction and some say you need this or that. I think its just a matter of getting the bike set up to suit your needs (but you have to do this for all bikes)...a bit of bling or comfort etc. I dont worry about spares around town but always give it a good going over before leaving for deep bush and replace or fix anything I find suspicious. Never let me down yet. (Im sure others have horror stories) I just like the fact that its a good compromise between the simplicity of an airhead and the start of the oilhead mods (eg 4V heads) So far I havent found anything that I couldnt fix myself - but it sometimes takes a bit of time and reading (the model is so well known now that you can find articles on the internet for just about anything you need to do to it)

Besides oil/filter changes etc I have only replaced the clutch once. I use it every day (and twice on weekends) It just keeps on going - I use it for gravel roads/tracks and Hwy but have learnt to stay away from deep sand (its just too heavy) but it just loves to cruise for hours on end.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
Bruce H
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I had a '96GS and a '99GS, both nice bikes. I sold the '96 with a skip in the tranny to a friend who pulled it and sent it to Bruno for repair. cost hm 1k to get it fixed and I sold hime the bike for 3K with 36K on the clock. should have never happened (tranny skip) the dealer I bought it from had "repaired" the tranny to the tune of $2600.00 before I bought the bike. They didn't put the O ring spacers between the gears as required and put all the shims on one end instead of spliting them on each end. AND... they install the wrong bearings. I wouldn't be afraid of a '96 transmission, Bruno did a fablous job of making it all that it could be.

In any case he has a fablous bike now. The 99 was my favorite. I pulled it apart at 55k and checked the clutch, perfect... so greased the splins and put it back together. I realy liked that motor, easy to work on and reliable and has a sound like no other. made over fifty miles per gallon as well.

I am on my second 1200GSA and still think more fondly of my 1100. I like the 1200 but someday I will get another 1100.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:18 PM   #6
def
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If you find a well cared for mid-late 90s GS, with reasonable care, it will last another 20 years. BMW parts are available and these bike are easy to repair.

There are independent experts that can repair anything on these motorcycles. Anton, JVB and others are considered experts and can help with advice, repairs or documentation.

Find one that has had good care and you'll be hooked. The Telelever and Paralever suspension is unique and provides excellent handling for such a heavy bike. Remember, these things used to be raced from Paris to Dakar successfully. Now the engines are even tougher.

You'll get lots more replies.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
SpeedoJosh OP
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Seems like they're hard to find. Seen a 95 and a 96, but both had around 60k, and I've read horror stories on the 95-96 trans/final drive (not even sure what that is) going out around that mileage. So def don't want to buy one that I'm going to have to drop $1k+ on to fix the trans.
Then again, I've also read people have 100k+ on their 95 without issue at all.

I feel comfortable doing mechanical work. I haven't done much bike work minus work on the XR, but am able to read directions and turn a wrench well. So seems like the 1100gs is a good bike for that. Just have to find one in the price range I guess.

Is there any 1100gs pic thread? I searched and couldn't find one.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:30 PM   #8
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:45 PM   #9
SpeedoJosh OP
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Thanks for the link.
Found a 98 somewhat local. Has 30-40k on it. Dude is asking around $4k. This a fair price? I assume since it's a 98, I don't have to worry about the trans issues.
It has a yellow tank though, how easy is it to paint the tank, fenders, and what not? Would rather have white.


-Josh
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:46 AM   #10
Jim Moore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedoJosh View Post
Thanks for the link.
Found a 98 somewhat local. Has 30-40k on it. Dude is asking around $4k. This a fair price? I assume since it's a 98, I don't have to worry about the trans issues.
It has a yellow tank though, how easy is it to paint the tank, fenders, and what not? Would rather have white.


-Josh
Yeah, that's a good price. Buy it.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:09 AM   #11
mouthfulloflake
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yep, sounds like a good price.

also, dont worry about the tank color, many of us like the yellow!

and with a tank bag on it, you cant really see the tank while riding it anyway.
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