BMW 1100S Impressions

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by rotten, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. rotten

    rotten LOST AGAIN

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    I have been interested with this bike for a while and it seems to have a small but faithful following. I would like to know more, impressions, experiences good and bad. On paper it seems non remarkable but there is still something that calls about it. There is an excellent used market for this bike in my area, what to look for and what to run away. Now well understood that a low mileage garage queen is desirable but not always possible.
    Not looking to compare directly to other bikes.

    Opinions? Thanks!

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. 625SXC

    625SXC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    556
    I traded my KTM 950ADV for a 2003 R1100S BCP. I was wanting to go more sport touring. I LOVED the looks, Seating position was good(seat wasn't great) and I liked the "EUROness" problem was... NO POWER! Roll on power was OK, But actual acceleration was pretty damn sad. I mean... We're talking an 1100cc "sport bike" that won't even wheelie in first gear without poppin' the clutch.... REALLY! How is that even possible? Also I never got use to the bike torquin' to the side when you gave it gas.

    With that said I kept it for the Summer and liked it... But never loved it and sold it. Bought an Aprilia Futura and couldn't be happier
    #2
  3. rotten

    rotten LOST AGAIN

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    Interesting, my ST is on paper the same HP and it does OK, not seemly as poor as you describe. Guess its time I find one to test ride.
    #3
  4. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    27,231
    Location:
    Minnyhappiness
    You sit very much in them, rather than on them, and I couldn't find a way to change the position enough to get comfortable on a longer ride. It is also a very committed riding position for a bike that doesn't have a particularly 'playful' motor.
    #4
  5. 625SXC

    625SXC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    556

    My EXACT THOUGHT! I traded cross country and wasn't able to test ride it. Best I could do was ride a buddies 1997 RS1100 with 70,000 miles. Well I assumed because his old clapped out BMW had a ba-zillion miles it had to be weak.... Nope... Ran just as good as mine with 10,000 miles... LOL

    I also assumed that because the KTM950 power I LOVED was comparable to a BMW GSADV.... That they would be similar in power

    Boy was I wrong. The BMW 1100 Boxer delivers it's power very.... Uh.. agriculturally. Tractor like power with tractor like acceleration. Don't get me wrong... It's very good USABLE POWER... Just not exciting power. I need a bike to put a smile on my face and the R1100S didn't do it.

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. batoutoflahonda

    batoutoflahonda Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,390
    Location:
    Easton Wa
    Copy and paste this in google. I've had one for 12 years so if there is any thing specific you want to know. Ask away.

    r1100s site:advrider.com

    I also have one for sale. $3000.00 with 91K and a ton of stuff on it plus tools, manuals, etc.
    #6
  7. rotten

    rotten LOST AGAIN

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    I am on exploratory mode it is sounding like this isn't quite what I am looking for. Maybe I need a closer look at the K1200rs even though maintenance scares me on these bikes. I don't know why I have one of the most electrically picky bikes in the states (Yamaha GTS1000)
    #7
  8. Josephvman

    Josephvman I'm the Decider

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,503
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I put around 8k miles on my '99 R1100S, and loved the styling and the riding position, but it was the only bike I've owned that was buzzy enough to make my hands numb. I'd owned a number of oilheads before the S, and I was used to the low-frequency boxer vibes, but that bike had high frequency buzz that was annoying. I'm sure I rode it much hard than my GS's, and regularly used much higher revs than my other oilheads saw, so maybe that was part of it. No matter how much well-synched the throttle bodies were I couldn't get rid of it. No such problem with my HP2 Sport, thankfully.
    #8
  9. 625SXC

    625SXC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    556
    You really should try to ride one and see if you like it or not. But although on paper the BMW 98hp/71ft lb compared to my Aprilia Futura 112hp/71ft lb. would seem comparable... The difference in power delivery in HUGE. I guess I just have too much imature hooligan in my 47 year body. I love being able to crack the throttle in even second gear and have it easily pick the front tire up as high as you want to. My Rotax V-2 has the low end torque of a twin like the BMW, But when the BMW is signing off... The Rotax is just getting ready to PARTY! I LOVE my Futura. I don't have the money for a new bike.... But if I did there isn't any new "ST" bike I would trade my Aprilia for with the exception of mabey the Triumph Sprint.

    My Brother has a BMW K1200S and it's a mean bike! Still I wouldn't swap him and he paid almost twice the money for his.
    #9
  10. tanneman

    tanneman I'm no Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Terra Firma
    I own one of these, silver late 2005 model. The last of them when the production was stopped. I love the bike. It allows you to ride it in a sensible manner on the road yet has enough power to get you in serious trouble with the law. It is a quirky bike and you will need to ride it for some time before you get the hang of it. The body position is spot on for sport touring but the seat might be in need for custom work if you do any serious miles. It doesn't like being rushed and it takes a lot of physical effort to get the bike to turn. That said, the brakes are really good for such a heavy machine, non ABS is the way to go. I use mine mostly on track days where it is used to good effect baiting sports bikes in the intermediates, of course they leave you for dead in the straight but its all about the corners with this machine. The feedback from the front is often described as vague but when pushing it you can feel the tyre working. The front suspension doesn't help with the feel but stability in the corners is fantastic for such an old bike. Don't worry about ground clearance, cause by the time you touch down any part you are well leant over. If you are after one I would recommend to look out for a Boxer Cup replica (BCR) or a Randy Mamola signed BCR. The BMW motorsport colour BCR is a really tall machine like a GS Adventure so make sure you can actually sit comfortably on one. There is the early single spark motors and the later twin spark motors. BCR are twin spark but there is very few Randy Mamola BCR models with single spark engines. All engines have the same capacity and power but the twin spark feels a bit smoother and goes with BMW reliability so high mileages should not be a problem. Condition and service history is much more important. There is three different suspension lenghts as well. The standard suspension with a 170 rear section tyre or 5'' wheel, the yellow spring suspension with a shorter torque arm and 5.5'' wheel for a 180 section tyre labelled as R1100S Sport and then the BCR which looks just like the Sport but even taller. The reason for such tall suspension is because of the Boxer Cup race series that was run as a support race for the MotoGP. Yep, they raced them in standard trim with working heated grips, no tuning allowed with race bodywork and a taller suspension for more ground clearance.

    For more info about the R1100S check out http://www.boxertrix.com/index.htm or on http://forums.pelicanparts.com/bmw-r1100s-r1200s-tech-forum/

    Recommended mods is up for discussion but as always the best improvement can be done with the suspension. Swapping it for very expensive Ohlins is the top choice or having the standard suspension reworked by someone who knows what they are doing is just as good as most people don't fully exploit the capability of the suspension. There is quite a few engine mods most notably is http://www.boxer-performance.com/ in Oz and San Jose BMW for big bore kits or a Lazer exhaust system. Gives the bike a nice sound and standard on the BCR.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    To me it is a beautiful bike. There are better bikes out there but this mine is a keeper.
    #10
  11. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    56,115
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    IF you learn how to ride one it can be one of the funnest bikes you will ever own. The handling and brakes are great, and the motor makes all the HP you will ever need on the street. Again, IF you learn the ways of the R1100/1200S!

    They were ridden to the Thunderbike championships 2 years in a row.

    For me, on the street, it was fun for shorter rides, but not for longer ones. Some love it that way.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Jim :brow
    #11
  12. rotten

    rotten LOST AGAIN

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    Great feedback, funny sounds a lot like my current ST mount. Fun once you learn how to ride it sure its a lot more advanced in a lot of ways. Now I just need to ride one. I do want it for long rides even multi day rides.

    Great following and like most bikes that are different it is a divided like vs dislike with few in the middle.
    #12
  13. rotten

    rotten LOST AGAIN

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    670
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    Great looking bike!!!! :clap
    #13
  14. 625SXC

    625SXC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    556
    If you do get a 1100S.... And plan on using it for longer rides(more than a few hours) be sure to set aside enough money for a custom seat.
    #14
  15. CyHawk

    CyHawk Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I have the very bike pictured. See my icon.

    Here's the thing about the R1100s. It's not great at any one thing but it's good at everything. I picked up my '04 in 2007 and keep thinking that I'm going to sell it for something more sporty. However, every time I ride it I decide to keep it all over again. Sure, it's not a sport bike, but it actually has more power than you think if you rap it up in the RPM range. A friend of mine has an '05 BCR and agrees with me that if you "drive it like you stole it" it actually is surprisingly fast. I can tell you that I've surprised several kids on crotch rockets with how well I can stick a line in the twisties with this big mama.

    I'm a big guy (6'3" 240lbs) and it fits me perfectly. The BMW bikes are good for big guys. I agree that the seating position is committed but I like the slightly forward angle.

    In any case, I think if you ride one you'll appreciate the package of features and it's ability to handle almost any riding scenario (except off road ;) ).
    #15
  16. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    10,992
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, Ca
    a few years ago I got it into my system that I had to have one of these. I looked and looked and never really found any decent prices, just people who thought the bike was worth way more than it was.
    I finally got a test ride and sadly I was pretty underwhelmed. To be fair, a 5 minute test ride, you're not going to get to know a bike very well BUT it's not that comfortable, it's really not that fast (my 1150GS pulls way harder and it weighs substantially more) and they're kind of pricy. and strange lookin and not in necessarily a good way.

    For that money there are lots of other bikes that are probably better for what this does.
    #16
  17. Ron_Ces

    Ron_Ces Aging Hacker

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,651
    Location:
    Sunny Riverton, NJ
    Is that Nate's old Boxer Cup bike? If so, I sold that a few years back when I worked at DeSimone BMW in SJ. Small world...
    Ron
    #17
  18. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    56,115
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Yes it is!

    Jim :brow
    #18
  19. pcampagna

    pcampagna Paul Campagna

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    10 years I've wanted this bike. I came across a deal i couldn't pass up and found this with 2800 miles. It's a 2002- with less than 3000 in 10 years is stupid. BUT i didn't pass it up. So far 5000 more miles on this year from me. One thing i'll say is that this is a big bike, but feels smaller when you're riding it.

    I have Ohlin's, shorter arm, bigger back wheel, Z-tech exhaust, chip, k&N, carbon everywhere including the intake, corbin seat (which is a must), LSD bar risers from the factory, lower pegs, heated grips, throttlemeister, Wunderlich levers, etc,

    I couldn't be happier with the bike.

    I've ridden 500 mile days with no problem other than being tired. Seating position with bars and lower pegs is almost too comfortable.

    I believe this kind of bike is great for an all around bike. Like other stated, not excellent at one thing, but great at everything. Quick enough to keep up and surprise you in the twisties. NOT a wheelie or trick bike, but if that's what you want by a GSXR.

    I am planning on having this bike until I put 100,000+ miles on it, and that is the nice thing about a BMW, is that it will do that easily.

    Good pick, if you decide to get one.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. Flounder

    Flounder Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    68
    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    I just picked up this bike three months ago. If you take it for what it is, it's a fantastic bike. It does have some detractors, but I think those are people expecting the needle on this bike to point more towards "sport" than "sport tourer." I can sit on this bike for hours, but still enjoy the 40 miles of twisties right out my back door. The previous owner installed barbacks on the bike. I have to get those off. Way too upright.


    [​IMG]

    http://i1127.photobucket.com/albums/l634/velobro/ripper.jpg
    #20