Is a 1996 bmw r1100gs to old?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by jbuggyus, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. jbuggyus

    jbuggyus n00b

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    Hi, I am looking at upgrading my current ride (2006 dr650 great bike) but now am looking at a 1996 bmw r1100gs with about 24,000 miles in like new condition and has all maintenance records as well. I have read how good, reliable and versital these bikes are, but my only concern is that it is 17 years old. This would be my first BMW and I really like the bike. Would that be a reasonable concern? I am not trying to start any debates, I would just like to hear from some of you out there. Thanks!
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  2. krellheat

    krellheat Pepsi Challenged

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    Are you mechanically inclined to make some upgrades such as replacing the original brake hoses with braided ones?
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  3. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    Too old for what? If that 24K miles was put on the first two years and then it's been sitting for the last 15 I might be concerned.
    At that age it should have new brake hoses and the oil level window should have been replaced. If it's been ridden regularly and the price is right I'd go for it. The 1100s are pretty nice.
    #3
  4. jbuggyus

    jbuggyus n00b

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    Yes I am mechanically inclined to an extent, I am very familiar with air cooled VW's and these engines do have a similarity to them. The bike has not been sitting just ridden short distances. My concern was all the rubber seals starting to crack( if there are any). Braided brake lines would be a great improvement,Thanks
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  5. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    If you pulled VW engines and rebuilt them and they worked when you put them back in the car you've probably got the skills needed. Although the BMW and the VW are both boxers that's about all they have in common. You'll be comfortable with valve adjustments though.

    If the bike has been ridden regularly then the seals less likely to have dried out. The oil sight glass can fail through age as much as heat cycles. If it were me I replace it at the next oil change as a preventive measure. I'd also replace the brake lines like I said before. 17 years is too old. I think that the steel braided from Cycle Brakes or where ever are cheaper and better than stock from BMW.
    #5
  6. XPatriot

    XPatriot Charges have been dropped

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    My (new to me) 1100GS has 125K miles and runs as well as my old (sold) 1150GS with 25K on it.

    I echo the concerns about sitting....it can be more detrimental to sit and have various things dry/crack/clog than a bike to be run and well serviced.

    Mine came with complete service history and the PO spent many thousands of dollars on servicing (it looks like he didn't touch the bike himself).

    Age isn't really the issue....its more about the care shown the bike.
    #6
  7. wrysingfeenix

    wrysingfeenix Dust off those ashes

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    What is the asking price?
    #7
  8. jbuggyus

    jbuggyus n00b

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    Thanks for the replies! Yes, I Have rebuilt a few vw engines and been working on them for about 25 years. Motorcycles though are a little different though. I do hope I am not wrenching on it all the time though (besides routine maintenance).
    #8
  9. Bob_Johnson

    Bob_Johnson Adventurer

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    New here but since I have a similar experience I thought I'd post. I recently received a '95 1100GS with 20K miles, original owner, dealer serviced, all records, etc. The only difference is that my example sat idle for the last five years.

    There's more information on these bikes in this forum than you can imagine and I won't attempt to duplicate it here. If you do some research you will find that there are some "common" problems to which our models are prone - having said that, my example has none of those problems. It did have seized pistons in the brake calipers, but a strip and rebuild solved that and now they are as good as new. The external fuel lines were not great after 18 years, but they were functional and probably would have lasted quite a few more years. The internal fuel lines, which have a bad reputation for deteriorating were as new on my bike (and yes, I did split them to check after I replaced them). The original fuel filter and fuel pump were perfect. As a matter of course I've replaced all the hoses and o-rings, including the brake lines, and all the originals were good.

    The condition of these bikes seems to be the luck-of-the-draw. I would certainly replace anything made of rubber whether it looks like it needs it or not - after all, the stuff is almost two decades old. If your bike still has the plastic tank (as mine did) you will definitely need to replace it with a metal one - figure on $500.00 if that's the case. The only thing holding gasoline in my tank was the white paint and it was not doing a very good job.....

    These bikes are very easy to work on, sometimes time consuming, but not difficult. Get a good shop manual and have at it. If the bike you are considering is in good condition I think you should be very happy with your choice.

    Good Luck
    #9
  10. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

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    Pull the trigger, these things are solid. My 96 1100gs just turned 95K miles yesterday, wouldnt think of it as anywhere near used up. Yeah Ive replaced some parts along the way, but I dont own a single piece of equipment or vehicle that I havent done at least something to. If you want more peace of mind, look up inmate Hank , he has a 1995 1100GS with almost 500,000 miles.
    #10
  11. Ducs2Dirt

    Ducs2Dirt Not quite all there

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    I just traded in my 95 1100 to get back on a sportbike again and when I traded her in it was running like a champ. When I picked her up over a year ago, she ran good, but not great. I had just had to do the basic's and give her a new starter, some repairs here and there and a general once over. After that, I would of rode her to Alaska and back, without any hesitation.

    As long as its been looked after I would do it.
    #11
  12. weeman

    weeman Adventurer

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    As KShow states, "pull the trigger"! I own a 1995 r1100rsl, though not a GS, it is a very solid bike! Just over 38k now it's not even broken in yet!:clap
    #12
  13. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    Is your GS equipped with ABS? If so, flush the brake system with new brake fluid ASAP. Replace those original rubber brake lines immediately inasmuch as your safety is at stake.

    There are plenty of lip seals in the power train on your bike. Engine seals can be preserved with a good engine oil with the proper additives. As you are likely aware, heat, oxidizers and acids are the enemy of seals so, select an engine oil with a high TBN.

    Fresh fluids all 'round not that the bike needs it but to check and see if there is any debris anywhere it doesn't belong. The transmission and FD oils should look and smell fresh with a slight sulfur odor.

    A well cared for boxer BMW of that age is no more a risk than a younger bike. Its the care and the way it was ridden that counts.
    #13
  14. Pekkavee

    Pekkavee Been here awhile

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  15. jbuggyus

    jbuggyus n00b

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    Thanks for all the response, this makes me feel better about the year of the bike. I do know these are great bikes and with hardly any electronic components to deal with is a bonus as well. Yes it does have ABS and I will plan on replacing the brake lines and flush the brake fluid. There has also been a lot of maintenance done already so I will go through with a check list and see what has and hasn't been done. Thanks
    #15
  16. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    That era BMW's were very well put together. Many of the fitting like stainless clamps and other details are superior to newer models. The R1100GS engine is delightful power-plant, with great low end grunt and superior engine braking to the R1150. It also has a cable clutch which is good maintenance wise and will make your fingers stronger. Much heavier to pull than the hydraulic clutch, but you get used to it fast.
    Areas of concern on that model is periodic spline lube, the original M94 transmission had some problems on certain bikes, upgrading to M97 specs is a common fix. Though many bikes like mine with 90k miles still have the original M94 and have no problems. Rewiring or replacing the hes sensor is likely necessary if it hasn't already been done.
    In Australia there was a rash of broke transmission mounts and TT made the "hard part" fix If you plan to ride it hard heavily loaded in the outback that's a good idea to do the fix. American bikes which spent most of their lives on smooth road did not break often.
    Wear items like brakes and shocks run into a fair amount of money, if you're on a tight budget keep those in mind. The stock seat pretty much sucks so bear that in mind also.
    Once all the little particularities of that model have been sorted it makes for a very reliable, economical and pleasant bike to ride.
    The best deals would be on a well cared for higher mileage bike where the previous owner has already sorted out all the little stuff.
    #16
  17. Mugwest

    Mugwest .

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    Am heading to 135K on my '96. I've loved having it. Came from a long time on Airheads so learning curve was a cinch.

    Bought mine at 66K and things kinda trickled in here and there needing updating/replacement:

    **Brake master replaced (rebuilt once by PO, once by me. Research this)
    **Final Drive seal (large) (seal was updated in production, later seal better)
    Leaky left head gasket (gaskets upgraded in production, later better)
    Worn right throttle body (go used or rebuild)
    Ohlins shocks (from PO) both need overhaul, had to find used stockers to keep riding daily-driver GS.
    **Driveshaft at 116K (front joint got bindy)
    Fork seals
    Seat vinyl eaten up by UV (eBay for used)
    Cam chain tensioner (not a failure, just a nice quiet production upgrade)
    Headlight switch melted (circuit is unfused and needs relay. Replaced w/ used until later circuit upgrade)
    Headlight H4 female terminal melted (see above)
    **Hall sensor failed in classic style (but also 6 miles from home on the way back from 2 states away :lol3)
    **Oil pressure switch
    Steel tank lining coming off in sheets (went with a good plastic '95 tank until steel unit can be cleaned)

    All this stuff adds up to some solid $$, but it's just an item or 2 per year in the 6 years i've had it, not all at once. All ops done by me, it's never seen a pro shop. I would tackle major overhaul of every component on the bike, with possible exception of gearbox. And there's so much experience and wisdom here that given enough time, i might even make a go at that.

    Been through a pile of tires, brake pads, oil and filters etc.

    engine (aside from head gasket and cam tensioner), gearbox, clutch throwout stuff, brain, alternator, fuel pump, ABS, wheel & swingarm bearings, and final drive gears are as-is from assembly line in Berlin.

    I like it on ranch roads, logging roads, gravel, etc. Deep sand not so much. It does Urban Warfare commuting and grocery getting par excellence. They don't tout that much in the promotionals b/c it's not as sexy as Dakar/Globetrotter fantasy-- but the GS as Uber Hooligan bike is one of the strongest suits the GS fills IMO

    I like it a ton. I'd buy another


    EDIT for show-stoppers:

    ** = potential show-stopper item. Some of these can be nailed by preventive replacement/maintenance, some can be carried on the bike for roadside fix. Do your homework/research

    I will echo JimvB that if you get this bike, you need to spend the coin up front to get every inch of brake line changed to braided stainless if it does not have it already. Start searching 'Galfer' and 'Spiegler' on this topic. Both firms are well-known/well-used and have turn-key kits to handle every line on the bike. Lots of local hydraulic shops can make SS braided custom lines now, but you'll prolly pay less/less hassle getting a kit from firms that specialize in these fitments.

    Enjoy
    #17
  18. Racegun

    Racegun Single Track Mind!

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    Ditto and AMEN!!!



    btw the pic in my avatar was my 1996GS. I performed all of the aforementioned improvements etc, sold it with ~ 50k miles, the current owner has wrecked 3 times, flooded it, abused it, ( he is about as smart as a rock) and yet it serves him to this day, faithfully and still going strong at > 130,000 very hard miles!! That says a few things. The improvements as stated here are very worth while and also that the basic machine is fan-freaking-tastic.
    IMHO, in 20 years they will be the bike of legend and very much sought after!!!

    I am going to buy another, it will be sold at my estate sale! ( or willed to the next person who knows a thing or two about what makes one of the best bikes ever created!)
    #18
  19. RoadGrime

    RoadGrime Been here awhile

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    Sold my 1991 K100RS a year ago to get a '98 R1100GS! That's called an upgrade for me! :rofl
    #19
  20. Racegun

    Racegun Single Track Mind!

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    I have done that also:rofl :deal

    :freaky
    #20