1977-1992: The BMW R100RS

This particular model marked the advent of what is now commonplace in motorsports advertising: bragging about being designed in a wind tunnel. In this case a West German wind tunnel.

Google Image Search “R100RS” today and you’ll get a lot of custom cafe-racer interpretations. Some stunning; many, not as much. Many an RS fairing has been stripped and stuffed into a dumpster—scrapped to clear the canvas for some custom café creation.

And that’s all fine and good, but the original R100RS does deserves some respect. This bike helped define a burgeoning Sport Touring category when it hit dealers showroom floors in 1977. It came with cases, standard, and a low handlebar with ample ground clearance. And it just begged to be ridden fast and far.

As Motorcycle News wrote a few years back: “The top speed of around 125mph was impressive, but it was the ability of the R100RS to maintain a 100mph cruising speed for hours on end that makes it a true classic.

It would later morph from a dual-shock configuration to a mono-shock bike, with iterative upgrades—beefier fork tubes, better rear suspension, better brakes up front and a third Brembo disc brake in the rear from 1978 onward.

The platform was hugely popular for BMW. It sold 33,600 twin-shock models between 1976 and 1984, and another 6,000 after it upgraded it to a Mono Shock from 86-92.

Owners: Billy Joel / 20th Century Cycles: 1977 BMW powder blue R100RS; James Dalton: 1983 dark blue R100RS

Click Here to go back to the Main Menu of the interactive BMW Airhead Show, or follow the links below to the other bikes in the collection.

1970-1973: The BMW /5
1974-1976: The BMW /6
1974-1976: The BMW R90S
1977-1992: The BMW R100RS
1978-1995: BMW R80RT and R100RT
1979-1987: The BMW R65
1983-1985: The BMW R65LS
1980–1986: The R80 G/S
1982-1984: The BMW R80ST
1987-1995: The R100GS
1992-1995: The BMW R100R