RS Resurrection – The Beginning

My Sad R100RS
My Sad R100RS

I have a 1981 BMW R100RS in the back of my garage. It’s been parked there for quite a while now. I bought it in 1989, and I used to ride the heck out of it, but it needs a bunch of work, so I parked it. Now that I have sold the Yamaha FJ1200 I have some cash to purchase the parts to fix it up again.

And so it begins.

I’m not sure why I’ve decided to start this project now, when the riding season is just about over, but why not? There are a few parts that I can remove and bring indoors to work on.

Step one was to dig it out of the back of the garage. It’s been there for quite a while.


The first surprise when digging it out is the fact that the brake lever is locked up solid. I imagine that there was some water in the fluid and it’s all rusted up.

Anyway, I aired up the tires, pulled all the crap out of the way and rolled it out. The next surprise was how long it’s been parked. The license plate tabs say 06. So it’s been parked for 7 years. Wow, time sure flies.

Man it’s filthy.

Who's a dirty boy?
Who’s a dirty boy?

So, what does it need? Well, the main reason I parked it was because I was tired of dealing with the carburetors. A few years after I bought the bike I decided to replace the exhaust and carbs. I put a Luftmeister 2 into 1 exhaust on it along with a pair of 40mm Mikuni Flat Slide carburetors. I foolishly sold the old carbs a couple of years later. I never did get the carbs dialed in like I wanted and a few years ago I bought a pair of used stock carbs and a rebuild kit. I got one carb rebuilt and then stopped… Who knows why?

Along with the carbs I sold the throttle and choke cables, so it needs those too. Along with the carb mounting tubes to go into the heads.

It also has a leaky oil pan gasket – for which I’ve had a new gasket for many years. Now I also need to repair the brakes – I’ll have to get a new piston and some rebuild kits for the calipers and fully flush the system.

The seat cover is old and torn, so I’ll have to get that re-covered. I have a pair of new (well, I bought them maybe seven years ago and they’ve been sitting in my basement since) tires to spoon onto the rims.

I’ll have to check all the rubber bits since it’s been sitting so long. I wonder if it has gas (ha! varnish more likely) in the tank – in which case I’ll have to drain it out and clean the tank and petcocks.

Oh, and the odometer is not tracking the miles anymore. That’s been broken since the bike hit 100,000 miles. I’ll have to try and fix that too.

As long as I’m taking it apart a bit, I’ll have to deal with some of the rust too. I’m not going to do a frame-up restoration (though it’s tempting,) but I’ll try and make it look nice when it’s done.

Rear view.
Rear view.

The next step will be a bath followed by an over-all inspection.

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