BMW K100RS 16V
Sometimes bikes just turn up: You don't have any intention of going out to buy a bike, but it happens. This one was a bit like that.
Early in 1994 I went to Rufforth Autojumble with Fat Barry Warrener. Fat Barry knew everybody, or if he didn't he would talk to them until he did! Progress round the stalls had been slow and now he was talking animatedly to a mutual acquaintance who was a regular stallholder. I had looked around their wares and found I didn't need anything they were selling but we had been there that long I felt I ought to look interested. Then Barry said
He will buy it, make them an offer for this bike.
The bike in question was a 2-year old, sorry-looking, well-used BMW K100RS 16v. I had a quick look round it, saw their asking price and offered them just over half their price after giving them a long list of expensive bits required to make it useable. Our friend laughed and said
No!. I walked away and forgot about it.
Nearly a year later in January 1995 I got a phone call.
Are you still interested in the bike? I wasn't really but decided I had to go and look at it again, as it could be a chance to get a bargain. The bike had not been on the road since I last saw it which was of no real surprise and I found out that it had originally been used instead of a car by a sales rep. He had left, leaving the company stuck with the dodgy bike they didn't know how to dispose of.
It was now able to be sold for less than their previous price as they could write off a percentage of its value per year. However, in the meantime some effort had been made to get it fit for the road and it now had a lot of new parts including a full set of brake discs and pads and also a new battery. None of these had actually been fitted. I made another silly offer and was a bit shocked when it was immediately accepted.
So I had another bike, let the rebuild commence. I had the wheels powder coated, replaced all the rusty fasteners with stainless steel ones, fitted all the new bits they had bought for me and touched in all the missing paintwork. The only difficult part was the exhaust system which was stainless but had almost broken in two. The early K100s are made in two pieces but BMW had decided to make the 16v ones one piece. I managed to bronze weld it back together and braced it all up. Fortunately the repairs were covered up by the heat shield.
I had replaced a front wheel sensor for the ABS system but was unable to reset it so I had to pay the local BMW shop to do it. They charged me an hours labour, didn't reset it and told me I needed a front wheel sensor as it was showing as a fault. I then went to Rainbow Motorcycles in Sheffield where, after a free cup of coffee, they reset it instantly for nothing.
The K100RS 16v was a really good looking quality sports touring bike, spoilt by a very high list price but fortunately for me mine was cheap! It was fitted with hard panniers and I bought one of the small standard top boxes to match.
I took it over to the TT that year and on Mad Sunday had great fun over the mountain. Little sports bikes don't like being passed by Billy-Bolt-Upright on his posh BMW with panniers and top box. It was very quick if you revved it! It handled well too, I managed to grind the bolt on the paralever strut going round Gooseneck - I must have hit a bump, you can't lean BMW touring bikes over that far!
The K was totally different to my R100RS, which was still my main bike at the time. It had ABS, radial tyres, 4 valves per cylinder and double overhead cams but was not as smooth. It had a vibration period from 75-85 mph which made my hands go numb. I tried all sorts to cure it, different bar end weights, different handlebar grips and even balancing the throttle bodies but all to no avail. Despite this I still liked the bike, it was very easy to keep clean in winter and enabled me to lay up my old RS.
Alas, all good things come to an end and after the Kipper rally in November 1996 I had a cold ride home up the A49 on to the M62. Just past Manchester it was snowing and I was worried but it cleared up as I dropped down from the Huddersfield turn off and I thought all was ok.
How wrong can you be? When I turned onto the M606 to get back to Bradford I ran straight on to deep snow, it had not been gritted or cleared at all and I was doing about 70mph. I knew I couldn't get round the curve that was coming up and I took to the hard shoulder to give maximum room for manoeuvre. Unfortunately the front end slid away and down we went. The bike hit the crash barrier whilst I slid down the snowy hard shoulder. I got away with just a few bruises but not the bike. The Armco barrier had removed the throttle bodies and the sparks had ignited the petrol. I went up to the bike and managed to save my tent and qd top box. The panniers had already broken off but just then the alloy petrol tank must have melted and it went off like a bomb! I would have been badly burnt if I hadn't had all my winter bike gear and helmet on, it was a lucky escape. Never, ever approach a burning vehicle go the other way!
The fun didn't stop there though. By now it was snowing a blizzard. I had just finished putting out what remained of my bike when the fire engine arrived. They set about making it safe and then seemed most upset when I got into the back of their fire engine and sat down. I was told it wasn't allowed and I would have to get out. But I was stuck on the motorway, 4 miles from home, in a blizzard and I was not for moving. They said they would call recovery for me but it was obvious that nothing was moving due to the snow and I didn't fancy freezing to death.
Then they said they would call the police if I didn't get out and I said
That's ok, it looks as if they are already here. A patrol car had just pulled up behind the fire engine so I got out and got in the police car instead!
After the formalities were dealt with we were in the same position. The police couldn't leave me on the motorway in the snow but really wanted to get back on duty. After a lot of persuading we loaded up my luggage into the police car and they gave me a lift home - common sense prevailed
- Ted Trett