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I am thinking about buying a R80RT or R100RT that is in good condition.

I have never owned one and would appreciate someone that has to advise me on any problems to look for in these bikes.

I currently have a K1200LT and am looking for something a little lighter to add to my garage.

Thanks
Roger
 

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Mockingbird said:
I am thinking about buying a R80RT or R100RT that is in good condition.

I have never owned one and would appreciate someone that has to advise me on any problems to look for in these bikes.

I currently have a K1200LT and am looking for something a little lighter to add to my garage.

Thanks
Roger
There are *so* many things to talk about on a bike series that ran from 1969-1995! The short version is: look for a 94-95 model -- the last and best of the airheads, with virtually all the real problem areas resolved.
 

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R80 and R100

I own a 1985 R80 plain no fairing. I ABSOLUTELY love riding this bike. As a matter of fact I am taking off work this afternoon to ride it. When the airheads are tuned correctly (valves adjusted and carbs synched) they are a smooth hum. The bikes are purrrfect for just easy cruising around the countryside roads. The R100 has alot more power than the R80. I have had both and regret ever selling my 1979 R100 but I love my R80. Understand this, if you can't hear the valves then they are adjusted too tight. You willl hear alot of valve noise from the old airheads. I get around this by wearing a full face helmet when I ride it. The bikes are light and easy to handle and a blast on twisties also. Comfortable. My wife loves riding two up on the R80, except on the Dragon, she says I lean too much. I have scraped the heads a time or two. I would also suggest you go for an 85 or later so you can get the monolever suspension.
They are fairly easy to work on also, valve adjustments and carbs.
Both great bikes!
 

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I know its not the same, but a late 90's F650 gives you a bike that's still in the current parts inventory, a lighter bike that is superb in the back roads and off roads. About the same money as a late R100 in decent shape. You'd lose another 200 pounds or so. FWIW...
 

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I used to own a R100/7, 1977 model. It was a nice bike and I put a lot of trouble free miles on her. Fairly light for a 1000cc bike, easy to ride and easy to work on. I'm very tempted to get rid of one of my newer bikes and get another old one again. They are definitely not as high tech as todays models but still tons of fun and pretty darn reliable.
 

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1987 R80rt

I've got a 1987 R80RT with about 42,000 miles on it. The Achilles heel of the bike is the weak charging system; I aggravated the situation by having the dealer add MotoLights and heated grips when I bought it used three years ago. As a result I stranded myself a time or two, and since I was using it as a commuter ride I ended up buying a 1999 R1100RA a year later to get an acceptable level of reliability.

What I did not know at the time was that there is an electrical system upgrade that solves the problem (but is pricey at around $1000 with dealer installation). Had I known about it, I probably would have done it then rather than buy a second bike. Anyway, I finally did the upgrade last summer and now the bike is happy. I've accepted the fact that I'm never going to get the money out of the bike should I ever sell it.

The brakes on the 1987 R80RT are definitely a generation behind those on the 1999 R1100RA. I have a lot more confidence in braking on the newer bike. I recently added braided stainless steel brake lines to the front brake on the airhead, which improved braking response somewhat but not to the level of the oilhead.

I replaced the stock windshield with an aftermarket windshield from Parabellum. Much quieter, and well worth the money.

The airhead is an entirely different feel than the oilhead. Without a Telelever you can feel the fork dive on hard braking. But feels noticeably lighter than the oilhead, even though the actual difference is probably only about 50-60 lbs. Possibly this is due to a higher CG.

Weather protection is great. It's a wonderful ride in the winter as long as the roads are clear of ice.

Since I've had mine (purchased with about 33,000 miles), I've had the steering head bearings replaced, the electrical system upgraded, brake lines upgraded, master cylinder replaced, carburetors rebuilt, and a new left side head gasket, in addition to regular service. So hopefully the rehab is behind us and it's all regular maintenance from here on in. Parts availability is good.
 

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Buying an "Airhead"

If you are seriously thinking about buying an older BMW (Airhead) R80RT, R100RT etc. Go to the local book store and purchase "BMW Motorcycle Buyer's Guide" by Mark Zimmerman and Brian J. Nelson. Could save you a lot of money and trouble, plus you will learn a lot about the older machines and their foibles. Prior to reading this book I was looking for an R90S. With info from the book a 1984 R100Rs was the bike for me.

Also check out the ABC (Airhead Beemer Club) at Airheads.org. Those guys are a wealth of information.

The K1200LT is a super machine, but riding an airhead is KOOOOOOL (and fun).

Good hunting!

dj
 

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R80rt

Some (not all) of the early R80RT's had an issue with the valve seats getting pounded to far into the heads.
The issue was resolved in the later years 83 and up.
The R80's are smoother than the R100's with a few less hp
I rode the hell out of an 83 R80RT used to call it the best all around bike I ever had, light and nimble.
Sold it with 80 some thousand on the clock about ten years ago and I still see the guy that bought it riding it to rallies.
 

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R80RT vs R100RT

Guy's this question has been driving me nut's for years. By way of background, I have been riding BMW's since 1974 (R90) and have had a number of airhead's and 2 K's. At present I have a '99 K1200LTC and a '92 R100GS both purchaced new. I have had a fair amount of trouble in 45,000 miles with the K1200LTC including 2 rear drive failures, a steering stabalizer, throttle cables, broken common ground in the head light, etc. and I'm due for new shocks. On the R100GS I have had very little trouble in 35,000 miles - brinneled steering bearings, new rear shock, new fork springs and other than tires and normal maintenance, that's it.

The K1200LT has much more power, gets better mileage, is smoother, has lots of nice farkels but I always worry about whether I will make it home without walking. On the R100GS I never worry about breakdowns as I assume (of course not true) that I can always patch any problem that occurs and get it home. The R100GS is a blast to ride but lacks the weather protection to ride it year around.

I have been considering buying either an R80RT or R100RT for several years and bringing it back up to as new condition for several years but I just haven't done it yet. I generally lean to the R100RT in my mental debates as it has about 20% more power than the R80's at the expense of running a little rougher with more heat to get rid of than the R100's.

One of these day's I'll just do it.

Jerry
 

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This is a late response to the original post, but I just bought a 1991 R100RT for the very same reason. I have an 03 LTE that my wife and I love for long trips, but I have been getting a little tired of lugging the 800 lb. KLT around town. I wanted a lighter ride for short hops, and events like Daytona Bike Week. I'm not too comfortable about parking my LT in a garage full of bikes with it's GPS and XM radio ticking out. I know I can remove the GPS, but that is a hassle. The R100RT fits the bill -- basic biking, great handling all OK. My R100RT has an RS fairing and handlebars, so it looks like an RSm but is really an RT.
 
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