The Legendary BMW Motorcycle from 1923 through 1995
I started my life of motorcycling back in 1981. My boss at the time owned a 1980 BMW R100RT, smoke red. He would occasionally show up on the job site on his RT. He owned a sewer and water contracting business and I would operate a Case backhoe on the job sites. I was quite fascinated with his RT and he would constantly try to get me to buy a motorcycle. Being single and having money to spend, I finally decided to give this motorcycle thing a try.
I bought a Honda CM 450 from a local Yamaha/BMW dealer in Downers Grove in the Spring of ’82. That didn’t last long. Several weeks later, I traded it in for a 1982 Yamaha black XJ550. Weeks later, I traded that in for a 1982 Yamaha silver XJ650RJ Seca. This bike I really liked. It was fast, and fun to ride. I would ride my bike over to my bosses house and we would end up talking motorcycles. We would ride our bikes around town and every time he started his RT, I would think to myself how rad that bike sounded. Totally different from anything I’d ever heard.
Weeks later, he talked me into going to the dealer with him and test riding a Beemer. I looked over all the Beemers in the showroom and I was drawn to a smoke red RS. With a price tag just under $5,000, this was a serious proposition I was stepping into. “OK”, I told my boss, “I’ll take it for a ride.” As soon as I left the parking lot, I knew this was no ordinary bike. I was murmuring to myself, “OMG, I have to buy this bike!” The torque band on the RS was impressive to me. Not fast off the line, but that midrange. . . oh that midrange. When I got back to the showroom with eyes bigger than before I left, my boss offered to advance me some money so I wouldn’t leave empty handed. With my Bell helmet and Hein Gericke jacket in tow, I began my love affair of the Beemer boxer airhead.
Life happened; marriage, kids, and I eventually sold that RS (big mistake!). Two years ago (April, 2016), I set out to buy back that ’81 RS. Found it in Michigan, paid too much for it, but I was extremely happy to have that smoke red Beemer back in my garage. Three months later, I saw an ’84 RS for sale just 10 miles away and bought it for a good price. Thought I was done, but my wife kept telling me she wanted to ride with me, so I started looking for an RT. September, 2017, I found a ’95 Special Edition RT, again in Michigan.
Now, just into my 60’s, I don’t only enjoying riding airheads, but wrenching them as well. Not an expert by any means, but I have a great fondness and respect for the German engineering that make these bikes the classics that they are, and have taken the time to learn how these machines work.
These are the bikes I currently own: