The GS – April 2019
This is my new-to-me 1995 BMW R1100 GS. I don't speak German but a quick Google search revealed that GS refers to either Gelände/Straße (German: off-road/road) or Gelände Sport (thanks Wikipedia). I have wanted a GS for some time but had been unable to make it happen. The most difficult part of adding a GS to the fleet was that I was not riding Strix very much. Adding a third motorcycle - and a GS - would mean Strix would likely never get ridden again. I got locked up on buying a third motorcycle and the requirement to sell Strix to make room. Because I was locked up nothing happened. I continued to want a GS while not riding Strix much at all. All this changed one fateful Saturday when I attended an antique motorcycle show at the Volland Store.
While chatting with a fellow also attending the show we got to talking about our motorcycles. He arrived on a BMW RT but told me he also had an R90/6 Airhead at home along with a GS. I mentioned that I wanted a GS because my R1150R was too short for me, I just couldn't get comfortable on it, and I really wanted a GS. My new friend then said that his GS was too tall for him and he didn't feel comfortable riding it. He also mentioned that the GS needed some work but because he wasn't going to be able to ride it comfortably he wasn't excited about doing the work. My mind started spinning - I might have a solution for both of us. I suggested we swap motorcycles to solve each others' problems. My R1150R would definitely fit him better, I want a GS, and something that needs wrench attention always makes me happy. We talked, exchanged phone numbers, sent pictures of the motorcycles to each other and agreed to think about it. A week later we met halfway between our houses and did just that. Strix is now being ridden A LOT and my new friend's former GS is getting the wrench attention it needs to return to its former glory.
The best part of this trade is that it really was a trade. We swapped motorcycles, no money changed hands, and no sales tax was collected by the DMV when we each registered the motorcycles. On the bills of sale we listed the price of the motorcycles as "Even Trade". This is all perfectly legal - we both checked with our respective county DMVs - which made the DMV cost for the swap $25 which is essentially the processing fee. I'm even getting a $6 refund on property taxes because the GS is older (1995) than Strix (2003). A little conversation, a little driving, and an hour at the DMV and Strix has a new home where he'll be ridden and I have a GS I can wrench on this winter and ride. My knees are already happier!
The GS has a few issues that need to be addressed for me to begin riding it. Here's what I see as Phase 1 work:
- New Front Turn Signals - both front turn signals have been busted up and patched back together. While they work, they look more than rough. An order from Bob's BMW and a new set of lights magically appeared on my front porch.
- Busted Windscreen Mount - I discovered this when I started disassembly to replace the front turn signals. This part appears to be cast aluminum and, according to BMW, is worth about $200.
- 1150 Fuel Tank - this one has me a bit perplexed. The broken lights and windscreen mounting bracket tell me the bike has been crashed but the swapped fuel tank makes me scratch my head. I've looked at a fuel tank from an R1100GS that is being parted out and see the same kine of damage to the front along with the fuel tank being really beat up. A previous owner may have swapped the tank because the original one was beat up or they swapped it for some other reason. I don't know why this 1995 R1100GS has an R1150GS tank but it holds and delivers fuel so for now I'm going to leave it as is.
As I've spent more time with the motorcycle I've noticed a few other things that need some attention, but nothing that will keep it from working. Having a GS is great, and having a motorcycle with a list of parts is also great. I am pleased to have this machine in the fleet. I am also pleased that Strix has a new owner who is as excited to have him as I am to have the GS.