‘Air-cooled flat twins worm their way into your heart’
I don’t want to harp on about BMW ‘airheads’ just because I’ve got a couple of them, but that’s the thing with the old air-cooled flat twins: they sort of worm their way into your affections, and now I’m looking for a third.
I’m not sure which model I want, but I’m narrowing it down to an R100RS or conceivably a black/yellow ‘bumblebee’ R100GS. A dozen years or so ago I had the Paris-dakar version and, like a fool, sold it. At that time it was worth a couple of grand. You could probably treble that now. But anyway, I already have an adventure bike in the form of a modern Ténéré, so the RS it is.
Technically, this was just the venerable boxer lump with big valves and 70bhp, but it had what is still one of the best sportstouring fairings ever designed – it didn’t just keep you dry in the rain but added aerodynamic stability.
This meant you could cruise indefinitely at 100mph, in 1976.
BMW killed off the 1000cc airheads when the Ks came along, but like Porsche with the 911, found this wasn’t easy and brought them back in the 1990s, so you can still find a 1996 model if you look hard enough. That’ll have the mono-lever rear end and better handling and brakes but environmental mods mean it’ll also be 10mph slower and 10mpg thirstier than the early heavy-flywheel bikes, so a 197678 model is what I want.
A dealer had a truly mint ultralow mileage ’76 but he wanted 10 grand for it, and that’s taking the pee. I’ve got four grand budgeted and I’ll let you know how I get on.
The unfashionable Honda I can’t help but notice
Neil’s looking for an R100RS to complete a trio of BMW ‘airheads’