CC Outtake: 1991-95 BMW R100R — R is for Roadtrip

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On the vast open spaces of the highways and national parks of the Southwest, Harley-Davidsons roam in vast herds, Honda Gold Wings travel in substantial numbers, and classic BMWs are as rare as the omnipresent German tourists are common.  This lone R100R from the final 1991-95 nostalgia edition of the generation that debuted in 1970, well equipped for long distance touring, was spotted by itself at the entrance of Arches National Park in Utah.  It is like a living tribute to the classic BMW Type 247 flat twins that lasted for a quarter of a century and established BMW as a leading power in motorcycles in the United States.

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The R100R was a fitting end to the 1970-95 generation of BMW flat twins, with the classic engine and frame and moderate modernization around them.  In an era when BMW was devoting its resources to new designs with the water-cooled inline four and three cylinder engines introduced in the 1980s and a new generation of oil-cooled flat twins, with fuel injection, antilock brakes, and other new technology, the R100R used the air-cooled boxer engine with its familiar Bing carburetors and the Norton Featherbed-based frame that both dated back to 1970.  The engine now had a 2-into-1 exhaust instead of the previous twin pipes, and the rear suspension used the Paralever parallelogram linkage intended to cancel torque effects from BMW’s traditional shaft drive, introduced on the 1988 R100GS dual-sport bike.  BMW produced 20,898 R100Rs from 1991 to 1995, and they became instant collectibles.  Since then they have also become a popular platform for custom café racers, being the most modern of the 1970-95 air-cooled boxers.

This one is well equipped for long distance touring with a BMW R90S-style fairing with high windshield, BMW saddlebags, Givi top case, Brown sidestand, and Airhawk cushion over its original seat.  Its rider has a widely coveted classic and is using it exactly as it was supposed to be used, over 20 years after it was new.