My motorcycle of choice for adventure touring is the venerable BMW K100RS.
Let’s be up front about how expensive it can be to maintain this German brand. The advent of the worldwide web and search engine, along with great community forums, combined with a little research can reduce cost of ownership. As a former BMW/Triumph/MV Augusta motorcycle salesman and MSF Instructor, my number one advice to potential purchases was to obtain the bike that fits your riding style. The best way to save big bucks in the long run. And so it has been for me, read on to discover my insights.
Herein for my needs a BMW K100RS served my needs perfectly and hence this page is dedicated to how to its up keep. After 130,000 miles over 24 years crossing 2 continents, I hope my advice from learned from both wit and mistakes will be valuable to the reader. Let’s get going… oh, this is a new page and will be updated during the Autumn/Winter 2021/2022. If you find it useful please book mark and revisit. Last update: 12/03/2021 (contact form)
PRODUCTS FOR BMW K100RS ADVENTURE TOURING – WHAT, WHY, & HOW
Sure it’s recommended for your spark plug threads as K-bike engines use a lot of different alloy metals and one doesn’t need any broken off plugs or bolts during routine maintenance. So how else can I use this on my Beemer? Yes, the cooper paste also helps conduct electricity in areas prone to corrosion. Personally I prefer it in a tube rather than jar.
A release agent, specifically designed for high temperature applications on threaded connections and parting surfaces which are exposed to high temperatures, high pressures and corrosive effects in turbines, compressor equipment, exhaust systems, spark plug threads etc. Operating temperature range: -35 °C bis +1100 °C (-31 °F to +2012 °F).
Other great uses making copper anti-seize a great addition to your tool kit:
LED Flash Lights – Light ever cut out or flicker in your 18650 battery powered unit? Cap hard to get off to change the battery due to corrosion. Put some copper anti-seize on the threads, switch contacts and battery terminals- you will definitely see the difference. A little goes a long way- no need to buy a $40 lamp when a $5 one will do. Turn a cheap torch into a dependable item for your travels. Looking for free lithium 18650 batteries? Lowe’s and Home Depot have power tool power pack recycling boxes at their customer entrances. Often these fail due to something in the circuit board leaving the batteries well and good. So let’s see 40 free batteries at $10 bucks each… you can see the value in a little labor taking these power packs apart.
NOTE: Always be careful when working with high current lithium batteries.
Battery terminals and beyond – It’s a good idea to clean your main ground point every year. You are doing this right? Well, if you haven’t in awhile and when loosening the allen nut hear a smll; “crack” sound- you had corrosion build up. Emery cloth, vinegar, and some cotton swaps come in handy here. Once clean apply copper anti-seive to the threads and contact surfaces. Don’t foret to do the same for your battery terminals.
It’s overlooked but should be checked yearly. The fuel injector computer reads this sensor to adjust the fuel mixture, use it on the threads and terminals to ensure a good corrosion proof ground and electrical contact. If you need a new one avoid the ones with rubber o-rings and make sure they have a metal seal gasket for a crush washer.
Let’s review more useful products…
German motorcycle forums turned me on to this extremly dependable battery. Since it isn’t a “motorsport” battery the price isn’t jacked up. OEM or even aftermarket batteries can’t beat the price even though this offers equivalent functionality. Foolishly I tried a tractor battery back in 1998 (wasn’t maintenance free) to save a few bucks. Worked OK but failed when I was in Warsaw, Poland just few thousand miles from my home in back then in Austin, Texas. The days of fearing replacing the battery due to cost are now long gone. Save weight, gain space, and be glad you are reading this page- continue on please on BMW K100RS Adventure Touring Motorcycle page…
Rislone 4405 Engine Oil Supplement ZDDP Treatment
Believe or not my old Beemer was designed to run on leaded gasoline. Additionally, the overhead cam shim and bucket valve train requires SJ rated oil to properly lubricate the engine. With the advent for catalytic converters on gas engines, the amounts of phosphorus, boron and zinc were drastically reduced. The solution is a ZDDP additive. One could argue all day about the best oil to use but not the requirements of the old K100 engine. One bottle ofthis Rislone ZDDP should cover 2 oil changes, very affordable too!
SJ rated oils have been updated a SN rating so which oil does the money saving rider use? Why diesel engine oil. I tried Rotella but it leaked and I have had great success with Chevron’s Delo brand 10W40 semi-synthetic diesel engine oil. I would never experiment with a modern care engine oil in the BMW K589 motor. The added supplements in the diesel engine oil seems to keep my starter sprag clean as a whistle. I am at 130,000 miles on the odometer and with this product hopefully can push it to a quarter million miles!
Using this, diesel engine oil, and Purolator L102041 oil filter, I able to keep my oil change costs at about US$20.00.
I put this off for way to long but found an affordable not made in Communist China product. Taiwanese harness had quality all over it. I yearly cleaned my handlebar headlamp switch as the poor contacts had to a 5 Amp load. No need for a higher wattage illegal bulb. I did modify the harness by tinning all crimped connections and joining the wiring so all the cables meant for two lamps went to one. A couple extra ground wires from the front of the frame to H4 bulb connector and yippie. No more worrying about when my headlight handlebar switch (61311459461) at $160.00 was going to fry. The harness is about 1/5 the cost of the OEM switch control. Did it make a difference in the bulb brightness, a big OH YEAH to that.
Purchasing a BMW Electric vest second Hand online with no connector, no problem. From my adventures of building bars and restaurants in Cambodia I had a few few left over. Tinned ends and yippie- warm and toasty! We used them on 220 volt lines in Southeast Asia so it will easily handle 12 volts from your Beemer. A heavy duty lamp cord rocker switch was also put on the power cable. Keeping toastie warm on my BMW K100RS Adventure Touring journeys.
After 20 years and 60,000 miles my windscreen was scratched, faded, and so low it was hard to duck down low enough to look through. For under ten bucks one can customize it with contact paper. I have been very impressed how this everyday ktichen accessory has held up against the elements. About 10 years seems to be the life of it. Go nuts and get any pattern you want- zig zags, daisies, wodd grain… strut your stuff. I couldn’t resist the black and white checkerboard pattern and the additional benefits of higher visibilty.
Autolite 4164 have been my spark plug of choice for over 50K+ miles without an issue. I found them at Buckeye Tool Supply on Amazon and with free shipping a real deal (hitting that $25 spend triggers it). I found them using the “SEE ALL BUYING OPTIONS” button. Before I used NGKs but since all plugs seem to made in Communist China these days, I went with the AutoLites after watching YouTube videos on plug comparison tests. One knows they get changed every 6,000 miles according to BMW maintenance schedules, so a small but happy savings is always appreciated. Absolutely flawless performace with no damage to my iginition system. The 4164 are one step up in heat range but I am not racing around and haven’t had my Beemer on the AutoBahn since 1998.
Keep it simple stupid, we have all heard this. Instead of $175 BMW heated grip options I devised a dependable alternative, has lasted 23 years option, that is very economical and effecient. All that is needed is 2x cement resistors [20 watt, 10 ohm], high temperature wire, relay, fuse, shrink tube, and switch. Basically I ground down the long edges of the cement resistors so they snuffly fit inside the handlebar ends. A hole will needed to be drilled in the center point of the bars for the high temperature wires to exit. Intall the relay, wires, and switch to your taste and volia- 15 watts of warming heat per hand calculated at 12.5 volts, 10 ohms, and 1.25 amps. My recommendation is for 10 ohms resistors as I have 5.1 ohm/25 watt ones installed and it is a bit to hot. Since some of the wires will run over the resistor, high temperature insulator wire is a must. Sure it is a custom/nut job but it get $150 in my pocket. I had 14 hour day on the interstate highway in 32F/0C weather and these worked fantastic during my BMW K100RS Adventure Touring long hauls.
TIPS AND TRICKS – NOT SO ORTHODOX BUT WORKED
These little green button covers do wear out over time. One could spend $160+ for a new unit. I am using a rubber cell cap from a small lead acid battery used in a UPS. A dab of silicone from an aersol can and voila! So if this page is about saving money why am I using an expensive product. Tube silicon can dry out no matter how tight you try to tighten the plastic cap without breaking it. Silicone in an aeresol can solves that and is always ready when you need it. This is what I have seen top BMW motorcycle mechanics use.
Keep It Clean
The alloy metal cleaner I was using on my engine, transmission, forks, swing arm, and rear drive seemed expensive at $14. So I went to try a name brand cleaner at a lower price. But as luck would have it the great name brand cleaner had a cheap plastic spray bottle and the botoom broke leaving the acidic potion in my trunk carpeting. A bit frustrated, a little research and my home recipe is as follow: mixture 50% liquid laundry detergent and 50% distilled white vinegar (5% acidity) in a spray bottle. Spray a small area, rub a bit with scotch pad, then wipe off with a cloth. I was surprised how well it worked, especially removing road salt corrosion. Bike looked and smeeled as clean as a dill pickle! Just look at the picture to the left – after 43 years looks spectacular. Now look again as it is a money saver and smile. Best way to spot a potentail problem on my BMW K100RS Adventure Touring motorcycle is regular cleaning and inspection.
The greatest upgrade since sliced bread AND a wole lot less expensive than the stock engine protection bars (and lighter too). The only spill I had on my K100RS was on a turn north of Muich, Germany on a rural road at on a rainy night. It was an industrial area and a truck that had previously coming the other must note have put his fuel cap on. The road was cover in diesel fuel and when I leaned into the turn- swoosh I was down and out. Broken finger and a 2 inch hole ground into my valve cover. I stuffed a bandana in it and slowly went back to my campsite. Luckily being in Bavaria a new cover was around $65 in 1998. Probably a bit more today! The price of these, which are available from Euro Motoelectrics, are definitely a great investment for preventing a minor mishap from ruining a journey. Last I checked, they were on sale. (12/03/2021)
Get a spare and install it along side your current clutch cable in the comfort of your well light garage/shop. The original on my bike failed at less than 20,000 miles at 13 years old. No biggie right. It happened after I refueled in a French gas station in the mountains near Grenoble. The sun had set, it was getting cold in the Alps so I needed to get to a campground and set up. Snap went the cable and a minute later, click off went the lights at the gas station as it just closed. So shivering and falshlight in mouth I had the pleasure of routing the new cable. In the photo one can view the cable tucked up ouf the way with piece of velcro. Live and learn. That reminds me, my throttle cable has 130,000 miles and 38 years use on it… DOH!
ULTRA PORTABLE 12V AIR PUMP
Be prepared, especially for flat tires, by stripping the case on an air pump. Just zip tie it to a small flat plate and save a lot of space for other important touring gear. Amaze your frinds! A major upgrade over those CO2 cartridge fillers. Luckily I have not had a flat on my BMW K100RS Adventure Touring travels but a few on my R75/5 and R90/6. Sold them as not having to deal with the trouble with tube filled tires.
Dual Sized 12 Volt Outlets
Most folks know there is a single mount for a 12V accessory abouve the coil cover. But there is also a dual outlet available. Here I reamed out the left socket to fir a standard sized outlet. As most modern day devices like cell phone chargers and GPS will use this size.
Extra Dash Switch (waterproof)
Maximum number siwtches on the K100 dash panel is four. I needed a 5th to turn on my electric radiator fan to bypass the temperature switch in those hot days in slow moving traffic. Using some hard foam with a split in the middle not only stopes the intrument cluster from bouncing and virbrating, but fits a sitch from a household appliance. Any device such as a clothes steamer, espresso/coffee machine, or hot pot should have a nice waterproof switch. My clothes steamer was recalled but of course I saved the switches and cables for tossing it out. One man’s junk draw is another man’s upgrade! I can know check my radiator fan motor anywhere or anytime. oh, that piece of metal under the ignition key tumbler is a magnet from a laptop hard drive which keeps my extra keys from dancing and jingling around.
Economy Valve Adjustment Tools
No it’s not a knife, a gun, a bottle and a cork- more like Harbor Freight mate! Using my angle grinder (the national song bord of Cambodia) and seal puller, I ground my own tool to remove the shims from the dual overhead cam 8 valve motor. The metal is very soft and it may take a few more minutes to do the job compared to the factory tools but alas it is a real money saver. The pick easily pops out the shims and I use the magnetic pick up tool to put them back in. Here’s the PDF template is used as a guide. Sadly the website I found it on is gone so I can’t cite the source. Additionally, here’s a great valve adjustment spreadsheet to record and calculate the process by Bertrand Vogel.
Butt Ugly But Dry
Yes, you know you need your seat rcovered but that’s a winter project. Worse thing that can happen is water from getting caught in a downpor soaking the foan in your seat. Not only will all that excess moisture rit your foan but also commece the deteriaration of the the seat fram with hidden rust. Quick fix, once it dries of course, is a dab of RTV silicone! Man I love this stuff.
One could list a hundred websites about the K100 but we’ll keep it to our five favorites.
- Snowbum’s BMW Motorcycle Repair & Information – Absolutely fabulous site with tons of detailed info in a very understable format. Though it mostly about R-bikes, I have learned quite a bit from the links and articles her wrote and recommends. This website will definitely up your game of knowledge.
- It doesn’t start! Where do you start to troubleshoot? – Logic and patience along with a few gauges, meters, and tools go a long way.
- K100 Forum – Topics that are the talk of the town.
- The BMW K100RT PageThe noble art of touring – I just admire this website- you may also.
- Motobrick – Community of BMW K75 K100 K1 K1100 Indestructible Flying Brick Riders – You are not alone…
PARTS FOR SALE
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I can accept PayPal and CryptoCurrencies for used parts. Price includes shipping to the continental lower 48 United Sates. All parts pulled from a 1985 K100RS with ~45,000 miles on the odometer unless stated. All electrical parts are tested.
BMW Part 1 375 474 12V Relay
$6.00 or 0.0002 BTC
Four (4x) Speedo / Tach / Instrument Needles
$6.00 or 0.0002 BTC
2 inch – 1985 BMW K100RS Tachometer
1 – 3/4 inch – 1985 BMW K100RS Speedometer
1 – 5/16″ – BMW unknown
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