BMW R100S Is One Of The Most Reliable Motorcycles Ever

It may not be fast, but it'll outlast even the best of them.


BMW R100S: Why These Bikes Are Special

Few motorcycles on the road are capable of BMW R100S levels of longevity. You can say the same of just about any “airhead” BMW R-series bike. These old horizontally opposed twins rack up six figure mileage without breaking a sweat.

Just look at this 139,000 mile 1977 R100S. Though you would never know from riding it, the odometer has rolled over. After so many miles, the R100 hasn’t lost any of its charm. Everything mechanically feels as good as new. The engine is strong and torquey, and the transmission still feels as agricultural and tough as any R-series I’ve ridden.

The craziest thing about riding an old, airhead BMW is the suspension. These bikes have some of the most plush suspension of any motorcycle on the road, even including baggers. While I never had a chance to ride one brand new, every airhead BMW I’ve thrown a leg over in the past few years rides that way.

A Rare, One-Owner Classic Motorcycle

It’s not often that you find a motorcycle ridden by the same person since it was new. That alone serves as a testament to the appeal of an airhead.

This particular BMW R100S has some period correct additions like a cafe style front fairing and side cases. Very little has changed on it since the 70’s. It was bought new by the current owner’s father. He rode it until the paint faded from red to orange. Now his son, Brendan, is doing the same.

BMW’s air-cooled twins have a dedicated following. BMW themselves gave a nostalgic nod to their vintage airheads with the engine in the current BMW R18. The R18 uses a monster 1,802cc, horizontally-opposed engine with many of the same qualities as BMW classics. To learn more about airhead BMW’s and why they draw a crowd, check out the full video linked below.