Had a K100 outfit which are very popular for sidecar duty in Australia and other places. Comments in a fairly random order would be:
- These are a 35 year old design made 20 years ago, no matter how well made they can be worn and they use typical BMW cheeselike fasteners.
+ These are bikes that stand up to BMW's reputation for longevity and reliability. It's a car engine, so no worryingly lightweight major components.
+ They have power and are smooth.
- Fuel use is very 1980's, they compare well to other bikes of the age but not modern lightweights.
+ The service items are on the outside and demands minimal. Even a full four part fluid change (engine, gearbox, final drive, coolant) is half a day with tools you'd carry.
- There are some weird, under designed, modern-style BMW styled bits. What cretin designed a throttle assembly with two cast aluminium gears and a length of bicycle chain rather than just a plastic bobbin? Why did they fit a pile of extra electrical relays and switches just to have a three thumb indicator set up that tells you the brake light lamp wasn't blown when you set off?
- The fuel warning light activations are based on your horroscope and a piece of damp sea weed. Range is not up to modern standards.
+ They are tough. The Ossies use these outfits on dirt roads. They usually make it home.
+ The previous owners tend to be old boys with beards who'd swap their real ale for floor cleaner before letting cheap oil near the beast.
+ No one steals them.
+/- The wheels started off tubeless, but at 25 years old may have had to go tubed due to pin hole leaks and tyre choice. TL tyre with a tube is the worst of both worlds, functional TL fit is rare benefit when looking at 1980's machinery.
- If you break the clutch or water pump you need a week and serious kit.
+ Parts are plentiful and quite cheap. Motorworks will still sell you a new one in kit form if you have enough cash and time! BMW have no imagination, the parts they used in 1985 fit the 1992 they wouldn't dream of Guzzi like chaos or Japanese style weekly model changes.
+/- The weather protection on the faired ones is excellent in bad weather, but sitting in still and hot air, on top of a Peugeot 104 engine can be a bit rubbish in the summer.
+/- If you care about such things your reputation will not be enhanced, beautiful Italian models will not swoon and Hells Angels will not wave to you. If you wheelie one, small boys will stare at you like you have two heads and the BMW Club will try and get you sectioned.
If I wanted a £2000 bike that'd go two up to Moscow in a week they'd still be on my list of possibles. I'd buy based on condition and price though, no love either way for the badge or how it rides.