Don Eilenberger's '04 R1150RS

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Bordentown NJ - overlooking the Delaware River

After a weeks trip to Vermont on the K75S in 2006 (MOA national), I decided it was time to look for a somewhat newer bike with better suspension. Despite doing almost everything possible to make the K75S comfortable for long rides - my arthritis has gotten bad enough to make all day rides on it torture.  I started out looking for a new/leftover R1200ST, which had a lot of appealing points to me - seat height being one that BMW finally addressed.  I wasn't able to find a 1200ST with ABS (there were some non-ABS ones languishing in BMW's warehouses), so I looked for it's predecessor - an R1150RS.

A friend came to my belated birthday party on his RS, and let me check it for seat height. I could almost flat-foot the bike with the seat in the low position and the stock suspension. A search was begun, which ended about a month later with my purchasing an '04 R1150RS from BMW of Daytona (found it on Ebay). They arranged shipping to my door as part of the price, and I was now an oilhead owner.

Being me - and since no bike is perfect out of the box, as soon as it arrived I started modifying it.

I tried setting up some priorities on what updates/modifications I wanted, but things just sort of happened, as things showed up used on the IBMWR marketplace, the MOA SwapMeet, and Ebay - I bought them. As I joined and started reading some Oilhead specific forums - I stole ideas from other people.

My usual suspects on a bike for update/modification are:

  • Lighting - factory is never enough. Modulation is a good thing.
  • Seating - comfortable and BMW seat don't go together
  • Suspension - can usually be improved on. Shortened just a bit would be nice also.
  • GPS - have to have it and have it wired into the bike
  • Electric heat - basic necessity for winter riding in NJ - and the controller for the heat has to be mounted to the bike.

This is pretty much the "short list" - but of course there are other issues to be addressed, such as the rather buzzy feeling of the R1150 engine at higher RPMs.

We'll look at these more or less in the order that I attacked them..

Additional lighting was one of the first things to be tackled..




Then a mount for my GPS (Garmin Quest)



A cushion for my butt



Suspension by Wilbers



Handguards for my hands



RT rack for a topcase



Hmmm.... you might notice - additions and modifications to the RS sort of stopped. They really didn't - I kept modifying it right up to when I traded it in on a brand new R1200R - which is another story, to be found here. As nice as the bike was - it just didn't mesh with me. The vibration level of the 1150 engine was difficult on my wrists, and the bike - despite being the same weight as the K75S - still felt heavy at low speeds.  I'm hoping whoever the next owner is falls in love with it and keeps it forever..