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I first purchased my BMW in April 2003, it is a W plated RS1100 SE, had 3,500 miles on the clock and cost £5,500.
If you read my Moto Guzzi review you will see that I came back into biking after a 35 year lapse, and although I like and still have the Guzzi, it developed a problem (no spark) and is currently garaged. Also I had a couple of occasions to call out the AA, in London to fix a few 'minor' problems. I decided I wanted a superior bike, a one which had received good reviews and would not only be reliable, but would just go on and on forever. The only bike I could think of therefore was a BMW, and not being a sports bike person or a Harley man (cannot get to grips [sorry about the pun] with the heavy clutch in commuter traffic, a problem with my hand!!!) I could not really see what else there was to offer. Though I must admit I did think about either the Yamaha Diversion, or the Honda Deauville, though I thought that the latter might suffer with only a 650cc engine over time.
Since owning it I have covered just over 11K miles, and apart from fitting a Givi topbox and replacing the RS 'tubes' with GS ones the bike remains standard. A round trip of 94 miles per day to London gave me a reasonable 50-52mpg. However, the 'tubes' mod now not only has improved torque in the mid-range, but now returns 55-58mpg.
I have serviced the bike myself, but at the next major service I think I will get my local BMW mechanic to adjust the tappets, these from what I have read on various websites take an absolute age to set perfectly, going from site to side over and over again. The tyres lasted 10K, which is good by any standard, but I replace the Metzeler M3's with Metzeler Roadtech Z6's these seem to be superior in the wet and I took the opportunity to insert Ultraseal to offset any future possibilities of a blowout - I have never had one and do not want to experience one.
The bike is very comfortable, but after about 2 hours it is good to stop and stretch ones legs, and apply massage to the buttocks!!!!! The seat height is adjustable which I find an excellent idea. The fairing keeps out quite a lot of wind and rain. I also fitted the GS plastic hand-guards which do keep some of the rain off your gloves.
The SE tag means that the bike came with heated grips a real boon in the frosty weather, and it also has ABS, which is very comforting when some idiot car driver decides to pull out suddenly (in the wet) and you have that surety that your wheels will not lock up putting you into a skid.
There was one feature about the Deauville which I liked, that BMW could easily have adopted. On either side of the tank is a small lockable coin tray. There is plenty of space in the BMW fairing to accommodate similar boxes. Where I work we have a security gate, and it means I have to stop and open my suit to get at the plastic 'key' I could put it in one of the outside pockets of my jacket, but I need the 'key' during the day for access to the building also, so I keep it in my shirt pocket. I could keep it in a coin-type box on my way in and I am sure there are other things like a tenner for fuel instead of wrestling with jacket and trousers to gain access to wallet.
My only real grumble is that it does not have a dipstick to check the oil you have to get on your hands and knees with a torch to look through a hole in the bodywork at an inspection glass. If the bike is overfilled with oil there is a danger that a couple of weeks later you cannot see if the level is either still above the glass or below and there is a worry that you can either add even more or think that it has not moved and run out of oil.
Overall, I think the BMW to be a great bike, one which I look forward to owning for a good number of years.
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