Vimeo video “Complete restoration of BMW R100RS.”

1977 BMW R100RS
The Seven Piece Suit
by Bill Stermer

In an era of increasingly sophisticated touring motorcycles, the 1977 BMW R100RS was the best-dressed of them all.

It was at once elegant, futuristic and bold. Its wedge-shaped fairing and icy, silver/blue paint sang the alluring song of long distances at high speeds with comfort, sportiness and competence. It could cover hundreds of miles in a day, then shrug them off and do many more, its rider ensconced in an envelope of unruffled comfort. It was the BMW R100RS, BMW’s most competent sport-touring motorcycle yet.

When BMW introduced the 1977 BMW R100RS more than 30 years ago, its cradling cockpit fairing promised unsurpassed protection swathed in breathtaking style. Finally, the rider, while enjoying the ride to the fullest, did not have to suffer the slings and arrows of wind, chill and rain.

One of the joys of motorcycling is being out in the weather; one of the drawbacks of motorcycling is being out in the weather. The BMW R1000RS allowed the rider to enjoy the ride regardless of the weather. It enhanced the enjoyment of a fall day in the crisp, chill air; of taming coastal drizzles without the need of a rain suit; of crossing the snow-fringed passes of the Alps or Rockies with seamless style and comfort on a true “gentleman’s express.”

And what style! When the BMW R100RS was introduced, nothing on two wheels had ever looked like this before, had ever functioned like this before, had ever shown so much — paint! Its seven-piece, frame-mounted fairing was something that the rider almost wore, something sleek, crisp, pleated and sculpted. Today, every modern plastic-wrapped sportbike and dresser owes a nod to the RS’s trend-setting style. It may not have been the first bike to feature dressed bodywork, but it was the one that established the trend.