The R 1150 series of BMW’s ‘Oilheads’, introduced in 1999, built on the success of the 1100 series that had been around since 1994. Minor bugs like cam-belt tensioner lubrication issues were ironed out with the release of the 1150s, which also benefitted from a slight increase in engine displacement, the introduction of a six-speed gearbox and the addition of Motronic fuel injection.
A nice example of the R 1150 line-up, a red 2004 R 1150 R, has turned up at Pro Cycles in St Peters, NSW.
With a modest 53,000km on the clock, it features linked ABS brakes and comes with factory panniers and a soft bag on the factory rack. It also comes with full-service records and is offered ready to go, ‘as traded’, for $7990.
A little elbow grease put into polishing the tank and doing a bit of general detailing would transform it from its ‘as traded’ condition into a very good example.
On the open road, the R 1150 R is a handy weapon thanks to the willing boxer engine’s performance. It’s just a matter of dropping it into sixth gear and motoring. Gear changing is only really necessary if the overtaking margin has narrowed or there are numerous B-Doubles to blast past. The suspension (adjustable for preload and damping) provides a comfortable ride and the seat is good for a ‘tank’. Its touring range is more for more than 400km, perfect for long-distance work.
With the authority of wide, 710mm handlebars, the R 1150 R is quite impressive in the bends. Traditional sportsbikes, with steep steering head angles, will find it difficult to defend against the Bavarian ‘block of flats’ on secondary roads. It’s capable on good dirt, too, despite a road-going front-wheel diameter. Again, those wide ’bars provide good control and plenty of confidence.
Pro Cycles sales staff reckon big, naked bikes go in and out of fashion, depending on the week. Eighteen months ago, however, I was trying to source an R 1150 R and they were hard to track down at almost any price, even with high mileage.
Master mechanic at the St Peters workshop, Peter Clark, rates the R 1150 R as a great machine. He sees very few problems with this model and urges owners to avoid abusing the dry clutch and to have the bike serviced properly. Paralever clearances should be checked regularly.
While a second-hand R 1200 R could cost nearly twice as much, this old and trusted model effortlessly posts outback kilometres and returns around 4.5 litres per 100km even with panniers. That’s just two fuel stops for a decent day’s ride. So 10 years on, this R 1150 R is a pretty good thing at the price.
SPEX - 2004 BMW R 1150 R - Punching On
Type: Air/oil-cooled, high-cam, flat
Bore and Stroke: 101 x 70.5mm
Compress Ion Ratio: 10.3:1
Fuel System: Motronic fuel
Type: Six-speed, constant-mesh
Final Drive: Shaft
CHASSIS & RUNNING GEAR:
Frame Type: Three-section composite
Front Suspension: Telelever – adjustable rebound
Rear Suspension: Paralever – pre-load and rebound adjustable
Front Brakes: Twin 320mm disc, linked, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 276mm disc, linked, ABS
DIMENSIONS & CAPACITIES:
Dry Weight: 219kg
Seat Height: 835mm
Fuel Capacity: 20.5 litres
Power: 61.2kW (84hp) at 6750rpm
Torque: 98Nm (72.3lb/ft) at 5250rpm
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