It is hard to imagine, but the original BMW R100RS was launched in the fall of 1976 as a 1977 model, and is now 40 years old.  There have been many variations and iterrations since then, but the original production vehicle still defines the model. At the time of its launch, the RS was a radical departure from other machines of the time. It was a fully faired machine compared to naked machines, it offered bold futuristic styling,  and relatively luxurious accommodations to envelope the pilot as he consumed miles by the hundreds each day.  A top speed of 108 mph, and 70 hp in a 535 pound machine was a very good performance package at the time. It was a true “Gentleman’s Express”.

The RS started with a recognition by BMW Motorrad that their bikes were sort of….well…dated, and were in danger of appealing only to an older demographic. Their solution was to employ stylist Hans Muth to spruce up the line, and get younger customers excited. He used the wind tunnel to design and then test a multi piece fairing that would look modern if not futuristic. The result was a 5.4% reduction in drag, and a 17.4% reduction in front wheel lift. To put this in perspective, lots of riders of all marques were buying and attaching Windjammer fairings to their machines for touring at the time. However, the R100RS was considered the first production model to come fully faired off the showroom floor.  At the time, Motorcyclist’s Bob Greene said “In one bold move the Germans have advanced motorcycle styling several years”. More than that, the bike offered great protection from the elements. Many consider this motorcycle to be the birth of the Sport Tourer. A special Motorsport edition was later launched with a signature red nose on the fairing, and many RS machines including K bikes and R bikes to the present time, occupy BMW showrooms and enthusiast garages.

Which brings us to Todd Trumbore, and the 40 year celebration of the RS. Todd has been a guest author for Classic Velocity, a great motorcycle enthusiast in general, and is well known for his annual rides. He is also known for his R90S 40 year celebration a few years ago. Once again, he has gone above and beyond in bringing Hans Muth to anchor a celebration of his design. The lineup of silver blue 1977 RS machines was spectacular, including serial number 001. The collection of attendee machines was impressive as well, including a million mile R100S. Camping and tech workshops and lectures, and the Airhead Store, and food and drink, made this a true Rally worthy of the BMWMOA organization. But it was essentially the work of one man. Great guy, great machine, great event.

4 Replies to “Classic RS Rally”

  1. I appreciate those comments. It was hard work putting this event together, but having Hans Albrecht Muth, Udo Gietl, Tom Cutter, Karl Myers, Ed Bach and others as guest speakers was the icing on the cake. It also helps to have really nice weather.

    Jochen & Harriet Siebenrock discussed their aftermarket product line for vintage airhead boxers, including the just released Hans Muth designed 3D "Boxer Belt".

    We had attendees from Europe, but the long distance rider was Ernie Riegle who rode from Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia and traveled a total of 8,000 miles to and from to attend this event.

    This RS anniversary event was held over a four day period and Hans Muth was clearly in his element and enjoying every minute, hanging out with his fans and signing his autograph on anything presented to him, which included: fuel tanks, fenders, side covers, fairings, posters and T-shirts.

    Hans is already preparing for his final return in two years to celebrate his "Childrens Birthday", which will include his last work at BMW, the R65LS and the R80GS. Please join us, I will do my best to make the trip worthwhile.

    1. Tom, these were cool machines then and now. Seeing serial number 001 was awesome. The first production bike of the first fully faired model…..seeing some 200,000 mile plus machines was cool as well.

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