The 10 Best BMW Motorcycles of the ’80s

The German BMW motorcycle manufacturer has long placed its focus on achieving the best possible handling, balance and rider comfort. These are the basics, that once covered, allowed them to enhance the speed and stylish good looks for bikes that offer a total package for riders who won’t settle for anything less. Through the generations, BMW has been consistent in their delivery of the goods and it’s what’s kept them in business and making steady progress. We’re highlighting the amazing machines they produced during the 1980s era. For your consideration, here are the best BMW motorcycles of the ’80s.

1. 1985 BMW R80RT

The R80RT was only produced in 1985, and it’s often confused with the previous model that was marketed from 1982 through 1984. It’s the new generation of the line that brought the production into a new era of applied fixes to its outdated predecessors. For its time, this export from Germany gave the United States market an alternative in fine touring bike comfort, performance and current technology but at a much lower price.. This was perhaps the greatest appeal of this attractive combination touring sport bike. It was a hot items with customers as well as bike magazines that realized its inherent value in a large niche market at the time.

2. BMW R80G/S

The BMW R80G/S has a notable place in the history and evolution of the company. This model represents the brand’s firsts ever adventure touring bike and it was cause to celebrate. This dual sport bike brought a few new rules to the game of motorcycle marketing. It embodied the necessary elements that cross country, and even cross continent riders considered essential in the ideal touring bike. This model elevated BMW to the status of owners in the touring niche. In fact, they realized their good fortune and have maintained this position through the decades and even though the competition attempted to duplicate the bike, the imitations still fell short.

3. BMW R100RS

The race to emerge to the forefront of the pack in the sport touring bike industry kept steady pressure on BMW engineering and design teams, and the challenge was met with enthusiasm and action. Nearly a decade before the breakthrough RG80G/S, work was being done to produce the model that would pave the way, the R100RS. This is BMWs first touring bike that featured an aerodynamic fairing that successfully reduced wind resistance and front wheel lift. It was attractive, sporty and had the comfort elements necessary for the discriminating biker who demanded sport and touring excellence. This model met an important niche in the industry that was just beginning to evolve. Other notable news about this model is that it just happened to be the best selling model that BMW had ever produced until the K100RS model dethroned it in 1983. It achieved the top seller status even though it was priced at a steep $4,494 which wasn’t peanuts back in the ’80s.

4. BMW K100RS

This is the bike that replaced the fabulous R100RS as the brand’s top selling model. When it was revealed and entered the market, it hit the ground running, compliments of the new engine design, that had been a firsts in 60 years for BMW. They dubbed this bike “the flying brick.” It consistently won awards throughout the United States and Europe during the time of its production run, which ended in 1989. This was a heavy bike that weighed in somewhere between 540 and 600 pounds, depending on the accessories and any special requests.

5. BMW K75S

The K75S was first offered on the market in 1986. It was an improvement over its predecessor, the K75C with a rear disc brake and a stiffer suspension. This 750cc with a 3 cylinder engine also came with a smaller fairing. It was popular because of its light and agile handling. It outperformed the four cylinders in the K100 family in both these areas and riders were loving it. It came in at thirty some pounds less than the K100RS, with a seriously wide torque curve and an upgraded suspension that gave riders the options that they were looking for. The K75S, in many respects was more like a breath of fresh air that added a few more exciting elements that spoke to the more discriminating riders who notice differences in weight and agility.

6. BMW K1

The K1 is BMWs departure from the norm when it comes to aesthetics. It has a unique appearance and is easily distinguished from the others. It was one of the first to feature the wind tunnel technology for aerodynamics and it was a successful experiment that resulted in a sport bike that looked a lot like a rocket ship.

7. BMW R100GS

This model introduced the Paralever suspension that earned it a spot in Motorcyclist magazines with the distinction of being named “the finest bike BMW had yet produced.” It was also offered in a more high end edition that features luxury upgrades, a larger fuel tank and a higher price tag.

8. 1980 BMW R45

This bike was BMWs contribution to happier German riders who would pay less for insurance coverage thanks to the special horse power editions made for the nation, while everyone else got the 35 hp editions. This was the replacement for the older 500 and 600cc bikes. This fuel efficient model conserved on the usage, but still reached a top speed of 95 mph.

9. BMW R65LS

The R65LS is a Hans Muth design with a production number of 6,389 distributed throughout the world. These bikes came out with a triangular pod fairing that dressed up the naked front end of the R65. It featured twin disc front brakes, lower handlebars for a sportier positioning, changes from chrome to black and a new alloy wheel pattern. This sport touring bike was well received as something that was still excellent, but a little different.

10. BMW K100LT

This touring bike began as a concept model that featured a Peugeot 104 engine for testing purposes. The prototype sought to test the capacity of a 4 cylinder engine placed in a lengthwise position. The results were positive and this became a milestone in the evolution of BMWs long history of tech innovations.


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