This offering creates a rare and superb opportunity for some lucky rider to get a ton of extra value simply due to the included custom fabricated large gas tank on this Bob’s BMW PROJECT BIKE. This custom gas tank would cost you about $2,000 today IF you could get one made. Originally purchased for the Vintage BMW Museum at Bob’s where it’s been since shortly after his acquisition in early 2013. Bob has selected to part with this machine as another display has taken its place.
The stuff inside the fuel tank (pump, filter, lines, etc. that is in there now will also stay with the tank; we pickled it all in 2013 and anticipate it should all come back to life. This machine arrived as a running, riding motorcycle on which everything worked and we pickled as best can be done for the Museum display. It’s not been run since and will of course at least need a battery.
The original owner and rider is of some renown too. The custom fuel tank is the very last oversized tank built by Ray Randolph whose skills are legendary among the Iron Butt and other long distance riders and a smaller number who desired to add fuel capacity to a sidecar rig. And this PROJECT BIKE has an honest 195,976 miles on it and was running OK when we purchased it.
Ray filled the long missing shoes of German firms like Heinrich and Hoske who hand built (literally beat into wooden molds) low production runs of 8 and 10 gallon and occasionally larger fuel tanks from both steel and aluminum for BMW machines during the 1950’s and into the 1970’s. Hoske stopped first; then Heinrich sold to Theofreid Jeckel who kept production going into the 1980’s before he too stopped due to an inability to regularly secure the talented professionals (Mercedes body shop men) who could massage metal on this level and keep some degree of production quantity in mind.
These larger fuel tanks made of metal will never go down in price and now that Ray is no longer around to build them the sources and talent pool has gotten even smaller still. For not much more than the original cost of having this tank modified and then fully lined unlike most examples one can get an entire motorcycle to bring back to life. It only has 196,000 miles thus far and for many in the know BMW riders that still considered low mileage; we have a customer fast approaching 1 million miles on his earlier K bike!
This PROJECT BIKE also has a beautiful and very comfortable Russell Day Long saddle worth about $400 in the used market. It was built for a rider about 6’1” to 6’4” and weighing roughly 225 to 250 pounds but in the end you’ll need to sit on it to know if it works for you. These cost a bunch of money to get built when new and this one is still in excellent condition end to end and top to bottom and is constructed on a factory pan so it fits perfect.
The original owner has written many stories for the pages of the BMW MOA Owners News as well under the heading of Mileage Slaves and now because Bob does not feel it fits into the display of well-traveled machines at the Vintage BMW Museum perfectly (there have been other acquisitions that trump this one) it’s a PROJECT BIKE and could be back on the road with you in the saddle.
It is in fine cosmetic condition all around as the owner/rider never crashed it and we can’t even see any measurable tip over damage so if nothing else there’s a fine, costly and complete set of Graphite Metallic body panels in very good shape being offered up, especially considering we’ve classified it as a PROJECT BIKE.
This intro should clearly communicate that it’s not like a regular used bike we offer at Bob’s let alone one of our ADVANTAGE CERTIFIED BMW’s. We suggest that anyone interested in this machine read all the details, review the images provided and even read the special bill of sale shared in the PROJECT BIKE section of the Bob’s BMW website (which you or any buyer will sign) and make time for an in person inspection of the machine.
Like any PROJECT that you might take on there can always be risks or unexpected issues which could arise later on but our goal has always been an informed customer who knows what they are buying. We do our best to share all details and history we know about or have discovered during our intake inspection and evaluation but that may not be everything associated with any given PROJECT BIKE or this one.
It has been modified for long distance touring by the addition of a rare (the very last one built) Ray Randolph hand modified and constructed oversized gas tank. We don’t know how much extra fuel it holds but we suspect it’s another 2 or 3 to possibly 4 gallons. We’ve never measured it and if the prior owner had done so he did not share the results with us. Unlike most of these Randolph tanks this one was professional lined right here at Bob’s shortly after it was built and should be about as leak proof as these custom tanks ever were so if you are hunting for one keep that in mind. If you look inside closely you can still see the evenly applied red coating that looks nearly new.
It’s covering is simply carbon fiber look vinyl sheeting of some kind that is still in pretty good shape and we are sure was much less costly than a matching paint job. The gas cap was swapped out at some point on this PROJECT BIKE for a barely functioning earlier style and we’re going to replace this going forward for our use so this is a reminder that the tank is not included. The gas cap is in the open but locked position as it’s gotten rather iffy from a function stand point so we’re not closing it.
Prior to arrival and despite some of the current needs that we’ll get to this bike was regularly maintained by the dealership in the Indianapolis, Indiana area. The owner did some oil and filter changes and other basic stuff over the years but has for the most part relied on dealers across the country when he needed service or travels and tours; Bob’s was included from time to time when he was near us in the Mid-Atlantic region.
This PROJECT BIKE does have needs and we’ll do our best to share everything we identified when it first arrived, we rode it about 2 miles and then pickled it for display. It has NOT been started, run or ridden since. In April of 2103 we identified a cracked main fairing bracket (held on with a few hose clamps and the break point) that was causing an unsteady feeling. As we did not ride this PROJECT BIKE extensively (just about 2 miles) we can’t tell you that this is the only issue with this machine when it comes to being fully safe and roadworthy but we think that’s all it was and is a reasonably easy repair.
There is a noise from the final drive bearings and it has that slight side to side wiggle or wobble which like many others with high miles is due to be replaced and resealed. We’ve accomplished this straight forward task for countless customers and will gladly do so for the next owner once it’s been acquired. The rear brakes did not function well until warmed and pumped up and our tech indicated this was probably related to the wiggle in the final drive and all things not aligning perfectly.
We also noted that this PROJECT BIKE has a small leak coming from then area connecting the transmission and engine which is by the intermediate flange, nothing unusual here as we see this from time to time on all bikes in this time frame and feel it should just be re-sealed. Doing this right entails replacing the rear main seal, alternator seal plus changing the engine oil and filter and replacing the hardware involved. We think the handlebar bushings should be replaced as there is a little more movement than ideal and considered a maintenance item which Bob is about to do on a Duetto sidecar he owns that uses the same handlebar mounting system. Plus some assorted rubber bits in the intake manifold area that dry out over time
We do anticipate that with a fresh battery, fresh fuel, some fuel system clear and a press of the starter button this PROJECT BIKE will come back to life. But even properly pickled we cannot guarantee this. We anticipate that the ABS should still work and there is no note from the inspecting Master BMW tech that states it was not working. We usually see a clear note if there is any concern at all and the light would typically go out (or stay on) after just 50 feet of operation. But after 4 years of storage even under ideal conditions anything can occur and we’re just being 100% honest with even the little details.
Everything else worked on this PROJECT BIKE at that time and it did arrive running. The electric screen, the driving lights, the switches, turn signals, headlight, etc. but there is a note that the (rear) brake light was out and that the hyper-lights were still wired into the system so even that could be bad vs. the stock light or perhaps it’s just a bad bulb. All the dash gauges, speedo and tach were operating at that time and the trip meter reset fine. The bike started, shifted, ran and stopped OK.
The tires on this PROJECT BIKE are not that old but they are not great either. These Metzelers date from 0611 (front) with about 40% tread to 1612 (rear) which has about 50% tread. Both sidewalls are OK but for anything aside from bringing this machine back to life we’d suggest replacing them with fresh rubber..
There is a small scrape on the outside edge of the right mirror, you’ll note that the bags are a lighter grey than the dark metallic graphite of the bike and when we place it on the center stand there is a very slight pull to the right that only a few of the staff has noticed but we’re telling you anyway. It operates fine otherwise and has proven to be sturdy and solid while on display.
Now for a bunch of positive stuff: this PROJECT BIKE comes with a Throttlemeister set plus a Flip-a-lever cruise control and there’s an electronic cruise control dash that we never tried but appears to be fully wired in. It has a cell phone and data plug or power port installed below the accessory dash or shelf which once did hold a bunch of good stuff like radar detectors, GPS units, etc. It has BMW fuel and temperature gauges, full coverage fork boots that have been installed almost since new to protect the tubes and seals from road hazards and they don’t feel like they are leaking at this time.
There is also a heated gear or battery charger pigtail under the seat, an Aeroflow headlight guard and a set of PIAA 1100 driving lamps, BMW crash bars, BMW Saddlebags and rear luggage rack, an air control screen edge and a set of adjustable Baker air wings attached.
The wheels on this PROJECT BIKE are clean, appear true and un-dinged and are the stylishly cool and lightweight 3-spoke cast alloy ones. The exhaust system is stainless steel with a chrome cover on the rear or muffler section which has a decent sized scrape on the rear corner. The rest of the bike does not show the kind of wear (practice marks) that fully confirm this happened on this machine but it’s certainly possible.
It is also possible this exhaust was installed later, taken from another RS/LT because the original one cracked by the header to muffler joint as some early examples did. This one looks solid in this area and there was no indication of a leak when we last ran it. One saddlebag is missing a lock cylinder but the lock mechanism is there and appears solid. It has some stone chips here and there on the paint as one would expect with this level of mileage.
The right saddlebag is a little lose on the mount likely from wear and tear and general vibration and we’ve seen several creative ways that are simply executed to address that. The inside of the electrically adjustable screen has some rub marks – we’d guess from something mounted on the dash at one point and we think the last item of note is that the ignition key does not fit the seat lock.
So to wrap this up we feel this PROJECT BIKE can be returned to safe, roadworthy regular use pretty economically by any average home wrench or enthusiast but if all you wanted was a fresh set of undamaged and clean body panels, wheels without dents, a sweet custom seat, PIAA driving lamps, very serviceable BMW saddlebags and nearly every other part of a late K1100LT plus that wonderful fuel tank as spares for a K1100LT you already own you’d make out like a bandit. Some might keep a few items and part the rest out and cash in or greatly reduce their acquisition costs that way.
It’s got one key, no tools or manuals and as we’ve communicated clearly to any and all prospective buyers what this PROJECT BIKE looks like. Give us a call, make an appointment and then stop by and inspect it up close before making an informed decision. Bob has promised to invest the proceeds from this sale (it’s his bike) into making the Vintage BMW Museum even more fun than it is already to share with all our visiting customers and others in the motorcycle community.
And lest we forget, that one copied image showing the bike in motion is of the original owner, at speed, on this bike not too long before Bob acquired it – Dave looks intent on knocking out another day with 1,000 miles or more.