By September 29, 2008

By your command: My 2004 BMW R1150R

I have been unhappy with my 2002 BMW K 1200 LTE ever since my trip to Georgia in the spring. The bike is too big and top heavy for riding around town (or in a traffic jam), and has such a big aerodynamic profile that a side-wind makes the bike feel very unstable. I also think the bike was a little too advanced for me to ride in substandard conditions, and if there was any hint of poor weather I’d opt for my FZ6 instead.

So, I put Raptor up for sale on Craig’s List. I got a lowball offer and declined it. Then I heard from a fellow in North Carolina, offering to trade me his K 1200 RS, the sportier version of my bike. I replied, stating that I wanted something smaller and more street-friendly. I didn’t expect to hear back from him, but he replied a few hours later offering his 2004 R1150R plus some cash. I bit.

Normally I’d post pictures of my own, but it’s been raining off and on ever since I traded Raptor in. So I’m going to use the previous owner’s photos.

The R1150R has a lot of the niceties of the K1200LTE, like factory heated hand grips and anti-lock brakes. It is also lacking a lot, too: electric windshield, heated seat, high-capacity hardcases, and almost 350 pounds. That’s right, my new bike is almost two DrFaulken’s lighter than Raptor. Crazy!! I think the extra plastic and shit weighs a fair amount, as does the hard cases and the electric reverse motor. I traded in a 6-disc CD changer for a more nimble steed. I think I did the right thing.

Unfortunately the weather has been absolute balls since I got the bike, and I’ve only been able to really ride it twice. However, initial reports are mostly positive. The bike is much easier to manage at speeds under 40MPH, and while the windscreen is much smaller than the K1200’s it does the job. I am happy with the factory side cases, but the GIVI top case is a little too small for my desires. Apparently there is a special adapter plate I have to buy to mount anything larger, so that will have to wait.

Throttle response is very smooth, and the bike is an absolute stallion on the highway. The seat may need some work, or perhaps my ass needs to toughen up a little bit. I think my modified FZ6 seat has spoiled me. The R1150R motored along at a miserly 50MPG on my first tank. I think the bike is absolutely beautiful.

So, welcome Raider to my garage. Named after the sleek hunter-killer fightercraft from Battlestar Galactica, I hope he carries me efficiently into the front lines of commuter traffic.

Posted in: motorcycling

12 Comments on "By your command: My 2004 BMW R1150R"

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  1. Spectre says:

    That’s a sexy lookin bike you got. I think you did the right thing too.

  2. Jerry Gilels says:

    Two questions:
    1. How much to the cases you have cost?
    2. Do you know of a source of them new/used?

  3. drfaulken says:

    Hi Jerry!

    The side cases are official BMW cases. I am not sure how much they are, but you can get them new at a dealer. The top case is the GIVI E350 Flow and is available for about $150 from places like Twisted Throttle online.

    I think the top case is entirely too small, but it might be what you are looking for. You will also need a rack and/or mounting plate, which is extra.

  4. Bob says:

    I like the looks of your crash bars. Simple and strong. Do you know what brand they are and where I might find them????

  5. Kelly Otto says:

    Your bike is fragging excellent. I got my 2003 R1150R last year and have enjoyed every mile. I want to set it up for touring as you have. Can you tell me about the hand guards on your bike – the brand, where you got them, ease of install. Your help is appreciated.

  6. drfaulken says:

    Hello Bob and Kelly,

    Unfortunately the crash bars and hand guards were put on by the prior-to-prior owner. I am actually the third owner of the bike. The only thing I know of for sure are the side cases (BMW) and that the running lights are PIAA.

    I am sorry that I am not much help. If there’s any consolation, the hand guards give very little protection from the elements, so you are not missing much. 🙁

  7. Tom says:

    Hello, I am thinking about buying a very nice 2004 R1150R. I know there are foot peg lowering kits, but the front fender turns me off. Do you know of anybody who manufactures a replacement fender?…Thanks

  8. drfaulken says:

    Hi Tom, I am not sure about the front fender. I actually like “the beak” because it is kind of ugly and different. You might want to try the R1150R forum, I am sure someone has asked the same question before.

    Good luck!

  9. RON LAPINE says:


  10. Tracey says:

    SO, I can answer a few of these questions as I own a Roadster myself.

    The crash bars look like the Wunderlich ones. Nice bars, but I like the mad-max look of the Hepco & Becker ones.

    The handguards are facotry 1150GS guards, and are mostly useless unless well adjusted, or if you get the touratech spoilers (good upgrade for touring)

    The front fender grows on you, or it doesn’t. The options for changing it are slim. Either learn to love it (doesn’t take much really), fab one yourself, or browse the internet until you find one someone has made and wants to sell you for a lot of money.

    There’s so much you can do to turn the R into whatever kind of a bike you want it to be. I have mine set up for long distance touring and within an hour can have it ready for a spirited weekend ride. Its taken a fair bit of money, but its been totally worth it.

    (As to that top case, sell it and the rack, buy some bungie buddies and you can strap more shit down that you’ll know what to do with. No pillon I can load up sleeping bag, Thermarest pad, tent, and a huge dufflebag on the pillon seat, plus beable to stuff the bags full.)

  11. Lou La Salle says:

    Hello Dr F.

    I love your bike! I am just starting to look for an R 1150 R. I want a bike to tour on, and this looks to be perfect! What is the seat height, iam 5′ 8″ with a 30′ inseam. Will I struggle or be OK?

    I ride a Guzzi California Titanium at the moment, a good looker and a great bike, but not something I can’t put a few hundred miles on every day.

    Best Regards,

    Lou La Salle

  12. Ross Ward says:

    I’ve got an R1150R almost exactly the same, including color, as your bike. My screen is ‘sports’ only and I don’t have ‘bark busters’ or a top box. Nevertheless, I’ve used the bike to travel 72,000 Km’s including a trip from Melbourne (southern Australia) to Alice Springs (central Australia) and back in just 10 days. Covered 6600 Km’s without an issue carrying 45 Kg of luggage, tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc.etc. Great bike and provided you keep up regular service from a BMW qualified dealer, will last 200,000 Km’s. I love it to death.
    Some have told me that the newer models, the R1200R, being considerably lighter, do not handle the cross winds and are less comfortable than the 1150. Must admit, the additional power is enticing. Cheers