BMW R 100/7


Make Model.

BMW R 100/7




Four stroke, two cylinder horizontally opposed Boxer, 2 valves per cylinder


980 cc / 59.8 cu in.
Bore x Stroke 94 x 70.6 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 9.1:1


2 x 36mm Bing V94 carburetors


Battery ignition
Alternator Bosch 12V/240 W
Starting Electric

Max Power

44.1 KW / 60 hp @ 7000 rpm

Max Torque

71.5 Nm / 7.29 kgf-m / 53 ft-lb @ 6500 rpm
Clutch Single dry plate


5 Speed 
Final Drive Shaft
Gear Ratio 1st 4.40 / 2nd 2.86 / 3rd 2.07 / 4th 1.67 / 5th 1.50:1
Gear Ratio Sport Version 1st 3.38 / 2nd 2.43 / 3rd 1.93 / 4th 1.67 / 5th 1.50:1
Bevel / Crown wheel 11 / 34 teeth or 10 / 32 teeth
Frame Double sown tubs, dual cradle

Front Suspension

Telescopic fork with hydraulic shock absorber.

Front Wheel Travel 200 mm / 7.8 in

Rear Suspension

Long swinging arm with adjustable strut.

Rear Wheel Travel 125 mm / 4.9 in

Front Brakes

Single ∅260mm disc

Rear Brakes

200mm Drum
Front Wheel 1.85 - B19
Rear Wheel 2.15 - B18

Front Tyre

3.25 - H19

Rear Tyre

4.00 - H18
Wheelbase 1465 mm / 57.67 in
Seat Height 810 mm / 31.9 in
Ground Clearance 165 mm / 6.49 in

Wet Weight

215 kg / 474 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

24 L / 6.3 US gal

Top Speed

188 km/h / 117 mph

The R100/7, BMW's big seller. There's the S series for the Café set, the incredible RS for the status-conscious. But the R100/7 is without doubt the workhorse of the Bavarian Motor Works. This is the model that is the favorite of the tourist as well as the working class. The slash 7 is as at home on the Superslab as it is in crowded city traffic.

We had the opportunity to spend a little time with the R100 recently and were quite surprised at what we found out about the old girl. After not having ridden a BMW in quite some time, we were almost astonished at the changes that had come about in the last couple of years. We honestly expected the R100 to be rather outdated. Sluggish and matronly, like the old nag that pulled the milk cart for years and years. We were wrong.

Although now displacing 980 torquing cc and weighing in at right around 474 pounds, the R100/7 is actually a lady at heart. A lady who's been around long enough to know the ways of the world and how to deal with them. The following is the account of our all too brief affair with this remarkable woman. Come with us now and discover, as we did, why the lady is a vamp . . .

STARTING With the proper degree of choke dialed into the lever under the left petcock, the R100 shimmies briefly, then springs to throbbing, pulsing life. Before everything lights up, though, one is startled somewhat by the violence of the shudder. The two enormous pistons pumping sidewards and the rotational mass of the giant crank combine to create quite an upheaval for a second or two.

It's rather like sitting on the back of a big horse when it decides to shake the saddle off.

As soon as everything is working, the engine settles down to a smooth idle with only a hint of big twin vibration. Once under way, a slight vibration is felt through the bars. Things would be smoother with a different set of grips installed. The stock Maguras are too hard, too rough and too small. We wouldn't be surprised if the folks at BMW included them for buffing inner tubes in roadside flat repair.

On chilly mornings, the R100/7 is a little fussy to start, requiring full choke for a moment before it will idle. The owner's manual tells you that you can drive away on a cold engine by putting the choke lever in the middle slot. It works.

A relatively firm jab is required to engage first gear without some clatter. He who hesitates may well find himself embarrassed.

The sound, ah, the sound. There's nothing like a big twin for the sweetest music this side of heaven. The R100/7 has our vote for Song Of The Year. A purr, a rumble, a growl when charging up a freeway ramp. Quiet, but distinctive. Like many qualities the BMW possesses, the sound is understated. Rich and elegant.

A few miles up the freeway, maybe ten miles at the BMW's 60-70 mph touring pace, and a relationship begins to develop between bike and rider. An interaction. The Dance.

The sight of the two bucket-sized cylinders riding down there in the wind, under the tall and narrow 6.3-gallon tank, serves to remind one that the BMW is unique. You find yourself frequently glancing down and smiling. You talk to the bike like you have with no other. Conversation is in muted tones.

Under intense acceleration, the R100 lifts its tail, a result of the drive shaft forcing the rear wheel down, a trait common to all shafties. No chain noise, no snap. A smooth and quiet power delivery. Nice.


Back to the material world. Aside from being possibly the world's ace pick-up bike, to be ranked with the Turbo-Carrera, the XKE and the Corvette for recognizability among females, the R100/7 turns out to be quite a charmer in the canyons.

Despite the massive masculinity which a new BMW inflicts upon the senses of passersby, there is something almost ladylike in the manner in which it attacks a curve. A feminine determination to win through manipulation, to bend the curve to its will.

Twisty mountain roads taken at speed on the BMW can provide a most sensual experience. The rising and falling, front and rear, the torque action of the crankshaft in tight corners and the at-first-alarming tendency to chirp the rear Metzeler if downshifted a hair too soon do take a little getting used to.

We never found the limits of traction during our many outings with the bike. The sidestand, rear brake pedal and the ends of both pegs have been shaved considerably since we picked up the bike, and never once did the R100 do anything remotely alarming in a corner.

Suspension is longer and more progressive on the '77 models, but the ultra-soft BMW feel is still there. A most pleasing combination. No slouch in the tight stuff, the R100/7 still loves to soar across the roadways of the world like a high wind over the sea. Still the ne-plus-ultra of touring bikes.


Brakes on the BMW are, frankly, not the best. Not bad, just not quite all there. We never got into trouble because of them, but after riding some of the Japanese superbikes, the progressive feel of the R100 units gave us a little concern. Could be just those on our test unit.

The traditional BMW curtsy under heavy braking, due to more progressive damping in the long travel forks, has been replaced this year by a distinguished bow from the waist, much better.

The Magura dogleg-style black levers neady fit the fingers of even small hands and provide quite an advantage in leverage. Clutch action is as smooth as silk. In fact, the feel and function of all the controls could only be described as elegant. BMW lights, instruments and controls are approaching state-of-the-art. The horn sounds like it came from a Rolls-Royce.

At $3685, the BMW R100/7 is quite possibly the most desirable all-around motorcycle readily available to the discerning buyer.

The addition of a fairing, tank bag, grips and perhaps a custom seat will make the lady a Queen.

The street racer of approximately average abilities can get his jollies buzzing the canyons with his pals on their Z-ls and CB750s.

Most of all, the owner of a BMW can take pride in the knowledge that he has shown impeccable taste in choosing a suitable conveyance for a gentleman of upwardly mobile inclinations.

The R100/7 was a surefire attention-getter. Many times during the course of our test strangers approached us either to ask about our companion, compliment her, or just gaze in admiration.

Source Big Bike October 1977