"Hanger Queen" Boxer


Over 1,000 Posts
Years go I was regularly attending Honda Sport Touring Association (now the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association) events around the country and especially enjoyed demo rides at the larger events. Honda, BMW, and other manufacturers brought in their trailers full of bikes and allowed everyone to test ride whatever they wanted as many times as they could. I had pretty much considered myself a "Honda guy" for years though I had lots of experience with Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha as well. At one event I fell absolutely head over heels in love with a BMW K1100RS just like this: (Even now if one just like this came along in the right condition at the right price I'd be VERY tempted... and black is near the bottom of the list of my favorite motorcycle colors.)


Sadly, the income of a recently divorced, soon to retire military enlisted troop couldn't handle the purchase of a BMW but my love and appreciation stayed and over the years the fire smouldered.

One time my attention was briefly diverted by a brand-new-but-a-few-years-old-at-a-dealer-who-wanted-it-gone Triumph Super III 900 Daytona just like like this. He named a once in a lifetime price but I still didn't have the bux so I had to pass.


A few years later I still thought the K was the way to go but I tried out a Boxer and the R1100RT lured me away from the Bricks.


Real life and it's obligations continued but I finally found myself in the position to start searching. I quickly learned that technology has passed me by and the Ks and Rs I had come to love were now "old bikes." Yes, they could be purchased for a very reasonable price but they were likely to have high, sometimes very high, miles and need work and parts. Parts for BMWs ain't cheap and it wouldn't take long to invest far more than the bike's value in parts just to make it nice. I decided to continue to cruise the usual outlets in hopes something would come along. A K1100 like the one above or an RT with the right combination of miles, price, and condition were the main searches. One day a good friend and i were talking and he told me his son was trying to sell his BMW. He'd gotten a Boxter and his wife told him that he could keep the Boxter or the Rockster but not both so the BMW had to go. I wasn't familiar with the model so I did lots of research and gained an appreciation of the strange hybrid that is the Rockster. @Hurco550 and I went to check it out and I learned that guy had owned the thing for 12 years and had put less than 6000 miles on it the whole time. We both rode it and it lived up to the promise; perfect condition, heated hand grips, ABS, low miles. After a couple more days of deliberation and research I made the deal. For a price that was very reasonable, not a steal, but reasonable, I brought home a 16 year old BMW that had only 7300 miles.


What is the Rockster? The first ones were white with black stripes and wheels and were numbered as special editions for the BMW 80th anniversary. Only a couple thousand were made and 200 were imported to the US. BMW then made the Black/Orange and the (more uncommon) Black/Green for four or five years. At the time the usual crowd of BMW owners were lukewarm about it; it wasn't dignified.

What is the Rockster? The basic frame/engine is the R1150R. The forks, shocks, and (wider) wheels are from the R1100S and the headlight is from the GS. Add the eye-catching paint scheme and a strange two-tone tach/speedo (more on that later) and it's a unique and nice performing machine. The only thing I can figure is that they were trying to imitate a Street Fighter type of bike.
Last edited:
I brought it home on a Saturday and on Monday morning I transferred the title, got insurance, and plates. Tuesday morning I went for a ride and hit a deer! My appreciation increased! The ABS worked perfectly and, though I hit her in the hind leg with the front wheel, we stayed up! It went wobble, wobble and then on down the road. I pulled over and discovered that the CF front fender hadn't survived the ordeal.


Then I discovered that BMW wants $800 for a replacement CF R1100S front fender, holy crap! After lots of searching I found a made in China repop of decent quality for far less.


So, back to life...


AND I admit that deep inside I hope that someday some sportsman brings home a hunting trophy and discovers pieces of CF in the left rear hip!
Another really odd thing about the Rockster is the seat. It's a two piece with a pilot (front) section and a pillon. The stock Rockster came w/ a package shelf and the pillon was an option.


At first I didn't like the shelf but I'll admit that it's growing on me and since I always ride alone, if one comes along at the right price I'll pick it up.

Another even more strange issue w/ the Rockster is the main seat. BMW always made the R1150R with the "standard" height seat and made "tall" and "low" versions available as aftermarket accessories. For some reason the Rockster came with the "tall" as it's standard seat. That was a real problem for me with my 30" inseam legs! The thing is heavy anyway and then add the height and my advancement of years (and all that goes with it) and I often felt like the thing was a real handful for me. I put an ad on the BMW MOA classifieds and eventually got a call from a guy in Raleigh, NC. He is a very tall man who bought a Rockster that had been equipped w/ a "low" seat and loved the bike but felt like he was a pretzel when he rode. We exchanged pictures and both were in excellent conditon. I shipped mine to him, he shipped his to me and everything came out perfectly! He's thrilled, I'm thrilled and all is good. The resulting difference is that I'm now sitting 3 1/2 to 4 inches lower and it makes a HUGE difference! Instead of sitting up on top of it I'm now sitting more as part of it. When riding it before my hand went to sleep within a mile or two and now that doesn't happen. I was considering the purchase of some bar risers or getting a set of stock (taller) R1150R bars for it. That won't be necessary now.





Big difference! Fantastic improvement!
Last edited:
Living with a Boxer. The quality and technology is fantastic. I've never owned a bike w/ fuel injection and ABS/linked brakes. Of course the FI is nice. It starts, it runs, no fuss, no muss, all good. Sure, I hope it doesn't break but until it does, if ever, I'm going to enjoy it. As for the ABS/linked braking, it's an interesting change. In use it all just works and works very well. I mentioned earlier hitting the deer. I know I hit the brakes but i really don't remember most of it because it all happened so fast. I didn't lock up the wheels and the thing slowed down very quickly. The ABS works.

Linked brakes. I'll have to admit that I'm a pretty staunch front brake user and most of the time only use the rear brake as a holder at stop lights or on a hill. I've read on the BMW MOA Forum that one can take steps to disable the electronics and take the thing back to "standard" brakes. I'm getting use to them and in the long run I think it's better that I adapt and get use to the bike rather than making the bike adapt to me.

The worst thing about the brakes is the noise! Every time you squeeze the lever or step on the peddle there's an annoying whine. You can't hear it (much) out on the highway but it's very much there around town. It's just part of owning a BMW w/ ABS.
I mentioned the two-tone tach/speedo above. It's one of the real quirks of the Rockster, that and the GS headlight. The speedo has a black face and the tach has a white face. And for me, having the two side by side has been a real revelaton. Perhaps others will think differently but for the life of me I can't understand why vehicle manufacturers make dash instrument faces with a black background. My Tundra has instruments w/ a black background and they are very difficult to see especially if I'm wearing sunglasses, especially the smaller size ones like the fuel gauge. Having the black background and white background instruments side by side make it easy to compare them and see how much more visible things are with the white background. It just makes me wonder why they do it. Take a look and tell me what you think:

Glad you survived the deer incident! New fender looks nice. I also agree on the instrument faces. My Dodge Ram had white backgrounds for both tach and speedometer and I loved it. My Fords all have black backgrounds and are hard to see.
Glad you survived the deer incident! New fender looks nice.
Thanx! Survived the reaction of Mrs Ridesolo, too! The outfit that makes that fender makes all kinds of CF goodies that I could have gotten to farkle the thing and they wanted to offer it all to me as a package for a really fair price... but then thought that $350 for shipping was reasonable! No, thank you!
Riding impressions. In terms of reliability and longevity the BMWs really earn their stripes. But it's easy to see why their Standards are so popular with so many people. They're easy to handle around town and for shorter rides but with a basic windscreen and some panniers you can hit the road comfortably. The engine is 1130cc and and if you've never ridden a boxer before the torque twist is startling and takes some getting use to. It's got lots and lots of torque and, though it has a six speed transmission, it's torque is is very forgiving to improper gear selection. The transmission is typical BMW clunky and I'd love for the thing to have the velvet and silk transmission out of a Honda CBR1000XX Blackbird but their transmissions work well and hold up for hundreds of thousands of miles so the trick is learning the proper shifting technique to make things go smoothly. The suspension is very compliant. I currently have the ride set at the mid range settings, both front and rear, and have found it to be a great combination of good handling and comfortable ride.

Another of the BMW quirks is the handlebar switches. After a lifetime of riding using my left thumb for turn signals it is taking me a very long time to get use to having the left signal switch on the left and the right signal switch and the cancel for both on the right. I'm slowly getting better with the left and right switches but the cancel on the right is still a big distraction for me. Heated hand grips... oh yeah, baby! I've never had them before and they are far better than I expected.

One thing that's a challenge about the Rockster is finding accessories. Let's say you happen to do something silly like hitting a deer and need to find a front fender. You don't search for a fender for a R1150R, you have to search for one that fits a R1100S. Most everything else you will find in the R1150R parts lists. EXCEPT the tires, wheels, and brakes. AND not the gauges or the headlight. It's just an interesting and sorta one-off beast.
Last edited:
That's a really interesting bike, I've never seen that model. It looks like it would be a pretty versatile ride, good weekender and fun for the spirited ride.

Glad to hear you didn't end up with a chest full of Bambi. We are in a high deer population area, a "yarding area". From dusk until dawn you are crazy to be on a bike here. We likely average close to a hit a day on a 10 mile stretch of highway.
I know full well what an "Asshole" can do to you on a bike. Cory was very lucky. I'd hate to have a buddy go through what I did. Hell I wouldn't even wish it on an enemy. Our PM maybe though.
I learned something new about this beastie today. It talks! I was sitting out there in the shop relaxing after taking the poor dog to the vet, AGAIN. I had also done a little bit of electrical work at the sister in law's house so I was just sitting there, minding my own business and the Rockster said, (with a German accent, of course) "Ride me!" Then after a few minutes it said,"Hey Boss, die Sonne scheint und die Temperatur ist perfekt, hol deinen Arsch aus diesem Stuhl und auf meinen Sitz! Fahren Sie jetzt mit!"

Unfortunately I remember enough German to understand what was said so I had to comply. It was just a a few minutes and mostly just around town, but I'm glad I listened!

:cool: :):cool::):cool::)
I just looked through this for the first time in years and see that I never really closed it out. I liked this bike and especially liked the FI and ABS but after owning it for a year and having it out many times I came to the realization that I never really "connected" with it. The lower seat was a big help in making me more comfortable on it but I never felt at one with it and never felt relaxed riding it. I put it on Cycle Trader and an older man from near Jacksonville, FL snapped it up. We met near Knoxville, TN and he was delighted with it. I've heard from him since and he travels all over the south with his van and toy-hauler camper trailer, meeting friends for weekend rides. I guess he's got lots of assorted bikes but the Rockster and an all original, unrestored /2 are the frequent flyers. I'm glad it went to a good (and loving) home.
Top Bottom