Why We Picked It:
Between 1983 and 1986, many manufacturers started to combine sport bikes and touring bikes into an all new class of bike, the Sport Tourer.
Much of the initiative to create such a crossover class can be attributed to BMW, as demand for a road-going-only version of the R80 G/S was growing. BMW decided to give their customers what they wanted, but being German, they over-engineered the hell out of it, much to our benefit.
For the first time in 6 decades, BMW made a new engine for their motorcycles. Using technical knowledge gained from the automotive side of the business, the K100RS came with a 987cc inline four. What makes this engine different than most is that it was mounted longitudinally, and rotated 90 degrees onto its right side. This put the valve cover sticking out of the right side of the frame, with the crankshaft, transmission and shaft drive on the left side of the frame.
It was also extremely advanced, using Bosch LE-Jetronic fuel injection which had just been introduced into the all-new 3 Series of cars, as well as used a breaker-less ignition circuit to ensure proper spark at all times in each cylinder. This high tech engine produced an excellent 89 HP and 63.3 lbs-ft of torque, and was placed in a sport bike frame as a stressed member.
The result was a motorcycle that could cruise at 100 MPH, top out at nearly 140 MPH, and absolutely sipped fuel, giving it massive range. Despite being a sport frame, the bike was set up in the standard riding style, with high handlebars, comfortable saddle, and mid-mount pegs. To say that it was successful is an understatement, as there has always been an RS model in BMW's lineup ever since.