The BBQ bike was retired after being totaled in my crash in October 2013.
In the meantime I’ve been driving a Mazda Miata which is about as close to two wheels as you can get with a car. Rolling up to a barbecue joint and enjoyin the Texas back roads top down lets you truly be engrossed in the experience. I’ve enjoyed it enough that we now own three of them; one primarily for Autocross racing, one for myself, and a third generation model for Leslye.
While the Miata is a blast, it also limits the friends who can accompany me on a road trip, so for some BBQ runs I’m using a four seat vehicle.
Here’s a shot of one of the Miata’s on a run back from Red Dirt BBQ Fest.
For historical purposes, here is the original content on the BBQ Bike:
When deciding to jump into this whole heartedly I decided I needed a true touring-capable motorcycle. My requirements were that I needed something comfortable and able to go reasonable distance without refueling, and I wanted hard luggage that was secure and lockable, rather than work with the soft luggage that I already owned.
- Comfortable ride
- Comfortable seat
- Large fuel tank
- Good gas mileage (40MPG or better)
- Hard luggage
- Priced in my range
Highly desirable were:
- Low mileage on the bike
- Located near Houston
I had two options in my stable at the time that could work as a platform for BBQ touring; a Bandit 1200 and a BMW R1100R. I loved the bandit but the windscreen wasn’t as protective as I would have liked and the fuel mileage was far less than I wanted. I recently had upgraded the bike with a performance exhaust and a re-jetting kit. It dropped my mileage below what I wanted; which was 40MPG or more. It also didn’t have hard luggage but it was something I could add. I also had a hard time keeping the throttle in check; it was just far too easy to spin the bike up above 100mph and that would only get me in lots of trouble.
My other option was the BMW R1100R. Built around the legendary BMW boxer engine, the R series’ longevity is one of the best in the industry, with 100,000 mile bikes not an unusual site. The R1100R’s riding position is upright and neutral. However the R series is a roadster; equipped without a windscreen. Due to unusual handlebars, aftermarket windscreens must be custom designed to be mounted on the bike or modifications made in order to make them fit. The gas tank is also smallish, allowing me as little as 120 miles before requiring a fill up with no more than 160 when riding solo and being judicious with the throttle. Purchasing an aftermarket windscreen and hard luggage would be an option but I feel that the best windscreen protection is when the bike and screen are designed together. In addition, buying hard luggage for the BMW bikes can be fairly expensive even if they are used.
This left me looking at alternatives. My price range was pretty low; I was willing to sell the 1100R and figured I could get anywhere from $2,700-$3,000 for it so I considered $4,000 easily within my budget for an out of pocket of less than $1,500.
The BMW had some very good things going for it; a solid and reliable engine, a large displacement which propelled the bike easily at highway speeds, reasonable fuel mileage, a decent suspension, and a low price point.
All motorcycles have a sort of reverse bell curve in regards to pricing. Initially and for the first few years they are at the high end. Over time and age they begin to drop and bottom out. As they age into classic and antique status the price begins to rise again for well-maintained examples. While some less desired bikes never make a steep rise back into classic status, the BMWs are an example of just this effect.
When pricing bikes, I saw that a 1985 BMW often would be priced higher than a similar 1995 model. Even going a few years older they held that price premium very well. Noting this, the first generation of BMW R1100 series up to 2002 provided the best technology-to-price ratio.
There were two models I had settled on, either the R1100RT or the R1100RS. The RT was more like an RV; it had full bodywork and a large electrically adjustable windscreen. The RS leaned more to the sport side of the equation; less bodywork, a smaller windscreen, and lower handlebars pushed the RS solidly into a category called “sport-touring”. Powered by the same engine, the extra weight of the bodywork on the RT meant slightly less throttle response. In addition, cracked or broken plastic on an older model could quickly ruin the appearance.
I decided on the RS, and found one with just fewer than 17,500 miles on the clock. Below is “Blackjack” my official BBQ touring bike. Leslye and I will be riding it across Texas while in search of the perfect brisket.