BMW R 1100 GS Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals
This is the maintenance schedule and service intervals for the BMW R 1100 GS, from the manual plus service manual and other parts diagrams / notes.
The BMW R 1100 GS is a motorcycle in the iconic GS line of the “oilhead” days of BMW motorcycle engines. The R 1100 GS was the first GS bike to use an oil-cooled engine, rather than purely air-cooled engines as BMW had been using for many decades before.
The R 1100 GS is powered by a 1085 cc fuel-injected boxer twin with four valves per cylinder. It runs a 10.3:1 compression ratio and makes a modest (by today’s adventure bike standards) 80 hp / 60 kW at 6750 rpm, with peak torque of 97 Nm / 72 lbf-ft at 5250 rpm.
Like the other GS bikes, the R 1100 GS has a shaft final drive, which is more convenient than a chain for riding on dusty roads (no chain to clean!)
In 1999, the BMW R 1150 GS replaced the R 1100 GS with an upgraded motor and some improved specs.
Here are all the big BMW GS models for which we have maintenance schedules
- BMW R 1100 GS (1994-1998)
- BMW R 1150 GS / Adventure (1999-2005)
- BMW R 1200 GS / Adventure, Hexhead (2004-2009)
- BMW R 1200 GS / Adventure, Camhead (2010-2014)
- BMW R 1200 GS / Adventure, Liquid-cooled (a.k.a. Wethead) (2013-2018)
- BMW R 1250 GS / Adventure, “ShiftCam” (2019+)
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BMW R 1100 GS Service Intervals
Overall, the BMW R 1100 GS has 6000 mile / 10000 km service intervals. At every service, change the oil and filter, plus change the drivetrain oil, and give the motorcycle a once-over.
You also need to check the valve clearances every service.
The BMW R 1100 GS has a shaft final drive, which is lower maintenance than a chain, but you do need to change the oil at every service as well.
Note that the maintenance guidelines for the R 1100 GS are a bit outdated in a number of ways, which we’ll note below.
Oils, Spark Plugs, and Other Consumables for the BMW R 1100 GS
|Item||BMW R 1100 GS spec|
|Engine oil||BMW recommends BMW Advantec Pro 5W-40 engine oil. But many BMW old hands use any old car oil of various weights, 20W-50 motor oil being a common choice. You can get into endless discussions on the subject, if that’s your poison of choice!|
|Oil filter||Use a BMW Mahle oil filter, or a Hiflofiltro HF163 oil filter.|
|Air filter||A K&N BM-0400 is easy to find and plugs in.|
|Spark plugs||The 1150 motor in the GS is single-spark. You need NGK BKR7EKC (14mm thread).|
|Final drive oil and gearbox oil||For the final drive, a commonly recommended and easy-to-get choice is Castrol 75W-90 oil, but others work too.|
|Brake fluid||Use BMW DOT 4. The R 1150 GS has a cable clutch.|
|Cable lube||Use Protect All Cable Life for a good universal cable lubricant.|
BMW R 1100 GS Maintenance Schedule
Below is the full maintenance schedule for the BMW R 1100 GS. It comes in the form of individual checklists for different mileage / timing points, but it’s more convenient to see them in one schedule.
We split the schedule of items to perform into a schedule of major items, plus a general inspection checklist to perform periodically.
Major service items
Notes (We’ve incorporated these into the service schedule).
- Brake fluid — Most modern motorcycles only recommend changing the brake fluid every two years, with no distance interval. The R 1100 GS’s recommendation to change this more often (ever year, and with a distance interval) is quite aggressive.
- Final drive oil and Gearbox Oil — Modern motorcycle manuals recommend changing this every two years if you don’d do the specified distance.
- Alternator belt — Modern BMW motorcycle manuals recommend changing this every five years.
|mi x 1000||6||12||18||24|
|km x 1000||10||20||30||40||Notes|
|Inspection checklist (see below) — Perform|
Not all items are required annually — See below
|Engine oil — Change when engine at operating temperature. (BMW Advantec Pro 5W-40)||✓||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Oil filter — Change (HF163)||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Gearbox oil — Change (Castrol 75W-90)||✓||✓||✓||✓||2 years*|
|Final drive oil — Change (Castrol 75W-90)||✓||✓||✓||✓||2 years*|
|Valve clearances — Inspect / Adjust||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Spark plugs — Check condition / gap||✓||✓|
|Spark plugs — Replace (BKR7EKC)||✓||✓|
|Air filter — Replace (BM-0400)||✓||✓|
|Brake fluid (front and rear) — Change (BMW DOT 4)||✓||✓||✓||✓||2 years*|
|Check wheel bearings||✓||✓|
|Fuel filter — Replace||✓|
|Alternator belt (Poly V belt) — Replace||✓||5 years*|
Below is the general inspection checklist. Do these items per the schedule above.
The manual only specifies certain items have to be done as part of the annual check. But the rest of them aren’t hard to do anyway.
|BMW R 1100 GS Inspection Checklist||Annual check|
|Battery acid level — Check||Yes|
|Battery terminals — Clean and grease||Yes|
|Poly-V belt (alternator belt) — Check / adjust tension|
|Throttle cables — Check freedom of movement, and for kinks and chafing|
|Clutch play — Check|
|Front and rear brake pads — Check for wear|
|Front and rear brake discs — Check for wear|
|Front and rear brake fluid — Check level|
|Brake piles, hoses, and connections — Visually inspect for wear|
|Swinging arm bearing — Check free movement|
|Side stand — Lubricate||Yes|
|Clutch cable — Lubricate||Yes|
|Side-stand switch — Check operation||Yes|
|Idle speed — Check||Yes|
|Throttle body synchronisation — Check||Yes|
|Throttle valves — Check||Yes|
|Spoke tension — Check||Yes|
|Tire pressures and tread depth — Check||Yes|
|Lights and signalling equipment — Check||Yes|
|Test ride as final inspection and function check||Yes|
|Confirm BMW Service in on-board documentation||Yes|
About the BMW R 1100 GS
The BMW R – GS line almost needs no introduction. It has been world-famous for a very long time, and kept BMW on the map as leaders in enduro motorcycle production.
The BMW R 1100 GS is an early version of the GS line. It’s well before liquid cooling, and is in fact the first of the BMW GS line to have an oil-cooled engine; a so-called “oilhead”, as opposed to the “airheads” that came before it.
But most other things about the R 1100 GS are very familiar, including the fact that it’s a boxer motor powering a shaft drive.
BMW built the R 1100 GS between 1994 and 1999. Before it came the BMW R 100 GS, an air-cooled carburettor-fuelled adventure bike that’s definitely one for the history books. The R 1100 GS didn’t just improve on the engine, though — it added the “Telelever” front suspension, which uses geometric trickery to counter the effect of diving when braking. Clever! BMW still uses it today in their top-spec bikes.
That’s not even all — on the R 1100 GS, ABS was an option. It’s pretty incredible that a bike from so long ago could come with ABS. Many newer ones don’t. Heated grips was another less surprising but more commonly chosen option.
As an aging bike, the BMW R 1100 GS has tons of character to it. The engine is more vibey than modern, liquid-cooled boxer engines, but has a tractor like rumble that some may not like (BMW boxers are sometimes called “agricultural”) but that won’t quit, anyway. The bike looks striking, and never fails to draw a crowd.
Compared to modern adventure motorcycles, the BMW R 1100 GS may seem unimpressive on paper. It peaks in power very early, making on 60 kW (80 hp) before having to be shifted. That’s not so bad in itself, but this is a heavy bike, weighing around 245 kg / 540 lb, and that’s before you start adding on all the extras like luggage, crash protection, plus a rider and all the kit. So riding the R 1100 GS means short shifting it and enjoying low-down torque, rather than blasting it through the rev range.
The one thing the R 1100 GS has going for it is a track record of longevity. Apart from a willingness to burn oil (experiences vary, but it can happen with any old engine), the 1100 oilhead motor and drivetrain goes for a LONG time. There are abundant used examples with over 100000 miles or even 200000 km on them, still seemingly in great condition. Try finding a sport bike with that mileage on it!
That said, if you do look at an old one, there are things to look at other than the maintenance schedule: the condition of the bearings, the moving parts, and the clutch, which does require you to split the motorcycle in two to check it. But if you’re going for a long trip, it’ll be worth your while!
Reference — Service Manual for the BMW R 1100 GS
The above information came from the service DVD for BMW motorcycles, which has PDFs of the maintenance schedules. We also consulted other online resources for parts specs and recommendations, including ADVrider and BMW forums.
See screenshots below of the 10K / annual and 20K schedules.
You can download manuals for BMW motorcycles from BMW here.