ER Classics Desktop 2022

The BMW R80ST was not such a hit.

BMW is a brand that invented and made legendary motorcycles with eternal value. And the funny thing is that even over time their 'misses' got the attention they actually deserved. Just think of the endearing R45, the futuristic K1 in its time and… The BMW R80ST

The BMW R80 ST can best be described as an R80GS in the suit of a businessman. At BMW, the idea was that the GS might be a perfect bike, but possibly a little too tough for conservative BMW drivers. So a civilized GS had to become a sales stunner.

Too little or too much BMW

It is no secret that management and marketers regularly think differently from the buying public. The hard-core BMW Fahrer found the ST too little classic BMW-like. People with a more open mind thought he was just a bit too much BMW. Oh yeah: The thing was solidly priced too. But that has usually never been the biggest obstacle for BMW enthusiasts.

Appreciation comes with the years

And there we have the link with motorcycles such as the Ducati Paso. After some cheering press releases, everyone walked around with a cautious bow. The people who had accidentally bought such a machine noticed that they were only given change for their expensive purchase when they were exchanged or sold. In the meantime we know the secret behind the success after going wrong: 1982 BMW R1984STs have already been made between 5.963-80. And then a strange phenomenon comes into effect: what nobody wanted in the past is scarce. That's why people want it again right now.

And there is something to be said for that in more than just investment. Because the ST was without a doubt the best steering BMW of its time. Perhaps the motorcycle with the best all-round driving characteristics of all the then-available engines. And it is precisely on that motorcycle that BMW apparently hung the big canvas of the models to be forgotten. Of course, that has of course been a fantastic strategy that you also come across in our national history books: you cannot write about what has failed. In fact, the ST was nothing but a GS with the front part of an R65 screwed on.

There are sources that report that this would not be entirely true. You expect that uncertainty with British and Italian engines, but not with BMW. The rear suspension had a little less suspension travel (153 mm vs. 170 mm.) The wheelbase was at least smaller than with the GS. In terms of model, the tank is also borrowed from the R65, the stainless steel muffler has a black heat shield. And of course the footrests are just in civilian style and not steel. There are also motor differences where the larger oil pan is the most striking.

Bad past

In the meantime, quite a few of the remaining STs have been converted by customisers and other happy and free spirits into something that they were proud of. The approach was that you could buy such an unworthy amount for BMW.

That time has now passed. The STs have been discovered.


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