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Thread: Looking for 1980 R100S 19” cast “snowflake” wheel.

  1. #1

    Looking for 1980 R100S 19” cast “snowflake” wheel.

    Mine is bent just enough to affect smoothness. It was recalled but BMW never notified me, then said it was replaced in San Diego. I told them I was never in San Diego. They then said their computer doesn’t go back that far. Which means one of the two assertions is a lie. Bike only has 18,000 miles on it. I stopped riding when I had kids. I bought it new. Just restored it. Can’t drive it past 70 mph or it begins to hop a little. I cannot stand out of balance wheels.

  2. #2
    Registered User beemeruss's Avatar
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    Wheel straightening

    I would first recommend researching outfits that restore motorcycle wheels. It would be so cool to keep the bike all original and you have a history of the condition of the bearings and shims. It would likely save you some coin too. My '78 is still all original with the first-year snowflakes. I expect that Kurt will chime in soon as he has compiled extensive lists of airhead friendly shops for parts and repairs. He also includes links to tech articles. Please allow me to be the first to ask you to send some pictures when you get the chance.

    Cheers,

    Russ

  3. #3
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum, rlee! As Russ said, there are some wheel repair places listed in the link in my signature line...check the Wheels and Brakes section near the bottom.

    So you're the original owner and after sitting for some time, you now have a hop in the tire at cruising speed? But yet you don't remember hitting anything to bend the rim? Could it just be that the tire is defective or the tire bead is not seated well on the rim? Try putting the bike on the center stand with front wheel off the ground. Spin the front tire and look for excess movement of the rim, especially radially. Where is the hump in the tire/wheel? Does the rim show out of round movement or is it the tire? Is the tire brand new and who did the balancing?

    As for the wheel recall, I'm not sure if BMW actually sought out the owners although I would have suspected that a letter would have been sent to each registered owner...if they didn't have your info on file, you wouldn't have seen it. The recall is still in effect as far as I know. However, finding an exact replacement will be difficult as many of the replacement rims have already been spoken for. I think there might be a stash of gold colored rims but I haven't heard much on that in years. Here's a couple of links that discuss the recall of the 19" rims:

    https://bmwmotorcycletech.info/19inchrecall.htm
    https://robfrankham.com/snowflake-wheels
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  4. #4
    I would not straighten the wheel. Cast aluminum alloys are very brittle ( 3 to 6% elongation on a tensile test specimen) and a straightening operation may break the cracked portion or it may introduce new cracks that remain undetected. Motorcycling has enough risks without introducing suspect parts into the mix. Obtaining a replacement wheel is the prudent thing to do here.

  5. #5
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Snowflake Mag Issues

    I had factory snowflakes on the 1978 R100/7 SPECIAL, and loved them. In mid 1980s I took the front wheel to a BMW shop in Oceanside CA for R/R. They inspected and said it did not need replacement; the crack prone areas were OK on mine. That was before internet, and I've since learned it shoulda been replaced anyway, by a later type with reinforced webbing. Also, having since seen pics of failed, early type snowflakes, it's scary to think I rode the bike 140,000. Yet, the early snowflake was never a problem.

    I prefer snowflakes; they are designed to hold the tire in place in event of a blowout, at least till you can pull over. This is a safety feature BMW once touted, but I have not heard mentioned in many years. I had a front flat once, and the snowflake did exactly as was claimed. But now knowing the difference between early and later types not sure I'd feel as secure with the early design.

    If you have wheel hop at 70 MPH, as others suggest, first insure the tire is popped out evenly all the way around. Snowflakes are a real PITA to get a newly mounted tire to pop out evenly, and I recall having to use scary high PSI to do it. If the tire is popped out evenly, next I'd remove and balance the assembly. I prefer a Marc Parnes motorcycle wheel balancer. Not a snowflake, but balance beads would not eliminate front wheel hop on my 95 RT, when I installed a new front tire about 12,000 miles ago. So I balanced it on the Parnes, which made it smooth as glass. On my GoldWing, balance beads were all that was ever needed. But, for some reason, the Airhead needed regular balancing. It did not take much weight to bring it into balance, but sure did the trick. There are lotsa cheap balancers on the internet, but I ponied up for the Parnes. It's only about $100, but money well spent. IMHO.

    I agree with others, would not have the Snowflake re-straightened, it's already prone to cracking and breaking anyway.
    Last edited by jhall; 05-06-2021 at 01:14 PM.
    BMWMOA #24809

  6. #6
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhall View Post

    I prefer snowflakes; they are designed to hold the tire in place in event of a blowout, at least till you can pull over. This is a safety feature BMW once touted, but I have not heard mentioned in many years.
    Snowflakes dont have the safety bead, thats why you shouldn't go tubeless. Many previous discussions about this.

  7. #7
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAS View Post
    Snowflakes dont have the safety bead, thats why you shouldn't go tubeless. Many previous discussions about this.
    But they do have a rim design which is meant to hold the rubber bead on the rim in case of flat. True, snowflakes needs tubes if for no other reason is that it is not air tight although people change the valve stem (might require the opening to be drilled out) have many miles on them. It's a personal decision.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  8. #8
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Definition Of Safety Bead?

    Quote Originally Posted by PAS View Post
    Snowflakes dont have the safety bead, thats why you shouldn't go tubeless. Many previous discussions about this.
    Not sure what a 'safety bead' technically is, but the tire WILL remain on the snowflake rim incredibly long in event of a flat: Late 1980s on I-15 in SoCal, around Lake Elsinore, I had a front flat on the R100/7; not a blowout, but felt the tire going flat. Pulled over and looked at it; knew of a repair shop a few miles away, so decided to try to limp to there. Initially I rode in the emergency lane in 1st and 2nd gear; later, as confidence built, 3rd and 4th; still later, merged into traffic at a cautious 50-55. All was well a mile or so, till the tire bead suddenly came off the rim; it was like riding on BBs; I went down hard; long story short, lucky to be alive.

    Early 1990s on I-40 near Baker California, on an 82 R100RT with factory snowflakes: hit a ridiculous road hazard at edge of a bridge; the rear tire hit so hard it pinched the tube and near instantly went flat. More careful this time, I attempted to limp into Ludlow by riding in the emergency lane in 1st and 2nd, but only got a mile or so before the tire bead finally came off the rim and then became near impossible to navigate. So I had to get a tow truck.

    Again, I don't know what a 'safety bead' technically is, but the snow flake meets MY definition.

    DISCLAIMER: This is not about my youthful stupidity, it's about snowflake mags. LOL
    Last edited by jhall; 05-06-2021 at 04:25 PM.
    BMWMOA #24809

  9. #9
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    I dont understand the safety rim and tube thing either. A sudden tube blow out puts you in the same circumstance as not having a tube. Tire does what it wants to do. Educate me?

  10. #10
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    I had two bent Snowflakes straightened, some years ago. No issues. I am aware of metallurgical principles relating to the unlocking of "stresses" in alloy (steel?) wheels.
    Rinty

  11. #11
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAS View Post
    I dont understand the safety rim and tube thing either. A sudden tube blow out puts you in the same circumstance as not having a tube. Tire does what it wants to do. Educate me?
    Snowbum explains things in his usual fashion here:

    https://bmwmotorcycletech.info/section6.htm

    Use Windows Ctrl-F and search the page for "shape" and find good pictures 1/2 to 2/3 the way down the page. The idea...I think...is that the part of the rim that extends out from the very center along with the angle/shape of the upstanding rim part is helpful to hold the bead of a deflated tire in place and also helps to prevent a rapid loss of air. Coupled with the stiffer sidewalls of the tubeless tires these days, that may be enough to prevent the bike from going uncontrollable and allow for recognition of the deflation and getting the bike slowed down.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  12. #12
    BMWMOA #24809 jhall's Avatar
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    Darkside Controversy

    Snowbum is out of his lane, in citing either side of the dark side controversy among GL1800 riders; it has been going on for decades, and no end in sight. There are two camps: one cites 'science', as Snowbum's link leads to, and the other cites experience, with millions of documented, trouble free miles. Several have experienced flats and blowouts on fun flat car tires, and safely limped home or to a repair facility. I just checked on GL1800Riders thread that tracks riders' reported trouble free dark side miles; as of today it is 16,437,413 miles. I have been dark side on a GL1800 about 70,000 miles now, and feel much safer with a (Run Flat) car tire on the GL1800 than any MC tire made. I doubt the guy who compiled the (ad nauseam) post at Snowbum's link has ever actually tried dark siding. The GL1800's 5" wide rear wheel lends itself to dark siding as if made for it. Still, it isn't for everyone, but many GL1800 riders insist they will never return to MC tires, including me. https://www.gl1800riders.com/threads...233382/page-20

    Sounds like a similar controversy with BMW snowflake mags and whether they are safe if ran tubeless. I never tried to go tubeless with a snowflake, but would feel confident in doing so. Would first paint the inner part of the mag though, to hopefully avoid leaks due to porosity.
    Last edited by jhall; 05-07-2021 at 12:12 AM.
    BMWMOA #24809

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PAS View Post
    I dont understand the safety rim and tube thing either. A sudden tube blow out puts you in the same circumstance as not having a tube. Tire does what it wants to do. Educate me?
    Later wheels designed for tubeless tires have a ridge built into the circumference of the wheel on both sides which is designed to better prevent the tire from dismounting itself in the event of deflation. This ridge is absent in earlier wheels designed to be used with tires and inner tubes. Running tubeless tires on tube type wheels is by definition more hazardous. Whether it matters in any single incident can be debated (and of course will be).
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  14. #14
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Debate

    The snowflake tube or tubeless debate has been going on for years now. I have met people on both sides of the arguments, I have ridden my two bikes both ways until one day I realized, BMW designed the rims to be used with tubes. I am not going to argue with them, they have a better grasp of the situation than I do.

    Also, I have had flats with both snowflake rims tube in and tube out. Regardless of the configuration I have never had the bike loose control or a tire come off the rim despite a couple of pretty big items getting stuck into them. I admit, the tubeless set up is nicer to be able to plug a tire and get on rather than tear out a tube and all the work involved. The film side is it is easier on the side of the road with either the hand air pump or an electric pump to blow up a tube in tire and get it to seat on the bead so I can ride on.

    Flats with the tubeless set up each time broke the bead bond on the tire and I had a heck of a time trying to pop it back up after I plugged the tire. If something gets into the side wall, it is a moot point as the sidewall can't or shouldn't be plugged or patched.

    Surprisingly, I have had very few flats due to debris over the years. Now I carry a folded up spare tube, and have the MOA rider assist. I run the rims with tubes as that IS the way they are intended to be run. St.

  15. #15
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    It always took two men and a boy to mount and dismount the Michelins on my snowflakes. Perhaps I should have let the air out and rode around the block until they came off...kidding of course.
    For that reason I dont run Michelins any longer. I do use tubes.

    I think I have run out of air on this topic.

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