Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3
Results 31 to 45 of 45

Thread: Oilhead vs. Airhead - what are the differences?

  1. #31
    Fuel injection, ABS, and robust electrics are improvements found on oilheads, but I think airheads with their conventional forks handle a bit better than the later bikes with telelever. IMHO, the telelever was/is more about marketing and product differentiation than improved suspension and better handling. The setup looks impressive in the showroom and BMW's geometry is anti-dive but I feel the assembly lacks torsional rigidity (maybe because the top and bottom clamps attach to different tubes?) and provides rather vague feedback, especially at speed.

    USD forks would likely be a better choice for the newer machines but were/are not as unique.

    There is good reason race bikes (where feedback is critical to the rider) don't use telelever.

    .

  2. #32

    Evolution does not necessarily equate with progress ...

    Quote Originally Posted by 43912 View Post
    Fuel injection, ABS, and robust electrics are improvements found on oilheads, but I think airheads with their conventional forks handle a bit better than the later bikes with telelever. IMHO, the telelever was/is more about marketing and product differentiation than improved suspension and better handling. The setup looks impressive in the showroom and BMW's geometry is anti-dive but I feel the assembly lacks torsional rigidity (maybe because the top and bottom clamps attach to different tubes?) and provides rather vague feedback, especially at speed.

    USD forks would likely be a better choice for the newer machines but were/are not as unique.

    There is good reason race bikes (where feedback is critical to the rider) don't use telelever.

    .
    Yes, EFI, ABS, better(?) electrics in paper look like improvements, definitely. But as a former R1100RA owner, I can tell you that none of all these come with no problems at all. Surging, rough idling, ABS faults all over the place, the stock battery not providing a nominal voltage high enough for all these to work properly. Because, voltage/current is critical when your bike is essentially built around a computer that some call Moronic. I sold my R1100RA because it became ridiculously expensive to maintain it after the 15 year mark (it was a 1997 model) it started asking, a lot, around 2012-'13. The forks were OK but the Telelever, definitely suffers in the feedback category, especially at high speeds. I am trying and will eventually go back to a good solid R100R that I can do most of the maintenance myself. Plus after ~40 years on the saddle and given my riding style, I am confident I do not need ABS nor traction control. Plus I can run my bike on standard 87 oct. gas. The big question is : Where are all these R100R that were imported in the USA between 1993 and 1995? (note: no I am not looking for a 1992 model). They almost never come up for sale and when they do they are either abused or stripped down to resemble a Cafe Racer but not very convincingly and -either way- are way overpriced.

  3. #33

    Telelever

    Quote Originally Posted by 43912 View Post
    Fuel injection, ABS, and robust electrics are improvements found on oilheads, but I think airheads with their conventional forks handle a bit better than the later bikes with telelever. IMHO, the telelever was/is more about marketing and product differentiation than improved suspension and better handling. The setup looks impressive in the showroom and BMW's geometry is anti-dive but I feel the assembly lacks torsional rigidity (maybe because the top and bottom clamps attach to different tubes?) and provides rather vague feedback, especially at speed.

    USD forks would likely be a better choice for the newer machines but were/are not as unique.

    There is good reason race bikes (where feedback is critical to the rider) don't use telelever.

    .
    In all fairness, I'm sure that the Telelever was a bit more than a "marketing" ploy.

    I have the luxury of taking my R1150RT and R90s to the track on occasion. The RT instills confidence with it's "on rails" handling, at every lean angle, every throttle setting. My R90s in comparison, moves around like a Labrador Retiever in heat. Its always predictable and there's never any surprises, but yeah, suspension technology between the two bikes is night and day. And my R90s is setup pretty well, suspension wise.

    Day to day riding, on Michigan's embarrassing roads, I'll take the Telelever system over my old bike any day. It's more comfortable to ride, and the bike is less "busy", etc.

    I'm sure modern forks are quite good but in my test comparison, there really isn't any.

  4. #34
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    2,806
    Quote Originally Posted by RPGR90s View Post
    In all fairness, I'm sure that the Telelever was a bit more than a "marketing" ploy.

    I have the luxury of taking my R1150RT and R90s to the track on occasion. The RT instills confidence with it's "on rails" handling, at every lean angle, every throttle setting. My R90s in comparison, moves around like a Labrador Retiever in heat. Its always predictable and there's never any surprises, but yeah, suspension technology between the two bikes is night and day. And my R90s is setup pretty well, suspension wise.

    Day to day riding, on Michigan's embarrassing roads, I'll take the Telelever system over my old bike any day. It's more comfortable to ride, and the bike is less "busy", etc.

    I'm sure modern forks are quite good but in my test comparison, there really isn't any.
    I have to agree. I have two airheads and one oilhead. The telelever suspension on the Oilheads is superb and handles the road so much better than my airheads. There is really no comparison. Rubber Cow syndrome? GONE. Tail popping up on acceleration (quite inconvenient in corners!). GONE. Consistent handling in almost any conditions is what you get with a telelever. So that along with improved braking, more HP and an extraordinary reliability makes the Telelever Oilhead a great improvement over the Airheads.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  5. #35
    Jammess jammess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florence, OR.
    Posts
    967
    Quote Originally Posted by happy wanderer View Post
    I have to agree. I have two airheads and one oilhead. The telelever suspension on the Oilheads is superb and handles the road so much better than my airheads. There is really no comparison. Rubber Cow syndrome? GONE. Tail popping up on acceleration (quite inconvenient in corners!). GONE. Consistent handling in almost any conditions is what you get with a telelever. So that along with improved braking, more HP and an extraordinary reliability makes the Telelever Oilhead a great improvement over the Airheads.
    I totally agree with your assessment. A couple years ago I parted with my '81 R100RT and I miss it but when I think about the brakes, smoothness, power output, and telelever suspension I feel much better and wouldn't trade my remaining oilhead for the airhead. In today's world of faster agressive drivers no way would I prefer the airhead to an oilhead. In fact I'll even take my FJR to an airhead but can't really say that with the same enthusiasm when compared to an oilhead. Glad I have both.
    Jammess

    '93 R1100RSL, '10 FJR1300A
    MOA # 50714

  6. #36
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    2,806
    Quote Originally Posted by jammess View Post
    I totally agree with your assessment. A couple years ago I parted with my '81 R100RT and I miss it but when I think about the brakes, smoothness, power output, and telelever suspension I feel much better and wouldn't trade my remaining oilhead for the airhead. In today's world of faster agressive drivers no way would I prefer the airhead to an oilhead. In fact I'll even take my FJR to an airhead but can't really say that with the same enthusiasm when compared to an oilhead. Glad I have both.
    Oh yeah but don't get me wrong. I will never give my my R80G/S which is really a Swiss Army Bike to me. That motor is just wonderful and also it will make a good old man bike I reckon.

    I have had a long love affair with my Red Smoke (fastest colour!) R100RS and continue to do so however if I have to give one up and someone has enough cash that is the one that eventually I will probably part with simply because at 63 now the forward riding position even with K bike bars on it now is getting more difficult to sustain on long trips. I was reminded of that on my 8,465 mile trek to PA and back last September. I even re-foamed the seat for that trip but it did not help. That said though, that RS eats up highway all day long without complaint and handles very well for a 1982 motorcycle. 80 MPH in a strong crosswind and it just stays put. Just amazing. It was ahead of it's time and the fairing design is the best I have ever had. But neither compare with the oilhead's comfort, brakes and suspension. It's just a different animal altogether. Long days are not a problem and the coverage is great in the rain and cold.

    But still... when I grab a hold of my RS throttle, fire her up and take off boy oh boy I KNOW I've got a handful of motorcycle there and it's a feeling I never get tired of.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  7. #37
    Yeah, none of my old airheads handled all that well, either. The rubber cow moniker was given for a reason.
    But ... I'd still MUCH rather have conventional forks on my R1200 GS, if given the choice.

    Maybe it's just me, or maybe there's something else wrong with my low-mileage GS that I haven't discovered yet.
    To me, the telelever just seems vague, especially in low-speed turns on lumpy surfaces (like a campground), or at speed down the highway.

    I've had lots of other bikes. Some handled better than others. My 1200GS is not one of the better ones. YMMV.

    It's enough that I have been looking for something loose on the front since the bike was new, but have never found anything.
    Engine mounts? Fork clamps? Spokes? Tire pressure? Nope, nope, nope. The only thing I have determined is there is more torsional flex in the telelever setup than a normal front suspension.

    Again, I believe there is good reason why the telelever is not used on more bikes. It just doesn't provide good feedback.
    Last edited by OldCamper; 02-14-2018 at 03:22 AM.

  8. #38
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northern Front Range, CO
    Posts
    6,655
    Quote Originally Posted by happy wanderer View Post

    But still... when I grab a hold of my RS throttle, fire her up and take off boy oh boy I KNOW I've got a handful of motorcycle there and it's a feeling I never get tired of.
    If you like your wallet to be fat... DO NOT take a wethead for a test ride. If you want an improved version of your RS however.....
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  9. #39
    Trying to compare the advantages of an Airhead to an Oilhead (or Hexhead, Camhead, or Wethead) is similar to comparing the virtues of a Volkswagen Beetle and a late model Corvette. They each have a certain appeal, but actual comparisons of features is a fools errand.

    If you like simple go for the VW. If you want modern go with the Vette.

    If you like things like good fuel mileage, ABS, fuel injection, etc choose the OilCamHexWetHead bike. If you like flexi-frames, carb diaphragms, wheel splines, and points ignitions choose the Airhead bike. These are personal choices akin to whether you like bananas or kumquats (apples or oranges for the traditionalist). I once owned a 1960 Simca. I don't ever want to go back there.
    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/

  10. #40
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Sechelt, British Columbia
    Posts
    2,791
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Trying to compare the advantages of an Airhead to an Oilhead (or Hexhead, Camhead, or Wethead) is similar to comparing the virtues of a Volkswagen Beetle and a late model Corvette. They each have a certain appeal, but actual comparisons of features is a fools errand.

    If you like simple go for the VW. If you want modern go with the Vette.

    If you like things like good fuel mileage, ABS, fuel injection, etc choose the OilCamHexWetHead bike. If you like flexi-frames, carb diaphragms, wheel splines, and points ignitions choose the Airhead bike. These are personal choices akin to whether you like bananas or kumquats (apples or oranges for the traditionalist). I once owned a 1960 Simca. I don't ever want to go back there.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by 43912 View Post
    There is good reason race bikes (where feedback is critical to the rider) don't use telelever..
    And there is good reason touring bikes aren't used as race bikes.

    To me the telelever makes so much sense from a purely mechanical standpoint that it remains one of several reasons I've continued to ride BMWs since it was introduced. BMW recognizes it’s not suited for ultra-high performance machines (S1000RR) but for real world, high mileage touring it works just fine.

    Honda must see some advantages by using a version of it on the new Goldwing.

    Additionally, after almost 20 years of having read people complain about lack of "feedback" I have to wonder if they would know what feedback was if it slapped them in face. If somehow I'm missing it while on my S,R or RT its fine with me.

  12. #42
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    718
    Quote Originally Posted by GIARCG View Post
    Additionally, after almost 20 years of having read people complain about lack of "feedback" I have to wonder if they would know what feedback was if it slapped them in face. If somehow I'm missing it while on my S,R or RT its fine with me.
    I've tested an RS and an RT recently. The rides were about an hour and a half each and on everything from highways to twisty hilly roads. I didn't like the RT's feel. It was vague in my opinion. I felt like I was disconnected from the front end.

    The RS on the other hand, felt great, confidence inspiring.
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

  13. #43
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Sechelt, British Columbia
    Posts
    2,791
    Quote Originally Posted by daboo View Post
    I've tested an RS and an RT recently. The rides were about an hour and a half each and on everything from highways to twisty hilly roads. I didn't like the RT's feel. It was vague in my opinion. I felt like I was disconnected from the front end.

    The RS on the other hand, felt great, confidence inspiring.
    I have R1150RT and an R1150GS. The GS runs circles around the RT. The GS is pleasure in the twisties, the RT is work.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  14. #44
    Jammess jammess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florence, OR.
    Posts
    967
    Hi Paul, if given that choice I'd take a brand new '69 VW bug to a vett but I'm kind of a Ford guy anyway.

    I know what you mean HW when you talk about that handful of throttle. Get on an FJR and you'll just go bonkers. The bike I'd like to own would be a new european FJR with the clutchless paddle shift. You can open the throttle to wide open then just fan the paddle and up she goes and smooth as glass. Man, would I like to get my hands on one of those and it even has electronic suspension. Would I throw my RSL into the deal? Nope!

    Also, because of BMW's track record with transmissions I would have some concerns with a new wethead with its wet clutch and integrated transmission. Talk about an expense were there a trans problem off warrantee. Then we have the final drive history and then we have the cost of little things like the first service. BMW dependability is not rated very highly by many so take it from there. I tend to keep cars and motorcycles a minimum of 10 years so reliability weighs heavy on my buying decisions. My RSL was built in 06/93 with an M93 transmission which was rapidly replaced several months later by the M94 which soon proved to have its own issues, just the way BMW operates. It took how many years to finally perfect the airhead transmission? At least until around 1985.
    Last edited by jammess; 02-14-2018 at 06:15 PM.
    Jammess

    '93 R1100RSL, '10 FJR1300A
    MOA # 50714

  15. #45
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Southwestern Connecticut
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by GIARCG View Post
    And there is good reason touring bikes aren't used as race bikes.

    To me the telelever makes so much sense from a purely mechanical standpoint that it remains one of several reasons I've continued to ride BMWs since it was introduced. BMW recognizes itís not suited for ultra-high performance machines (S1000RR) but for real world, high mileage touring it works just fine.

    Honda must see some advantages by using a version of it on the new Goldwing.

    Additionally, after almost 20 years of having read people complain about lack of "feedback" I have to wonder if they would know what feedback was if it slapped them in face. If somehow I'm missing it while on my S,R or RT its fine with me.
    I fully agree. I love the telelever for real-world riding on the street. The absence of significant brake dive leaves the suspension with almost full travel to deal with road irregularities under hard braking. Any perceived reduction in feedback really isnít significant in this context.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •