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Thread: Curious after many years away

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Sarasota, FL

    Curious after many years away

    It was the middle 1970's and I was in college. Two wealthier roommates at the time had BMW's (750 and 900) that I got a chance to ride occasionally but that was all it took. After graduating and starting work my roommate and I bought two Honda drive shaft bikes (500 and 900) and enjoyed the heck out of riding until we parted ways for new jobs in different cities and got married.

    Now, nearly 30 years later I've finished educating two sons and, at 62, am itching to return to riding. My wife and I enjoy camping in our 5th wheel RV and would like to sell the house and go fulltime when we retire in the next few years. A bike would make a great addition and I've already been looking at different mounting methods for carrying it with us when we go.

    In the meantime I want to get back to riding as a pleasure pastime on the weekends and realize I'll need to get some seat time to brush up my defensive riding skills. Living in Sarasota, Florida there will be plenty of "blue hair" to watch out for!

    For my initial ride I'm budgeting up to $10k for bike and gear. Less is OK, but I want to be sure to invest enough for reliability. This is where I would appreciate input from those who frequent here. I'm partial to airheads and for now envision a "naked" bike for ease of storage and handling. Most trips would be day trips or overnights here in Florida so perhaps 200 miles would be a "long" trip.

    I am not mechanically inclined so anything beyond oil changes is probably not in the cards. With that in mind here are my questions:

    1. Best bikes to consider, or avoid, from the airhead era. I'm 6'3", 220 lbs;

    2. Most important mechanical factors to consider in purchasing, including mileage/maintenance "thresholds" to consider. I'm Ok with investing some maintenance dollars after purchase if buying prior to these maintenance "thresholds" means greater confidence and reliablity;

    3. Airhead resources on Florida's west coast, both for purchase and maintenance. Although I readily admit to having no mechanical skills, I would thoroughly enjoy meeting a "master" in the art of airhead work to learn some basics from and to trust with maintenance and/or mods.

    4. Finally, recognizing the matter of personal preference, I'd like suggestions/recommendations on basic protective gear.

    Thanks in advance.

    Randy in Florida

  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    San Antonio, TX
    Welcome, Randy!

    Airheads are a good way to go and there are some good resources here on the forum. I happened to find this thread which will provided some general discuss we had a while back about Airheads in general.

    I think you'll find that you can do more than you think on these bikes. It's best to start small and see what you can tackle. The older the bike, the more TLC it's going to need, so you might be best off looking for something in the 1990s.

    For mechanics, this list was generated to identify shops that have some Airhead capability...see what's close to you:

    As for resources, I know that Florida has a good contingent of Airheads and usually have Tech Days everyone once in a while. The Airheads Beemer Club are the ones that sponsor those might want to consider visiting and looking into a membership. There is an email mailing list that is loosely tied to the ABC, but it is free to join. Info is on the Airheads website. It doesn't hurt to get as much info as you can.

    Good luck on your quest! If you have specific Airhead questions, drift down to the Airheads forum here and ask away! Also, check the South Regional forum to see if there's been any discussions by people in your neck of Florida.
    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!

  3. #3
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Long gone
    Welcome Randy

    I've seen some pretty big bikes on the back of RV's including Gold Wings. IMO you are smart to look for something a little less big and heavy but you mileage may vary.

    Basic riding gear? I'm ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) kind of guy. I have ventilated gear for summer riding and also have a Stich for other times as well.

    Gear can be as inexpensive as $300 for a armored jacket, pants and full face helmet. I would also add gloves and boots but you may already have something that would work.

    When I bought my first BMW the kind folks at BMW Sports Touring (mainly RT riders) suggested a budget of $1,000 for gear. I thought that was high, I've ended up spending more.

    Take the MSF Basic Rider Course, you will me most dangerous after riding the first 6 months. You think you are more experienced than you are, DAMHIK.

    Other good people here will give you their opinions and they may be better than mine.

    And the old saying "Ride your own ride." is never more true than for re-entry riders such as yourself. You have nothing to gain by trying to keep up with faster riders, and much to lose.

    Looking forward to hearing on how this all works out for you.

    Pics of the new bike when you get one.
    Ride Well

  4. #4
    For easy to maintain and as reliable as a rock for a paperweight you absolutely cannot beat a K75. For your purposes I would recommend any of the "standard" models, available in either the regular seat or low seat variety. The required maintenance is basically change the oil and other fluids, brake pads and shocks as they wear out, and lubricate the rear splines on the driveshaft every 20K or so.
    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

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