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Thread: Airhead wheels

  1. #1
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    Airhead wheels

    Hey guys, I'm picking up parts to do a single sided swingarm on my 83 R100. As I'm fairly new to these bikes, it's lots of learning.
    Which (stock) wheels can be used, are there other models in the bmw lineup which have direct swapability?

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  2. #2
    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    There are three Airhead single-sided swingarm designs:

    1) 3-stud Monolever like the G/S and ST had. They can only accept the 3-hole G/S and ST spoked wheel hub.

    2) 4-bolt Monolever like the '85-on bikes had. This is generally the cast drum-brake wheel. The bolt pattern is shared with a lot of later disc-brake wheels.

    3) 4-bolt Paralever like the GS, R and Mystic. These normally take spoked drum brake wheels but can also accept cast drum wheels from the Airhead or K Monolever designs.

    So, the answer depends on what parts you are using.
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  3. #3
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    Thank you very much, this is eactly the sort of information I needed. I have decided to keep my stock swingarm, but I will be switching it to a monoshock setup - using a factory monoshock and some custom fabrication. It should look almost "factory" when it's done.

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  4. #4
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    Trying to get my mind around this......
    I've seen this done before. Original dual shock swing arm made to be mono-shock by welding a top shock mount on to the main frame, and beefing up the swing arm itself. In that case you will use a wheel that interchanges with your OEM final drive, which is to say, a wheel with the bearings in the hub. If you want to use a bolt on wheel, use the matching mono-shock swing arm and final drive.
    1973 R75/5

  5. #5
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    Yes, in order to use a single sided swingarm, one must have the correct wheel - which I do not. So, a monoshock on the double swingarm, continuing to use the original wheel to the bike.
    In this case, I have a nice set of "snowflake" wheels, so it's a great option.

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  6. #6
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    Hoping you post some photos of this project. I can't quite picture how you are going to use the stock swingarm which is dual shock and make a monoshock out of it. I lack imagination I guess so photos would be great!
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
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  7. #7
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happy wanderer View Post
    Hoping you post some photos of this project. I can't quite picture how you are going to use the stock swingarm which is dual shock and make a monoshock out of it. I lack imagination I guess so photos would be great!
    My guess is some lattice framing atop the existing swingarm feeding into a single shock mounted under the seat/tank. Think 1970s Yamaha MXers...
    Best,
    DG
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    I have a hub from a 100GS that has been machined to fit the mono swing arm and a 17” rim if you want to put a wire wheel on the bike. I also have a front hub from a 91 GS. Had thought I wanted to either do a “classic style”. mono with wire wheels or put wire wheels with car tires on a sidecar rig I owned. PM me if you want more info.
    "Fools that we are, we have gone to war with nature. If we win, we die.". Silver Donald Cameron

  9. #9
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    The one that I saw was owned by a rider from Wisconsin. It looked a lot like a mono-shock set up and he simply pulled the left shock. Of course, he also used a longer shock on the right side. His set up left the single shock slightly closer to vertical than a post '85 bike. Again, the upper shock mount was welded to the main frame. OE seat sub frame was removed and replaced by a custom made sub-frame.
    1973 R75/5

  10. #10
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James.A View Post
    The one that I saw was owned by a rider from Wisconsin. It looked a lot like a mono-shock set up and he simply pulled the left shock. Of course, he also used a longer shock on the right side. His set up left the single shock slightly closer to vertical than a post '85 bike. Again, the upper shock mount was welded to the main frame. OE seat sub frame was removed and replaced by a custom made sub-frame.
    That sounds like a formula for a lot of swingarm flex and odd handling characteristics. Not that a lot of “form over function” designers would factor that into their considerations...

    Best,
    DG
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    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S PD — 1993 R100GS — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT
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  11. #11
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider View Post
    That sounds like a formula for a lot of swingarm flex and odd handling characteristics. Not that a lot of “form over function” designers would factor that into their considerations...

    Best,
    DG
    I only observed some one else' s assembly. I did not have a chance to ride it, nor would I recommend that sort of fitment.
    1973 R75/5

  12. #12
    Registered User AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    The Butler & Smith team did a monoshock conversion in '77 or '78. This bike had it although the pics don't show it very well:

    http://largiader.com/albums/83/index.htm
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  13. #13
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James.A View Post
    I only observed some one else' s assembly. I did not have a chance to ride it, nor would I recommend that sort of fitment.
    Oh, I wasn’t by any means commenting in a negative way on you or your observations and hope you didn’t take it that way. I was only observing that a setup such as you described presents a lot of functional problems that would need to be addressed and that such issues often get overlooked or ignored by builders focused on a style or “look”. I seem to remember Fred Rau writing in one of his articles that he’d had a first-hand viewing of some Orange County Choppers; he proclaimed them to be “Orange County Crap” due to functionality and QC issues he saw. And lately we’ve all seen an increasing number of custom builds based upon old Airheads; some are really nice designs and well-executed in both functionality and build quality, and then there are others. Hopefully the OP in this thread will build one of the former and not the latter.

    Best,
    DG
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S PD — 1993 R100GS — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  14. #14
    Airmarshal-IL James.A's Avatar
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    No worries DG, I just did not want to be seen as endorsing that kind of set up, even though I know of a working version of the same. The pictures that Anton linked show a good way to achieve that kind of modification.
    1973 R75/5

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    Thanks for the comments and pictures guys. This is exactly why I posted my plans for my bike. I very much want to have a machine which is a pleasure to ride, and certainly safe too.
    Aesthetically, I'm trying to clean and lighten the appearance of the bike. The factory single sided swingarm does this perfectly. These bikes also have a great reputation for comfort, performance and safety. So, taking all the points given into consideration, a swap to a factory "single" setup is really the way to go - I'm certainly not going to be able to out-engineer BMW!

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