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Thread: New Guy, Educate Me

  1. #1
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    New Guy, Educate Me

    Changing my search from 69-73 bikes to 75-95 R-series bikes. I'm reading the threads and any books I can get my hands on but I want to know what the books don't tell me. Tell me what I want, everyone has their opinion so I find this method helpful. I don't want a fairing bike or the bike with the square headlight (that's just wrong).

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Medic View Post
    Changing my search from 69-73 bikes to 75-95 R-series bikes. I'm reading the threads and any books I can get my hands on but I want to know what the books don't tell me. Tell me what I want, everyone has their opinion so I find this method helpful. I don't want a fairing bike or the bike with the square headlight (that's just wrong).
    I agree about the square headlights.

    But some models that are known for their square headlights (K75S, K75RT) also have round-headlight versions. The K75 Standard, the K75T, and K75C all had round headlights and look much better.

    I realize they are not "75-95 R-Series bikes." Just thought I'd mention it, though, in case you had ruled out the K75 model from consideration due to the square headlight used on the popular S and RT trims.

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    Vark, thanks for the info. I prefer the Airhead over the K-series bikes for the classic looks.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Medic View Post
    Changing my search from 69-73 bikes to 75-95 R-series bikes. I'm reading the threads and any books I can get my hands on but I want to know what the books don't tell me. Tell me what I want, everyone has their opinion so I find this method helpful. I don't want a fairing bike or the bike with the square headlight (that's just wrong).
    Many say that the R90 /6 is the ideal combination of power and smoothness.

  5. #5
    John D'oh
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    Airheads manufactured between 1976 and 1984 have the most interchangeable parts so while they generally don't need a lot of replacements, the bits you will need are still easy to find. There are a good number of after-market parts now particularly electrical to keep them going. Consumables such as cylinders and pistons are available after-market new. Things you want to have on hand would be a good rebuilt transmission, a couple of final drives with perhaps one taller or smaller ratio just for fun. Fuel tanks need to be carefully maintained to keep them from rusting out. Find a set of handlebar switches as good spares because after 35 years or so the old ones do give up occasionally. Any parts you buy as spares are money-in-the-bank type investments so it's hard to go wrong owning a few extra things. The 70' and 80's airheads evolved into a machine that was practically bullet proof untill of course a bullet actually hits it. Most problems with used ones are the fault of the owners. It was said that the rest of the bike falls apart around the engine but in recent years I have begun to doubt that as more and more people discover their bikes have been put back together wrong or they find one that's been parked under a tarp in the barn too long.

    The 1976 R90/6 is a fine motorcycle - a well tuned and ridden R90 could get 55 - 60 miles per gallon with all the power one needed to make any cross country trip. The 1977 R100/7 is better in many respects with a bit more power consuming more fuel with more of them made between late 1976 and 1979 and that means there are more to choose from. Probably the best airheads though are the 1980 - 1984. they are slightly detuned from the earlier bikes which is due to EPA regulations and the CARB dictating emissions rules. The 80's bikes have a beautiful clutch and a factory electronic ignition that seldom cause problems. Early 80's bikes have a valve seat problem that will need to be dealt with if it appears in one you own.

    This range of BMW's (even through the last ones in the 90's) were made to be easily maintained. If one were lucky enough to have been around to purchase one new the ride and performance would have seemed superb even compared to today's motorcycles. Learning to do a 5 and 10 thousand mile service was all that was required to keep an airhead running and riding like it came from the factory and extending its service life to the full limits. My money is on the 76R75 or 90/6, 77-78 R75, R80 or R100/7 (and RS) and the 80-84 R100 anything... not necessarily in that order. These are the bikes I own and ride today.
    John D'oh

  6. #6
    My '84 R100 was the best of the three I had. Setting aside my chassis mods to make it handle better, what I liked was the lighter flywheel. It revs a little more freely while losing none of the boxer 'feel.' To date it's the bike (of the 25 I've had) I put the most miles on (Speed Triple running a close second).
    '61 Clubman's Gold Star, '13 690 Duke, '13 Daytona 675R, '18 Street Triple RS, 2020 R1250R (gone but not forgotten: '76 R75/6, '84 R100, '76 R90S)

  7. #7
    If you are wanting to become an airhead owner, then you might consider joining the Airheads Beemer Club (ABC).

    https://airheads.org/

    Re-Psycle BMW usually has several airhead bikes for sale at any given time. These may be in better condition that the typical offerings found on craigslist or ebay.

    https://re-psycle.com/Pre-Owned

    Good condition used bikes can be found in the Airmail magazine and through IBMWR. A chat with the seller can often give one some indication of the level of
    maintenance and condition of a used bike.

    https://ibmwr.org/index.php/ibmwr-ma...ins-1969-1995/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by robsryder View Post
    If you are wanting to become an airhead owner, then you might consider joining the Airheads Beemer Club (ABC).
    Thanks for that info. I did join ABC and bookmarked the others.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Medic View Post
    Vark, thanks for the info. I prefer the Airhead over the K-series bikes for the classic looks.
    Gotcha.

    I was going down that path too for a while. But after seeing a few in person, I concluded the ergonomics and upkeep of these airhead designs did not appeal to me. So my suggestion is donít pigeon hole yourself. Keep an open mind while you learn more and see some in person.

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    is there a place that covers all of the different bike weights and seat heights?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Medic View Post
    is there a place that covers all of the different bike weights and seat heights?
    Saddle heights probably around 32 inches and weight around 460 pounds across those models, with small variances between them. In stock form, not too tall and very good ergonomics on the standard models, like 1976 r75/6. I've had /5's, /6's, and a 1995 r100r and they all felt about the same to me from that standpoint. If you search a particular model you could see the published info for that model / year.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Medic View Post
    is there a place that covers all of the different bike weights and seat heights?
    I refer to this site regularly. Itís a good resource for most of the older model BMWs, but doesnít cover some of the newest models:

    http://www.bmbikes.co.uk/bmwmodels.htm

  13. #13
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    As for seat heights, all Airheads will be the same, except for R65 and GS. Bikes with fairings weigh more, the rest all weigh nearly the same.

    Airheads were very significantly upgraded for 1981 model year and imho these later versions are much preferred over the older models, which I refer to as farm equipment. They have working brakes and clutch pull that a normal person can accomplish and they have electronic ignition rather than fails every 10K miles replaceable points. Beginning 1985, the bikes all came with tubeless wheels and tires. Tubeless tires must be used with tubes on earlier models due to the wheel design. There really are hardly any fairingless bikes '85-on save of course for GS, the R100GS being about the best of them all. The R100R is an R100GS with a smaller front wheel and fuel tank and a really nice bike too.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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    Vark, that is the type of info I was looking for, thanks.

    lkchris, I hadn't looked at the R100R but I added it to the list. Thanks.

  15. #15
    BMW used to make bikes with owner's manuals that had much useful info rather than warnings required by lawyers. Here are the owner's manuals for many airhead models

    https://pbase.com/dwerbil/slash_5

    https://www.pbase.com/dwerbil/bmw_mo...le_r90s_manual

    https://pbase.com/dwerbil/bmw_motorc..._owners_manual

    https://pbase.com/dwerbil/r80rt

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