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Thread: Airhead handling, never good but can be better???HOW

  1. #16
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    Talking

    Airheads aren't for everyone but I like them, but then again, I don't expect modern performance from them either. I know what they are and they work for me, just like a slant 6 and a 3 speed on the column does too . I know i sound like a Luddite, but I'm not really, i just like simple vehicles. cheers.

  2. #17

  3. #18
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    Perspective: I'm coming from a 2005 Yamaha FJR1300.

    Here's the changes I made to my suspension during the rebuild of my 1980 R100T:
    * Installed a new heavy duty San Jose BMW triple tree top plate.
    * installed a BMW OEM fork brace.
    * Pulled my forks off and sent them to Racetech for a complete rebuild/upgrade. Huge upgrade, and no more bottoming out!
    * Installed new IKON 222 shocks.
    * Installed new Michelin Pilot Activ. tires. Went with an oversized rear tire, 120/90H-18. Note: BMW makes a special axle spacer if you go with an oversized rear tire.

    Bottomline: My bike seems to handle fine for a 40 year old bike built with technology probably from the 60's. I've got no complaints.


    Quote Originally Posted by mrtnfischer View Post
    Had about 6 airheads, after owing each for a year I sell them 'cause they do not handle well. Than I rode one that some one put some $ into shocks etc and it handled really well. He actually made a "GS" type out of it.

    Has anyone had experience doing this shock and suspension that really works. My experience was only putting stiffer springs in the front and that really was a waste of money...

    advise, to me , OH Airhead guru's. My new old R75/5 needs a body lift.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by nevadaslim View Post
    Here's the changes I made to my suspension during the rebuild of my 1980 R100T:
    * Installed a new heavy duty San Jose BMW triple tree top plate.
    * installed a BMW OEM fork brace.
    * Pulled my forks off and sent them to Racetech for a complete rebuild/upgrade. Huge upgrade, and no more bottoming out!
    * Installed new IKON 222 shocks.
    * Installed new Michelin Pilot Activ. tires. Went with an oversized rear tire, 120/90H-18. Note: BMW makes a special axle spacer if you go with an oversized rear tire.

    Bottomline: My bike seems to handle fine for a 40 year old bike built with technology probably from the 60's. I've got no complaints.
    "...seems to handle fine for a 40 year old bike...."

    .

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by chunk View Post
    Airheads aren't for everyone but I like them, but then again, I don't expect modern performance from them either. I know what they are and they work for me, just like a slant 6 and a 3 speed on the column does too . I know i sound like a Luddite, but I'm not really, i just like simple vehicles. cheers.
    6-cylinder with a 3-speed column shift. I remember those ! Good analogy to the airheads!

    .

  6. #21
    Registered User tanker4me's Avatar
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    Hagon, IKON and the like are good replacements for clapped out OEM bits, but they are essentially modern replicas of 50 year old technology.
    Replace suspension on a 40 year old bike with OEM parts = no change in handling.*

    I chose to replace the suspension on 2 Airheads with more expensive modern technology (Ohlins, RaceTech & Works) because I was riding each about 6,000 miles a year.
    Most of those miles were on mountain and desert roads for 5 to 10 hours at a time, and feel that it was money well spent.

    Knowing what I now know about Ohlins and Works maintenance costs, I will consider Yacugar, TFX & Wilbers for replacements.

    I own/have owned several modern bikes capable of speed well over 130 mph.
    Last time I checked, racetracks are good for that.

    In your area Tom Cutter's the dude to contact if you want an Airhead to handle and preform better.
    On the West Coast I've used Ted Porter at BeemerShop for suspension and transmission bits and pieces.

    Bill

    * The bike will handle better than with the old shocks, but not much if any better than when it left the factory.

    Edit; I am not implying that my Airheads handle like a modern bike. It is my experience that during longer rides the higher end adjustable shocks preform better at keeping the tires on the road.
    Last edited by tanker4me; 02-01-2020 at 03:49 AM.
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  7. #22
    Registered User 10drum's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this thread. I'm just getting started on a R60/5, and may install the triple tree upgrade. I built a R75/5 a couple of years ago. I did everything stock and by the book, except the rear shocks (Ikons were cheaper than new stock), and I was a little disappointed in the handling. When you get to thinking about it, it may be because the top of the tree is flexing. I especially noticed it on rural, paved, rough roads.

  8. #23

    Front fork mod

    Race Tech Gold valve in my front forks was the best bang for the buck I ever did to my /5.
    Highly recommended.
    Gator

  9. #24
    Registered User tanker4me's Avatar
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    I installed Gold Valves on the /6 after replacing the shocks with Works and realizing the just rebuilt forks in stock form weren’t up to snuff.
    Then, until riding mountain twisties thought I had wasted money.
    Bill
    Last edited by tanker4me; 01-10-2020 at 06:30 PM.
    We are all here for a spell, get all the good laughs you can.
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  10. #25
    Registered User barryg's Avatar
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    Stanley Waterhead Steamer.

  11. #26
    John D'oh
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    A reminder to those seeking to improve handling of 1969-1973 /5 BMW Motorcycles

    The short wheel base /5 series motorcycle is the subject of a discussion on handling, frame geometry, suspension and the engineering principles involved in its development and production in an excellent book by designers/racers/authors Vic Willoby and Tony Foal titled ‘Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design’. Their technical discussions regarding /5 series chassis are an important detailed critique of the design and its shortcomings with numerous examples of how each engineering compromise led to the issues many of you describe and the attempts you make, the expense you incur and the lengths to which you go to improve a motorcycle which essentially defies improvement. Spend your money on a better BMW or on making your /5 the reliable, pleasant. classy little Sunday afternoon around town putt that it can be.
    John D'oh

  12. #27
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Duane Ausherman was probably the "point of the spear" when it came to the /5 wobbles. From my discussions with him, BMW importers often came to him through the "side door" to ask his opinion on various issues. Here is his length discussion about the /5 as well as the early wobble issue:

    https://w6rec.com/a-wobble-controversy/
    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!

  13. #28
    Registered User cwroady's Avatar
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    My '73 75/5 is only my 2nd airhead. On my first, a '72 60/5, I serviced the forks and replaced the spring with new OEM units from my local dealer .. so/so and still too soft. On my 75/5 I serviced the forks (retained the springs) and replaced the steering head bearings about a month ago .. better but still much to be desired. Yesterday I installed a Toaster Tan top triple clamp, Wilbers springs and added oil to the Snowbum recommended 17.25 inches from top of fork when fully extended. Quick test ride last night told me it is finally good! Jumped a few curbs, did some hard braking at stop signs, found a few curves .. more testing on the to do list today, but I am very pleased. Wish I could tell you which item gave the most bang for the buck with yesterdays work ..
    Chris - 2015 BMW RT / 1973 BMW R75/5 / 1955 BMW R50 - Yard Art - 1968 Hodaka / 1968 Sachs
    President SCBMWRC https://scbmwrc.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/scbmwrc/
    MOA / Airhead Beemer Club

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by ccolwell View Post
    I would use RaceTech straight wound springs. I did like the Gold Valve Emulators
    The Racetech springs and the cartridge emulators, along with a good rear shock and the Toaster Tan top clamp will transform your bike.

  15. #30
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    Vintage stuff

    As long as you realize that you're starting out with mid-60s technology then go with the offered modifications. Just remember that you'll spend more money modifying your /5 than you would by just getting a modern bike, and the /5 end product still won't be as proficient as the newer bike.
    Boxerbruce

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