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Thread: A little positive for BMW

  1. #1
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    A little positive for BMW

    So, as many of you are aware, I am pretty outspoken regarding my feelings about BMW.

    I want to heap a bit of paise on BMW.

    It is due to BMW's engineers and design team the fact that both of my airheads are still rideable and have achieved such high mileage.

    It is a fact BMW's simple design of the airheads allows me to do something else I enjoy, that is the ability to work on my own bikes, without a lot of needless fuss.

    I greatly appreciate BMW's small effort to make parts available for my old bikes. It is far better than some others.

    As someone just told me, I have ridden and wrenched my two bikes long enough to touch all of the delightful designs as well as the not so delightful. If it were not for the greatly higher number of delightful designs, I would have traded them in a long long time ago.

    I say it again, the airhead BMW is the best bike ever built, despite some warts. They fulfill all of my motorcycle needs and desires except float. St.

  2. #2
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    Well said. They were built to last. I love mine and want more.
    http://beerthief.ca
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  3. #3
    They are great OLD bikes. But in some respects the sidestands, flexible frames, diode boards, rotors, brakes, receding valves, points, cracked coils, wheels, clutch splines, wheel splines and a few more notorious features do mean they are not perfect.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 04-26-2021 at 06:02 PM.
    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/

  4. #4
    Registered User 6322's Avatar
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    I agree with the simplicity and dependability of our airheads and still available parts. Something to think about is that for years, minor changes were made and that so many parts were interchangeable for so many years. Dealers didnít have to completely restock parts with each new model year as other manufacturers did. A bonus for us. Working on airheads has always been more like therapy for me. Things made mechanical sense.

    Though the newer models are mostly mechanical, they have more and more computer supported technology, making it more difficult to repair anything beyond the mechanical in your garage. Also, with so many changes to the models, itís more difficult for dealers to keep parts and few interchange from model to model. Not sure if BMW is doing themselves any favors. The riding experience is becoming a tech experience. What used to take rider skill to negotiate is now being managed by a computer. Not sure if this is dummying down rider ability or enhancing it.

    Sorry for getting off topic. Good riding to all.
    Gary Phillips - #6322
    Wildland Firefighter, Retired, Riggins, ID
    Heartland Moto Locos BMW Riders
    '77 R100/7 Dirt Hack, '83 R80ST, '85 K100RS w/EML, '93 K1100LT, '00 R1100RS

  5. #5
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    They are great OLD bikes. But in some respects the sidestands, flexible frames, diode boards, rotors, brakes, receding valves, points, cracked coils, wheels, clutch splines, wheel splines and a few more notorious features do mean they are not perfect.
    I'm with you on the retractomatic sidestands, but the monoshock and later airheads fixed a lot of those issues.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  6. #6
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Lol

    Yeah Paul, they aren't perfect, the delight with the pain, over the years the delight has far out paced the pain. St.

  7. #7
    I too appreciate the simplicity and elegance of the old airheads, but those repair parts from BMW are priced dearly, and key parts suppliers may be locked into contracts to sell ONLY to BMW.

    Some competing touring machines from the same era, like the Honda Goldwing, are much less costly to maintain. New shocks for an old Goldwing on ebay are less than $100 a pair, new alternators are $75, even a used wheel is only $50 or so.

    When suppliers are allowed to sell directly to end users, the savings are dramatic. BMW wanted nearly $400 for a new starter for an old airhead i was working on. I found a new aftermarket starter for $60 and it worked fine. I’m not saying BMW should sell new master cylinders for $15 like they are commonly priced on ebay, but the markup they put on sole supplier repair parts is sometimes shocking and disappointing to those trying to keep their old machines on the road and safe.
    -Live as fully as you can as long as you can-

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by STEVENRANKIN View Post
    Yeah Paul, they aren't perfect, the delight with the pain, over the years the delight has far out paced the pain. St.
    I do not doubt that one bit.
    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/

  9. #9
    I agree with most of the above. The airheads still fascinate me. Most of the problems I had were either the fault of the PO or myself. I missed out on all the faults listed by PG save the valves. Well, and the flexiflyer frames but some suspension work and tweaks took care of that well enough for me. I've just gotten to the point where all the safety features (ABS, etc) mean more to me than that gorgeous engine (my screensaver is still my S/S R90S with my wife standing behind it) and just the feel of the mid 70's to mid 80's models. Sigh. Maybe I'll hit the lottery, buy a place where there is no traffic and get an R100RS and GS. Those are the two I miss not owning at some point (especially as I spent a day in the Alps on a 78 RS [in 78] -- what an experience).
    '13 690 Duke, '13 Daytona 675R, '18 Street Triple RS, 2020 R1250R, '19 Ninja 400 (track bike), '21 Duke 890R (gone but not forgotten: '61 Clubman's Gold Star, '76 R75/6, '84 R100, '76 R90S)

  10. #10
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Every year

    Every year I buy my BMWMOA raffle tickets. Who knows, maybe one day I will be riding a modern BMW bike. Who knows, maybe one day I will stop by a dealership and test ride a new bike and become a former airhead. St.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by STEVENRANKIN View Post
    Every year I buy my BMWMOA raffle tickets. Who knows, maybe one day I will be riding a modern BMW bike. Who knows, maybe one day I will stop by a dealership and test ride a new bike and become a former airhead. St.
    Just because a person owns and rides a more modern bike does not mean they need to or should give up a favorite Airhead. If a lack of space is the problem, one ought to find a bigger garage.
    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/

  12. #12
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    Caution: Opinion Ahead

    A good friend and I have recently brought three older motorcycle back to life: a 1971 BMW R75/5. a 1971 Triumph Tiger and a 1985 Honda 450 NightHawk. Each came from different sources but each had sat unused for a decade or more so things like fuel systems, tires, etc. needed to be replaced. The most fair comparison is between the same year BMW and Triumph motorcycles. I'll exclude the Honda from comparison since it is significantly newer and has much lower mileage on it when put away.
    In our experience, the difference in the quality of parts is significant. Virtually any part of the BMW would clean-up to like-new condition with a little elbow grease. Not so the Triumph: many parts had to be replaced since rust and corrosion made them unsalvageable. The fit of the BMW parts even on a 50-year-old vehicle is generally excellent whereas many of the Triumph parts fit poorly even when reconditioned or NOS.
    This experience is anecdotal and may be unfair due to the sample size of one each, but overall we often remarked about how much better the original and NOS replacement BMW parts were versus the Triumph's.
    I know there may be wide variations in the previous lives of the two bikes along with the conditions under which they were stored, but the consistency of the old and new BMW bits was undeniable.
    The Tiger goes like a scalded cat and is loud when doing so. The BMW is relatively quiet and smooth.
    I can say that if I were to attempt another bike resurrection, I'd choose a BMW.

  13. #13
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    I suffer

    Just because a person owns and rides a more modern bike does not mean they need to or should give up a favorite Airhead. If a lack of space is the problem, one ought to find a bigger garage.

    I suffer from the not big enough garage disease, I have a two car garage and one half is my motorcycle shop/parking, the other is my convertible parking. The two daily drivers sit outside. I added a storage shed for the lawn stuff.

    If my village would allow me, I would quadruple the size of the garage. Of course, doing so wouldn't make a difference as I still wouldn't have enough space. If I didn't love my current home so much, I would certainly be looking for a place with a bigger garage. St.

  14. #14
    Watch This!!! junkjohn's Avatar
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    My village is tough on garages and sheds also, so I bought a 24" car haul trailer to use for storage. I added electric heat and battery tenders. As long as it is Registered they can't say anything.
    John Simonds
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by junkjohn View Post
    My village is tough on garages and sheds also, so I bought a 24" car haul trailer to use for storage. I added electric heat and battery tenders. As long as it is Registered they can't say anything.
    Ingenuity is the mother of invention. I used to be the guy who had to say "no" to garage expansion/construction. But then I rewrote the ordinance - and got it passed - to be more reasonable and make it somewhat easier for folks to meet their garage needs.
    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/

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