Originally Posted by lake_harley
Going back to the fist post in this thread, I too, am thinking of buying an older airhead. A few candidate "project" sort of bikes, which is what I'd like to find at a affordable price, have come to my attention but it's going to be a few weeks till I can really follow up with the current custodians of the bikes. I'm considering /5 to /7 bikes. In talking with the current owners a common theme comes through, and that is the airheads are relatively simple and an old timer like me (57), that's more familiar with points and carbs than the electronic equivalent gizzmos, may have a chance of getting and keeping one running. I just sold my '04 R1150R, my first BMW, and was glad to sell it before I had to replace the battery. It sounded like a semi-major deal and then some say it had to be just the "right" kind of battery or the ABS might not work right........... Who needs THAT?
I've been noticing there is a small schism in the airhead crowd, Them that likes points and them that don't, i'm in thee former camp. I set points and timing on a whole lot of vehicles and finally got a Luminition ignition on my Rover. I saw the light (literally) I put an electronic on the /5 when I went to dual plugs and have never looked back. No more replacing and setting points or adjusting timing. Bike is at more than 94K on the original parts. Just to get my dig in on that one.
A number of people have certain years on their do not buy lists. Worth knowing what and why. Often a bike will have the defect rectified with some after market part or repair.
Worth knowing the desirable mods (suspension, lighting, etc) so you can look for them
Worth know the major wear points and what they cost to refurb---like rear drive splines.
A low mileage (sub 30K) bike that has some nice mods (Konis, fork brace, H4, side and maybe ceenterstand, etc.) but that has been sitrting unused for a long time in the back of a barn and is cosmetically challenged is a good find. If the motor turns over when you push it and clutch seems to work the rest won't kill ya. Rebuilding carbs, brakes and forks, a battery, tires, uphostery, paint, clean and lube, some cables and so on; all easy. Rebuilding a rear drive, resplining a rear wheel, rebuilding heads, transmission work---much more costly as you have to send that stuff out if you want it right.