Originally Posted by chasbmw
The answer may depend on your definition of reliable. Brand new points and advance and retard unit, perfectly adjusted will operate well within the pare meters that BMW set 35 years ago, but from that moment on the points and the advance and retard, will be degrading as wear and tear take their toll.
Proper electronic ignitions withh electronic AR don't suffer mechanical wear and tear, and will operate within much tighter parameters than points, which is why no modern vehicles still use points.
From southern Spain on my R90/6 depending on my electronic ignition to get me home.
good points that has been raised several times. My (yours may be different) definition of reliable is ...
if you are riding in a remote area (like TAT) with no support ... what are the odds of having ignition problems. what are the odds of you having to walk out?
to me, reliable is having both above criteria met. providing maintenance has been done. Points is highly unlikely to let you down. then if points does go down in a remote area, spare points/condenser can easily carried.
vs electronic ignitions for airheads based on track history are problematic. due to age, heat cycles, halls location... whatever... electronic ignitions on airheads, including aftermarket have a history of a higher instance of failures than on any other application that I'm aware of. normally one almost never sees failure on electronic ignitions.
some ride 200k+ miles with no problems. but if your electronic ignition does go down. it's catastrophic... you are walking unless you've got spare parts. which due to bulk and $$$ costs. one is less likely to be carrying.
let's examine solutions that meets above definition of reliable (costs are aprox??):
1. change out to beancan with points. Beancan w/points are hard to find and sell for about $150 on ebay (found mine for $35 ebay and $50 craigslist). needs new 3 ohm coil $65 ... so total costs about $215. then add $85? for ignition booster to extend life of points
2. change out to new style beancan with provisions to easily change out halls. about $400? + new coil $65 + spare halls $20 + spare brain module $75? = $560?
3. complete new ignition system that triggers off crank. in the unlikely event that main system fails. you original system remains for a backup. costs $400? + costs of alternator upgrade required $500? = $900?
4. carry spare BMW electronic beancan/ICU, change to Dyna coil: $150+$75 +65= $290
5. modify BMW beancan with two halls with extra pigtail. spare ICU & change to Dyna coil. ICU $75, $20 halls + $65 Dyna coil = $155