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Old 05-31-2012, 02:52 PM   #1
azcycle OP
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The Official BMW r65 Love-Fest Thread

Okay, this is a spin-off from a few other r65 threads, where this great little bike is getting some love. Let's hear your favorite stories and photos about this undervalued and often-scapegoated airhead.


My father-in-law had been an airhead fan since he was young. When he passed away in late 2009, my wife inherited his collection of airhead bits, along with a frame and engine from a bmw r69s, and a fully functional 1981 r65. The r69s was too big of a project for me so I eventually got put in touch with Tim Stafford, who bought everything off us.

Which left the r65. This was my FIL's favorite bike. I'm not sure if it was he or a previous owner, but one of them modified it to look like a more "traditional" airhead. What I do know is that my FIL designed and built the seat and saddlebags himself, which I still get tons of compliments on. He also scramblerized it a bit by throwing on a set of knobbies. I was told by his friends that he used to take that r65 where no street bike should ever go. He couldn't keep up with the true dirt-motos, so se may have been slow on those trails, but he got there, to the surprise of a lot of guys.

Before my FIL's memorial, we were talking about him with the funeral director. The director, upon hearing his love for the bike, said "Why don't you have the bike at the memorial?" We thought it fitting, and sure enough... we rolled the r65 into the service and it sat front and center as friends and family spoke, laughed and cried. The bike even left a drip of oil on the carpet.

That bike represented everything about who my FIL was and my wife couldn't (and still can't) fathom ever getting rid of it. So with that, she handed me the keys and told me it was mine with a promise that I'd try to keep as close to how her dad had it as possible. So that's what I've done. I really don't have any experience with other street bikes, but I don't have the inclination, either. This r65 is perfect for my mountain road twisty's urge, as well as my commute to work. I've learned a lot about it, and how easy it is to wrench.

Replacing the transmission, clutch and main seal after a stripped input spline:

So that's my story. RIP John ... you are missed but your r65 lives on!
1981 BMW r65 - Photos
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:03 AM   #2
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tell us more about the mufflers....if you can.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:30 AM   #3
azcycle OP
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I've had a hard time tracking down what mufflers they are, but think I've figured it out. I believe they are EMGO "Classic Standard" for Harley Davidsons (#80-75140). I don't think they have any baffles in 'em because they are LOUD. A bit too loud for my taste so I might buy some small baffle inserts to keep the same look but tone it down a bit. That being said, I do have a laugh to myself as car alarms in my company's parking garage go off as I ride by. Loud pipes save lives, right?

I still have the original r65 pipes but they both have a "tear" in the metal at the mounting bracket. Not sure if that was the reason my FIL removed them, or if he just wanted a different look. But he did cut the header pipes and added a short straight section to keep the mufflers horizontal. The other small issue is the muffler inlet diameter is too large and even with multiple spacers in there, the clamp doesn't quite grab it tightly, which I think is causing some popping on deceleration.

On the left:
1981 BMW r65 - Photos
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:45 PM   #4
Joined: May 2012
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Here are some pics of my unfinished project at a recent bike show

The project details are on here somewhere, I'll update it soon!
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:07 AM   #5
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My dual purpose R65 Mono. The purpose of this one is to carry a spare pair of undies on a long ride.

The purpose of this one is for roads less travelled.

With 2 seats and rear guards, 2 fronts guards, 2 sets of wheels and tyres, 2 sets of panniers, 3 (soon to be 5) exhaust systems, 2 screens and as many handles bars as I want, this bike is all bikes to me....I just have to decide where I'm riding today. After 42 years on the road, I finally have the bike I want to keep.
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