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Old 07-10-2010, 08:00 PM   #136
lake_harley
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Uniontown, MO
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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?

Lynn
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:26 PM   #137
Plaka
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Quote:
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?

Lynn
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.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:28 AM   #138
Hawk Medicine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaka

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.
Well...

Even if you find a low mileage bike with upgrades, you still gotta be careful. As I know you know already, 30K is considered by many of us to be "Just barely broken in" for an Airhead but if the bike has that kinda mileage and has been sitting in a garage or barn for years, resuscitation can prove to be very expensive for a novice without spares on the shelf. Possible? Yep! But with oil filters costing $24 and all of the other spares going through the roof, I'd recommend a low mileage runner as a first Airhead. Bikes are always more fun to own if you can ride em!

Of course, if the buyer has some mechanical smarts and a decent allowance to spend, why not?

Better an Airhead than a *$#@*!
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:55 AM   #139
Lornce
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When it comes to older airheads, I generally prefer to buy a high miler that's still in regular service over a low mile barn find.

The high miler that's still in service will generally have had the maintenance required to get it there.

The low mile barn find is going to need the replacement of everything rubber, which means a whole heck of a lot of mechanical labour: pushrod tube seals, main seals front and rear, cam seals, possibly trans input seal. etc etc etc.

If it wasn't stored "just right" it'll likely require a rebore and oversize pistons, too. Or an aggressive hone and new rings if you can't afford to do it right. Either way, it's probably going to need a ton of work and $$$.

That honey of a red R50/5 I posted recently was on ibmwr for a decent sum. It couldn't be built for the amount the guy was asking. That'd be money very well spent for any potential buyer.


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Old 07-11-2010, 09:03 AM   #140
bgoodsoil
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A lot of the G/S crowd, like me, like points because we can use the Points-in-a-Can that only came on the 79-80 airheads (? somebody correct me on this if I'm wrong, calling Datchew!) The enclosure seems to make them last a lot longer. Maybe it's just better made?

I haven't heard great things about the older exposed points systems. Seems like a lot of folks go to a Dyna 3 if they have that.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:37 PM   #141
bmwhacker
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Airhead Love is:


Running this old girl 850 miles in a day...only failure was my neck...



Cold Weather? What's that? No such thing as bad weather...just bad clothes...


The Airhead still takes care of me after such sadistic abuse.....


And so much more abuse......



And after 15 years, she still rewards me with such remarkable scenery.....never missing a beat...

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bmwhacker screwed with this post 07-21-2010 at 07:33 PM
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:25 AM   #142
Adrenaline-Junkie
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1992 R100GS= Dirtbike+Sportbike

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:49 PM   #143
Lornce
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So awesome!

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Old 07-22-2010, 07:34 AM   #144
Beater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwhacker
Love? How's this for low end torque?

Giddee up.

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Old 07-22-2010, 09:30 PM   #145
danedg
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Yep! But with oil filters costing $24 and all of the other spares going through the roof, I'd recommend a low mileage runner as a first Airhead. Bikes are always more fun to own if you can ride em!



What's an oil filter?

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Old 01-06-2013, 07:20 PM   #146
backdrifter
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I saw this old thread and thought it seemed like a fun one to bring back and pass some time with until my airhead is finally ready to ride.

I love my airhead because it belonged to my wife's Grandpa and I feel priveledged to be its current care taker. I love it because I've bonded with it throughout countless hours spent together in the garage - probably half of those at temps above 100 or below 30. I love it because it's not just easy, but actually intuitive to work on. I love it because it was clearly a well thought out and well executed design. I love the lines of the bike, and the glorious toaster tank. I love that the top end can be completely disassembled without removing the tank. I love how the endless need for "special tools" forces me to be creative in finding cheap homemade solutions.

And finally, I love it because I MUST love it. I've spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on it and I've only heard the bike run once for a few seconds, and I've never ridden it. I love it because my stubborn nature refuses to let me not love it.

And I'm sure my love will grow exponentially once I'm riding it!
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