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Old 02-25-2013, 07:04 AM   #1
TipsyMcStagger OP
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Basket Case - getting in over my head?

I've posted that I'm looking for an airhead to tinker with and form into a cafe racer. I think I've also mentioned I've never owned (or ridden) an airhead, so other than what I'd learned reading this forum, I have zero experience with these bikes.

I replied to an ad on CL. The guy only sent two pics and wrote, "it needs, heads, carbs, pipes (I have later spare motor, carbs.)"

I have no idea what the spare motor and carbs he mentions consist of, so assuming the engine that's on the bike is as rough as it looks (looks like it needs more than heads...it has has no cylinders);

(1) How difficult/costly is it to source jugs, heads, carbs and pipes for these bikes?

(2) How interchangeable are parts from other models and later years?

Supposedly, it's a 1973 R75. Thanks for the education!

Tipsy



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Old 02-25-2013, 07:28 AM   #2
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What about the Guzzi in the background? That would be neat as well.

If that BMW has been sitting for 15 or 20 years with the top end off,the crankshaft and internals could be stuffed as well. Parts for those old beemers are generally available from BMW,prices were going steadily up and up when I rebuilt an R75/6 4 or 5 years ago,shocking is a mild take on what the prices were then. Used parts can sometimes be found on various forums.
You might be better off finding a runner of some sort,a bike like that could snowball into an expensive time consuming lesson .

I just picked up a 1974 XS650 yesterday for 100.00,engine turns over,bike is complete/uncrashed with some corrosion but mainly dirty.
Parts are available on ebay and here and there,Yamaha built a ton of them.

Those old beemers have street cred,but are a clunker to ride,crap brakes,crap shifting,handling like a rubber cow,and slow to the point of distraction. A guy can spend many years addressing all these problems,once a complete rebuild has been done anyway.

Airhead people are special people,one will check in any moment now.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foot dragger View Post
I just picked up a 1974 XS650 yesterday for 100.00,engine turns over,bike is complete/uncrashed with some corrosion but mainly dirty.
Parts are available on ebay and here and there,Yamaha built a ton of them.
I've considered XS650's in the past, but I'm enamored with the old airheads. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while.

Tipsy
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:04 AM   #4
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That looks like way too much for somebody with no Airhead experience. Have you had any previous mechanical adventures? Of course the bottom line is important. It looks like a parts bike to me. You say it comes with another engine? What kind of shape is that in?

What's the asking price? What's the mileage?
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foot dragger View Post

Those old beemers have street cred,but are a clunker to ride,crap brakes,crap shifting,handling like a rubber cow,and slow to the point of distraction.

Truer words were never spoken. I used to own an R90S
and while it was not as slow as a /5 it did have
terrible brakes, awful shifting, and rubber cow
handling. Guys on Japanese sport bikes used to say they
didn't like riding behind me on twisty roads because
it was so scary to watch the bike pitch and wobble.
If you put sticky modern tires on one today the frame
would probably twist up like a clock spring.



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Old 02-25-2013, 08:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disston View Post
That looks like way too much for somebody with no Airhead experience. Have you had any previous mechanical adventures? Of course the bottom line is important. It looks like a parts bike to me. You say it comes with another engine? What kind of shape is that in?

What's the asking price? What's the mileage?
I posted all of the information provided to me thus far. No mileage was provided. The asking prices is $1250 obo. No information was provided about the additional engine other than to say it is from a "later model."

Yes, I have mechanical experience. I have no experience welding but I've always wanted to learn and look at this as an opportunity to do so.

Tipsy
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:24 AM   #7
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parts bike...
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:26 AM   #8
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My initial reaction: RUN the other way!!

That is way too much money for what I see in the photos. Keep looking, if you really want an airhead, they are around at far better prices in far better condition!

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I love projects that take twice as much effort as should be needed. Should be an Airhead motto. (disston)
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:28 AM   #9
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budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by TipsyMcStagger View Post
I posted all of the information provided to me thus far. No mileage was provided. The asking prices is $1250 obo. No information was provided about the additional engine other than to say it is from a "later model."

Yes, I have mechanical experience. I have no experience welding but I've always wanted to learn and look at this as an opportunity to do so.

Tipsy
You might want to have a budget first. Allow a minimum of $2500 in parts then go from there.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TipsyMcStagger View Post
I posted all of the information provided to me thus far. No mileage was provided. The asking prices is $1250 obo. No information was provided about the additional engine other than to say it is from a "later model."

Yes, I have mechanical experience. I have no experience welding but I've always wanted to learn and look at this as an opportunity to do so.

Tipsy
1250.00 American Dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cripes sake man,that's a 200.00 parts bike,if it's as bad as it looks.
Each and every small part it ends up needing,besides the obvious missing top end, will add up to the price of a running example much quicker then a guy would think. I spent 900.00 on a running airhead with crash damage,once apart it was clear it needed a total rebuild from top to bottom,besides the bent frame/forks.

I spent over 3000.00,it needed lots more and wouldnt sell for 1900.00 no matter how long I listed it.
They can be a money pit of the highest order.

They do have panache to other Airhead riders though.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:41 AM   #11
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I just spoke with the seller. He's really looking to trade for stuff I don't have (R69 frame?). And I think he thinks he has gold. He mentioned several times, "They're only getting more valuable...I'm not going to give it away. I'm in no hurry to get rid of it. It's only going to get more valuable."

All he could tell me about the other engine is that it's either 900 or 1000cc's...he had no idea what year it was.

I appreciate the feedback. Thanks guys.

Tipsy
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TipsyMcStagger screwed with this post 02-25-2013 at 08:56 AM
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:49 AM   #12
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That guy's an idiot.
Slap his ass and run away. Far away.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:59 AM   #13
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Having owned just one airhead but a million parallel twins around 650cc of various makes, I can say this: airheads are fantastic distance machines. I love the aesthetics of the airhead cafe, but better bang for the buck is with a trump or xs. If you need to be unconventional (which is completely cool with me) cafe out a cx500 or be real weird and do a virago.

I love the crap out of my r90 and it's hardly slow, but it certainly isn't light and flickable the way my last xs was. Or the one before that. I can however ride the r90 for ten hours a day and not be bedridden the following morning, so that's nice.

This particular bike is a pass. Too many dollars.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:00 AM   #14
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That guy's an idiot.
Slap his ass and run away. Far away.
That's the truth. Possibly capital T.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:43 AM   #15
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I'm still throwing money into an R100RS I picked up for $1000. It had been stored under a tarp in the guy's backyard for 8 years without running. So far:
-rebuilt the carbs
-opened up and cleaned the transmission and final drive
-replaced the gas tank
-powdercoated frame bits
-new tires
-replaced the charging system.
Still to do:
-paint.
-valve seats

At the end of the day, I'll have spent what a running bike would have cost me and I'll know it inside and out. You're about to spend a whole lot more on a bike worth a whole lot less. Go back and find one good part on that bike. Buy that one part and bring it home. Then start looking for all the parts you'll need to build a running bike to add to it and you won't have to deal with a bunch of junk. I'm thinking $10 for the handlebars and go from there.
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