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Old 10-12-2010, 09:56 PM   #1
Fred C. Dobbs OP
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contemplating BMW airhead purchase...

Greetings.

I've been riding motorcycles on-and-off for 40 years (!) and am only now finally getting around to finding an airhead boxer. Not too interested in the monoshock R80 derived later bikes--although in many ways they may be "improved"--but rather am looking for a nice /6 or /7.

I've found a nice clean one not too far away from where I live. I've done a bit of reserch on common issues with these bikes but one thing I am finding is that few BMWs of this vintage seem to have had the valves re-done to handle unleaded fuel. Several of the bikes I have inquried after have 50-60 thousand miles with no problems running on unleaded. It this typical?

Also, other than checking the usual things--mantainence history, obvious oil leaks, smoking, knocking/noises, ride quality, cosmetics--are there specific problem areas I should look for in a boxer of this vintage?

I really want one of these and am in no rush--I want to find the right bike for me.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:02 AM   #2
DimitriG
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i love me /7, you cannot go wrong. im 26 and have owned modern bikes since i was 13 starting with a cr125 then 250 then moving into fazers and a cbr. I got rid of all my bike when i moved to norway and got myself a r80/7 as a daily rider and project. i would say it is the most satisfying bike Ive ever had for the riding i do now, they are surprisingly agile and have more then enough power once you get used to the twin.

my bike has done 150k (km) now and never had the valves done and there is very little seat recession if any. i really think it depends on the bike and how lucky you are, i wouldn't say jumping straight into valve and value seat work is worth while unless there actually is an issue or you are planning on riding a very large distance.

if you search the forum, there are plenty of technical posts on values and the unleaded fuel issues.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:32 AM   #3
jtwind
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The 76 r75/6 is considered by many to be the best airhead made. The r90's were also great bikes. Hard to go wrong. The 80-84 airheads did suffer from a valve seat issue, likely most are sorted by now but always need to check. Buying a airhead just needs common sense like any other bike.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:04 AM   #4
crazydrummerdude
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A lot of people bash the '74 airheads, but how many of them actually own one? I own 2, Blaine owns 1, another member here owns 2, and so on.. and we ride and enjoy ours. In fact, of all the problems I've had with mine, none had to do with the model year. So, if you're reading up and seeing warnings about these bikes, consider this.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:16 AM   #5
kraven
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Take one for a ride, if you haven't.
I like the airhead's architecture and appreciate it as a neato machine, but I absolutely loathe how they run and ride and find it difficult to do anything but a test ride on one after getting it running or tuning one.
Clearly, I'm in the minority here, but don't be afraid to say "no" to the airhead.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:35 AM   #6
jtwind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydrummerdude
A lot of people bash the '74 airheads, but how many of them actually own one? I own 2, Blaine owns 1, another member here owns 2, and so on.. and we ride and enjoy ours. In fact, of all the problems I've had with mine, none had to do with the model year. So, if you're reading up and seeing warnings about these bikes, consider this.
Like the 80-84 airheads I'm guessing most of the 74's have been brought up to speed also. These days the bikes on Oak's do not buy list are simply not the same bikes. The 74's chief issue among a few was the first year 5 speed with lots of issues and the carry over small flywheel bolts. I have a few friends with 74's that enjoy them tons, but none of them have the 74 tranny in them.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:50 AM   #7
Uncle Pollo
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Well ... I have ridden company bikes of all kinds, most modern, convenient, fastests, etc ... and for the entry price tag of $1800 dollars I managed to get a bike that I am very confident working on and I can afford to maintain without giving it a second thought about the challenge.

Just in service money saved the bike is already paid for.

And I have something cool looking to ride.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:00 AM   #8
Sniper X
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven
Take one for a ride, if you haven't.
I like the airhead's architecture and appreciate it as a neato machine, but I absolutely loathe how they run and ride and find it difficult to do anything but a test ride on one after getting it running or tuning one.
Clearly, I'm in the minority here, but don't be afraid to say "no" to the airhead.
I can say even though I am now a certifiable Airhead nut, that most riders who just ride one will not like them. I found I had to ride my R60 about 5 times to get USED to it. Now I loved it before I rode it and after the first second, loved it even more, but some might never like one. I can't see why...
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:31 AM   #9
durtwurm
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Buy one, they are addicting! But...try for one with a maintenance history that is verifiable, (documented) otherwise you may regret the purchase later.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:43 AM   #10
kraven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper X
I can say even though I am now a certifiable Airhead nut, that most riders who just ride one will not like them. I found I had to ride my R60 about 5 times to get USED to it. Now I loved it before I rode it and after the first second, loved it even more, but some might never like one. I can't see why...
hah, I know. I'm acquainted with a lot of airhead lovers.
It's a cult thing, seems like. I just can't get the Kool Aid down.

More power to the people who love them though. We each like what we like.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:00 AM   #11
Sniper X
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven
hah, I know. I'm acquainted with a lot of airhead lovers.
It's a cult thing, seems like. I just can't get the Kool Aid down.

More power to the people who love them though. We each like what we like.
It is indeed a cult thing which makes it what it IS. i do know that most of the Airhead riders I know ride more than a typical rider. I can say for myself, that before I had one, I rode to and from work about ten times a year. I rode my Husky which i just got rid of more than any bike I have had in the last ten years. And since I got the R100RS I have ridden to and from work all week every week except for three days since then. So at least 90 times! I have even put more time on the R60 in the few months I have had it than I ever did on the Husky.... Now I make excuses to ride the bikes instead of taking the cars and I have a couple neat cars!
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Sniper X screwed with this post 10-13-2010 at 09:20 AM
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraven
hah, I know. I'm acquainted with a lot of airhead lovers.
It's a cult thing, seems like. I just can't get the Kool Aid down.

More power to the people who love them though. We each like what we like.


If you really look around, you'll realize that the vast majority of Airhead owners don't know any other Airheads owners and that a huge number of them also are not members of a club or a local riding group.

I've been living in the same house for almost ten years but I was taken aback a couple of years ago when I advertized some parts on CL and a guy who lives a few blocks away bought em to repair his R80. He has a beautiful R80RT that he says he rides regularly but I never see him in the neighborhood or around town. Just onemore phantom BMW rider I guess.

When you consider that BMW's stats indicate that approximately 50% of all of the Beemers ever built are still on the road, it appears as if the vast majority of their owners are are happily minding their own business and enjoying their bikes.

Some cult...
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Old 10-13-2010, 01:43 PM   #13
Uncle Pollo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mymindsok
If you really look around, you'll realize that the vast majority of Airhead owners don't know any other Airheads owners and that a huge number of them also are not members of a club or a local riding group.

I've been living in the same house for almost ten years but I was taken aback a couple of years ago when I advertized some parts on CL and a guy who lives a few blocks away bought em to repair his R80. He has a beautiful R80RT that he says he rides regularly but I never see him in the neighborhood or around town. Just onemore phantom BMW rider I guess.

When you consider that BMW's stats indicate that approximately 50% of all of the Beemers ever built are still on the road, it appears as if the vast majority of their owners are are happily minding their own business and enjoying their bikes.

Some cult...
Yeah ... I hear that.
SniperEquis is the only other airhead owner I know pretty well.

The rest ride around minding their own business.

Funny, uh?
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:47 PM   #14
rufusswan
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Well, I feel better. I hate cults, and do not want to be associated with them. Thank You.

I see (on occasion) other beemers on the road cause I live close to great roads frequented by bikers, but seldom have talked to other BMW riders, which seems sort of a downer. I have found that the folk I do meet, regardless of make/model are friendly and enjoyable.

I think the OP can rest assured that BMW owners he might meet fall well within the spectrum of human idiocy that qualifies as "normal".
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:32 PM   #15
Sniper X
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can say all the other Airhead owners here locally I have met are the best bunch of guys. Shoot, i think i now know at least 10 of them and confer with at least four or five almost every day. of course five are members on this site...
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