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Old 04-12-2012, 08:15 AM   #16
Beemerholics Anonymous
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Jackson's Bottom Oregon
Oddometer: 8,280
It doesn't sound like money is an issue at all, or the space either since he was considering acquiring an old classic. I think he put an idea out into the Cosmos and this was the response!
Wanted: Dead, smashed, crashed or trashed gauges
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:01 AM   #17
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Location: Lisbon, WI
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You might be surprised how often you ride it. It's great fun to ride my 90/6 back-to-back with the more modern bikes in my garage. Makes me appreciate them all more because they are so different.
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:11 PM   #18
Joined: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by Wirespokes View Post

Ok, so give! How much will he give it to you for? How many miles on the old girl? What color? Any extras - luggage, etc?
I'm not sure on miles. Color is black with I believe a red pinstripe (I haven't seen it up close in a while). It has hard saddlebags for sure, I can't remember if he has a small tailbag on it as well or not. It also has a rather large fairing, which I had always assumed was stock since it was on the bike when he got it. I now realize the bike was originally naked, which looks 100x better. In fact, had I known all along what the bike would look like without the fairing, I probably would have been excited about it years ago . I had always mistakenly thought of the bike as a big cruiser because the combination of the huge fairing and engine configuration left me with an impression of a much larger bike. I think that was a big reason I was a bit apprehensive about taking it from him when he called me, the big cruiser bikes just don't interest me much. It was a bit of an eye opener when I started looking up specs and saw the weight was only ~460 with a full tank! I think the fairing is a Luftmeister, or very similar to it. I also think it will be coming off in pretty short order unless I have a complete 180 and really enjoy riding the large fairing.

Price never came up, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't take any money for it. If he does want / will take some $ for it, I would do so happily. I do plan to offer to trade him my XS400 though. It needs someone to ride it and is light enough to keep him out of trouble for a while I think. Sadly, it's now fast enough for him too. For a guy that used to time trial through forests on scramblers and built a dirt gocart/minibike track in the field next to his house for my mom / uncle... He now drive's like the slowest grandpa on the road, 10 under in the left lane and all . It would be good for him to puts around on, which is all he would do anyway, so I hope he takes it. I not, I do have room in the garage for more bikes. My 59 bugeye makes working a few extra motorcycles in the garage a pretty easy task :-)
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:17 AM   #19
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Location: Central Florida
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I am doing about 300 miles a week on my 74 /6. It will do anything you ask and more with fun and comfort at the same time.
1974 BMW R90/6 Bettie #1, 04 Triumph Bonneville
Originally Posted by Martin Blank
loner, lonegunman, get it. Thats the whole point. I like the lifestyle, the image. Look a the way I dress.
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil View Post
Cavemen must've designed them shortly after inventing the wheel.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:46 AM   #20
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Melbourne
Oddometer: 1,070
The 90/6 will take you anywhere you dare to point it. It will do it style and comfort and class. Being in my mid 30's I suppose I am towards the younger end of the usual demographic that owns them () but I rarely find myself lusting after anything younger. The 90/6 is plenty of fun and can be very reliable.
I prefer them naked to fully faired, but would compromise on a S fairing if I had to.
I love my 90/6 like it was my grandfather's bike.... I can't imagine how much I would treasure it if it actually was.
Take it, ride it, love it, pass it on to one of your grandkids because if there is gasoline available it will still be eminently ridable then too.

frankly I am shocked and dissapointed at the lack of proud owners (re)posting pictures of their treasured, used (and occasionally abused) 90/6's

two of them in this one, mine on the right.

1974 R90/6
1981 R80G/S
1994 XLR250R
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:53 AM   #21
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I owned a 1974 R90/6 for about 10 years. It had hard bags and a Vetter fairing. I didn't really care for the fairing. This past October, we were on the Blueridge Parkway and ran into a fellow from Ohio -- I think it was Ohio -- on an R90/6. He had 450,000+ miles on the odometer and likes the bike very much.

I'm not interested in having more than one motorcycle at a time and I am very happy with my Bonneville T100, but I probably wouldn't pass up a nice R90.

Regards, Chuck
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:00 AM   #22
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Location: Silver Spring, Md
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Remove the fairing if it suits you, it's the way most are set up these days. Riders want to be in the wind. But don't throw it away. After not too many years and if you are going to make any longer trips you will be glad to have that ugly thing still hanging in the rafters of your garage. A fairing is a welcome change to the buffeting of the wind on long trips. And the older drivers usually migrate back to them.

If you try to sell it you might be surprised it won't bring any money. They are hard to give away. But if two years later you try to buy one they won't be available or will be high priced. That's the way they are today. These conditions may change tomorrow.
Never memorize something you can look up.
---Albert Einstein

Pay your debt, piratejohn.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:56 AM   #23
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Limerick, Ireland
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Thumb You won't regret acquiring the bike

Hi, You should take the bike even if you lay it up for a long period of time I reckon you will get back to it in later years.
You won't regret it. I had an R90/6 only fault I found with the bike it was a little too high. I'm 5'10".

Rgs Podmiester
"One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and slavery of home, man feels once more happy."
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:05 AM   #24
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Central Florida
Oddometer: 2,540

Yeah, I like mine sans fairing and minor cafe tweeks.

And I am a guy who bought it in my mid 30s.

Also, it amazing the "biker respect" I get on it. Everyone from goldwing riders to 1%s will give a nod toward it when stopped at a light or in a parking lot.

as she sits today, about 13k miles later
1974 BMW R90/6 Bettie #1, 04 Triumph Bonneville
Originally Posted by Martin Blank
loner, lonegunman, get it. Thats the whole point. I like the lifestyle, the image. Look a the way I dress.
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil View Post
Cavemen must've designed them shortly after inventing the wheel.

mfp4073 screwed with this post 04-13-2012 at 12:23 PM
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #25
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:29 PM   #26
Max Headroom
lost in the '70s
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Location: New Zealand
Oddometer: 521
I was just 26 when I bought my first R90/6, and it was just 10 years old at the time. I rode it for years, and thoroughly enjoyed every mile. The bike was reliable and seemed capable of everything I needed it to do, and I still own it today. It's currently in the process of getting rebuilt into a special purpose beater, but that's a whole 'nuther story . . .

I've ridden many other diverse bikes over the years, but the old airheads are still my passion and my machine of choice. My primary bike is my R90S, and it still does everything I want in a bike. I still get a buzz when I look at it, and I still get a kick out of the quality of its design, engineering standards and functionality.

As for the Luftmeister fairing, might i suggest considering an "S" fairing (as fitted to the R90S, R100S and R100CS) as an alternative? Not too invasive or heavy, looks good, and takes the wind off your chest. Just a thought . . .
'76 R90S silver smoke
'75 R90/6 hybrid

'Skills are learned, talent is ornate.' Billie
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:40 PM   #27
Crusty & Unobliging
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: The Palace of the People, VT
Oddometer: 4,674

Sigh. . .

S Faring. Gustafsson tall windscreen. There is no substitute.
The Rock 2013 RR
Dual Sport Luggage Racks:
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:46 AM   #28
Speed King
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I love mine. I'd buy another one in a second.

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Old 04-14-2012, 06:08 PM   #29
Joined: Mar 2012
Oddometer: 12
Got to see / ride the R90 today. Forecast was rain / thunderstorms, but thankfully they never came and it was actually quite a nice day! I had basically made up my mind to get the bike before I even got there (no thanks to you guys!) and lets just say the ride did nothing to change my mind It fired right up and I took off on a ~40 mile ride through the various country roads and speeds without incident. The bike shows 56,600 miles, he did say the cluster was replaced but he's pretty sure they set the mileage about where the old one was, so this mileage is believed to be accurate. Suspension was stiffer than I was expecting (a good thing) and the bike felt very nimble. Not much room for my feet for the controls with the boxer engine, but some adjustments to the bike and for myself I can get used to it easily. He had lowered the pegs too, which is a big plus for me. He actually cut the rubber part on the bottom to keep it from being in the exhaust so I don't think they could go much lower. It was one of the most comfortable bikes I've ever sat on just because my legs could sit more or less naturally.

The fairing is a Vetter. The finish on it and the bike is a bit rough, mainly due to my grandfather never washing or waxing anything he owns. Good chance some elbow grease and maybe some buffing will go a long way as there isn't any obvious cracking or rust, just dull and spotted with bugs and things over the years. I wasn't impressed with the fairing, with my height I found the air to be pounding the back of my helmet. If I slouched and leaned forward dropping my head a couple inches, the air was perfectly clean and nice. A taller windscreen, or a different angle on it would probably help a lot but I think I'll just remove it and shelve it for another day. Also, the mounting on the fairing seems very loose... it moves around a lot on bumps and the like. Don't know if it was always this way, or has worked loose or rusted mounting points or what the deal is but it doesn't matter if it's coming off anyway.

Hard bags I forgot to check the branding on, but I'm pretty sure they are the Krausers. They lock on with a key from the back of the bike and open by flipping up a latch on each side. One is scraped up pretty good from when my grandfather forgot to lock it on and it hopped off the bike at 50mph. I'd say for going through that, it looks pretty darn good! Maybe I'll paint them to hide the scratches, not sure. They do have lighting in the bags. Connection is an audio type RCA plug on the back lower corner (just below the tail lights) for quick disconnecting. Illuminated yellow strip on the front, and red lights on the back. Don't know if they came this way, or if it was added. Just seems to be running lights, switched on the left handlebar with a yellow lever.

Now - As for the mechanical condition. I don't think the bike is in as good as shape as my grandfather thought. Not to say that it's bad (far from it), but I think a few things may need addressing before putting many miles on it. I'll throw them out there and see what you guys think:

He mentioned before I took off that it uses a bit of oil, and to check it before setting out. Well, I can tell you a good portion of it ended up on top of my boots. How he had not noticed this, I don't know. Maybe it just came up this year? In any case, seems to be coming from the head gasket, on the front side of the engine, right near the exhaust header. Same place on both sides, so I'm assuming this is a common thing? He has the owners manual, and a service manual so we looked it up. It does mention torquing these bolts every 5k miles as part of servicing, I think to 25-28 ft/lbs (although the wording in the service manual is seriously weird on this... I think it says "25 + 2.8"?) He had done this maybe once in the 16 years he's had the bike so I'm guessing they just worked loose on both sides. The question is, will tightening them up fix the issue? Or will the head gasket need replacing at this point, or worse... has something warped due to them being loose?

Front brake:
I pretty much knew about this one going in... it's factory, and it's crap. I had to get used to grabbing a fistful in a hurry (my Buell takes 1, MAYBE 2 fingers if you dare on the brake lever). I know no old bikes are like my Buell, but still I could haul that lever in until it almost touched the bars and still didn't feel like the old front tire was going to lock up. Grandpa never noticed a problem, but it's entirely possible he hasn't tried to stop the bike from faster than 45mph in many years. It stops fine, but a panic stop it just doesn't have the stopping power. I asked him about maintenance, he hasn't done any regular work on the brakes besides ensuring it was topped off. No regular flushing. I suspect the MC may be pitted, or maybe it just always was that way? Hard to say for sure from my description I'm sure, I'll probably just go with upgraded modern brakes with the MC on the handlebar and be done with it either way and shelve the factory setup.

Clutch / Transmission:
- To say that it doesn't engage smoothly is an understatement. It's pretty much on or off. Makes low speed maneuvering difficult since you can't keep the revs up because when it grabs you shoot ahead 7'. Keeping the revs way down (just a tinge off idle) works much smoother, but I very very nearly stalled it more than once doing that. I was a lot better at it by the end of the ride so I could learn it, but it just didn't feel right to me. Is this normal?
- Also, even when I was sure I had the clutch pulled in as far as it would go, I would occasionally get gear chatter when changing gears. Had to be sure to really be deliberate with my punch of the lever with the clutch lever touching the bars, especially going 2-3 and 3-2 or it would grind the gears. Thinking back, I was not really attempting to rev-match though, perhaps I can't get away with as much on these bikes as what I'm used to with the really light quick revving motors and newer transmission designs. Seems some adjustment could be in order here or is that just how they are?
- An additional concern, once the bike was warm engaging the clutch on shifts was accompanied by a "shiiink" noise, possibly metallic in sound. Seemed to get worse as the ride went on, and was not present at all to begin with. Pretty sure this is also not normal, it was pretty prevalent at times. Also a faint rattle in neutral when warm, which I believe is perfectly normal.

Those were the things that concerned me the most. I don't know which of them are issues, and which of them are best described as "character" of these bikes. I was able to mostly compensate for all (except the oil leak, which I know isn't normal) as the miles wore on. The turn signal is a bit funky too, but easy to get used to once you realize you simply push in the direction the handlebars will go when you turn. It kind of does make sense and flow, once you get used to it. It would have been nice if the cluster indicated which way you were signaling, because with the fairing I couldn't see which lights were blinking and I didn't have a clue which way was which until I pulled over and hopped off the bike.

Don't know when I'll be bringing it home, it may depend on the oil issue... it's leaking pretty bad I'd be scared to ride it any distance for fear it suddenly gets worse without my knowing. I can always borrow a trailer and go that route though. My grandfather was very upset about the oil, he thought the bike was ready to go and didn't want to give it to me needing work. I had to explain to him it was an 37 year old motorcycle, I know I'm going to have to do work on the darn thing! If I wasn't OK with that, the whole thing would be a pretty bad idea now wouldn't it?

I snapped a few pictures with my phone:

Also snapped a quick one of the Matchless tucked away in a corner of his work room:

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Old 04-14-2012, 06:38 PM   #30
Joined: Mar 2012
Oddometer: 12
A few things I forgot (doh!)

The turn signal had a buzzer to remind you the turn signal was on. I found it loud, and rather annoying. I'm GUESSING this is an aftermarket deal? Would like to know for sure before I disable / remove it. The indicators on the cluster are notice enough for me and I'm used to checking the gauges.

The Tach and Speedo needles would float and bounce around quite a bit as well, guessing this is normal.

There seems to be no kill switch? The turn signals are where I expected the starter to be, and the starter where the kill switch should be. Pressing other things, I didn't find a kill switch. Would be handy to have one especially since the ignition isn't in the most accessible place.

The kickstand is unbelievable picky on how you park the bike, and spring loaded to fold up once you stand the bike up (which is OK I guess as long as it doesn't lead to bad habits on other bikes!). Do people just end up using the center stand all the time? I mean, if the road has much of a crown, you feel like the bike could go over the far side. If you are parked in ANY way down hill, it feels like the stand wants to fold up (aided by the spring) pulling the bike forward and off the stand. I didn't have any problems, but when I stopped I had to try a half dozen places / angles to find one that didn't leave me feeling like the bike was teetering on disaster. And I live in Iowa for goodness sake, It's not like we have much for hills around here. For one photo op, I actually had to do a U turn to park the bike facing up hill to take a picture (not a big hill, nearly flat!) and then the slight crown on the road still left it not feeling very solid. Most difficult time I've ever had with any bike with a kickstand. Do you guys plan your parking days in advance?
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