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Old 11-30-2012, 03:58 PM   #1
Noswal OP
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R90 Points vs. Electronic Ignition

My bike is a (new to me) 1975 BMW R90s.
As the headline makes clear, I was wondering whether to keep the points on the bike that it has now- or to make the switch over to an electronic ignition. I sorta was thinking that this was a no-brainer, since I've heard that electronic ignitions are a great upgrade to an older motorcycle. Add to this that I already have one (Boyer) on an old same year R90/6 that I'm using as a parts bike- so there's really no out-of-pocket cost to me.
But when I was up at my favorite motorcycle shop today (A-J Cycle) Allan told me just to keep running the points.
What do you think??
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
kbasa
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Maybe you might have noticed the Airhead thread directly above.

In the future, please post airhead threads up there and allow me to continue being the slackest mod in the world. .

Thanks,

Your Old's Cool mod,

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Old 11-30-2012, 05:15 PM   #3
PSchrauber
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No idea how much this will effect the BMW engine ... but on other bikes the advantage from electronic ignition like the ones from eletraxworld f. e. ist that the firing point will change in relationship to the speed of the engine.
Mosty mor forwarded with higher rpm. So you will gain performance mostly from above mid range to top speed.

On the other hand the spark is mosty a little bit weaker, which is a backdraw for low rpm, so I believe it's up how you ride your bike.

A proper adjusted points based ignition works good in my view but points needs maintaince. A electronic ignition is nearly maintaince free. If you are more related to the lazy side of live an electronic system might be a go for you.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:39 PM   #4
disston
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There are pluses and minuses to each system. Keeping the bone stock OEM points ignition has few advantages in my opinion. It is sturdy and predictable so it's biggest advantage may be that us old farts that grew up with it can deal with it. It's disadvantages include frequent, too frequent, maintenance, not always stable, effected by water should it get wet and parts that are likely to become even more expensive in time.

The disadvantage of electronic systems seems to be that if they have a problem on the road they are difficult to service and you need a tow truck. I don't know about Boyer, I've never had one, but it is electronics than can break, I suppose.

What I have done to my bike and I recommend is the addition of a Booster to the points system. This uses the ignition points as a low current switch that will last a long time because the high Voltages used in the OEM system aren't carried by the ignition points. And if the Booster has a problem the OEM system can be re-wired because it is all still in place. Requires the moving of a couple of wires.

That would be it except that you do already have a Boyer. So use it. Keep the OEM parts with the bike and should there be a problem you may be able to still get home or where you are going. Can't see you not using something that's basically free.

It is a popular unit. Many riders have paid for them.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:49 PM   #5
_cy_
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follow links in sig for coverage of this exact topic ...

stick with points!!! then add an electronic booster to greatly reduce maintenance
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
Max Headroom
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This is another topic which seems to generate endless debate.

I expect that you will get some folk recommending electronic ignition, while others will suggest sticking with points. Both arguments will be defended with persuasive logic and reasoning. Ultimately you'll need to determine the preferred answer by asking yourself what distances you're likely to cover, what your priorities and preferences are, and weigh it all together with your own personal experiences.

In my case, I fully rebuilt my R90S almost seven years ago, to a reasonably high standard. Budget wasn't a consideration at the time (although it would be a different story today!), but the bike's reliability was my biggest priority for the rebuild. Amongst other upgrades for example, I replaced the diode board with a Thunderchild item, and the voltage regulator with a solid state Bosch RE57. I also had a brand new Boyer electronic ignition setup sitting on the shelf and ready to go, but I chose instead to fit points, along with a pair of new Bosch Blue coils, copper core HT leads and Bosch plug caps. Since then the bike has covered 28,000km and the points have required no maintenance.

The bike starts instantly hot or cold, and runs very well at all engine speeds.

In my experience, points can be quite reliable and quite effective for standard airhead applications. When dealing with a modified engine however, a programmable electronic ignition will undoubtedly be advantageous in order to more readily deal with the variables when dialed in on a dyno, but personally I can see little gain for unmodified road bikes. Frankly, I've been put off some of the aftermarket electronic ignitions available for airheads by the sheer number of folk who have them fitted yet still carry a set of points and a capacitor under the seat "just in case" . . .

Somehow, retaining points ignition fits with the ethos of riding an airhead to my mind.

YMMV etc
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:26 PM   #7
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I can only go with my personal experience, which spans over 55 years of motorcycling and when I fitted the Dyna 111 system to my R90/6 it markedly improved fuel consumption and starting... with zero problems as far as maintenance. I suppose if you were still a skeptic..one can always carry the old points and parts to revert back should the electronics ever fail....
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:22 PM   #8
Noswal OP
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Thanks for the advice/link and redirect (sorry bout that, heh).
A lot to chew on...
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:41 PM   #9
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There are a lot of good reasons why the motoring world has moved on from points. Points work great when they are working great. The trouble is they don't do that nearly as long as electronic. Carrying an extra set of points to back up elelctronic? It would be better advise to carry an extra set to back up points!
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
Badboygene
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A No-Brainer (for me)

This is a subject that gets my back up all the time. I don't like electronic ignitions for one simple reason. They are not as reliable as points. I hear people telling me how they have never had a problem with their elect. ignition systems. However, as a mechanic with 40 years experience in the M/C business I have had and seen MANY problems with them. My Moto Guzzi had over 80,000 miles on the original points, and they still looked and worked great. At one time I was having a 50% failure rate with the electronic ignition systems I was installing (a VERY popular brand). I kept returning them and asking the manufacturer what "I" was doing wrong that would cause such a failure rate. Their reply was that the problem seemed to be on their end, meaning that I had installed the unit properly but it had failed. This will surely open a can of worms, but I have learned my lesson and will always choose points over electronics.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:56 AM   #11
Rob Farmer
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I was going to fit an electronic ignition on my 78 100/7 a few weeks ago but figured after 34 years of running points they hadn't served it too badly so stuck with them. The only reason I considered swapping was the quality of condensers seems to have gone downhill over the past few years and I'm suffering from bad wear on the points surface due to arching and sparking. I came across an old condenser I swapped as a matter of course a few years ago and everything's good again. If I could find a good source of condensers I'd be happy staying with points but as it is I may be forced down the electronic route again in the not to distant future.

A big plus with the electronic ignitions is the fit and forget side of things, if you've ever burnt your hands and arms on a hot BMW exhaust while fiddling with point gaps and timing you'll think it's worth the effort.
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:01 AM   #12
batoutoflahonda
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Ah, the debate rages on:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=827153

http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...651297&page=10

For more in depth reading try this in google:

subject matter here site:advrider.com

something like this: boyer ignition site:advrider.com
or
points vs electronic ignition site:advrider.com

Tons of good info and pics. What ever you do NEVER do this: oil site:advrider.com. It's like dividing by zero. The world wide web will shut down and I believe the last guy that did it started the big bang.
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batoutoflahonda screwed with this post 12-01-2012 at 02:15 AM
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:55 AM   #13
R100RT Mark
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Intended use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noswal View Post
My bike is a (new to me) 1975 BMW R90s.
As the headline makes clear, I was wondering whether to keep the points on the bike that it has now- or to make the switch over to an electronic ignition. I sorta was thinking that this was a no-brainer, since I've heard that electronic ignitions are a great upgrade to an older motorcycle. Add to this that I already have one (Boyer) on an old same year R90/6 that I'm using as a parts bike- so there's really no out-of-pocket cost to me.
But when I was up at my favorite motorcycle shop today (A-J Cycle) Allan told me just to keep running the points.
What do you think??
To me one of the big factors in making this decision is the intended use of the vehicle. Points are simple, and even if you are neurotic about being stranded due to a failure spare points, condenser and coil are simple/small loads to carry. If the bike is otherwise stock on the engine front and only going to be used for very light duties I would say keep the points. Modded engine or a lot of redlining then go electronic
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:17 AM   #14
craydds
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noswal View Post
Add to this that I already have one (Boyer) on an old same year R90/6 that I'm using as a parts bike- so there's really no out-of-pocket cost to me.
But when I was up at my favorite motorcycle shop today (A-J Cycle) Allan told me just to keep running the points.
What do you think??
Points work just fine. But, I like the NO maintenance of the Boyer - just set it and forget it.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:08 AM   #15
old paul
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I used to worry about electronic ignition systems also, but that was over 40 years ago when they were new technology.

How many times has your car suffered a failed ignition?
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