ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Old's Cool > Airheads
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-31-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
spconley OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: USA
Oddometer: 83
1973 R60/5 - Reliable? Daily Driver? Any thoughts?

Just curious as to what the straight dope is on the 70's era BMW's... I like the looks of the R60/5, but know nothing about them (aside from just thinking that they look cool)... But are they reliable or hard to keep on the road? I can wrench, I just don't like to. I also don't enjoy riding a bike that I feel may cut out on me at any time while I am out riding it... Are they known to leak? Could you take off on a weeklong 1,500 mile trip on one, or should I use a more modern bike? Any thoughts on what to look for when buying, or any typical problem areas or common issues to be aware of? Thanks
spconley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 02:33 PM   #2
brocktoon
Gnarly Adventurer
 
brocktoon's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 254
Quote:
Just curious as to what the straight dope is on the 70's era BMW's... I like the looks of the R60/5, but know nothing about them (aside from just thinking that they look cool)... But are they reliable or hard to keep on the road?
Along with a few of the Japanese bikes of the same era, they're widely regarded as one of the most reliable 70's bikes you can find. However, they're only reliable as the owner. Properly maintained, they're extremely reliable.

Quote:
I can wrench, I just don't like to.
Probably not the best bike for you, then. Some wrenching will inevitably be involved. No shame in wanting to just ride. Go for a modern bike.

Quote:
I also don't enjoy riding a bike that I feel may cut out on me at any time while I am out riding it... Are they known to leak?
Again, properly maintained, that won't be something to worry about.

Quote:
Could you take off on a weeklong 1,500 mile trip on one, or should I use a more modern bike?
You definitely could. Personally, I wouldn't feel as comfortable doing it without knowing the bike thoroughly, knowing what's prone to failure and what kind of spares to keep on-hand. That comes from wrenching and spending time reading and talking about them.

Quote:
Any thoughts on what to look for when buying, or any typical problem areas or common issues to be aware of?
There's tons of stuff written on what to look for when buying an Airhead. My two cents would be that an R75/5 will likely have more resale value down the road, and a LWB R75/5 most of all.

Here are a couple of links to get you started:

BMW Airhead buyer's guide
How to buy a used BMW
brocktoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 03:15 PM   #3
Mal S7
Adventurer
 
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Central NSW
Oddometer: 92
Reliable yes.
1500 mile trips, no problem.
But expect wrenching.
You have to love wrenching, or any 40 old bike is not for you.

Guzzi make a modern equivalent, the very nice V7 Sport.
Buy that.

Mal S7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 04:46 PM   #4
disston
ShadeTreeExpert
 
disston's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Silver Spring, Md
Oddometer: 8,001
Most of us Old Timers grew up with fixing this stuff on our bikes and cars and pickup trucks and you name it. Now it's just ingrained and we enjoy the adventure of this old stuff. Some of the new, younger, guys are learning and they will carry on but there will be fewer of them and fewer of these bikes too by then. But if you think you want to learn how to do this and can handle the idea that you have to use your hands and brains to fix your ride instead of a computer run by a technician that gets over a hundred dollars an hour to fix your ride then welcome.

Right now the supply of used bikes is quit good. Look for the scene to change in the next few years. Airheads are a great deal now. Buy several. You can also get great deals on some other bikes these days but if you want highway speeds the Airhead is probably the best choice.
__________________
.
Never memorize something you can look up.
---Albert Einstein

Pay your debt, piratejohn.http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=949341
disston is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
Bill Harris
Confirmed Curmudgeon
 
Bill Harris's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: backwoods Alabama
Oddometer: 6,076
Yeah, what they ^^^^ all said. They are reliable, rugged, etc, etc, etc. But a 40 year old bike in average shape will need some wrenching to get it up to speed. Unless you get an exceptional bike in exceptional shape it'll need work.

--Bill
__________________
'73 R60/5 Toaster
Luddite. Not just a philosophy, a way of life...
Bill Harris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 06:50 PM   #6
spconley OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: USA
Oddometer: 83
Thanks all for the replies, doesn't sound too bad... I guess I should elaborate a bit more... I've owned a ton of 2v Ducati's and am more than comfortable working on them... But once they are set up and dialed-in, it's pretty much just a valve check/adjust every 6,000 and new belts every 12,000... Other than an occasional issue coming up (and I can accept things breaking occasionally and wearing; I actually have an engineering degree), I think they are way more reliable than what they are given credit for and I would feel comfortable taking most any 2v ducati on a 5,000 mile trip... But I also had a Royal Enfield, and it was a royal pain... I had to take an entire toolbox and half a dozen spare parts with me just so I could make it to the corner store... And it leaked oil everywhere and needed constant adjustment and would never hold its tune, etc... It was a fun bike to look at, but it wasn't a fun bike to ride... I'm ok with, and even enjoy, getting a bike setup and dialed in, but after that I want to at least get 6,000 miles out of it with not too much more than oil changes and the like... It sounds like the BMW's are somewhere in between a 2v Ducati and an Enfield... Thanks for the input and suggestions, its all good food for thought... I'll also check up the links and lurk around a bit more and see if I can't get a good idea of what they are like to live with as I wrap my mind around if I want to own one or not... They look like a Lycoming, so I thought they would be super reliable, and I'm sure the new ones are... Well thanks again, I appreciate your thoughts...

Also, and just out of curiosity, does any one know if there is a company supplying the swingarm/single shock setup that is found in this picture I found online? And please don't flame me for thinking a hacked up BMW is cool, I do appreciate them in the stock configuration too, but if they made a swingarm kit for a single shock that was a bolt on kit, I might consider it depending on the cost?
spconley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 08:33 PM   #7
brocktoon
Gnarly Adventurer
 
brocktoon's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 254
Perhaps the amount of wrenching involved was overstated. As Bill and disston said, they're 40-year old bikes and there was some amount of wrenching expected to keep them tip-top shape. They came with a tool kit, after all. But once it's dialed-in you're good to go as long as you follow the maintenance schedule -- oil/filter changes, valve settings, etc.

I don't think you'll find too many folks here upset about hacked up BMWs, and I'm pretty sure that's far from a bolt-on kit. Talk to Chris at Boxer Metal. He has a lot of custom/cafe stuff for Airheads, and is good people.
brocktoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 09:24 PM   #8
disston
ShadeTreeExpert
 
disston's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Silver Spring, Md
Oddometer: 8,001
Popular modification with a certain few of the younger crowd. Not available as a bolt on kit as far as I know. Custom made.
__________________
.
Never memorize something you can look up.
---Albert Einstein

Pay your debt, piratejohn.http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=949341
disston is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2013, 10:01 PM   #9
RagerToo
vroom vroom
 
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: NE Oh
Oddometer: 282
Pretty new to the forum, howdy everybody.

Last year I bought an '80 R100T with a few alterations, sat/ stored in a good shed for 7 years. Previous owner, a buddy, didn't do any of the work to it but can't ride any more. Trashed back and can't shift it and doesn't want to deal with and can't afford to. That said he at least drained the carbs. I dropped the bowls, clean as a whistle.

Bought a battery, drained the tank and gave 'er some Shell. Had it running in about 2 minutes. I do all my own work and it needs it. But I'm -pretty much- in awe of how well built this beemer is. And it's finally warming up so I can get back at it.

The only thing I can think of, and I'm not an experienced bike owner or (bike) wrench, is that the wheels and swing arm run tapered roller bearings, not ball bearings. It also has all disc brakes now and I personally would prefer to have them over drums.

Oh, and once I get it finished, I'd take it anywhere.
__________________
'80 R100RS but nekkid
Some folks still insist on going to a gun fight with a popsicle stick sharpened on the driveway.
RagerToo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 06:47 AM   #10
jhh
Guzzi Dork
 
jhh's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: NOLA
Oddometer: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by spconley View Post
Also, and just out of curiosity, does any one know if there is a company supplying the swingarm/single shock setup that is found in this picture I found online?
That's a one-off swingarm as far as I know, but it was built by these guys: http://meyerbuiltmetalworks.com.
jhh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 07:47 AM   #11
spconley OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: USA
Oddometer: 83
Thanks for the additional thoughts on the reliability and the disc recommendation... Do you happen to know what year they switched over from drum to disc and did it happen to coincide with electronic ignition or was it still points? If I could kill two birds with one stone I would likely be interested in moving up a few years assuming they aesthetically didn't change too much... And thanks for the link to Meyers... I'm amazed it only took a few hours for someone on this forum to fingerprint a swingarm back to a fab shop... Although I must admit, I think I've always sensed that even an avid BMW rider was more of a motorcycle fanatic than the most devoted of the other brands... Good people indeed!
spconley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 11:18 AM   #12
brocktoon
Gnarly Adventurer
 
brocktoon's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: NorCal
Oddometer: 254
Front disc brakes were introduced in 1974 on the /6 bikes. /6 bikes bear the closest resemblance to the /5 in terms of looks. The biggest aesthetic difference (to me) with the /6's is the speedo/tach moving outside the headlight shell. If you like the combined headlight/speedo/tach, you're stuck with the /5 or earlier.

The disc brakes on the early /6's can reportedly be worse than a drum brake. In fact, plenty of folks are very happy with their drum brakes when properly set up and you understand their quirks (namely, how grabby they can get before they're warmed-up on humid days). You can always retrofit the front end from a later bike to an earlier bike if you feel safer with disc brakes, but again, just maintain them and it's fine.

As far as electronic ignition, it wasn't introduced until the early 80s, but you can always add an aftermarket electronic ignition from Dyna or Boyer to a /5. Many would argue against going this route, as points are cheap, reliable, and easily swapped out. The best happy medium for many is points with a Dyna points booster, which can be had for under $100 and dramatically lengthen the life of the points.

Here's a good, unbiased article on the /5 series Airheads: http://www.motorcycleclassics.com/cl...bmw-r75-5.aspx
brocktoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 05:04 PM   #13
spconley OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: USA
Oddometer: 83
Thanks Brocktoon, solid read... The article mentions the R75/5 has Bing CV carbs, but the smaller bikes have Bing slide-type carbs with "ticklers" for cold starting... Is it best to focus on getting a R75 just for this reason alone? I don't really care too much about the extra displacement as all these bikes are going to be slow to me and being fast/slow is not why I'm interested in them, but if the R75 is more functional or easier to start over the R60, etc. then I would indeed consider forking over more cash for the R75 as they do seem to be more expensive compared to the R60... Prices also seem to be all over the place (I've seen R60/5's from anywhere from $4k to $10k)... What should one expect to pay for a decent runner R60 for with 20,000 miles? How about a decent runner R75 with about 20,000 miles? Ballpark figures? I'm in the central US but I've shipped bikes before...
spconley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 05:32 PM   #14
bpeckm
Grin!
 
bpeckm's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Road Island
Oddometer: 5,556
I had an R60/6... it had the same carbs as the /5's did, but with a choke, vs a tickler system. Frankly, that would be the least worrisome thing to look for. When tuned and set up, the bikes start well under any conditions. The ticklers were holdovers from the /2 bikes, which were an entirely different engine.

Regarding the drum/disc on early bikes, my 60/6 had drum brakes, it was only the "bigger" 75's and up that had discs. I grew up with drum brakes, know their idiosyncracies, and would do it again in a minute. They actually perform very well at slower speeds, but the discs have a distinct advantage in high-speed stops. These old airheads are great cruisers, fun to drive in the twisties, and generally leave you with "that was fun!" after a ride.

No, not rocket ships by today's standards, but then just about any modern Toyota on the road can run circles around the "sports cars" of the seventies as well... just depends on what you want.

If you had 2v Ducatis, you will be right at home with BMWs... the famed "german engineering" is pretty awesome, these things are built like trucks and tractors for durability, but they handle well, too.


...'course you are asking the folks in the choir how the sermon is going, you realize that, don't you.....???


__________________
XS650 becomes a VT BackRoadRunner
Loving the 80ST
I love projects that take twice as much effort as should be needed. Should be an Airhead motto. (disston)
__________________
bpeckm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 06:40 PM   #15
Plaka
Banned
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Oddometer: 4,573
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpeckm View Post
I had an R60/6... it had the same carbs as the /5's did, but with a choke, vs a tickler system. Frankly, that would be the least worrisome thing to look for. When tuned and set up, the bikes start well under any conditions. The ticklers were holdovers from the /2 bikes, which were an entirely different engine.

Regarding the drum/disc on early bikes, my 60/6 had drum brakes, it was only the "bigger" 75's and up that had discs. I grew up with drum brakes, know their idiosyncracies, and would do it again in a minute. They actually perform very well at slower speeds, but the discs have a distinct advantage in high-speed stops. These old airheads are great cruisers, fun to drive in the twisties, and generally leave you with "that was fun!" after a ride.

No, not rocket ships by today's standards, but then just about any modern Toyota on the road can run circles around the "sports cars" of the seventies as well... just depends on what you want.

If you had 2v Ducatis, you will be right at home with BMWs... the famed "german engineering" is pretty awesome, these things are built like trucks and tractors for durability, but they handle well, too.


...'course you are asking the folks in the choir how the sermon is going, you realize that, don't you.....???


Handle well? Been on a modernish bike with utterly ho-hum handling? It'll run circles around an airhead. There're called rubber cows for a reason...the crappy suspension, limp frame and jack-in-the-box rear end are legendary. All the popular mods back in the day were to the handling (and the sidestand).
Plaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 10:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014