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Old 11-25-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
neepuk OP
Such a drag...
 
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Redstone, CO
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Buying My First Airhead and Getting Spooked!

Holy Heck, I just committed to my first Airhead purchase, haven't even picked up the bike yet, and began reading through the "Tips and Tricks"'thread and it's all a bit overwhelming and scary.

I'm a pretty mechanical inclined guy with a good set of tools, skills, and a nice warm garage. I've owned a ton of bikes over the years and after reading that thread, among many others, I feel like I'm going to need a tech weekend with the experienced gurus to begin to understand the bike and it's delicate intricacies. I sure hope there's a local guru or two that are willing to teach this Airhead noob the basic ins and outs.

There's a little sarcasm in this post as I'm actually super excited to get the bike (1993 GS PD with 27,000 miles) but the "fear this" threads are a little intimidating.
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
east high
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Airheads are a snap to work on compared to other bikes out there. It's almost like they were designed with maintenance in mind...
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
ozmoses
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Ride it first, worry about worrying about it later!
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:36 AM   #4
neepuk OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozmoses View Post
Ride it first, worry about worrying about it later!
That is the way I like to roll, however, I do live in the high country of Colorado where riding days are few and far between from December through March. If there are issues or upgrades that should be done it order to make my riding experiences more enjoyable and reliable I'd rather take care of them in the winter.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
kadesean
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Keep doing your research and keep reading. These bikes are simple to work on for those who are so inclined. There are simple jobs that can be royally screwed up (oil filter change). If you have doubts when you get to a certain step seek help, there's plenty of it around. Try to spend more time riding than worrying.
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
therealbatman
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These are very basic machines...mechanically, but
the electrics are a different animal, to me anyway.
Most folks have no problems there either.

(full disclosure, I am not electrically proficient)
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:46 PM   #7
Mista Vern
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozmoses View Post
Ride it first, worry about worrying about it later!
+1

I think one of the reasons for all the threads you've read is that airhead people typically enjoy wrenching and often post about what they've worked on - hence, the number of perceived "issues". In reality I think most folks just ride and enjoy and fix as things come up.
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:04 PM   #8
Bigger Al
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We Airhead owners are spoiled in that there is so much tech information available, both online and written. It can seem daunting at first, but like Oz said, ride it first, then worry about the mechanical stuff. These are stone-hammer simple bikes that will run in just about any state of tune. Most of the tech here is dedicated to makeing them run well, and to making them last longer, and the knowledge base on ADV is vast and deep. Well, it's vast and deep once you learn how to filter out some of the noise.
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
patrkbukly
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No easier bike to work on…BUT WAIT>>>THERES MORE

Other than the mini-bikes we all rode with a Briggs & Stratton engine below….there are no easier bikes to troubleshoot and repair.


THE MORE: But one thing I can tell you thats even more important….while there is plenty of repair chatter here…there is no better running more reliable bike on the planet.
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
squish
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It's easy to get spooked by all the stories you read about how bad these bikes are.

Know that you are really riding a ticking time bomb. In no short order
Your drive shaft will explode.
If it's not out of phase it will be soon enough.
Your transmission doesn't have a C clip and it will fall apart
The charging system doesn't charge
The coils are junk
You should have bought a G/S since everyone knows that a wet shaft is better than a dry shaft
Your canister is receeding and you have the wrong gasket, it will cost you $2,000 in 1995 dollars to fix it


Remember...
The bean can should be either swapped out for a one with points, or one totally electronic, or rebuilt with parts sourced from some shady hall effect sensor dealer.
The heads need to be double plugged. Or not
The K&N filter is just fine, as long as you don't clean it. and you trim it.
Or it's not and your engine will explode
To use the oil with the most zinc but not too much zinc
Make a special blend of grease for your splines so you can grease them and they will promptly dry out in a week all while flinging your special grease sauce all over the clutch.
That when you are adjusting your valves, in the parking lot of your motel, that you make sure they are nice and cold from sitting outside all night. And don't forget to torque the heads but not too much since you might pull a stud...
Your Bosch, Valeo or fill in the blank starter motor is junk, heavy, old, non rebuildable

Oh and always get your info from a website built in 1991 by a colorblind airhead guru who loved to mix font sizes and color, only don't trust what he says since he's wrong most of the except for when he's right...


Or, better yet. Step away from the computer and go for a ride. Unless your bike needs to be worked on. Then work on it, until it's fixed. If you have an issue... You have a very very good chance of getting a reasonable answer from some of the smartest airhead riders around. And you will get some really bad advice from some people here as well, often they are one in the same.

These bikes and the folks that ride them are an intresting bunch. Take everything anybody tells you and look into yourself. BMW riders love, and I mean LOVE to share their wisdom. Some of might even be helpful.
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Old 11-25-2013, 02:04 PM   #11
ozmoses
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End of thread/subforum!
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:45 PM   #12
disston
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I want to be as smart as Squish.
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Old 11-25-2013, 04:25 PM   #13
Gripsteruser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neepuk View Post

There's a little sarcasm in this post as I'm actually super excited to get the bike (1993 GS PD with 27,000 miles) but the "fear this" threads are a little intimidating.
The bikes are VERY well known and aren't new anymore. Thus every possible problem has occurred and probably been documented and there likely are 3 different suppliers of parts/techniques to fix the problems.
So now you know what to look for. Yes this has risk to it. But the bikes aren't complicated and you'll quickly become familiar with it.

On the other hand the pending problems of a new bike, of new design, is utterly unknown. Nobody knows what its weaknesses really are nor how long it will last nor when the class failures will start to occur. And the new ones have more computers and firmware involved to really confuse things. THESE are the risky motorcycles to those of us who like to work on our own stuff.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:29 PM   #14
mdlak
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Gspd

Congrats Neepuk! I wanted that bike but it was too far away. Post some pics when you pick it up.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:51 PM   #15
StmbtDave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neepuk View Post
... I feel like I'm going to need a tech weekend with the experienced gurus to begin to understand the bike and it's delicate intricacies. I sure hope there's a local guru or two that are willing to teach this Airhead noob the basic ins and outs...
I'm by no means a guru but I'd be glad to run over to Redstone next spring. We love that little town. Last time thru we stayed right on the river at a quaint lodge called the Redstone Cliffs.

Dave
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