1979 R65: What to look for?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by rkover1, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    231
    Location:
    Kailua-Kona,Hawai'i, USA
    I am in a bit of a conundrum in that in a couple of weeks I'll know whether I'm moving back to Hawai'i or in the market for an R65. If I believe in the latter, there is one available locally that has a purported 41,000 miles.

    I'd like to go take a look, but not ever owning an airhead, particularly the R65, I'm not sure what I should be looking for.

    Besides any obvious pools of oil, is there anything about the R65 in particular that I should be aware of? Any issues or shortcomings of this particular model? Or for airheads of this vintage in general?

    I'll ask over at the R65.org site as well, but there seems to be more traffic over here.

    Thanks for any insights!

    doc
    #1
  2. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    12,374
    Location:
    Silver Spring, Md
    The bike has ignition points in the can. Called the Bean Can ignition sometimes. Will need some regular maintenance but then most things do. You either love them or hate them.

    The R65 is either an under powered bike or a fast bike depending on your feelings about it. I think I wouldn't like one but I ride something much bigger now. Most owners seem happy with them.

    Ask if he has done any modes to the bike. Sometimes people convert to a full electronic ignition or they add a booster to the Bean Can. Either of these mods is OK. I would consider the booster a plus. But OEM is maybe best for you right now.

    You'll want to see maintenance records if he has them. Regular oil changes and such. Note what kind and weight of oil has been used. At this mileage there has not been any major problems I would think. But there may have been greasing the steering head bearing, rebuilding the carbs, washing out or flushing the gas tank, putting a new liner in the gas tank, replacing the rubber pieces of the intake muffler and speedo cables, replaing the throttle and/or clutch cables....Much of this work would have had to be done for 41K miles. Or it may not have needed any of that stuff. In which case these are items you are likely to need to be doing soon.

    Post a pic if you can. How much?
    #2
  3. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    231
    Location:
    Kailua-Kona,Hawai'i, USA
    Thanks! That helps. I should be able to do most all of that if needed.

    He's asking $2200. Listed on CraigsList, he hasn't gotten back to me yet.

    doc
    #3
  4. Voltaire

    Voltaire Titanium and Ceramic Hipster

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,058
    Location:
    Auckland,New Zealand
    I picked up a semi-runner last May cheap to part out.... undid the PO's attempt at carb balancing and valve clearances and have ridden it nearly every day to and from work about a 40km trip.
    Its done 100 000 kms and I have recently replaced the clutch, fluids and filter....done about 6000 kms.
    I gather the valves are prone to failure...apart from that they are much the same as the larger ones.
    I never wanted one but after 8 months find it nippy in traffic, good on the motorway if not a bit buzzy around the 4k mark. Recently got best consumption of 360 km from a tank.
    Parts are easy to get off German Ebay and Motobins.
    Mine was $1100 NZ about $800 US. Liked it so much I sold my Triumph Thruxton as the BMW was better to ride and money could be spent on 'other' projects.:clap
    #4
  5. ritetwist

    ritetwist Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    206
    Location:
    North AB, CDA
    I don't know about the one you are looking at, but mine('82) only has a fuel petcock on the left side.
    If the inside looks iffy you could have a lot of cruddy build up on the right side.
    It would be prudent to flush out the tank if you get it.
    I haven't ridden mine much,but seems quite maneuverable,short and light.
    Loves to rev.
    Good luck.
    #5
  6. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,116
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    I prefer the '81 to 84 R65's for the clutch, nikisil cylinders, electronic ignition, bigger ports and valves I believe, and more power according to BMW. I like the LS's the most for the wheels and Brembo brakes.
    #6
  7. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    231
    Location:
    Kailua-Kona,Hawai'i, USA
    Yeah, I too like the looks of the LS. Unfortunately with my stature, if I want an airhead, it'll be an early R65. :deal

    doc
    #7
  8. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,685
    Location:
    The far east of the far east of North America
    I have followed this thread this week and my thanks to all who have helped because i made a deal today on a '79 R65. I know nothing of Airheads but have an Oilhead and a few K bikes. My brother has an LS that i have ridden a bit and like so... what the hell.
    #8
  9. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    231
    Location:
    Kailua-Kona,Hawai'i, USA
    Congratulations!

    Hope you'll stay with us and share in the adventure! Looking forward to hearing more.

    doc
    #9
  10. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,685
    Location:
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    The bike had been offered to me several times in the last year. Too many machines...only one arse so i declined.
    I offered the deal to my brother and an inmate,both who ride R65 LS. No takers.
    The owner called me this week and made me an offer i could not refuse..so i did not.
    #10
  11. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,685
    Location:
    The far east of the far east of North America
    Picked it up today as a non runner. I will have to rebuild the front brake master cylinder. The brand new exhaust system and tires are a plus.
    I parked it next to my brothers R65 LS and went through the process of a full fluid change. Everything looked good at each step of the process and within an hour she was idling on centerstand.
    I am having a good day.
    #11