Basket Case - getting in over my head?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by TipsyMcStagger, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    NYC & NPR, FL
    I've posted that I'm looking for an airhead to tinker with and form into a cafe racer. I think I've also mentioned I've never owned (or ridden) an airhead, so other than what I'd learned reading this forum, I have zero experience with these bikes.

    I replied to an ad on CL. The guy only sent two pics and wrote, "it needs, heads, carbs, pipes (I have later spare motor, carbs.)"

    I have no idea what the spare motor and carbs he mentions consist of, so assuming the engine that's on the bike is as rough as it looks (looks like it needs more than heads...it has has no cylinders);

    (1) How difficult/costly is it to source jugs, heads, carbs and pipes for these bikes?

    (2) How interchangeable are parts from other models and later years?

    Supposedly, it's a 1973 R75. Thanks for the education!

    Tipsy

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,829
    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    What about the Guzzi in the background? That would be neat as well.

    If that BMW has been sitting for 15 or 20 years with the top end off,the crankshaft and internals could be stuffed as well. Parts for those old beemers are generally available from BMW,prices were going steadily up and up when I rebuilt an R75/6 4 or 5 years ago,shocking is a mild take on what the prices were then. Used parts can sometimes be found on various forums.
    You might be better off finding a runner of some sort,a bike like that could snowball into an expensive time consuming lesson .

    I just picked up a 1974 XS650 yesterday for 100.00,engine turns over,bike is complete/uncrashed with some corrosion but mainly dirty.
    Parts are available on ebay and here and there,Yamaha built a ton of them.

    Those old beemers have street cred,but are a clunker to ride,crap brakes,crap shifting,handling like a rubber cow,and slow to the point of distraction. A guy can spend many years addressing all these problems,once a complete rebuild has been done anyway.

    Airhead people are special people,one will check in any moment now.
    #2
  3. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    NYC & NPR, FL
    I've considered XS650's in the past, but I'm enamored with the old airheads. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while.

    Tipsy
    #3
  4. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    12,364
    Location:
    Silver Spring, Md
    That looks like way too much for somebody with no Airhead experience. Have you had any previous mechanical adventures? Of course the bottom line is important. It looks like a parts bike to me. You say it comes with another engine? What kind of shape is that in?

    What's the asking price? What's the mileage?
    #4
  5. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    704

    Truer words were never spoken. I used to own an R90S
    and while it was not as slow as a /5 it did have
    terrible brakes, awful shifting, and rubber cow
    handling. Guys on Japanese sport bikes used to say they
    didn't like riding behind me on twisty roads because
    it was so scary to watch the bike pitch and wobble.
    If you put sticky modern tires on one today the frame
    would probably twist up like a clock spring.



    .
    #5
  6. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    NYC & NPR, FL
    I posted all of the information provided to me thus far. No mileage was provided. The asking prices is $1250 obo. No information was provided about the additional engine other than to say it is from a "later model."

    Yes, I have mechanical experience. I have no experience welding but I've always wanted to learn and look at this as an opportunity to do so.

    Tipsy
    #6
  7. spo123

    spo123 Man About Town

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    987
    Location:
    North Shore Mass. USA
    parts bike...
    #7
  8. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin!

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,032
    Location:
    Road Island
    My initial reaction: RUN the other way!!

    That is way too much money for what I see in the photos. Keep looking, if you really want an airhead, they are around at far better prices in far better condition!

    :D
    #8
  9. LBourque

    LBourque G/S nut

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    232
    Location:
    Northern AZ
    You might want to have a budget first. Allow a minimum of $2500 in parts then go from there.
    #9
  10. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,829
    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    1250.00 American Dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Cripes sake man,that's a 200.00 parts bike,if it's as bad as it looks.
    Each and every small part it ends up needing,besides the obvious missing top end, will add up to the price of a running example much quicker then a guy would think. I spent 900.00 on a running airhead with crash damage,once apart it was clear it needed a total rebuild from top to bottom,besides the bent frame/forks.

    I spent over 3000.00,it needed lots more and wouldnt sell for 1900.00 no matter how long I listed it.
    They can be a money pit of the highest order.

    They do have panache to other Airhead riders though.
    #10
  11. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    NYC & NPR, FL
    I just spoke with the seller. He's really looking to trade for stuff I don't have (R69 frame?). And I think he thinks he has gold. He mentioned several times, "They're only getting more valuable...I'm not going to give it away. I'm in no hurry to get rid of it. It's only going to get more valuable."

    All he could tell me about the other engine is that it's either 900 or 1000cc's...he had no idea what year it was.

    I appreciate the feedback. Thanks guys.

    Tipsy
    #11
  12. blaine.hale

    blaine.hale Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,601
    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga
    That guy's an idiot.
    Slap his ass and run away. Far away.
    #12
  13. Kt-88

    Kt-88 I like everything.

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,017
    Location:
    SLC area, Utah
    Having owned just one airhead but a million parallel twins around 650cc of various makes, I can say this: airheads are fantastic distance machines. I love the aesthetics of the airhead cafe, but better bang for the buck is with a trump or xs. If you need to be unconventional (which is completely cool with me) cafe out a cx500 or be real weird and do a virago.

    I love the crap out of my r90 and it's hardly slow, but it certainly isn't light and flickable the way my last xs was. Or the one before that. I can however ride the r90 for ten hours a day and not be bedridden the following morning, so that's nice.

    This particular bike is a pass. Too many dollars.
    #13
  14. Kt-88

    Kt-88 I like everything.

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,017
    Location:
    SLC area, Utah
    That's the truth. Possibly capital T.
    #14
  15. Married Man

    Married Man Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I'm still throwing money into an R100RS I picked up for $1000. It had been stored under a tarp in the guy's backyard for 8 years without running. So far:
    -rebuilt the carbs
    -opened up and cleaned the transmission and final drive
    -replaced the gas tank
    -powdercoated frame bits
    -new tires
    -replaced the charging system.
    Still to do:
    -paint.
    -valve seats

    At the end of the day, I'll have spent what a running bike would have cost me and I'll know it inside and out. You're about to spend a whole lot more on a bike worth a whole lot less. Go back and find one good part on that bike. Buy that one part and bring it home. Then start looking for all the parts you'll need to build a running bike to add to it and you won't have to deal with a bunch of junk. I'm thinking $10 for the handlebars and go from there.
    #15
  16. brocktoon

    brocktoon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    262
    Location:
    NorCal
    Looks like you're dealing with a delusional hoarder. Hire a camera crew and a Uhaul. Tell him you're with A&E and you're there to help him.

    He's half right. 70s Airheads will continue to get more and more valuable. That bike, on the other hand, will continue to get more and more rusty. It might be of some value to a taxidermist looking to practice on the dead squirrels that are no doubt inside.

    What was up with those King & Queen seats? They seem to be on every early 70s bikes that got stored and forgotten by their owner. Did everyone have huge asses in the 70s?
    #16
  17. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    NYC & NPR, FL
    LOL! Probably the best advice yet! :rofl

    Tipsy
    #17
  18. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,926
    Location:
    El Segundo, CA
    I would tackle a project like that, no problem.. just not at that price. I might go as high as $300, though. That's assuming the take is solid, the headlight is complete, the charging system was complete, and the extra engine was actually for a /5.
    #18
  19. Saltwater

    Saltwater Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Washington State
    Here is before/after of my $800 mini storage queen; 1978 R80/7, 21,800 miles, out of service for seven + years. Thought I got a screaming deal – NOT. Previous owner couldn't solve the bad coil mystery, and then lost interest. Still trying to make a silk purse out of it. Fuel tank and seat pan wasted, stripped everything off the spot rusted frame and repainted it myself, most of the rubber bits were cracked, dried out, or missing, tires nearly new, but probably over 9 years old. Engine and trans work well so far, carb, starter, and fork had to be overhauled, tail pipes had major rust/ pin holes on the bottom, both fenders cracked. Spokes and nipples are rusted, and hurt my eyes to look at. As it stands now, I'm about at the $1,500 cheap bike challenge (orange boat cushion seat), but lusting to spend more money. It runs and rides great, but probably only worth about what I've spent, maybe. Number of wrenching and refurbishment hours over 13 months unknown -- mass hours, but enjoyable. Lots of used replacement parts have come from ebay, but that takes time too. The before and after photos don't look very different, and that's the point here.

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    If he gave it to you I'd take it home and ponder further, otherwise I’d counsel you to buy a runner, and then have fun tinkering while using it. <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,188
    Location:
    NYC & NPR, FL
    Is that an RV next to your R80?

    Tipsy
    #20