BMW R65 - Pros? Cons?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by bmwhacker, May 1, 2011.

  1. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    I recently sold my long loved R75/5 and ended up with a 1982 R65 as part of the transaction. My first instinct was to sell it off but after riding it I wasn't so sure I wanted it to go away. It seems to be pretty nimble and should be a good "around town" ride.
    I've only ridden it 20 miles or so as I haven't had a chance to look things over better. (lube levels, plugs, etc. etc.)

    The bike needs a little TLC but overall looks / rides pretty good. I noticed some weepage from a fork seal and there is a small leak underneath somewhere.
    The seat is from another planet but is actually pretty comfortable.

    [​IMG]

    My buddy (BMW Mechanic / Guru) says to stay away from the R65's but I don't know why his opinion is negative. It appears to have a lot in common with the R80ST's which are fairly popular.... And it is a fun little bike to ride...for the 20 miles I've put on it around the neighborhood anyway.


    I see they sell fairly cheaply, from $1400.00 - $2000.00 for a nice one.
    Obviously they are not a "sought after" BMW model.
    I knew someone who had a R65LS and they really liked the LS Model. Other than the fairing I don't know if there is much difference.

    So does anyone around here have experiences / opinions about these machines?

    I also wondered if the transmissions were interchangable with the 1970 - 1979 BMW's?

    Opinions?....:D
    #1
  2. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

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    I dig my LS for scooting around town-not as clean as that one, no issues with mine really except I need to replace a pushrod seal.
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    I've owned a small-frame 1981 and a big frame 1986. The 1986 was one of the best bikes I've ever had.....it did everything well.
    #3
  4. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    Transmissions are all the same.

    I believe the R65s got a bad rep from getting lugged - that tears them up. They need to be revved - as all boxers should be, but the R65 more so since it's a short rod motor. Don't make them work at lower RPMs.

    The only difference between the LS and the others is the bodywork, wheels, and exhaust with a bit different shape. They also had dual discs, but the rest could have them too as an option.
    #4
  5. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    Nothing really wrong with them. The biggest difference from all the other models is the shorter stroke, which some people think makes them vibrate more.

    The earlier models were slugs, I'd stay away from the '79-80 models, I understand the later ones have more poke.

    BTW, headlight assy, fuel tank, front fork,and alot of other parts are not interchangable with the R80ST. I know 'cause when I rebuilt my wife's R80ST after tossing it off a cliff, R65 parts were more plentiful. And they didn't fit :deal
    #5
  6. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    My Brother has a 1984 ST (bought new...17k miles and collecting dust) and from appearances they look similar.
    I was told that the R65 was its' own model with unique parts. Hence the transmission compatibility question. (I have a few 70's spare transmissions laying around.)
    Since I won't be able to retire from its' sale, maybe I'll keep it and ride it.
    #6
  7. wirewrkr

    wirewrkr the thread-killer

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    R65s rock.
    They have their own place in the BMW world.
    LSs are cool as hell.
    #7
  8. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Long timer

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    If this alleged guru disses an R65, I'd re-think my shrine. I've been all over the Western states on one and I guess I was too stupid to realize how miserable I was? It will cruise 70-75 ALL day. No problems.

    It could use better shocks and fork springs though. I put gaiters on mine and never had to replace a fork seal again.
    #8
  9. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    The R65 is not a short rod motor. It has almost the exact rod length ratio as a R100. I believe a R100 RLR is 1.91:1 and a R65 is 1.92:1 which is a RCH LONGER rod in relationship with the stroke. The R65 has a shorter stroke but, again, the stroke to bore ratio is EXACTLY the same as a R100's at 1.33:1. As far as the "stroke" being relative is concerned, it is the same "stroke" as a R100.

    IMO, R65's lug just as well as any R100 minus a lot of the torque a R100 gets from its larger displacement. IMO, no engine should be lugged.

    I have heard the same crap about R65's being bad motors. I worked at one dealership and a couple of the old mechanics were telling me they throw rods. I said no more than any other airhead and they said they had never seen a 247 throw a rod. Literally the next week a R100 came in with the rod sticking through the case! I laughed.

    They got revamped ports in '81 and the new much better clutch like all the other bikes got that same year. The pre'81 R65/45's have a clutch unique to the models.
    #9
  10. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    I tend to disagree with the "gurus" opinion also.
    I took the bike out this evening for a ride. The little feller is pretty quick on its' feet. Great braking for a single disc. I like the seating position and the bike fits me well. This is the newest BMW I've owned....and the first with a factory disc brake.
    I'm leaving the state for a couple of months so took it over to a storage unit I rented. Waiting for the security gate the left carb started dumping gas on the ground / exhaust so I'll be doing a little carb work when I get back. I ran the carbs dry and pulled the ground cable. The short ride I took leads me to believe that this one is a keeper for the time being.
    When I originally got it home I found that the signal lights / brake lights weren't working. Expecting the worse, I found that the front brake light switch was missing and the wires had shorted against the handlebars, blowing the fuses. Taped the wires and now all is well. I'll install a new front brake light switch when I get to it. Don't really need it since the rear switch works and I typically don't brake with only the front brake.


    The cheap-o after market fairing will stay. It looks like it belongs there
    .[​IMG]

    Brand new "Brown" side stand. The PO told me he would send me the removed center stand but hasn't yet. I'll probably never see it. At least he left the complete tool kit in the tray.
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Hawk Medicine

    Hawk Medicine Coyote's Brother

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    +1!

    I'd love to own an R65 and an LS is THE ONE!

    My Buddie Jim Post put huge miles on an LS, pulling a trailer and two up with his girlfriend. I guess he finally wore it out but for anyone to say that something is inherently wrong with those bikes, just doesn't appreciate em for what they are.

    I'm still hoping to find an affordable Pearl White LS, before the masses figure out how good they are!
    #11
  12. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I use to cruise mine 90mph ALL day no problem! All the fork springs need is 1/2" more preload. The shocks need to turn in to Koni's.
    #12
  13. baldwithglasses

    baldwithglasses Godspeed, Robert

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    See my sig?

    Mine's neither pretty nor super-fast, but it's been a great bike.

    With the usual electrical upgrades, it's perfect for me.
    #13
  14. bmwloco

    bmwloco Long timer

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    R65 and R45 are on the same platform. R65's are much, much epically better than an R45.

    We never got the R45 in the US, though maybe a couple snuck in. The few I saw were pretty, well, basic. Flimsy looking too.

    Jeff Brody rode a R65 around the US for years. Still has it, I think, even after it was stolen a couple times...
    #14
  15. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    The usual electrical upgrades? Right now I have two airheads with over 100,000 miles. They both have their original diode boards. They both could have their original brushes (I just changed one set LONG before it was needed). I did have a rotor in one give up at about 60,000 miles. Personally, I have never seen a stator go bad in any airhead. I have changed the B+ wires in both of them and have my own grounding setup.

    The R45 looks flimsy? It's the SAME bike with a smaller bore.
    #15
  16. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    Thanks SS - I meant to say short stroke.

    And yeah, the R45 is the same as an R65 except smaller jugs and 28mm Bings. A friend has one for sale right now - a very pretty red one with the stock fairing.

    There was a guy with an R65 who toured europe every year and shipped his bike over from the states. He must have done that for eight or nine years, but eventually tired of wheezing over the passes, and traded it for an oilhead GS I believe.

    Before I got my first R65 about five years ago I read up on them and almost didn't get it after hearing the stories of them not holding together. And even worse were the stories of hop-up failures - supposedly longevity suffered horribly.

    I've found none of that to be true - the one I've got now is bumped to 850 and has been through a lot but still keeps on tickin.
    #16
  17. baldwithglasses

    baldwithglasses Godspeed, Robert

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    Yup- the usual upgrades.

    I'd wager that if one keeps their bike running their bike regularly throughout its service life, the compnentry lasts better. For me - and again, this is MY experience, so YMMV - I came across an initially inexpensive bike that had not seen regular duty so that I had to replace the disparate pieces of the bike's charging and electrical systems. I'm not complaining; I have a reliable bike that suits me just fine, thank you.
    #17
  18. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I know YMMV and I didn't think you were complaining. It's just that all the "usual" upgrades makes it sound like your situation is usual.
    #18
  19. wirewrkr

    wirewrkr the thread-killer

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    Yeah, as far as this friend of yours is concerned, no offense, but very few (if any) "experts" on any subject deserve "guru" status.
    I personally believe that moniker is bandied about in our modern vernacular just a leeeetle too much these days.
    If your guy says to stay away from these bikes, he has some serious issues with reality or just plain doesn't know shit about the R65.
    #19
  20. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Ws, my whole point is that the term "stroke" is relative. Do we call every engine with a stroke shorter than a 454's a "short stroke". The answer is no. A R65 has the same "stroke" as a R100 if you consider the stroke relative to the bore.

    Personally, I call a 1.33:1 bore/stroke ratio a "short stroke" but no one calls the R100 a "short stroke" and it is! Just as much as a R65 anyway.
    #20