Buying My First Airhead and Getting Spooked!

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by neepuk, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
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    1,638
    Location:
    Redstone, CO
    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.
    #1
  2. east high

    east high Been here awhile

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    Portland, Oregon
    Airheads are a snap to work on compared to other bikes out there. It's almost like they were designed with maintenance in mind...
    #2
  3. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    Ride it first, worry about worrying about it later!
    #3
  4. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

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    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.
    #4
  5. kadesean

    kadesean eyesuck

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    Jan 4, 2006
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    Muskegon, Michigan
    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.:D
    #5
  6. therealbatman

    therealbatman "Godfather"

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
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    Location:
    Cadillac, MI
    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:huh)
    #6
  7. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows all - tells some.

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    +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.
    #7
  8. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

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    Location:
    Auburn, CA
    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. :wink:
    #8
  9. patrkbukly

    patrkbukly 52 Weeks of warm

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    Sep 28, 2002
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    1,540
    Location:
    Miami, FL.
    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.
    #9
  10. squish

    squish Out of the office.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Where the Ghetto meets the sea.
    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.
    #10
  11. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    USA
    End of thread/subforum!:rofl
    #11
  12. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Silver Spring, Md
    I want to be as smart as Squish. :freaky
    #12
  13. Gripsteruser

    Gripsteruser Got a handle on it

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    N. Colo
    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.
    #13
  14. mdlak

    mdlak Been here awhile

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    Jul 22, 2010
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    GTA
    Congrats Neepuk! I wanted that bike but it was too far away. Post some pics when you pick it up.
    #14
  15. StmbtDave

    StmbtDave AKA Invisible Dave

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    Loveland, CO summer - Green Valley, AZ winter
    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
    #15
  16. dilandau

    dilandau Been here awhile

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    Aug 29, 2009
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    oakland, ca
    people go onto forums and post when they have a problem- so if you search online, you only hear problem problem problem. if the bike it running fine, you never hear about it. --

    I once posted a "bike running great, thank you" post just so one such would exist.
    #16
  17. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
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    5,329
    Location:
    Bowling Green, Ky
    My old airhead is running, great, 124,000 miles, shifts wonderfully, speedo works,wiring like new, no circlip or driveshaft issues.. valves not receding, bike doesn't wobble when fully loaded at speed, brakes are great, hall effect sensor works great, charging problems nonexistent, sub frame not broken, Bosch starter doing what it should, flywheel ring gear mounted solidly to flywheel, neutral switch dry.......just a great bike no issues...

    see my signature below:D
    #17
  18. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I'm good friends with the owner of The Cliffs, also the managers. That place is for sale right now, listed for only $899,000, if you can believe that! I live about 1/2 mile from there, just up the highway from the coke ovens. Feel free to PM me and drop by any time! Our place is alway open to riders and on the tent-space list, which is actually a spare bedroom with private bath right down the hall from an 1100 sq ft heated garage with white epoxy painted floors and lots of tools.

    Loving the posts in this thread, good knowledge, great sarcasm and friendly oddities. Picking up the bike on or around Dec 3 and I can't wait to get it here, ride it, and to start going over it mechanically.
    #18
  19. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Redstone, CO

    Where is the "like" button?
    #19
  20. neepuk

    neepuk Such a drag...

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,638
    Location:
    Redstone, CO
    I'm optimistic that mine will be equally strong, only nearly 100,000 fewer miles. Great post, love to hear the good stories to.

    I've wanted a GSPD for quite some time now!
    #20