How do airheads do in prolonged stop and go traffic?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by backdrifter, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Some of you may have seen my build thread regarding Papa's R60/5 that I'm restoring. Well, beyond the motorcycle, Papa's love was dancing. In fact, it runs in their family's blood, and my wife is a 5th generation dance studio owner/operator.

    They have two parades a year. The one I'm concerned about is the day after Thanksgiving. I would love to enter the BMW into the parade with their other floats in honor of Papa. The parade route is 2 miles and it is a slow pace - 3mph or less. It usually takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete. It wouldn't be fun on a bike - lots of clutch and lots of stopping, but I'd still like to do it.

    Yesterday was around 50 degrees, but it's typically cooler. How would the airhead do in this situation? Would it end up overheating?

    Thanks in advance!
    #1
  2. batoutoflahonda

    batoutoflahonda Long timer

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    It'll be fine. The way i look at air cooled engines is there are plenty of stationary engines. Air compressors etc., plus dirt bikes that run at high RPMs but low speed, like in the woods. The RPMs may creep up as it gets warm. Oddly, most of my water cooled bikes ran horribly in stop in go traffic.
    #2
  3. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks for the response!
    #3
  4. robtg

    robtg Been here awhile

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    Stationary engines are fan cooled. Basically idling for long periods as in a parade is a bad for any type of engine.
    #4
  5. JonnyCash

    JonnyCash turd polisher

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    Stationary engines almost always have a fan to blow over their fins.
    #5
  6. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

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    BMW engines with the opposed cylinders sticking out in the air are probably better than any other air-cooled motorcycle engines at tolerating that kind of abuse, but nevertheless, I'd avoid prolonged periods of no movement with an idling engine, unless you're doing it in cold weather.

    I rode my R69S in a parade once, and finally shut it down and pushed it. Too much stopping and sitting.
    #6
  7. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

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    I think as long as you've got any movement at all, even if its just creeping along at barely idle, you'll probably be fine. Its Rev's that make really serious heat, and as long as youre not actually dead stopped for longer than a few-five minutes at a time, I would go ahead and do it. Especially if its kinda chilly out.

    If its overheating, you'll know it because it will act like crap, Idle like shit, revving itself weirdly, and laggy throttle response. I also spit on the cylinders. If it skittles away immediately, its probably a bit hot. But if it just kinda sits there and boils or sizzles, its ok. PS, remember to flip helmet up first.


    Im a little confused by the timing of the original post, though :D Are you talking about Next year's parade?
    #7
  8. OldAndBusted

    OldAndBusted Needs a little work...

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    my thoughts actually went first to the electrics. airheads have notoriously weak charging systems, even in commuting traffic. i guess 1 hour wouldn't be that big a deal though.
    #8
  9. chiefrider

    chiefrider Chrome won't get you home

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    Some years ago at the Spokane BMWMOA rally, I listened to an old Airhead sage from Henderson, NV, respond as to whether his Beemer would do alright on a trip to Death Valley in August, and what special preparations he should make for the bike for the heat.

    He said the bike required no special preparations, as it will be OK, but then he added, "But you, you're going to die."

    I have been caught in Portland freeway stop & go during a heatwave, and my R100GSPD never stumbled nor missed a beat. I felt like I was gonna die, though.

    Tom in Salem
    #9
  10. gplane

    gplane Putty Conjugator

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    My R90/6 does not like block after block start and stop traffic on hot days. [hot days]
    You will know.
    #10
  11. otilram

    otilram Beemax

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    I got stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic in Manila many years ago in my R60/5. Both me and my bike overheated.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #11
  12. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer

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    Air cooled Harleys have been used in parades for decades, I suspect the flat twin BMW would do as well or better with the cylinders full exposed to the slightly moving air.
    #12
  13. GearHeadGrrrl

    GearHeadGrrrl Been here awhile

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    I've done parades with airheads for years, no problems!
    #13
  14. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks for all of the responses. I would have a support truck just in front of or behind me. I could always have them carry a few bottles of water for me in case I needed to dump them on the cylinders. I think I'll plan on giving it a shot.

    Hi Stagehand, yes, I'm thinking about next year. I would have loved to participate this year, but unfortunately all I have so far is a shiny frame and fork!
    #14
  15. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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    I had to bail halfway through the only parade my R100 ever participated in. Didn't seem to bother the Harleys for some reason.
    #15
  16. bmwloco

    bmwloco Long timer

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    If you have air in the tires, a good engine, and you are stable enough to keep it up at slow speeds... it should run for as long as you want to hang onto the bars.

    Having ridden through Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston for years - you have no worries.

    Have a great parade.
    #16
  17. Tripletreat

    Tripletreat Been here awhile

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    I've worried about this issue when stuck in traffic in summer too. I once had the engine start making a really weird sound, but it recovered and I never found any damage to anything. I would recommend, however, after long periods of hot running that you treat the bike to fresh oil.
    #17
  18. kbasa

    kbasa Roubaix! Super Moderator

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    If you stall it, you'll be screwed. The battery will be close to flat sooner than you think.
    #18
  19. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

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    You poor people, aren't you allowed to lane split? That's the reason I commute on my bike. It's a bit of a grey area here, but unless you're being an idiot, it's usually ok, got waved to go on by a cop not long ago.

    Anyway, who is going to chase you when the road is packed?
    #19
  20. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Go back and read my original post - this is for a parade. I guess I could lane split, but I don't think the floats in front of me would like that! :D
    #20