My first airhead, smoke red 82' R100RS, some impressions and questions

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by drj434343, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    The Great NW
    I've been riding bikes for 1 year; started with a 71' Honda CB500 last summer, although at the time I was looking at older SWB airheads as I always liked those crazy jugs jutting out. The Honda came along at the right time though, so I jumped on it.

    This last year of riding convinced me of a few things. A) I needed some kind of fairing protection, the PNW is colder most of the year. B) I needed some kind of storage on bike, but couldn't find non factory options that looked decent on the CB500. C) More power couldn't hurt!

    Weeks of reading later, I decided to jump into the RS. Love that fairing, and the Krauser bags! I finally found a smoke red 82' and trailered it across the state after a short test drive.

    [​IMG]

    Since then, I've been on it a few times to get a feel. The first ride was awkward; I wasn't sure about the wallowing suspension, the giant thump power pulses when accelerating, and the riding position on stock bars. The CB500 was sewing machine in comparison. The second ride was different, as soon as I got on it seemed to fit more like a glove; I got more comfortable with the short bars, and began to see some of the charm that everyone raves about. It feels more like a bike I could take a long trip on; the CB500 does not.

    That said, I have a lot of learning to do. A Clymer manual is in the mail, and in the meantime I've been exploring what I can throw at this to get it ready for some longer trips. I've also noticed a few things in my first few rides.

    1. Charging light and volt meter have minds of their own. The light will go off above 2K RPM, but only sometimes comes back on at idle. The gauge reads about 12.6 V max while riding, and 12.2V idling. Sometimes it stays in the low 12's even when revving. I haven't put a VM on the battery directly yet. Do the gauges normally read low?

    2. My oil cooler is cold to the touch after a ride. I've read there is a wax filled oil thermostat that can malfunction and not allow any oil into the cooler, but when I look through parts catalogs like Bike Bandit, a replacement does not seem available. Is it dangerous to ride without this? Could I remove it all together and switch to a vented front cover?

    3. My idle has a mind of its own. Sometimes it falls to 1K RPM, sometimes it stays at 1.5K RPM. I've read the mechanical advances on these bikes can become sticky over time. Is this a common problem, or should I look elsewhere? I have confirmed the throttle action of the carbs is strong and returns to base without sticking. They were professionally synced before I got the bike.

    4. Is there a good online source for factory parts on these bikes? I'm going to get a bunch of stage zero parts along with many misc odds and ends that are missing. Bike Bandit is the best I've found so far with part blowaparts. Are there other sources?

    Cheers,
    Jason
    #1
  2. Ron Bernert

    Ron Bernert hiding in plain sight

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    393
    Location:
    Oxford, Ohio
    The RS is a fantastic bike. Sometimes, it takes 'getting used to', but most of the time, you need to straighten out previous owner's errors. When the bike is set up for you, you'll grin from ear to ear. Stick with it.
    For parts, I use Max BMW and Bob's BMW. There's some other really good sources, and I'm sure someone else will advise you on somewhere a little closer to home. Bob's gets my order correct 75% of the time. Max is 100%. Max's has the Fiche, so it's simple to order.

    Out of all of the bikes I've owned, the RS is probably one of the best I have ever had. A true 4-season rider, almost weatherproof. If you can afford to spend a season or two dialing the bike in to your riding style, It might be the best bike for you, too! Enjoy it!
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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    Oddometer:
    2,472
    A beautiful score. IMO you have the very best RS model and color ever. Try Hucky's for parts. Hans has no online fiche, but once you know what you want he is the real deal. An old school parts dealer for an old school bike.
    #3
  4. oldhippie1

    oldhippie1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    604
    You have a FINE motorcycle. Join the BMWMOA and go to one of their rally's. They are a good group. You'll also learn where to buy parts etc. I've been a member for 33 years. Your bike can be rebuilt over and over and is so much neater than the new stuff out there. Be happy with it and ride it for a lifetime.
    #4
  5. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,696
    Location:
    Shoreline, WA
    Depending on where your in OR, inmate Wirespokes is a great resource for BMW knowledge and assistance...

    As far as parts go, I am a fan of buying local, and your local BMW shop can you you any parts you need, save the NLA ones.
    #5
  6. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    The Great NW
    I read Bill Stermer's R100RS book and was surprised to see that only 215 of these were made in 1982 for all of Canada, US, and Australia!
    #6
  7. DoktorT

    DoktorT BigBrowedNeandereer

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    Location:
    Chewelah, WA
    #7
  8. ME 109

    ME 109 Long timer

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    Albury Australia
    Top bike drj434343434343434344343 (woops)

    First, you might be able to get a brand new front wheel from BMW for your bike. :deal

    Second, you indeed have one of the best airheads imo.

    These bikes are hugely competent in just about all areas of riding. Do give yourself time to get to know it, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

    Your RS looks very nice, although I'll have to disagree with beemerphile! (the grey is better than the red :D)
    #8
  9. ME 109

    ME 109 Long timer

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    I'll take the brand new front wheel back, on closer inspection.
    #9
  10. GCCR

    GCCR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Rocklin, CA
    Great score, great machine! I simply love my airheads (4) but the RS is my favorite to ride. I'm currently giving it a face lift to meet more of my taste, but that's another story. As far as your question re. the oil cooler, yes you can. If I where in an area where I was running it hard in a constant hot area, then I probably would leave it, but since I don't...off with it! It's also so much easier to do oil changes without that monstrous oil filter cover in the way. It takes way to much time with it in place. You'll need to get a regular cover to replace the old one. You'll also need to remove the pipe in the oil filter housing. It simply unscrews with a broad tip screwdriver. You'll need to buy the shorter pipe and install it the same way. There's a video on how to go about doing this on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=LMdtV8w5-ig

    Good luck, and enjoy this fine machine!
    #10
  11. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    76
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    Yup, it's definitely a replaced wheel. I confirmed before purchasing, as I wasn't sure you could still get them from BMW at this point.
    #11
  12. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

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    Jul 22, 2013
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    #12
  13. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    598
    Location:
    Cottonwood, CA
    You didn't ask about this but check out your shocks. There are several items in the steering and suspension that can increase the wallowling you experienced but if you still have original shocks they may have lost some effectiveness in 30+ years. New shocks usually greatly improve the handling of these bikes. The bikes do have some inherent flexibility but in my experience if everything else is good you can actually push them pretty hard be fore that becomes an issue.

    Very nice find by the way!

    Chuck
    #13
  14. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

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    USA

    Don't listen to ME109, I don't even think he rides a motorcycle!:evil

    Only thing I'm sure of, the faster an RS goes the better it feels.
    #14
  15. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    The Great NW
    The rear shocks are not original. They are Koni's, and the PO stated they're about 5 years old but with only 4K miles (he rode very little in the last few years). The front is probably all original. My plan was to refresh the fluid and probably leave it like that for now as the forks are not leaking.

    My comparison is to my CB500, on which I installed new Hagons and stiffer front progressive springs. It is a firm ride. The BMW in comparison is soft but so far doesn't feel overly soft. Part of the reason may be that this does not feel like the kind of bike I want to whip around the neighborhood, that's what the Honda is good at. I want to take this on longer rides in the outskirts. The gentle road feel will probably be welcome there.

    I'm finding the bike wanders a bit into sweeping turns at speed, but can't tell if it is a function of my getting used to the shorter bars, or something else. Some of the period reviews I've looked at indicated they did have a tendency to not be 100% sure going into turns.
    #15
  16. Hookalatch

    Hookalatch Born Under Bad Sign

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    I don't know if your bike is equipped with a steering damper or not. I was finding it harder to hold a straight line thru corners when I first switched to short low handlebars and found putting the steering damper on the first setting helped with that. I have gotten used to the bars now and prefer not using it. Maybe that will help you?

    Chuck
    #16
  17. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

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    Jul 22, 2013
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    Good idea, I will play with that. My damper does indeed work, although the manual says setting 1 is for "rough roads" and setting 2 for "extremely rough roads"; implying that for most purposes you leave it in setting 0. I will give it a try though.
    #17
  18. ME 109

    ME 109 Long timer

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    True that Ozmoses, I ride THE motorcycle. :D
    #18
  19. DoktorT

    DoktorT BigBrowedNeandereer

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    Billot top triple clamp will make a difference here. The SJBMW/CC products top clamps is my solution for Airheads. Others have started making them in recent years. They really do firm up the front end noticably when installed correctly.

    Set the damper to 0 unless negoiting potholes or washboarded grades on dirt roads.
    #19
  20. drj434343

    drj434343 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    The Great NW
    I had previously looked at this, although I don't have enough saddle time yet to really enjoy whatever improvement it may bring.

    http://www.pbase.com/toastertan/top_braces
    #20