New to Airhead

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by ninepeaks9, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Just acquired a '77 R100/7 with 90K miles. Strong pull and good clutch albeit bit clunky compared to my 12RT as expected. No mechanical issues other than sticky auto advance unit that tend to drive up rpm during idle at stop. Nothing I couldn't live with and not sure if I want to delve into for a fix. Two main things that I would want to invest in are suspension and brakes. Single disk brake in front does the job but is mediocre in peformance and requires strong pull to make it work. Going around turns, the suspension gives out, making the turn unstable from time to time. Trying to get most bang for the buck, what would be good investment that will give me good enough performance. Going double disk conversion sounds like too much effort cost & time wise. I'm thinking maybe steel braided brake cable or mouting direct handlebar MC for the single disk (or both) would give me much improvement over very old stock set up. Does anyone know what handlebar MC to source from where that would fit? For suspension, I'm thinking aftermarket front fork springs is a good investment for a starter and eventually changed out rear shocks later. Or would changing rear shocks first give me more performance boost? I know I need to change out both eventually.
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  2. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

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    I would change the rear shocks first which should give the biggest improvement in handling. A stainless hose and handlebar mounted MC will make some difference but there will be no subsitute for double discs, preferably a Brembo set up but that will require a whole new front end.
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  3. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the helpful info. Been looking at Progressive rear shocks. Mixed reviews on those vs higher end Ikon shocks, but I think for my purpose, cheaper Progressives would work fine.
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  4. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    I guess handlebar mounted MC for single ATE brake isn't really a big improvement. I think the ATE brake caliper is probably the weak link in that scheme. I'm thinking maybe total front end (wheel, disk, caliper & forks) replacement from something compatible from '90 era bikes. My '92 Honda Nighthawk 750 had single disk front that provided decent stopping power. I wonder if they're compatible. Those are available in abundance from scrap yard, I'm sure.
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  5. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I have been told repeatedly that a handlebar MC is the biggest single improvement, quickest fix, for the lack of brakes in a single Ate set up. Yes it costs something, not sure. But if you want a cheaper fix them the stainless steel hose will give you some improvement. If you want a cheaper fix than that replace the stretchy cable from the lever to the under tank MC. (admittedly only a tad of improvement if any)

    There may be some improvement from new pads but I can't tell you which ones work best.

    I've always thought a different rotor would be enough but I haven't had the moola to try my theory.

    It is often found that a correct set up of the stock system will work better than what most riders are piloting. The swinging caliper system of the Ates on mid '70's Airheads have a specific adjustment to effect proper performance. You'll find info in your manual.

    Or trade it for a Honda.
    #5
  6. mykill

    mykill odd

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    The handlebar master with braided hoses, Ferrodo pads and a cast iron disc (vintage brake.com) will get you everything out of the front brake that you are gonna get.
    Unless you are racing or seriously street flogging, the stock front end set up, carefully gone through, should be fine. After that, Racetech emulators etc are nice. Hagons, YSS, IKON or Progressive work well but will show their limitations when you need them most. Ohlins, Works, or Racetech are your sportier options.
    Your new (old) bike will provide you plenty of feedback unlike your R1200. It will protest long before it lets go.
    #6
  7. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    Look at post #125 here - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=741179&page=9 . This is a 14 mm MC. Is your ATE caliper 38 mm or 40 mm? You have a single ATE caliper, right? If so, you would need a much smaller MC, like 12 mm, 10 mm, etc. to get a good caliper/ MC ratio.
    #7
  8. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the very useful info, guys. Mine is single ATE.
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  9. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    I wouldn't want to go too fast on a 35 year old bike. Then again, I'm too used to the modern bikes that I push the bike sometimes. Then I realize I don't have as good a brake or suspension. :lol3
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  10. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Actually that thought crossed my mind that maybe I should've gotten a quirk-less Honda, but then again it wouldn't be too interesting :D
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  11. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Good.

    I had a feeling that you should get this over with right away. Now that you have gotten over this hump we can begin to work. :clap
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  12. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Do I see Shackleton's icebound Endurance?
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  13. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    #13
  14. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Cool! I sort a feel tiny bit like Shackleton when I ride my newly acquired beat up airhead. :lol3
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  15. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Shackleton is a favorite Hero of many people. I think that our Heroes are people we are like or we want to be like. I was lucky to find the letter written so long ago. Written by a Hero of mine and of many people.

    I never had a cool Avatar like everybody else. I'm sorta dense when it comes to operating my computer. I try but I couldn't figure out how to make a cool Avatar. Then I was fooling with the photo from the expedition and I got it to work. It was timing. It was my Avatar. Cool Huh?

    One more piece of advice I like to give to those complaining about the brakes on our Airheads. I realize that modern brakes work better. But there is something that helps if you can do this. Don't tail gate. I think modern drivers are too close most of the time, well they have better brakes than us older guys grew up with. I think I leave more room than other drivers. I think I need too.

    On the Highway I'm usually in front. In the City I hang back sometimes or I just take my time. None of this is very easy to do and it is probably more an attitude than anything else.

    The Ate system can be improved but I've heard that after you do all of that the Honda is still better. :lol3
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  16. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    I have no problem adjusting my driving habits to compensate for older technology on the airhead. I remember how I drove my '79 Yamaha XS400 everyday for 3 years in high school. It was my only transportation back then. I'm just apprehensive about idiot drivers jumping in front of me and I won't be able to come to a quick stop. Too many aggressive drivers in DC area. :eek1 Yes, Shackleton's awesome guy.
    #16
  17. boxerboy81

    boxerboy81 Stay Horizontal

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    Welcome to our world of the airhead.

    Have a look HERE for another alternative to the front brake upgrade, cheaper and just as efficient as the later oem parts method.
    #17
  18. ninepeaks9

    ninepeaks9 Been here awhile

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    Excellent !!! :clap Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a bunch. With that mod, my airhead could actually be a daily commuter when the good weather returns.:clap
    #18
  19. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    Very nice job! You used a 13 mm Magura. Do you know if they make smaller sizes, say 12 mm, or 10 mm?
    #19
  20. boxerboy81

    boxerboy81 Stay Horizontal

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    Dunno! It wasn't my thread. Sorry.
    #20