Old BMW GS?

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by jehicks87, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. jehicks87

    jehicks87 Been here awhile

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    So, I'm really interested in picking up a dual sport bike. I've always loved the old airheads (love the /5's ESPECIALLY). Now, I know they didn't make dual-sport bikes back then. Got it. But... the airhead engine is basically unchanged all the way up until, what? The mystic?

    My question is, on the merits of a DS motorcycle alone, how do the airhead G/S and GS bikes from BMW stand? Like, how good are they REALLY?
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  2. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    How good at what specifically?
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  3. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    They are durable engines if sorted out. Pretty easy to work on w/ basic knowledge. As they are quite old. But there are bike out there which are better...lots better, cheaper too.

    Depends on what you're expectations are.

    Imagine, compairing a Triumph TR6 to a Miata. If you'd prefer the TR6 then you will be up for an airhead. If you'd prefer the Miata, then you're not ready for an airhead.
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  4. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Lets put it this way;

    I have bought 3 tickets for the BMWMOA r1200GSA raffle. I did this for one simple reason, if I win that bike I will be promptly selling it and buying a fully equipped g/s and using the rest of the money to last 6-8 months in central and south america.

    I personally think any GS of the oil head persuasion is a complete piece of over computerized, over priced crap. I had one, and only one.

    This line of thinking should tell you something;

    Airhead GS-G/Ses are simple, strong and reliable. You can fix them anywhere. That being said...you must know how to work on them to own them...not so with an oilhead. Those guys have BMW assist and a credit card. :lol3

    PS. How are the USDA-FAS AgSpecs making out down there? Any progress?
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  5. jehicks87

    jehicks87 Been here awhile

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    Being on-and-off road Motorcycles. Tearing up fields and twisties. Traveling from Calgary to Machu Pichu, from Las Vegas to Berlin.

    How good are they at "all you ever need on two wheels"?
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  6. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Properly set up...perfectly. To set up perfectly is up to you.
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  7. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    In my eyes, as close to perfect as you can get. Not fast, but not slow. comfortable enough to sit in the saddle for hours, will go off road through gnarly stuff you wouldn't expect it to go through. Easy to repair and maintain, but you MUST maintain your airhead. Longevity is key with these bikes, they'll run forever if you treat them right. And, they can carry a pretty good load. I love my ST/G/S, it is the best bike I've ever owned and I've had quite a few.
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  8. jehicks87

    jehicks87 Been here awhile

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    I am fine with an answer like that. Absolutely fine.

    But, If I may press you a bit further...

    What kinds of things do you suggest doing? I know you can do damned near anything with the suspension you want, it's just a matter of changing oils/valves all the way to having a new suspension grafted on. But what can you do to that visually stunning lump of an engine to make it chew dirt like an angry bulldozer and still ride curves like Cassanova at the Playboy mansion?
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  9. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    If you ask the KTM or KLR guys, they would say no, and argue that their flavor is the best.

    I prefer BMW's due to the history, capability, parts availability (vast majority still at the dealer still), aftermarket parts (great selection, most well tested), the dealers (the majority understand and support riding and go out of their way to help an out-of-town rider in times of need, can't say this about Kawasaki and KTM) and mostly the BMW community as there is a wealth of knowledge and support out there.

    Don't forget about value... BMW's costs more than other uses bikes, but airhead GS's hold value (G/S's are gaining value).

    But back to capability.... search for Airhead Wrangler's trip though SA, and then see that there are tons more who have done the same....

    in the end, capable enough for me!
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  10. ChromeSux

    ChromeSux Plated and screwed

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    Its not really a off road motorcycle its a multi surfaced road motorcycle i.e gravel dirt type roads, they will work you to a sweat off road.
    If i know i will be for sure off road i ride the DR650, its my go to bike, you dont work up a sweat till it gets real bad.
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  11. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    In a word, throw a ton of money at it and make it less reliable and not that much more powerful... no, I am being serious!

    BMW pretty much got it right from the word "go". You can make airheads faster but the price is huge, the gains small and the losses in longevity serious...

    Supershaft will chime in shortly to say I am wrong, I am sure
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  12. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    +1
    It's not a dirt bike, not going to eat dirt and have any fun. It will take you anywhere, but is not much fun going nowhere.

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  13. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    :rofl
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  14. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    checked your profile....thanks for your service!

    There are weak points which need to be sorted out if thrashing these things for months on end.

    Guess it depends on how far you want to take the modifications. Here's a recent post on a real world test
    All those mods are quite extreme, just depends on how much money you want to throw at it.


    For a G/S, front forks upgrade is essential.




    #14
  15. jehicks87

    jehicks87 Been here awhile

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    I'll be honest, not the sort of answers I was expecting... which means that they must be truthful answers. I like that.

    I was (have been, actually) checking out alot about the gs's and saw they won a few Paris-Dakar races in the early 80's... that's no slow-go race, either. Not motocross, which I've never ridden in the first place, but not slooooow either.

    Hmmm... what to do, what to do. I don't like the Tenere', not sure I want such a big thumper (though I did look very closely at an XR650L not more than a month ago) and don't have the cash for a new F800 (which is on the top of my dream-bike list... :drool:).

    Thought I'd see what the sages here at ADV had to say about 'em.
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  16. jehicks87

    jehicks87 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the support, and that link was awesome.
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  17. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Yes, the R80g/s won the PD 5 times.
    No it was not bone stock
    To make a g/s a PD bike would involve close to an additional 5-6k investment.

    Here is another real world test; http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/johnson/

    As you see, the bikes are capable of anything...just depends on what you do to them, A member here; Beemerguru He said that they are the ultimate swiss army bike. Mix and match until you get what you want.
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  18. ChromeSux

    ChromeSux Plated and screwed

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    The XR650L is tops for true 50/50 Dual sport stuff, has the edge over pretty much all others when it comes to the single track stuff (not factoring in KTM) and is tolerable for 50 mile or so stretches of 4 lane road.
    Ride one for the day dual sporting around and you will start lusting for it.
    #18
  19. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    They can do what you can do. I've never had a properly equipped airhead tell me "no." :evil

    ..and a GS can do even more!
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  20. PaulRS

    PaulRS Dutch fool

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    Not sharing your opinion.

    If you know your bike, you can fix it, whether being it an airhead, oilhead or something Japanese.

    Less electrickery doesn't mean more reliable, on an old airhead points or coils can go, on an airhead HES and a sensor can go, on a Jap bike, anything can go. :D

    The rest is mechanical, can go bad on any bike.

    The main trick is, know your bike, know it weaknesses and prepair accordingly.

    Out in the fields, the only problem is parts.

    Paul.
    #20