Oops I did it again... another '74 /6.

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by crazydrummerdude, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. georgej

    georgej Been here awhile

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    Congratulations on the R60,I like those.I have two 1978's myself an R80 and an R100RS.Looks like I got some catching up to do.I have the sickness.I also enjoy reading your posts on your rebuilds.Very informative and entertaining.Keep up the good work.
    #21
  2. skipn

    skipn Been here awhile

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    I just brought my barn find home to here in NE Missouri-- a '77 R75/7-- so I will be watching this thread for some insight.

    It's my first attempt at bringing an airhead back to life.
    #22
  3. Kurt V

    Kurt V Been here awhile

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    Where you located?
    #23
  4. skipn

    skipn Been here awhile

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    Near Hannibal, MO.
    #24
  5. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    That's not too far away. If you ever need an extra set of hands to wrench, let me know. :freaky

    Also, I'm not sure how much insight I'll offer in this thread. I'm already familiar with resurrecting an airhead. The main piece of advice I can give; it's just an engine and some steel, don't be afraid to tear it apart.
    #25
  6. skipn

    skipn Been here awhile

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    Nice to know. Thanks for the offer, I'll probably be taking you up on that.
    #26
  7. Kurt V

    Kurt V Been here awhile

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    And don't forget to join the Airheads group!
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  8. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Ha, I love it. The 1974 Airhead. By many accounts the worst most troublesome beast of the lot. A mismatch of various outdated parts supplanted by parts that never met design objectives and were replaced the very next year. The epitome of the Rubber Cow experience.

    My favorite Airhead of all time. Wish I had one.
    #28
  9. Cordless

    Cordless Two Wheel Addict

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    The Beemer version of the Edsel; the lonly puppy that followed me home; the fiver I gave to the semitalented busker; the bashful child who won my heart.
    #29
  10. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    Yeah, the 74...

    I had a 74 R90, fixed it up and sold it to a girl who rode it HARD for at least ten years. Just a month ago she rode it fifteen or twenty miles with the oil light on till it finally seized up. :cry

    I'm working on another friend's 74 R90 upgrading to dual discs - it's been his daily rider for many years now.

    And I've got several friends with really nice 74 90Ss that get ridden all the time.

    The 74s have a bad rep, but from my personal experience they do just fine!
    #30
  11. pthomas

    pthomas Been here awhile

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    From my personal experience, they have 100% failure rate :D

    Or it was just a bad week for my vehicle: the radiator failure on my car, the transmission went on the 74' R90, and then the trio was completed when the timing belt broke on the car.
    #31
  12. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I'd like to have a 1974 5 speed for one purpose. To make a cut away model of. You know slice into it an expose the workings. I think they would be fine for this, I think.

    The '74 transmission really is bad you know.
    #32
  13. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    *knock on wood* Of all the problems I've had with BMW's, none of them have been because they're a 1974 model year. Every problem was because of previous owner abuse.

    It seems like there are a lot of '74s still out there..

    Oh, and I've got two sets of dual-disc front ends sitting on my shelf. Maybe this winter, I'll slap one on my '74 R90. :evil
    #33
  14. TipsyMcStagger

    TipsyMcStagger Long timer

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    I am completely airhead illiterate, so please excuse my ignorance; but why exactly does the 1974 have a negative reputation?

    I'm considering having a look at a rough 1974 R60/6 for a Cafe project. It's my understanding that '74 was the final year of kickstart, which is appealing to me.

    TIA.

    Tipsy

    This is a 1973 R60/5, that is my inspiration:

    [​IMG]
    #34
  15. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    1974 is the first year of the 5 speed transmission. The /5 four speed was the final refinement of the older /2 trans, they are very similar, some of the parts interchange. But the industry was moving toward 5 gears instead of 4 so the Getrag 5 speed.

    I think there were two problems basically.

    One was the grooves that the shifter forks ride in had edges that were too thin and these gears could break. I think we had one on Adventure Rider that was broken just with in the last couple of months. I'm not sure it was all of the grooves, it might have been two of the three I think or it might have been all three but they do break and the trans can lock up too I think when this happens. In order to make the edges of these grooves strong enough in 1975 the shifter forks were made thinner for thinner grooves and the edges then grew thicker. So different gears, at least three gears, and different forks.

    The kick starter never had enough throw to it. It was difficult to start the bike with the kick starter unless it was in top notch tune. One of the parts used on the kick starter was not hardened properly or somehow made not properly. I think it was a hardness problem. The part that is at fault is apparently the gear on the input shaft that the segment gear turns (I forget what it's called). The electric starter had been proving very dependable and had increased in size so that this was determined to be all that was really needed to start the bike. A substitute hardened gear was made available for awhile but it is NLA anymore I think. If you wore the part out by using the kick starter the lever hung down half way when not in use and you hit your leg on it.

    I don't know if there are any other items we call "problems" but I think there were some other changes.

    I wasn't into Airhead bikes when all this was going on but I have tried to piece the story together from small snippets of information that pop up now and again. I don't know if I have all of the story right yet so I'll keep my ears open for more info.

    The bottom line is that I don't recommend you try to even save a 1974 transmission. If you get one that works count your lucky stars. If you really have to have this particular trannie get one of the Gurus to rebuild it and be prepared to spend accordingly. The later GS and G/S bike had a kick starter that could be special ordered. I think this is the same design with better parts. These trannies bring a lot more when auctioned than most 1974 trannies.

    If you have a '74 bike that you want a kick starter on for show purposes then consider a dummy starter that has the lever but is not complete. If you do have a working kick starter I suggest you don't use it because it may break.

    I once had a 1974 R90/6. It was hand painted with a brush and had a tractor battery that died on me. The kick starter never worked and I had to push start that bike. But I was younger then.
    #35
  16. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    #36
  17. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    I rode my 1974 75/6 all the way home from Australia to the UK in 77/78. , lots of crappy fuel and bad roads, the only serious problem was that a rear wheel bearing went, easily replaced because we were in Greece at the time.

    One thing that was better on the 74 were the handlebar electrical switches, easy to use and intuitive.
    [​IMG]
    #37
  18. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Yes Charles. I loved my '74 R90/6 for that reason. The switches were the older design. When you think about it, "Why do switches on motorcycles need to have labels on them?"
    #38
  19. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    I have a feeling that redesign was prompted by the US authorities who required both labelling and a kill switch.
    #39
  20. rocketronbiking

    rocketronbiking Born again rider

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    I've had my 74 R90 for 7 years. Only put about 12k mi. on it. No real problems to speak of. Yes, the kickstarter did break when using it. Recently had total front brake failure. Other than that, no big issues.
    #40