Should I be an Airhead owner?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by round the block don, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    For some very odd reason, I worry a lot less about my Airheads breaking on me than anything else I ever owned. Maybe because the tiny things i have had to do so far have all been actually pleasureable to do as these bikes are designed and built by enthusiasts or seemingly so. It is not unlike my BMW cars, which are old, 80s models, and wonderful to work on WHEN they need it which is very infrequently.
    #21
  2. OldAndBusted

    OldAndBusted Needs a little work...

    Joined:
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    i tell you what, man, you need to sell that newfangled gspd and get an OLDER bike. that thing is like star trek technology compared to my favorites.


    i don't speak for all, but my first bike was a /2 and my favorite bike still is that same /2. i worked at a bike shop for about 6 months, got to test ride a couple dozen bikes at least, ranging all over from old to new, and none of them tempted me to convert. it won't go fast obviously, but otherwise it's hard to beat. i've got other bikes, but whenever i take a long trip, this is the one i pick.


    but back on topic, i say if you like the gspd, keep it. unless you have reason to suspect it was abused, just keep changing your oil and riding. those possible issues are just possible, not inevitable. it ain't british, after all :amazon
    #22
  3. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    I know Moncton well. I love the tidal bore and the Old Irish Triangle Alehouse. I spent a week there last spring while my wife was having fun with LazikMD. I come through a couple times a year.


    #23
  4. Martian

    Martian Long timer

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    The second most fun you can have with an airhead is working on it; riding being the most, obviously. Each Winter, my PD would go into the shop and I'd do the periodic maintenance and one "project". Over the span of a couple of years, everything I was worried about was taken care of. It was fun and filled in for riding during those cold, snowy months.

    I'd say keep it. Remember, each airhead is special; they may be able to build another one, but they can't build yours again.
    #24
  5. bgoodsoil

    bgoodsoil Dare to be Stupid

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    My bike just got a crazy vibration and I'm hearing a tink-tink-tink noise from the left head. Oh Noz! Should I chase down some super expensive guru machine shop!? :cry No, I'm going to swap it out for a known-good head that I traded an exhaust pipe for. It'll likely take a whole hour to do and cost me 2 beers. 75,000 miles on these heads.
    #25
  6. durtwurm

    durtwurm Talented Amateur

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    If the maintenance on an airhead, any airhead is up to date just ride it worry free.
    #26
  7. round the block don

    round the block don soreass

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    Just read the RR of your trip to NS. Great story! I love your approach; being young and dumb is a good thing!
    #27
  8. photomd

    photomd Been here awhile

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    In all honest, don't worry 'bout it. Mine had 98,000 miles and no maintenance records when I bought it. Supposedly it went from the SE USA to Purdoe Bay at some point. My charging system gave me lots of warning it was dying, so I replaced it with an Enduralast system. At 106,000 miles, the heads were loud, the cam chain rattled and I had no idea about the tranny.I had the heads rebuild, the tranny rebuilt and I spec'ed out the piston and bores. I pulled it down and started measuring stuff and with the exception of the normal stuff you find worn at 100,000 miles, it was all fine. It runs great and I enjoy riding it for days on end. My point is these bikes will give you lots of warning stuff is going wrong. They're easy to fix and for some of us, that's 1/2 the fun. They also tend to stay fixed, which is a nice plus. If those traits don't turn you on, find something that does.
    #28
  9. bgoodsoil

    bgoodsoil Dare to be Stupid

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    thanks! Doing the ride reports were fun. 40 years from now they'll be way better than just having pictures.
    #29
  10. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

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    I can only speak for my own '92 GSPD, Soreass, and it's been a pretty great motorcycle.

    Driveshaft: The original failed in my bike at 253k kms.

    Transmission: The original became noise-some (though still serviceable) at 265k kms.

    Charging System: Used charging system components are getting pretty cheap with the popularity of Enduralast's 450 watt charging system upgrade. Go to ibmwr.org and buy a used rotor and diode board for pizza money. You'd have one handy if your original fails. Good insurance for less than $100.

    Brake Upgrade: Lots of possibilities. Is there a bike scrap yard near you? I used a four piston Brembo caliper off my wrecked 1150GS (I never really liked that bike). Fitted like a charm after filing 0.125" off the mounting boss: About a 5 minute job.

    Lots of easy solutions to most of the problems you *might* encounter. Problem with the internet is you mostly just hear the problems people have, not the successes. And like Rob Farmer mentioned earlier, it's mostly Americans that seem to have trouble with their GS transmissions. I honestly don't know why that is? :dunno :rofl

    My old PD is one of the sweetest all 'round bikes I've owned. It fits me like an old shoe and does lots of things really well. Spoils me with armchair comfort and has really fine road manners.

    F800GS is the first bike to come along in a while that could make me consider replacing it. But to do that I'd need to part with a cubic yard of cash and it still wouldn't be as comfortable and smooth as the old PD. (fwiw, nearly bought a KTM 950 Adv a few years ago, but one test ride put an end to that thought. Too crude a motorcycle for someone used to sound engineering, imho).

    Blah blah blah.... :lol3


    [​IMG]
    #30
  11. round the block don

    round the block don soreass

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    Well, I'm feeling MUCH better about keeping my GSPD now, thanks to all of you. Those are very reassuring numbers, Lornce, and I'm not very hard on vehicles and seldom have any trouble with any of them. Of course I've been driving Toyota's for the last 30 years.:wink:

    The 1150 brake caliber upgrade is a great idea and I'm going to persue that. The bike may already have some of the other fixes done, hard to tell without pulling it somewhat apart.

    It's all about attitude, really, and I'm just going to stop worrying about stuff that may never happen and enjoy owning, riding and even fixing this great old bike.
    #31
  12. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Yes, and if the time should come that you need to fix something, advrider is here to help you out along the way. Tools are cheap. If I can rebuild my entire bike in a barely heated shed in the woods you can do anything where you are.....our winters are the same.
    #32
  13. round the block don

    round the block don soreass

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    Yes and what a winter we're "enjoying". And what a great bunch here on advrider:freaky. I'll probably never meet any of you but I feel a definite kinship with many of you.
    #33
  14. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Never say never....we are all over like flies. Besides Moncton is one of my favorite NB cities.
    #34
  15. round the block don

    round the block don soreass

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    Well, look me up when you're up this way. We can bond.
    #35
  16. The Raven

    The Raven Banned

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    Will do. Bond? Odd choice of words :lol3 Well, we can have a beer at the Triangle, while I get some of thier mashed potatoes and gravy :dg
    #36
  17. bgoodsoil

    bgoodsoil Dare to be Stupid

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    Don't be afraid to dive in to this bike if it does break. You'd be amazed at how simple these things are. I've seen toasters that are more complicated than these bikes. Cavemen must've designed them shortly after inventing the wheel. I timed myself swapping those heads today: I got the left piston off in 5 minutes.

    The inside of the gearbox is basically off-limits to a guy in his own garage. Also, you're not going to be able to work on your heads. That's it. Anything else on the bike you can take care of yourself with basic hand tools and ADVRider. Actually, you can fix gearboxes and heads too. Simply swap them out for another one that you get on ibmwr.org or ebay.

    I went by a buddy's house tonight to pull those heads off his r80. We put some r65 heads back on it. When we went to bolt up the heads we found that the pushrods were 1/2" too long :lol3 We rooted around in some boxes and found some shorter pushrods and they fit perfectly. Swapped the heads and exhaust in maybe 45 minutes and had time for 2 beers :freaky The bike can take credit for that though, not us. We're both poor mechanics and we never work sober.
    #37
  18. round the block don

    round the block don soreass

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    #38
  19. mfp4073

    mfp4073 Long timer

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    :rofl

    Might add that to my sig!
    #39
  20. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    There was once a time when someone would ask as question like this i'd tell them, no you want to run away from a bike like an airhead.

    But really motorcycling for some people is about more then just the ride.
    And BMW's are fun bikes to have around. I've got three of them. I've got a love hate relationship with them.

    But they are great fun to own.

    However early on i learned that I didn't want to count on a vintage bike regardless of make as my only motorcycle, I enjoy the riding part
    and too many rides have been cut short or didn't happen because of funky problems with my old bikes.
    #40