Somebody please tell me why I have a BMW

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by norton73, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    Mounted a new rear tire on the GS yesterday, and noticed a clunking from the driveshaft while rotating the wheel. I guess it's time to inspect the gearbox too.
    So far this summer, I've replaced the headlight switch, alt. rotor, fork seals, rear shock, head gaskets, pushrod tubes, and rear shock.
    My K100RS is jumping out of second gear under hard acceleration (is there any other kind?) and this weekend's project is to inspect that.
    My '73 Norton has been running fine, I've put more miles on it this summer than the two BMWs combined, and other than burning up two sets of tires, hasn't cost me more than gas. :thumb
    Where's the legendary BMW reliability?
    #1
  2. wpbarlow

    wpbarlow Long timer

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    Standing right over there- right behind the legendary BMW PR Machine.
    :rofl


    Sorry for all your trouble, but you asked.
    #2
  3. JimX

    JimX .. .

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    #3
  4. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    #4
  5. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    BMW riders get the girls :D
    #5
  6. Team Dennis

    Team Dennis Certified Troublemaker

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    BMW=Big Money Wasted. :lol3











    But I still own one.
    #6
  7. ramjet

    ramjet Long timer

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    Your Beemers are too old. You simply need a new R1200 GS and your problems will be solved. Seriously, I feel your pain. Hope you get matters resolved.
    #7
  8. SQD8R

    SQD8R Eat squids and be merry

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    just curious how many miles on the Norton compared to the BMW's?
    #8
  9. Team Dennis

    Team Dennis Certified Troublemaker

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    I own a Norton as well and would not leave town without a chase vehicle.
    Everything from a blown head gasket to blown-out isolastics make me wonder WTF I ever saw in them.















    Oh yeah, it's the retro thing. :bash
    #9
  10. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    Well to be honest, the K100RS has 120,000 really hard miles on it.
    The GS has 60,000.
    The Norton has 50,000, but I got it when it only had 8K on it. It had been sitting in a carport with a plastic tarp over it, and was a pile of rust. I tore it down, powdercoated the frame, replaced every bit of rubber, cables, put a new set of rings in it, painted it, and have rode it like it's a sport bike ever since. It's been 15 years of hard use, and while it has had it's share of problems, it seems like it's been easier and cheaper to run than the BMWs.
    The Norton is my favorite ride, followed by the GS.
    I'm not really complaining, I posted this just to see other folk's reaction.
    It just seems like BMWs have a great reputation for reliability, but the British bikes are maligned for being unreliable.
    Shaft drive is supposed to be maintainance free, just change the oil. Chains are dirty, need lube all the time, and wear out along with sprockets, and therefore more expensive.
    But if I have to do spine lubes, and replace joints, it seems like the shafts are more expensive and lobor consuming to run.
    And don't even ask about electrics, Bosch vs Lucas.
    #10
  11. SQD8R

    SQD8R Eat squids and be merry

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    well I was just curious. Thx for sharing. Personally I've never believed any of the hype from any company. I've had the same issues with so-called Honda reliability. I think the big think is making sure people separate the hype from the reality.
    #11
  12. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul Super Moderator

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    The driveshaft on the GS is not a wet one. It relies on the 'lubed for life' u-joints that our Bavarian friends manufacture. Additionally, it runs at a severe angle. If you got 60k, you're one lucky SOB. I think you're clunk may also be the output shaft bearing, so you may want to take a closer look at that.

    I've never got more than 10k on a set of chain and sprockets, so I figure the GS is about the same as far as $ per mile. Except I don't have to lube the shaft - it just dies on it's own when it's ready.

    The rear shock is a piece of shit right from the factory. So are the fork springs.

    The charging system is a joke. If you want to keep the bike, give Motoradd Elektric a call. They are right outside of Gadsden, AL and have a nice, albeit 'spensive, charging system.

    The airhead GS is a nice bike, but it has it's weaknesses. You've found them. The devil you know is better than the one you don't know. Sometimes.
    #12
  13. Vance

    Vance On my meds...

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    Just put a couch cushion on an XR and never look back.[​IMG]
    #13
  14. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF

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    Well, thats the problem. You should have done a complete tear down/rebuild on the GS also. If you did it would be more reliable than the Norton.

    MarkF
    #14
  15. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    Yeah, but the Norton only cost me $300, and I put about $1200 in it (not counting my labor) to get it on the road.
    The GS cost me $4000, and I'm looking at putting close to a grand in it in the next couple of weeks, not counting the money I already spent this summer on it.

    Oh, and some Lexus driving POS too busy talking on his cell phone to stop at a STOP sign hit me on the Norton a couple of years ago. His Insurance company paid me $4K for the Norton and let me keep it. I put it back on the road for less than $300, so I think the Norton doesn't owe me any thing.

    And unlike Team Dennis, I've taken many trips on the Norton, last year it was 2500 miles in 10 days from MD to Mid-Ohio, to Ontario, through New England and home(I was living in MD then). And that's just one of many in the 15 years I've had it.
    Although the GS and the K-bike have been my commuters for my 70 mile daily round trip, I feel I need to look the Norton over after every long ride.
    #15
  16. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    The key in riding old machines is that you need to rebuild ALL the bits at the 20 or 30 year mark. I have a 1983 RT and a 1986 R80G/S. The G/S saw a frame-up rebuild in 2002. Once they are rebuilt, they run trouble free for a very long time. The problems start when people try to nickel and dime the repairs over a period of time. If you don’t fix the whole thing at once, then you’ll hit a string of “end of life problems” and it will seem as if the bike is always “down”. When I hear about the issues people have with new R1200GS’s and all the surging on the oil heads, I wonder why they keep buying them. A rebuilt airhead is super reliable.
    #16
  17. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    One nice thing about totally rebuilding a bike and holding every single nut, bolt, and part in your hands is that you now know the bike inside and out. Having the Norton in little pieces many years ago (along with several others through the years) means there are no surprises. :thumb . By that I mean I know what I'm looking at or for when something does go wrong.
    Another plus is that you never have warranty issues, if it leaks, or has other problems, you only have to look in the mirror to find the mechanic.
    I've never had the K-bike apart, except for the transmission, so when things break, it's a learning experiance. Which isn't a bad thing, unless it's at the side of the road, 500 miles from home.
    I worked for a BMW dealer back in the late '70s and early '80s, and went to the BMW service school when Butler & Smith was the importer. I feel I know my way around a Airhead pretty well, except the Paralever and the electrics.
    I swore many years ago that I would never own a bike with more than 2 cylinders, but then I got a good deal on the K-bike, so I soon broke that promise. But never again, once the K-bike is worn out, that's it.
    #17
  18. moterbiker

    moterbiker Gypsy diver

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    This is why my wife and I sold 2 1150GS's this year and bought Suzuki V_Stroms. My GS was out of warranty and if I had something major break I couldn't afford to fix it.
    #18
  19. Loadedagain

    Loadedagain making chips

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    not the ones i've met. you've been sniffing glue again haven't you?
    #19
  20. cat

    cat Long timer

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    [maybe this should go to another forum, but...]
    how d'you like the V-Strom? -- after the 1150GS? did you get the 1000 or the 650?
    you'll probably get better reliability with the Suzukis.
    i'm thinking about getting a V-Strom -- or a DRZ400S ;-) -- because my R100GS has turned out to be a "project bike" and i need something to ride now.
    #20