Tech: Old Reliable vs New Fangled

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by MotorcycleWriter, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    I'm not competing with anything, just making a point. You can buy a scooter today that will outlast any scooter of old and need far fewer repairs. Pound for pound, comparable bikes as much as possible, the newer bikes with be better built and more reliable. There are exceptions of course, such as the Ural and the Chinese made bikes.
    #21
  2. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    General statements. I am not saying new BMWs are better than new Hondas. I am saying New bikes (Honda, BMW, etc.) are better than old bikes (Honda, BMW Etc.).
    #22
  3. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Now you are adding cost, which wasn't the original post's criteria. :deal

    If cost is included, a mid to late 80's Nighthawk would be my bike, or for a few more dollars, a similar year BMW. Both will run forever, though the Nighthawk will likely require less maintenance.
    #23
  4. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Ok, I can relate to a point. Three bikes, 2004 R1150RS, 1984 R 80 G/S and 2003 DRZ400S


    Of course the RRS is for comfortable street, back roads and interstate.

    The R80 G/S, is for secondary roads, fire roads, and a little more challenging. Yeah it's an older bike, but does require some tinkering, but I prefer it more than ANY GS made in the last 20 years. It'll do anything they will do, maybe not the long interstate runs in comfort, but that's what the RRS is for. Plus it is a WAY better choice for traveling off the beaten path, it takes a beating better than and oilhead/ water head ever could, plus less expensive things to fix too!!! If it needs repair off the beaten path it is more likely to be fixed will more readily available parts.....not necessarily BMW dealer supplied either.

    of course if needing to get into more serious trails the DRZ is up for the task.

    For me the three bikes overlap abilities--

    The R1150RS, interstates and secondary roads
    The R80G/S interstate ( not much), secondary roads, and moderate trail and some single track
    The DRZ, does interstate (very limited), secondary, moderate trails and single track.

    If I had to limit myself to one bike...God forbid..it would be the old reliable R80G/S, which does more than the other two.

    Newer GS oil or water head..NO WAY..I'll take the Airhead any day!! It'll still be going when the water heads are being parted out for scrap...
    #24
  5. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    My old scooter has over 90,000 miles on it and runs like new. 1960. My 1984 Honda 125 scooter has 12000 miles and is in the process of being tied and patched together. Plastic. Hah.
    #25
  6. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Your SUV weighs more than my house!:lol3
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  7. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    You can also buy a scooter today that is all plastic junk. Try to compare apples to apples.

    How much work has been done on your 90K mile scooter? Be honest!
    #27
  8. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    In 1986 I rebuilt it from one end to the other. Since then it has needed a valve job and rings, and this Fall I replaced the chain and sprockets and swingarm bearing after 70,000 miles of use. Of course there are numerous minor things, cables, brake shoes, carb rebuild, mufflers. It has held up well for a 175cc.
    #28
  9. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Cool, sounds like a keeper, and a great sample of one.:deal
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  10. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    It is like the old BMWs. They are. I have two.[​IMG]
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  11. Reduxalicious

    Reduxalicious Been here awhile

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    I currently own a FI and Carb'd bike..

    While I love the Carb'd bike, I don't trust it enough to take me from Houston to Colorado, Where the FI Bike, I trust it to take me anywhere.

    yes I've had mechanical issues with both bikes, but the FI bike was a simple sucking in of the gasket (If anyone knows why the hell the 1200S Guzzi's do that, please do tell.)

    And the Carb'd bike had a range of problems from Electrical to Mechanical.

    on a Minor note, I love how on Modern bikes with LCD Screens, how if you have an Electrical issue--you can look it up on the computer, Very handy feature and no need to just go searching from square 1.
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  12. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Long timer

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    I'll trade you my RT for your RS. Love the RS.
    #32
  13. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    :puke1 an RT

    Ain't gonna happen...:D.. in case you don't notice blacked out rims, fork sliders, FD housing, driveshaft housing. Canadian tinted windsheild, plus tinted front turn signals.

    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Long timer

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    My favorite color scheme, too!
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  15. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    another vote for R80G/S .. a nicely sorted out G/S is a joy!

    like anything has weaknesses .. once the electronic ignition is replaced with points and alternator upgraded. you are well on the way ..

    wheel bearings, final drive typically last life of bike .. tranny may need attention every 120k+ miles or so .. airhead motors are known to go for a long time.

    compare above with a modern BMW like F8 .. no comparison in amount of maintenance needed ..
    #35
  16. tlub

    tlub Been here awhile

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    Not sure where the problems are with carbs. I know the FI on my autos has always been stone reliable, and may be on new bikes, but I have never had any carb problems, other than one sucked in choke gasket (for which I made a replacement from a paper bag; it's still there 20 years later) and replacing diaphragms preventatively every ten years or so. That's in about 250,000 or maybe 300,000 miles on airheads and slash twos. The only carb that let me down (stopped me) was on a Honda 350, from pinholes in the floats from sitting, and even then I could boil out the gas on the head (once I got it running by regulating the fuel level with the petcock), and it lasted another 1500 miles til I got to California.
    Old airhead FDs don't fail (though rotors do, but so do many others), and it may be noted that Joel Rappoport finished the IBR on an airhead with over 500,000 miles on it (though I heard he rides an FJR these days). Although I see airheads from the 70s and 80s reasonably often, I just don't see any other 70s/80s bikes, and I live in a state capitol and college town. I never see first generation Japanese 4-cylinder bikes (CB750/500/550/350 or KZ UJMs), nor CX500/CX650 Hondas that were supposed to be terrific. They are even kinda rare at the Slimey Crud run, where everything comes out of the woodwork. I think serviceability on a lot of them was not so hot, and spare parts have become non-existent. As for being concerned about taking the old bikes on the road, my son and I rode an R69US and R75/5 on a 2700 mile one week trip to Quebec City, and the only problem was getting high test for the R69US. Otherwise, they were as reliable as my Corolla. They did those kind of trips reliably years before, and established a solid reputation by doing so, when other bikes would not, and will do it now. The miles have not gotten bigger and the parts for airheads are still available as much now as them- maybe even more so with the internet.
    So now I'm just rambling. And have no real experience with new bikes, but it certainly seems they are reliable. I just don't see any real reliability advantage over what I have; and furthermore, what I have, and perhaps also the OP has, is something that is paid for and working well, and is likely to continue to work well. It's the devil I know and love.
    Over to you.
    #36
  17. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    1977 Kawasaki KZ1000 your carbed I assume
    2008 MotoGuzzi 1200 Sport your FI I assume

    fwiw, modern carbs are more reliable than 35 year old carbs

    most reliable vehicle I have ever owned .... carbed nekid 99 SV650, over 135k never a running issue. always started the instant I thumbed the starter, even down to -25°f

    my V-strom on the other hand, not all FI is sophisticated that diagnostics pop up on a computer screen, instead, expensive trial an error replacement of parts, only 70k, every sensor had been replaced, some more than once, also complete wire harness replacement, and it still don't run right, sometimes have to babysit throttle on cold starts
    #37
  18. Stan_R80/7

    Stan_R80/7 Beastly Gnarly

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    If a recently built, high quality, older technology bike could be found I expect it would be reliable. However, I don't think they would stay in business long (although Ural seems to keep going) with the improvements from modern technology applied to increase performance and reduce maintenance.

    Older technology requires more maintenance. One of the main 'selling points' of modern technology, aside from little deterioration and neglect, is the reduced adjustments and tinkering required accompanied with improved performance. Hence, why people want modern.

    Taking an older motorcycle on a longer trip can be an adventure in itself. Taking a new motorcycle on the same trip makes for a different journey. But, if the trip is really all about the journey and not whether the destination is reached, then it's up to the rider to decide what is best. But, to answer the original question, either technology will work and can be reliable but finding older technology in good condition is not easy.
    #38
  19. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    "my V-strom on the other hand, not all FI is sophisticated that diagnostics pop up on a computer screen, instead, expensive trial an error replacement of parts, only 70k, every sensor had been replaced, some more than once, also complete wire harness replacement, and it still don't run right, sometimes have to babysit throttle on cold starts
    "

    funny you again forgot to mention your very special year-round (winter) riding environment. Most likely affect things a lot.

    I'm now on my 3rd DL650, one of those went literally halfway across the planet (never missing a beat), and generally all three have been the most reliable bikes I've ever owned/used.
    #39
  20. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    I see this in a slightly different way. The key to me is PREPARATION whether you ride a brand new, latest tech bike or an older one. If going on a trip don't leave anything MARGINAL on the bike as it is the weak link. Just CHANGE IT BEFORE YOU GO.It is a lot easier to work on your bike in the shop than out in the woods somewhere. Most problems that long distance riders get into are PREVENTABLE with routine maintenance.
    #40