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Thread: When does an Airhead become High Mileage

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  1. #1
    On the road again! R80RTJohnny's Avatar
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    When does an Airhead become High Mileage

    Hello all,

    I have an 86 R80RT with 62K. Although I receive many compliments about the bike I always reply that it is still a low mileage bike.

    My question is: When do BMW Airheads become "High Mileage".

    Wishing you many miles and smiles.

    Jean
    2008 R12RT (Blue)
    1986 R80RT (Silver)

    Member of the Loonie-Tics. MOA 292.

  2. #2
    srb
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    Considering your bike is 18 years old with that mileage I would agree with you that your bike is low mileage. Other brand riders other that Goldwing types usually marvel at anything north of 35K on the clock. Having said all this I think BMW calls for new rings on airheads every 50K. So if that isn't done you might consider freshening up your top end. My 1979 only has 80K. The beauty of our airheads is that when they do need rings or gearbox work or whatever it is worthwhile to spend the money to do it because you know that the next 10, 20, 30, etc. thousand miles will be a joy.

  3. #3
    Registered User PeoriaMac's Avatar
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    Talking

    [QUOTE=srb;23842]Considering your bike is 18 years old with that mileage I would agree with you that your bike is low mileage.

    Considering that it's 26 years old, that's even more remarkable....
    Mac
    1986 R80RT, 2005 R1200GS
    Livin' Large On The Lake

  4. #4
    BMWRich58
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    In my opinion and from my own experience,and from knowing other riders who live here in Chicago and outwest, I'd say the average bike rider (including all brands) that lives in a seasonal climate like Chicago,averages 5000 miles a year, and 7-10,000 miles as an "above average" rider.

    Warmer climate states like Florida,Texas or California tend to have longer riding seasons. So, an average rider will probably do 6-9000 miles a year. A bike native to one of these areas would be pretty easy to figure out what kind of use/mileage could be expected.

    So,a 10 year old bike in Chicago will probably yield 40-60K miles.
    That same rider and bike in a warmer climate would probably be somewhere in the 50-80K range.

    On the other hand, older BM's like airheads, weren't considered high mileage until over 100k miles.

    With these new "oilheads", people tend to think 40-60K is high mileage due to all the "reliability/maintenance" problems these bikes have been having. V-belts fraying,transmissions and rear end seals leaking,shocks leaking under 25k miles,swing arm bearings,brake pad wear sooner etc....

  5. #5
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWRich58 View Post

    With these new "oilheads", people tend to think 40-60K is high mileage due to all the "reliability/maintenance" problems these bikes have been having. V-belts fraying,transmissions and rear end seals leaking,shocks leaking under 25k miles,swing arm bearings,brake pad wear sooner etc....
    I have no idea who these people are. They must have been reading the internet too often. Voni's R1100RS is at 370,000 miles with minimal repair. It had a valve job at 300K but still has original rings. My R1150R is at 170,000 miles with virtually no repair other than stuff like brake pads and shocks. I am both puzzled and amazed at the stuff some people come up with in their heads.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  6. #6
    One big Oaff brewmeister's Avatar
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    Keeping good records of your high milage bike is vital to keeping it going.A older bike has all the problems associated with that particular model figured out by now so its easier to maintain them knowing that.Regardless it costs money and time that lots of folks may not have time of money to put that many miles on there particular model bike.A long sitting bike takes alot to get it running normally again so regular operating is your friend.My 81 sat for 22 years and went through many heat/cold cycles while in storage in the unheated garage. It's tough on seals ,and many other things that work better with regular use. High milage is not per say a bad thing as long as your maintenence is performed,and recorded so you don't loose track of what and when maintenence was done.
    81 R100RT

  7. #7
    Nickname: Droid
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    I'm with Paul on this, as my 94 RS "only" has 170,000 trouble free miles on it and the engine has never been opened other than routine maintenance. So I would say, like the Airheads, 100,000 is a minimal "high miles" checkpoint.

    I agree too, that bikes that get ridden regularly/frequently get in the 7,000 to 10,000 miles per year range. So a 1980 Airhead could easily have over 196,000 miles on it if driven 7,000 miles per year. Defintely high miles.

  8. #8
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Tongue in cheek ... don't explode.

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  9. #9
    Registered User donkey doctor's Avatar
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    Hello; I always thought that the threshhold of "high mileage" was at 100,000 miles or 160,000 kms. since the advent of unleaded gas, modern engines can do that easily.

    I remember my 67 Triumph TR6 that needed a top end overhaul every 10,000 miles. Getting one of those to 100,000 miles was a real achievement.

    Also my 63 Norton Atlas needed a thourough going over with a wrench every two tanks of fuel, or else it would slowly dissappear.

    I currently have 73,000 on my 77 R100/7 and expect to see 100,000 miles on it with no serious problems, not this year though.

  10. #10
    MOA,RA,ABC,AMA,TT,MOAL brownie's Avatar
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    Talking High Miles Beemers

    Great Discussion on "High" Mileage!!!

    IMHO I'd say 100K miles on a machine is moderately high, 200K "High" and 200K + miles "Very" high.

    I always enjoy the "High Mileage" corral at the large rallies- some are vintage and many are the latest models-testimony to the fact that there are many riding styles within the BMW community!!

    People tell me that "Igor" has high mileage (117K) but this is LOW for a 22 year old machine!!

    A friend of mine has an '84 RS that is truly pristine, at 200K + miles!!!!

    Enjoy......................Shep
    Heed NEAD: No Egos, Attitudes, Distractions!!!!!
    Shep Brown MOA 27510
    "Igor" 82 RS "Inga" 04RT
    Pensacola, Flairider

  11. #11
    James.A
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    What is high mileage on an airhead?

    Both of our air heads are 30+ years old and in the 70K range. I'd agree with 100K being an attainable milestone for any airhead that is shown a proper amount of love. I am confident that ours will get there. I've known other riders who have run well over that mark, and Iv'e seen neglected bikes fall to ruin well before the magic number.

  12. #12
    On the road again! R80RTJohnny's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Thanks to all that replied. I will savour the mileage accumulated much like I would savour a fine wine.

    But why do we develop such intense relationships with our Airheads.

    Jean
    2008 R12RT (Blue)
    1986 R80RT (Silver)

    Member of the Loonie-Tics. MOA 292.

  13. #13
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Originally posted by R80RTJohnny
    Hello,

    But why do we develop such intense relationships with our Airheads.

    Jean
    Probably because we can't get them new anymore. Now that we can't, I feel stronger about my airheads than before. Just try to take one of them and see how downright nasty I can get.

    BTW, I bought a used 1986 R80 G/S PD with 103,000 kms (64K miles) on it and never gave the mileage a second thought. Of course, the price was right and that is always a major factor.

  14. #14
    BMWRich58
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    But why do we develop such intense relationships with our Airheads.

    ....or any motorcycle.....???....

    but one thing for sure,can't get new one's anymore.

  15. #15
    Registered User SPLINELUBE's Avatar
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    When my 76 S turned over 125,000 had mechanic Stellar go over it thinking that now would be a good time to install the size over pistons I bought from a dealer on sale ten years ago. Turns out all it need was a bore polishing, no lip, and new rings with an intake valve job, had the exhaust vales done at 70,000. I love this bke, See you at the square Route Rally.

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