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Thread: Why are R65LS's "Collectible"?

  1. #1
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    Why are R65LS's "Collectible"?

    It seems that I see the term "collectible" almost any time I see an airhead for sale. Collectible or not, most people just continue to ride the snot out of their airheads.

    However, what's the deal with the R65LS model? Is this truly a collectible? What are the differences between the LS model and the standard R65 other than the fairing?

    I'm currently looking at an '82 and am curious.



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    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  2. #2
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    I'll take a stab at it -

    The R65LS was designed by none other than Hans Muth, who designed the R100RS, the R100RT and, of all things, the Suzuki Katanas (the early ones). To my eye, the LS is an excellent example of early 80s motorcycle design. The red ones are especially tasty and unusual.

    I don't believe they ever sold in significant quantity either.
    Dave Swider
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  3. #3
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    A good pair...

    So a red R65LS would make a good complement to my '77 R100RS is what I'm hearing?

    I'LL BUY NO BIKE UNLESS HANS MUTH HAD A HAND IN IT!
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    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  4. #4
    dlearl476
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    I think Dave hit the nail on the head. The only thing that makes a R65LS "collectable" is their limited production run. (Does that make Yugos collectable?) But that doesn't make them a BAD bike. I've always thought they were way cool, too.

    A fellow over on F650.com had owned several, including one he passed on to his daughter (still riding it). He posted a GREAT post on the good, bad and ugly once, but I can't seem to find it. He has since retired, unplugged, and ridden off into the sunset and I have no way to get in touch. You could probably find it with a little time of searching.

    FWIW, the gist of it was the first couple of years had problems, but the last year they sold them were pretty much sorted. (Sound familiar? Typical BMW: Release for Beta testing, address issues, discontinue, repeat!)

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    Miserable Mark MarkF's Avatar
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    The rear end is also different. The seat/tail section does not allow the mounting of saddlebag mounts without modification. That said I've always lusted over one and still might ad one to the garage for casual riding.

    MarkF

    P.S. I like Silver better!

  6. #6
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    They're usually more collectable to the seller than to many buyers.

    There are only a few truly collectable Airheads, and IMHO no R65 makes the list.
    Kent Christensen
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  7. #7
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    Interesting comments...thanks..

    Good comments. After doing some Googling, the R65 isn't exactly the airhead that people tend to brag about, either for looks or performance.

    At least not on the Web.

    The LS is unique really only for it's looks, and its front Brembo's.

    For the most part, it seems to be a perfectly capable little bike. I would think they would make great commuter bikes, if properly equipped with luggage.

    So maybe a good collectible bike would be the Suzuki Madura?
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    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
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  8. #8
    Miserable Mark MarkF's Avatar
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    Re: Interesting comments...thanks..

    Originally posted by Braddog
    Good comments. After doing some Googling, the R65 isn't exactly the airhead that people tend to brag about, either for looks or performance.

    So maybe a good collectible bike would be the Suzuki Madura?
    I think any of the small Guzzis 350-650cc and Morinis 350-500cc are very collectable. Because they are rare now and were great performers in the day. Wish I never sold mine!

    MarkF

  9. #9
    dlearl476
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    >So maybe a good collectible bike would be the Suzuki Madura?

    There are a million cool "collectible" bikes out there. Two of my favorites (one that could be a perfect daily rider, one that, well maybe not) are: Honda GB 500 and Yamaha Daytona Special (total build ~3700)


    And I'd have to add Bultaco Metrallas, Guzzis V7 Sports, and the aforementioned LeMans to my short list.
    But a R65LS would STILL be cool!

  10. #10
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    Re: Interesting comments...thanks..

    Originally posted by Braddog

    For the most part, it seems to be a perfectly capable little bike. I would think they would make great commuter bikes, if properly equipped with luggage.
    Yep. They are perfect for daily commuting. I strongly considered "upgraded" to something more highway friendly, but my LS is just so much more fun to ride to work. The short bars are great (take the strain off of the back to support arms). The tail section is different. But it's pretty neat how the tool kit fits back there with extra room for storage, plus there are a couple handles for a passenger.

    For something more collectable that won't break the bank, how about an R90s project bike? Middle aged guys seem to love restoring those things. And they are similar to the LS in that they also have a funny tail section and less parts exchangability than most BMWs, right? I seem to recall they are somewhat collectable because one of them won a race.

    Hoping to stir things up with people who know far more about this subject than me (and who prefer bigger bikes),
    Mark

  11. #11
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by dlearl
    >So maybe a good collectible bike would be the Suzuki Madura?

    There are a million cool "collectible" bikes out there. Two of my favorites (one that could be a perfect daily rider, one that, well maybe not) are: Honda GB 500 and Yamaha Daytona Special (total build ~3700)


    And I'd have to add Bultaco Metrallas, Guzzis V7 Sports, and the aforementioned LeMans to my short list.
    But a R65LS would STILL be cool!
    I see GB500s fairly regularly here.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  12. #12
    Curmudgeon 28796's Avatar
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    I think any of the small Guzzis 350-650cc and Morinis 350-500cc are very collectable. Because they are rare now and were great performers in the day. Wish I never sold mine!

    I don't miss my small Guzzis, too many problem areas, but the Morini 3.5 Sport I bought new in 83 is still in my garage. This is a keeper like my R90/S bought new in 76.

    No one has mentioned the R65 bugaboo, excessive vibration. Remember the rubber engine mount kits Luftmeister use to sell. Most twins vibrate at 4K but the 65s are something else. I rode an LS from northern Maine to Ct once & had a geat time as long as I stayed below or above the nasty vibe point. Ended up keeping it pegged around 90 most of the way & it was fine. Beware of any R65 thats had the rubber mount kit installed for a number of miles. The frames tend to crack between the front & rear mounts.
    John Borella
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    Danielson, Ct.

  13. #13
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    Lightbulb

    IIRC Hans designed the R90S... maybe the RS also but I don't know.

    He also designed the Datsun 240Z which could explain its immense popularity. When you look at it though it makes sense, sleek and simple, excellent performance, just what's needed. Sound like a 90S? Used to drive my Japanophile friends crazy when I brought that one up!

    Old school that I am, when the R65's appeared I sort of hesitated. BMW smalled-down the bigger bikes' dimensions but still you had a massive engine/trans casting assembly, read that HEAVY for its size. It cost too darn much at the time when you could buy a Japanese bike of that size for half as much and get more performance.

    That being said, personally I still like them. I will argue that no BMW is a drag racer so the modest performance of the /65's falls into the BMW mindset, overall performance over the long haul.

    And Mark, glad you ride the LS, wish I had one! Regarding 90S's. The "One that won a race" was on the floor at RPM in Ventura (Reg Pridmore's RPM) many years ago and I will say that Daytona bike was NOT a standard R90S. On the real road, in those days it would frustrate me to no end that I had to work my butt off on my new Honda 750F to keep up with my brother's 90S. Magazine roadtests aside, and although I could lean that bike over so far on Michelin M45's that I could grind the alternator cover on the left and muffler on the right, all I could do was chase that Hella tailight... Under the gun, and I don't mean this offensively, but the R65's I've ridden with are not in the same league. Those middleaged guys restoring 90S's are working on the last airhead BMW hotrods, and unless you have ridden one, you have no idea.

    A pre-'80 100S or RS will be the exception, but there's almost religion involved in working a Dellorto'd 900 over a mountain pass.

  14. #14
    dlearl476
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    Originally posted by Bikpaintr
    No one has mentioned the R65 bugaboo, excessive vibration. Remember the rubber engine mount kits Luftmeister use to sell. Most twins vibrate at 4K but the 65s are something else.
    IIRC, that was one of the "characteristics" that was remedied in the final year or two of production. It's been a long time, but I think there was that, a change in alternators or or alternator gearing to help with charging, and something else that completely escapes me.

  15. #15
    Miserable Mark MarkF's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Cosmoline52
    Those middleaged guys restoring 90S's are working on the last airhead BMW hotrods, and unless you have ridden one, you have no idea.

    A pre-'80 100S or RS will be the exception, but there's almost religion involved in working a Dellorto'd 900 over a mountain pass.
    You got me drooling again! Just look at this beauty! I keep it on my desktop like other have porno!

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