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Thread: BMW Members in Los Angeles? Some advice?

  1. #1
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    BMW Members in Los Angeles? Some advice?

    Hi guys,

    If there is anyone here in Los Angeles, CA or nearby I am curious if I could ask your advice.

    I am looking at purchasing my first BMW vintage /5 airhead and I really havnt had any experience riding any of them, be it an r60, 75 or r90.

    I am curious as to everyones thoughts on R60 for LA traffic (both on and off freeway) and if you think it would perform well enough?

    I'm looking at purchasing an R60 from someone in New Mexico but i'm a bit hesitant since it is a lot of money and without me being able to see it and ride it I have no way of knowing exactly if it would have enough power for the freeways.

    I'm a pretty new rider so I'm not as much of a freeway driver at the moment (mostly surface streets) but i do have a feeling that I would eventually like to go on some longer trips on this bike.


    Also I know this may be a long shot but is there any chance someone may let me test ride an R60, 75 or 90 so I can get a feel for the differences?


    I can give you collateral for safety reasons/etc if that is something you would prefer as well.

    I work here in L.A. at a big animation studio as an artist (i have a steady job) and can provide plenty of references.

    If anyone can give even advice I would be so grateful.



    Thanks so much,

    Jonathan




    Jonathan Moore
    www.fletchart.com
    870.692.sixfour7four

  2. #2
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Keeping in mind that I've been spoiled long-term by the power of many bikes...

    First off, if you haven't seen it nor ridden it, you're taking a huge gamble.
    Any bike that old may have some serious hidden mechanical flaws. Seach in this forum for old airheads & vintage bikes for potential issues.
    If you're in L.A., check out Angel City Cycle, Valdi's Motozone, or West Valley Cycles for local airhead advice and serviceability.

    Power-wise, an R60 is a reasonable choice for an inexperienced rider. On the other hand, every 350cc UJM out there will leave you in their dust. The old R60 was not designed as a performance machine; their flywheels are heavy (meaning the bike will be slow to spin up & slow to decelerate, and the tranny will shift, shall we say, leisurely); and the brakes are pretty marginal, to be diplomatic.

    No I've never had an R60; my opinion is based on what I've been reading for so many years (and that has been pretty consistent). I have had two R75's, though; while they were not "quick", they were all-around Excellent machines.

  3. #3
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    Jonathan
    They are calling you an inexperienced rider.
    What does that mean?
    When you say you have no experience riding a /5, what do you mean?
    Do you have extensive riding experience?
    Or are you looking at getting a motorcycle to commute here in Los Angeles?
    With basically no motorcycling experience?
    dc

  4. #4
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    Hi David,


    I am a fairly inexperienced rider, yes. I took the MSF course here in California last september and promptly went to Vietnam/Thailand and traveled by motorcycle mostly (but some scotter as well). Though the motorcycles there might as well be scooters. They were low cc (125s and 175cc)

    So yes I'd say I'm fairly inexperienced. My main goal for the motorcycle would be to buy something I can keep and use for many many years to come. I love vintage motorcycles and engineering is always something that interest me, so personally I settled on wanting a vintage airhead both because of their mechanical simplicity and their long history of being nice dependable bikes if treated properly.

    I really want something that I can just take it easy and cruise around on surface streets but also if I want to take it on the interstate and go highway maybe slightly longer distance I wont feel too uncomfortable with.

    My main worry with an R60 is that I get on the PCH or highway and find that everyone is passing me pretty much. Dont mind if I'm not a crotch rocket I just want to be safe. Im not a big risk taker when it comes to driving or riding motorcycle. I know that the only thing keeping me alive and safe are the two weels around me, my gear, and my wits/awareness.

    So that being said yeah I just worry an R60 is going to be too sluggish? At least two other people have said something along those lines and I know I have friends who are going to want to go longer dsitances and i know i would like to be able to tag along and go from say Los Angeles to San Diego or santa barbara or who knows maybe even San Francisco if i wanted to. Thats not to say Im going to do it every day as I obviously wouldnt but a trip every four months or something might be nice.

    Even if at a leisure pace.

  5. #5
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Shop:)

    I'm Airhead, blue and true for 50 years now. I have some newer too, but my Airhead is a R100/7,'78 vintage since new at over one third a million miles on it now. They last forever! Your R60 question is valid and good one to ask. Its a fine touring bike, go anywhere on the planet, but weak in the power band. Very dependable, however and was way ahead of the other bikes of that era and even today by some standards of quality. Go R75 for probably what will make you happier, or even R90 for the really 2up big picture, if it applies. My 1972 R75 4 speed, was one of my finest moments in BMW riding. Very smooth and good power in most circumstances, even L.A.. The R60 will get you around really swell, but know you're limits and stay clear of the fast lanes of traffic. I think you'll find the older Airheads still fairly easy to find for purchase, so shop wise, patience. "Matt Parkhouse" is a BMWMOA writer on this very toipic every month in the magazine,'ON...FIND HIM, as he knows much about riding R60s, far and wide and I am sure he'll listen.... Happy Trails to ya, Randy

  6. #6
    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    I think you will be fine, as long as you don't yet jump into the daily commute.
    But for the riding you describe you will be fine with a vintage bike of any kind.
    dc

  7. #7
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    Go for it!

    Although I have moved away, I grew up in Los Angeles, daily rider, usually no car at all. My last commute was from Castaic to Compton. Although I had 750, 650, and 1100cc machines, I purhased a Suzuki GS450 specifically for the commute. The weight and max horsepower are pretty similar to an R60. I even dropped a tooth on the countershaft to cut top speed RPM, which also cut off the line and roll on performance. That bike did fine for the commute, lots of freeway, high speed, fast lane, whatever.
    I think an R60 would also do well for the commute; just don't enter freeways or make lane change moves while pretending redline is 4K, as so many do with BMW's. Don't be afraid to use the top end when you need it, then you can cruise; you won't hurt it. The straight slide carbs will be fine in and arund the LA area.
    For pleasure rides , PCH, etc, the R60 would be much nicer than that Suzuki. Just because it is slower off the line , does not detract from how it will cruise once it gets up to speed.

  8. #8
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Just a few thought Jonathan,

    If you buy and old airhead do you have the mechanical skills to do ordinary maintenance, because it will need it, eventually.

    The R60 will get you around really swell, but know you're limits and stay clear of the fast lanes of traffic.
    The R60/5 and and the R75/5 are virtually the same motorcycle weight-wise, but the R75 makes roughly 10hp more than the R60, and that little bit makes a difference.

    I've been riding my '73 R75/5 since 1973. My wife and I toured on it for years, fitted with Windjammer and saddlebags. Performance was acceptable. I ride solo now and stripped of the Windjammer, performance is more than acceptable on the freeway.

    I think you'd be happier with an R75. Once you really get into riding, I can guarantee that you'll want to head up Highway 1 to Big Sur, Yosemite, etc ... and if you want to take along a friend the extra hp will be appreciated.
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner

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