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Thread: 1978 R80 vs 1984 R80 electrical

  1. #1
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    1978 R80 vs 1984 R80 electrical

    I am purchasing an airhead after 25 years away from my well loved R60/6. Of course, if money were no object I would just get both and older and newer model!

    Hoping the community would offer it's $0.02 on experience with electrical on your '78 versus your mid '80s R80.

    From '81 forward BMW introduced a lighter clutch carrier, lighter nikasil cylinders and an electronic ignition. They also introduced cast wheels.

    I am wondering if an older machine like a '78 with an updated electronic ignition and an Enduralast charging system becomes as reliable as a mid 80s machine?

    My main reason for asking is that i spend a lot of time urban driving where the recharging is an issue and where the lighter clutch is also and issue.

    I am practically allergic to cast wheels, so favor the earlier models but have heard that the mono-shock is a noticeable improvement. Not an aggressive driver though so may not matter much. R80ST are very hard to come by at a good price.

    Let me know your thoughts!

    I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful riding weather.

  2. #2
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    My response in generalities...

    Newer motorcycles have newer wires and parts that may not have deteriorated as much as those on an older motorcycle. I have 2 1977's R100's. I love them both, ride them both. But over the years, wiring will deterioriate from external conditions.

    Unless there is some personal reason that you'd prefer an older model, I'd stick with a newer one.

    Just my 2 cents, so you know what that's worth.
    -----------------------------------------
    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  3. #3
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    The lighter clutch action of the post 1980 models are still my preference, though I also have a 1978 bike. I'd have to say that gearshifting between the 1982 and the 1978 differences include both the clutch actuation/response as well as some improvements made in the gearbox to improve the shifting. If I were primarily doing city/commuter riding with alot of shifting/stop&go, the later model bike would appeal.

    The Nikasil cylinder bores never seem to wear, as long as you don't have some sort of major catastrophe like a valve head or valve seat coming off. The older iron-lined bikes of course can be rehoned/rebored.

    The Enduralast system is pretty nice - I don't have one but know several who do and they seem very reliable. However, if you own a smart battery tender and get in the habit of plugging it in at home then you won't have problems either, in my opinion.

    The mid-80s bikes will be quieter, and definitely have better brakes. I used to own an 88 R100RT monolever and it was a nice riding machine.
    BMWs in my garage: 1982 R65LS, 1978 R100/7

  4. #4
    Registered User jad01's Avatar
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    I have dealt with many of the things mentioned here in an attempt to update my R80/7, and make it more fun & reliable. I've spent a good deal of time and money upgrading the brakes (dual-disc conversion, floating rotors, SS lines), upgraded suspension on both ends, installing an oil cooler, an easy clutch from Benchmark Works (this was cheap and effective), running shock-proof gear oil in the transmission, semi-synthetic oil, Boyer electronic ignition, high-power/low-draw starter, etc. I don't regret a minute (or dime) of it, as the bike is sentimental to me and all of these upgrades have been effective...

    That said, I'd second (or third?) Braddog and Boxermaf here... unless you just prefer the older bikes, you essentially get all of that (and more) included in the newer package- no installation required.
    Last edited by jad01; 09-18-2012 at 11:55 AM.
    Jim
    '78 R80/7 and '84 R100RS (Blues Brothers)
    '90 and '93 Red Mazda Miatas ("Jelly Bean" and "Red Hot")
    '96 Giant Upland (big Kendas & freshly greased bearings!)

  5. #5
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Cast wheels were actually introduced in 1978 but maybe not on R80s for a while.

    No single-sided swingarm on anything but G/S or ST until 1985.

    Spoke wheels continued on R100GS and R100R, which could be the best choice. Spoke wheels on those bike are tubeless.

    I'd not try a stiff-clutch action bike at all, and any "upgrade" on one of the older bikes would be aftermarket electronic ignition only.

    If you can't find an R80ST, an R100R is just as cool. R80G/S isn't bad, either. In most cases with the later bikes, an R100 will get better fuel mileage than an R80, as it will be running 1000 rpm slower all the time.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  6. #6
    Monza Blue 1974 R90/6
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    I would tell you to discount the whole electrical issue. If you like the older bikes, don't let the electrics keep one out of your garage.

    I have a 1974 with the stock charging system (albeit cleaned up with good connections and grounds). The #1 improvement beyond making sure all the connections were clean was replacing the lead acid battery with an Odyssey PC-680 battery. I ride the bike just about every day. About once a week, I connect the Battery Tender overnight. Electrics are not an issue.

    Now, if you are in need of heated grips, an electric vest, and dual 35w PIA driving lights, you'll need to consider the later model and an upgrade to the charging system. Otherwise, I say simplify your selection process by removing electrics from the criteria.

    Truth be told, the '84 probably is a better bike - technically - but, there is something about the old ones. And, once you reverse the sins of previous owners and maybe a few years of neglect, you can't say they aren't reliable.

    Cheers,

    Barron

  7. #7
    new kid
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    An easy-clutch on my 78 r80 made it much more enjoyable to ride. Especially in traffic. Probably the best "upgrade" I made on it.

    I've gone through most of the electrics on it. Aside from being old, it obviously had many owners/hands doing all kinds of wacky things to it, but it's simple to straighten out or find new harness bits, even for a noob like me.
    Phil.
    www.apt13.com
    '78 R80/7, '74 CB360

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    Alternative - 1990s R100R

    Why not consider an early/mid 1990's R100R if wire wheels and reliability are primary concerns? Their wire wheels are "tubeless" so you get the looks and a significant increase in safety. Plus much better braking and handling, and it would be a lot newer, so less ravaged by time.

    I have used/use 1985 R65, 1993 R100R and 1994 R100RT with stock charging systems on urban commutes without fuss, but I always plug into a battery tender at home.
    Last edited by R100RT_Mark; 09-18-2012 at 11:33 PM.
    Mark

    Current - 1974 TR5T : 1993 R100R : 1994 R100RT ~ Past - 11# 1970s BSA/Triumph Singles & Twins : 2# 1970s CZ 125s : 1# 1985 BMW R65 : 1# 1976 Moby X7

  9. #9
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Pretty much by definition if comparing an '81-on with BMW electronic ignition to an earlier bike with points ignition, the earlier bike has "issues."

    I rode my '84 R100RS for 28 years and never once did anything with the electronic ignition and it needed nothing. Can't say that with a points bike.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  10. #10
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    Talking monolever it is!

    First, thank you all for your input - really great response to my query. Seems like a no brainer to start with a newer model. The 90's models seem harder to find and higher price so likely I will wind up with mid to late 80's monolever with the twin disks.

    Other than price, is there any issue with replacing the cast rear wheel with a rear hub/wheel from an ST? I may grow to like the cast wheels but if not want to see what my options are.

  11. #11
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Dyna3 in mine:)

    My R100/7'78 has the Dyna3 for 25+ years now, no issues at all and a TON better than the points of before. Bought her new, so I've grown used to the heavy flywheel and all else, no issues. Done many other upgrades; Susp., front and rear. 400W+alternator from Motorrad Electric and so on. Bike is perfect runner a very long time now. I have almost 300000m on a fresh piston/rings, all done at 104000m long ago. The iron lungs LAST too, don't let anybody say otherwise. I like spokes better, even my new GSA1200 has spokes. Tubes of course on the elder /7, but! Brakes are worst enemy of the older bikes and rider. They stink, compared to today, or even the newer R80 with Brembo's. The 70s, brakes were an afterthought, not well thought out, but got us by for the HP we had and guts too. Randy

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