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Thread: Considering a 1971 50/5 SWB as my first airhead.

  1. #1
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    Considering a 1971 50/5 SWB as my first airhead.

    I've located a nice 50/5 at what I feel is a reasonable price. I've read lots of opinions about it being underpowered, but that doesn't really concern me. It suits my riding style and the routes that I prefer to take. What does concern me is that somewhere along the way I've read about a parts availability issue related specifically to the 50, not the 60 or 75. I think it was related to pistons/rings. Any truth to that? Should I keep looking until a 60 or 75 comes along, based solely on a concern for finding parts when needed?
    Last edited by Appa x4; 12-29-2012 at 01:28 AM. Reason: Forgot to include model year in titletitle

  2. #2
    #4869 DennisDarrow's Avatar
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    Of all of em, there is nothing like an R50 to plonk along and just get you there. Glad you recognize that and hope you truly are satisfied with what it can bring you. There is no shortage of anything for any of the /5's. Just that some of the stuff is harder to find than others and some is easier. As there is NOTHING in your profile or anything that gives one a hint about the who, what, where, why, and how of your selection, your location, or why you would choose this I close with that........God bless.........Welcome aboard.....Dennis

  3. #3
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    I have a 71 R60/5.
    I have never had any problems with replacement parts. One one rare occassion a part had to be shipped from Germany. It took a few weeks but it was available.
    My bike has both the kickstarter and the electric starter.
    It's not hard to start my bike with the kickstarter but the electric starter is a nice convenience.
    I believe the electric starter was optional on the 50.
    If the bike you are looking at only has a kickstarter consider the convenience of the electric leg.

    Bob

  4. #4
    Registered User kwb210's Avatar
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    R50 parts compared to R60 and R75

    You should take a look at www.bmwhucky.com, he is my main source for parts. Many many parts are shared among the R50,R60, R75 and R90, like head gaskets, but I noticed there is no listing for pistons, rings or valves for the R50. However(!), the bike would have to be pretty worn out to need pistons. You don't mention anything about your ability or lack of in the mechancial area so it's hard to suggest much. I would check the compression and as well as the prior owners records, mileage etc. I have a R100 with a 105,000 miles and it is as healthly as can be, all I have done is rings and honed the cylinders. If the bike has a good history of oil changes and reasonable miles I would not worry to much. Also, how many miles will you ride it? I do about 10,000 a year on my slash 7, maybe 1,000 a year on my slash 5. I will never ever wear out the /5 at this rate so it would not matter if it is not in perfect shape.
    Tell us more about you and the bike.
    Regards,Kurt
    1977 R100/7 1971.1972.1972.1973 R75/5
    1974 R90/6 multiple boxes
    Airhead Revival
    "Objects in the mirror appear to be losing" unk

  5. #5
    Registered User georgej's Avatar
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    My first airhead was a '71 R50/5.I never had any problem getting parts.This was about five years ago. I sold that bike to a guy that ended up riding across Canada on it. He has a ride report posted over at ADV rider. I miss the /5,I want to get another one someday.

  6. #6
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    I am putting together a 1969 R50/5 This was a barn find. I have had no problems finding parts, Max BMW has the rings you are concerned about. This is my third R50/5 that I have put together. Very nice bikes!, You can easily upgrade it to an R60 with piston, jug, head change, (the stroke is the same)

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info guys...sounds as though I shouldn't worry about finding parts. I'm hoping to strike a deal with the owner soon and will post if I'm successful.

  8. #8
    Registered User bmweuro's Avatar
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    I think the R50/5 is a wonderful machine.
    www.boxermetal.com
    www.facebook.com/boxermetal
    VBMWMO #7770, BMW MOA #48694, ABC #600
    Hi my name is Chris and I am a slash-five-o-holic.

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