Hi, all. I'm glad to be here!
My first airhead (and first motorcycle) was a 1972 R60/5 (toaster tank ? how dare they call it ?garish?? now I can call it ?period, retro?) purchased new. Yes. Of course I wish I still had it.
More recently I'd been thinking for some time that I might like to ride again (my kids are grown, and I could probably survive several weeks in a hospital.) when I read an article espousing the virtues of the ?rat bike? - a mechanically sound but un-pretty old (probably Japanese) motorcycle. I had always been deeply attracted to the pre-seventys BMW's, what I've learned to refer to as /2's, but the rat bike seemed like a good way to find out if I should jump into something that would probably set me back $6,000 for an unrestored model.
I wound up buying ? on ebay, but local ? a Kawasaki KZ650 with 7000 apparently original miles in May of 2012. About six weeks and $1500 later, I was riding a motorcycle again. (By the way, it's a pretty cool bike. Dual overhead cams, and fast! - at least by my aging standards.) And, it was fun. (By the way, it's available now.)
Now I started thinking more about one of those old BMW's.
Toward the end of the summer, during normal driving about town, I passed a used car lot and spotted that unmistakeable look of a boxer engine. I made a U-turn and stopped in for a look. It was a 1979 R100RT. Something of which I'd never heard. (I lost touch with the motorcycle world in the mid-late seventies.) Within a few weeks, however that bike shared my garage with the Kawasaki. (My poor car hasn't been indoors since.)
I hardly got to ride much more before winter. During the cold weather, I rebuilt the Bing carbs (the bike had 51,000 miles, I know Zero of it's prior history, and I thought it would be fun and I'd probably learn something) installed new points, condenser and plug wires and cleaned the corrosion out of the one coil tower (Much thanks, by the way, to Rick of Motorrad Elektrik, for selling parts and much info and help!). (Interestingly, in the course of removing the carbs, I discovered spark plugs in the lower side of the head! No wires or additional coils or other electronic equipment. I don't know whether double plugging ? which I just then discovered ? had been started and abandoned, reversed or what. Like I said ? No History!)
Also during the winter I read and read about the ?airheads? including tech stuff like Snowbum's articles. Believe me, I'm not a mechanic. I'd read an article five or six times then do something.
When the weather started to turn, I reinstalled the carbs, set the valves (checked the torque on the heads, but it was spot on) and imagine my surprise when I turned on the ignition, threw on the choke, hit the starter, and the engine sprang to life! Then I set the timing. And began to ride.
I got about 100 miles on the bike ? enough to feel sufficiently confident to ride to Crownsville, MD from southern Pennsylvania for my first Airheads Tech Day at the at the home of gracious hosts Chris and Bridget. (My bike is at the extreme lower right in the cover photo of the June 2013 Airmail ? without the windshield. The first thing I did was remove it to get rid of that unbelievable wind buffeting. An aftermarket replacement is on my list. Probably taller. I'm 6'5? and it really blasted my head area!)
It was a cold ride, but more than worth it. (I think the best advice I've gotten was to join the Airheads Beemer Club and go to Tech Days. First, I don't think I'd ever seen so many airheads together at once. And what an astounding collection of Beemer knowledge!)
Anyway, I think I've got the bug. Now I think I need an R75/5. Although I never knew it at the time, I must have had short wheel base model in my R60. BMW changed it for a reason, but with the RT, this bike would be mostly for mainly local, one-up riding. I don't recall that I ever was aware of any problem, but I was not terribly aggressive. I still don't think I'll be too wild. I will (try to) start another thread seeking opinions on this.