I at first thought it was gearbox problems but realized it as I rode home that the power cable going to the right handgrip heater pad was touching the starter button. Dammit.
Of course, it ruined the pinion gear assembly on the starter to the point where it would jam up when engaging the engine's flywheel. Sigh.
flywheel's gear teeth.
I checked the teeth on the flywheel and they were not damaged. I lucked out there.
I hate self-inflicted repair needs the worst!
Anyways, finally got the ruined starter out and yeah, the pinion gears were quite munged. After consulting with RichardM, he sent me a link to the starter he'd recently bought while in Denver for a business trip. The company is Euro MotoElectrics and they're pretty much a one stop shop for Beemer and some other motorcycle electronics!
I got a tour of their parts offerings and it's quite extensive. It also includes filters for oil changes, batteries, and cables for the repair of our beloved Airheads and I am sure other motorcycles as well.
It's the EnDuraLast Starter - BMW R Airhead 9-Tooth which Replaces VALEO D6RA7, D6RA15; 12 41 9 062 425 / EnDuraLast. Link to the item on EME's website: LINK
Image source: Euro MotoElectrics
A trip to Denver and I had the new starter which spins faster, draws about 20% less Amps and weighs about three pounds less than the Bosch unit that the engine came with. As a bonus, the new starter is shorter and so one doesn't have to worry about remounting the small 8mm nuts!
It was a tight fit but I finally got the new starter in the right position to secure it with existing bolts. The new starter has threaded mounting holes so I reversed the mounting bolts accordingly. No problem.
Did a test crank and all was well. Sigh.
I buttoned Fiona back up, replacing the engine cover (which I didn't really need to remove based on the way I got to the rear nuts, and after making sure the negative ground cable on the battery was disconnected), the cover over the starter, the airbox, the battery standoffs to allow clearance for the end of the clutch cable, the negative ground screw to complete the circuits again and finally the sidecovers.
Fiona is "mo better" now.