Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meeting fellow Airheads at a Denver Tech Day

airhead:  An air-cooled BMW Motorcycle with the Boxer Engine.

Airhead: A rider of reliable and simple to operate and service BMW airhead motorcycles.

Today, Dick Paschen, a member of the Airheads Motorcycle Club, graciously hosted a Tech Day at his home in Centennial, CO.  Together with his fellow Airhead friends Nick and Don, they were there to help any and all fellow airhead rider who showed up to bring their machines up to snuff in general maintenance/service tasks such as carburetor tuning and synchronizing; bleeding of brakes, oil changes, adjusting brakes, and pretty much any of the tasks that most folks can do if they can handle a wrench and can tell right from left.

By the time I arrived, the tech day was in full swing and there were at least 15-20 fellow riders in Dick's driveway either being coached or looking on as fellow riders were shown how to adjust and work on their individual motorcycles.

I was very impressed at the expertise and patience displayed by Don, Dick and Nick as they each showed us how to do oil changes, valve clearance checks and adjustments, carburetor maintenance, throttle cable adjustment and synchronization.  Dick had even whipped up two batches of delicious chili, hot and not so hot, to keep us sustained as we tried and glean knowledge from them.  Knowledge which was freely imparted, with a good sense of humor and obvious expertise.

 Don W, a retired Railroad Signals worker/manager, shows a new airhead owner how simple it is to change out the fluids on the new-to-him R100 RT.

 Above and below, Nick, showed us the proper way to adjust the throttle cables on the carburetors and made it seem quite easy to synchronize the throttle cables with the use of a Twinmax.  Nick lives in Cedar Edge, near Grand Junction, CO on the western part of the state.  Lucky guy, he regularly rides the San Juan Skyway and its beautiful road and scenery.

 Don, demonstrates an easy way to keep the final drive fluid from dripping on one's rear wheel while draining the final drive.

 Here's Matt Parkhouse, the Colorado Air Marshall for the Airheads Motorcycle Club, checking over a very clean looking airhead GS.  I was in lust of that GS.

 Here's Matt Parkhouse again, overseeing an Airhead's adjustment of his carburetor fuel idle mixture screw.  Matt is one of the recognized "Gurus" in the Airhead world and we were fortunate to have him come by and impart his knowledge.

 Here's Dick, in the yellow t-shirt, our host, expounding I am sure enthusiastically on some technical point.  Now is that a wild paint job on that GS or what?

 Nick and a fellow Airhead discuss some feature on Nick's very clean and well-fitted out RT

As you can see, they had quite a good turnout today.  I'd say at one point we must have had 25-30 fellow riders looking on and learning.

 Brigitta, who needed nothing done, just sat and waited for me next to the '88 GS that showed up

 Identified by Dick as his latest midlife crisis, an Italian Cinquecento or 500 car.  Voted, Dick made sure to tell us, the year's sexiest car by TopGear!  He's an Air Force vet and had acquired the 500 while stationed in Aviano, Italy.  Dick's car brought back some fun memories for me of seeing these cars in the streets of Italy when I myself was stationed in Vicenza, Italy.

 Matt Parkhouse works on an airhead which arrived with the issue of losing power when warmed up.  A quick diagnosis and examination, some adjustments by Matt and the owner Mike P took her for an extended test ride.  He came back a happy camper, issue resolved!

 One of the basic tasks of airhead maintenance, the checking/adjustment of the valve clearances is demonstrated by our host, Dick.

 As the afternoon wound down, there was time to just shoot the breeze amongst the riders gathered for this Tech Day.  From left to right, Don, Nick, Matt, Dick and Dale from Boulder.  Dale was another rider who came in with a rough-running airhead and left with a big smile on his face and a smooth-running airhead.

 A very tough looking and capable GS (mostly) showed up in the late afternoon.  It was a very serious off-road motorcycle!  The owner had ridden in the annual Big Dog Ride that is done is some of the really serious mountain trails and passes here in Colorado.  The owner told me he'd bought the motorcycle from Greg Frazier who hosts the Big Dog Ride.  A better provenance for an off-road motorcycle, I can't imagine.

 Showing that the marque has some torch carriers in the making, this young man showed up in the afternoon and was helped by Nick to diagnose a brake issue related to the brake master cylinder.

Here's our host, Dick Paschen, flanked by his buddies Don on the left and Nick on the right.
A very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly trio of experience airhead riders that I was fortunate to meet and get to know today.  Now I know who to go to when I need help with Brigitta!


Steve Williams said...

Three things:

1. You should have taken that GS you lusted after and left Brigitta behind.

2. Glad I didn't do anything to damage Brigitta and require a consultation at Tech Day.

3. Really cool that you can show up at an event like that and get support. It's a BMW thing I guess.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
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RichardM said...

A great turnout for the Airhead tech day. We just started these over the winter but just addressing one machine at a time. The last one went over a couple of weeks since once you're in, you find parts that need ordering. Having someone like Matt Parkhouse is a real asset.


Martha said...

Lust away oh hubby of mine. the "pet name" I've given to Vikki is "Enough". Now, you can replace one of the ladies, but you are "three and through". :) glad you had fun!

Mike said...

Very nice post! I'm working on a post after doing a valve adjust yesterday. I'd like to attend one of these Tech Days. They look fun and a lot to learn there.

I'd be lusting after the 500!

dgreenawal said...

Dom: Thanks ever so much for such a professional and wonderful write up on the tech day. I've been attending events like this in GA and was hoping to find a cadre of Beemer owners locally who are knowledgeable and who want to share their expertise and have a good time. I had three objectives coming into the day -- find some BMW savy guys from whom I can learn more about going beyond the basics for maintaining my /6 and R 80; get my 1975 R 75/6 carbs balanced; and find someone with an R 80RT who would allow me to copy their out of print owners manual to use with my R80RT which came without one. I hit bingos on all three and left a VERY happy camper--Kudos to Dick, Matt, Nick and Don for providing such a wonderful experience. I hope to see everyone who attended and hope that more of these events can be held in the metro area frequently! THANK YOU!!!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

What a f*cking great post!!! I can't believe you got to meet Matt Parkhouse! He's like meeting St. Luke, the patron saint of airhead repair. He can take an airhead apart on the side of the road, find some obscure failure, and get it running again in less time than it takes for an assistant to get the coffee.

What a great tech session that must have been. It is my intention to find Matt Parhouse at the next BMW Rally and stand in his shadow for ten minutes — just to see if any of that expertise rubs off on me.

I'm delighted you had the common decency to pull up on Brigitta, instead of Hirohito's Revenge. Let's face it, there is nothing as inspiring, as warm, nor as moving as a driveway full of Beemers, catching the sun in a completed circle of roundels. It's more than a club or group — it's a movement never spoken of by the members, but fully understood by the look in their eyes.

Great Post. Great Pictures. Well done.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Brady said...

I wish I was in this club. I jumped into Hondas a while back and am headlong down that path, but my next bike, I've said a million times, is going to be an airhead. I don't know how the hell I'm going to squeeze a fourth into my garage. I may have to steal it, or exchange... favors. I will have one, though.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life