Showing posts with label R80. Show all posts
Showing posts with label R80. Show all posts

Friday, September 19, 2008

Back to the System Cases for my Motorcycles


I'd recently posted a query on the Airheads email list seeking clarification on how my engine guards should fit on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer.

I wondered if they were the right ones for my motorcycle since I had recently had been forced to loosen the engine guards within their mounts in order to remove the valve covers to check the valve clearances. On another occasion, I'd had to remove the left one totally in order to fully access the finned exhaust nut in order to service it. Kind of annoying you know? Not to mention there was actual contact between the left side engine guard and the leading edge of the valve cover itself!

A few emails later, I learned that they engine guards are probably made by Krauser, and that they've worked fine on one Airhead's /6 motorcycle for over 25 years. This particular owner like them and they had saved some damage on the motorcycle during a particularly bad slide. He also mentioned his hard cases had kept the rear portion of his motorcycle from much damage and more importantly kept the motorcycle from pinning his leg under the motorcycle.

So, back on go the hard cases on Brigitta. I figure it'll be cheaper to replace the lid on a road-rashed system case than replace the rear motorcycle parts that would otherwise probably contact the ground in case of a fall; parts such as the tail plastic, luggage rack, turn signal stalks and exhaust pipe come to mind.

Along with the hard cases, the engine guards are also back on. There's hot debate as to their usefulness within the airhead community but for low speed/parking lot drops I think they'll do fine. Also, they're not the type which apparently BMW sold which one person swears are the devil's own creation (my words). LINK.

I found, with some careful sequencing on the tightening of the mounting bolts, that I could at least achieve a bit of clearance between the bars and the valve covers. So at least there's no physical contact between them now. I'll probably still have to loosen/remove them to remove the valve covers but no big deal, just annoying.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Brigitta's Picture in the SEP08 BMW ON

For upcoming issues of the BMW Owners Association's Owner News or ON magazine; the editors like to run themed photo submittal contests. I'm not sure they contests are real competitive but I'd like to think that more than the six entries that were published in the September 2008 edition were sent in by the membership at large!

One of the six is a picture of Brigitta that I sent in a while ago. The theme was "Mirror Image" and I wrote about taking the pictures here: LINK

Here's the picture that made the magazine:



Brigitta has changed somewhat since then, now sporting an S fairing in place of that third party windshield which I sold back to Pete Homan.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Running out of Gas

Temps in the mid to high 80s, sunny.

I ran out of gas on my 1987 R80, Brigitta, while riding home from work today.

FYI: Airheads have an internal hump down the middle of the gas tank so that fuel is delivered to the carburetors from two petcocks. One on each side of the tank, they have three settings: Off, Main and Reserve. I tend to ride with the left side on Main and the right side on Reserve. This way, the theory goes, when the motorcycle starts sputtering from lack of fuel, I can reach down with my left hand and switch it to reserve. It's not so easy to reach over the tank with the left hand to manipulate the right petcock, since one's right hand is on the throttle.

There's a crossover gas line between the two lines coming out of the two petcocks so each side can supply both carburetors.

Using the above method, I believe that when I put the left side on reserve, the right side is already completely empty and all I have left is the Left Reserve.

She started signaling she was running low (it feels like the engine is losing power) at 185 miles on the trip meter and so I switched the left petcock to reserve, thinking that I had at least 1 gallon left. Not so, more like 1/2 gallon. Not only that but I didn't notice that I was running with my right petcock on main instead of reserve as usual.

Around mile 200 or so, she started sputtering and I thought to myself: Damn, I should have stopped at that gas station by work instead of trying to make it to my usual gas station near home! I coasted to the side of the road to assess things while traffic flew by a few feet to my left. I looked down and finally noticed my right petcock was on main instead of reserve! So I switched it over and voila, the engine cranked right over and I thought myself fortunate.

I eased my way into the traffic stream after building up some speed on the grass besides the pavement and motored on towards the gas station near home. At mile 207 on the trip meter, the engine quit again as I prepared to enter the gas station's shopping center's parking lot and I got off the motorcycle after trying to crank it and pushed it 30 ft into a nearby parking spot. Damn. There I switched off the ignition and put it on the sidestand for a minute. I thought about calling my wife and asking her to bring a gallon of gas I keep at the house for the lawnmower.

Before I called though, I cranked her over one more and she caught! I quickly backed up and turned my self around and headed once more to the gas station. Wouldn't you know it, 100 ft from the gas station she quits again on me. No more fuel this time as I cranked the engine several times.

Sighing in the heat, I got off the motorcycle after putting her in neutral, and pushed her all the way to the nearest open pump. I am sure I made for an amusing sight to the patrons of the gas station but I didn't care. After all, 100 ft of pushing is not bad when one is riding the R80 which weighs 432lbs dry. Had I been on Maria though, with her 550lbs of dry weight, it would have been a much harder ordeal! Woof.

So, now I know I've 20 miles when on my second reserve before I am pushing the motorcycle or walking to get gas or waiting for someone to bring me some. I also know now that while my tank capacity might be rated at 5.5 gallons, it's closer to 5 due to the design of the tank flap under the gas cap. Apparently a lot of other airheads cut out this flap to get the most capacity out of their tank. Might be a winter project for me when I do the recommended flushing/cleaning of the gas tank.

I guess those are good things to know and a reinforcer of the concept of getting gas when its present and not hoping to get to one's usual fuel stop instead. A sort of a motorcycling version of "A bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush" if you take my meaning.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rainproof Brigitta? Perhaps.

Last night I rode into work in the midst of a light shower. I had to participate in a change at the datacenter that would run till 0400 today.

The light rain was actually nice and cooling as it had been a hot and muggy day, for Colorado anyways. I found it quite refreshing and it did not rain hard enough to cause vision issues. I soon rode through the rain and the streets were dry by the time I got to work.

It rained on and off through the rest of the night on Brigitta and I was so busy at work I completely forgot to worry whether she'd start up again when next I saw her.

This worry returned as I walked to her after the change, it was 0400 in the morning and quite cool and wet out in the parking lot.

I tried starting her on half choke setting and it didn't fire her up. I cycled the ignition key one more time, this time engaged full choke and after a few cranks of the starter she fired right up! I closed off the choke and let her warm up as I prepared to ride. I was a happy camper.

The fact she'd been sitting out in rain all night was no issue this time. She held idle just fine once she was warmed up and I encountered none of the issues I had encountered in my previous ride in the rain. Now given, it had rained much harder the previous time, still I'll take her condition as a good sign.


Here she sits in the garage tonight, all cleaned up from her riding in the rain.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Naming and getting to know the R80

I rode about town running errands on the 1987 R80 I acquired this past Thursday. She's very much fun to ride, and I am getting used to her riding characteristics as opposed to the ones displayed by Maria, my R1150RT.

Brigitta is the name chosen by my loving wife for the R80 and so she shall be named from now on. Some of the things I've found different about her:

1. Being almost 200 pounds lighter dry, she's quite easy to move around (comparitively speaking) when the engine is off in the parking lot. I don't have to think ahead and make sure I don't nose into a downward sloping parking spot from which I can't back her out of!

2. I am trying to learn a specific sequence for shutdown and startup so I don't leave the fuel petcocks in the wrong position. For instance, you have to ensure they're shut off when parked otherwise you risk some fuel leakage. More important, you have to remember to turn them back on before turning the engine on or you'll come to an embarrassing stop shortly after riding off.

3. Brigitta, being much older than Maria, apparently requires a good warming up period first thing in the morning. I did not wait before riding off and had her quit on me about three times before she was fully warmed up. This is unlike Maria whom the manual recommends no delays in riding off once the engine is running! Apparently at Brigitta's age, it's expected behaviour which I will have to adapt to with cold starts....oh well.

4. Brigitta looks a lot better without her Krauser side cases. : )

5. Being without fairings of any sort, she sure allows the air to flow through my Cycleport Mesh Kevlar riding gear! It feels so nice and cool when first moving after long stops after I've built up a bit of sweat under the gear! Almost chilly. Almost. The thermometer only reads in the mid-70s today but the sun makes one feel warmer than that!

6. In speaking to Pete Homan so more, I should run 20w50 oil in the summer and 10w40 in the winter on both the airhead and the oilhead!

An attempt at an "artsy" shot

Made during the Cold War! I was but a freshly minted Captain of Artillery then.....





I hope you like the pictures of Brigitta above, shot them on a side road off of Quincy Road, East of Gun Club Road and before the exit for the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds.

Temperatures were in the mid-80s by this time, was feeling warm with my Cycleport gear but cooled off fast once I got back on Brigitta and started riding again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Now a Two Motorcycle Owner

As some of you probably saw as a foregone conclusion, I did end up buying the 1987 R80 Beemer I posted about before.

She joins Maria, who'll be in the shop for at least the next two weeks they tell me. The insurance guy ran late at a previous inspection, now he says he won't be at the beemer dealer till Monday! I am starting to get a bit less enthusiastic about Progressive's responsiveness or lack thereof.

However, since I now have a "spare" motorcycle, I can keep getting my riding fix. : )

Tried on several brands of helmets today, Shoei, Arai, HJC and all of them did not fit my head correctly. Rather, my chin tended to touch the chin bar on all the helmets that fit the rest of my head! At this rate, I'm going to end up buying another KBC FFR flipup helmet! I never realized I would have such an issue switching helmet brands!

I hope to find a KBC dealer tomorrow and be done with helmet replacements.

On the ride home today from the fruitless helmet search, I realized how bad a habit I'd gotten into in terms of using brakes to slow down. On the R1150RT, with its powerful linked ABS brakes, stopping was just a matter of using the front brake lever and applying appropriate pressure. Well, on a barebones and older motorcycle like the R80, you have to use both the front and rear brake levers to come to a smooth stop without locking up either wheel!

It's a lesson I'd learned in the BRC: Basic Rider Course and now will have to relearn with the R80. I've been spoiled by the more modern brakes on Maria, it's time to start braking the right way and continue to do so when I get Maria back. Irondad, feel free to jump in with your instructor hat on!

Here's some pictures I took of the R80, no name yet for her, something Germanic to be sure but nothing's really come up.....






The R80 specification sheet I found online says the R80 has five gears, I never had to go above 4 and then only briefly while commuting today! She has a 7k RPM redline and I never got close to it as I rode.

I removed her small windshield, aftermarket, since I thought it detracted from her looks. I want all the air I can get hitting my mesh kevlar gear to keep cool if possible in the coming months!

I plugged her to the battery charger as Pete recommend I do on a nightly basis. Her small alternator only puts out 280W which is not much when compared to Maria's 700W so there will be little electrical farkling of this motorcycle!

I must also remember to turn off the fuel petcocks when stopped or apparently she could leak gas! She carries less oil than Maria so the need for oil checks will be each time I fill up at the very least!

Still, simple as she is, I think she's going to be a great commuter bike for the late spring and summer seasons here in Colorado. Maria will be my cold weather commuter with her big fairings and windshield.

Bought her with 61,643 miles on her odometer. But Pete said he'd had to have the odometer/speedometer fixed so the mileage reading was innacurate. He believed it was closer to 65k miles. However, I can only go by the odometer readings I have now.

I am to change the oil every 3k, valve lash checked every 5k, major service every 10k miles. I also found that since I still run dino oil on Maria that I should be, according to Pete, be changing the oil every 3K and he believe final drive/transmission every 6k service! Doh!