The Airmail Masthead
humbly submitted by Greg Frazier #777 (Englewood CO)
The Feb. 11 & 12 "Elephant Ride" Rendezvous, held in conjunction with the 7th Annual "Elephant Ride", found most CO and NM Airheads cowering near the fireplaces of their homes as the weather dipped to -10 degrees, and a 2 day blizzard set in dumping 24 inches of fresh snow on the tough participants of the Elephant Ride. Airhead camping had been reserved at Lake Stinky Corral with all fees waived for Airheads. Free refreshments for all Airheads was provided by NM Airmarshal John Desko #446. Attending Airheads were also treated to free meals both Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The choice of ride for the Airheads was the R80/100 models. With fresh snow 24 inches deep, the short bars on the sport models were found to be useless as were ME88 tires and full fairings. Boxers with saddlebags had a slight advantage in that they could be pushed over the snow much like a sled.
Sixty-eight riders started the Elephant Ride this year but only 10 reached the summit via the Guanella Pass. One of those was an R100GS, and the other an R69S with a 90S engine and a Jupiter sidecar. One GS rider, who trailered his bike through several hundred miles of ice and snow all the way from California, discovered that he couldn't remove his bike from the trailer. It had literally frozen solid to the trailer.
One Airhead complained "We waited at length for the Airhead contingent from CA, but they never showed. Maybe they couldn't follow the tracks in the snow. So we did the best we could by drinking all the complimentary beverages, and taking home the free food. I've got a locker full of T-bone steaks. While we were looking forward to seeing some of the famed round-belly riders show us their stuff, we readily understood the fear of winter riding from those who are not used to extreme weather conditions like those we have here in the Rockies. Even the Germans who attended had to concede that this was rough going, however they knew how to keep their blood from freezing overnight. They taught us to heat our motor oil in a cooking pot and return it to the engine for a quick -10 degree start-up."
The first Elephant Ride Rendezvous resulted in no deaths, just wounded egos when riding conditions proved to be too much for riders and machines. A second rendezvous is planned for 1996. Contact BMW of Denver (303 936-2317) for details.
Thanx Greg. What an event!
It didn't surprise me that you didn't get much response from CA. We usually have trouble getting CA Airheads to participate when the weather outside drops below the temperature inside. That doesn't mean the CA guys aren't tough though, and to prove it, we'd like to invite everyone to the "Unity in Diversity" Ride. It will start in Corona CA at 4 PM on the first Friday after the Simpson verdict and run straight through south-central LA to Malibu. We advise you not to wear your Airhead T-shirt or anything else that has a circle on the back.
Greg has just completed a book called "Motorcycle Poems". His poems have titles like "Colors of Crashing" and "Ode to a Frankfurter Motorcycle". Call 303 231-6955 for info. -ed
From MI Airmarshal Nick Woloszyk #81 "I'd like to throw in my two cents worth on the 'Awards Ceremony Hostages' letter printed last month.
BMW has no duty nor obligation to give away anything at all at MOA Nationals, let alone a shiny new motorcycle. It is not an entitlement!
As an MOA member, I am embarrassed that this thankless attitude has been aired in the Owners News. Yes, it is unfortunate that someone may have missed out on a bike drawing to console a sick friend. But that's the choice he made; I'm sure I'd have done the same in his situation. The difference is, I would not expect the rules to change for me.
If BMW doesn't want people buying rally passes as a 'lottery', or if they simply want to cash in on a little extra PR by giving the bike only to someone who is physically present at the ceremony, that's their business. It's their bike, they can dole it out as they please. Or, they can avoid the whole controversy, and cut the entire program. When Mr. Horvatinovic gives away his own bike, he can set his own rules."
I'm not sure if the policy derives from NA or MOA Nick. If it's the former, then you are correct. If it's the latter, his point bears consideration. -ed
From Steve Kristan #713 (Troy MI) "I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter. I look forward to getting it every month - and reading the whole thing the day it arrives. The ABC is the embodiment of the traditional BMW motorcycle philosophy.
My membership number is 713, which means I don't need to renew my membership until next year. However, since I actually started getting newsletters in May, I feel I ought to send you some money for this year. Therefore, enclosed is a check for $12.00 to renew my membership."
Thank you for your support Steve. I'm glad you enjoy the newsletter. As with others who've renewed early, I've extended your membership through 1996. Although $12 barely covers the costs of printing the newsletter, Airheads have been enthusiastic in their support of the club through the Airware Store. That coupled with Walt Richard's hard work keeps our non-profit club viable. -ed
From Dean Klein #371 (McMurdo Station, Antarctica) "Sorry about the delay in getting my renewal to you. I'm currently working in Antarctica and mail is a bit slow.
Summer '95 should be a hell of a good year for me with respect to riding. After leaving the ice, I'll be riding around New Zealand for two weeks on a mate's R80GS. I'll jet back to the states in time for Daytona, and then it'll be a Daytona to LA to Seattle to Greenville SC ride with a Kiwi mate. Gotta show 'em around you know. Just a warm-up for the Iron Butt.
Yes, I'll be running an R60/2 in the Iron Butt this year. Someone else is running one as well, so this should be a real 'Battle of the Legends.'
When not playing, you'll find me selling BMW's at Touring Sport BMW in Greenville. This year, I'll be concentrating on 'previously owned' sales, so you can be sure that we'll have 'true Boxers' available.
To top it all off, I'm running for the BMW MOA Board of Directors. Read my position statement, consider the others, and vote for who you think will do the best job."
From TN Airmarshal Sam Tabor #501 "Thanks very much for the inclusion of my report on the Dixie Rendezvous, and the cover picture of my son - good picture - good cover - good issue. A small disappointment in that you did not include the short reports and pics of the two BMW rallies I sent. I feel it is important that Airmarshals across the country should know that information such as this would be included in Airmail."
Thanks Sam. You're right.
I've asked the Airmarshal coordinator to let all Airmarshals know that I will not only print photos and articles of their events, I actively seek them out. I live in a distant corner of the country far removed from most of the Airhead events. I rely on Airmarshals to get photos and stories to me. If the Airmarshal is not a good writer, I'm sure he can find someone who is. I don't need a masterpiece. I don't mind having to do some editing. But get me the material PLEASE?
As for photos, have someone else do it if you are too busy. Most of the photos I get are too dark, too fuzzy, or the subjects are too distant to reproduce well. A face with a shadow across half of it will reproduce as half blacked-out. Use the flash for every photo. People is what makes photos interesting, even if the subject is a bike. Forget night shots. Shoot several rolls and make 4x6 prints. Send me every print, and a bill for the film and processing.
Sometimes, as I look over back issues, I get the feeling that the ABC is a southern California club even though 3/4 of our members live far from there.
I'd like to appeal to all Airheads, if you attend an event at which there is Airhead participation, take lots of photos. Write a story, or ask someone else to write it. Let's balance the coverage. -ed
From Gary Prickett #91, Mission Viejo CA "My wife and I just returned from a fabulous 3 week motorcycle tour of New Zealand with the Beach operation. What a great time! Not only is the tour operator, Rob Beach [#261], a great guy, he is also one heck of a good rider - and a competent and articulate riding instructor. As a result, not only is the Beach Moari Meander a fun filled two wheeled vacation, it is also a riding course.
However, my purpose here is not to report on my winter vacation, but rather to help a fellow Beemerphile acquire a suitable mount for his USA visit later this year.
One of the adventures we enjoyed while visiting Kiwi country was white water rafting. It turned out that the owner, operator of the rafting company, a fellow named Keith Hughes, is an overseas member of the BMW MOA. Keith is making plans to attend the National Rally, and would like to purchase a good used Boxer for the occasion. He has expressed an interest in either an R100CS Last Edition, or a mid to late model GS. Should an Airhead be interested in selling one of these models, he can contact Keith at Kaitura Cascades, 22 Brookdale Dr., Ngongotaha, New Zealand."
From OH Airmarshal Dave Guilfoyle #672 "Just a quick note to let you know how the back issues are going. Since your mentions in the Airmail, the response to the 'Tech Article Index' has been really great. I went to Beale AFB (Sacramento) with my National Guard Unit for a couple of weeks, and when I returned, there were about a dozen requests. Of course, as soon as I sent all of the copies out, I realized I had misspelled 'description' in one of the tables. Writing is always a humbling experience. The orders for back issues have been slower, I think I've sent out five or six copies."
From Ontario Airmarshal Mike Soroka #329 "Hello Airheads. There are presently 14 of us here in Ontario, and I personally know only two. It's been lonely being an Airmarshal thus far; kind of like the Maytag repairman.
I plan on attending some Rendezvous' this year, and will be taking 2 separate weekly holidays to search for mountains. Let's get together and ride. I know you're out there. I know you are enjoying this mild winter. I'd love some input and ideas as to how to direct our chapter. I'm fairly handy with a wrench and would be happy to do some tech sessions. Give me a call?"
The Airmarshal coordinator sends out membership lists to the Airmarshals on a regular basis. You might want to write the members in your area directly Mike. -ed
From Matt Parkhouse #778 (Colorado Springs, CO) "What's this monkeying around with Canon #8. I always assumed canons were sort of permanent codes to live by. I really fear that the winds of Political Correctness might flow through the ABC. Makes me sad as I joined to avoid this silliness. As a friend of Bill W. as well as Max Friz, I was certainly not offended by references to beer and barley therapy.
Please keep the ABC a PC free outfit."
I understand your concern Matt. If the ABC ever became politically correct, I'd either have to quit, or buy BMW stock so that there would be a point to pandering to this multi-national organization.
For the last several months, the steering committee has been involved in the process of incorporating the ABC as a non-profit entity. The first thing our lawyer focused on was the reference to beer in the canons. He suggested that in America - where people aren't held responsible for their own behavior - this would be an ideal focus for an unscrupulous lawyer.
Until we get the tort reform promised in the Contract with America, this is the way it is. -ed
From Keith & Nancy Hull #15 & #16 (POB 2033, Palmer AK) "We have recently achieved a long standing goal, to make BMW motorcycles available for rent in Alaska. Any aid that you might provide to help spread the word would be greatly appreciated. We also produce tank covers for the late model R100GS/PD."
From New Zealand Airmarshal Chris Sorensen #812 "I am 42 years old and live in Wellington NZ, which is the southern most city in the North Island - and the capital of the country.
I work for Castrol Oil as an industrial specialist, which also happens to give me access to excellent lubricants for my Boxer.
After many years of riding Japanese bikes, which became obsolete almost as soon as I bought them, I decided I wanted something which was a bit more functional for touring, easy to work on, reliable, and most important, was not immediately outdated. This 'ideal' motorcycle was duly found in the form of a 1979 R100T, which had been fairly neglected. It was very functional, and so enjoyable to ride; hence began a love for BMW Boxers.
Christmas of 1988 saw Santa bring me a R100RS, which I still own, and will until the end of my riding life (read death). I have never enjoyed owning and riding a bike so much.
If any Airhead is visiting New Zealand, don't hesitate to call as there is plenty of spare bed space available."
The following tips are suggestions from members who may or may not be BMW experts.
Confirm the advisability of these ideas with your BMW dealer before trying them out.
by Oak Okleshen #35
(22637 S. Ridgeway, Richton Pk., IL 60471)
I would suggest an oil change every 5K miles, but changing the filter that often is gilding the lily. A broken-in engine has very little debris and will pretty much stay that was until very old age. Every 10K is sufficient. 5K may not get you through a long trip, but usually 10K will. That way, the filter can be changed before leaving and left until arriving home. An oil change is easy on the road, and can be done at any gasoline station, but a filter change - especially on the oil cooler models - can be a stinker.
The filter change on models through 1976 are a piece of cake, but the 1977 and later models do not have an internal cover over the cartridge housing and rely on a large 'O' ring on the engine cover to seal the cartridge internal-high pressure from the external-low pressure crankcase area. The early /7 models used the 'O' ring only, and sometimes it got sliced by the sharp edges of the canister. That resulted in an overall loss of engine pressure. In some instances, it caused bearing damage though the oil light stayed normal.
The fix was a skinny metal shim placed first into the canister. That was followed by the large 'O' ring, and the engine cover. If the machine being serviced does not have the shim (1977 and later), the owner should make sure to install one even if it was never there before. The large 'O' ring should always be replaced with a new one every time the filter is serviced. The old ones distort and may not seal adequately. We call this the $2000 'O' ring (and shim) because improperly serviced, it costs that to overhaul the engine. The insidious part is the oil seldom if ever leaks externally during pressure loss, and the oil lamp says all is OK.
When servicing the models with an oil cooler, the same thing applies. The awkward oil cooler thermostat housing makes it easier to misalign the rubber 'O' ring and shim. That means curtains for the engine. The safest way is to remove the exhaust systems on these models so you can see what is going on. That also insures that the exhaust nut and cylinder head threads get lubed every 10K miles with high temperature anti-seize.
A. Replace the large 'O' ring with the filter on 1977 and later models.
B. Add the skinny metal shim before placing the 'O' ring into the canister, even if one was never there before.
C. With oil cooler models, remove the exhaust system and relube the exhaust nuts every 10K as part of the schedule. This will allow accurate refitting of the oil cooler thermostat housing (and avoid stripping the 3 bolt holes).
D. For all models from 1970 on, be careful with the replacement cartridge design. If it is the new design with the built in 'O' rings, then do not use the original small 'O' rings that were used with the original type filters. Using both will cause problems, maybe total loss of oil pressure in the worst case.
E. For all models, it should be possible to achieve oil-pressure-light out using the electric starter only. I would highly recommend this final test - with sparkplugs out and grounded to avoid coil damage. The engine may need to crank for 30 seconds on models with an oil cooler.
I realize this is somewhat of overkill for the owner but that is good reason to let the filter go 10K miles before replacement (and not attempt it on the road, especially on 77/later models w/cooler). When you see engine damage as I have, and grown men cry when you tell them their engines are junk, it is a different ball game.
by Bill Snyder #111 (San Marcos CA)
I have used the EMC shock on my 92 GS for the last year, and found it more than satisfactory for heavy duty, two-up, full camp gear, adventure touring.
The shock is made in England, and is of heavy duty construction. It uses a lock-ring type adjustment for preload, which is nearly infinite. It also incorporates a twist knob adjuster for rebound damping, which can be accessed while riding. Two heim joints finish off the shock at top and bottom. EMC provides a substantial adjustment tool (Jan #1 tried to steal it).
It's a great shock for under $400, and comes with a two year warrantee. Available at Capital Cycle".
I did not. -ed.
by Rich Strickland #602
(El Centro CA)
Never fear. If you break down in the middle of nowhere, Motorcycle Touring Services is there; no ifs, ands or butts.
On Thanksgiving weekend, my girlfriend and I were taking the scenic road home from Silver City NM. Just past noon, near a wide spot in the road called Rodeo, with wind and dust blowing at 40 MPH, my R100GS quit running. The battery was dead.
A toll free call to Motorcycle Touring Services caused Eric from Deming Cycle Center in Deming NM, over 100 miles away, to hook up the shop's trailer and drive to the rescue. The good company of Eric, his wife and 5 year old child made the trip back go quickly. Even though the dealership was officially closed for the weekend, Jeff the manager and Rex the BMW mechanic were waiting for us when we arrived. The problem was quickly diagnosed as a rotor failure, and repaired with parts in stock.
Though we had some bad luck that day, MTS and the fine people at Deming Cycle were there for us."
From Dave Jones #585
"I've found a resource in Southern California which could be helpful to Airheads interested in Vintage Bikes.
His name is Randy Franks, and he specializes in supplying parts for vintage & classic BMW's. He has the largest collection I've seen, & he's willing to help you find what you need. His prices are not low, but they are competitive. Randy also has some very interesting bikes for sale.
If you need knee pads, a spot light mirror, a solo seat, a sidecar or anything for your /2, call Randy at 818 360-4008."
Death Valley Rendezvous
Attendance at this year's DV Rendezvous (83 Airheads) doubled over what it was last year, but that's not the real news. It was also twice as enjoyable. Thanks to much improved organization, we were not scattered over three different areas but got to camp together in one location. Gary Hanson #125 took some time off work to get to the site early in order to rope-in a large area on an extreme end of the campground. This ensured some privacy, but more importantly, it kept us away from the motorhomes. No-one could argue that we were interfering with their late night TV viewing. Despite the fact that we partied at least as hearty as last year, the rangers got no complaints and didn't offer to frisk anyone.
As usual, the munchies and beverages were in abundance satiating everyone's needs. There was plenty of firewood for those late night conferences and the weather was absolutely perfect.
Many thanks to Fred and Jillian Kumm (and their son who drove the supply wagon) and to Gary Hanson. You folks did a great job and the attendees owe you a big thanks.
Credibility in Airmail?
Charter member Oak Okleshen #35 has agreed to submit a monthly column to Airmail providing the technical information that so many of us crave. I can't think of anyone better qualified to do it, and we should consider ourselves lucky indeed to have this caliber of technical input. Look for his column elsewhere in this issue.
Let's be Generous
Here's a great idea. Reg Pridmore has offered three free Class Riding Schools with the purchase of every ten. If ten Airheads register through the ABC, we could donate the free schools for door prizes at a couple of rendezvous, and perhaps one to the MOA National Rally as a goodwill gesture from the ABC.
For a flyer, contact Reg Pridmore at 15500 W. Telegraph Rd., Santa Paula CA, 93060. Ph. 805 933-9936. Fax 805 933-9987
An Airhead once wrote "The worst bike in the world is the one that won't run when you need it. As every bike is going to break sometime, the best one is the one that is easiest to fix". Sounds simplistic doesn't it.
Some commercial magazines (those that accept advertising from BMW AG) are trying to become more scientific in their motorcycle reviews these days by producing comparative charts and graphs to support their conclusions. A category they consistently ignore however is "fixability". Without that category, most of them have no trouble agreeing that the oilhead GS is the best "adventure tourer" since the R72.
So why do so many "serious riders" - those that cross the British Empire rather than British Columbia - opt for the airhead.
Could it be that all that superior design isn't worth a single camel turd if you can't troubleshoot the bike during a Sahara sandstorm? Could it be because the chance of finding someone to fix your Motronic engine management system in N'Djamena is worse than that of finding a timing belt or an engine sensor there?
Nah! ....... those guys probably buy airheads cause they're noodleheads.
Rolf Baker #486 (Coronado CA) has spent some time in England, and recommends "Buzzy Bike" in London as the only affordable bike rental shop there. It's about half the price of rental shops who do a lot of advertising, and they can be reached at 44-81-904-3833.
Change of Dates
Please make note of the change in dates of the Continental Divide Rendezvous from June 16-18 to June 9-11. This was arranged to prevent conflict with the Solstice Soak Camp-out. Many thanks to AZ Airmarshal Ruben Guerra #42, NM Airmarshal John Desko #446 and Facedown Ferris #116 for the adjustment.
OK, I'm Running
I received a bunch of mail urging me to run for the MOA Board since last month's Luddite Screed column.
MOA politics is a rat's nest, and I'm still not sure I really want to become involved, but I sent in a position statement anyway because "it's my duty to represent those who champion the original concept of the MOA".
John Schrump #1155 (Chalotte NC) requested in his Airhead application that his name be used for club purposes only and not be forwarded to any other mailing list. We zealously guard our mailing list against such abuse, and have taken great pains to prevent it. If anyone feels otherwise, I'd like to hear about it.
Change of Venue
The San Diego Barley Therapy Treatment program has been relocated from the 94th Aero Squadron Hospital to O'Brien's Outpatient Clinic located diagonally across the street from Fun Bike Center next to the Infinity dealership. O'Briens proudly features medicines from 21 different microbreweries across the west, and dispenses some of them for $2.00/16 oz. vial. They also have sandwiches priced between 3 and 5 bucks. There is lots of well lit parking, and the bikes are visible both from inside the clinic and on the patio. See you there at 6:30 on Wednesday.
by Rich Strickland #602 (El Centro CA)
I learned late in life that I'd made a fundamental error when, in 1969, I gave up my romantic pursuit of Raquel Welch and turned my attention to motorcycles.
British bikes had begun their decline, so I bought one of the original Honda CB750s. It was 'cutting edge' in its time, but it was only basic transportation. It left something lacking. I needed more. More cubes, more chrome, something to customize. I needed to chop, to make a statement, a loud statement.
I started hanging around the old San Diego Harley Davidson dealership with motor cops and the unwashed. The cops stayed in the shop area, and the unwashed gravitated to the parts counter. The facilities were dark, dank and smelled of 60 weight pooling under the unsold machines on the showroom floor. Everyone drank the bad coffee. I was very cool, had grease under my fingernails, and could talk the talk and walk the walk - a limp as it were.
I committed myself to Harley Davidson and learned soon enough that as in romance, machines too have a mind of their own. Furthermore, love alone doesn't necessarily mean that you will get along with everyone in the family.
After four shovelheads - which tend to treat you like a woman won over in a musty bar - and one Evolution FLH-S, which was quite fine, I discovered something. I don't like anything that gets too popular. When the object of my affection, or affectation, started showing up in ads for soda pop, burgers and cigarettes, I asked myself, 'Is that what I look like?'
It became embarrassing to ride hither and yon on my shiny red Hog. Do all that see me view a rich dilettante because I ride a Harley of recent vintage? Do they presume that I can't be more than 20 miles from home? Do they think I am a smug and condescending urban Yuppie terrified of speeds over 55? Do they imagine, perish the thought, that I am wearing Harley underwear?
I recall with horror the 1993 Laughlin run. $30,000 Hogs - customized by check - with 185 miles on the clock, towed behind 40 Ft. motorhomes. Snake skin boots, Rolex presidents, diamond pinky rings, designer tattoos, $100 haircuts, surgically enhanced breasts, grandfathers kissing Arlen Ness' butt. Revulsion! Shall I be judged by the company I keep?
I had to escape, I had to purify my Karma, so I bought a purple R100GS and named it Barney.
My soul is at peace.
I didn't know it at the time, but deep down inside I was - and always have been - an Airhead.
By Kelly Pixton #700
I have been dog tired lately and I don't have much to say in this month's column. The reason for my lack of verbiage is I have recently returned to school. Who says you can't teach old dogs? Watch this space next month for more of my usual paradox influenced pandemonium.
AZ Airmarshal Ruben Guerra (#42) just informed me that the date for the Continental Divide Rendezvous has been changed so it won't conflict with the Solstice Soak Camp Out. Here are the details: June 9-11 at the Socorro Rec. Area, Datil New Mexico on US 60 and NM 12. Bring a can of condensed vegetable soup, your own beer, lies for bench racing and jokes for the campfire (firewood is provided by BLM). No firearms allowed. The cost is $5.00 / vehicle / day no limit on vehicles per site at this time, no pre-registration and sites are on a first come, first serve basis, so early arrivals nail down sites to share later on if need be. RSVP would be helpful. Contact NM Airmarshal John Desko (#446) at 4704 Downey NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 - Ph. (505) 883-2662, or AZ Airmarshal Ruben Guerra (#42) at 1320 N. Dakota St., Chandler, AZ 85224 - Ph (602) 963-6992. No collect calls please. There are some excellent mountain riding roads just south in the Gila National Forest, the Nat'l Radio Astronomy Observatory VLA telescope is located a few miles east and of course the enchantment that New Mexico is known for. There is a nature hiking trail in the area with spectacular views of the Plains of St. Augustin and the surrounding area. Coming from the west there is the legendary Salt River canyon on US 60 and the infamous US 191 (old US 666) from Springerville to Clifton.
Herman "Sam" Tabor #501 ( AKA Graywolf) is the 61 year old father of two Airheads, Gregg Tabor (#502) and Aynn Foulks (#791). Gregg's wife Chrissy is also an Airhead (#792). She is presently riding Gregg's '84 R80 GS until she can get her own airhead. Sam is a retired LTC Army dentist but now works part-time as a dentist in a private practice in Monteagle, TN. The rest of his time is consumed with running his campground - Laurel Trails Campground (motorcycles most welcome) and riding to rallies. A late starter (and perpetually late ever since), Sam got his first motorcycle, a 305 Honda Super Hawk, at age 35. Then he moved on to a 650 Kawi. There was a short series of other brands before discovering BMW's. Sam's first BMW was a new '76 R90 bought while stationed at Ft. Leonardwood, Mo. Much of the 55,000 miles on "Goldie" was to rallies and long trips with one kid or the other on the back. Sam's present airhead is a 1981 R100 named "Silver" with 69,000 on the odometer.
Carole, his wife of thirty two years, has never cared for long rides or camping. Her idea of roughing it is in a 24 ft. Winnebago. Never a high mileage contestant, Sam's most active year was probably last year, with approximately 20,000 miles and attendance at 18 rallies. He has an aggregate total of approx. 160,000 BMW miles and has ridden his BMW's in 46 of the lower 48 states.
Sam has been a very active participant around the East coast area as well as being the Airmarshal of Tennessee. He is a member of several clubs and organizations. AMA, BMW MOA, BMW RA, BMW Owners of AL., BMW riders of San Antonio, Poverty Riders, Facowies and of course the Airheads Beemer Club, just to name a few. He is really fond of the Airheads-East Rendezvous and he is the main sponsor of the Airheads-South "Heart of Dixie" Rendezvous. Sam says, "y'all come to the Heart of Dixie." Watch your Airmail for information on this upcoming rally.
I haven't had a chance to met Sam personally, but I hope to see him at the MOA National if he is going. However, I have had the pleasure of meeting his son Gregg at last year's Halloween Rendezvous. Gregg and I along with a few other Airheads stayed up very late one night to make sure all of the firewood had been properly burned and extinguished. I remember thinking what a great bunch of people there are in the Airheads club. After that event, I overheard several Airheads remark about how Gregg made quite an impression on them. I guess the old adage is true, 'fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
by Ed Culberson #425 (Palm Bay FL)
This article is reprinted from the May 1993 issue of Airmail
I've had my fling. Like a conscience stricken spouse, remorsefully stealing back from a brief liaison with a sensuously seductive rival, I have returned to the fold, to the hopefully forgiving embrace of the R-bikers, the AIRHEADS.
It's confession time. After years of resisting the siren songs of the K-bike crowd, I shrugged off my gut feelings and succumbed to the silent wiles of a pristinely blue K75RT on the showroom floor. I bought the lovely machine last April and embarked on a 14,000 mile romance, an affair foredoomed by the unrequited expectations of us both.
Riding away triumphantly from the dealer, I revelled in the warmth and protectiveness of the full fairing. I rejoiced at the nearby cockpit compartments, the capaciousness of the new-design saddlebags and the wonderfully convenient rear top case. The well-positioned mirrors were rock steady and I was reassured by the ABS equipped triple disc brakes.
Romping along Arizona's lofty highway 666, I quickly understood how the K-bike's reputation for easy handling on the twisties had been achieved. Now I knew why a Space Coast stalwart had said "after you get through the curve, you'll wonder where it went!"
So where did the bike and I go wrong? Like most failed affairs, it was the little things that ruined the romance. Things like the horn, with an eardrum shattering blast misdirected to rudely assault the auditory nerves of the rider, but leaving the real targets dangerously unimpressed.
Unless of course, they react to the raucous backfiring caused by rolling-off the throttle. At first, I thought it was funny to see folks diving for cover when the exhaust let loose with a barrage like I hadn't heard since the Tet offensive. But the constant, ballistic level farting of the system sounds suspiciously like incomplete combustion, wasted fuel and air pollution.
"Well it's just the nature of the beast" explained the service manager. If so, I blame it on the Motronic fuel delivery design. If it's unfixable, even by master mechanics, then I say change the name from Motronic to Moronic.
I soon learned that the sidestand was nothing more than another sorry chapter in the BMW book of Teutonic arrogance. By refusing to admit that their newest K-bike version of automatically retracting sidestands are a cruel joke in the
minds and bruised bodies of their long-suffering customers,
BMW has perpetrated a corporate insult that will forever be resented by the faithful. If I exerted superhuman force to pull in the clutch lever, the sidestand may have retracted. Maybe not. Or it did so when I least expected it. The beautifully designed, highly functional pop-off mirrors may pop off when the bike falls over, or they may not and allow me to hear the crunch of my fairing and budget collapsing.
The K75 may be sensuous at speed, but it's horribly unfaithful in parking lots. It is an awkward, top heavy beast at low speeds and betrayed me at every opportunity. The only refuge from disaster was to dismount the bike very cautiously and quickly grab the ingenious fold out handle to hike it up on the centerstand.
When the going gets tough, does the K75 get going? I just returned from a 6600 mile Pancho Villa Moto-tour from Texas to Panama and back. The bike came up woefully short. The mag wheels did not withstand the pot-holes of Nicaragua, and the bags surrendered as well. The covers consistently popped open, and the rear top case said adios in Mexico. The ABS went belly-up. I had to endure 3000 miles of baleful, cross-eyed warning lights blinking mindlessly as I gingerly refrained from even thinking about using the hypersensitive rear brake (all the while agonizing over all that complex, dysfunctional plumbing for which I had paid an obscene $1200 premium.)
The coup de grace came on the steamy, near-sea level Pan Am Pacific route in Guatemala. The last remnants of the rainy season assaulted us remorsefully with feverish temperatures and ruthless humidity. Though a poor cousin to the notoriously torrid K100, the K75 is a demoniacally capable producer of searing heat. The gas tank relentlessly roasted my right thigh, and the sweltering engine heat trapped by the fairing forced me to shuck my sweat trodden leathers just before heat exhaustion took it's toll.
I spend 90% of my time riding in tropical or subtropical climates on less than ideal roads. My fling with the K75 has convinced me that my best companion is the time tested, air-cooled R bike. In future, when I'm leading groups south on Pancho Villa Moto-tours, I'll be riding my new 1993 R100R.
Some may think that the multiple R's of the R100R designation stand for 'righteousness and reliability', but for me, the meaning is far more significant, 'repentance without regrets'. I'm a 100% Airhead once again.
by Wayne Marsula #165
The Airheads recently lost a member, and a great friend. I first met Ed at a rally in Florida several years ago, and he heartily embraced the idea of joining the Airheads when I offered him a membership form. To him, our canons represented "what motorcycling is really all about".
I can't imagine anyone who rides a Beemer not knowing about Ed, or not having read his book, Obsessions Die Hard . For those few of you, let me tell you about this wonderful man.
Ed was best known for the trip he did along the entire length of the Pan-American Highway between Alaska and Argentina. He did this on an R80GS that he named "Amigo". His book chronicles the journey including the crossing of the "proposed" section of the highway known as the Darien Gap. I won't try to recount his adventures as the book does it much better. Get a copy.
Ed was also known for his work with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation; leading tours through Central America; and his other writings.
He was a father, and proud to give his daughter an Airhead membership. He sent me a letter along with her application expressing his gratitude for the Airheads.
Ed and I last met in San Diego, when he was on his way from Baja to Florida. He knew then that he had an incurable disease, and told me that "This is my last ride". Ed is now on his final "last ride". I'm sure he's taking it with the same passion he showed for motorcycling, friendship and life. Ride on, good friend.
From TN Airmarshal Sam Tabor #501 "At about 10 PM on the night of Nov. 3, 1994 in the Conch Republic, a strange thing happened. A county mountie on Marathon Key decided to write law.
MV of Highland MI was arriving on the Key for the Gatorally when said mountie pulled him over and gave him a ticket for reckless endangerment. Not speeding, not lane shifting, not weaving through traffic, not improper lane changing, crossing double yellow lines, or any of the other violations we all know about. Here's the story.
MV saw a red traffic light up ahead, so he slowed down and stood up on the pegs to stretch his legs. When the mountie saw that, he was on him like a hawk on a gopher. As he wrote the ticket, he said that he didn't like MV standing up on that motorcycle. Didn't like!
At the urging of several of us in the campground, MV visited the local constabulary office to protest. He was told that this off-the-wall interpretation of the law was valid, and that he's have to pay a $57 fine and lose three points. Should he decide to fight it and lose, he could be fined as much as $500. Shades of a banana republic! At least they didn't put him in jail and shoot him at sunrise.
Not mollified by this revelation, MV then proceeded to the local office of the Florida Hwy. Patrol where he received even more distressing clarification of the Statute under which the ticket was written. Apparently, even if he'd removed a hand from the handlebars to wave at a passing bike, he could be subjected to a ticket.
MV went to the local library and copied the statute verbatim from the law books. Florida statute 316.1925 reads 'Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section. Any person found guilty of careless driving shall be punished as provided in section 316.555."
Thanks Sam. That leaves lots of room for interpretation, doesn't it?
Ontario Airmarshal Mike Soroka #329 mailed me a copy of another scam, this one operated by the Ontario government in Canada (coming soon to your local theater of operations). The form is called a Photo-Radar Offense Notice. It is not easy to decipher as 3/4 of it is written in French (a language not known for it's verbal economy). The English must be extracted like peanuts from the shell (Bilingualism is omnipresent in Canada except in Quebec, where English is banned. How Canadians tolerate this is beyond me.)
The Notice commands Mike to pay a "Set Fine including costs" -what costs!- of $215. Included was a photo of his license plate (to lend credence to the state's case).
How this blatant abuse of power benefits the public good is unclear to me. It makes sense only when seen for what it is, payola. You wanna drive, you gotta pay. It is little different from the 'protection' rackets enforced by the 'mob'.
For those of us concerned with picky details like the identity of the offender, that nuisance is handily covered by section 207 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, which - as translated on the form - reads "You as the owner are liable for this offense even if you were not the driver at the time."
The assumption is that you are guilty, and the onus is on you to prove yourself innocent. Whether or not it is possible for you to defend yourself, or to cross-examine a Photo-Radar device is not their concern. This is Napoleonic Law!
Welcome to the 'Brave New World' Order!
The bigger we let government grow, the more we will be subject to this kind of tyranny. -ed
From OH Airmarshal David Guilfoyle #672 (Cincinnati)
"While searching through some old magazines, I happened on this advertisement from BMW. It was in a 1976 issue of Cycle. I couldn't believe how well it summed up the Airhead philosophy."
Why, When most companies are selling you multi-cylinder complexities, does BMW still rely on a flat-twin, push -rod engine? The answer is simple.
Simple to be sure. The engineers who have been polishing and perfecting the BMW concept are committed to makin the motorcycle as simple as possible. Their philosophy is the less there is to have trouble with, the less you're likely to have trouble.
The BMW design has worked well for over 50 years. That's why we continue to use it. Not because we can't change. But because we can't see any intelligent engineering reason to change.
In fact, we use our opposed-twin design for three reasons. First, it runs cool, out in the breeze. Second, because both pistons move simultaneously in-out, in-out, the flat twin is inherently sommth. And third, it is an incredibly powerful design. The big pistons pushing from opposites isdes of the crank, give the BMW engine great torque, the crank being pushed by great, big, heavyweight thrusts instead of lots of little ones. So you get immediate response, even a low revs. BMW feels this kind of power makes the safest, most practical road bike. An no multi-cylinder arrangement can do it better.
Why not over head camshafts? When you can comfortably get 55 ft. lbs of torque and gobs of horsepower with pushrods, what on earth do you need overhead cams for? Besides, overhead cams would make the machine heavier.
Talk about simplicity. The BMW has a large, dry single plate clutch. It won't slip. It won't sitck like a multi-plate wet clutch. Again simplicity works.
Next time you see a BMW, go talk with the guy who owns it. Ask him how simple it is to maintain. How easy it is to own. How much fun it is to know he can just go on it and go, anytine, anywhere.
And then ask yourself what all that engineering complexity really does for you.
According to a "pure motorcyclist" who wrote the "Prospero's Garage" article in the Dec. 94 MOA News, these ideas are "crap". Contrary to reigning design theory, he argues that simplicity is on longer a desirable design goal. "We fortunately are not burdened by that limitatin." he wrote.
Neither was Volkswagen, which dropped the simple, air-cooled, boxer engine in favor of a "superior design". The company's world wide sales promptly plummeted from fourth place to out of sight. Nevertheless, seventeen years after their demise, Beetles are still loved and enjoyed all over SoCal while VW's "superior engineering" can scarcely be found.
VW is currently looking to resurrect the bug in an effort to regain lost ground.
Don't be surprised if BMW Motorrad follows suite a few years down the line.
Hopefully by then, the creator of the oilhead GS will have moved on to designing backhoes for Caterpillar.
Some "serious" BMW rider wrote an article recently questioning "the hostility older BMW owners feel for the new stuff". He compared these ownere to aficionados of "The Brady Bunch", a juvenile TV show of the sixties. He construed that the preference for simple engineering must be due to a subconscious desire to return to the womb (or something equally profound).
Are we to presume then, that everyone who prefers an analog watch to a digital one is equally hostile, and subject to the same diagnosis?
Thank god we have these "pure motorcyclists' to lead us beyond BMW's Luddite brainwashing of the pas and on to a brave new world homogenized bye the "right attitude". Ed.
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