AirMail From the Airheads Beemer Club

January 1995

Luddite Screed

by B. Jan Hofman


Many Thanks

to all those Airheads who sent me Xmas cards and greetings. I appreciate all the kind and encouraging words. Thanks also to those who sent in undue dues with notes like "Give it to somebody who can't pay" or "It's worth it to me" or "I don't know if they're due or not, but keep it anyway".

Thanks also to those who signed up friends and riding buddies this year, especially Airmarshal Sam Tabor, who must have inducted at least 40 new members.

Great Warrantee

I have raved before about the great warrantee on BMW motorcycles. After 56,000 miles, my Roadster recently needed a tranny rebuild, which was performed by Fun Bike Center. Not all the parts were in stock so some were overnighted. The bike has never shifted as well as it does now. Total cost to me, 0. Can't beat that!

Classified Ads

are free in Airmail, so why not take advantage of them. Do they work? Well, one of the hardest things to get in SoCal is a toaster tank. Not the whole bike, just the tank. It seems that people like to convert other airheads into toaster tank models. Within three weeks of placing the ad, an Airhead in Texas sold us a tank and chrome sidecovers in excellent condition for $150.

Try that through the local newspaper.

Buccaneer Party

Todd Ross #1005 (Ph.: 407 337-2051) has asked me to mention the "Shipwreck Weekend" rally. It's planned for the week end of Feb. 10-12 at Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Hobe Sound FL. Sponsored by the Treasure Coast BMW Riders, it features two nights camping, a bonfire and music. Although this is not an Airhead event, it sounds like a buccangood time to me.


The Airhead logo is both copyrighted and trademarked. We can't tolerate it's unauthorized use.

Where's the Meat?

Despite the fact that BMW will continue to sell two airhead Boxers in 1995, these models didn't rate a mention in the 1995 BMW Motorcycle Catalogue. Nothing in there but oilheads and slusheads. Like the airhead, the K75 is also slated for extinction at the end of 1995, but curiously, it received lots of attention. The Fund-Euro, which is not even available in America, was prominently featured as well.

I guess we're orphans folks.

Uncomfortable Truth

A Georgetown editor's declaration in March of 1993 that the oilhead's reliability record would bear "no resemblance whatsoever with the glitch ridden 1985 K100 or the first batch of K1's" may have been somewhat utopian. Anyone interested in reality would do well to peruse back issues of The Oil Rag , the official newsletter of the Oilheads Beemer Club. The newsletter is mercifully free of hauteur, and provides lots of unbiased information on BMW's latest twins. It can be obtained by writing to POB 8081, Charlottesville VA 22906.


From Greg Harrison, Vice President of Communications for the American Motorcyclist Association and editor of American Motorcyclist magazine.

"Thanks Jan for your supportive editorial in the November 94 issue of Airmail.

Like you, I was extremely disappointed not only in the fact that Doug Jacobs had written such an insane piece [" Prospero's Garage" published in the Oct. 94 issue of the MOA Owners News -ed.], but that BMW MOA would have considered publishing it in the first place .

Earlier this year, I mentioned in one of my columns that I had purchased a new R1100RS. Shortly thereafter, I received a letter from a guy who claimed I was a 'Nazi' for purchasing the bike, and that I could now join all the other 'Nazi-loving BMW riders' riding down the road aloof, and removed from the rest of motorcycling.

There is no question that there are kooks in the world. But what if I had written back to this individual and encouraged him to write an editorial that might expand upon his bizarre message, and perhaps include MOA members in it as well? We could have run it in our magazine, since it would have been controversial (and it would have filled a page of space). What a concept!

The problem is, as you well know, a) the guy was a kook; b) his wild claims were completely unsubstantiated; and c) what we are about here is building associations among motorcyclists rather than tearing them down. After reading Jacob's piece, I wonder about the MOA.

Again, Jan, I really appreciate your taking the time to editorialize on this subject. I always knew how much I liked my R100RS and my R75/5. Now I know why. It's the enlightened people that they attract!"

Mr. Harrison printed an editorial in the January 1995 issue of the American Motorcyclist (the voice of the AMA) addressing Jacob's article. It was titled "Hateful" and referenced the BMW MOA as the publisher of Jacob's bigoted, separatist views.

I'm told that the circulation of American Motorcyclist magazine (over 200,000 copies) exceeds that of all the national motorcycle magazines in America combined. It seems reasonable to assume therefore, that Harrison's retort will be the first exposure to the BMW MOA that thousands of riders will experience. What a shame!

How did Jacob's bile find it's way into the MOA News ? Itseems totally inconsistent with the character of the MOA, and calls into question the discretion of it's editor.

I've been a member of the MOA since 1976. In all of that time, spokesmen for the MOA have made it a priority to improve the public image of our umbrella organization, and thereby the image of all BMW riders. To see that trashed by a dyspeptic writer best known for his anti-MOA invective submitted to the newsletter of a parallel and competing organization is unconscionable. -ed.

From Terri L. McClure, member services officer of the San Diego MENSA group "It was a cool Saturday afternoon, and we Mensans were sitting around our campsite at Palm Canyon in Borrego Springs CA. Suddenly, there was the roar of motorcycle engines coming towards us. Cries of 'Oh no, Bikers!' arose from our group. Luckily, the ruffians kept to themselves.

That night, as I was preparing a massive feast, my daughter Brittany came to inform me that an 'Airhead' wanted to take the Mensa test. I reprimanded her, and explained that people wouldn't appreciate overhearing that term. She insisted that that was what they called themselves. About then, Mike Smith #652 came over to say hello.

He seemed polite enough, so after dinner, I took up Mike's request to come and visit. I was immediately offered a beer - which I've since learned is one of the canons of the Airheads. I was amazed at how civilized these bikers seemed to be. They told clean jokes (my daughter was still present) and we were invited to hike the canyon with them the next day.

We did indeed hike Palm Canyon together, and our group had a great time getting to know Jim, Jamie, Mike, Cathy, Brian and Andy.

Afterwards, when they'd packed their camping gear and were preparing to ride off into the sun, we exchanged addresses and phone numbers, and had several photos taken together. Mike even stuck our logo onto his windshield (the colors matched perfectly).

I for one, am very pleased to have made the acquaintance of such fine folks as these."

From Rich Kraft #837 (Kalispell MT) "After being a daily practitioner of barley therapy for 20 some years, my shiny side was rarely right side up anymore. This was not a painless or enjoyable realization. Barley therapy had worked wonders for me for many years, but now my happy hour was over. I am learning to live without those daily sessions and in fact believe it would be wise for me to live without them the rest of my life. Admitting that to myself left a place in me that was empty and needed to be filled.

Enter the motorcycle. First a Suzuki, then a bigger and shinier Honda, and now a beautiful baby blue BMW. Freedom, long rides, mountain roads, places to go, something to do with my time. Not only has this filled that empty spot in me, but it feels real and I feel better.

In being a recent recruit in the ABC, I have only the newsletters as a reflection of what kind of person is an Airhead. Diversity, individuality, and being a bit different are all strong points as far as I'm concerned.

I would love to attend a rendezvous and meet with others to share in our appreciation of the beauty of simplicity. However, from the pictures and articles in the newsletters I've received, it seems that these events are as much about consuming alcohol passionately as they are about a passion for airhead BMW's. Am I getting the wrong impression? Though I know that many people drink responsibly and for fun, it is my hope that the ABC is a club focused on Boxers, and not beer."

You are wise to refrain from alcohol consumption. Probably 5% of the San Diego club does not drink alcohol (including a steering committee member). That doesn't bother anyone. As in the general population, some individuals drink too much, and that has the potential to be more of a problem. When it becomes necessary, Airheads have been known to make ignition keys disappear.

You would not feel out of place at a rendezvous. Although a weekend rally in the sticks is the ideal venue for a rambunctious party, most Airheads don't take full advantage of the opportunity. We expect members to be mature enough to assess their own limitations and to be sober in time for the ride home.

Beer is just a pretext for social interaction Rich. Next time you see the word "beer" in Airmail, read "meaningful social intercourse". I've tried popularizing the term in San Diego, but everytime I ask an Airhead to join me for "meaningful social intercourse", I get slapped. -ed

From Steve Regan #130, Redlands CA "Having read accounts in several publications of the infamous Spartanburg SC law-enforcement vs. law-abiding Charity Bikers Run incident, I am as outraged as anyone. However, upon learning that most were riding Harley Davidsons, I was not surprised.

Lately, the popularity of Harley Davidsons has grown, largely by trading on the 'outlaw biker' image. Presumably, the object would be to project this image to others on the road, who may not appreciate the difference between a real 'one-percenter' and some nouveau Harley rider.

It seems to me that if you want to be seen as an outlaw biker with straight pipes and Nazi style helmets, then don't be surprised when you're treated like one.

Now that they have been subjected to the type of government treatment these emblems once represented, perhaps the individuals who wear foolish Nazi emblazonry will understand the significance of these symbols.

As for the other motorcyclists who were not riding Harleys, well, you are judged by the company you keep."

A popular fashion with the kids these days is oversize shorts and reversed baseball caps. Should we lock em all up for being gang bangers Steve?

In America, we don't allow government to persecute people for the way they look. -ed.

From the editor's sister, Carolyn Pahara "The letters you get are so delightful. I am so impressed with the all-inclusive spirit of this club. In my class, I always start the first lesson with 'Hey, there's enough crap out there, let's have one safe place where we accept each other and can express ourselves freely'. The students sure do respond to that. The 'Kinda Weird' article you wrote was right on.

Something that is kind of neat too is that I am upgrading my vocabulary. As I read through the articles, I circle all the words you've written that are news to me, and look them up.

So - your Luddite, delta-minus noodlehead, biker rag is teaching me some stuff. Suffice it to say, your club would not appeal to bellicose prevaricators. (Cool, eh!)"

From Rich Strickland #602 (El Centro CA) "One of the most magnificent views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River is located at Quartermaster Viewpoint on the Huavapai Indian Reservation north of Kingman AZ. Access to the area is controlled by the Indian tribe, which charges $10 to camp in absolute, unimproved solitude. The terrain is high desert and rocky, so don't count on being able to get tent stakes into the ground.

To get there, take 93 north from Kingman to the Dolan Springs turnoff, and ride north to the Grand Canyon West sign. Turn right and start riding 15 miles of washboard dirt road that is without challenge on anything smaller than a Goldwing. The scenery on route is beautiful, but is soon forgotten compared to the view at Quartermaster. The feeling of discovery is awesome."

From Corrado Ronchi, Airhead #1000 (Via Giletti 40/b, 13064 Ponzone Biellese VC, ITALY) "I am very glad to join the ABC to know what is happening in the Boxer world. I am not into local motorcycle clubs and prefer to travel with a few friends.

Last summer, we made an interesting trip in Austria and Germany: we had a lot of rain and bad weather. I am enclosing a photo (on the cover) taken around the Neuschwastein Castle which looks like the Disneyland Castle.

Hope to send you other photographs in the future. If there are any Airheads who are planning to cross northwestern Italy, please contact me so I can help with what to see etc."

Airmarshals' Meanderings

By Airmarshal Coordinator

Kelly Pixton #700 (San Diego)

Another year has come and gone and I didn't get a brand new airhead. I guess I wasn't nice enough to everybody. If you were the one that received my new bike - accidentally, could I ride it sometime?

I'd like to share a comment from OR Airmarshal Tom Hannen #881, "I'm still learning about the club and about BMW's, and one thing I've learned is that the club may be more about philosophy than about motorcycles."

Tom would like to put together a several-day ride around Oregon. The ride would include camping overnight in many small towns going down the coast and along the Rogue River. That sounds like a great idea Tom. Let me know when it is so I can plan to be there.

The 2nd Annual "Summer Solstice Soak" Camp Out is in the planning stage for June 16th and 17th. NV Airmarshal Dave Rankine #354 and Maurene Clendenen #153 are coordinating the event. Wouldn't a hot soak feel good right now?

Several Airmarshals wrote to welcome me aboard. Many of them remarked that they love to make home-brew. Who would have thought that so many Airheads like to drink beer? I am scheduling half of my vacation to coincide with the BMW MOA National Rally. It should be a golden opportunity to meet with Airheads and ponder relevant questions like: where does an artificial color come from, and why don't people use French bread to make French toast?

I have spent the last three summers touring the gorgeous area around Durango. I have a map of a half dozen spectacular rides in southwestern Colorado complete with instructions, comments, and mileage. Realizing that planned routes like this would help make any Airhead's trip more enjoyable, I thought I could help coordinate rides throughout the United States. This is where you can help. Send me your favorite road ride, something with beautiful scenery or great corners. Describe the route and any noteworthy points, include highway numbers and mileage between towns on your map (if you can't draw, trace it from the AAA map). While you're at it, scribble any place you know of that is downright friendly to two-wheeled types too. Note: if you send in pictures, consider it a donation, we cut off the borders and print the ones we can use. These photos cannot be reconstructed because the cutoff photo scraps are forwarded to a company that specializes in making crutches for frog amputees. Make sure there is enough light in your pictures and the object of interest is large enough to be recognized. Right now is a great time to send maps and pictures in to me so I can get them organized and respond to Airheads planning their summer vacations.

I'd like to introduce you to FL Airmarshal, Gator Balough #78. Gator has been around a long time and he said he would have joined the ABC sooner but he didn't get the application turned in for quite a while. I guess that means he was already an Airhead. Gator describes his age as old enough to know better and too young to resist. He admits he has never been married for more than 24-48 hours. Gator rode his recent purchase, an R90/6, to 7 rallies throughout the east this summer. Wow Gator, 7 rallies, it's amazing you knew when to stop. The most fun he had was meeting all of the Airheads along the way. He is going to be at the MOA National in Durango, unless, God forbid, he is in a financial bind and has to return to work or get married. About the latter, it would have to be a rich woman who loves Boxers.

"How it all started, recalls Gator, was on a new 1971 Honda CB 350 I purchased from Pop Dreyer. After a while it became obvious that not all bikes are created equally, some are made more simply than others." He has spent the last 10 years on a variety of airhead boxers including an 1984 R100RS and a few R100GS bikes. Gator actually owned two big GS's at the same time and took one of them on a trip to Alaska to experience some of that awesome hinterland. I imagine he has racked up some mileage too. 20,000 miles of road supported Gator's choice of lifestyle and his R90/6 during the past six months. With this kind of abuse, it's a good thing Gator pays his share of state and road tax on all of the gas and beer he buys. Life is hard, but the important thing is that he is having a good time. Given a free dream-trip to anywhere in the world, Gator would choose to take a R100GS across Russia, or over to Germany and Austria. A collection has been started in his name.

Knowing his preference for working on his own bike, it is not surprising Gator is fond of Canon #8. He helps coordinate tech sessions with Danno Emerson #456 around the state on the second Sunday of each month. "Everybody has something to contribute at the tech sessions" says Gator, "if we can't actually fix it, we can diagnose the problem and point you in the right direction."

After talking to Gator, I got a sense of an Airhead that doesn't take himself, life or religion to seriously. A real person that is individually different and likes the 'keep it simple' philosophy. If you ask Gator, he is just another BMW rider, nothing special.

GS Registry (update)

by GS Registry Coordinator

Pat Fullerton #479

(13141 Laurel St., Lakeside CA 92040).

Each month, a few more names trickle in to the GS Registry. I've sent post cards to those members who share area codes, advising them of the nearby GS riders.

Airmarshal Dave Rankine #354, with whom we shared a GS ride at the Halloween Rendezvous, is putting on a 2 day ride over the Labor Day Weekend. He wrote "Could you print a request for a volunteer or two interested in sharing responsibility for a GS ride over the Labor Day Weekend. We might call it 'Airheads on the Black Rock'. It would be a two day ride from Reno north on dirt roads over the Fremont Pass, across the Black Rock desert, up the Applegate Wagon Trail, camp at High Rock Canyon, then onto the eastern Oregon Plains, camp somewhere in Fremont National Forest and back Monday on 395. I figure about 350 miles through the least developed part of the South 48. Call me at 702 324-5538 to volunteer." Dave's address is in the Airmarshal list.

The photo is from a one day jaunt into Baja; 60 miles from Tecate to Ojos Negros with some wash board, soft sand, river crossings, great scenery and no people. The grin meter was pegged for me and Kevin O'Callaghan #693 (shown).

I was able to spend a few days wandering about Arizona recently. This state was designed and built for the GS rider. Twisty mountain roads - paved and unpaved - reward those lucky enough to enter it's borders. But alas, since we have no Arizona Airheads in the GS registry to guide us, we had to endure the snickers of the locals as we tried to pronounce "Mogollon" Rim.

We will have a 3 or 4 day GS ride to Baja this spring. The ride will be open to all members of the GS registry. Sign up now. Send me your name and Airhead number, the type of GS riding in your area; e.g. death ride enduro, moderate dual sport, fire roads, etc., and any special notes; e.g. campsite info, places to avoid, relevant personal info etc.

Take it out and get it dirty!


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.

The idle speed on my 92 R100PD was much higher than normal.

Much of the detonation, faltering and stumbling of your bike can be attributed to oxygenated gas.

The advice you gave me to eliminate ping on my 94 airhead worked great

Pat Pederson's heavily modified R100RS.

OH Airmarshal Dave Guilfoyle #672 (see Airmarshal list) has prepared a superb index. It summarizes technical info and product reviews appearing in past issues of Airmail. It is available for the cost of a stamped, self-addressed envelop. Back issues are available for 75 cents each.

From Newell Haxton #378 (Lombard IL) "Maybe Airheads are reluctant to submit technical articles because we leave ourselves open to criticism if the suggested modifications don't work the same on every bike, or someone has a better way of doing things. Well, for the good of fellow Airheads, I submit the following suggestions.

1. From the Bing tuning book: A lean mixture burns before it is completely in the cylinder, and a rich mixture burns partially in the exhaust pipe. A lean mixture results in a louder intake drone. A rich mixture results in a 'mushy' exhaust sound. When the air/fuel mixture is correct, the exhaust sound is correct.

2. Intake noise is reduced when the tubes which connect the exhaust ports to the air cleaner box are removed and the stubbs are capped with US sized flare fittings available at any good hardware store. (My experience is that this mod tends to eliminate popping sounds from the exhaust pipe, especially on deceleration -ed.)

3. Larger jets lessen the Boxer's cold blooded nature (only on post-78 models -ed.)

4. EBC pads don't squeal like the stock ones do.

5. Dunlop tires stick noticeably better than the stock Continentals.

6. Gore-tex high top shoes are comfortable in normal weather and completely waterproof in the rain.

7. Adding Saeng's 'Stealth Edging' to the stock RT windshield effectively raises the air turbulence area by 2-3 inches, just enough to save the cost of switching to a taller windshield. Four feet cost $45.

Two years ago, I purchased an 88 R100RT with 2300 miles on it. Occasionally, under a heavy load such as running against a strong headwind, it would misfire at around 80-85 MPH. Backing off the throttle would restore proper operation. Since both plug insulators were white, I blamed the condition on the factory's effort at reducing emissions by leaning out the engine. Shortly thereafter, I installed a K&N air filter for improved breathing. The miss got worse. It now occurred more often, and at a lower speed. Something had to be done. The nice people at The Bing Agency (Bill and Joyce) sell an informative tuning book. They also sell larger jets. I increased the idle jet size from 45 to 48, needle jet size from 2.66 to 2.68, and the mains from 135 to 145. That made a noticeable improvement. The bike had more low and midrange power, and the intake noise - which had increased with the addition of the K&N filter - was reduced (due to a smaller throttle opening for a given speed). The high speed miss lessened but was still there. Because only one cylinder missed, I began to suspect the floats. Bingo. The tuning book shows a method of checking the float level with the carburetor is removed from the engine. It can also be easily checked by removing the float bowl and slowly raising the float until fuel flow just stops (see Dec.94 Airmail - ed.) The float should be just parallel with the carburetor base when flow stops. The left carburetor float level was about 1/2 inch low. This was corrected by carefully bending the tang with a pair of needle nose pliers. A test run showed improved power and no miss at any speed.

Hey, if 145 mains worked well, maybe 155's would work better. They did! I tried 160's, but they were too large. By the way, just like the Bing tuning book says, plug color is not always a reliable indication of proper mixture. Both plugs are still almost white, even though the mixture has gone to slightly rich and fuel consumption has increased significantly."

From Bill Snyder #111 (San Marcos CA) "How about an article asking if any of our other members have had any trouble with cylinder studs pulling out of the block."

It seems to be a problem with the oilhead as well. -ed.

From Oak Okleshen # 35 (22637 S. Ridgeway, Richton Pk. IL 60471) "I would be more than willing to assist fellow Airheads with any special tech requests/questions etc. Typewriter time is free if queries are accompanied by TWO first class stamps."

From George Mangicaro #1013 (Rochester NY) "This letter is in response to your request for tech hints. With the Haynes manual for instruction, Beethoven's Ninth for inspiration, and plenty of perspiration (till 2:30 AM), I was able to reassemble my bike. The trick I learned was that a 4" PVC pipe cap will set the rear main seal as well as the megabuck 'BMW special tool."

Ya, but is it legendary? -ed.

From Bruce Rohrer #729 (Post Falls ID) "I love the newsletter and the tech tips.

I recently noticed that the idle speed on my 92 R100PD was much higher than normal. Following your suggestion that the timing advance unit may be sticking, I disassembled, cleaned and lubed mine, which solved the problem.

Here is the procedure I followed:

1/ Remove the ignition canister from the bike.

2/ Take two Phillips head screws off the top and pry the lid off.

3/ Remove two slotted screws off the upper support bushing and remove the bushing.

4/ Remove the internally expanding ring.

5/ Slide the E clip off the center shaft and the shim washer under it.

6/ Pull off circlip on center shaft.

7/ Remove 3 Phillips screws on outside of canister, these are located at 0, 110 & 210 degrees.

8/ Pull out the round rubber plug which keeps the ignition wire locating plate from shifting.

9/ Pry a stamped cover plate about the size of an ovalized quarter off the outside of the canister.

10/ Looking in through the exposed hole, remove two springs off the H shaped studs that most readily fall to the eye. The springs will remained secured to inside posts. [Make note of the spring location for reassemble later. The springs are most easily removed with dental tools. -ed.]

11/ Insert a screwdriver into the hole and push the entire trigger assembly up on the shaft while simultaneously sliding the trigger wire guide up in its slot. [The trigger assembly can also be removed by tapping the inverted canister on a counter and letting the weight of the trigger assembly do the work. Just don't forget to slide the trigger wire guide out simultaneously. -ed.]

12/ You can now see the advancer weights. Mine were covered in dirty grease which I cleaned with WD40.

If you disassemble the trigger shaft from the cap, it will be easy to reassemble the springs to the weights.

I figured the grease was thickening in the cold up here, so I greased only the center shaft on re-assembly. I don't think the grease under the advancer weights is necessary. [The best grease for this job is distributor cam grease. Thick grease will bind things up, and many other greases won't take the heat.-ed.]

I found re-assembly to be easy and logical. BMW made it so most things only go on one way.

Say Hi to Reid for me."

From Dave Nelsen #841 (Lancaster CA) "The rear brake on my R80 used to howl like a corkscrew-goosed banshee. This was apparently caused by regenerative resonance in the brake springs. Injecting silicone rubber caulking material into the interior of the springs killed the squeal. Braking seems unaffected."

From OH Airmarshal Dave Guilfoyle #672 "For all you Luddites who believe that lead is a good thing for the internal combustion engine, a genuine Tetraethyl Lead additive marketed under the name Protek Lead is available from Vogel Products Inc. in Columbus Indiana. Adding 4 ounces to 5 gallons of fuel will give you 0.15 gr. of lead per gallon, and raise the octane by about 2.5. Cost is about $20 per gallon. It is shipped UPS with no special handling, and Vogel Products can be reached at 812 376-2775.

Disclaimer for those of you on the left coast; this stuff is only legal for boat engines in California, so don't even think about adding it to your airhead. Also, if you have installed a catalytic converter on your boat, forget about using Protek as it will destroy the converter.

Much of the detonation, faltering and stumbling of your bike can be attributed to oxygenated gas. See the "Oxygenated Fuel" article in the April 94 issue of Airmail for details.

From Gary Stofer #814 (Sacramento CA) "A big thanks to Dave Campbell at Brattin Motors (San Diego) for getting me back on the road after my charging system went further south than my Beemer during my Thanksgiving visit. A new rotor and regulator got me back on the road to Sacramento where our local dealer (A&S BMW) upgraded the diode board ground (Do you suppose BMW subcontracts their electricals to Lucas?)

The advice you (the editor) gave me to eliminate ping on my 94 airhead worked great (150 main jets with a K&N filter) except that I opted to retain the stock filter and go with 145 mains. No more ping under load. Same gas mileage.

As you know, I'm a new BMW rider after spending more than 30 years riding 'something else'. I tired of my Japanese tourer after 100,000 miles, and bought a 600 V-twin on which to plunk around town. I'd pretty much given up any real motorcycle riding. Last February, a friend and I were in Death Valley with four wheel drives on the way to Devils Race Track when the washboard road wore us out. As we stopped for some Barley Therapy, about 6 GS's came flying down the road (foreshadowing).

Later that day, we met a lady on a cherry old BMW at the Chevron station in Furnace Creek. We talked about the machines and the Airheads (more foreshadowing).

Fast forward to Los Angeles the following month. While attending a Carrier Air Conditioning Service School, I found out that someone else in the class was a motorcyclist. Bob Alexander #86 (known as Bwana) extolled the virtues of airheads at great length and urged me to ride one (major foreshadowing).

A one hour test ride convinced me, and I'm now the proud owner of Helga, a 1994 R100RT. I've put 21,000 miles on her in 7 months, and am looking forward to seeing all of you this February at the Death Valley Rendezvous. I should warn Bwana that my wife wants to talk to him about my new mistress. It seems that I've been spending too much time riding her and not enough attending to other duties."

I'm glad you got your airhead while they are still available Gary. It has a unique ability to re-inspire riders who tired of the weight and unemotive nature of most bikes.

You were right in assuming that the K&N filter calls for fatter jetting. It also does a better job of filtering. You may want to confirm this by lining your air filter box with grease, and checking it after a few thousand miles for grit.

From "paid-up Airhead" Rex Wright #452 (San Antonio TX) "Little hard information has been printed on the late model GS or PD low pipe modification. With the low pipe setup and full-sized saddlebags, your airhead GS can pack a load that oilheads can only dream about.

First off, the replacement components needed, part numbers, and BMW suggested retail prices for the complete setup:

R100R low muffler $470.25 #18-12-1--338-723

R100R submuffler $199.28 #18-12-1-338-724

Mounting Hardware kit $202.90 #18-12-2-316-364

Close-in left bag mount $154.25 #46-54-2-316-550

Revised bag-mount support bracket $133.30 #46-54-2-316-551

Yes, yes I know, expensive. Maybe some dough could be saved by finding used mufflers off a R100R that was lucky enough to crash on it's right side. You could also shop around. Perhaps some dealer will offer Airheads a package deal (hint, hint).

Included in the mounting hardware kit are muffler support brackets, as well as a wider center stand. The old one will hit the new pipe if left in place. A set of very nice installation instructions printed in every language but Swahili is also included [I'll notify the ACLU -ed.].

Installation is straightforward once the old bits have been removed. I would suggest getting new exhaust sleeves, since the old ones are usually broken during reassembly. You will also have to reuse your left side cover, since a smaller one is not available. This is done by cutting off the high-pipe black shield part with a single edge razor blade in a suitable holder. Score the cover at the outside joint line repeatedly while a friend holds the cover on a firm surface. (Danger, do not indulge in Barley Therapy until this procedure is complete). You will eventually work your way through. Sand the cut edge smooth. A new frame clamp bracket holds the revised sidecover in place using the old bolt.

The new close-in left bag mount installs easily using the revised saddlebag-mount support bracket (below the tail light). Choice of saddlebags is yours. I am running Capital Cycle's Hepco & Becker 40 liter "junior" bags. The bags mount easily, hold a lot, keep things dry, lock securely, and are hard to scratch or dent.

Other benefits: I never realized how gutless my PD sounded until I heard this set-up. It sounds much better now. Check it out."

Thanks for the article Rex, but, gee $1241.17including tax. I hope all the parts are legendary.

From Les James #140 (Anaheim CA) "Battery # Y60-N24L-A fits the 'large-battery' R series, comes with a 36 month warrantee, and is available from J.C. Whitney (312) 431-6102 for $39.99.

From Gerald Barrowman #197 (Bay City MI) "If you have a 1990 or older R100GS, you may have a problem with the oil-return hole size in the oil filter cover. I went through two oil coolers (the vanes burst) before calling the 800 BMW customer number and finding out that this hole is too small. Correcting the problem is a simple matter of drilling the hole out to the correct size.

From Bill Snyder #111 (San Marcos CA) "If you have experienced charging problems with your Boxer, I suggest you check these areas:

1. Make sure you have a good strong battery. It should read at least 12.25-12.50 volts with the ignition off. With the engine running at around 3,000 RPM, it should read 13.35- 13.50 volts. If the battery reads below this or has difficulty attaining a proper charge, go on to the diode board.

2. Remove the negative lead from the battery (or risk serious damage to the diode board). Remove the front engine cover and carefully remove the rectangular diode board located above the stator housing. Remove the two ground wires, and the three wires which attach to the three pin connector on the stator housing.

After removing the diode board, clean the black paint off the face by using carb cleaner and an old rag. Inspect all the solder connections for cracks or dark circles around the solder joints. If in doubt, re-solder all connections. Repaint the board with flat black, high-heat paint and reassemble to engine.

3. Important: check the solder connections of the stator wires which attach to the three pin connector on the stator housing. A faint glow of the dashboard charging light can often be corrected by resoldering these wires.

4. Check the battery again for voltage. If you still seem to have charging problems, install a grounding harness from the engine to the diode board. Your local shop will have a service bulletin regarding this.

All diode boards should be grounded out directly to the engine block (rather than just to the timing chain cover). This is easily accomplished. Secure a round eye connector to each end of a stout piece of wire (16 or 18 gauge about 8 inches long). Attach one connector to a diode board mounting bolt, and the other to one of the two bolts securing the top engine cover. -ed.

" we can't see any intelligent engineering reason to change"

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 making 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 smooth. And third, it is an incredibly powerful design. The big pistons pushing from opposite sides 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 at low revs. BMW feels this kind of power makes the safest, most practical road bike. And no multi-cylinder arrangement can do it better.

Why not overhead 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 stick like a multi-plate wet clutch can. And, face facts, one massive automotive type plate is bound to be more reliable and more robust than a mess of tiny ones. 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, anytime, 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 no longer a desirable design goal. "We fortunately are not burdened by that limitation." he wrote.

Neither was Volkswagen, which dropped the simple, air-cooled, boxer engine in favor of a "superior design". The company's worldwide 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 owners 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). re we are 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 those "pure motorcyclists" to lead us beyond BMW's Luddite brainwashing of the past and on to a brave new world homogenized by the "right attitude". -ed.

Let's demonstrate the Airhead spirit

"Wanted to let you know that an Airhead has been designated as the Rally Chair for the BMW MOA National in Durango CO., ME! I'll be looking for support from all my fellow Airheads in volunteering on committees wherever their talents and ambitions may be most useful."

Larry Stonestreet #49 (39628 Ave. M Deste, Murrieta CA 92563).

Stoner has taken on a challenge few of us would tackle. The most difficult part for him will be to find sufficient volunteers to handle the hundreds of little jobs that the National entails. Let's support Stoner's commitment, and our umbrella organization. Let's demonstrate the Airhead spirit to the BMW community at large by flooding the National with volunteers wearing Airhead T-shirts and shit-eatin grins.

Write Stoner and tell him how much time you can donate and on what day. He'll let you know what kind of jobs are available. -ed.

Dan Sears #463, Di #4, Reid #344's sweety Suzy in the foreground,

the editor in the center, at the recent Airhead Xmas party.

Book Review

by NV Airmarshal Dave Rankine #354 (Reno)


by Sgt. James M. Eagan

For Airheads who ride faster than 55, this book is a goldmine. It's available at Waldenbooks nationwide. It's quite entertaining and generally informative with well written "war stories" to illustrate Eagan's points. He says that he wrote the book because he was unhappy with the fact that speed enforcement is so unfair and inconsistent. He says that the 55 is so unpopular that even the people who enforce it don't like it. As a result, you can often talk yourself out of (or into) a ticket if you fit the profile. He also dispenses some tips about the weaknesses of enforcement radar.

Eagan's tips won't help a K-bike rider tooling along at 130. They are on their own. However, I have gotten off with a warning doing as high as the upper 70's by following Eagan's advice, which includes the following.

The cop that pulls you over is not stupid. He or she took a battery of tests and beat out dozens of people to get the job. They have to turn in a certain number of tickets to avoid getting in trouble, however, since everyone is speeding they can afford to let some people off. It is better to speed in the middle of the month than the beginning or end when they have their score in mind. There is a tolerance zone from 1-10 MPH before they pull you over. Do not argue with the guy, if he was not certain you were speeding, he would not have pulled you over. If you are going to defend in court, do not tip him off. He is going to have a hard time convicting you if he can't remember which way you were going. He will have an easy time if he stops to make notes because you said "see you in court". Just make a note of his squad car number while he is not looking. Often, they don't remember which car they were driving and bring the wrong speedometer certification to court. It is often best to admit you were speeding and humbly say you would be grateful for a break.

The cop is scared and excited when he pulls you over. You might blow him away or cause an accident. Reassure and calm him and you increase your chance of getting that break. When the red and blue lights come on, hold up your left hand (all fingers extended) and wave it back and forth to signal you have seen him. Slow down gradually and pick a safe spot to pull over, even if you have to go a ways. Pull well to the right so he does not have to worry about being run over. Keep your hands apart and visible till he asks for your license and registration. Do not have them ready, so you'll have a moment to talk to him. Now is your chance to ask for a break or try a story - Eagan suggests some. Look and act respectable. Don't have a sign or decal on your bike that will offend him.

You'll have to read the book for further tips.

To: B.J. Hofman - Airmail editor

From: David C. Mishalof, BMW MOA Treasurer

Re: Clarification of MOA Cash - OTL Article

Date: December 26, 1994

OTL, in a recent issue, commented on the accuracy of information provided to the BMW MOA Board by the MOA Office Manager. This information was relied upon by the MOA Board in deciding to increase membership dues.

The MOA Treasurer Mishalof noticed several substantial inconsistencies in the information provided by the MOA Office Manager in her weekly report on Cash Availability, and the monthly Financial Statements prepared by the outside bookkeeper. At the last board meeting in Chicago, Treasurer Mishalof requested a reconciliation of the weekly Cash Availability Reports and the Monthly Financial Statements for August and September 1994.

The MOA Office Manager stated repeatedly that the Cash Availability Report and Financial Statements were in agreement. The MOA Office manager provided the MOA Board with two written reconciliations. Treasurer Mishalof questioned the accuracy of the Office Manager's reconciliations and asked MOA's outside CPA's to review the "reconciliations".

The outside CPA's discovered substantial and numerous errors in the weekly Cash Availability Report prepared by the Office Manager. This report - relied upon by the MOA Board when passing a recent dues increase - showed approximately half of the actual cash available to the MOA at Sept. 30, 1994. The MOA Board may have voted differently on a dues increase if they'd had accurate information from the MOA Office Manager.

That might have been a mistake Dave. A $42,000 windfall in a $1.1 million dollar corporation won't obviate the need for more operating capital. The MOA needs more in cash reserves than what it's had in the past. It needs more of a buffer against an unprofitable National Rally, or some other such unforeseen circumstance.

I admire past MOA administrations for holding the line on a dues increase for the last 12 years, and don't begrudge the organization the extra operating capital.

Perhaps some changes need to be made in the office accounting proceedures. -ed.

Michael C Leonard