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First post after 3 years

George Kehas
New Member Expired Membership

Hello, I've been a lurker here for a few years and now the time has come to post my 1st question. I've owned a few airheads going back to my 1st, an R90/6 in 1974 to an 82 R100RS a few years ago. I'm looking into the R65 bikes mainly due to the smaller size and lighter weight. I've found an 81 and an 86, both are clean with moderate miles. My problem is the size difference between the two. Will the full size frame of the 86 be too much for the 650 motor? The specs don't show much of a difference in weight but I suspect the 81 will handle better. I like the mono suspension and the other improvements of the 86 which may make up for the size difference. Any info, comments, experience with the two is greatly appreciated.



Topic starter Posted : 04/04/2021 18:48
Richard Whatley
Member Moderator

I'm not a R65 guru, and I'm not sure the R65 followed the R100 in the handling department either.... but...

► Later models of the big bikes (with single-sided rear shock) went from the front forks with the traditional leading front axle (the front axle in front of the line of the stanchion tubes) to a design where the front axle was directly under the fork tubes. You might look for this difference.

The effect is the later bike handles more nimbly, maybe too nimbly. On older bikes the steering was very "neutral" and you could take time to look around and enjoy the ride. With the newer bikes one little signal from the handlebars and you are suddenly going in that new direction. At least for me, the effect was you had to stay on top of things which meant constant attention. No relaxing. 

If I knew I was going to be riding at a faster clip with "sport bikes", I'd take the newer bike. It did the trick, but I was mentally exhausted after 3 hours. If I knew I was going longer distances at the speed limit, maybe with several riders "2-up", then I'd take the older bike so I could relax. Both were R100's but they were in 2 different "worlds". 

► Another thing I've noticed about the newer single-sided bikes... there are not as many at the rallies. In 100 Airheads there might be 3 single-sided. (Not counting R80 and GS models.) So it seems, the older duel-shock road bikes are staying on the road longer. A friend hypothesizes that this is due to the cost of the rear shock.... which will after 30 years need replacing. You can get 2 matched shocks of good value for right around $300, whereas the price of the single-sided shock starts at $800. You can easily spend $1400 on a single rear shock. So if you go single-sided, you might want to check the pedigree of the rear shock.

Just my impressions.

Hope this helps.

This post was modified 5 days ago by Richard Whatley

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

Posted : 04/05/2021 12:57
George Kehas
New Member Expired Membership

Thanks for the info. I may look towards the r100 since I have experience with them.

Topic starter Posted : 04/07/2021 23:11


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