Are you thinking of purchasing a BMW Airhead motorcycle?? … have little or no or experience with them? Want some straight talk?
Motorcycles, no matter the age, all have a certain and specific feel to them.
For very modern bikes, a description may include high competence, plastic marvels, electronic marvels, …but not always having any special ‘character’. Special knowledge, & often special equipment, are often needed to analyze and repair them. It can cost $$$ at a dealership to do analysis & repairs. Those dealerships may be necessary for you when something ‘interesting’ happens; granted, the bike may …be more reliable over-all, depending on how you describe ‘reliability’. With a BMW Airhead, you can do most repairs yourself. Over-all, normal necessary scheduled simple maintenance is probably done more often with an Airhead. It is likely to be much easier to do …and there are vast amounts of history & knowledge easily available on the Internet, Mailing Lists & Forums, Club documents, etc. This is not so with the latest and greatest; nor, even motorcycles that are just a few years old.
Help is always available for Airheads from numerous informed sources. The Airheads were in production for a very long time (1970-1995); yet there are less than a handful of places, in all models, all years, that are well-known problem areas. Except for a few, all problems are fixable by YOU! The Airheads will require modestly more regular maintenance of certain things, but most often these things take little time nor cost. More modern machines might require less often maintenance, but the maintenance then required can be involved and often expensive. These are all big generalities, yes, but there is a lot of truth here.
The Airheads will not give you some things the much more modern bikes will, such as very easy starting in any conditions (due to modern bikes having electronic fuel injection), super brakes (modifications will, however), fancy suspension and ride controls, and probably more horsepower than you should have. But, there is no other motorcycle, of any brand nor type, that has the over-all character of a BMW Airhead, and most riders fall in love with them. The reverence with which some have for these bikes is legendary, and good condition examples of any Airhead model are fetching higher and higher prices.
The rest of this SECTION 1 was originally written by Greg Feeler on 07/07/2015, & posted to the Airheads LIST. The original Subject Title was “1971 R75 purchase questions”. I have Greg’s permission to add-to & edit freely, & I have done so. Because of the editing and additions, I have not put quotation marks in it.