78 R100 /7 Reliable? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 3Likes
  • 1 Post By hp1bmw
  • 1 Post By Ted Shred
  • 1 Post By jzeiler
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 16 Old Dec 10th, 2010, 1:51 pm Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Grass Valley, CA, USA
Posts: 1
78 R100 /7 Reliable?

I have an opportunity to buy a 78 R100 /7 with 10,000 actual miles! It is an estate sale, but has been cleaned up and runs great. My question is, would you consider this a suitable bike to drive to Cabo or across the US? Even with the low miles, how would this compare to a modern bike for reliability? Getting stranded in Baja would not be much fun. Thoughts?
ricksca is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 Old Dec 10th, 2010, 2:12 pm
Gold Supporter
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Lubbock, TX, USA
Posts: 542
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

The best thing about the old air heads is that they go on forever if you just keep the fluids changed. The only thing I might suggest is that you carry a spare set of points & carb diaphrams. The 77 model I had was probably the most reliable BMW I have owned & the least likely to leave me stranded. No rear drive failuers to worry about. You do need to lube the drive splines in the rear drive when you change tires, and lube the transmission input shaft splines every 50K or so. It is probably the best bike around to take to mexico since it will run on almost any gas when necessary. Todays gas is hard on the carb. diaphrams so if the bike starts running where it tops out about 80 they probably need replacing. Be sure all the fluids are fresh especially the brake fluid since it has been setting so long. If you decide you do not want it let me know, I might come and get it.
Good Luck.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ricksca
I have an opportunity to buy a 78 R100 /7 with 10,000 actual miles! It is an estate sale, but has been cleaned up and runs great. My question is, would you consider this a suitable bike to drive to Cabo or across the US? Even with the low miles, how would this compare to a modern bike for reliability? Getting stranded in Baja would not be much fun. Thoughts?
Patric likes this.

Jim Davidson
2007 R1200RT
hp1bmw is offline  
post #3 of 16 Old Dec 10th, 2010, 5:22 pm
BMW Guru
 
Ted Shred's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Nor Cal, , USA
Posts: 8,469
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

I would think it would be as reliable once you get it sorted out. I would get on one of the air head forums and find out all the little upgrades they to before riding it too far from home. I'm sure there's a modern replacement for those points...
Patric likes this.

__________
2016 R1200GS Adventure
2006 DRZ400E

2007 G650 X Challenge
2006 GT200
2005 R1200GS


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ted Shred is offline  
 
post #4 of 16 Old Dec 10th, 2010, 7:14 pm
Wrencher Extraordinaire
 
jzeiler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hazel Green, AL, USA
Posts: 11,337
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

I miss my 78 R80. I could change the rear main seal in the driveway on a Saturday afternoon and still have time for a good ride.
Patric likes this.

John
2009 K1300GT
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 Ocean Blue Blue Wizard
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN


CCR 06 Braselton CCR 07 Osage Beach CCR 08 Midway
CCR 09 Rapid City CCR 10 Killington, VT,CCR 11 Boise, CCR 12 Duluth
CCR 2013 Bend, CCR 2014 Backyard! CCR 2015 Couer d'Alene

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
jzeiler is offline  
post #5 of 16 Old Dec 10th, 2010, 8:40 pm
Senior Member
 
RonKMiller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Posts: 6,242
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Shred
I would think it would be as reliable once you get it sorted out. I would get on one of the air head forums and find out all the little upgrades they to before riding it too far from home. I'm sure there's a modern replacement for those points...
No replacement available for the "bean can" setup - which was only used in a couple of years.

The good news is that once properly rebuilt and serviced those "points in a can" can work just fine and for a LOT of miles. Mine work flawlessly, and as long as they get a quick "sphritz" of light oil once a year they can take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.

Unless the OP has some serious mechanical expertise a rebuild of them is best left to an expert - which is damned hard to find these days. Most of the Airhead electrical gurus for hire won't touch 'em since it is a ton of work to get them up to spec after sitting for so long.

Lots o' beans in there!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2010-06-07 17.58.49.jpg
Views:	804
Size:	805.8 KB
ID:	29837  


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"Like Butt-ahh!"
RonKMiller is offline  
post #6 of 16 Old Dec 10th, 2010, 8:44 pm
Senior Member
 
RonKMiller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Posts: 6,242
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
I miss my 78 R80. I could change the rear main seal in the driveway on a Saturday afternoon and still have time for a good ride.
I am absolutely smitten with my '79. It's got soul and runs like a Swiss - errr... German watch.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Airhead on Cat 2.jpg
Views:	7547
Size:	723.2 KB
ID:	29838  


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"Like Butt-ahh!"
RonKMiller is offline  
post #7 of 16 Old Dec 11th, 2010, 5:37 pm
Senior Member
 
05hexhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ailsa Craig, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 444
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

I ride my airhead more than my hexhead. It still puts a stupid grin on my face. Extremely easy to work on and my fuel pump has never failed.

Good airhead site;
http://boxerworks.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=1

Nick
'05 R1200RT
'00 R1100S
'01 R1200C Phoenix
'04 R1200C Montauk
'95 R100R Classic

'84 R80RT (naked)(sold)
'94 R100GSPD (sold)
'84 R100S (wannabe)(sold)
'97 R1100RSL (sold)
'81 R100 (sold)

Last edited by 05hexhead; Dec 11th, 2010 at 5:50 pm.
05hexhead is offline  
post #8 of 16 Old Dec 11th, 2010, 6:40 pm
Senior Member
 
bulletbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Denison, TX, USA
Posts: 484
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Had two of them. with over 100K on each and they just just keep on ticking.

If you don't buy it let me know.

Bill Jennings, fhp
Denison, TX

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

BMW States
BMW years and miles, 32 years 500K+

AMA, CMA, IBA, POG, MSF, FHP, etc

'99 K1200lt
'76 R900/6
Various Vintage Dirt Bikes
-Greeves (Sold), Pentons, Hodaka, etc.

Remember you are not lost till you run out of gas!
bulletbill is offline  
post #9 of 16 Old Dec 17th, 2010, 2:53 am
Senior Member
 
patrick2000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 1,149
Garage
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricksca
I have an opportunity to buy a 78 R100 /7 with 10,000 actual miles! It is an estate sale, but has been cleaned up and runs great. My question is, would you consider this a suitable bike to drive to Cabo or across the US? Even with the low miles, how would this compare to a modern bike for reliability? Getting stranded in Baja would not be much fun. Thoughts?
Do all the recommended maintenance and I'd say that you've got a bike that is more reliable than the new BMW's rolling off the showroom floor. Do not ask me how I know.
patrick2000 is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old Dec 24th, 2010, 10:45 am
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,268
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Yes, reliable.
If you do a few things.
Having done frame-up rebuilts of a few 70's Airheads I can suggest a few things to do.
Do a complete service including new points, condenser, sparkplugs. Put the old parts in the toolkit under the seat. New battery?
In addition to the above, when the tank is off open the headlight bucket to get access to all the electrical connections in there. "Refresh" every connection by pulling off the spade connector, give the terminals a spray of electrical contact solvent, and remove and replace the connectors a couple of times. Do this in the headlight bucket and under the tank at the starter relay and voltage regulator. This will remove some of the oxide that increases resistance at the connections.

Yes, these old Airheads are pretty bulletproof. I like /6s better than /7s but they're all good. And yes, much less likely to give you trouble on the road than a modern BMW. AND if you understand the bike's systems you are MUCH more likely to fix a problem by the side of the road with the bike's tool kit than you are a modern BMW. These old Airheads are the bikes that gave BMW a reputation for a low maintenance, reliable, long distance tourer. Those are the "Legendary Motorcycles of Germany". Note that BMW doesn't use that catch phrase anymore.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #11 of 16 Old Dec 29th, 2010, 11:13 am
Senior Member
 
RonKMiller's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Posts: 6,242
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
In addition to the above, when the tank is off open the headlight bucket to get access to all the electrical connections in there. "Refresh" every connection by pulling off the spade connector, give the terminals a spray of electrical contact solvent, and remove and replace the connectors a couple of times. Do this in the headlight bucket and under the tank at the starter relay and voltage regulator. This will remove some of the oxide that increases resistance at the connections.
That's an excellent idea and one that I didn't do. On the list, thanks!

I'm a huge fan on Nutrol cleaner and lube - it has solved many an electrical gremlin.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Nutrol.jpg
Views:	187
Size:	32.7 KB
ID:	29957  


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"Like Butt-ahh!"
RonKMiller is offline  
post #12 of 16 Old Jan 21st, 2011, 12:03 pm
Senior Member
 
heavynikonf3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posts: 390
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Don't know if you pulled the trigger yet on the '78. My icon photo is the 1980 RT which was kept and ridden for 22 years=206,000 miles. Only problem I ever had was the points would get pitted quite often--easy fix. The front lower engine cover cracked up the middle so it was replaced, tach quit working-likewise replaced. Normal wear and tear stuff after that. Routine factory recommended maintenance. Oh, I forgot--rebuilt the Bings one time.

2010 R1200 RT, Current Chariot
2007 Triumph Scrambler, Hoodlum
2005 H-D Road King, Trustworthy and fun
1980 R100 RT. Old friend of 22 years, all good
1971 BSA B50 SS, One lung funster
1970 BSA 650 Lightning, Alas, lost to a nasty crash
heavynikonf3 is offline  
post #13 of 16 Old Jan 21st, 2011, 5:27 pm
Lifetime Supporter
 
bmwhd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Grapevine, TX, USA
Posts: 2,645
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Mine's rock solid. Ride it anywhere with confidence.


Todd R.
Grapevine, TX USA

'78 R80/7
'06 FJR1300A

"You will now be thrown into the Obamaucracy. In his belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly taxed to death over the next four years."
bmwhd is offline  
post #14 of 16 Old Jan 24th, 2011, 11:19 am
Senior Member
 
heavynikonf3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Posts: 390
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Great looking bike, BMWHD!
To this day I am still looking for that "pristine" RS airhead. There used to be a guy in Arizona who restored and sold them, I should have jumped at the chance back then. I wonder if he is still doing it?
Dave

2010 R1200 RT, Current Chariot
2007 Triumph Scrambler, Hoodlum
2005 H-D Road King, Trustworthy and fun
1980 R100 RT. Old friend of 22 years, all good
1971 BSA B50 SS, One lung funster
1970 BSA 650 Lightning, Alas, lost to a nasty crash
heavynikonf3 is offline  
post #15 of 16 Old Nov 4th, 2015, 8:34 pm
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Portsmouth, VA, USA
Posts: 30
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

I have over 300K miles on airheads since my first one in 1969 from /2 to /7. My R75/7 is pushing 155K miles, 60K since I've owned it. My 1960 R69S sits with 300K plus miles and is ridden regularly for 1000 mile jaunts. My wife and I completed a 3200 ride on the R75/7 last summer, taking it in lieu of the LT which I'm never quite sure is not going to choke somewhere far form home. No airhead has ever left me stranded longer than a problem I could resolve in few hours with the factory tool kit and spares carried in ditty bag. l can't say that for my LT, though my 87 K100 was probably as good a BMW as they ever made. Aforementioned suggestions by other riders are excellent. Service and maintenance are the keys to longevity but unlike modern Beemers, it can be accomplished with simple tools and a simple mind. I enjoy the comfort, handling and performance of my LT but for pure riding reliability, give me an airhead any day.
Bumboo is offline  
post #16 of 16 Old Jan 7th, 2016, 1:22 pm
Senior Member
 
lkchris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM, USA
Posts: 998
Re: 78 R100 /7 Reliable?

Points in can started with 1979 models, so this one won't have that. There are likely still electronic ignition conversions available.

1978 R100/7 has 9.0 compression and BMW specifies premium fuel. If subsequently dual-plugged, regular should work.

Everything rubber in the brake system should be renewed, i.e. master cylinder rebuilt, caliper rebuilt, new brake line. More than likely the rubber pushrod tube seals will leak and it will probably immediately need new carb diaphragms and o-rings.

Kent Christensen
Albuquerque
'12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S
lkchris is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the BMW Luxury Touring Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My 1983 R100 Just Died thesantafean Other R-Bike Discussion 3 Aug 14th, 2008 6:36 pm
Buy or walk away/ 79 R100 alanforn Other R-Bike Discussion 4 Sep 4th, 2006 8:40 pm

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome