Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: The Deep South of Vermont
We love them.
In 1971 when I so wanted a BMW all I could afford was a Honda.
In those years, riding all weekend long, camping by the side of the road or under powerlines, I yearned for the maintence free drive shaft of the BMW. The BWM was the "gentleman's motorcycle", the de facto tourer. If you were a long distance rider, an airhead was the only logical choice.
I didn't get a BMW until the R90/6 my future wife and I went cross country on in 1982. (See my avatar, that pic was taken the day we got back Vermont after doing coast to coast and back, 10,000+ miles in less than 30 days leave from the USN.) I never worried about that bike leaving us stranded. A spare spark plug and and extra set of points in the tool tray, tire irons, a patch kit and the on-board tire pump were all that was needed. Everything was bullet proof. We bought a rear tire in Las Vegas at the BMW shop and I mounted in a state park using the picnic table as a work bench.
When I watched that movie "Long Way Round" I wondered why the heck those guys weren't on old air heads. That would have been a well informed choice of bike. They would have had less trouble and easier repairs than their modern high tech BMWs.
I recently parted with a R75/5 "Toaster" to a close friend.
And I should part with another: I have a 1976 R90/6 and a 1974 R90S. Both great bikes. The S has appeal, but in some ways the /6 is a better bike.
But either of them is more reliable, albiet less comfortable, than the 2000 KLT.
Those old airheads weren't perfect, but they were (and are) great.... and BMW still enjoys some of the reputation they earned by building those bikes.