How it all began

Published by luke on

I have always been intrigued by unique look of R series (airheads). Also having to always been riding Japanese bikes I decided that I can’t call myself an experienced rider if I don’t at least try BMW motorcycles.

I wanted the original air head but not to spend the entire year in the garage getting it up to operational level. 

This is what I have found. Randomly bumped into it as the person selling it mislabeled it as BMW Mystik instead of R100 that I used as my search query.

Asking price was $6,000 AUD and it only had around 30,000km on the odometer.

Original photos of GumTree ad below.

All I can say is that pictures lie. The bike looked in excellent condition – that was not the case when I arrived to see it.

What is not clearly shown (note for future owners)

  1. Tires – plenty of thread however, 10+ years old. Read up here  on how to determine age of the tire.
  2. Valve covers have been patched up with epoxy and painted – owner has dropped the bike before.
  3. Bikini cowl hides damage to the headlight and gauges.
  4. Panniers – material is so damaged by the sun that it actually breaks when touched. Hinges been replaced (DIY crude job). Locking mechanism is quite loose.
  5. Choke not operational – starting requires rev’ing the engine manually to keep it going.
  6. All engine parts heavily oxidized – bike probably wasn’t clean regularly/or kept outside. 
  7. Looks like a lot of maintenance work was done on the cheap – repaired instead of replaced and often with whatever did the job (cable ties, blue-tack etc.)
  8. There was maintenance done – however, it was only engine oil. Carbs never been cleaned, no others fluids were replaced as far as I could tell.

Here are pictures that they should have used on GumTree.

Nevertheless, despite all those issues I have decided to purchase the bike due to mileage appearing accurate. I have looked at the following when trying to work out whether the mileage is accurate.

  1. original BMW pegs, hand grips, seat etc (things that normally would get really worn out with mileage) compared to poor repair/maintenance of other parts gave me a good indication that the mileage is accurate.

If I was to do it again – this is what I would do differently

  1. Make sure that the bike is cold when I arrived (although it wasn’t hot) to make sure that there aren’t any issues starting cold.
  2. Had tools to check spark plugs & battery voltage.
  3. Brought someone with me who have had an airhead before to compare how it runs to their one. I never had airhead before therefore it was difficult to know what is normal and what isn’t.
  4. Should have subscribed to airheads.org (although content is mostly targeted at US) or Airheads Down Under (facebook group) to get some members help. They are truly a fantastic community that are always happy to lend hand at resolving any issues/questions.
  5. I should have taken it for a longer test ride – ensure that all gears work smoothly, bike doesn’t smoke when warm, no intermittent issues with bike cutting out or stopping (would indicate any electrical issues).
  6. Once I bought it I should have dropped the bike off to a garage that has experience in R100 to get all fluids replaced and everything checked – my experience even though I have rebuilt one bike and maintained couple others was clearly not enough.

Overall, very happy with my purchase and looking forward to riding it as much as I can.