The R90/6 is about as classic a Classic Airhead as there is. For touring riders, this model was sort of the King of the Road back in the mid 1970s. And nothing quite says BMW “authenticity” more than original Avus Black paint with hand-applied white pinstripes. For anyone who wishes to reclaim those glory years, or someone who wants to relive them for the first time, this PROJECT BIKE represents a beautiful opportunity. Yes, it needs some work — but really nothing that intensive or complicated. In fact, if you’ve owned an Airhead before you’ve probably already done most of this kind of maintenance. And if you haven’t? Well, the indescribable pleasure of discovery and dirty hands awaits you. Your life will be richer.
As with all PROJECT BIKES we want buyers to know as much as possible about the bike before making a purchase. We’ve nothing to hide and our only goal is that the new owner for each and every PROJECT BIKE feels they paid fairly and got a good, if not great value in the deal. We encourage people to call, schedule a time to meet with one of our sales advisors and inspect each machine in person so they fully understand all the positives as well as the potential downsides involved in the refurbishing process. We’re proud to have sold well over a hundred PROJECT BIKES since beginning the program some years ago. Our aim with these bikes — indeed, with all the bikes we sell — is exceptional customer satisfaction. By that measure, our PROJECT BIKES have proven to be an overwhelming success. We’ve even taken a few of them back in trade as good used bikes after their owners finished doing all the work and then enjoyed riding the bikes for a number of years.
Please take a moment to learn more about Bob’s PROJECT BIKE program and read our general disclaimer here: http://www.bobsbmw.com/new-motorcycles/project-bikes/
To begin, here are some facts, mostly about the operational side, to help you decide if this is the PROJECT BIKE for you:
- This is a one owner, mostly original machine with just over 120,000 honest miles; the cosmetics are as they left the factory aside from the normal amount of age and patina one might expect on a bike with these miles, but it is impressively decent and very much worth not re-painting in our opinion. The original owner maintained this machine and all his vehicles and was fairly meticulous. And it has never been in a crash or incident; the small dent in the tank (more later) was caused by another bike tipping over into this one.
- The motor has never been rebuilt or disassembled and the owner claimed that he changed the oil every 2,500 miles with a filter change every 5,000 miles; he changed the gearbox, driveshaft and final drive oils at those same 5,000 mile intervals. Based on the numerous conversations we had with the seller before we acquired this machine, we believe him 100%. The oil in the engine is nearly spotless.
- The rear shocks and springs were updated some years ago utilizing original BMW parts that were once readily available. The fork springs were upgraded to the Heavy Duty BMW R90S variety along with adding an anti-dive kit which likely came from Luftmeister or San Jose. Once this PROJECT BIKE is on the road again its new owner can decide if this would need any further suspension attention.
- The machine has been in dry storage and under cover since around 2000, with the motor being turned over roughly every two years. The gas tank and carbs were completely drained and dried out prior to when the long term storage began; the carbs are still surprisingly clean as is the tank, with no signs of rust or even the slightest deterioration of the original reddish lining. We always suggest updating and replacing the petcocks as it’s both a safety item and a clean flow of fuel issue; new fuel lines are a no-brainer.
- As one would expect for both age and miles and having never been disassembled, there are leaks in all the usual places on the driveline. But the final drive is impressively clean from the external viewing we have given it. We would anticipate that it is due for a full reseal using BMW gaskets and seals everywhere, but our experience tells us that with the R90/6 the new owner might only need to lightly hone the cylinders, replace the connecting rod bearings and bolts, add fresh rings along with doing a basic valve job to freshen it up and start riding again. The engine turns freely using the fifth gear and rear wheel technique as we have not installed a battery or attempted to start it up.
- This PROJECT BIKE most certainly needs tires and tubes even though there’s about 80% of the original tread remaining. It should probably have a steering head, wheel and swingarm bearing service, but none are showing signs of failure or neglect so we know these fairly routine maintenance tasks have all been done a few times in its life on the road. No grease is noticeably leaking from any of these areas.
- The gauges (speedo and tach) look good, the trip odometer reset easily and the owner told us that at some point way back the odometer was rebuilt (not an uncommon failure), but that the original miles were left in place (we have a signed Federal odometer statement attesting to this). The control switches still work smoothly and will likely be in service a long time if they are cleaned and properly lubricated as we do for our customers all the time. It has later BMW /7 style spark plug wires and molded caps. We anticipate that all lights and the horn will work, though we don’t know this for sure. Anyway, we’d strongly suggest replacing all the bulbs with new ones and upgrading the headlight to a Super White for better night time illumination. All electrics looked clean under the front cover during out un-bolting and sneak peek without fully removing the front engine/electrics cover. And to power all that you’ll need a new battery.
- The front brake disc looks quite clean and measured out between 5.20 mm and 5.26 mm with a 4.50 mm minimum and should pass inspection in any state; we suspect that it was replaced some time back as we’ve never seen one last 120,000 miles and be this thick. We’d advise replacing the brake pads to keep that disc in good shape down the road, and as the brake lines and hoses are original, we suggest replacing the hoses at a minimum for safety reasons.
Some cosmetic stuff to know and consider on this great PROJECT BIKE:
- We rated the paint, which includes fenders, gas tank, side covers, main and sub-frame plus the swingarm, a critical 7.5 on our 10 scale. We think that with some TLC: the right cleaning & polishing products and some elbow grease, that this one could be raised to an 8.5, and maybe even a solid 9.0. We do not suggest repainting. A bike with original paint in decent condition, even if it’s not perfect, is far more valuable than a repainted bike. There is a small dent in the gas tank on the right side that might be able to be massaged out by one of those dent removal experts, but if it were Bob’s bike he would not touch it at all.
- It has few added accessories aside from the Rack Factory luggage rack and a BMW/Magura cruise control screw in the underside of the factory throttle assembly. However it did come to us with the original owner’s manual, a seemingly very complete and clean BMW period-correct (we assume it’s the original one) tool kit and pouch and the tray, an early BMW tire repair kit plus 2 rare folding gray keys and one black knob key. Today these things are all valuable rarities, but they’ll all convey to the next owner. Please note: One gray key fits the fork lock, the other, along with the knob key, fits the ignition and seat.
- The original seat was wearing out many miles back so the original owner purchased a used one in much better condition than his that was the correct same year and style /6 seat. We don’t know how many miles are on this later seat but the cover is good and the foam underneath has plenty of spring and life in it. The chrome seat rail is showing signs of age and light rust, which may or may not be up to the next owner’s standards, but these are available new and used and can also be re-chromed if one is looking for a brighter shine.
- The wheels (rims) appear to be true and un-dinged or damaged from what clearly had to be at least 8 to 10 tire changes over the years, but the spokes and nipples are showing their age. They appear to be solid but replacement with original chrome or stainless steel will brighten up one of the best features of the /6 to /7 machines — back in the days before cast alloy mag style wheels came along.
- The exhaust system is fully serviceable but there is some rust on most surfaces. This could be improved with polishes and some elbow grease, and that could serve to prevent replacement for quite some time. It’s the headers that show the most surface degradation, which is fairly typical. Though still functional, they will probably never shine up too well and only replacement will make them look new again. Most hardware is in better than average shape, and Bob rated that a 7 on the 10 scale. Rubber always ages out, and while we suggest replacing peg covers, grips, boots and more for several reasons, none of this stuff is failing as we so often see – the dry storage conditions were certainly good ones. All cases will require a good cleaning to restore the original satin like luster, but we’ve seen far worse oxidation than this in the past that was restored and became quite attractive.
- All we did cosmetically is give this PROJECT BIKE a light bath and blow dry and take the photos you see now; we are quite sure that if you like what you see it will shine up much more with a little attention and the right cleaners, compounds and polishes — following the attention it requires to be back in safe and roadworthy shape for the next 100,000 miles of enjoyment.
- And last, like all of our PROJECT BIKE offerings here at Bob’s the next owner will enjoy a generous discount on the purchase of any and all items to bring this one back to life. And for the record, the staff has been known to extend that offer to some updated riding gear and even accessories to round out this purchase.
Visit Bob’s now to see and evaluate this classic bike in person. Contact one of our Sales Advisors TODAY for further information.