THE RIGHT BIKES
Superlatives drip from my tongue again! RC160 was a splendid issue, and so appropriate for me. I wish you’d get the issues out a bit earlier though. Why? Well the BMW R80 seems to be suffering the same maladies as my own R75/7. Stephen Herbert is identifying issues that I have experienced too, but had to resolve myself. A slightly earlier prompt might have saved me a little angst and perhaps a lot of profanity.
Part one of Stephen’s story impressed on us the importance of throwing away the bolts which secure the driveshaft to the gearbox. Advice I have to say that wasn’t adhered to by one of my BMW’s previous owners. The result was a driveshaft breaking away, just when I presented the bike for an MoT. Fortunately no catastrophic damage resulted… but had it happened the weekend before during a spirited ride back from Sammy Miller’s then things might have been different.
Stephen notes also that when replacing the driveshaft, it is impossible to apply a torque wrench to the bolts as there is insufficient room. Damn, late again with that bit of news! I even went and bought a small torque wrench to deal with the tension of these single-use only stretch bolts. I discovered that even removing the swinging arm and pulling it back as far as possible, there was still insufficient room. What did I do? Well, much the same as Stephen it seems. A combination spanner plus a length of metal vacuum cleaner tube about a foot long, and a guestimate of muscle flexation.
I have no doubt that the R80 Stephen is fettling has been readied by the manufacturer for unleaded fuel, but it if hasn’t – don’t forget I told you that first, Stephen. Oh, and the centrestands wear into holes at the curved base, while the top holes elongate as well. Bet they all do that, sir.
The Honda XBR article is also close to my heart. I have one of those, too, but mine is the up-market GB500TT. Nevertheless, there isn’t sufficient difference between the GB and XBR to justify the extra cost of acquiring one of the former. The differences are mainly cosmetic and the spoked wheels are not so easy to keep clean. As mine was destined for the USA, and indeed was despatched there initially, it has emissions control gubbins added on. You might conclude that this would reduce the power output somewhat, but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference. The owner’s manual for the GB500 quotes power at 48 horses, so perhaps the extra 4bhp compensates for the emissions paraphernalia?
Richard Jones says that above 80mph his bike becomes ‘interesting’. I’ve regularly taken my GB up and beyond indicated 100mph and nothing untoward has been noticed. It does run out of puff at this speed when going uphill into the wind, but on the flat there is still a little bit left. I’ve seen 7500rpm in top but not found a downward slope and a following wind as yet to gain the other 500rpm. The speedo is optimistic of course; they all are, are they not? But 7500rpm gives me an indicated 110mph although a pal following says it was nearer 100mph. Whatever… that’s more than fast enough to cost you your licence, so how fast do you need to go?
The Honda a great bike and, like the BMW, I keep threatening to sell it – but in the cold light of day I can’t bring myself to part with either of them. They are as different as chalk and cheese, but that’s half the fun isn’t it? Variety being the spice and all that.