BMW R65LS Restoration
I am just starting the restoration of my 1986 registered, 1984 model. First a bit of background. If you are not interested in the history and just want to read about the restoration you can miss this section.
I bought the bike second hand from Dunfermline Motorcycles in 1990 I rode it with no issues for 12 years.
In 1999 my daughter and I rode down on it to the South coast from Dunfermline (that's just north of Edinburgh) to see the eclipse of the sun It was a long trip with lots of Motorway driving. I will not say the average speed we kept up but it was quite high. When we got there I found the bike was a little unwilling to start. After inspection I found the tappets were far too tight - actually holding the valves slightly open! After re-setting them all was fine.
As for the eclipse - we had complete cloud cover and it got dark and light again. That was it so we headed North again doing the 500 miles at a similar speed as the way down. When we got back I had to reset the tappets again.
Doing a bit of research I found the bike was meant to run of leaded petrol, no longer available, and that the problem with the tappets was the valve seats receding. Now this seemed odd to me as I had driven the bike for ?? years and ?? miles with no problems. But it seems that this only happens with sustained high speed driving. Yep, a 1000 mile round trip overtaking almost everything on the road would qualify as sustained high speed.
I continued to drive it for another year without any problems until I had a prang. All my own fault. The front wheel started to skid out of gravel at the side of the road. I tried to straighten it - went onto the grass verge but then continued through a fence and down a 10 foot drop on the other side. My injuries were a dislocated little finger and lots of bruises. The bike survived but lost a pannier and a few scuffs on the nose-cone and seat.
I then rode it for another 2 years before having another prang when I hit the kerb of a road island which I had not seen as the illuminated sign wasn't working and it was wet and my visor was smeared. No excuses - my fault. Both wheels got dented rims and I lost some mobility in the shoulder.
I got the rims straightened out with a bit of heat treatment but then I started to worry about it as I read that heat treatment can soften alloy. I worried so much that in 2002 I bought another bike - a new Honda Deauville. I rode this for around five years then due to personal circumstances I stopped riding. The BMW sat untouched in the garage in Dunfermline Scotland for 13 years. Then I decided to move to Cornwall. I loaded both bikes into a van. The BMW started first time, with the aid of jumpers and a car battery. The Honda would not start so it had to be pushed into the van.
The Honda was got working again (only two cylinders, but four spark plugs - all defective) but the time and hassle that it took just to reach the plugs confirmed my decision to keep the much simpler BM. The Honda was sold and I decided to restore the BMW as a project.
Many years ago I had a series of Triumphs and Nortons and these required constant work just to keep on the road. The BMW was a revelation. It was everything a British twin should have been, reliable, oil tight, easy to work on, but you hardly ever had to.
Things have changed since then. The BM now does need some work but the INTERNET is available. I’m not completely reliant on the Haynes manual and articles in Motorcycle Mechanics. O.K. there are many (thousands) of different opinions on the web, and lots of articles leave a lot to be desired but some are pure gems. It was when I was browsing (it used to be called surfing) the web, after I had started the project that I thought about recording it.
For any computer geeks I am writing this article using the composer package of Sea Monkey on two computers an old Lenovo X200s and a very underpowered Samsung Netbook, both running the tahrpup version of puppy Linux. The files are synced using Dropbox and loaded to the web via Filezilla. I have other sites using WordPress but they drive me nuts.
I dislike unnecessary complications in life - hence the old BMW as opposed to a Honda or similar, HTML as opposed WordPress and Linux as opposed to Windows.