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1990 BMW R100GS Dakar

Filtering by Category: garage update

The Unwanted Discovery

Classic Velocity

I was just damn lucky. Fortunate. Blessed even. With everything looking ok, I took the Dakar out for a ride to the Norton Gathering (see season opener). It is about a 60 mile roundtrip, and the day was a beauty if a little chilly in the morning. I had cleaned out the float bowls and synced the carbs and it seemed to be running very well. On the way back I noticed a vibration between 60 and 65 MPH. It went away above or below, and I suspected that I lost some weights and the rear wheel needed balancing. I rode the remaining 10 miles home staying below 60 MPH (you have no idea how hard this is on beautiful back roads).

Once I got home, I decided to check out the rear end, and noticed a slight delay between turning the wheel and the tranny engaging. Hhhmmm. Then I gave it the spin test known to owners of the R100GS, and heard the sound that you don't want to hear. When the wheel was spun in reverse, there was a distinct clicking sound. The good news is that this usually means that your gearbox is ok. The bad news is that it means you have a bad u-joint. I pulled the rear apart and once I had it out of the swingarm, the forward u-joint was indeed shot. Not just shot, but probably a few miles from coming apart and doing major damage to the swingarm, before locking up the rear wheel !! 

All this when everything felt fine 70 miles before. I had done the spin test at the seller's house, and again when I got home. Like I said, blessed. Now it is off to spend the money I thought I scored negotiating this deal, on a new driveshaft.

Discovery and Disclosure

Classic Velocity

This is the scary part. You finally get enough time to perform a thorough examination and see whether you missed some important negative (or positive) aspect. I pulled off the bodywork and blew everything out with compressed air. It seemed remarkably clean with little evidence of electrical butchery or other shade tree alterations. I am still not sure about the shock, but a test ride proved that it is probably ok and just feels like a some more rebound is needed. I need to find a manual for it and start fiddling. The battery seems strong after a full charge, and I changed the plugs and oil (which looked clean).

I took it for a ride and the front brakes that seemed scary on the brief test ride now feel quite adequate. They don't approach the more modern bikes, but they are far better than the older ones. The back brake however is useless and needs some attention. The stainless exhaust looked beautiful under the covers. There are a lot of small minor things which need attention, but no big expensive things were found so far. Now on to the motor...

The 20 Year Itch

Classic Velocity

20 years ago, I saw a red and white R100GS Paris Dakar on a state road in Florida. At the time, I was not fully up to speed on the BMW models, and thought based on the graphics that this might be an actual race bike from the event. The exo-skeleton was just not something seen on bikes at the time (much less a red one exo-skeleton). The whole image was burned into my mind with the words "cool", "must have", "desert racer", and a few others.

Fast forward 20 years, and the ADVrider form for the GS had a thread about the next GS being water-cooled. Probably inevitable, but I saw a few of the R80 and R100 models, and began to monitor craigslist and the BMWMOA site. I even went to look at one about an hour away. It was very rough and I have enough deep projects thank you. Then one popped up that sounded about right, a driver with less than 60K miles on it and mostly original. A deal was struck, and a few weeks later I went to pick it up.

The trip to get the bike was another 24 hour marathon drive which will be its own post, but the bike made it back safely and I began by washing it. Now, some fans will cringe at the thought of washing a GS at all, but I am not of that tribe. They can get as dirty as they like from usage, but I like to get the crud off eventually. The bike cleaned up nicely, and then I set to work going through an inspection. The rear shock is one of the few non-stock areas. It is a Fox shock that the PO swears by. It feels "wooden" to me, but it is adjustable, so we'll see. The headlight mount needs work, it needs a valve adjustment, tune-up, carb balancing, etc.  

All of that aside, it is great to finally get my hands on one. The adventure begins....