High-Mileage Classics: 230,000-mile 1981 BMW R80/7

Reader Contribution by Derek Pugh
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Derek Pugh’s 1981 BMW R80/7 has logged more than 230,000 miles.

After losing my fillings on a BSA, I looked around for an old Beemer and found a 1981 BMW R80/7. It had Akront wheels, an S-type fairing, a new seat and Krauser cases. As I drove away, the vendor shouted, “It’s hard to bump start.”

It wouldn’t start for two months. Firstly, the fuel was old, secondly, the battery had boiled dry. A new battery soon had it running again, but it sounded like the bike I’d just sold. After removing the drain plug, black sludge glooped out and the oil filter was a soggy pulp. Removing the sump, there was a perfect three-inch tower of gasket goo and other nasties underneath the pickup strainer.

All cleaned out, fresh 20/50 oil and filter and restart. A cacophony of noise assaulted me; most un-Beemer like. The valves were an easy place to start, but first one has to torque the head. My heart dropped when a nut pulled out its stud. Removing the cylinder, things fell onto my foot. The piston rings had long broken up, but the bore was perfect. I heli-coiled the thread, and after removing a burnt hamburger from each piston it was back together for sunny rides. Not.

With the valves quiet, a ring-clatter-ding from the front required attention. The timing chain could be folded over. A service kit solved that. Apart from a whine from the gearbox, the bike was sounding better. Assured that changing the box would take an afternoon (hah!), I obtained a good used item and set to it.

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