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A while ago I was checking out C/L for a nice older R series BMW, the bikes I had tons of fun with back in the day. I found one and swung a leg over it and...... it didn't light my nose hairs like I remember. OK I swing a leg over a second one and....... same thing. I was dissatisfied with both bikes.

Memory is a funny thing I guess but my Bonnie is a superior bike IMHO so I guess I'll just look fondly on those old Beemers I had and leave it at that.
 

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they have a pretty dedicated cult following, it seems. I think it might have more to do with the idea that they’re a paragon of German engineering of a certain era, and that they’ll run “forever” with proper care and maintenance. It reminds me of the (possibly fading, nowadays) cult surrounding older Mercedes diesel automobiles. Wonderful cars, no doubt, but you never forget that you’re driving a car built three or four decades ago. As long as your expectations lie within the parameters of that era, in terms of power, handling, technology etc., you’ll probably be happy. If you’re used to a S100RR, climbing onto an old R75 with a contemporary mindset could be a letdown. I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for.
 

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If you want the old airhead experience without the "old" that goes with it, take a ride on a NineT. It has the feel and dimensions of the airheads. Only very modern. Of course, it has a modern price tag as well. At least it's not water cooled. The Pure version would be maybe closer than the NineT perhaps.
 

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they have a pretty dedicated cult following, it seems. I think it might have more to do with the idea that they’re a paragon of German engineering of a certain era, and that they’ll run “forever” with proper care and maintenance. It reminds me of the (possibly fading, nowadays) cult surrounding older Mercedes diesel automobiles. Wonderful cars, no doubt, but you never forget that you’re driving a car built three or four decades ago. As long as your expectations lie within the parameters of that era, in terms of power, handling, technology etc., you’ll probably be happy. If you’re used to a S100RR, climbing onto an old R75 with a contemporary mindset could be a letdown. I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for.
Hey, your pretty wise for a doofus. I think you nailed the attraction pretty well. I have an old Airhead I love for all the reasons you listed. I would never want it for my only bike. No comparison to a new(er) Triumph. I had a very similar experience as the OP except regarding old (1960's Bonnevilles).

Chuck
 

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It's funny you should mention this. When I first got my T120, I kept thinking how much it reminded me of my old BMWs. I think that was part of the charm.

I was riding Harleys for many years before the Triumph.

I keep looking at old BMWs that are for sale, but I don't think I will ever get one again. I like new technology.

My first BMW. A 1976 R60/6. This photo was in 1978. Good lord...drum brakes.

 

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The "problem" with older airheads is that the riding experience isn't really that weird and you can ride them everyday. If you want a once a month type bike an older Norton would be better. Heck you can still tour on an Airhead.
 

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If I had to get down to just one bike, I believe it would be my '83 R80ST. It's just so friendly, familiar and frisky. It always makes me feel good.
 

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I think our memories get clouded one way or the other over the years.

A few years ago, I started looking for a Honda CJ360T like my first street ride. I found one an hour away and the seller loaded it on a trailer and I met him at his job on his lunch hour. The bike was identical to the one I sold 30 years ago, even better than he described and started on the second kick. The price was good enough that I didn't even ask if he would deal.

Memories came flooding back starting with the first kick. I quickly realized I didn't really want to go back there. I changed my mind without even taking the offered test ride. I wasted the guys time. I really like modern motorcycles.
 

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I think our memories get clouded one way or the other over the years.



Memories came flooding back starting with the first kick. I quickly realized I didn't really want to go back there. I changed my mind without even taking the offered test ride. I wasted the guys time. I really like modern motorcycles.

I like certain older Japanese bikes, but with improvements. If they are turned into cafe bikes with modern suspension and brakes, I am all for it.

There was a young guy featured in the VJMC magazine who restored an old first generation Goldwing. He got rid of the fairing and replaced the antiquated front suspension with newer, larger diameter forks. The Honda 650 Vtwin is another good platform to start with for a cafe conversion.
 
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