1983 BMW R80ST “Project Bike” Rebuild For Charity

It’s been two years since my last project, the 1984 R100RS that I converted into and RT configuration which I named Cookie Monster. I name most of my bikes after Muppet characters based on their color agreeing with the color of a Muppet. I do that because I love Jim Hensen’s genius and I don’t like to take things too seriously. πŸ™‚

Over the last dozen years I have rebuilt four BMW airheads so this will be my fifth project.

  • 1973 R75/5, my wedding present to my wife (Grover)
  • 1975 R75/6, my first BMW that I later converted to the “R90S” style (Silver Ghost)
  • 1977 R100RS, a first year RS (Gonzo)
  • 1983 R100RS, converted to an “RT” configuration (Cookie Monster)

I purchased this “project bike” in November 2021. It is a 1983 R80ST which is the first year the ST model was available. The ST model is a street version of the R80 G/S that was developed with input from a long time airhead mechanic, Tom Cutter, of the Rubber Chicken Racing Garage.

It is a “project bike” with 64,137 miles on the odometer that was acquired by Clem Cykowski in 1997, so it’s not run for almost 25 years. Clem was the former owner of BMW of Denver, and a friend of mine ever since I bought my first BMW, a 1975 R75/6, from him. Clem died in July 2021 and the bike was in his estate. His daughter agreed to sell it to me. My plan is to rebuild it as close to original as I can and then auction the bike with all proceeds going to the Motorcycle Relief Project.

The ST model was built as a street version of the R80 G/S. The ST was introduced in 1983 model year (October 1982) and discontinued at the end of the 1984 model year. Consequently there weren’t many of them built and only approximately 1,000 were imported into the US (First VIN# 6207001, Last VIN# 6207980).Β  Nonetheless, they have not skyrocketed in price, so rebuilding an R80ST for a charity auction provides me some experience working on a “G/S like” model but at a cost I can afford.

The genesis of the ST model was influenced by Tom Cutter who now owns Rubber Chicken Racing Garage. Back in the early 80’s, he had a dealership in Staten Island, New York. The R80 G/S was selling very well in large part due to the rough condition of the streets in NYC. Tom built lightly-modified R80G/S with street tires, handlebars and an R65 front fender, then the body shop at BMW of Staten Island painted the bodywork in whatever BMW car color the customer requested. Tom was invited to meet with BMW marketing and engineering people who were proposing a similar model, the soon-to-come R80ST.

I contacted Norman Schwab at Euro MotoElectrics about this project as we had talked this idea for a project several years ago. I told him I had pulled the trigger and acquired a “project bike” and he said EME would donate parts they had at no cost to support my project, and that they have supported the Motorcycle Relief Project in the past. That is awesome generosity for a worthy cause.

This is what it looked like when I got it to Brook’s Airhead garage.

1983 R80ST As Delivered To Brook's Airhead Garage

1983 R80ST As Delivered To Brook’s Airhead Garage

Clem had several storage facilities and after rummaging around in the biggest one I found a number of the missing parts. Clem had acquire some new parts for the bike according to invoices in the bike file folder in preparation for starting work on this project bike, and I found them.

One of Clem's Store Rooms Full Of Parts And Surprises

One of Clem’s Store Rooms Full Of Parts And Surprises

Some Of The Part's I Found In Clem's Storage Room

Some Of The Part’s I Found In Clem’s Storage Room

The parts I found included:

  • Gas tank,
  • Seat,
  • Left side battery cover,
  • Useable 32 mm carburetors from an R100/7
  • New front headlight bracket, headlight assembly, and turn signals
  • Handlebar controls
  • Handlebar combination switches
  • Instrument housing
  • Original speedometer
  • Tachometer (likely a new one)
  • Original ignition switch with keys
  • Right crash bar
  • Mirrors
  • Airbox cover and clamps
  • Original tool box and tools (missing rear wheel 17 mm lug nut wrench)

The ST was offered in two colors, Metallic Silver and Red Metallic. The rear fender paint code decal, as well as the body parts, confirm this bike was painted in Metallic Silver.

Original Gas Tank

Original Gas Tank

Rear Fender With Paint Code 545-Metallic Silver

Rear Fender With Paint Code 545-Metallic Silver

Here is the target for what I want the bike to look like when I’m done.

The Target For My Rebuild, R80ST In Metallic Silver Livery

The Target For My Rebuild, R80ST In Metallic Silver Livery

I have completed a pre-build inspection and project plan and also setup a Project Index page where I will add links to documented work as I complete it. And, of course, I’ll be posting blog updates to alert subscribers as I post new documentation throughout the project.

And, I posted a YouTube video on my channel showing the condition I started with. I’ll add videos as part of the documentation of the work as I complete it.

7 thoughts on “1983 BMW R80ST “Project Bike” Rebuild For Charity

  1. And the journey begins Brook! All the best wishes for a successful build but first have a Happy Peaceful Christmas with your family! I will follow this project with interest as usual…
    cheers,
    Ron Dawson

    • Ron,

      Indeed, this journey will likely be a bit more challenging than my earlier build projects. That said, I’ve already received a lot of support for this endeavor.

      Best.
      Brook.

  2. Fantastic Brook! I love the story behind this bike; such a circle of knowledge and ownership and comradeship. I look forward to progress reports to encourage me to do some work myself!

    • Hi Matt,

      Well, if this project gets you out in the garage and you have some “hands on” time with you bike, that’s why I write up the details of my builds. πŸ™‚

      Best.
      Brook.

  3. Brook,

    Found your resources while learning to rebuild my own 1983 R80ST, which was in worse shape than yours. Watching and reading on the various aspects have been very valuable. I look forward to learning more on this build.

    I have a specific question. Could you let me know if the two arms on your center stand are truly parallel? On mine the left arm is bent inward a bit. My guess is it should be straight and the arms should be parallel, but I cannot find a good picture anywhere. Am glad to send a pic if that helps.

    Thanks much!

    David

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