I removed the swing arm bearings before I had the swing arm powder coated. The swing arm bearings are the same sealed bearings used on the 1983 R100RS that I previously rebuilt, so the procedure for replacing them on the R80ST is the same. In this document I link to the previous documentation for the 1983 R100RS as appropriate.
Here is a short video summarizing the work.
VIDEO: 1983 BMW R80ST Replace Swing Arm Bearings
Earlier versions of the airhead swing arm used traditional bearings with a separate inner and outer race. I show how to replace that style swing arm bearing here.
Nice video Brook. Why didn’t you freeze the bearing before install? Wouldn’t that have made it slide in easier?
I thought about that, but it would warm pretty quick due to the length of time it would be in contact with the swing arm. So I opted for the “get a bigger hammer” strategy.
My early (January build) 1981 R80 G/S has the tapered needle bearing with separate inner race. It is covered by a thin metal cap followed by a large washer. there is no plastic dust cap that protects the bearing from water, etc. My swingarm appears to be identical to the one you have in your video. can I replace the original setup with these sealed units?
Yes you can as far as I know.