- A Rebuild To Support The Motorcycle Relief Project
- Brief History Of The Genesis Of The R80ST Model
- Serendipity Strikes And The Universe Whispers To Me
- Original Owners Of This Bike
- What I Started With
- Project Pictures & Videos
- Rebuild Procedures Index
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. 🙂
Over the last dozen years I have rebuilt four BMW airheads so this will be my fifth project.
- 1975 R75/6, my first BMW that I later converted to the “R90S” style (Silver Ghost)
- 1973 R75/5, my wedding present to my wife (Grover)
- 1977 R100RS, a first year RS (Gonzo)
- 1983 R100RS, converted to an “RT” configuration (Cookie Monster)
I gave the R75/6, my first BMW, to my youngest son after I put a little over 100,000 miles on it. In the past five years, he put another 100,000+ miles on it. 🙂
Please be advised that there is no representation of the accuracy of any of the information presented on these web pages relative to BMW motorcycle maintenance or modification and that the material is presented for information purposes only. In no case will I be held liable for injury or damage (consequential or otherwise) resulting from or arising out of alterations you make to your motorcycle. The reader should recognize that motorcycling is a dangerous activity that can result in injury or death, and that the alterations portrayed on these web pages can and will change the behavior and performance of your motorcycle, possibly with fatal results. You are encouraged to seek qualified assistance before undertaking any of the procedures outlined here, and are here by notified that, should you decide to proceed, you do so at your own risk.
A Rebuild To Support The Motorcycle Relief Project
I decided that I would not keep my next project but would auction it off (likely I’ll use Bring A Trailer (BAT) for the auction) and donate the proceeds to a local charity that supports military and first responders who are battling PTSD; the Motorcycle Relief Project.
So, which model could I use for this project? I have wanted to rebuild an R80 G/S but the price for them has gone way up, so that’s not a feasible choice. I have a friend that picked up an R80ST. 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). This bike is the 317th built for the US market. 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.
Euro MotoElectrics Providing Parts At No Cost
In support of my goal, Euro MotoElectrics (EME), has graciously agreed to provide parts at no cost as they too support the mission of the Motorcycle Relief Project.
List Of Contributors To This Charity Build Project
The following contributed parts and/or services to me to help complete this charity build project. I am grateful for their kindness and generosity.
|Norman Schwab||Euro MotoElectrics||Numerous Parts||www.euromotoelectrics.com|
|Eron Turnipseed||Individual||Front Fender & Fork Brace||Private Individual|
|Stephan Gaulin||Toaster Tan||Top Brace & Steering Stem Nut||[email protected]|
|Bud Provin, Jr||The Nickwackett Garage||New Right Side Battery Cover||The Nickwackett Garage|
|Bryan Flanagan||Colorado Vapor Blasting||Discount On Vapor Blasting||Colorado Vapor Blasting|
|David Phillips||Individual||Donated Right Side Pannier||Private Individual|
|Matt Iles||Iles Motorsports||Donated labor to rebuild rear drive||https://ilesmotorsports.com/|
Brief History Of The Genesis Of The R80ST Model
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.
The R80ST was introduced in October 1982 at the start of BMW’s 1983 model year in only two colors; red metallic and silver metallic. It was discontinued in September 1984 at the end of the 1984 model year.
BMW imported almost 1,000 ST models to the US, so it wasn’t . Tom received the first US bike (VIN Number 6207001) at his dealership and he kept it for sometime.
The trade press reviews of the R80ST were positive. The ST uses the original G/S chassis including the rear monoshock but a shorter shock than the G/S and has wider rims for street tires. The front fork is from the R65 while the engine and transmission are from the R80RT. Reviewers found it handled very well, the transmission had very smooth shifting and it was a fun bike to ride.
- 1983 BMW R80ST Road Test (Source: “Ye Old Cycle Shoppe”)
- 1983 BMW R80ST Review (Source: Cycle World via MCS)
- R80ST US Model: Supplement To Rider’s Manual (Source: BMW Motorrad via Charles Petrie)
Serendipity Strikes And The Universe Whispers To Me
I bought my first BMW, a 1975 R75/6 from Clem Cykowski, proprietor of BMW of Denver. When I went road racing in the summer of 1976 on my R75/6, Clem gave advice and offered use of a service bay when I needed to change tires and prep my bike before Sunday races. He was very generous with is time and knowledge. We continued to be friends over the years and when I started rebuilding airheads, Clem provided me with knowledge, advice, used parts and loaned me specialty tools. Sadly, Clem died on July 27, 2021.
In early November I posted a note to the Colorado Airheads Beemer Club asking if anyone knew of an ST that I could get for this project. Almost immediately Matt Iles, who owns Iles Motosports, an independent BMW service shop and who also worked with Clem for several years, sent me a note that Clem’s estate included an ST “project bike”. In general, “project bike” means a non-running bike with parts missing. I contacted Clem’s son-in-law and his daughter and we struck a deal.
Getting to rebuild a bike Clem acquired in 1997 and stashed away for a future rebuild project struck me as the universe whispering to me “this is meant to be”. And using the completed R80ST build for a charitable contribution to the Motorcycle Relief Project seems in keeping with Clem’s generous nature and is therefore a fitting tribute to his memory.
Original Owners Of This Bike
After I started work, I got an Email from Dave Lister. His brother, Mike, was the original owner and then Dave bought the bike from Mike and later sold it. Mike put 15,000 miles on the bike and Dave added another 25,000 miles, so the third owner added about 24,000 miles before selling it to Clem with 64,137 miles on it in 1997.
Here is the content of Dave’s email to me on the provenance of this bike.
My brother Mike bought the bike new off of the floor of BMW Denver. He and I had both looked at the G/S at the time. I decided to go with a Suzuki GS1100 and Mike finally decided on the R80ST. After owning a bit he decided it was too understated for his taste and he added an R65LS nose cone, and painted the various pieces orange and blue.
Mike also added a raised upper triple clamp and anti bottoming springs from San Jose BMW. Those both appear to have been removed from the bike as well. [BROOK NOTE: I found the anti-bottoming springs on the forks when I rebuilt them.] We had followed the Dakar rally from the beginning and that interest in the Dakar drove him to add the Acerbis twin headlight to the bike. The twin headlight can be seen in the Estes Park photo. [BROOK NOTE: This explains the extra relay I found with headlight wires.]
By this time he had put about 15,000 miles on the bike. My GS1100 had accumulated very high mileage and I bought the BMW from Mike. I put the BMW headlight and R65LS nose cone back on. I rode the bike for approximately 25,000 miles. Due to financial difficulties I sold the bike to someone who said he was going to restore the bike. Of course I lost track of it after that. But he must have added 20,000 to the bike and sold it back to Clem.
My brother Mike is suffering from a debilitating case of Multiple sclerosis and has good days and bad days. I am traveling for a week but I plan to visit him after I return and let him see the progress you are making with his bike.
Although I owned the bike longer than he did and put on more miles it will always be Mike’s BMW.
I came across your work while I was online looking for an R80ST to purchase. Needless to say my family and I will be following your progress and donating to the cause that you are supporting.
Below are a couple of pictures Dave sent me of the bike in it’s early days.
What I Started With
Here is what the “project bike” looked like when I first saw it.
With the help of Matt Iles and Clem’s son-in-law, Michael, we combed through several storage rooms Clem had to try and locate as many of the missing parts as we could.
We found the following pieces and there may be more which will turn up as I help Matt and Michael inventory what’s in Clem’s storage facilities for future sale.
- gas tank,
- carburetors (64/32/323-324 that will work with a different air slide and jets)
- headlight and mounting bracket
- front turn signals,
- left side battery cover,
- speedometer and tachometer,
- dash and original ignition switch with key,
- tool box
- left side crash bar
- airbox cover
We loaded the bike and parts into my son’s pickup. I had to remove the rear fender to fit into my son’s pickup truck to avoid damaging it.
And here it is after arriving at Brook’s Airhead Garage.
Project Pictures & Videos
You can find the all the pictures for the project here on my Flickr account:
And, the videos that support this documentation are on my YouTube account in this playlist.
I’ll add to this collection as I document the project.
Rebuild Procedures Index
This section provides links to write-ups about how I do the work on the project. As in the previous restoration projects, procedures are organized by the parts fiche numbering system BMW uses to identify sub-systems. This helps organize the content so it’s pretty easy to find any procedure you are interested in. The “00-General” is used for information that supports the entire project that is not specific to a particular Fiche sub-system.
- 00 BMW 1983 R80ST Pre-Build Inspection and Project Plan
- 00 BMW 1983 R80ST Disassembly Down To The Frame
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Engine Top End & Cam Followers
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Engine From Frame
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Flywheel
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Flywheel
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove, Inspect, Install Oil Pump
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Rear Main Seal
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Timing Chain, Crankshaft Sprocket & Nose Bearing
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Connecting Rod Crankshaft Bearings
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Oil Pan & Oil Pump Suction Flange Gaskets
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Push Rod Tubes
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Cylinder Measurements & Honing
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Engine In The Frame
- 11 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Engine Top End
- 12 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove And Test Starter Motor
- 12 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Alternator, Diode Board & Electronic Ignition Sensor
- 12 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Alternator, Diode Board & Electronic Ignition Sensor
- 13 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Air Box & Pulse Air System
- 13 BMW 1983 R80ST Rebuild, Refinish Carburetors
- 13 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Carburetors, Cables, Air Box
- 23 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Transmission
- 23 BMW 1983 R80ST Disassemble, Rebuild, Assemble Transmission
- 23 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Transmission
- 31 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Front Suspension
- 31 BMW 1983 R80ST Rebuild Front Forks
- 31 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Steering Head Bearings
- 31 BMW 1983 R80ST Install-Adjust Front Forks & Toaster Tan Top Brace
33-Rear Axle & Suspension
- 33 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Rear Drive, Swing Arm, Monoshock
- 33 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Swing Arm Bearings
- 33 BMW 1983 R80ST Rebuild Final Drive
- 33 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Swing Arm, Rear Drive, Monoshock
- 34 BMW 1983 R80ST Rebuild Front Brake Caliper
- 34 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Front Brake
- 34 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Rear Brake
- 36 BMW 1983 R80ST Replace Wheel Bearings & Set Bearing Pre-Load
- 36 BMW 1983 R80ST Refinish, Lace & True Wheels
46-Frame, Fairing, Cases
- 46 BMW 1983 R80ST Remove Center Stand, Crash Bars and Side Stand
- 46 BMW 1983 R80ST Install Crash Bars, Side And Center Stand
2022-01-04 Add document to 61-Electrical.
2022-01-11 Add document to 46-Frame, Fairing, Cases.
2022-01-16 Add document to 31-Front Suspension and list of contributors.
2022-01-17 Add link to YouTube playlist.
2022-01-21 Add document to 33-Rear Axle & Suspension.
2022-01-22 Add document to 13-Fuel Preparation.
2022-01-25 Add document to 23-Transmission.
2022-01-30 Add 2 documents to 11-Engine.
2022-02-01 Add document to 00-General.
2022-02-15 Add document to 51-Vehicle Trim.
2022-02-22 Add document to 51-Vehicle Trim.
2022-02-27 Add document to 21-Clutch.
2022-03-04 Add document to 11-Engine.
2022-03-06 Add document to 61-Electrical.
2022-03-15 Add Bud Provin to list of contributors.
2022-03-21 Add document to 11-Engine.
2022-03-22 Add document to 11-Engine.
2022-03-23 Add document to 11-Engine.
2022-03-26 Add document to 21-Clutch.
2022-03-29 Move Test Starter Motor to 12-Engine Electricals section.
2022-04-07 Add document to 12-Engine Electrics.
2022-04-08 Add Vintage Twins to those donating to the project.
2022-04-13 Add document to 11-Engine.
2022-05-01 Add 2 documents to 11-Engine.
2022-05-08 Add 1 document to 12-Engine Electrics.
2022-06-01 Add 1 document to 11-Engine; 1 document to 33-Rear Axle & Suspension.
2022-10-08 Add 3 documents to 11-Engine.
2022-11-10 Add 1 document to 13-Fuel Preparation
2022-11-14 Add 1 document to 31-Front Suspension
2022-11-14 Added information from the first two owners, Mike & Dave Lister.
2022-11-16 Add 1 document to 31-Front Suspension
2022-12-04 Add 1 document to 31-Front Suspension
2022-12-14 Add 1 document to 61-Electrical
2022-12-29 Added David Phillips to list of donors to this project
2022-12-29 Add 1 document to 34-Brakes, Add 2 documents to 36-Wheels
2022-12-30 Add 1 document to 24-Brakes, Add 1 document to 32-Steering
2023-01-23 Added Matt Iles for his donation to this project.
2023-01-27 Add 2 documents to 23-Transmission.
2023-01-29 Add 1 document to 33-Rear Axle & Suspension.
2023-02-01 Add 1 document to 33-Rear Axle & Suspension.
2023-02-06 Add 1 document to 34-Brakes.
2023-02-20 Add 1 document to 13-Fuel Preparation.
2023-03-03 Add 1 document to 46-Frame, Fairing, Cases.
Brooks, sounds like a worthy project! I also have a 1983 ST, that the previous owner has modified into a more G/S model. I have just changed it to the taller 5th gear, which is a mod that it really seems to want on the highway (haven’t ridden it yet, but soon!) My first time inside an airhead transmission, and I wouldn’t have attempted it without your wonderfully detailed walk-throughs.
I did a lot of work on my 83 RS alongside you with yours, it’s on the road again after many years.
I did not know the history of the ST development, very interesting. The ST has always been an interesting sidebar of the many iterations of BMW bikes, although never a great seller.
Anyway, I will definitely be following along with this one, can’t wait to see it on BaT!
I can’t thank you enough for the resource you are creating here!
Thank you for your kind note. I think the ST model is an interesting bike and I too look forward to when it’s running and I can put a 1,000 or so miles on it to be sure it’s up to snuff.
Brook, this appears to be my brothers R80ST that he purchased new from BMW of Denver. After owning for awhile he decided the styling was too understated and decided to paint the various parts. At one point he added an R65LS nose cone. Then swapped that out for an Acerbis headlight number plate. I am having trouble sending you photos of the bike that I have. Can you help me with that?
Oh, that’s fascinating. I wondered about the provenance of this bike.
I sent you an email with contact info.