RE: The bike that went to the moon | Time For Coffee

RE: The bike that went to the moon | Time For Coffee

Monday 8th July

The bike that went to the moon | Time For Coffee?

One man has ridden a quarter of a million miles on his BMW - here's his story



There's nothing like a good news story to perk you up on a Monday morning, and they're not going to come any cheerier than that of Peter Sims and his BMW R90S Airhead. Since buying the bike in 1987, he's covered 240,000 miles on it, which is the distance to the moon. And this year marks 50 years since the Apollo 11 landing. You see where this is going...

The video of Peter's bike you're about to see was filmed at the Observatory Science Centre in Herstmonceux, East Sussex, which performed a lot of the calculations for the mission before they were then adapted for Cape Canaveral. A bike that's done a lunar mileage, at a science centre that helped with the moon landing - it all comes together rather nicely.

So how do you rack up 250,000 miles on a motorbike? Peter believes that with his R90, "the longer you use it, the better it is", which proved very useful on jaunts to Holland to see the woman who would become his wife. After more than 30 years, Peter has seen little reason to swap his boxer BMW for anything else. Indeed it was an important bike for BMW as well as for Peter, the name resurrected with the RNineT of a few years back to evoke memories of the 70s' TT winner.

With a lovely story to tell, and some interesting history on BMW's bikes, this video is well worth five minutes of your Monday morning. Get the kettle on!

 

Author
Discussion

Chewykneeslider

Original Poster:

112 posts

73 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
My father owned a R90/6 for about 15 years from the late '80s, and I rode that bike on a few occastions, and it was always impressive, but with only one flaw. I watched wondering if the chap in the film has experienced the slow weaving instability which sometimtes happened when pressing on a bit?

I used to think that it was due to squared off rear tyres, or perhaps crosswinds, but these days I think that it might have been due to the aftermarket R90s fairing that was fitted?

Anyone else had any experience like that?

My dad's old bike turned up on Ebay about 5 years ago, in a dealer in Bath, and I went to look at it, with a view to buying it back, but they wanted way too much money for it, and weren't interested in offers, even though it had been in the showroom for over a year, and clearly wanted quite a bit of work to be roadworthy. Maybe I should have bought it anyway...

carinaman

13,641 posts

115 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
I've never heard of the 'Airhead' sobriquet before.

Norwegian Blue

26 posts

87 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
They are known as airheads to distinguish from the later engines with oil-cooled heads ("oilheads" naturally).

fred bloggs

341 posts

143 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
Wow . He must be properly eccentric to manage that many miles on one of them. They are one of the most horrible bikes to ride ever. (and as a bike mechanic and tester, Ive ridden them all)
Slow, heavy, poor handling, rubbish brakes, and the dumbest electrical system ever fitted.

I cant believe people actually spend good money making them even worse as café racers.


I always resent them for not breaking, as it means you will never get rid of the damn things.

carinaman

13,641 posts

115 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
Norwegian Blue said:
They are known as airheads to distinguish from the later engines with oil-cooled heads ("oilheads" naturally).
I didn't know that.

fred bloggs said:
Slow, heavy, poor handling, rubbish brakes, and the dumbest electrical system ever fitted.
What's up with the electrical system?
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Ho Lee Kau

1,636 posts

68 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
This guy went longer and did track days as well:

https://youtu.be/gIHz-U_73BE

KTM990

96 posts

165 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
I did 80,000 miles on my 1978 R100RS during the 1980s and 1990s. I’d probably have one of them over an R90S. Moved on to a Guzzi Le Mans but although that had always been my dream bike, the BMW was a better bike in many ways.

runnerbean 14

65 posts

77 months

Monday 8th July
quotequote all
I worked for BMW in the 1970's when they sold these new and I bought an ex- Press demonstrator when I left. I had a couple of the weaving moments described and sold it. The R1150 and R1200 GS's I've had since have been much easier to ride.

srob

10,761 posts

181 months

Tuesday 9th July
quotequote all
fred bloggs said:
Wow . He must be properly eccentric to manage that many miles on one of them. They are one of the most horrible bikes to ride ever. (and as a bike mechanic and tester, Ive ridden them all)
Slow, heavy, poor handling, rubbish brakes, and the dumbest electrical system ever fitted.

I cant believe people actually spend good money making them even worse as café racers.


I always resent them for not breaking, as it means you will never get rid of the damn things.
No you haven't hehe

mcpiston

206 posts

112 months

Wednesday 10th July
quotequote all
I'm approaching 500k kilometres in my 06 D4D Avensis :-)

Some Guy

524 posts

34 months

Wednesday 10th July
quotequote all
Norwegian Blue said:
They are known as airheads to distinguish from the later engines with oil-cooled heads ("oilheads" naturally).
And the latest model known as toilets. WC Water Cooled.

Water Fairy

2,903 posts

98 months

mcpiston said:
I'm approaching 500k kilometres in my 06 D4D Avensis :-)
And I'm sure every single one of them was absolute tortuous tedium...................

mcpiston

206 posts

112 months

Water Fairy said:
mcpiston said:
I'm approaching 500k kilometres in my 06 D4D Avensis :-)
And I'm sure every single one of them was absolute tortuous tedium...................
smile Ah not all of them in fairness, some family road trips too!

bimsb6

6,507 posts

164 months

In a motorcycle museum in sturgis there is a harley fxr with over a million miles on the clock , belonged to a senator who used it to go everywhere .

srob

10,761 posts

181 months

This lad did 700,000+ miles on his Vincent.

http://www.vintagebike.co.uk/blog/721703-miles-on-...

PurpleFox

53 posts

28 months

Wonder if he is used to the indicator switches yet biggrinbiggrinbiggrin