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


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!

 

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (16) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Chewykneeslider 08 Jul 2019

    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 08 Jul 2019

    I've never heard of the 'Airhead' sobriquet before.

  • Norwegian Blue 08 Jul 2019

    They are known as airheads to distinguish from the later engines with oil-cooled heads ("oilheads" naturally).

  • fred bloggs 08 Jul 2019

    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 08 Jul 2019

    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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