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Old 5 Apr 2009
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Buying a R80G/S

Hi all,

Looking for some advice...

For a couple for years I have been looking around for getting a travel bike and after reading lots of stuff, my choice stopped on the R 80 G/S which I find fantastic!

Yesterday, I found a guy selling his '84 R80G/S at 20 miles from my place. It has been modified:
- front a back wheel of an ST
- fork of the ST
So it is like a lowered G/S, closer to the road like the ST but with the riding position of an G/S, which is not bad for me as i am only 5'6 (1.73m).

Unfortunaletly I did not take pictures, but it is in very good state, 60'000km and he sells it 2700 euros (3'500$). Professional BMW mechanics have followed it and made the modifications.
The color is beautiful (metallic blue-grey) but although the guy told me it is the original color, I have never seen that before (any of you did?), unless it is the original blue that i did not recognise, but it looks much lighter.
For the same price, he gives the spare parts of the original GS (wheels and fork). The panniers are not the BMW ones but some Krauser. Haven't seen them on the bike, but they look nice.

Is there any incidence modifying the bike like that? Should I pay attention to something particular? What do you think of the price.

All your advices and remarks are welcome,

Thanks and perhaps soon some pictures with the new beast :-)

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Old 5 Apr 2009
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Seems to me it could or is an st not a gs and he is charging gs pricetag check the chassis number and it will have r80gs and I am sure an st will have r80st at the end of the numbers if it is an st they are usually cheaper than the gs but chassis and engine I think are the same, (however I dont think there was ahuge difference in ride height) other differances are the gearbox ratios, forks, wheels, shock etc and a few other small bits. But if your buying a st it was designed as a road bike not a dual purpose machine.I dont think your size would be a problem on the GS as they are not so tall and very managable. If he has added st parts to a gs he should one would think have all the original gs parts to sell with the bike. Sounds odd to me to go gs to st it is often done the other way around st to gs as the gs is much more sought after.Good luck with your search.
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Old 5 Apr 2009
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Is it the original GS or the "new" GS ?

It matters concering the shaft - one or two U-joints that may cause trouble... You need to check them! Kind of expensive to fix.

60 000km should be ok concerning the gearbox, but put the bike on the central stand. A bike-table/lift is a good place - so you can strap down the fronwheel and secure it to the ground.
With the rear-wheel free in the air; engine running at 3000rpm - start shifting up from 1st to 5th - use a long metal rod of any kind (stethoscope) and place it at the front and rear of the gearbox where you have the bearings. Listen for bad ballbearings and sprocket teeth - if it sounds ok, then you could be fairly sure that it is ok. If it sounds like stone crushing... the gearbox must be overhauled at once (costs a lot).

Pull up the dip-stick - look at the engine oil, feel it, smell it, and taste it. If burnt, coke, harder particles, petrol, etc - a major engine overhaul may lurk around the corner.
Beware! If the engine oil is in too good shape -ask to see what the owner poured out "last week"...
Same goes for the gearbox, shaft and final drive - check the magnetic plugs for any metal - if you see flakes... it may get expensive...

That is a 8.2:1 version. 8.5kg is minimum. Above 10kg is very good. If around 9.5kg it is quite ok.

Need only to put a multimeter across the battery - it should read about 13.7V or better. If more than 14.4V - someone have already tuned the system for you.
It differes also between driving-lights on or all lights off - you may get 14.4V with no lights on at 3000rpm and up; and still it drops to 13.7 when the lights are on... No probelm to fix - BMW just tunded the system a bit low.

Check the forks and stearinghead for play (should be stiff).
Check the wheels for play in the wheelbearings (should also be stiff).
The swing is a bit harder to check - but you can feel a play if the bearings are bad.

Expect the rear shock to not have been overhauled - anticipate that as a first major expense!

Check the forks for leakage. You can use automatic gearoil instead of fork-oil. I use Omega 699 (5W/20 - non foaming).

The hoses between the cylinder heads and carbs can you expect to be cracked and leaking air - age.
Chekc the top of the carbs - the steel-plate gets loose over time and leak air... tricky to fix.

The pushrod tube grommets are expected to have reached their age-limit... expect them to leak oil. Not too much job to fix, but it you do you may want to install the 55hp pistons (1978 R80 + pistonrings for nicasil barrell); runns better with those pistons.

There is a bit of querstion mark on the oil-pump O-ring... you may expect to have to change that in a short while... not much job, but costs a bit... the pump is rather inexpensive though -

I have most likely forgotten quite a bit -

The price sound ok from a Swedish market point, perhaps you could get it down to about 2200EU which would be our "proper" market value - other countries have other market levels -

I'd say, by your description, they you have a good object at hand that should be fairly safe to invest in -
Drive Safely,
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Old 5 Apr 2009
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The chassis plate should specify which model it is and the following link confirms a Metallic blue color as standard for 1985 G/S'es

BMW Colour Charts Through the Years

This site is a very useful resource if you are considering a G/S or GS
The electric monk always has faith.
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Old 6 Apr 2009
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You can put the chassis number into the "serial number" box here:

RealOEM.com * Online BMW Parts Catalog

That should show you the model, year and month of production.

By the way, I'm 1cm shorter than you, and my 1982 G/S (with BITUBO rear shock, set slightly longer than stock) has never given me any height problems at all.

Last edited by Giacomo; 7 Apr 2009 at 06:46.
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Old 6 Apr 2009
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Thumbs up G/S or ST?

As far as I am aware, the only difference between the G/S and ST are:
Front forks and wheel (19 inch rim, fork off the R65)
Instruments/ headlight - personally I prefer the ST's headlight
rear shock - less travel
no kickstart on the ST
gear ratio's are the same, rear rim is the same.

If you are getting the forks and front rim off the G/S then you are good to go - only the rear shock will need changing, and you will probably need to upgrade that anyway. I'd make the decision more on the condition and (known) history of the actual bike you are looking at.

I can't comment on the price. In North America ST's generally fetch a lower price and tend to be less modified. I have a later fork on my G/S and have changed the rear shock, so I could have started with an ST and ended up in the same place, minus the kick starter.

The G/S is a great starting point for a travel bike. buy, build, and enjoy!

hope this helps.
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Old 7 Apr 2009
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Thanks for all your advices.

The bike is truly a G/S, I checked the official documents and the chassis plate. I still need to check if all the parts are available to rebuild the G/S and I will probably go for it :-)

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Old 8 Apr 2009
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Great choice, and best wishes for your new bike. I bought my G/S in Italy in 2004 and it also cost me 2700 euros, which for Italy was an incredibly low price, even for a bike which still required a lot of work.

Put up some pictures when you can!
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Old 10 Apr 2009
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Fun bike. You'll love it. I've been riding an ST for just over a year now and have fully converted it to a dual sport. These bikes need a little bit more attention than their japanese equivalents, but they more than make up for it with their character. They're really easy and enjoyable to work on as well. Enjoy!
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