Thursday, March 30, 2017

De-fairing a BMW RT

Bimmer combo as purchased.
I had a minor shuffle around of bikes last summer and this Beemer combination came in to the fold. I thought it might make good family transport - obviously I bought it for the kids and not for me... It's an ex-police R80 RT TIC fitted with a Watsonian Monaco chair and Unit leading link forks.

I've taken the fairing off an airhead BMW before - an early 80s R65 I had that was fitted with a RS type fairing. Post fairing the bike looked great but used more fuel, accelerated slower and cruised slower. Still not sure if that was a good move....

So, why not take another BMW and degrade its functionality all over again! To be honest it was with some reservation that I started on the R80 but the reality was that this fairing was worn out - plenty of threads gone and ovalled holes in the fibre glass meant that the thing rattled and wobbled and generally spoiled the riding experience. I knew that I was taking away weather protection and lowering performance but in truth it's better not to ride a combo like this at much more than sixty anyway and taking the fairing off sheds a good deal of weight.

Removing the fairing on the R65 had been an easy job as the bike had started off life without one. The R80 RT is designed with a fairing from the off. Before starting the job you've got to have a pair of headlight brackets, universal type would do but the original BMW ones for the unfaired models look right and are very neat. Using the BMW headlight brackets means that you really need the correct indicators too. All quite pricey parts unless you source them second hand.

Once the fairing is off and the headlight remounted the wiring fun begins. Luckily the same headlight shell can be used. The ignition key / switch has to be re-located to the left side headlight mount, once again the same switch can be used so it is just a matter of disconnecting it, re-locating and then wiring back in. The RT carries the pilot light on the fairing, luckily the headlight itself has provision for one so it's just a question of removing it from the fairing and plugging the bulb and holder in to the headlight.

Next step is to wire in the new indicators. Not difficult but some re-routing of cables and soldering was required. The RT comes with voltmeter and a clock. Without a fairing these lose their mountings. The clock and voltmeter were available as options on the unfaired models and were fitted in to slightly clumsy looking pods mounted either side of the speed and rev counter on the top yoke. These pods are nowadays in the rocking horse poop category of availability and no-one is making replicas that I know of. You could of course just dispense with these instruments altogether but I couldn't make my mind up on this so for the time being I've just held them on to the instrument binacle with some old inner tube and cable ties. Not particularly proud of this bodge but it does work and I tell myself it is temporary...

Overall I'm happy with the way it has worked out. Personally I think the bike looks better for it, the rattle have gone and it is all nice and open for easy maintenance. The job was a good bit more involved than I had first envisaged but it was worth doing.

There's now an RT fairing in pieces scattered around the garage. If there is anyone out there wants it and can pick it up it's all yours!

Head on view with fairing. Not a notably handsome fairing
but undeniably one of the most functional ever made.

So why not tear it off, decrease weather protection and

Here's the naked finished article. A Givi screen as some
concession to aerodynamics. Handlebar muffs ready for the
Dragon Rally.

Side on view. The Watsonian Monaco is a large chair!

In my mind there was a little bit too much flex on the front
mountings when I bought the bike. It had just gone through
an MOT fine but when I stripped the fairing down I found
one of the mountings broken. I took the opportunity to
re-jig them slightly and make it all a bit more rigid.

Whilst at it an engine bar. Yep, it's not likely to fall over but
I'm planning to use it as a handy mount for a spotlight.

OE BMW headlight brackets and indicator
brackets need to be used in conjunction.
Not a totally logical spot for an ignition key
when there is an instrument pod.

Hmmm... voltmeter and clock held on with inner tube and
cable tie. It works. Anyone out there got the proper pods
going spare?

Side view. As a compulsive fettler I am now thinking about
fitting an 'S' model handlebar fairing...

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