R90/6 Cylinder Options

This was the reason I was able to give Marco my rear wheel to get him home over the weekend…

After getting the BMW running great for the first time in 2 years and having too much fun zipping around town I decided I’d better focus on fixing other long time issues to continue with making the R90 into a solid and reliable side car platform. The pushrod seals and rear main seal had been done by the previous owner shortly before I got it which helped push me over the edge on pulling the trigger on this bike.  Unfortunately now 7 or 8 years later the pushrod seals were now starting to weep and were in need of being replaced again.   I had already gotten a full set of top end gaskets and oil pan gasket with the carb rebuild parts.  I figured it would only take a weekend tops.


What I found when I pulled her apart was shocking and unexpected to say the least. The left cylinder had quite a bit of pitting on the top side of the cylinder and a lot of discoloration on the bottom. The biggest rust spot on the bottom did have a bit of a slight raised swede feel to it and the other spots were smooth with the barrel. The pitting did not feel very deep but could feel it with a finger nail.

Listen to the video, there was no indication that one cylinder was this damaged.

Top of left cylinder

What a way to kill a guys spirit. From the high of finally getting the thing running great and seeing it starting to come together to your dreams dashed on the rocks. Ouch.

I knew one thing, fixing this was not going to be cheap.

Bottom of left cylinder

The other cylinder looked perfect by the way.  Pretty damn good for around 90 to 95,000 miles on it.    The right side had always had a bit of oil weeping from the base of the cylinder and I was expecting to find a pulled stud but instead I found it was leaking because this side did not have the O ring at the bottom of the cylinder!  Some good news.

Right Cylinder

At least now I know why I had a ring set in the box of spare parts from the previous owner that was missing the oil ring…

This also finally explains why this thing smoked like crazy if you happened to leave it on the side stand.  I know everyone says that they all do that but this was on a whole other level, we are talking Uncle Buck car type smokeage. After I smoked out a tech day and sent people running for air even fellow airheads said mine was particularly bad. If left on the center stand, however, it never smoked, again check out the video up top. Unfortunately you cant always park on the center stand.

I had always assumed that it needed valve guides done, probably still needs those too, and I’d been trying to avoid that expense as long as I could by never parking on the side stand when possible.

I sent a few emails out to several vendors to price out my options and compare services offered and received an outstanding response from Ted Porter of BeemerShop with some great info on the R100 cylinder differences that I was not aware of and had to share for others and I’ve included a few snippets from him below in the list.
This is a common problem, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this over the years. It’s moisture and this is what happens when a bike sits.
Considering the mileage, the bores are probably both tapered out of spec. This is not something you can see with your eye, a bore gauge is required. In a steel bore with this many miles, it’s very likely that the bore gauge needle would swing pretty significantly indicating that it’s time for a bore restoration.
In the old days we would simply purchase first oversize pistons and bore to the first oversize. However today the pistons are scarce and very expensive, plus we now have the technology to plate with Nikasil and continue to use your existing pistons which generally do not wear. This provides a harder Nikasil bore and it is less expensive at $450.00/pair. You will need to use Nikasil appropriate rings which we sell at $76.55 each, two sets required.
Of course one step better than this would be to install a set of Siebenrock 1000cc cylinder/piston kits


So how do we fix this mess?  I’ve put it out to the Airhead Community and I’ve come up with a few options…

  1. New R90 cylinders and rings – $$$$ not an option
  2. Used R90 cylinders with pistons – I’ve seen sets on http://marketplace.ibmwr.org/ and Ebay from $300-$500 of unknown mileage so a bit of a gamble. Also I have a 1976 and only a set from another ’76 will fit.
  3. Used R100 cylinders with pistons – I had incorrectly assumed that any R100 cylinders would be a direct swap for my ’76.  I learned from Ted Porter that “you could look for a good used set of BMW 1981-on Nikasil cylinders and pistons which will require a minor modification to the cylinder base to be used on your 76-on block. There is a small step of metal inboard of the base oring groove that is designed to fit into a chamfer in the 81-on block which your 76 model does not have. We just remove this step for $70.00/pair and the cylinder fits the 76-80 block just fine. Keep in mind the 81-81 Nikasil pistons were low compression at 8.2:1, the 1988-on Nikasil pistons were 8.5:1 so they’re a little more desirable.”
  4. Bore to next size with new pistons – A local shop has quoted me 50 bucks a side to bore them and their machinist was pretty confident that one size up would take care of the pitting, [Motobins has first and second over pistons for £154 ea] [ Motoren-Isreal has Wossner pistons for 349 Euros a set ]
  5. Have cylinders restored, bored and nikasil coated and reuse existing pistons with new rings for nikasil – http://www.powersealusa.com/repair-process/ I heard about this process also from Ted Porter who carries the rings “at $76.55 each, two sets required” and got a quote from PowerSealUSA “From the looks of the photos we should be able to fix them by honing to accommodate the plating thickness then plate/hone to size. Price to plate a steel/cast iron liner is $225 per cylinder.”
  6. Siebenrock kit – from  Motoren-Isreal – 817 Euros with shipping to the US. From Motobins it is more but comes with a gasket set.

I think the first 3 are not an option, at the going rates for questionable used parts I can get new pistons and a rebore. I’ll still keep an eye out for a really good deal on a post ’88 R100 set though.

Wossner pistons and a rebore look like my cheapest option for new parts. The downside here is I really want nikasil cylinders that will last forever.  A few guys that have gone this route that replied to my forum threads have been very happy with the results though.

Having my existing cylinders nikasil plated is a very intriguing option that I was not previously aware of and roughly the same price as the others.

I really think the Siebenrock kit with the horse power boost is my best option with this bike being built up for a sidecar tug in the future.  Unfortunately $930 is a big expense that I was not expecting, the good news is with the dollar surging this option is $270 cheaper than it was just a few years ago if you buy from Europe.

UPDATE:  Several other unexpected expenses that also added up to $1000 have pretty much killed this restore project for the time being so I’m going to go with plan G: hone the cylinders myself, re-ring and call it good for the time being.  It’s run decently with plenty of pull all this time in this condition so I don’t think it will hurt to leave it the way it is for another 6 months until tax return season rolls around and I can revisit this then, along with getting heads done.


Road Karma

A group of guys traveling cross country from New Jersey made an emergency pit stop at the house over the weekend.  I saw a post on a Facebook page from the previous day that Marco’s BMW R90 had a wheel bearing go out in Gallup and gave him a call to see if they still needed help. He thought it was a loose axle and fixed it by tightening the nut but by the time they rolled through Albuquerque it turns out it actually was the bearing and it had grenaded on the way here.

I swear these old Beemers are very reliable bikes once you go through and fix all their weak points. I read the blog they have been keeping of their trip, www.6onasphalt.com , and sadly it seems like the BMW has been having every textbook failure in the book,  charging system, ignition system, starting system, front and rear wheel bearings..  Good thing his bike has a beefy reinforced subframe carrying all that weight so he shouldn’t experience the broken frame problem as well.   Just think, by the time you get home you’ll have a well sorted rebuilt bike that can go anywhere.

The bearing on Marco’s bike must have gotten super hot as it was destroying itself and part of it was seized on the axle making it impossible to remove to get the rear wheel off.  Unfortunately my Dremel tool, and also my grandfathers hammer, were stolen in a breakin and both would have come in real handy.  I had to call in some help from my neighbor to cut the bearing off.

Originally I had planned on just swapping out the bearing from my wheel to his and calling it a day but since it took an hour and a half just to get his wheel off so we decided to just swap the whole wheel instead and deal with getting parts back to the right owners later.  It is only fitting since he’s already changed out the front wheel along the way too.

I was very impressed that little Robert who had been sick and fussy for several days thought all of this was fascinating and amazingly watched the whole thing for a couple of hours which was the longest he’d gone without crying all weekend. Even when he is not sick he won’t sit still for that amount of time. We’ll make a motorcycle mechanic out of him yet.

I thought I’d write this post after a friend asked Why? the next day after explaining how I’d smashed my thumb with a roofing hammer helping some motorcyclists that I’d never met before they rolled up in my driveway.

I’m not sure why I do what I do, even before I got into motorcycles I’d helped over 100 stranded motorists.  At the time living out in the country and frequently traveling dirt back roads with a less than reliable Jeep I had to become proficient in fixing my own stuff to keep going and had to carry a full set of necessary tools with me at all times.  As you experience new problems that you weren’t prepared for your tool kit grows, like after the time I overheated and had to hike back and forth to a windmill for water with only an empty soda can to carry it in I started carrying a gallon of water and antifreeze with me at all times.  With a rolling mechanics shop in the back I knew I could fix most common issues and get people to their destination so why not?  Helping those in need makes you feel good after doing your good deed for the day.

When I drove my Jeep pickup I did everything from countless jump starts to replacing a thermostat in the grocery store parking lot and more than once more than once having to do CPR on a crash victim before emergency responders arrived. Back then cell phones were a rare item and even after they became more common there was no coverage outside of the bigger towns so if you broke down between towns you were screwed. Learning to be self sufficient and prepared was a necessity.

I am a firm believer that what goes around comes around.  You shouldn’t expect it but many of those that I have helped have returned the favor later on, I got invited to a wedding reception for fixing a thermostat and even got out of a speeding ticket when the officer remembered my truck as the one that had helped a family member a few months earlier and occasionally had a few 20’s forced on me here and there. One rider gave me $100 for fixing an oil leak her bike, when I refused payment I found she had stuffed the money in my saddlebag.

After I got the V Star and used that as my primary vehicle and really couldn’t carry all the tools I had before I got a little bummed that I couldn’t help people like I used to, I had to pass by all those cars with hoods up in parking lots waiting for a jump start.  It was then that we started going on motorcycle trips that I discovered a whole new level of Road Karma, helping fellow cross country travelers.  When you give a soccer mom a jump start in the grocery store parking lot her day has just been slightly inconvenienced, when you help out someone on a cross country bike trip 2000 miles from home who’s already been on the road for several weeks you can be a god send!

Unless you have broken down thousands of miles away on a road trip without knowing anyone to call for help for several time zones you really don’t know what it is like. You are stuck, there is no going anywhere until you solve the problem and most of the time you’ve already gone way over budget by then too so a really expensive repair could be the end of the trip. Those that have been there will usually drop everything to help a fellow rider in need and bend over backwards to help someone in the middle of a trip. It is also a neat way to meet fellow travelers and hear about where they’ve been and in a small way become part of their trip.

I’ve also found that you are far more likely to run into road trippers that you’ve helped again. After you’ve saved their butt in the past they are happy to be able to return the favor and fellow road trippers like to travel a lot so you are more likely to meet them on the road and at gatherings.

Who knows, that random person you helped field strip and repair their bike in your girl friend’s mother’s driveway …

may offer you a bed to sleep on in Texas.

Or the guy who gave you a free stay at a nice hotel they’d won at a poker run in Arizona

you may run into at a meet up in Texas where you can give them an inflatable mattress you didn’t need.

If you decide to go on road trips eventually you will need the kindness of strangers so it is good to have lots of Road Karma points in the bank. Even if you don’t break down you’ll need a new tire or maintenance item along the way and getting your bike in for a quick thing without an appointment can still be a problem.  More than once we’ve been told by dealerships that their schedule was booked and we’d have to come back a few days or a week later and have had techs sneak us in under their foreman’s nose to do a quick tire change and get us back on the road.  Thanks guys at Adventure Motorsports !

We’ve also had to deal with asshole managers at oil change places and had techs step in to save the day.

Sometimes it is nice just to get out of the tent and have a couch or bed to sleep on without paying for a motel.

So don’t think that you’ll never need help along the your trip with your super reliable bike.

Whether you’re packing light and traveling by sweet Excelsior-Henderson …

or petal power …

or taking everything with you …

including the kitchen sink …

or traveling by well used and abused classics …

or brand new rides for a father/son cross country trip, eventually you’ll need help from someone.

So what can you do to earn some good road karma?

  • Offer your trade skills:  If your frame breaks you aren’t going anywhere until you find a welder …

  • Being able to fabricate new parts from scrap metal instead of having to wait for an overnight or a back ordered piece is great!

  • If you are mechanically inclined or just have a good set of tools to borrow that may be enough to get someone back on the road.

  • Write a repair article. If you don’t want to host your own blog other sites will welcome guest posts for your content and you may even get paid for it.

  • If you don’t know how to work a screw driver you can still carry a set of jumper cables, if you don’t know how to use them chances are the other guy does and sooner or later you’ll need them yourself, it’ll save you an hour wait for AAA to show up.  Any basic set will do, I have the heavy duty extra long 25 foot kind after my truck had a dead battery in a downhill space in the corner of a lot and we had to find 3 pairs of cables to daisy chain together to reach.  With these ones I can park behind someone and still give them a jump, the downside is they are heavy and bulky and don’t fit in my car I drive now.

What if you have no mechanical ability at all?

  • You can still offer your garage, spare bedroom or couch as a place to stay:

  • Recommend some amazing hole in the wall eateries you think they might like, like this sadly now out of business Greatful Dead themed pizza joint that had wall to wall memorabilia of the band and played the Greatful Dead channel on a big screen TV up front, my friend who was passing through on a Greatful Dead themed bike thought it was great!

  • Do a tour of the local sights around your town.

  • Or do a longer tour and show off some of the best motorcycle roads.  I have taken days off work to lead travelers through the best back roads to the Colorado border.

  • Throw an epic BBQ and get together to welcome a fellow forum member on a long trip. This is how some annual meet and greets got started and now people come from several states away to attend.

  • Or arrange a behind the scenes tour of a gator farm.

  • Or a behind the scenes tour of an aquarium to show how dolphins are cared for.


I am thankful that we have not had a major breakdown on any of our trips that I was not able to fix on our own.  Not to say we haven’t had a few scrapes to get through, there was the time that my auxiliary light broke off and destroyed my fender in the process on the Texas coast …

Or the frustrating time in Washington state that it took me over an hour to figure out that a mosquito had gotten into the carbs while I was changing jets and caused us to loose one cylinder a while later.

Or overheating issues in Utah.

Or the time a lady backed into the bike in Oregon

Or an Excursion crashed into us in Albuquerque.


It is practically impossible to plan every detail of an epic road trip ahead of time, you may want to spend longer in one place or less in another and lets face it, shit happens.  You may not make your motel reservation due to a wind storm that shut down the interstate, or it may take 3 days to ride the 101 across Oregon instead of 1 because you didn’t plan on being there on the 4th of July and getting stuck in 6 hours worth of parade speed traffic.  You have to be flexible and roll with the punches.

I’ve always said if everything went according to plan life would be too boring. Getting through those obstacles and deviations from the plan is what life is all about, you will always remember the time your engine exploded on the way to Grandma’s on Christmas Eve and you and your future wife nearly froze to death waiting for help, you probably won’t remember the same routine trip when nothing happened.

When you break down and things are looking dim just remember someone will be along to help you out of the jam and think of it as another opportunity to meet more interesting people.  When things are at their lowest it can only get better right?

Look forward to what you’ll see over the horizon when you get back on the road and what a great story this will be when you get home.

Ride Safe.

Blog Update!!!

I know it has been a long nearly 3 years since my last post but I have some pretty good reasons for being away like this:


I got married!

and this:


We have an amazing baby boy!

and I have tried to keep up with comments as best as I could.


With the new family and new expenses on the same income I’ve had to move the blog to a cheaper web host…  my house.

I hope I have not slowed down the blog too much. If I have I apologize, my DSL internet connection at home isn’t all that great. We don’t have cable tv and we stream all our television content so if we are streaming two videos at once the blog may be slower than usual.  I’m also not on a static IP and when my modem occasionally changes there may be a few minutes where the blog is inaccessible before DNS gets updated.   However it was either this or nothing.

I have noticed that this blog, especially the how-to articles, is as popular as ever and continues to get a lot of traffic for a personal blog despite having no new content in years. Amazingly the traffic continues to grow each year and google shows motorcycle forums from all over the world link to my motorcycle repair articles.  I’m glad my little blog can be of help to people, I will do my best to keep the site up.

St Louis Arch Museum

I did not realize just how big the underground museum at the St. Louis Arch was.  Many exhibits and quite a lot of floor space along with a couple of gift shops.


Good job Thomas J!  One of the best deals in history!

The museum had some good examples of settlers lives, from the houses they lived in to transportation, livestock and wildlife.

My great grandmother lived in a sod house! it was probably not this neat and clean inside.

Depictions of Native life.

They had a couple of live actor exhibits.  This guy was very good and very knowledgable.  I forgot who he was supposed to be, some black business man who worked his way up from nothing to become one of the cities wealthy and well respected citizens.

This guy was from Green Bay, that cold weather must make people want to put strange things on their heads.



St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

This is one monument that you don’t need a map or GPS to find! It is pretty much visible from all areas of the city.


We got here early and were about the only car on our floor of the parking structure and except for a group doing Yoga under the arch we nearly had the park grounds to ourselves while we waited for things to open.

This has got to be a pretty cool prospective, it made me a little dizzy just looking at them.

St. Louis Arch Yoga

The park grounds are very nice, great walk ways, trees, shade and ponds.  Everything was well groomed and clean and seemed to be popular with morning joggers and other fitness folks.

Even the squirrels were having a good time jumping up the trees.

After we had explored all of the area it was time to wait for the gates to open.

We quickly grew bored during the long wait but at least we could take several hundred  “artistic arch” shots to pass the time.

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

I thought it was neat that you could still see the suction cup marks on almost all of the panels leftover from the arch’s construction phase.


As we were one of the first groups up the elevator I got wet paint all down my pants and back and side from the inside of the lift!  I complained to one of the rangers who let maintenance know that several passengers were getting paint on their clothes and they shut down one of the lifts.  I did not bring many clothes and now these were ruined!

The head maintenance guy found me downstairs and called over the guy who did the paint. He said that he was finished with the paint an hour before opening and it should have been dry by then like they had always done. They offered to get me a new shirt from the gift shop but before that to try washing it off as it was just water soluble paint.   I came out of the bathroom soaking wet but thank god the stuff came off!   Even if I lost my chance to get a free t-shirt I was so relieved I didn’t have to buy new pants!


Views from up top

Road Trip !!

For months we had been planning an epic road trip to do for our honeymoon.  Spend a week in Vermont, stay a while in Montreal and Maine, it’ll be awesome!

It had been a massive undertaking to try and get the bike prepped in time, we had just taken it to Ruidoso and noticed it still had some issues that needed to be sorted out. 12 hours from launch with the bike half packed and ready to go and Cece’s knee still hurting from the short trip the week before to Ruidoso we decided to abandon the plan and take the car instead, it wouldn’t be much of a trip if Cece couldn’t walk for all of it with her knee hurting from the vibrations on the bike.  The car would also be warmer in Canada, more comfortable and faster.  We really want to ride to New England but that’ll have to wait.

At 4 in the morning we hit the road. From Rio Rancho to Tramway on the other side of Albuquerque in 15 minutes! thats gotta be some kind of record.

Since I had a blowout 3000 miles after I bought the car new the car has always made a bit of a grinding noise if you accelerated or drove aggressively. I’m not sure if it was the light drizzle and water all the way to the Texas border or the somewhat high speeds for a lengthy time but going through Amarillo I thought the trip was over before it started.  Car was making such a horrible metal on metal grinding noise that we were sure the wheel was going to fall off.

Well we couldnt afford a rental car and we had a motel reservation in 2 days plus several others after that what would be lost of we ended up breaking down or having to wait for the car to be fixed.  We were kind of screwed, do we call the whole trip off or keep going and see what happens.

In the past any time the car started acting up like this, I keep thinking it’s a CV joint somewhere but so far no mechanic has been able to determine the cause, when it starts grinding if I’d let off the accelerator and don’t go past 1/2 throttle and just slow down it mostly goes away and after a few hours of driving it’s back to normal.

Lets go for it!

Not a whole lot to see but fog most of the morning, we kept the cruise control set right at the speed limit to ease the load on the car and by Shamrock Texas the car was back to normal Whew!

We had the car loaded with granola, bananas, crackers and vitamin waters in a cooler, we were planning on not stopping for anything but gas and bathroom breaks the first day as we had 1000 miles to get under our belt as fast as possible.

We did take a slight detour to check out this cool old Conoco station in Shamrock.

Boy Oklahoma sure is boring..

Garth Brooks Blvd

GPS got us temorarily lost in Oklahoma City, some how we wound up at the capitol building.

Wow, I don’t remember there being a giant casino in Tulsa the last time we were here.

Missouri!   First new state of the trip.

Joplin rest area.

We didn’t quite make it to St. Louis the first day like we’d planned.  We came close and stopped only about an hour short because of some major traffic jams from construction and some poor guy’s Cadillac burning to the ground in the middle of I44

We got up good and early the next morning to go check out the St. Louis Arch and continue on to Columus, OH.

Turned out to be a beautiful day after the fog from the previous day burned off

You see some cool things on the road sometimes.

I think we need to go that way to the arch!

At least the arch is easy to find.  We arrived right as they were opening up, perfect!



Everything is bigger in Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas (except for those tiny dog sized deer).    The theme of today seemed to be oversized things, starting with this giant walking stick bug!

It was under the table at breakfast and knowing Cece with unusual critters she had to get it to crawl on her hands.  When it got on her sleeve it ran up her arm and around the back of her neck in a flash and surprised her at how fast it was as you can tell by this hilarious picture.

Had to get gas for the morning ride and we saw this.  Texas limo or just someone with a really big family?

For lunch at Bandara we got to watch the chaos and ensuing traffic jam when someone tried to drive a dump truck bucket that took up two lanes through town forcing a big 5th wheel trailer to have to reverse all the way through town as well.     You’d think something like this would have an escort.

Lone Star Motorcycle Museum – Opposed Twins

As a BMW airhead owner I’m always a fan of other Boxer Engined vehicles and there was quite a few at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum.

Of course they had a number of old BMWs including an R26 single but also several opposed twins that I’d never heard of or seen in person.

I’ve never heard of a Douglas motorcycle and never seen an opposed twin mounted lengthwise in the frame this way before.  Douglas was a British motorcycle company and has an interesting history  including building the first bikes with disk brakes in the 1920’s!   This one is a 1920 350cc side valve.

I like the old bikes with nickel plating and no chrome.

Indian made an opposed twin? No Way!    Yet another opposed twin mounted lengthwise in the frame, how about that.

I forgot to take a picture of the tag on this one but I found on the web this is apparently an Indian Model O  which first came out in 1917 and only had a short run.  From the article it seems that both Indian and Harley Davidson had a go with the boxers which both failed miserably before BMW’s legendary 80+ years with them mounted transversely.

I thought I was pretty well versed in all things BMW has done on two wheels but I have to admit I’d never heard of this one till I saw it in the middle of nowhere in Texas of all places one spring day.   The MKM1000 developed by Krauser has a unique light weight tubular frame like something you’d see from Ducati today, too bad it’s covered up by all of that body work.  Read more about the MKM here and here.


Lone Star Motorcycle Museum

Today we rode a bit of the famous Three Sisters roads in the Texas Hill Country and had to stop at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum on the way.

One thing that I noticed about the roads in this area was that most were fun high speed sweepers with a few very sharp switchbacks thrown in with little to no warning to keep you on your toes when the roads descended into a ravine or crossed a ridge.  Riders get so focused on going fast through the gentile stuff that they are unprepared for that sharp corner out of the blue and in our couple of times here we’ve seen a handful of bikes off the road including one 30 or 40 feet down a cliff just outside Hamilton Pool on a later trip not to mention the skid marks going into nearly every sharp corner.  Nothing like a 180 degree switchback to jolt you back to reality after drifting off into a dream of motorcycle nirvana.

Our route was mostly sweepers and nothing too technical, still some riders lagged behind and got separated.  The museum itself is just a metal warehouse looking building with nothing else around and easy to miss.  One rider blew right past us at full speed, there was no catching him.

For being a bit isolated way out here the museum was pretty interesting with many unique pieces I’d never seen before and a couple of high dollar motorcycles.  If you are out in the Texas Hill Country it’s well worth the trip to stop by and check it out.

They have a rather nice collection to browse through and the guys up front were really helpful with a map to give us some ideas of where to go for the remainder of the day.

We were going to eat once we got back to town at some BBQ joint they knew about so none of us ate at the little museum diner.  After a long day riding the sisters and then looking at all the awesome motorcycles I imagine this would be a good place for a rest and a bite to eat.

I’ve never seen what our bike looks like from the front, I think the triangle of lights does make it a bit more visible than the passing lamps that blend into the headlight and are less distinguishable.  Thanks for all the pics Mark & Paige and Nick.

Motorcycles on the beach

Salty sea air and motorcycles do not mix!    I was quite shocked at how quickly the rust appeared all over my spokes and my braided stainless cables the last time we were spent some time on the Gulf  coast.  Since I had bought the bike new it had never seen the inside of a garage and had been left out in the elements for 5 years and even ridden on salty roads in the winter with only a few small spots of rust appearing in that time.  5 days near the beach in Texas, however, and rust everywhere!!!  I swear the thing looked like it aged 15 years in 5 days.    I couldn’t even ride with my visor down on my helmet, it’d get a coating of salt over it in 10 miles that only smears trying to wipe off.

This time I came prepared, before we left I’d lightly coated every surface I could think of with a light coat of wax.  I’m not one of those clean freaks and have better things to do than sit and polish a bike for hours thats just going to get covered in dust 2 hours later whether I ride it or not so by waxing everything what I mean is rub a bit of hard carnauba wax into a cloth and rub everything chrome down with it and quickly wipe off,  15 mins max.

This is why!

One of the Dolphin Dock employees rode this Shadow.  It’s not very old and was in pretty good shape before he started riding it a year or two ago and leaving it yards from the docks every day.

Look at all the rust and aluminum corrosion that can happen in just a short time near the ocean. Wow!

If you lived near the ocean full time I’m not sure what one would do to stop this, maybe dunk your bike in a vat of WD-40 every week.

So if you are riding to the ocean from some place where rust does not exist like the desert South West be sure to take appropriate measures or your bike will turn to dust before you get home.  Seriously you’d be shocked at how fast it will start to rust, I’m talking hours.