Designer & bike rider in British Columbia, Canada

1978 R80/7 full teardown and rebuild…order of operations?

Full story: I’m new to the BMW Airhead world (have a few UJM motorcycles so far) and recently picked up my first: a ’78 R80/7 with ~100,000 miles on it here in Vancouver, BC. Runs alright, bit of leaking and creaking here and there. Over the winter I’m doing a full tear down and restomod (restoration with modifications) in my shared, rented garage with help from a professional car mechanic friend, a Hayne’s manual, and…the Internet.

I’ve spent about 20 hours reading up on the ins and outs of these machines. Lots of great forums and websites, from the Great List to sites like,, and

So, where to start?
What order of operations (airhead-specific or just general moto best practices) do people recommend to get down to the bare frame?
What needs to be removed first so some other thing can get out?
What are priorities?

So far I’ve been going by these lists of airhead things to watch out for:…r80-7%2077.htm

Of note, we’ll be:

  • Repainting the tank
  • Powdercoating the frame
  • Having the engine inspected / rebuilt by a local pro shop (Shail’s for those in Vancouver)
  • Upgrading some electrical, lights, dials, li-ion battery (think Motogadget m-unit, etc.)
  • Fabricating custom luggage racks
  • Maybe a new(er), stiffer front fork
  • Getting the seat reupholstered

Timeline is four months (I work part time); budget is…well let’s start with best-case-sky’s-the-limit and work down, down from there.

The bike, untouched (by us) and straight from Craigslist two weeks ago.






One response to “1978 R80/7 full teardown and rebuild…order of operations?”

  1. greg ingegniero Avatar
    greg ingegniero

    Just WOW … Perfect way to go. Highly recommend oem continental tires.
    Ride on brother. See ya in the wind on pacific hwy someday!!!

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