Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners




Knowledge Base




Snowbum's BMW Motorcycle Repair & Information Website

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Useful URL/sources for BMW motorcyclists;
parts, links to people, websites, companies, services.
Several useful sub-sections.

© Copyright 2023, R. Fleischer

Yahoo Groups (or, Yahoo/Autos/Groups, ...etc) was very popular.  UNfortunately, in December of 2019, Yahoo made a huge change in its Groups policies, and eliminated all files, all documents, and all photo galleries, in ALL its Groups.   Yahoo Groups were then hardly worth using, & I REMOVED MYSELF from any Memberships as well as my positions as Moderator.   NOTE THAT MANY OF THE YAHOO GROUPS SITES, including data & information,  HAVE MOVED ENTIRELY TO .IO; SO AS TO REGAIN FUNCTIONING.  I SUGGEST YOU LOOK INTO THIS.  NOTE that everything in this paragraph applies to ALL OF THE YAHOO GROUPS LISTS.  The last thing that Yahoo did, effective December 15, 2020, was to completely remove the Groups!

I've removed the various Yahoo Groups addresses I had listed on this website.  I may have missed removing the odd one here and there.   I suggest you use the .io groups, below; and, use the second listing for searching for .io groups you may be interested in.   I may add to this list as I get around to it.  If you are a Member of a useful BMW motorcycle group, that needs to be listed, below, let me know!
Snowbum's E-mail Address

You may be interested in this page:  A number of sidecarists hang out here, and this is the page for Claude Stanley's Freedom Sidecars, a custom sidecar shop, which, for many years, has been doing high quality work.  Some interesting conversions are in the photo files here!   Most sidecar technical information on this website is FREE.   Be sure to download, or at least read, the three articles/books on that site furnished to the USCA by the late Dr. Hal Kendall.  Especially on how to set up and drive a sidecar rig.; which has a LOT of information, listed by alphabetical topic!   Where to go for specific things (including service) & specific services, that are not shown in the below article.

For MANUALS, see article #80:

I have NO financial or other interest in ANY company, product, or person I recommend!

Sub-section, BMW Parts:

Antique BMW's (see next following paragraph for ALL models/years of older BMW bikes):
Parts sources are varied.  All sorts of individuals & companies around the world, have new, used, or reproduction parts that you may find hard to find, even with an internet search.  A little known source for parts (and, $$ restoration services!) is BMW themselves.  Previously called Mobile Tradition, the new name is BMW Group Classic.  For these really old BMW's, particularly before 1970, there are internet clubs or model specific websites to e-mail owners back and forth to gain information on items, sources, etc. 

BMW has a website wherein you can obtain parts for BMW motorcycles for ALL (note just antique) models since BMW started production of bikes.   The website is:
Note....  for telephone:   +49 (0)800 - 60 70 700  2 a.m. to 2 p.m, EST
Note....  for E-mail:

It is often to your great advantage to speak to someone in a parts department of a BMW dealership or other source, particularly an independent servicer, who truly knows your bike!  Many times these folks can steer you in the correct direction.

Be quite careful about ordering from someone via a part number YOU OR THEY provide, as many working at BMW dealerships are not knowledgeable about Airheads and pre-Airheads.

Below are Internet sites that have part numbers and also allow you to look up part numbers from sketches.  Parts have BMW prices, and sometimes notes.  Each of these websites does things differently if you need some sort of tech information on a part, you might want to try them all.

Sometimes we do need to look up known part numbers, instead of just searching for the proper part number. When entering part numbers into most of these on-line dealership sites do NOT use hyphens between the numbers (some do allow spaces between numbers).  NOTE THAT SOME OF THESE SITES WILL GIVE YOU THE DATE OF MANUFACTURE OF YOUR MOTORCYCLE, FROM ITS SERIAL NUMBER, OR LAST 7 DIGITS.

Here are the websites for finding part numbers or for entering part numbers:   I don't use this website but rarely, finding it more of a PIA than using maxbmwmotorcycles, just below.  However, the site may work fine for you.   On that page, go to PARTS, and from the drop-down list, use Max BMW Parts Catalog,  or, just go to   NOTE ESPECIALLY THE  FICHE and SEARCH BOXES, AS YOU WILL WANT TO LEARN HOW TO USE BOTH.  I find their website to be very useful.    This website works nicely by model, year, and you can go back as far as 1948 if you use the CLASSIC feature.

Every one of the above websites uses some form of the BMW parts catalog with useful sketches (often referred-to as the ETK catalog), but they are NOT AT ALL THE SAME, nor do they all work the same.  I suggest you try each of the four above reasonably often,  & give a hard look-see at the illustrated parts listings, & then, after considerable experience with all those sites, decide which one of them you like the best.  Even so, somewhat rarely, you MAY have to use more than one, or all of them, for some part to get some sort of additional information on that part. Many times, a posting to the airheads List will get you the information and advice you need.

All these dealerships will sell you parts, of course.   Keep in mind that independent BMW repair places, such as Beemershop and RubberChickenRacingGarage, have super-knowledgeable folks, who can properly guide you, and save you a LOT of time ...and save you a LOT OF MONEY AND HASSLES over the long run.

Motobins of England; and some of the German sites, may be useful at times.  Many times Motorbins is cheaper, even after freight is considered.  If you want GENUINE BMW parts, be sure to inquire about THAT. Do NOT forget your local dealer, who may well offer a discount if you are a good customer & you ask!    If that local dealership has a knowledgeable parts person, you doubly benefit.  Keep in mind that any local dealership, or independent service that you develop a relationship with (particularly on a first-name basis) is likely going to be the place you will get the best service from, for parts, and good solid advice on parts, fitment, problems, etc.  In general, the independents, such as Tom Cutter's; Ted Porter's ;  Bob Clement; Anton Largiader; Bud Provin's; etc., will have the BEST information; know many critical things, and may offer advice that the dealership parts folks may well have NO idea about.   This site contains all sorts of information on BMW bikes, including Airheads.  It is in German, but you can click and use the translator.  HUGE amount of information.

Sub-section:  BMW SERVICE (and possibly parts too):
Technical information, service, how-to's, etc.

West coast area, in California, is Ted Porter's Beemershop.  Very knowledgeable about parts & service.   Website may, by now, have some repairs articles.  Large inventory of parts.  Top end work, transmission overhauls, specialist on suspension components such as custom setup shock absorbers, etc.

East Coast area:  Tom Cutter's Rubber Chicken Racing Garage.  Meticulous workmanship on BMW motorcycles.  Airheads, Oilheads, ETC.  Some tech info on website. Does lots of transmission work.

East Coast area:  Anton Largiader:   Another knowledgeable source, and his website is loaded with tech info.   Also use the following, which produces a list of articles that you might not find so easily from the above primary URL:    dba:

East Coast area,  Bud Provin:  Another knowledgeable source with a long background on our Airheads.

Bob Clement in Montana.  BMW Montana; Bob's Motorwerks.   132 Blanchard Butte Rd., Roberts, MT. phone: 1-406-445-2044.    Factory certified servicing 1955-1995 Airhead BMWs.  Worked on & owned BMWs since 1962.

Murphs BMW  (541) 689-9954, in Eugene, Oregon.  Another old-timer.

The PRIMARY question-answer source for Airheads technical information (1970-1996 models), is the Airheads Beemer Club mailing LIST, also known by some as the Airlist.  Information on subscribing is at the top of my technical articles list page: .    I say
PRIMARY, because while my website is intended as a major reference source, the LIST covers anything & everything Airhead, & you can usually get a reply rather quickly.  Once a LIST member (it is free to join the LIST), you have access to the list archives.  A MAJOR reason to join the LIST is the LARGE number of Airhead owners on it; and the various knowledgeable owners and Guru's who will likely reply.    For those who are already Members, here is the archives address:

The primary source for technical help for Classic K bikes, is the KBMW list/group, wherever it is, now.

I have additional listings under S:, for Service, in my REFERENCES article.

Sub-section:  BMW Electrics ....and other parts in a few instances:

A source for all sorts of parts including electrical items for all BMW motorcycles & some Guzzi & even Laverda (and possibly some Ducati)    They are at 18195 Augusta Drive, in Monument, Colorado.  (719) 487-9397.  They stock electric's items, including ignition items, starters, alternators, parts to repair these.... ETC.  They also stock fuel filters and much more.  They also repair some items; ...and, also sell the EnDuraLast Alternator (it is THEIR product); and, many items that are NOT available from BMW, such as internal diodes & regulators for the oilhead and K bike alternators, ETC.   Compare their prices with BMW dealership prices on BMW-sold parts.   They carry Bosch repair parts, Valeo repair parts, and new Valeo starters (both 8 and 9 tooth, with the updated magnet structures); fuel filters for your K, etc. ...and provide prompt shipping.

For genuine Jeff Lee products (dba Emerald Island, EI), such as the ignitions, alternators, etc;  see, ONLY these two sources in the USA:   Ted Porter's   and   Rick Jones'  Rick sells an Airhead electrics and charging manual that is very worthwhile.  You may have heard of these Jeff Lee items under the brand-name Omega alternators and Alpha ignitions, and there are other things available, such as his excellent LED taillight conversions, etc.  Other brand names are used around the world for these items, such as Red Centre.   EI (Emerald Island) products are excellent.  Do not mistake other, cheaper, imperfectly-fitting and not as reliable products made in China.

There are other sources for some types of electrics, such as Thunderchild,; and, Jim Davis, owner, Eastern Beaver Company,  Motorcycle Relay Kits, Modulator Kits, Powerlet, Centech, Posi-Lock, and other parts.   A knowledgeable guy, with a somewhat different viewpoint at times.  Quality products, some of which are VERY handy.

URL for the Chicago Region BMW Club, the source for their various repair manuals: The tuneup manual; 10K manual, tire manual, etc., are still available.  The Electrics manual, now priced at $30 (?),  is simply THE best electrics manual for Airheads, and Oak was primarily responsible for that manual.  HIGHLY recommended.  This is THE Airhead electrics manual to own.  It covers almost everything.   That website also has some information on the background of that Club, and the background on Oak, etc., and those various manuals.
There is a CRITIQUE of the Electrics School manual on this Snowbum website:  If you own one of these manuals, I suggest you use that critique, to update your manual with a pencil.

Further information is located here:

Sub-section:  A few more references:

Search for KRADRIDER.   The military BMW bikes.  You may find some information at the Vintage BMW Owners Club too.    This is Phil Hawksley's website.....lots of good information here.  A lot of information, particularly photos & text on rebuilding and restorations of Airhead bikes.    Forum style.  K bikes.   Active, lots of opinions, watch for a while to sort out who knows, who guesses.   Has factory bulletins for the pre-/5 bikes.  A LOT of literature, all sorts of things, definitely worth a long look-see.  This is  NOT just for the pre-/5.  This one may not be linked from the main site, so be sure to try it, and scan down to be sure it is the much longer list of things.  BMW Veteran Motorcycle Club of America. Some vintage items too.    This Club is a very major source of vintage BMW motorcycle information.  Covers all years of BMW bikes from the very first BMW motorcycle to the last Airheads bikes.  Some VERY knowledgeable folks publish here, and they have a very good magazine, etc.   Members have access to every magazine they published, and a huge amount of information in various files, articles, etc.      They take care of hosting of the Snowbum website, since mid-2020; and will, in perpetuity.

Duane Ausherman's website has been totally revised. There are a lot of technical articles covering much of the /2 era, as well as the /5 and /6+.... and some is applicable to late Airhead models.  He sometimes has a somewhat unique way of presenting information:   This is also the home to Randy Glass' major and SUPERB illustrated article on /5 (and later) front fork alignment.

There is also a forks and alignment, etc., article on the Snowbum website:   The Yahoo Groups based R90S folks are now at this link.  I think it quite possible that this .io group will disappear, and the Membership will be absorbed into the Vintage Club, and its website....maybe by the end of 2023?

You should also look for any of the old Yahoo groups at .io, as they may have moved here.

Sub-section:  Miscl. sources:   Adventure Riders site. This is an all-brand site, but has a large amount of information and traffic for BMW GS bikes and many things are applicable to all Airheads.   Be careful who you pay attention to.

Bayrische Magnetzünder    German website, magnetos parts and service.

Hans Radstaack   Dutch specialist, speaks English.  For early magnetos.

Bob's BMW   A good source

Blue Moon BMW.  Online catalog, exploded parts diagrams.  Bikes, parts, tech.


TOOLS:   FOR SURE see my ENTIRE article:
FOR SURE see my References article, look under T: for Tools. THE premier auction site.    Some sources for vintage BMW parts even have full-time stores run through Ebay.  Be careful, be cautious.  Same for Craigs List, which can be exceptionally iffy.

Alex Gaenssle.    Machine shop and other work.   In Germany.  English spoken.  His old website address does NOT work.

John's Beemer Garage.   Catalogs, drawings.   Has factory bulletins for the pre-/5 bikes.

Mark Hugget GmbH; in Switzerland.   Restoration forum, on-line shop, lots of parts.  The Mark Huggett BMW Mobile Tradition site ...a source and reference for, especially, OLD BMW parts, restorations, work, etc.   Mobile Tradition was BMW's own outlet for information, parts, and restorations, etc., for older BMW products.  BMW has been changing the website address for such as their Mobile Tradition Teilekatalog, and you may have to do a search, or contact your dealership, to find out the correct web address, and, note that anything before 1970 models are regarded as in this category, by Snowbum.    Previously called Mobile Tradition, the new name is BMW Group Classic.

NOTE!    Snowbum has not worked on Vintage BMW bikes in decades.  Snowbum's extensive notebooks on the /2 era bikes disappeared around 1975.   Please refer to knowledgeable folks listed on this page, not Snowbum! ...who has very little on this site on them (I do have cleaning the slingers, and some on the electrics, such as the voltage regulator, carbs, etc.).

Old Timers Garage.   New made parts.   Poland.   R69S restoration pages.     For /2 parts sketches ...etc.  In Germany.  Easy translation.  Parts, manuals, etc., for pre-Airheads, Airheads, K.

Bench Mark Works, Craig Vechorik ("VETCH"):   An excellent source for information, parts, and technical help, etc.    Two divisions, primary one in Mississippi, & one in Canada.  Snowbum disagrees only with his remarks on not using GL5 oil on Airheads and later.   Vetch stocks parts for the old BMW's ....and quite a few for the later bikes, including manuals and other literature.   Well worth your time to THOROUGHLY browse the site.  A must if you have a pre-airhead (before 1970 models).  Craig stocks the various versions of the early ignition switch and harness; which can get complicated to explain so I have not included that information here.

Snowbum seldom discusses  /2 & /3 bikes.  I do not "follow" Vech's site, nor the Forums, Groups, Lists, etc., sites for the older bikes. My huge notebook on the /2 & /3 era bikes was somehow "lost" ~1975.   These old bikes have a specialized following, some of who are much more knowledgeable than I am my memory has faded on them over the years as I got further & further away from working on them.  There are some sources for information, such as /2 LIST on the internet & in a very few books.

One of the books that is probably a must to own is the Barrington Motor Works BMW /2 Restoration and Service Manual.  This is a well done book, reviewed by many 'experts' in the field before it was published.   Barrington has other specialty books they've written and published.  Barrington Motor Works, LLC; 216 Canaan Back Road; Barrington, NH 03825.  Telephone: (603) 664-2673

I do have a few articles, such as on cleaning slingers, voltage regulator work, etc., on my site you are reading.

Sub-section:  model specific websites:
Also see prior section for pre-Airheads, and later.  As you can see from the URL, a bulletin board forum-style site.  Last time I looked at it, was rather INACTIVE.  Obviously, it is for the R100R bikes, the last Airheads.

Mailing list, on the web, for slash 5 (/5) motorcycles:  R45 and R65  For the F650 and G650 SINGLE CYLINDER BMW bikes.  Previously this forum group was known as "The Chain Gang".    Forum style.  Classic K bikes.   Active, lots of opinions, watch for awhile to sort out who knows, who guesses, etc.

Micapeak hosts a number of Lists.... various motorcycle makes, models, various groups/lists:
One such group hosted by is:   A lot more than just GS.  You will find good descriptions of all the various Monolever and Paralever bikes, including GS; G/S; ST.....    

Subsection:  other websites:  This is a U.S. Government website that allows you to enter the 17 character VIN of any car, truck OR MOTORCYCLE, to find out if there are any open recalls on that particular vehicle.   For serial numbers and general production dates, there are several sites for this sort of thing.   Here is another one, this one is a listing of chassis number ranges versus model, etc:

There is a vin decoder of a different sort on my site: See  Lots of information, including HOW TO READ VIN NUMBERS.    Instruction sheets for Dyna ignition conversions, etc.   BMW Motorcycle Owners of America website.  Click on Country Store to get back issues. Lots of stuff on this website ....but you need to be a Member to fully use the Forums.

Mike Hamende sold Airhead Salvage and Sales, that was near Austin Texas.  The company is now called Martindale Motorcycle Works.  632 NW River Road, Martindale, Texas is still in business; ....Airhead, Oilhead, and K salvaged parts.  The new owner is Mike Orloff.  The phone number is (512) 357-2842.

See  for more salvage places (under P: for parts), MORE sources for parts and sources for most everything else.

Koni no longer makes shocks under that name for our Airheads.  The Koni name and tooling was sold, and the new company DOES have products, including repair parts:  Check the internet for Koni parts in the USA, or contact Ted Porter at his Beemershop.

Wilbers is a good aftermarket shock, available from sources that are Members of the Airheads Mailing List/

SideCarTalk was the sidecar group's name, sometimes referred to as SCT2.   This was THE group for sidecar technical help.  You will have to search the Internet for it now that Yahoo Groups is gone.

NOTE .....there is a whole sidecar section on my website you are reading this on, MANY articles ...but is a link to just one article, it has some sidecar specific URL's:

Lots of references are on the Airheads Club website:
That website has technical articles written by me ....and others.  Click on AirLore, and then Technical Tips.

A source for quality electrical sockets, plugs, cables, kits, far beyond what is in most autoparts stores or your BMW dealership, is Powerlet Products.

Here is information on a solid source, repeated from earlier;  Jim Davis, Owner, Eastern Beaver Company:   Motorcycle Relay Kits, Modulator Kits, Powerlet, Centech, Posi-Lock, Parts.   A knowledgeable guy, with a somewhat different viewpoint at times.  Quality products, some of which are VERY handy.

One of many METRIC sites for hardware, electrical wire, adaptors, fittings....and a LOT of ETC:

Mostly metric fasteners:


03/12/2006:  Incorporated all previous revisions; updated URL's for parts & price sources, re-arrange order of things for clarity.
05/22/2006:  Add
07/19/2006:  Update URL's, and information on a few companies.
08/01/2006:  Add R45/R65 URL; and r-arrange the entire page.
01/13/2007:  Update salvage yards.
02/16/2007:  Re-arrange for electrics stuff in one area; add latest contact info for Chitech; P.A.S. note.
06/01/2007:  Minor editing.   
06/02/2007:  More ASCII information; add Jim Davis' Eastern Beaver.
08/06/2007:  Update Anton's website URL information.
12/14/2007:  Added more info on beemergarage.
01/01/2008:  Fix Chicago BMW Club address.
01/03/2008:  Add hyperlink for German words.
01/06/2008:  Move driveshaft information to References page.
01/07/2008:  Fix country store hyperlink problem.
01/07/2008:  Fix website url; remove "For the R80GS and R100GS, only, take a look at: wendell/gs/node1.html  The link and top domain is dead.
01/18/2008:  Remove F, OT, Z, S information to article 39.
01/19/2008:  Update Cycleworks (tools).
07/10/2009:  Minor updates, re: Barrington
08/31/2009:  Update on Chicago's manuals.  Check buchanan's site...still has wrong notations.
10/31/2009:  Lots of updating of URLs, information, etc.
12/31/2009:  Update entire article, add lots more to ASCII too.
01/01/2010:  Add Mobile Tradition information, inadvertently left out during a prior update.
03/16/2010:  Clean up article, still messy, but eliminated MANY duplications, huge font changes, etc.
03/27/2010:  Updated Airhead Salvage information.
04/20/2010:  Remove and modify some hyperlinks.
08/22/2010:  Update Vech's URL.
09/21/2010:  Clean up article a bit.
11/25/2010:  Clean up & clarify listing of websites for ETK information; add some commentary.
01/15/2011:  Remove references, thunderchild & buchanan pages...I have the information in trbleshootalt.htm
04/13/2011:  Add editing information.
06/04/2011:  Add link.
08/19/2011:  Add Meyer bikes link.
10/21/2011:  Remove Chicago BMW, as was going out of business.
05/15/2012:  Edit for clarity.
05/24/2012:  Add
10/15/2012:  Add QR code, add language button, update Google Ad-Sense code.
10/25/2012:  Update Google Ad-Sense code properly, as was NOT done on 10/15/2012.  Clarify many details in Editing section, expand it.  Fix a LOT of underlining that were not links.
11/10/2012:  Clean up for new size; add MAC information.  Re-arrange order of sections; make formal sections.
12/17/2012:  Add link to
04/05/2013:  Update the article for more clarity on editing and special symbols too.
05/24/2013:  Add
08/14/2013:  Add new site for The Chain Gang (F650 and G650 singles).
10/20/2013:  Add note:  NOTE:  bmwscotter website appears down for non-payment of ISP fees.
01/03/2014:  Revise article rather completely; additionally, add section on lane splitting.
10/03/2014:  Revise.  Move lane splitting to its own article.  Clean up rest, for smaller screens too. add
12/08/2014:  Revise entire article.  Further updating later in December.
03/05/2015:  More revisions, all were made for increased clarity.
03/19/2015:  Minor change to above URL of 10/03/2014, so will always come up with correct URL. Another update 07/19/2015.
08/21/2015:  Remove two dead links.
11/17/2015:  Update much of the entire article, but not much on the last 30%.
04/26/2016:  Update metacodes, layout, redundancies, etc.
05/08/2016:  Add
05/16/2016:  Split off entire long part about E-mail, text editing, special keyboard characters, foreign computers ...move to new article 78C.
08/23/2016:  Eliminate two URL's, one NG, other has disappeared permanently.
11/12/2016:  Add Brook Reams site.
01/08/2017:  Update scripts, metas, fonts, check & update many links.  Rework layout in some places. A line by line complete go-through.
12/25/2017:  Layout, fonts, colors, updates, reduction of excessive HTML, etc.
05/30/2018:  Clean-up the article.   A bit more on 02/01/2019.
02/17/2020:  Update on Yahoo Groups being pretty much worthless.
06/30/2020:  Add more information to the antique, etc., section.
10/12/2020:  Final removal and updating, re:  Yahoo Groups.
11/06/2020:  Remove Darryl Richman URL
01/17/2021:  Add new section for metric items.
08/20/2023:  Add note about possibility of the R90S .io group being absorbed into the Vintage club, in later 2023.

© Copyright 2023, R. Fleischer

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Last check/edit: Sunday, August 20, 2023