Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

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jayeparsons
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:38 am

Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by jayeparsons »

Hi, new to BMW moto ownership and I recently acquired a clean '74 R60/6. I really love the bike (REALLY love it) and it was already in the middle stages of mostly cosmetic cafe racer mods, which I plan to continue. Overall the bike has been well cared for and looks and runs much better than I might have guessed a near 50-year-old bike with 33K miles would look and run.

I know the rubber gaiters on the front forks were a BMW moto staple for most of their bikes from the early '50s through at least the late '70s (if not much longer). I understand the function of them I believe (keeping dirt/dust/water out of the lower portions of the "shock").

However, from a subjective opinion, I'd prefer the look of the forks without the gaiters...I think anyway. I am not going to use this bike as a daily rider, and will not purposely be riding it in inclement weather or on dirt roads or anything that would seem overly stressful. I will be lucky if I get 1000 miles on the bike per year. The bike lives in a climate controlled garage 100% of the year in Ohio.

How much risk of wear and tear am I taking if I chose to run without the gaiters in these conditions?

thanks in advance!
Jay

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schrader7032
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by schrader7032 »

Jay -

Welcome to the forum! As you indicate, the gaiters provide protection to the tubes. It's hard to say what the risk would be. You could go for thousands of miles with no issues, or a random car in front of you could kick up a handful of stones that might rough up the fork surface. Just have to decide what you want more! Good luck!!
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

jayeparsons
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:38 am

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by jayeparsons »

Protecting the downtubes from flying debris is a good catch.

I do seem to see a number of builds online that seem to be, at least for photos, not using gaiters. But obviously some of these builds may never be intended to actually hit the streets!

As BMW didn't use them in later years (like perhaps even with the R90/S I think I read), does anyone know if they actually built the forks any differently to be run w/o them?

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srankin
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Location: Spencerport, NY USA

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by srankin »

I can't add anything regarding parts interchange, spending a bit of time on one of the online microfiches will answer your question regarding the R90S style versus your style forks.

I will add that since I reversed the style of my 78 and 84 RS and RT removing the factory system and installing fork gaiters, I have had vastly longer fork seal life. Just a positive vote for the gaiter system.

From what you say, I don't really see any problems converting baring the scenario Kurt mentions it should work fine.

How easy it will be to do, hinges on the parts interchangeability. St.
Owner of a 84, R80RT and 78, R100RS

jayeparsons
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:38 am

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by jayeparsons »

I appreciate everyone's thoughts, and I have no doubt you're both right on their successful purpose and function. BMW (and countless other manufacturers) used them for good reason, obviously.

I don't own the tools nor the lift to easily remove the forks and the gaiters without simply cutting the gaiters, which would be a shame if I then found I wanted to put some back on. I'm not even sure I will like the look without them, that's the irony of my question in the first place!

It does appear that some builders are pushing them down or up (condensing them too a smaller stretch of the fork) and that would be easy enough to try and look for obvious functional downsides. I'm not in love with the bars on the bike at the moment, and so I may experiment with this all at the time I might have a shop do more of a swap out of things for me.

Will keep thinking and looking for photos online for ideas. Thanks again.

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schrader7032
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by schrader7032 »

A lift is not needed to remove the gaiters. If you don't have ANY tools, then it's a problem. But a few basic metric wrenches, sockets, and a screwdriver, the lower sliders can be dropped.

There are a number of steps to drop the sliders, remove the fender, move the caliper out of the way. But as you suggest, it's easier to cut them off. It would be a shame to go down a path that is not reversible other than to buy some new gaiters.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

MikeL46
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by MikeL46 »

My R90s has 150K+ miles on it. Original forks and only one seal change. Keep the felt in fork cups oiled to protect both the forks and the seals.

And, I'm sure you recognize this, but you have to take the fork apart to install the fork cup even if you cut the gaiter off. Without the cup and it's felt oilers you will have short seal life.

Mike
67 R50/2 w/R100 engine/trans and Ural Sidecar
69 R60/2 76 R90S 78 R100RS
70 Triumph w/Spirit Eagle Sidecar

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schrader7032
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Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by schrader7032 »

Mike -

Can't the sliders be dropped without "taking the fork apart"? Or maybe that's what you mean. I've dropped the sliders off the bottom a few times and the tubes and springs stay in position.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

MikeL46
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Removal of gaiters for cosmetic reasons

Post by MikeL46 »

Since I think I cannot ride a bike if the forks are apart, taking the sliders off the bottom is apart for me.

I find it just as easy to loosen the triple clamps and slide the intact tubes down. Probably just me.

Mike
67 R50/2 w/R100 engine/trans and Ural Sidecar
69 R60/2 76 R90S 78 R100RS
70 Triumph w/Spirit Eagle Sidecar

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