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BOXERWORKS! a place for airhead riders

July 12, 2016


I started riding motorbikes when I was about 15, an old Matchless 350 that belonged to a friends father. I was terrified of the "power" and the "speed" but the fix was in. The start of a lifelong love affair with motorcycles. I'm about  to turn 62 as I write this and have owned and ridden many many brands, styles and sizes over 47 years. I came to airheads as a result of sharing the shed where the BOXERWORKS is now with a fellow from Chile in late 1999 / 2000. His name was Juan and he has now (sadly) passed away. He rode a BMW R60/5 everywhere I had gotten rid of a Road King and was looking at a Vulcan or maybe a V-max.... Every time I spoke to him he was on about BMW boxers....telling stories of riding his /5 across the Nullabor from Perth and back with his wife and their gear on board. He told me how reliable and sure footed they were, how he (as a migrant working on building sites in Sydney) paid his first 60/5 off in full (every penny) before the BMW agent would let him near the bike! Eventually, he went on to own a few including a "Smoke" 90S which he proceeded to wear out. He was riding his second R60/5 the day he was killed.  


His persistence won out and even though I had never ridden an airhead, he found an R65 monoshock on Bribie which he assured me was a "steal" it was. It belonged to an ambulance driver who had ridden it down from Darwin, had looked after it like a baby and sold it to me for $2500.  Elation turned to SHOCK as I rode it back to Brisbane! Weird clutch, clunky gearbox, strange narrow handlebars, confusing switch gear...but Juan was insistent that I persevere and learn the bike....Japanese bikes were easy he would say because they were built for poseurs. BMW's were built for riders, a cherished possession not an object. We went on many all day (sparrow fart to well after dark) rides all over South East Queensland as I scoured the internet for sites like "Snowbum" "Ask OAK" and others trying to learn how to look after my new "possession" and what made it tick. I drove Chris Hodges (at the BM shop) mad and made friends with his two mechanics and the incomparable "Trish" . I bought every BMW book and manual that I could find and yes....the bike had become a passion. My wife and I rode it everywhere almost every weekend staying in pubs and B and B's meeting and making new friends everywhere we went.

about the end of June 2002, Juan came flying into the shed jibbering about a "proper BMW that he had found that I just had to buy. A 1974 R75/6. long story short, I bought it


I still have that bike, It is one of my most cherished possessions. Narelle and I have ridden it absolutely everywhere and even today, I would trust it for a trip across the Nullabor  with nothing more than t thorough service and tune and some new tyres. Because I have always loved machines, I hold a high risk work ticket for a number of things including steam boilers and turbines, I drive 14 tonne traction engines, have contributed to the mechanical rebuilds of 100 year old steam engines and many other kinds of engines besides. I've restored cars from boxes of bits to better than new and driven them all over the country. I've made it my business to learn all aspects of the workings of BMW airhead boxers. I've learned from people who have fixed them all their lives, not just learned to fix them but learned why they do what they do. Over the years I've owned and operated Mechanical workshops and Tyre and mechanical franchises, been responsible for the training of 7 apprentice mechanics to "A grade" status and have been hands on involved in all my workshops.


I have started the BOXERWORKS because these days, nearly all the Airhead shops are closed or are so busy that bookings are out months in some cases. The BOXERWORKS shed (always known as "the hangar") is situated in Windsor, is part of a very old transport depot and has a kind of old world feel about it that completely suits the bikes I work on.  There was a very active Airhead community here that grew from a chance meeting that Narelle and Ihad with 4 airhead riders in Woodenbong in about about the end of 2003. Over time the Hangar became a hub for regular social sips at night, Saturday service days (to teach people the do's and don'ts of looking after the basic needs of one's own bike) and for people just to drop in for a chat. There were coffee / lunch rides and day trips, weekends away for 8 or 10 of us staying at country pubs....rallies for the boys (and some girls) and a lot of camaraderie. Friendships were made and it was a great thing all round. Unfortunately, it fell apart. I want to build that informal cruisey thing back into the ownership and riding of Airheads. The web page shows what is available, I guess this blog is a bit of a ramble about why. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A CUSTOMER TO BE PART OF THE SOCIAL AIRHEAD SCENE.     



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Copyright 2016 Mark Morrissey, all rights reserved