So, some time has gone by since my last blog and it’s time to get caught up. But first, I would like to thank all of the people who have contacted me in regards to the blogs I have posted. The number of questions and emails I have received has been terrific. I guess people prefer to contact directly, rather then leave comments. I will share the most common questions and answer them here, within these blogs.
As many of you know, my business is manufacturing tools and parts, primarily for BMW Motorcycles, but also other European models as well. What this means in regards to the current restoration is that we are creating products specifically for the Airheads. This does tend to slow a restoration some, but not completely. Right now, we are finishing production on our new ignition wires, complete with original German Beru caps! We are also completing a new exhaust nut wrench that will work on both the early and late style finned nuts. And finally, brand new reproductions of the venerable BMW seat hinges. In addition to the products we are manufacturing, we are now a dealer for Venhill control cables. They make high quality replacement cables for BMW motorcycles and we are proud to be offering their products to our customers. We will begin listing all of these products on our website in the coming weeks.
As previously stated, this can slow a restoration some, but the benefit is high quality aftermarket tools and components. We will keep you posted on these as well as additional products as they become available. But now, let’s answer some of the questions I received.
First, will the R75/5 be a stock restoration or a café build? Stock….I love café style bikes and the latitude they offer in terms of creativity, but this is not the bike to use as a donor. Simply put, it would be a shame to do this to such a beautiful, numbers matching bike that is becoming increasingly rare. I prefer a café build to be done to bikes that are incomplete, mass produced, non matching numbers and don’t have significant historical value (in most cases). Again, this R75/5 is a matching numbers bike with a clean title so I am choosing to do a stock restoration. Now, for sake of argument, if this was only a partial bike with non-matching numbers and parts, I could see how an R75/5 could make for an awesome café build!
As for my thoughts on café bikes, well, a café bike MUST be fast and functional, yet be sculpted like a piece of art, at least to me. What I want in a café style bike is for the binders to stop you in an instant, a frame and suspension you can dive into corners with, and a drive train that pulls like a raped ape! Simply bolting on a bunch of crap and using terms like steam punk or old school to legitimize it, doesn’t do it for me. However café style bikes is about personal expression. What might not float my boat may be exactly what someone else loves! Either way, I appreciate the work that goes into it even if it is not my own taste.
As a huge fan of racing (especially Moto GP), I am more then willing to step out on a limb and try new things. Changing things like crank phasing, cams, firing orders, welding up port runners and changing their shapes and valve angles to make power at different variables is just part of what it takes to push the boundaries on what is possible. Machining my own parts gives me endless possibilities governed only by my imagination. It can be a heck of a lot fun and very rewarding, but also extremely disappointing when your motor grenades at 12000 rpm! There is a fine balance to be had and finding the limits can be extremely expensive. The old adage of, “speed costs” is a very real statement.
Another common question is will I be taking the entire engine apart or just the top end. The answer is, the whole engine. Although I ran several tests at the beginning (see previous blogs) and don’t expect any problems, it is best to open her up and blue print the lower end to confirm a complete and proper build. With the engine already out and top end off, there is only a handful more bolts to complete disassembly. If I had owned this bike for any length of time and new its history intimately, then perhaps I would not need to go this far. But like 99% of my restorations, I was not the one in the saddle racking up the miles. Consequently, she will come apart.
The 3rd question is, will I be taking apart the transmission? Yes, I will disassemble the transmission. Again, for the same reasons listed above, it would be a shame to not do it while it is on the bench and accessible. I would hate for Murphys law to step in after completion and discover a problem which could have been avoided by being thorough.
As a final thought, there is always someone who knows more. Being good at something often times means knowing where to find answers to questions that arise. The internet is a great source, but should be taken with a grain of salt. There seems to be a fair share of arm chair quarter backs that basically reiterate old posts or information they heard without having first hand knowledge. Sift through all that, and there really are some very knowledgeable people out there more then willing to help where they can. Tapping there knowledge base can be invaluable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It can really save you time in the long run.
I usually have a core group of people that I do this with, each with there own strengths. One individual is quite a historian of Italian bikes while another with old British iron and so on and so on. Knowing who to ask is the key. Again, asking questions is great. However, I still adhere to the man code and generally won’t ask for directions to a location though….lol…
That’s all for now, but I will update the blogs with photos and progress of the R75/5 very soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and spent time with your loved ones. As for me, I look forward to a fun filled new year!!!