Sunday, October 19, 2008

Beemer in a Box

Well my fantasies of a "Barn Find" treasure were somewhat dashed upon viewing my latest purchase. We had driven 120 miles to Darby Mt. to check out the 1971 R75/5 which was offered to me . A "Basket Case" was an understatement for this old girl. It featured a partially disassembled engine, a completely disassembled transmission and parts missing too numerous to list.
After driving so far I just couldn't leave empty handed so offered the owner a lower price than his asking price for all. The offer was accepted and we loaded it up. The fuel tank is complete except for tank pads. It has a couple of minor dings in it. The "BMW" roundels are in perfect shape so they'll go on my unused Toaster Tank. The tank will likely go on E-Bay. Wheels ,front turn signals, and many miscellaneous parts will sell easily on E-Bay. The cylinders and heads are removed and are present. The front and rear fenders are there and are in great shape with original paint so they are excellant sale items. The boxes included a few nice Japanese Bike parts so I'll likely list them. Also included was a brand new Harley Davidson Detachable backrest. I checked it out and new ones are over $200.00 so we'll see what that will bring.
The "bucket" seat is one of the ugliest things I've ever seen but it does have a stock BMW grab rail on it. Don't know what I'll do with the seat. The bike has a 32:10 final drive which is the same as my stock final drive (which is 50% worn) so maybe I'll keep it for a spare. There are many usable engine parts so we'll figure out what to sell and what not to sell. I'll keep the electrical diode board for a spare and maybe the rotor if it's good. Most of the engine metal has been polished so someone had a love affair with the bike in it's distant past. The engine parts removed appear to be in perfect shape so I have no idea why someone would have pulled it all apart. The seller said he is missing another big box of parts which held the rear signals, headlight shell, carbs and a lot of the missing parts. If he finds the missing box he'll contact me and send them to me. I'll keep my fingers crossed but won't hold my breath.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

BMW Snow Machine

I didn't know BMW made a snow machine. By the looks of these photos taken in the 30's they made one anyway. Can't imagine how to steer it.

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Craigslist BMW Fishing Trip

Decided to go "fishing" on Craigslist again looking for BMW parts bikes. Looks like I hooked another fish. Person over in Darby MT. contacted me and has a 1971 R75/5 for a reasonable price. Missing the speedometer/tachometer, front fender and carbs. The rest of the bike is there. They started a restoration , purchased some new parts and then lost interest in the project. It has been sitting in their garage for a few years. I committed to purchase it sight unseen. Definitely worth the asking price as the large 6.2 gallon tank is worth a couple hundred bucks alone. I don't know what new parts they have but am curious to see what I bought. We will run over tomorrow afternoon to pick it up if it all works out. I visited with the owner tonight and he said there is 4 boxes of parts with the bike. Ends up he inherited the bike when he purchased a storage unit years ago. He said there are quite a few new parts but he knows nothing about motorcycles and all he knows is that the seat and tank look real nice and there are lots of boxes. The bike has always been indoors and now I'm wondering more about what it is I've purchased. Kind of like an early Christmas. Maybe it's an older rare earles fork model, or maybe it's a rare old racing bike, more than likely it's an old beat up /5 junker. But it is always fun to dream...... you just never know........You know I just got to thinking.........I sold my first BMW, which was a worn out 1971 R75/5, to a guy in Missoula 12 years ago. What are the chances that I've purchased my old bike back? Karma could be coming back to bite me!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Taste Of Winter

Winter payed us a visit this week. We had 20 degree tempuratures and 30-40 MPH winds most of the weekend. Due to the wind whatever snow fell here was likely in Idaho within an hour. This shot is from the pass going towards Bannack looking back towards the Beaverhead Valley. I've driven this 50 mile stretch of road round trip every day since May. Yellowstone Park is just over the horizon from there.
We had a nice big drift outside on Saturday morning. The storm really hit hard on Saturday night. The wind was really howling when this photo was taken. We will head for Billings this weekend for a week or so. I am flying out to Las Vegas next week to inspect our next project and then we will head for Lake Mead the following week. It will be nice to be down in good motorcycling weather again. We are planning a few trips for the winter months. The side car interior has been redone and I will pick up the pieces next week. I also received my new (old) mufflers and a back up steering damper assembly. I'll install the new parts next week when I have time. I need to retorque the cylinder heads on the bike before the side car is reinstalled. We'll be living at Lake Mead for all of November so we'll reattach the hack for the time we're there to get in a bit of riding time.
This is the Hotel Mead (brick building) at Bannack MT. Bannack was the Montana Territorial Capital back in the 1800's. The ghost town is now a State Park and is pretty neat to explore. The town was still occupied by a hardy few in the 50's and everyone left by 1970, I beleive. You can walk through all the buildings . Many parts of the town are pretty much gone now but there is still 50-60 buildings standing. Most of the buildings are in pretty good shape as the state maintains them. I imagine the roof maintenance and keeping them weather tight is a full time project. You can almost hear the pasts' traffic and hustle and bustle of the old main street of Bannack. Thousands of people once lived here. It was the largest city in Montana for many years.
This is the old Masonic Hall right across the street from the Mead Hotel. The town was established when gold mining was prosperous in the area. Virginia City took over as territorial capital when gold was discovered there. Then finally, Helena was capital until Mt. became a state. There are numerous ghost towns in the area from the 1800's mining days.
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Famous Flat Tracker Dick McAfee

I stumbled across a literal time capsule of Flat Track history yesterday. I was checking out a Honda Twin listed in the local newspaper. Upon visiting the owner I walked into a life time collection of bikes, memories and artifacts. I wasn't ever knowledgeable about Motorcycle Flat Track Racing but the more I looked around the shop the more I realized I was in the presence of a motorcycling legend. Dick and his brother Hugh were legends in the Ca. Bay area in the early 50's. They held records for years. The reproduction above is a perfect example of Dicks'passion. He built this bike as a copy of the 51 Triumph that he raced in the 50's. the bike is beautiful. Dick said he just likes to look at it. Now 80 years old, Dick says he trie to stick with electric start bikes. He still rides but says he is getting a little slower and more careful.
another of the Triumphs he has built. I think this one was a 53 if I remember right.
Another back room held a Jawa Speedway and an old Triumph sportsman class Cub.
This is a 50 Triumph he is currantly working on. The wall in the background shows photos of a who's who of 50's Flat Track Racing. More about Dick McAfee on the next post.
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Saturday, October 4, 2008

"Barn Find" Jupiter Sidecar

I recently had a gentileman contact me who ran across this old gem on Craigslist in Ca. She's been sitting for a number of years as the dust patina shows. Pretty poor photo but it appears to be complete. $5000.00 would take it home. Looks like the hack has its' own rear view mirror. Can't tell if it is a long or short wheel base BMW. The prospective buyer wanted my opinion of the R75 tug. The R75 is capable but it really depends on what you want to use it for. If one only wants an around town plugging around bike the R75 is fine. If you plan on longer travel, heavy loads and touring, modifications are in order. The modifications I've performed have been pretty much from my own experiences and observations. Hauling the hack is definately tough on all components of the BMW.
In my case I was somewhat bored with the same old ride and the hack addition really fit our needs at this stage of time. There are lots of set up rigs for sale out there but for me a lot of the fun has been setting up the rig and performing the modifications I deem necessary. I imagine some BMW "purists" would be agahst to see a nice old "Toaster" modified to such a degree. Each to their own. Our hack riding season here has stopped for a while as we have taken the hack off in anticipation of moving south in the next few weeks. We'll probably end up in the Las Vegas area working in November. I just disassembled the Jupiter Sidecar interior and it has been taken to an upholstery shop to have the interior redone in a white "Ultra Leather". I have an old ragged R90/6 seat which fits the R75 so I'm having it done in white also. Don't know if I'll use the stock BMW seat but I will have the option.
I just won a pair of old long/low BMW mufflers on E-Bay for $50.00. They use the stock mounts and sit down low, closer to the ground. The stock pipes sweep up higher. The low pipes will give the bike an older look and will also get the exhaust noise farther behind us. I also won a spare steering damper rod and hardware for $35.00 . My first BMW suffered a broken piece at the bottom of the damper so I want a spare set of hardware in case of a failure on mine. Losing the center steering damper would be catastropic on the road. Our bike suffers from a steering wobble and lightly adjusting the steering damper nuetralizes the low speed wobble. I ran across a complete R75 side car modification kit last winter at a BMW dealer garage sale in L.A. I didn't really understand all the parts included in the kit so passed on it. It needed a lot of additional parts and bearings to be used. Now that I am more familiar with side hacks I realize what I passed up. The kit had a widened, reinforced swing arm, 3 - 16" steel 5 spoke wheels, an earls' fork, and other misc. stuff. In hind sight this was a super set up and would have been ideal for what I need. It would allow much wider , smaller tires and lowered the rig. Irv Seaver BMW was having the "garage" sale and maybe the kit didn't sell. I will check this winter. I could have purchased the kit for $800.00 at the time. The fork change is definately in order for side car use. I am nervous about purchasing some of the earls forks I've seen as fitment isn't always that easy. Plus I don't want to spend thousands of dollars doing it. Oh well, another project for down the line.
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Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.