Having grown out of my first bike, a Honda cb350, I was on a search for something bigger and older. Although it was only a few years older, I was enamored by all the little details and I saw a great potential in this 1971 BMW R75/5. I purchased this bike almost 10 years ago from a very knowledgeable BMW enthusiast in Santa Cruz. It has gone through many phases since and will probably go through many more. My tastes seem to endlessly evolve, and as a result, so do my toys.
Below, you can see the bike as how it was purchased.
The bike was built from the frame up with all the aesthetic details of a 1971 /5, but houses a 1976 /6 engine. As the 70s developed, in my opinion, details began to be sacrificed for cheap plastic counter parts. For example, the /5s had the beautiful headlights with the integrated instrument panels, while the /6s started using the plastic instrument clusters.
The first thing I did when I purchased this bike was sell the Krauser Saddle Bags and the 8 gall touring tank and find a nice toaster tank. The distinct chrome paneled tank was the main reason I coveted a r75 in the first place. In fact I love all the bikes in the 60s and early 70s that had a similar chrome paneling. This was when chrome was used correctly. As a detail and not a main color! No offense Harley guys….
The handlebars were then lowered to the euro style for a slightly more aggressive look. Again, I’m sacrificing comfort for style. These bars were more recently again lowered to black clubman style bars giving the bike a touch of a cafe feel. To create a older look, I added a Fender Plate otherwise known as a “Pedestrian Slicer” to the front fender.
My obsessive search for rare and/or unique accessories came up with some good finds over the years.
-Headlight chrome protective bar
-Originally only 200 produced, Elephant ear beveled front fender.
-Header and Muffler grilled shields. (Originally made by Krauser?)
-Buco Saddlebags (Typically found more on /2s)
-Bar end turn signals (Originally used on /2s in the 60s)
With further attempts to take the 70s out of the bike, I removed all the turn signals. Although these aluminum signals are sought after and can fetch a decent amount all polished up, these little rectangular lights didn’t flow with the curves of the bike. I then went with the Bar End turn signals, which has lenses on the front and the back, which were used as the only signals for the /2s in the 60s. To add additional signal lights, I wired up the outer likes on the buco saddlebags as well, while the inner set on the bags serve as additional brake lights. With the bags off, Im going to have to trust drivers behind me to notice the bar ends.
The Tail light was a little more involving then a quick swap. A modified fender was required to fit this style light. Long story short, I purchased an old r75 fender in rough condition for 20 bucks, cut a chunk off the rear of the fender, and fiberglassed the hole to give it a different angel to allow the new light to be mounted properly. Painted, pinstriped, and clear coated, and it looks as if it was made to be this way. Paint was all done with rattle cans, the secret is with the clear coat. Its UV, chemical resistant and as strong as professional quality clear coats.
(Above) Fender in progress
(Below) Fender and Tail Light Finished
I still have quite a few plans for future upgrades or modifications.
-Mounting antique styled spotlight with rear view mirrors (Trust me, it will be cool!)
-Working on a custom leather tank cover/bag
-Considering a different seating style such as a sprung saddle and a small Pillion in the back.
-Mikuni carb upgrade for quicker throttle response and a little more oomph at the top end..
-Different set of pipes (Just want something a little louder)
-1000cc upgrade??? hmmm
Ill keep updating this post as I progress through these projects, but as of now, here’s a few images!