Restoring a 1973 BMW R75/5 Motorcycle

December 31, 2006

Motorcycling Man (Homo two-wheelis)

Filed under: motorcycle, restore — Penforhire @ 12:37 pm

Motorcycling man cannot live by wrenching alone. Today another riding buddy, Gary, invited me to a Norton club gathering in Pasadena. Gary happens to be my boss at work but, don’t tell anyone, he’s an honest-to-goodness riding buddy. Out on the road, if you don’t ride alone you should ride with people whose riding style is compatible and who will look out for you. Hmm, Joe used to work with us and I’ve even gone riding with our General Manager before his back surgery. Must be something in the water at work (no, our business has nothing to do with bikes).

We headed out from Gary’s house, sure was a crispy-cold ride over there at the crack of dawn. He rides a Honda ST1300 a near equivalent to my Yamaha FJR1300 (no silly, I can’t ride the R75/5 yet!). His wife Yvonne was on a new Piaggio scooter (500 cc’s, yow! But I forget the name, much bigger than her little Vino). Gary’s neighbor Joe (different Joe than, hmm, we’ll call him BMW Joe) came along on a Ducati MH900E, a recent retro-look bike. We’ll call this Joe “Ducati Joe.” Ducati Joe’s blood is the color of Italy because almost all his transportation is Italian. He owns a variety of hard-core Ducati’s (is a 998R hard enough?) and a MV Agusta F4 (gorgeous pipe-organ exhausts). That’s before you get to his not-every-day-cars, a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale and a new Maserati coupe. As exotic as all Joe’s hardware is, I have to admit that MH900E retro bike is some serious eye candy.

Today’s gathering was put on by a Norton club but they were far outnumbered by other brands. If I had to pick one, I’d say there were more Triumphs there than any other marque. Here’s a shot of part of the crowd. There were more bikes behind me and about as many again across the street. I’d say around sixty in total. Since I changed this blog format I think I can fit full-size pictures in-line. Here goes —


Here’s an Indian that made me feel good. It needs about as much work as my R75/5, though it obviously runs.

Here’s the strangest rig I’ve seen in a while. This is a 3-wheeler with a front-mounted Moto Guzzi engine. It was parked in too tight to the bikes to get a clean picture. I wanted another angle but too many people on the sidewalk and too many cars on the street.


I’m told this next bike is one of the rarest present, a model of Moto Guzzi known as the “meat slicer” because of the exposed flywheel (couldn’t get a good angle of the left side here). One of these was shown in the traveling Guggenheim “Art of the Motorcycle Exhibit.” I saw that exhibit when it was in Las Vegas at the Venetian hotel/casino a few years back.


This bike, a Vincent, was one of the cleanest restorations I have ever seen. It would not look out of place in a museum (or my living room). I was amazed at how pristine this bugger looked. I don’t see how I could ever get my R75/5 looking as nice and I can’t imagine how much harder an old Vincent is to restore than mine! I am trampled in the dirt by this magnificent restoration.


I spoke to the owner of this excellent-condition R90/6. I told him I could use some of his parts. Understandably, he was relutant to part with any but he said he had some spares in his garage. Don’t we all?


I never found the owner of this beautiful older BMW. I am not sure but it might be a R60/2. If anyone knows for sure please drop me an e-mail or comment. Once again, I am humbled by this stunningly clean-looking restoration. There were many super-clean bikes at this gathering but, of course, this one sort of sets my compass.


I hope you enjoyed this day of kicking tires. I’m sorry I could not record sound clips for you because some of the exhaust notes were pure music. It is hard to go back in the garage right now after flying down the road and seeing the sights.


1 Comment »

  1. cool fotos, look at my flickr guzzi cars and bike site

    greetings from bavaria

    guzzi tom

    Comment by tom kohues — February 9, 2011 @ 3:49 am

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