Restoring a 1973 BMW R75/5 Motorcycle

January 7, 2007

Wile E Coyote, Super Genius

Filed under: 1973, airhead, BMW, motorcycle, R75/5, restore — Penforhire @ 3:33 pm

Remember the cartoon Roadrunner and the coyote that was always overthinking how to capture him, usually with absurd mechanisms bought from Acme? At some point the coyote introduced himself, in a condescending voice, as “Wile E Coyote, Super Genius.” Sometimes I get to feel like Wile E Coyote. Recall from my last post that I was considering an air-powered grinding tool as the solution to cutting off the nut. I mean, my first instinct is to reach for a hammer or wonder what power tool might work.

Well, Joe and I went for a ride today, more on that later, and I asked Joe what he thought. He said, “why not use a hacksaw and chisel?” Instant forehead-slapping Wile E Coyote moment. I should have thought of that. Really. After the ride I eagerly took my hacksaw and a chisel over to the offending nut and… hey, that saw won’t fit in there. I used to have a mini hack saw, with an exposed blade on one end, but it got lost to wherever that exhaust nut wrench would have ended up. So off to Kragen for a $5, but lifetime warranteed, mini hacksaw. Should have cut that nut like butter but it felt like I was filing prison bars for my big escape. Eventually, presto!


Notice the threads on the left side. Several are non-existent. I’ll have to repair that before spinning a new nut on and I don’t think a wire brush is going to do it. Oh, this is NOT the end of the trauma though. The header pipe still refuses to come out of the head, even with some hammer-on-wood pounding. So I’ll have more to say when I figure THAT one out. But this is the end of today’s “work product.” Now for some more fun “Homo Two-Wheelis.” Can someone please suggest a better fake-Latin term for this? Even I think it is awful but I can’t let go.

Joe and I belong to a southern California motorcycle club called, well, the Southern California Motorcycling Association. I’ll post a linkie to their site ASAP. It is an AMA chartered group of individual clubs who put on “rides.” These are poker runs, touring events, and rallies. Their most famous event is the annual Three Flags Classic, which runs from different origin and destination points each year, starting in Mexico and ending in Canada. Joe and I go on the regular day-rides about once a month. Most of these are poker-run style where you follow directions to various check-in locations. You might draw a card, spin a spinner, throw some dice, or get a bubble gum ball, or any other random selection device whose results are tallied at the end and winners get prizes.

Here are our two iron horses just raring to get on with today’s ride.


Notice my FJR is rigged in what I like to call “Dreadnought Mode.” Something about the Givi top box with OEM side luggage makes me think of a massive warship, hence dreadnaught mode. There were fierce sidewinds today but this machine rarely feels unstable even at, um, extra-legal speeds. I’m prepared for the unexpected, just like a Boy Scout, so it takes a lot of stuff-in-luggage to make me feel comfortable. Joe’s bike was nude today but he usually rides with bags and then his ass is fatter than mine.

For us these rides are mostly an excuse to ride, socialize with many of the same riders every event, and see routes that may be new to us. These are not gangs, mostly old farts on a wide variety of machines. I’m almost young in this crowd! The only common thread is street riding. The rides vary in challenge from pedestrian to quite difficult, say a hundred miles of Malibu canyons on a cold wet day with hard-to-follow instructions. The rides vary from the high desert North of Palmdale, South to San Diego, East to Big Bear or Idyllwild, and West to Malibu, Ojai, or Oxnard. We go a lot of places I probably never would have seen on my own.

Talking about the variety of machines, some are set up for Iron Butt serious endurance riding. Here’s a set of driving lights we saw today that look like they mean business.


But as serious as those are, they pale before the monsters on this guy’s bike. I call these the mother of all driving lights.


Yow! Those must really damage his gas mileage. Do you think he stole them off an airplane?

These rides are never long parades of bikes. That’s a pet peeve of mine so don’t get me started. I’ll do a full rant in some future post. We ride as just the two of us, though sometimes Gary joins in. We all use AutoCom-with-Kenwood GMRS radio communications so we can talk on the road. That is a lot more useful and entertaining than you might imagine. But it is one more electronic gizmo to have trouble with at times.

One of our favorites is the annual Cemetary Ride on or about Halloween. To get a valid entry in a prize drawing, we answer a variety of trivia questions by visiting a bunch of cemetaries. There is a lot of California history and some very odd things you find in cemetaries.

There were no prize competitions in today’s ride. It was the annual Soup Run. We each brought a can of soup to the start. We rode a route with no checkpoints other than a suggested rest stop. At the end there were two pots of soup ready to eat, a tomato-based vege-beef pot and a chicken noodle-based pot. I know, mixing random soup cans sounds nasty. But you have to trust me when I tell you that, each year, it was delicious. Could it have something to do with how hungry we are by the time we finish? Everyone got a Three Flags mug to take home, commemorating the 2006 event. I have to bring mine to work to tease Gary about not going. Gary is the only of us whose bikes, both ST1300 and VFR, have a thermometer. So we never know the exact temperature, to bitch about, unless he goes with us.

Today’s ride was unusually central. We started in Lake Forest, mid-point was Trabuco Canyon, and we ended in Pomona. We are usually much further out somewhere. Here is today’s image of a famous biker hang-out, Cook’s Corner in Trabuco Canyon.


Today’s final image is of me and BMW Joe.


That’s me on the right and Joe on the left. I had a fellow rider take it after we ate some soup. I know, you liked it better when you didn’t know what we looked like. Deal with it. Until next time, this is Wile E Coyote, signing off.


1 Comment »

  1. Regarding your January 20, 2007 post and the starter motor wrench – There’s a set of 1/4″ drive tools made by Facom. They have a T-handle drive wrench, and the T can be slid to one side of the handle (making it an L-handle drive wrench). Using that and one of the 12-point sockets in the set you can unscrew the starter motor nut, one point at a time.

    Yes, like you I’ve been amazed at the limits I and my tool colletion are pushed to when wrenching on my ’83 R100RT.

    Comment by Scott Packard — February 26, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

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