Restoring a 1973 BMW R75/5 Motorcycle

March 17, 2007

Crazy Otto

Filed under: 1973, airhead, BMW motorcycle, motorcycle restoration, R75/5 — Penforhire @ 7:00 pm

Today was another episode of Homo Two-Wheelis. Gary, Joe, and I went on the Shamrock Road Riders’ poker run. Not a coincidence that it was St Patrick’s day, eh? Another fellow from where I work joined us, Greg, with his wife, Bobby, riding shotgun. Italian Joe also joined us just for the ride to the start in Acton since it was some of his favorite roads. Angeles Crest Highway, Angeles Forest Road, and some attached canyon roads brought us to Crazy Otto’s in Acton.

Greg and Bobby rode a restored Yamaha XS11, an excellent example of a UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle). Italian Joe rode his Ducati 996S, one of his stable of hardcore Italian machines. Even his tires are hardcore, Dunlop 207RR’s worn to the point on almost no tread… edge-to-edge. He was hoping to wipe them out on today’s ride. What do you get for mileage on rear D207RR’s, a thousand or so?!

Here are our ponies at the start. Hmm, Gary’s ST1300 is elsewhere in the lot.


What is Crazy Otto’s you ask? This is it.


Crazy Otto’s is a very colorful restaurant in Acton. First time we ate there, last year’s ride, we wondered why so many breakfasts had half-orders available. Joe describes it best by saying my omelet was about the size of my forearm and his pancakes were spilling over the sides of a large dinner plate. We all might have needed another notch on our shock preloads when we left. Gary took a picture of my pancakes (no more Crazy-size omelets for me) so if I get that from him I’ll post it. Yeah, they’re THAT big.

Where is Acton you ask? It is in the middle of nowhere between Santa Clarita and Palmdale. The only way there from where we live is either a long highway drone (75 miles or so) on 5 and 14 or an equal-duration but infinitely-more-entertaining mountain ride. You already know our choice.

One interesting twist on today’s ride was the one check point, beyond the start and finish checks in Acton. The organizers used a technique the IBA (Iron Butt Association, no joke see uses. Nobody from the club has to staff the checkpoint. You just get a date-and-time stamped receipt from a particular location. Here’s a view of today’s checkpoint over Joe’s K1200RS.


Yep, the golden arches. I bought a small bottle of water for $1.72 (ouch!). Joe scrounged a receipt from a customer (was she cute?) and Gary just asked a register goon for a spare receipt. Then we recorded a short video of Gary drinking water (his new micro-camera takes great videos). If he gives it to me and I get it posted on You Tube I’ll try linking it here. This is, once again, proof for Yvonne that he does indeed drink water on our rides.

None of us won anything on the ride but I was close. How can a “Jack high” not be the low hand? I was robbed. Including getting to and from the start, I figure something over five hours in the saddle. It was a good solid ride on clean dry roads. Luck of the Irish! Here’s today’s ride pin.


Oh, and Joe handed me a CD of some photos from when he rebuilt his bike. He may need to chime in with a more detailed comment here but I recall this was a R90/5 Frankenstein machine of sorts, combining parts from several different years.

This shows Joe’s engine in a similar state of disassembly as mine.


And this is proof that it got back on the road again!


The paint color is a curious violet shade. Story is, Joe had a pen whose body color he really liked. He handed the pen to his painter and said “match this.” I recall the result looked better than this picture shows.

I wanted to leave you with some real BMW pictures this time because I WILL not have progress on anything for a week or so. I think I’ve mentioned we’re doing major home improvements at the same time as all this (I love stress) and I have to clear rooms for new flooring this week. I’ll have absolutely zero time to even move sandpaper against metal and my primary home PC, the engine that powers these posts, is getting mothballed until the floor is done. I may have something amusing to post if Gary hands me those files I mentioned earlier but that’s the fortnight forecast. Time for some green beer!


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