The journey of resurrecting this rust-bucket R75/5 was well worth it. I do not regret a single moment or expense. Without getting too “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” on you, I was able to commune with my late father in ways I was unable to while he lived. I greatly expanded my mechanical boundaries and what I think is possible. I am pleased I could inspire some of you to fight entropy on your own project bikes and that I could even give some technical guidance (who’d have thought it?!).
The change to Mikuni carbs made this bike reliable enough for me not to fear long distance travel on it. Idle still varies cold-to-hot but I think that’s the nature of simple carbs. It has NEVER failed to start since the change, though I did pull the plugs to clean and gap them once (color was a nice tan, no soot) and I’m probably due to check valve clearances again.
I changed ALL the fluids again at least once. Great for my paranoia but nothing seemed strange in fluid colors or textures.
I added a small handlebar mount windshield, careful on size because these are known to cause instability! Highway windblast rises quickly to annoy and tire me at 65+ MPH, not to mention when trying to hang with the big dogs at higher speeds. Under, um, “controlled test conditions” I found the bike is capable of about 100 MPH flat out, with bags, for quite a distance and nothing odd happened in terms of handling. My arms might be longer from hanging onto the bars but it otherwise rides fine at the ton. I added that windscreen to remove some pressure. I think it works for that but does nothing to help with turbulence or noise.
I changed the mirror stalks for CRG’s “Hindsight LS” mirrors with their internal end-adapters in my bar. The OEM mirrors did not provide a good view behind my wide shoulders. CRG’s bar end mirrors give me a better view and really look good, in a cafe racer way. Icing on the cake is how they are designed to fold to ease lane splitting. My opinion is two thumbs up, in spite of their high price.
I had a little trouble with the EnDuralast charging rotor. It got loose, detailed in my XKE blog, but I think I have it licked after using lapping compound to mate it to the crank end. I can tell it works because my Battery Tender never has to charge the battery after a ride. It goes immediately to float charging (solid green light).
Let’s see, I also had to re-glue one of the tank panels. Gorilla snot was not quite enough!
I sold my FJR1300 a while back so I could focus exclusively on riding the /5. The magic carpet ride was too tempting on a day-to-day basis and I was worried I wouldn’t exercise the /5 enough. So now I feel like I’m at the end of the journey. And to be honest, the journey was far more rewarding than the destination.
The /5 is the king of cool. It isn’t the oldest bike to show up at BMW gatherings but it is among them. I think it might be the oldest ride I see in the SC-MA runs. I’m surprised by how few /5’s I see on the road. You know how you’re sensitized to seeing whatever you ride? Well there just aren’t as many /5’s on the road as I expected. People eyeball it wherever I go but there must be something intimidating about the marque because not many people ask me about it, but everyone looks.
After dedicating myself to this machine, both in commuting and 300+ mile sport-touring days, I feel I’ve given enough time and consideration to decide that riding it is not my cup of tea. I have a need for the responsiveness and one-with-machine feeling I get from more modern rides, plus ABS because I’m willing to admit I’m just not THAT good a rider when it is wet, dark, and I’m tired at the end of a long day’s ride. I may go to something more naked than my FJR, like the R1200R, but I haven’t decded yet.
When I started this project I never thought I’d say this — do you know anyone looking for a restored and upgraded /5 ? I know most of you will think I’m nuts. That’s nothing new. As I get older I gain apprciation for Clint Eastwood’s line from Magnum Force, “a man’s got to know his limitations.” I can’t see myself continuing to use this as my sole ride nor properly maintaining this machine if it is not. It will crush me more to see this machine go to seed than to not possess it. I could mothball it properly but that’s not a good answer. This bird should fly.
So I’m asking $6,500 for it and a promise whoever buys it will ride it, as I will until it sells. Maybe I won’t be too upset if it doesn’t sell but it feels like the right thing to do. I’ll post a for-sale eventually on the Airheads site and elsewhere but I figure I’d offer it here first, among those who took the journey with me. And if someone asks what work was done you can just point them to this blog!
Remember, the journey is everything!