Photos by Alex Lee
Thanks to Tim from dotheton.com for loaning us his awesome 1975 BMW R75/6 for our October window bike. It's in great shape and is a regular ride for Tim. Read below for a few words from Tim on the history of his Beemer and what he's done to it since he got it.
From Tim: Back in the mid-80's, this R75/6 was traded in at McBride Cycle. It was registered to Percy McBride for nearly 20 years before being sold to the gentleman I purchased it from. It likely sat in the back of the dealership on Dundas St. West along with so many other bikes in the McBride collection.
I've owned the bike for the last 8 years. It was a bone-stock unmolested 'survivor' with no aftermarket parts or restoration work done to it when I was lucky enough to buy it. I kept it this way for a couple of years and then started making some necessary improvements to ensure reliability for the longer road trips this bike is so good for.
New Progressive fork springs up front and a full rebuild of the very complicated BMW forks took care of the front suspension. A few electrical upgrades include a Thunderchild diode board and regulator unit, as well as a Boyer electronic ignition and coil kit along with a much brighter LED tail light module.
A deeper oil pan and longer pick-up from a later airhead model increases the oil capacity allowing for improved cooling. Mikuni VM carbs replaced the Bing CV models for improved throttle response and easy road-side jetting changes. The tired seat got replaced with a repop unit out of the UK. It is for a 1974 model, with slightly different styling that I preferred over the 1975 onward seat.'
BMW put a very nice, overly engineered and highly sensitive tapered bearing setup in the airhead hubs. Great if you ensure the pre-load is set exactly right, but prone to failure if you don't. Woody's Wheel Works out of Colorado does a sealed bearing conversion to swap them out for a more typical bearing setup which will last a lifetime. That service coupled with Buchanan stainless spokes and nipples will ensure the wheels last as long as the rest of the bike. Works Performance shocks keep the rear wheel planted much better than the worn OEM units.
Last year, to set the bike up for long distance touring, I added a reproduction R90S BMW fairing, Heinrich hand guards and Heinrich leg shields sourced from Germany. These paired with the Craven panniers (not on the bike currently) make for a comfortable all-day ride in all weather conditions while hauling all the gear I need. Polly heated grip inserts allowed me to keep the original 40 year old grips and still warm my hands during the colder months.
A good friend Kiley Owen in Moody Alabama did the paint and hand pin-striping work on the new body work. The tank and fenders have the original 1975 paint.