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A new to me r75/5


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It seems like the last year has had me frequently staring at really nice old Beemers on a regular basis. Last winter I had some work done at a local restoration shop that had at least twenty or so bikes to enjoy. Then the BMWMOA rally in the summer had and incredible assortment. All the while I found myself more and more interested in articles on the older bikes.


This all came to a head the weekend before Thanksgiving. I noticed an R75/5 in the classifieds of a local club. It caught my eye so I gave the owner a call. After a short conversation I had to look it over. My significant other and I headed to the other side of town. The current owner, Ute, a very nice German lady, gave me the story on the bike she called 'Gladys.'


It was bought new in 1971 buy a man who was 70 years old at the time of purchase. He road it about 10k miles and then stuck it in a barn. In '98 Ute bought it from a man who had owned it very briefly. She had it gone through by a local restoration specialist. It had 12,247 miles when she bought it, 21,654 miles on it when I looked at it, and she had regular service records over the time she owned it. It had an aftermarket fairing, but for the most part seemed very original.


It would not start due to a very dead battery, she had put it on a trickle charger that morning but it would not crank over. The bike turned over fine with the kick start. I left, worried that the bike didn't actually run. When we got in the car Tracy looked at me and said "You are so going to buy that bike." Ute said she would try to start it the next morning and give me a call.


Meanwhile I did a bit of research, talked to the shop the had done the service, looked up some parts prices, and looked at prices of similar bikes. I checked with Ute on Tuesday before Thanksgiving and let me know that the bike was now starting just fine. I made her an offer which she countered and after a bit of back and forth we came to and agreed upon price.


Friday after Thanksgiving I went to pick up the bike. When I arrived she started it up for me and it sounded fine. We did the paperwork and she went through some of the stuff she had. The service records, original manual, etc. I had a local motorcycle towing service take it to my house.


I went to the local dealer and picked up an oil filter, air filter, and some crush rings, all of which were in stock much to my delight. The tires needed some air and then I fired it up to get the oil hot for a change. About 10 miles around the neighborhood seemed sufficient. I changed all the fluids and got a look at everything in detail. The bike road great, idled well, and was in general a pleasant surprise.


The fairing came off to reveal a missing headlight, which I had expected. The light in the fairing is not the light from the bike. It needs new mufflers, there are holes on both the left and right. Front turn signals were missing, removed for the fairing. The shocks are toast, so I'll replace those. The forks springs were replaced in '06 but I plan to replace them with the shocks, both tuned for my 300 lb payload.


I'm looking forward to some quality garage time this winter, and then some nice riding come summer. Here's a picture.





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Nice find Kevin, welcome to the world of Airheads..."simple by choice."


A good replacement for your rear shocks are Ikons..affordable and you may retain the stock aluminum covers ( after you buff 'em up... :grin:)


I like the Progressive front springs also. Have a look at the seals while there.


Do yourself a favor and remove the petcocks and check the filters if it hasn't been done. At this time remove tank and tip upside down to remove any residual water that can't escape via outlets.


Keep the muffler a "stock" ss variety. Bigger sound isn't where it at with these bikes.


Good on ya. :thumbsup:



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Hi Kevin-


Congrats - excellent machine! I have a 1973 myself, which I'm very slowly restoring to a cafe racer.


Re shocks, get a set of YSS. They are available through most Airhead specialists such as Tom Cutter's Rubber Chicken Racing in PA - http://www.rubberchickenracinggarage.com/ - if you're going to be working on an Airhead, Tom is a good man to know. The YSS work perfectly and look at home on the machine, without breaking the bank.


Re mufflers, there are many choices, but I'm hard pressed to find a better airhead muffler for my money than Epco's chrome stainless models http://www.epcostainless.com/


Re turn signals they're available all over. Join the airheads.org mailing list and check out the classifieds there, Airhead Salvage http://www.airheadsalvage.com/ or RePsycle http://www.re-psycle.com/


Keep us posted!!!!



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Hi Kevin,

Great looking bike and welcome to the world of slashes. In addition to the airheads list you should take a look at: www.5united.net

Great group of people, very helpful files and knowledgeable people to answer your questions. It is well-moderated so there isn't much idle chatter.

peter '73 R75/5, '04 R1150RA, '06 Kawasaki

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Dinosaur! Boat anchor, Reef fodder.

Beauty is that they are easier to keep running than an 1100RT. Points even.

I still have my '78 R80/7 with 135000 miles on it. All Black and pin striped in white.

No stinking HES to ruin your day. And it will probably run on one cylinder. Drive shafts go forever, oil bath lube, eh?

But this is just idle chatter, enjoy you newly acquired toy.

Oh the Airheads are a good source of knowledge and you can be president of the club.

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Good for you Kevin! You will find the old bikes a joy to wrench on, and therapeutic to ride. Be careful though, those brakes are pretty lame.





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Airheads are great bikes! Still ride my R80RT as much as my R1100RT. enjoy!


By the way,new shocks from Hagon ($200) and replacing the fork oil $15 will DRAMATICALLY improve the handling. Just did mine over, what a difference!

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Looks like decent shape to me! I always like the look of those. A sort-of resource is also my restoration blog (penforhire.wordpress.com) where I detailed my insane resto effort.


Peter (current owner), if you're out there, keep the shiny side up!

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