vintage

Another BMW R65

So this little guy fell in my lap and I had to move on it. It’s a 1979 BMW R65. I’ve got some fun plans for it. I’m also going to attempt to get it ridable before Barber (10 days away).

I’m still in the middle of work on my other R65, so I’m really picking a bad time to have another project lopped on my plate. Clearly I thrive on chaos. Stay tuned as I start picking through this guy.

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Monday, September 30th, 2013 BMW Cafe Racer No Comments

Barber Prep 2013

So we’re gearing up for Barber Vintage Festival 2013!!!

We’ve got kind of a laundry list of things we need to get done before it’s time to roll out. I feel like it’s going to be here before we know it and catch us unprepared.

Kate’s RD400 needs a few cosmetic things. Nothing major. I’m swapping the front end on the BMW with a one from an 87 Yamaha FZ600. My forks got damaged recently when I hit a curb trying to avoid getting rear ended at a turn (OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!). I had these air assisted forks laying around and realized they were the same diameter (36mm), so I figured, why not!? I’m also working on a cool half fairing for it. Not sure if I’ll be all finished in time for Barber for this part.

The van needs quite a bit of lovin’. We’ve made the last two trips to Barber with no AC in the van. That changes this year. We’ve put a whole new AC system in it. Riding in style. I’m also working on insulating the inside to keep all my fancy new cold air in.

I’ll keep updating this post as I go.

Here’s the progress on the van so far. (9/7)

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Saturday, September 7th, 2013 Everything Else No Comments

New Clipons!

So this is a pretty exciting day! I’ve always been a fan of how Woodcraft’s clipons. In my opinion they’re just some of the best looking bars. Like most manufacturers, they don’t make bars specifically for BMW controls (22mm). So you’re left having to turn the bars down yourself, either on a lathe or with sandpaper and elbow grease. I don’t have direct access to a lathe, and honestly, the tiny fraction of a difference between 7/8″ and 22mm doesn’t seem like much, but getting it filed down and perfectly round with sandpaper is a bear. I’ll never do it again.

So I contacted Woodcraft about doing some BMW-specific bars. They were happy to do a small run of them and I got the first set! For the most part, garage builders like myself are used to making things “work” when the need arises, but I just wanted to help make these bars a little more accessible to the BMW community.

So they arrived and they look awesome!! I can’t wait to get them on the bike.

I’ll take some better pictures and post them up when I get the front end all back together on the BMW. In the meantime, if you’re interested in BMW-specific (22mm) bars from Woodcraft, feel free to email me using the contact form in the sidebar. I’d like to hear from you as I’m trying to gauge interest in the bars as well. I’m not affiliated with Woodcraft. Just like their product and curious about other people’s interest in these bars.

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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 BMW Cafe Racer No Comments

RD400 of Doom – First Rebuild

Well, that didn’t take long…

Kate, a friend, and I were headed downtown to a concert. Easily doing a buck-ten for several miles (on a closed course with professional drivers… duh), our friend, Chris, pulled up next to me and pointed to his gas tank. So we pull off. Kate’s having some problems shifting so she pulls to the side of the road and I follow while Chris runs up to the station. Won’t shift. Not up, not down. I fearfully unscrewed the dipstick to check the oil in the bottom end (as I’d done a few days prior), and only smoke came out. Don’t know where the oil went, but the bottom end was very unhappy.

As far as I could tell the top end was fine, the crank was fine. The clutch was fine. It’s clearly either some gears welded together or a bent shift fork.

And even though I was a little bummed, I was also kind-of excited, because I really wanted to tear into this motor anyway. So come along on this journey with me.

All prepped for surgery, let’s begin.

Motor out with the help of a friend.

So… Something clearly going on here. I’m thinking the right side is / was running lean? Did check the plugs over the weekend, and they read perfect. So this could be remnant of a prior issue.

Now I’m not in any way an expert, and still relatively new to two-strokes, but the transfer port looks really choppy. Almost like someone started to do a port job and realized they’d had too much to drink, but not so much that they didn’t have some sense left to make them stop. I dunno. Maybe that’s normal.

Intake port. Again, it’s hard to see in the picture, but it’s all so rough…

Exhaust port. Same thing.

Piston looking pretty pitted.

And then there’s this guy… It looks like it was about to hole any second. This is the clean (and I’m assuming too lean) cylinder. The thing looks awful. Also, I was told that this bike had fresh Wiseco pistons in it. Obviously not the case. BUT IT WILL SOON.

Piston windows. Just in case you were dying to know what those looked like.

And this is as far as I got last night. Thanks to my lack of a giant socket for the clutch basket. I believe it is a 29mm and I only go up to 27mm except for a few special ones I’ve purchased. I’ll pick it up on the way home from work today and finish the tear down / inspection.

I’ll keep this post updated with my progress. It might get crazy up in here, so just bare with me.

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Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 RD400 Cafe Racer 1 Comment

Icon El Bajo Women’s Boot

It’s time for another ICON boot review! This time it’s for the ladies. Kate’s getting to try out some of ICON’s new El Bajo women’s boots.

The El Bajo boot is a retune of the Icon Elsinore. It shares the same bottom end as the Elsie, with a fresh top-end rebuild. This time, they’ve knocked a few buckles off to give The Little One its low down and dirty attitude.

Obviously I don’t wear women’s boots, so look for a full report from Kate in the near future. Until then, take a gander at these cool little boots and how they stack up against the Elsinore.

We couldn’t resist snapping a cool pic of her wearing them on the RD400 of Doom!

She’ll be putting them through their paces over the coming days for a little review. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 Everything Else No Comments

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