We took our annual Christmas road trip to Texas this year and of course, brought couple of projects home. Again, the Missus was super patient and awesome when we drove hours off course to look at some guys yard art. Even more so when I ended up loading it into the back of the truck after making a deal. As usual, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the nicest guys for these bikes. We just talk about cars or motorcycle projects and gripe about our wives, and spend as little time negotiating over price as possible. Usually, both of us are happy (or at least comfortable) with the deal and shake on it before the heavy lifting.
This time I found a Kawasaki KZ750G (twin) in Texas, outside Dallas. The KZ is a great bike, though not the most attractive at the moment. I had a 78 twin last year, and it’s one of the only motorcycles I really regret selling (though I’ve been told I say that every time). They’re a little harder to find than their 4-cylinder counterparts, and torquey and loud. It’s a runner, and only needs some tuning, tires and cosmetics. I also have a set of clip-ons and some new shocks that I’m itching to get on it. More to come…
The BMW, however, may have cast a spell on me.
By some windfall, I found a guy on the way South from SF who agreed to hold a 1973 BMW R75/5 until I passed through on the way back. The engine is seized – I think at the pistons – and the exhaust system is completely roached. For some reason, though, I’m so happy about getting my hands on it. As gnarly as it looks, it’s complete. It even has the original air pump and a killer luggage set that has the same hand-pinstriping as the tank and fenders. I have a ’91 R100 as a daily rider, but I’ve worked on it very little, other than some electrics and aesthetics, and it’s got some really dated styling. I’m anxious to tear into my own vintage BMW.
Sitting on a vintage R is a unique experience, it’s very upright and forward on the engine. The headlight is bigger than it seems, and the handlebars and seat are super comfy and no-nonsense. Very German. I’m sure some Airhead guys out there aren’t as impressed, but it’s kind of an honor to be able to start on it as a project. In the Bay Area anyway, these go pretty fast and at some ridiculous prices, making it pretty difficult to experience them firsthand.
To cut through the romance BS, it is going to be pretty labor-intensive and probably pretty expensive. I’ve flooded the piston chambers with some PB Blaster and will try some automatic transmission fluid over the next few days to help persuade the pistons to free up. I think this one is a long-term project, if only due to the parts being more expensive and space is at a premium. Because I have too many motorcycles…
For now, back to work. Parts don’t buy themselves, you know.