About Me

I live in the Denver, CO metropolitan area. I’m active with the Airheads Beemer Club in Colorado. I’m a nerd interested in astronomy, astrophysics, biology, metaphysics, mathematics, psychology, education and learning. I enjoy restoring, rebuilding and working on BMW airheads. After I retired from the corporate world, I took a part time job at a small independent vintage British motorcycle shop (BSA, Norton, Triumph). Thanks for visiting …

62 thoughts on “About Me

  1. For you it is mountain passes, for me it is visiting Peet’s stores, I am @ 185 out of 194, have a bead on 3 more later in the month when I’m in Seattle. Unlike your hobby where new mountain passes take millions of years to develop, new Peet’s seem to pop up one or two per quarter, keeping the goal going. Cool site, Douglas Pass is way out there!

  2. Ah, the things you find on the internet. Good to catch up with an old friend, and that you are still beating your kidneys senseless on a BMW. I have fond memories of rainy afternoons in San Antonio doing the EEAP for Fort Sam Houston with Karl Scheuch. We were passing the time pitching pennies in the bathroom of the motel room, smug in the knowledge that Larry Bickel was paying for everything, including the pennies. I still have that original TRS-80 microcomputer stashed somewhere in the garage. It has a 4 digit serial number.

  3. hello mate and well done on the postings. quick question (i’m doing a sidecar project with a /6): what year and make did your rear snowflake come off of? i ask as i’m having troubles finding which one to get for my conversion. thanks.

    • Hi Craig,

      I believe the front was for the /7 series when this was first available. The rear I got on eBay and it’s likley a /7 model year rim as well. You can check out the various model year/parts using Max BMW parts fiche. It’s very helpful when sorting through used parts to ensure the work on your project.

      Best with the restoration and side hack project.


  4. Brook – I have a 71 r75/5 and was cleaning some of the same parts as you did (using your outlined technique). I wanted to know what parts I can safely take off the bike (I am not a mechanic by any means). for example, can I remove the front engine cover or I think you call it a timing cover to clean it. Meaning is it as simple as removing the three bolts with the cover not being attached to any mechanical or keeping oil in the engine. same with cleaning the oil pan (which I would reckon is keeping oil in the engine) – so that one I would think I don’t want to unbolt.

    • Hi Carsten,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading some of the material I have posted.

      Your question is a good one: How do you know if something you want to do will create an unexpected complication?

      I could tell you what to do or I could point you to resources that you can use to learn more: said differently, I can give you fish, or teach you how to fish 🙂

      Let’s try a bit of both.

      If you aren’t a member of the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association (BMW MOA) please join and also access their web-site, http://www.bmwmoa.org. The forums provide “how to fish” lessons no matter what your skills are. And, any questions you post are almost immediately answered. As you read other questions, you get an understanding of how the machines work, how to work on them, and you can judge what is within and what is beyond your current tools, skills and inclination. I learn something from others postings all the time.

      Now, to the specific questions:
      1. To remove the timing cover safely, first remove the battery ground cable from the bolt on the left side of the transmission so all power to the bike is cut off. This protects any of the electric components under the timing cover from accidentally being short-circuited (grounded) should the timing cover touch any electric connections. In particular, at the top of the timing cover, the diode board has contacts on top that will short-circuit if they touch the cover and that’s kind of a bummer, and costly. Then, remove the three “allen head” screws and pull the cover. When you put the cover back on, align the cutout on the inside of the casting on left inside (as you face the front of the bike) of the cover with the rubber gasket on wire connecting to the points. Then align the right edge of the cover onto the rubber gasket holding the tachometer cable on the right. Look at my write-up “11 BMW R75/5 Replace Camshaft Seal” [http://brook.reams.me/bmw-motorcyle-rebuilds/1973-bmw-r755-rebuild-project/11-bmw-r755-replacing-cam-shaft-seal/] to see what you will find under the timing cover.

      2. Replacing the pan gasket is covered in the write-up “11 BMW R75/5 Replace Oil Pan Gasket, Clean Oil Pickup” [http://brook.reams.me/bmw-motorcyle-rebuilds/1973-bmw-r755-rebuild-project/11-bmw-r755-replacing-pan-gasket-clean-oil-pickup/]. A time to do this can be when you do an oil change, so you don’t waste good oil. Then you can clean the oil pan, replace the oil pan gasket and fill the engine with fresh oil

      So, let me encourage you to mix learning with doing. Post questions to BMW MOA and read what’s there and then go do the job. If you get stuck, there’s plenty of advice. You will acquire skills, confidence, knowledge and of course, some more tools as you go. 🙂


      • Brook – thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Thanks for your tip on resources – I will definitely check it out. I have spent a lot of time on the vintage BMW forum site – that’s where I found your posts as well. Thanks so much for your detailed explanation on what to do. I am ALL OVER it. BTW – love the travel pics – have done a fair amount of riding in Europe and it brought back great memories and gave me some new ideas (not including wrecking my shoulder).

        • Carsten,

          Yes. Visiting emergency rooms in Bulgaria at night is more of an adventure than you really need for a memorable trip 😉


  5. Is it possible to purchase all this information on a dvd? I would love to have access to this info in my workshop, however my router does not reach that far.

    I am just getting started on my restoration, and your information will be extremely useful.



    • Hi Jim,

      Thanks for coming by and I’m glad my documentation on this project will help you.

      May I suggest you just print the documents out that you need? For instance, I find that I can copy/paste a document into Word and then print that out. I don’t have any plans to “publish” other than here in my blog space.

      I hope this helps.


  6. Thanks,

    Since my earlier e-mail I have purchased a new router and can now view your website in my shop. I have previously restored two /5s which regrettably I have sold. In a move from Ga. to SC last year I gave away all my /5 stuff (info & parts) thinking I would not get involved again. So, your pictures and detailed descriptions are very much appreciated.


    • Hi Jim,

      Cool beans. My Wi-Fi is strong enough to reach my shop, and I do find it handy to be able to connect to the Internet to browse.

      I’m glad this content will be helpful in getting two more airheads flying again.


  7. Hello Brook,
    Inspired by your project (’73 R75/5 Rebuild) I have been looking for a similar bike. I found recently a ’76 R75/6 and would like to buy it. It shows its age, but starts fine and most systems work–except the dashboard idiot lights. The owner is asking for $3,500, and I thought it was high. He turned down my $2,300–but lowered the price to $3,000.
    Is this a reasonable amount to pay for this bike? It runs fine, no leaks, and shifts smoothly. I would like to send you a pic, but not sure how. If you give me your email, I could send it.
    I NEED your help. I love the bike, but I can’t afford to pay more than what it is worth. I hope you can help me–and soon, before someone else takes it!
    Thank you,

    • Hi Luis,

      Thanks for stopping by and looking at this project.

      I really don’t have sage words of advice on what you should pay for the bike. You can always lookup the Kelly Blue Book value on-line:

      It’s a starting point for a negotiation. In my experience, blue book value, emotion and negotiation skills drive the final price.

      Good Luck.

      Brook Reams

  8. Thanks for the very detailed documentation. I am changing the engine block on my ’73 /5 which experienced and valve lifter breakage. It tore up the bore. But, I found a “short block” on Ebay. So, I’m removing all the good parts from the old engine, and swapping to the new block. Many sub-projects will be necessary in the process. I had previously restored all the top-end, so I have good stuff to work with.
    I’ve had the bike since 1985, and it’s got hundreds of thousands of miles on it.
    I’ve never pulled the engine before, but have pulled the tranny for overhaul, replaced the clutch, etc.
    As an electronics tech, this is outside of my comfort zone, but the first job I got when I left the Navy, was motorcycle mechanic. Didn’t last long….
    I will be using your website for reassurance as I work through this job. I am glad I have a 2004 R1200 in the meantime!
    Long Live Airheads!

    • Hi Zippy,

      Yes, it sounds like you have a “project” on your hands. It’s easier to be patient when you have another ride you can use.

      Best of luck with your project.


  9. Hello, This blog has great content for r series enthusiasts. I would like to ask if I can replicate parts of your blog for Dutch and French BMW r drivers in my region? I would translate and use your pictures as reference. Let me know!

    • Hi Xavier,

      I’m glad the blog has been valuable. Please send me a note directly so we can discuss your idea.


  10. I’ve been enjoying your writings and photos on all things BMW. With 2 of them in the garage as well as a half a dozen other bikes, I am always interested in how others are attacking problem areas. I noticed you had problems on removing the Phillips head screws on your carburators and used an impact driver! May I suggest investment in a set of JIS screwdrivers. I always had a problem with fasteners on a lot of Japanese bikes and ruined a lot of what I thought were Phillips head type of screws – but there not. My screwdrivers would constantly cam out and ruin the screw head until I got a set of JIS screwdrivers. They will even remove previously damaged screws and work well on the European bikes as well. Another area that give people fits is the front brake master cylinder cover on many bikes. Water and brake fluid work together here to create the corrosion that lock the screws – another job for JIS drivers.
    From the looks of your RS it needs a lot of TLC. My 83 RT had a problem with the front brakes which turned out to be a buildup of corrosion under the master cylinder reservoir. With the replacement piston/seal part going for $175.00 I elected to RR it myself. If you haven’t gotten into that yet, a .009-.010 E-1st guitar string is great for cleaning out the feed/return orifices in the mastercylinder.
    From the looks of projects it doesn’t appear you need too much help from me. Good luck with everything.
    I just got back from Denver – sorry I didn’t catch up with you earlier.
    Mac Morgan
    Hockessin, DE

    • Hi John,

      Yeap, JIS drivers are on my Xmass list. That said, these were completely rusted so using an impact driver (carefully) was successful. And, as I noted, you can break those tabs off the carburetor. When faced with a similar problem in the future, I’d use my electric impact driver instead of the hammer actuated one shown here.


  11. PS: Re JIS drivers – the “cheap” double-ended screwdrivers found in Honda tool kits are JIS spec! The bits and handles are available from any Honda parts house, my favorite is Partzilla, for about $1.00 each!

  12. Hello Brook, I bought an R75 a few years ago, I brought it home in a few cardboard boxes and have been rebuilding it ever since. It’s a mixture of /5 and /6 bits but the project is comg along well enough. However I’m struggling now with how/where to route cables! I’m speaking of throttle, brakes, rev counter, etc. It’s very crowded behind the headlamp shell! I think some of your excellent photos have almost sorted the throttle cable routings but thge rest remain problematic! Every time I go out I’m looking for R75’s to photograph but they’re pretty rare where I live. Any advice you can throw my way would be much appreciated and would merit a beer or 2, if I didn’t live 5000 miles away!

    Keep up the good work!
    Martin King, Oxford, UK.

  13. Hi Brook, really good photos, should set me up nicely! Thanks for responding so quickly and if your annual European wanderings bring you to Oxford I’ll happily buy you those beers!
    Martin King.

    • Martin,

      Well thank you for the kind offer to share a pint with you. The UK and Scotland are on our list of future MC tours. Now we’ve got a good reason to visit Oxford 🙂


  14. Hey Brook – I happened upon your blog and was impressed by the wheel rebuild post for the /5, so I subscribed… I lived in Boulder for a dozen years in the 80s and 90’s, most of those comutting to jobs in Denver – unfortunately part of the problem alone in my cage on I-25 as I didn’t have a bike during those years. Anyways, I ended up in Syracuse and recently sold my trusty ’79 R65 to fund a ’72 R75/5 Toaster barn find – it was last registered in ’82 and only has 35k original miles. It’s in great shape but does need to be brought back to life after a long sleep. One thing I need are tires. For the R65 it seemed easy to find a reference on the net for the correct “oversized” (fat) rear tire. I’ve been searching for something like that for the /5 but can’t seem to find it -there’s a ton of other good info, so it’s like looking for a needle in a hatstack. Might you have decent recommend tire sizes on the top of your head? Thanks in advance! Cheers!

  15. Brook, Looks like you gone thru and successfully done some beautiful restores. I’m on the home stretch on my frame-off restore and need some advice. I’m trying to route all the cables and the electrics on the handle bars and not having much luck on my ’75 R90/6. Do you have pictures of the throttle, brake, clutch and electrics routing from handle bars to components? I have not looked thru all your web pages, but if you could direct me in that direction, that would be great. Thanks for your time.
    Mike Riley, Westiminster, CO

  16. Hi Brook
    just to let you know that we much appreciate your efforts
    and a picture re: a thousand words certainly applies.
    I have the same restoration interests and so far have
    restored 3 x earls fork BMW’s and a 79 R100RS .
    It is a good hobby to give old bikes of that quality a new
    life . So often they just disappear . Congratulations on a job well done.
    regards .

    • Martin,

      I’m pleased the site has been helpful. I have not done a 60s era project, but they do interest me.

      Thank you for the kind words.

      Brook Reams.

  17. Brook,
    just read your ATE caliper rebuild posting. nice job.
    when I rebuilt my calipers the dust seals were very tight, i tried both BMW brand and aftermarket. It made no difference and I ruined two of them trying to get them seated in the caliper.
    Then I made a wood press block that applied pressure to the entire dust boot uniformly. With a C clamp that worked well.
    Apparently your dust boots went in a lot easier than mine.

    • Hi Jerome,

      I too have heard that some of the dust seals don’t fit well. Fortunately, mine did. That said, the first time I put them in they didn’t seem to go in all the way. It turned out that the metal ring the fits against the caliper bore got left in the bore when I removed the seal. Once that was out, the new dust seal went in pretty easy. I suppose if a seal seems to “tight”, you could head the caliper with a heat gun and freeze the seal in the freezer to improve the fit.

      Brook Reams.

  18. Did I miss any posts on what tires you would use on a r100rs Am in process of totally rebuilding a 1979 r100rs.Estate sale previous owner wasnt a good care provider.I really appreciate your web site it has allowed me to tackle projects the easy way, instead of the hard way. Just finished redoing a 1983 r80rt that I have had for awhile. Pushrod seals new rings .Refurbished heads ,wheel bearings,etc,etc love that bike.Loved your articles on cleaning up aluminum . A lot of effort but worth it.Thanks again. Ralph

    • Hi Ralph,

      No, I’ve not posted what tires I chose. That said, I also haven’t posted what oil I chose as both decisions often start a tire or oil debate. 🙂 Chose what you think works for you.

      Best of success with the r100rs project and putting mile on the r80rt.


  19. I Purchased a 1976 R90-S From Perry Bushong (RIP) at BMW of Fort Worth in 1978, as a former Navy Fighter Pilot A4’s/Vietnam if it goes fast and makes a lot of noise!! I want it!! Perry Had made an installation of a Turbo-charger Kit on another BMW and i had to Have it!! In 1980 This bike went @ 160 mph and don’t ask me how I know this!!
    There is an article about my bike in Airhead E zine from the UK in Volume 1 Issue 6. A friend of mien who is the Manager of HD of WV badgered me for two years to sell him this bike and I finally relented and traded it to him for a 2008 Ducati Multistrada 1100S, He ended up donating the Turbo Beamer to Museum in Australia

  20. Brook,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff in the Owner News. Having restored many motorcycles over my 50+ years of riding I appreciate your attention to detail. I owned and rode a 1978 Silver/Blue R100RS when I lived in Santa Fe years ago, great ride. I currently ride a very early import 1974 R90S that I restored several years ago. I just finished a 1942 HD UL with Hack. Sorting it now.
    I have a question totally unrelated to your restorations. In this months Owner News on page 43 is a picture of you standing beside your R100RS in a riding suit that I can’t identify, but like the features of. Can you please tell me the brand/model of this suit. I’m looking to finally move from real old school leather to textile. Thanks, PJ

    • Hi PJ,

      Thank you for the kind words about the MOA magazine articles.

      It’s an Aerostitch Roadcrafter, two piece with about 120,000 miles on it. It used to be a quite bright neon yellow 🙂


  21. Hi Brook,
    I building a R100RT to race on the Bonneville Salt Flats and need to replace my main bearings. Is there a good webpage showing the procedure?
    Best regards Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      I have not done that work and unfortunately I have no references to share with you. Best of luck.


  22. Hey Brook… This is hands down one of the most valuable airhead blogs… Saved me in a pinch many a time. Quick question for you. At work I’m writing an article about the motorcycle industry, loyalty, and building new ridership. I’m really curious to understand why the manufacturers don’t play in the second-hand bike spaces, as it seems that is where the real enthusiasts end up. If possible, I’d love to try to connect with you by phone at some point for a quick interview. Let me know if that might work. Thanks for all your work and this amazing resource!

  23. Hi Brook,
    I was reading your thread regard rebuilding the Bing 94/40/103, and have few question to ask you. Can provide me with your e-mail address so I can send you privately?
    Thank you

  24. Big Thank You Brook for taking the time to help others such as myself. Your postings will be invaluable to me when I get to wire in the electrics on my 75/5 project.
    Best Wishes.

  25. Brook,

    Great info here! I recently purchased a 1972 75/5 and a newbie to road bikes in general and minimal knowledge of motorcycle electronics so this is all new to me. I recently updated the starter, relay and coils so its running great. My question is on the ignition and alternator. Should I consider upgrading these items too? I have looked at some of the products Euro Moto Electrics offer. I live in Florida so don’t plan to add any accessories that would draw more current (ie heated grips) and my rides are short ones around town one or two days a week.

    I have read many post of the forums out there but everyone has a different opinion and you seem to be extremely knowledgeable so thank you in advance for your input.



    • Hi Calvin,

      Nice to hear from you, and congratulations for picking up a classic /5 model.

      Due to the age of the bike, and to some extent the climate it’s in, you may wish to “pre-emptively” replace the alternator (stator, rotor, brushes, external wiring) along with the diode board and voltage regulator. EME (Euro Motoelectrics) has quality components, as well as complete kits at excellent prices.

      BUT, you don’t have to do this is you don’t want to. You can put this off until you have a charging system failure which you will notice since the charging indicator light will alert you to a problem prior to the battery going completely flat, unless it happens on a really sunny day and you don’t happen to notice the dim glow of the light :-).

      EME has a kit that replaces the stock alternator with the stock, smaller 105 mm diameter rotor, diode board and voltage regulator. They also have a kit with a nice upgrade for the /5 that provides /6 output (280 w) instead of the lower 180 w provided by the /5. The /6 rotor is larger (107 mm) than the /5. So, there are some options if you decide to do this upgrade. One is to install a new stator cover (which can be ordered with new brushes and all the external hardware/plastic pieces, or not in which case you remove and install them) along with the wiring for the extra stator “Y” wire that helps increase the output of the /6 alternator over the /5 one. If you opt to upgrade to /6 output, I’d invest in the new alternator cover with the new bushes and hardware/plastic components. The plastic brush holder and stator wiring terminal degrade over time due to age and the heat they are exposed to, so they can cause flaky charging system behavior at some point. For the price, it’s a good investment in another 40+ years of smooth charging system operation 🙂

      I suggest you call EME and discuss the options (stock /5, upgrade to /6 output) as they are very knowledgeable and always willing to help their customers.

      I hope this helps.


  26. As a happy new owner a 93 R100R and member of airheads, awesome post!
    Just what I needed for winter detailing duties.
    Much appreciated.

  27. Friday, December 28, 2018
    Hi, Brook. Thank you for your attention to detail, including the fact that we all begin with dirty and work toward clean and tidy.

    Brook, I built my ’76 R90/6 from parts, beginning with a seized crank, bent valves, twisted frame and forks, empty transmission case but loose gears and shafts that had been discarded, and a wiring harness I patched together. The bike now looks and runs like it had less than its quarter of a million miles. Starts on the first kick, stops, lights work, horn blows; what more could a guy ask?

    I’d like to renew the main wiring harness. When I’m done, I’d like to headlight wiring to look like it did originally. I can’t find a picture to use as my goal. Is there a sequence that will avoid crossing wires unnecessarily? Can you get me off on the right foot?

    I don’t have enough time in my life for chit chat, so please do not send me unsolicited information or advice. I am father of five children, grandfather to their children, have renovated three properties including a two hundred year old grinding mill that became our home and our B&B. Now I’d like to renew the heart of my BMW electrical system and then head our for a series of trips that will include Maine, Virginia, NY, Ohio, Colorado, Montana, Washington, and California

    Peter Pickett

    • Hi Pete,

      If I understand your question, you want to know how I would remove all the wires terminating on the punch-down board in the head light bucket, and install a new harness with all the new wires going to the correct punch-down board terminal.

      1. Get a picture of the punch-down board. (here you go)
      –> https://flic.kr/p/JJiG45
      2. Number every terminal on the picture of the board.
      2.1 Note the board is color coded to match the wire color code so it’s simple to connect a wire to a terminal in the correct color code family. You can number each terminal in a family, or you can number every terminal with a unique number.
      3. Remove each old wire harness wire, add tape with a the correct number to the end of the wire.
      4. After you remove all the old wires out of the headlight bucket, match an old wire to the corresponding one on the new harness.
      5. Put tape with the correct number on the new harness wire n near the terminal end.
      6. Thread the new harness wires into the headlight bucket, starting with the longest first.
      7. Put the wire where it belongs and remove the label from the end.
      8. Rinse, repeat until you have no more new wires.

      I hope that makes sense.


  28. Hi Brook. I just bought a 1975 R75/6 and I’m in need of a left side light/horn switch assembly. I may be able to get by with just a new “yellow” switch that turns the lights on and off. Any suggestions on where I can buy this? Clint

  29. Brook,

    Saw a post from you regarding the engine plate adhesive, so I thought I’d say hello. I live and work in Arvada (Aim High Property Management in Olde Town), and have a custom ’71 R60/5 that is currently without engine plates. I have the plates but wanted to make sure they didn’t fall off… again. Do you have a recommendation?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Jason,

      I found Silcone Seal seemed to work quite well. It is stable up to 400 F which is way above the temperature that top engine cover will ever get to.

      I tried “Gorilla Snot”, which is a 3M adhesive for automobile trim, and was what “knowledgeable” folks recommended. It failed on a 95 F day. The silicone seal has not failed in 8 years.

      I hope that helps.

      BTW, there is an Airheads BMW group on Down-to-Meet that you can join. We host a number of events every year including Tech Days and Tech Classes.

      –> http://www.downtomeet.com/ColoradoAirheadsBeemerClub


      • Brook,

        Thanks for the reply. Which type/brand of silicone seal do you use?

        I’ll will definitely look into the Airhead club!


        • Jason,

          Just plain run-of-the-mill auto parts store silicone seal, clear. I didn’t use RTV, just standard silicone seal.


  30. Hi Brook,
    I have used your great site for a few years now, thank you so much for sharing!

    have an electrical issue I haven’t been able to find it online though and thought you may be able to help? When I put the key in, only the red light shows up. I had to kick it to start. All my turn signals and brake lights are out, only my headlight works. when I hit the brakes or turn signals the recharge light in the lower right lights up.

    I don’t know electrical really but hoping it is a fuse I would replace or something simple?
    Thanks for any thoughts Brook,
    R75/5 LWB

    • Hi Michael,

      Very likely one, or both, of the fuses are blown. They live inside the headlight shell. But, the question is, why did the fuse blow?

      The red light is the alternator charging light. The fact it lights when you use the brakes or turn signals, suggests there is a short in that wiring, which is what blew the fuse. If that’s the case, whenever you use the brakes or turn signal, you are shorting out the electrical system creating a large current flow from the battery, so the alternator can’t maintain enough current flow to the battery to charge it.

      If you do have a short, this needs to be fixed before you use the bike any further to avoid damaging other components when you use the brakes.

      I hope that helps.


  31. Hi Brook,
    I have enjoyed your recent otra blogs and I am curious as to how you power your gps on Gonzo. I just bought a new garmin 396 lmt-s at the new reduced price of $235.00 delivered, and trying to find the best way to get power to it.
    Best regards Bill
    1983 r100rs

    • Hi Bill,

      I like mine to be on when the ignition is off. So I wired it (with a fuse) into the red terminal (30) block inside the headlight shell. If you want it power off when you turn off the ignition, I think there is a spare GREEN-Black terminal (in which case you don’t have to add the fuse as this is downstream of the 8 amp fuse and the 396 only draws 1 amp at 12 volt) or you could add a fuse and use one of the spare GREEN (terminal 15) terminals.

      I like to route it to the headlight shell so everything is in one place. YMMV.

      I hope that helps.


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