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, completing my fourth restore/rebuild over the past 12 years in 2020. 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 …

125 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.


  32. Hi Brook, always love reading your posts and thank you for constantly updating them with great tips. I hope this is an appropriate spot for me to leave a comment seeking your advice. I wonder if you would do an article on tips making the clutch and brake pulls less stiff? I know there are several journals out there about these topics and I would like to get your take on this? I have a rideable 71 R75/5 that still needs work but I take out on occasions and usually, after a couple hours in traffic, my arms and wrists are cramping because of the workout. I am planning on replacing clutch, brakes, tires, cables etc by myself in upcoming servicing…Last year, I decided to do minor improvement by adjusting/lubing clutch and brake lever cables (contrary to Snowbum’s warning that we should not do this). It was ok at the time, but this spring (my first ride with the bike), I almost could not pull both back! I don’t know if it is because of the cold weather or Snowbum’s warning is haunting me now. Anyway, I am planning to replace all the cables and the components. But I was wondering if you have any other advice? Also want to mention that I have small hands so I was wondering if somehow bending the levers or buying after market levers can retrofit this? Your advice here is greatly appreciated. If you already talked about this and I missed somehow, please point me to a link. Thank you. Henry

      • Hi Brook, yes I have heard about the Easy Clutch. I will look into it after my clutch overhaul and if I find the clutch still too heavy to pull. I also hope new cables will solve both the clutch and front brake pull. I will keep you posted if whenever I ever get to accomplish this. Best regards, Henry.

          • Hi Brook, yes I have read your journal on the brakes when I last attempted changing the handlebar and ended deciding to lube the cable. I will read again when I proceed to change the brake shoes and cable next time. Thank you for the reminder. Regards, Henry.

        • Hello Henry

          Easy Clutch is definitely the way to go. I installed one on my rebuilt R75/6 and could hardly believe the difference it made.

          Good luck.

          • Hi Martin, thanks for the recommendation. Will definitely look into it. Regards, Henry

          • Henry, one thing I meant to mention. If you do go down the Easy Clutch route make sure you have a really good cable cutter. You have to cut off the bottom end of the clutch cable then thread it into a brass barrel. It’s a tight fit and if the cable end isn’t cut really cleanly you’ll struggle to get it in. Ordinary pliers won’t cut the cable well enough, they’ll flatten it slightly and leave loose strands. I had cutters for stainless steel boat rigging, a bit over the top but it did the job. Don’t be put off the solution though, it really works!

          • Hi Martin, thanks again for the advice and repeating encouragement. I am definitely interested. Now I long to get some wrench time to replace the clutch then see if the Easy Clutch is the way to go (I am getting sold already)….Please allow me some time to get into this, I will definitely keep you all posted. Best, Henry.

  33. Hello Brook,

    I really enjoy your videos. I have a ’79 RS definitely looking for rejuvenation at some point. So, while watching one video you scanned towards “Gonzo” and I saw the wind deflector… Could you please advise on the manufacturer? I have a terrible time with wind. Tried the Laminar lip with not much luck. Also I run stock Metzlers. May I ask what you are riding on?


    Andover MA

  34. Brook,

    Thank you so much for posting these guides. They’ve been invaluable to me as I try to navigate my way through a rebuild of my dad’s 1981 BMW R65. I’m moving forward at a snail’s pace but moving nonetheless.

    I’ve reached the stage of reinstalling my wheel bearings. I’ve read your post on the 1983 R100S at least a dozen times by now and am unfortunately at what seems to be an unconquerable hurdle in setting the pre-load. It won’t pass 400 Grams of resistance and I don’t know if I’m doing something obviously wrong.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. If possible to send me a private email, that may be best.

    Thanks again Brook!


    • Hi Ryan,

      I’m sorry to hear your having a problem. I’ve not worked on any of the R65 bikes, but AFAIK, they use the same wheel bearings.

      The grams aren’t what’s important, but the INCH-Ounces of torque required to spin the bearing. Since I don’t know the diameter of your sleeve, I don’t know if you can’t get the torque low enough or high enough. Perhaps you can tell me what INCH-Ounce values you get for each wheel.

      One thing I have noticed in the two sets of wheels I set the pre-load on was that if I put no shims in, the torque required to spin the bearing was quite high, so I would expect yours would behave the same way.

      BTW, it’s helpful to me if you post your questions in the comments of the specific document you are using so I know exactly which one you are looking at.


  35. Hi Brook

    I’m installing a used RT fairing on my 85 R80 and have a couple of questions.

    What should the 2 bolts that secure the frame to the bike be torqued to?

    With the frame in place the steering lock to lock has been reduced. Is this normal?

    Many thanks, Jim

  36. Hello Brook. I’d like to thank you for all your online contributions and the help you extend to anyone asking. Im more or less finished with my 1971 R75/5 police bike. The work I’ve done on it includes basically everything, except a cam chain change.
    The bike was in service from 71 to the end of the 70’s I presume, with the danish police force. In this configuration it would to my knowledge be painted in white (fenders and tank), have a toolbox hole in the gastank for radio equipment, possibly have a short seat with more radio equipment behind the officer, police lights and enclosed ignition coils in a tin box to avoid radio interference. Police bikes were either 75- og 60/5 at the time. Before that they used /2 or /3 bmw’s and before that, the Danish Nimbus model C Sport… of which I have a 1950’s example in blue. #9615
    My BMW was sold to the civilian market to its “first” owner in more or less stock shape. He mentioned the engine was “done”, passed it along to me and showed a repaired hole the size of a fist on the right side of the crank, behind the cylinder. He then put a 1974 900cc engine in it at the start of the 80’s. I bought it with what looks to be a twisted rear swingarm (Which I havent resolved and isnt noticeable on the road), painted in a rusty Bordeaux red, a worn/dry rear drive and stuck rear shocks. I didnt like it at first, but with every fix and upgrade it received it rode better and grew more and more on me. Different aftermarket parts are numerous and fairing options started to appeal to me. I found and bought a Gläser sl5/sl6 fairing from a guy in Leipzig, and got /6 sidecase panniers. The Crauser luggage rack featured a 50’s Craven fiberglass top box, which I dismantled in favour of making my own fiberglass (bullet end) top box, which is made to compliment the panniers and the overall shape of the bike with the fairing, along with practical spacious room for touring.
    Dare I mention drag? I like the idea of a streamlined motorcycle, and I have measured a best fuel consumption of 21km/l / 49mpg unfaired. I hope Craig Vetter knows he’s in my thoughts, since he inspired me to build the bike in a touring/aerodynamically efficient manor. I might gain nothing, or a single mpg, but thats all ok. Still exciting when I’ll do some more testing.
    New shocks, tires, valve job, honing, rebuilt front end and a 1977 smooth-sided five speed gearbox was added, to increase joyful allround riding.
    I am still sorting out a few aerodynamical challenges in relation to the windscreen, but I’m fairly sure I can make it work. The rear end might always be crooked (Rear tire is twisted 2-3 degrees compared to the front tire), but thats ok. Might even do an unleaded conversion sometime or try and change the crank ventilation system somehow.. Or not, it all works great as it is. Following the completion of this build will be trips to Sweden, Norway and even more.
    So thanks Brook, I couldn’t have done it without you. Below is a few pictures of me and my finished(-ish) bike. It looks 70’s funky (or ugly, depending on taste). Hope you’re doing well and will keep doing what you love in the shed.

    -Christian Bjørnholdt, Jutland, Denmark.


    • Hi Christian,

      First of all, WOWWWW!!! That is a fantastic looking rebuild. I particularly like the fairing with the customized rear trunk you made.

      And you are the lucky owner of a Nimbus. That is very cool. 🙂

      You obviously have patience and passion for what you do. If in some small way my publications were helpful, I’m very pleased, but the result is all due to your craftsmanship and your vision. I congratulate you for your perseverance and applaud the one of a kind build you created from an abused airhead.

      I hope the two of you tour together for many years and kilometers.

      All The Best.

  37. Hello Brook,

    Thanks for all your very clear articles and movies. They are for sure a big help for me in the restoration of my 1974 R60/6.
    I am looking for the item where you restored the BMW name plates on the engine casing. I know that I did see that once, but I cannot find it again. Can you help me out?

    Best regards,

    Henk from The Netherlands

      • Hi Brook,

        Thanks for the link. But I have in my head that you have also described somewhere that you taped the area around the name plate and sprayed the complete nameplate and later sanded the the paint of the characters with different types of sanding paper in order to remove the paint. I was looking for that one, but still cannot find.

        Best regards,


        • Hi Henk,

          Well, that’s what is shown for the technique I used to paint the inner timing cover and the document notes I used that technique for the top engine cover.

          Your description is what I have done on a previous build when I used sand paper to remove the paint on the letters. The paint scrapper is more efficient and controllable, but either method to remove the paint works.


  38. Hi Brook,

    Just found your page. What a wealth of information!

    Trying to patch up my 1973 R75/5 and when I went in to replace a fuse and the turn signal indicator bulb, noticed a grey/brown (or grey/black?) striped wire coming off the headlight with the stripped wire end not connected to anything. Do you happen to know what this wire is/where it is supposed to go? Quite a rats nest in there….

    Acton, MA

      • Thank you Brook, much appreciated. The grey/black is currently connected at the parking light, it’s the other end that’s loose/causing me trouble, do you know what it connects to?

        • Scott,

          It should go to another GREY-Black wire inside the headlight shell. I show that in the documentation I sent you links to. Read through the section on GREY-Black wires in the “/5 Circuits” document to learn what goes where.

          • Yes sir! Thank you so much. The other end was pulled out of the fuse connection. Back in business!

          • Hello Brook, I have a rebuilt R75/6 which, thanks to your excellent videos, goes pretty well However I’m getting oil leaking from the rubber boot on the back end of the gearbox. The boot itself is fine so I’m assuming it’s the oil seal on either the gearbox or the final drive which needs replacing, maybe both! My question is a bit of a dumb one I think but I’ll ask it anyway. Am I right to think there should be no oil at all getting into the boot since both ends of the drive shaft are sealed?
            Best Wishes, Martin

          • Hi Martin,

            If you are talking about the boot between the transmission and the swing arm tunnel the drive shift fits inside of, a leak there is often fixed by adjusting how you seat the boot on the swing arm. I’ve had them leak and adjusting the fit where the rear hose clamp goes fixed it.

            The drive shaft sits inside the swing arm tube. The tube is not “sealed” except by the transmission/swing arm boot sealing and the at the rear, by the rear drive gasket sealing. The tube has gear lube in it and it sloshes around inside the tube as the swing arm moves up and down. So, the boot has to seal against the swing arm for lube to not leak out.

            I hope that helps.


          • Thanks Brook, I’ll have a poke around with the boot positioning. Take care, Martin

  39. Hi Brooke,

    I love your videos. I wished I was your neighbor and could work and learn from you.
    I love the air cooled boxers. I own a R100GS PD from 1993 and a R1200GS Adv from
    2011. Both of them mean a lot of fun to me. If you are heading to Germany in the future let me know.

    Besr regards from Germany

    • Hi Erhan,

      Thank you for the kind words. It would be great to be able to travel to Europe again. Perhaps we can do that in the not too distant future.

      Stay well and ride long.


      • Hi Brook,

        I would also highly recommend TURKEY for riding if you come over to Europe once again. It is a beautiful country with amazing people and some magic places, Cappadocia for example. There are some Vlogs about Turkey in youtube.


  40. Hi Brook — First time leaving a post here though your videos have been hugely helpful to me throughout the years! I have run into a problem I have not seen before.

    I am replacing the speedo cable on my 83 R80 RT. I thought the hard part would be connecting it at the transmission case but thanks to your video it was a breeze, However, what I thought would be the easy part, pulling the cable from the speedo itself, is a problem. I loosened the nut and pulled it back to find the the pin pretty much stuck inside the back of the speedo. I haven’t pulled too hard, but it’s definitely not coming out easy (the speedo was jumping and making a rattling sound, which is why I replace the cable in the first place).

    So my question is: Can I just pull harder to get the damn thing out? And what is the adjustment dial on the bottom of the speedo for? Sorry for the long message but I can’t find any information on this anywhere, Clymer or otherwise. Thanks!

    • Hi Murray,

      The cable has an inner cable with a square pin that fits into the bushing on the speedometer shaft. If the cable won’t easily pull out after you backed the locking nut off, it’s possible the square pin has rounded and has become jammed in the bushing. More force seems reasonable to get it loose.

      If the bushing on the speedometer shaft is damaged, then it needs attention. From my past experience, when the speedometer starts making noise, it can be the cable binding, or it needs to be rebuilt due to wear. If the speedometer needle still jumps after you install the new cable, you need to have the speedometer rebuilt. If you let it go, it’s not uncommon for much more expensive damage inside the speedometer.

      So, you may want to have it rebuilt. I have used Palo Alto speedometer (http://www.paspeedo.com/), and an independent who does very good work, Terry Vrla ([email protected]).

      The knob on the back of the speedometer resets the trip meter.

      I hope that helps.


      • Thanks a ton, Brook. I’ll try to jimmy it out with a little more force this time! Nothing to lose, I guess, if the speedo might need a rebuild anyway. I rode if for about a half hour when I first noticed it, and was advised not to ride it again until the cable had been changed. Hopefully it does the trick. One way or the other we’re heading into the off season so good timing to send it in for a rebuild. Thanks for the tips, MW

  41. Hello?
    I am Seung-yeop Nam living in Korea.
    My nickname is Da Vinci.
    I never thought I’d be riding a motorcycle.
    By the time I was 50 years old, I wanted to feel free, so I dreamed of traveling the world on a motorcycle.
    And I bought a used BMW r1150GSA.
    Now I have the R1100GS and R1150R more.

    In fact, I am very interested in the older R100 series, but it is difficult to have it in Korea.
    There are no used products, and it is difficult to import used because of emission certification.

    So while I was thinking, I became interested in installing a carburetor by remodeling the oil head.
    I have 2 sets of bing 94 and 1 set of 64.

    While searching the internet for information to rebuild Bing carburetor, I found out your blog
    I am grateful for sharing such a vast amount of information so kindly.

    Thank you again.

  42. Hello Brook
    I cannot tell you how much you, Dan from cycle works and Norman from EME are my guiding lights through my projects.
    I’m starting a ‘74 R90/6 that has been sleeping in a barn for 35 years after a solid 175,000 miles on the road. An old bike that was well maintained, like the original owner said to me… but we’re pass that now 🙂

    I would like to send you a couple of pics with measurements of the crankshaft of this old R90/6. Everything’s is pretty acceptable but the connecting rods journals are a mere 0.002 mm below std specs. I’m a bit resistant to the idea of having it machined especially because of the press-fitted counterweights…

    If ever you wanna chat about this it’ll be wonderful!
    (I’m From up north in Canada)

    Regards and congrats again on the amazing stuff!!

    • Hi Andre,

      I agree that Norman, as well as Matt and Jodi, at EME, and Dan at Cycle Works, are “good people”.

      As I understand it, you should NOT grind the journals on the crankshaft as that will remove the heat treated hardened surface and destroy the crank. There are different size connecting rod bearings to accommodate some wear on the pin.

      I hope that helps.


    • Hi Patrick,

      I work on my own projects and I have helped others work on their bikes. I don’t do work for hire, but I am willing to help interested owners expand their “hands-on” knowledge from time to time.


  43. Brook,

    I watched your videos on the R80 resto. I want to install the seibenrock 1000 cc kit on my ‘94 R80RT Euro spec. I noticed you had the heads specially ported for the bigger cylinders. Do I need to upgrade my heads to ensure the bike runs right? I don’t plan on dual plugging either, is that a mistake? Should I stay with stock carb/jetting? I have 353/354 carbs.

  44. Hi Brook, thanks for your vids and blog…I am learning a lot!
    I put together a spread sheet in Excel to duplicate your Oil Canister Shim calculation.

    I was wondering if you could clarify how you calculate how you go from 5% for one shim to 13% for 2 and 21% for 3 in your video?

    I did the calculation and got 5%, but am unsure how you went forward from there.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance!

    Jim Stack

    • Hi Jim,

      I show Oak’s formula next to that part of the spreadsheet. The percentages are due to the combined thickness of 1, 2 or 3 shims where in my case the shim thickness (S) is 0.3 mm. The spreadsheet calculates how much the white O-ring will compress as the number of shims goes up, so in each column, I multiple (S) the number of shims and the formula computes the percent compression for that number of shims.

      I hope that helps.


  45. Hi Brook –

    Excellent information, which is proving invaluable as I resurrect my ’83 R100RS.

    One question: in “34 BMW 1983 R100RS Install Front Brake System|Mount Caliper And Attach Brake Line & Hose”, you state “The bleed valve fits in the hole closest to the wheel.”

    On my bike (which I believe never had the front brakes disassembled), the bleed screw is on the outside. Also, my BMW workshop/service manual (March, 1982 section 34 11 000) appears to also show the bleed screw on the outside.

    What is the rationale for installing the bleed screw on the inside, given that having it on the outside makes bleeding easier?

    Thanks again for a great series of articles – these are an important resource for all Airhead owners.

    • Hi David,

      Since the brake fluid hose and the bleed screw holes are connected, it won’t matter which one you put the bleed screw into.


  46. Hello Brooks

    First of all, I wanted to thank you for this wonderful documentation work.

    A year ago I bought a scrapped motorcycle and one of the reasons that made me buy it was your videos. The detail of the information you provide, the quality of details and the exhaustiveness of each of the steps, all of this, has made me encourage me to restore the bike.

    Thank you very much for your effort and greetings from Madrid (Spain)

    • Juanjo,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’ve ridden in your country before: through the Andalusia region, and Barcelona through the Pyrenees. What a beautiful place for motorcycle riding.

      I wish you the best of success on your project.


  47. Outstanding Sir!

    Thank you and Snow Bum for the countless hours you share with the rest of us.

    “Experience is where you take the test before you learn the lesson.”

  48. Brook
    I’ve religiously followed your blog regarding transforming an ’83 R100RS to a RT and have benefited greatly from your documentation.
    It so happens I also have a blue ’83 R100RS that I’m “refreshing”. I came across a photo you took of the rear wheel splines where maybe 40% of the spline appears to have been worn away. Perhaps not surprising, about 25% of mine is similarly worn.
    I couldn’t find a discussion of the worn spline in your blog and wondered what if any action you took to repair or replace the damaged spline.

    • Hi Tom,

      I’m glad this material has been helpful to you on your project.

      I did nothing to the splines based on the advice of Tom Cutter at Rubber Chicken Racing Garage.


  49. Hi Brook,

    Love your page! What a great resource.

    I’m on triage this morning. Pulled the 1973 R75/5 out and the battery was weak, so attempted to jump and, in a moment of knuckleheadedness reversed the polarity on hookup. Needless to say, smoke ensued from under the tank, immediately pulled off the cables, but damage done. Any idea what things might have fried from this and where to start the diagnosis/what to check for damage? Feeling very very stupid this AM….

    Scott H
    Acton MA

    • Scott,

      OUCH!! That hurts.

      I would carefully inspect the entire main wiring harness for burned insulation. This can occur on wires under the black plastic sheath, you you should remove that for a complete inspection.

      Then, check all wiring inside the headlight shell for any damage. If either of the fuses blew, then the GREEN-Black wires or GREY-Black wires should be carefully inspected as they may have charred their insulation before the fuse(s) could have blown.

      Component failure could have occurred, but that’s not something you can find by just visual inspection. That said, if you find charred insulation on a wire going to a component terminal, then that component could have been damaged.

      You can verify that the coils are working with an ohm meter. If you get infinite resistance across the primary or secondary (spark plug wire terminal) then the wire inside melted.

      To summarize, be methodical and take you time. Start with the wiring and repair it where needed. Then you can put power to the bike again and verify if any components are not working.

      Again, I’m sorry to hear about your problem.

      Stay well.


      • Brook,

        Thank you for responding. That’s about what I thought, be methodical and inspect all the wiring and electrical components end to end. Smoking under the gas tank made me suspect the electronic ignition or the coils took some damage. Major project from a dumb mistake. Got my work cut out for me here….thankful to have your detailed online reference materials available right now!



Leave a Reply to breams Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.