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Christian Bynum's Classic BMW Motorcycles: 1978 R100/7
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Motorcycle Data Sheet

Model: 1977 BMW R60/7

Nickname: "Saphir"

Engine: 599cc 2-valve boxer twin upgraded to 745cc (50 HP)

Years of Production: 1977-1978

Number Produced: 11,163

Purchase Date: May 2003

Previous Location: Chatsworth, CA

Previous Owners: Unknown

Mileage at Purchase: 0 (Rebuilt)

Mileage Since Engine Rebuild: 0

Restoration Projection: A lot...

Restoration Costs to Date: $2,320


Background

I picked up this bare frame in the spring of 2003 from a friend and fellow parts-swapping Airhead enthusiast in Southern California, when I was looking for a chassis for a cafe racer conversion, using a double disc brake front end with a billet upper triple clamp and a braced rear swingarm I had acquired on eBay. Since I had abandonded my first attempt at a cafe conversion on my R75/7 and returned it to stock, I thought a "frankenbeemer" with nonmatching frame and engine numbers and parts from many motorcycles would be more suitable for experimentation than my rarest Airhead. I wanted to start with a /7 frame because in stock condition, it is better braced and has bigger strengthening gussets than the frames of the earier /5 and /6 series. I wanted to create a rigid handler.

As per my routine on previous frame-up rebuilds, I had the chassis stripped by Alternative Blasters of Marysville, Washington and powdercoated in Bengal Black 90% gloss by Powdercoating Inc. of Mukilteo, Washington. I had successfully sourced the front end and had a 1976 R60/6 complete engine ready to drop into the frame; this engine from the last year of the /6 production run was identical to the /7 block and can accept 980cc cylinders from the R100 bikes, making it suitable for a hot rod upgrade. My plans changed when my wife (then fiancée), who was just learning to ride, was finding that some of the quirkier aspects of her R60/5, like carb tickers, vintage-style control levers (without the mechanical advantage of a dogleg), and drum front brakes, were creating obstacles to her developing confidence as a rider. While I had correctly surmised that the nimble ride of the short-wheelbase /5 and shorter reach to the bars over the toaster tank would benefit a medium-sized woman's physique, I had understestimated these more subtle ergonomic considerations that had egun to plague her. While I could make modifications to the R60/5, like a /6 disc front end and modernized controls, I had little desire to move that bike further away from stock after I had spent several months restoring it to such conditon. Then one day, after getting frustrated with the little toaster, my wife doggedly hopped on my biggest motorcycle, my 1978 R100/7, and took it for a spin around the block, proof positive that she could handle herself and the long reach over the 6.3-gallon /7 sports tank if she had the levers and the brakes she preferred. I put my cafe bike on hold until its third iteration came about a few months later , and I steered this frame's rebuild toward a fully restored, middle-displacement daily riding machine.

Restoration

Right now, this bike is just a fully refurbished frameset with a single disc front end. I want to flesh out the rolling chassis and wire it up this fall, and then try to drop an engine in over the winter. Although I have a complete R60/6 engine ready to go, I want to take advantage of the large cylinder spigots on that block for a larger-displacement /2 conversion project I have in the works, so I will probably try to build up a bare /5 block with 745cc top end parts and 32mm Bing CV carbs (with a proper choke mechanism instead of ticklers!), yielding 50HP for this bike. I would like to have this motorcycle mechanically (if not cosmetically) ready for my wife to take on road trips with me in the spring of 2004.

Reconstruction Chronology

July 2003

September 2003

Acknowledgments

Thanks to the following individuals for assisting in this restoration project: Barbara Bynum, DL Powers, Chris Telford, and Mick Vallantine.

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