Motorcycle Data Sheet
Model: 1977 BMW R75/7
Nickname: "Rabi" (Der Kleiner Rabe AKA Little Raven)
Engine: 745cc 2-valve boxer twin (50 HP)
Year of Production: 1977
Number Produced: 6,264 (1,500 for US)
Purchase Date: October 2002
Previous Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Previous Owners: 2
Mileage at Purchase: 100,000
Mileage to Date: 104,000
Restoration Projection: $2,875
Restoration Costs to Date: $1,350
Buying this bike right after obtaining my freshly minted full motorcycle license endorsement allowed me to take my first truly epic motorcycle ride. I flew one-way to the airport in Oakland and met the seller at the airport, where I conducted the test ride and purchase on the spot. It was like buying a motorcycle from your favorite uncle. The next morning I left the Bay Area and travelled 850 miles north to Seattle over the next day and a half, starting with a sunrise ride across the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges! This motorcycle was purchased as my "fun bike" and reliable daily ride, but its role has been revised over time, and owing to the small numbers produced during its one-year production run, it has become increasingly valued by me as I continue to refurbish it according to original factory specifications.
After much research, I also gave up on a fuel tank swap. I liked the expensive older large-capacity tanks (e.g., Heinrich, Hoske) on these bikes, but they are hard to find at reasonable prices, and the Italian-styled Monza-type race replicas and similar tanks lose some of the distinctive BMW lines (although WBO racing does make a couple of beautiful polished aluminum racing tanks as options to the rare and expensive era-appropriate large-capacity Heinrich and Hein-Gericke models you often see on these conversion projects). Other considered and/or attempted cafe racer modifications on this bike included rearset foot controls (from San Jose BMW), a 2-into-1 exhaust system, a Gilera-style bump-stop 3/4 racing seat (which I loved), and a nifty Acerbis plastic Modular Enduro fender with custom-wired lights.
After months of telltale weeping on the top of the crankcase beneath the tank, the front disc branke master cylinder's condition had grown progressively worse, and the braking action quite mushy. Renewing the brake fluid staved off the problem for a week or two, but the brake quickly faded away to nothing again, and cursory inspection suggested that the master cylinder needed a rebuild. I elected to replace the whole unit with a lower mileage used MC known to be in good condition, which I found online for less than the price of a rebuild kit from the dealer. I retained the old unit to renew for a future project.
Currently, the diode board is probably in need of replacement; I will install a solid state Thunderchild model if I can pick one up at a discount on eBay.
Thanks to the following individuals for assisting in this restoration project: Barbara Bynum, Thomas Epley, Fred Inman, Mike Kruse, DL Powers, Bo Stewart, Mick Vallantine, and Peter Warren.