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backdrifter 08-08-2010 02:50 PM

In memory of Jim Adams - an R60/5 build diary
I've been patiently waiting for this for almost two years now.

A little over two years ago, my wife's grandpa, Jim ("Papa" to us), moved back home from Florida. He brought with him, among other things, his 1973 BMW R60/5 toaster. He admitted that he was too old to ride it anymore, and said he wanted a family member to take it. My wife has a rather large family, and it seemed that everybody wanted the bike. In fact, it became the point of a few arguments. So, I backed off and stayed away from the entire issue. Papa didn't like the bickering, so he said he was going to put everyone's names in a hat and draw one name, to whom the bike would go. Papa was a great man and treated me like one of his own, and made a point of telling me on the side that he wanted my name in the hat. I politely declined, telling him that I would love to have the bike, but not if other closer family members wanted it.

I think there was a part of Papa that wanted me to have the bike. At the time, I was the only family member that rode bikes, and Papa and I used to talk about motorcycles and trips that we had gone on.

Unfortunately, Papa passed from cancer a few short months after moving home. The bike was brought to my wife's Aunt's house, where it has sat in the back yard ever since. It made me cringe that the poor old bike was sitting outside in the elements when I had a nice garage spot for it, but I knew I had to play the waiting game. I knew if I gave it enough time, the other family members would realize that they were never going to do anything with the poor old bike. This weekend, I felt the old girl had been neglected enough. I borrowed a trailer, swung by the Aunt's house and told them I would be happy to take that eyesore off of their hands. They were actually excited to get rid of it. Funny how time changes things.

So, here she is as I unloaded her in my driveway earlier today.

I immediately grabbed a wrench and removed the windscreen. The bike already looks ten times nicer!

Hard to read here, but Papa put 43,000 miles on her:

The purpose of this thread it threefold. One is to bring this old girl back to as-new condition, probably with a few tasteful mods. The second is to honor the life of Papa. The third is a kind of therapy - I've done one other build diary (on KTM Talk) and found it very relaxing and rewarding. Plus, the forums are a great place to turn when I need help, as I know I will!

Fair warning, this will probably be long and drawn out. I'm on no time schedule and this could end up taking quite a while to complete. My last build thread took almost two years from start to finish, but I was quite happy with the results, which is all that matters to me. My last project transformed my 1994 KTM 550 MX/C from this (when I bought it):

To this:

I plan to be far more anal and detailed with this R60.

That's all for now, thanks for reading my introduction, and hopefully I'll have some updates and new photos soon.

Happy riding!

nella 08-08-2010 03:11 PM

Glad you got it and it wasn't allowed to rot or ebay'ed by another family member. I'll follow the restoration.


Cordless 08-08-2010 03:35 PM

What do you plan to spend?
I know those /5 restorations can be expensive, but do you really have to sell your nice house?

I look forward to your (sentimental) resurrection.

Wirespokes 08-08-2010 03:46 PM

She doesn't look too bad as-is. Of course, the handlebar will need to be replaced or cleaned up and painted. But it doesn't look all that bad for being out in the weather for two years.

One question: What happened with the pulling a name out of a hat? Did that not happen? Finish that story!

backdrifter 08-08-2010 04:04 PM

Good eye, cordless! :D Actually, the wife and I are building a new house. I was going to wait until we moved into it to grab the BMW because I'll have a 3 car garage, but I got too antsy and grabbed the bike today.

Wirespokes - truth be told, I'm not sure what happened. I bowed out of it after I heard about it. I think the bike initially went to my wife's aunt's house because it was easiest to get to. Shortly after that, his condition worsened and I think everyone probably stopped worrying about the bike. Whatever happened, it sat there untouched since I helped unload it almost two years ago. A shame, but it's in my hands now! :clap

The pictures actually make her look in a bit better shape than she is. I'll replace the bars and the silencers, but everything else should be salvageable once painted, chromed, powder coated, or sand blasted. Should be a fun ride!

datchew 08-08-2010 04:41 PM

Fantastic story. I respect your approach and I'm sure when you get finished with the bike, you'll love it and think of him every time you ride it.


Bill Harris 08-08-2010 06:43 PM

Great project. We'll be following it with interest.

Lokey 08-08-2010 06:54 PM

Did you get the title? If not, I could see one of the deadbeat relatives waiting until you have restored it and then say that they want it.

DesmoDog 08-08-2010 08:18 PM


Originally Posted by backdrifter
To answer your question directly, I don't have the title yet, but I know where it's at and getting it won't be a problem when the time comes.

The time has come.

No, really... Transfer the title before you have any money/time into it. If things are as hunky dory as you say it won't be a problem. If you do get blindsided, and it happens, then you haven't lost much.

Good luck with the bike. Sounds like a very special project.

Hawk Medicine 08-08-2010 11:22 PM


Originally Posted by DesmoDog
The time has come.

No, really... Transfer the title before you have any money/time into it. If things are as hunky dory as you say it won't be a problem. If you do get blindsided, and it happens, then you haven't lost much. SNIP!

I enough to know that you'll do as you lease but I agree with DDog. If things are so cozy and friendly now, then nows the time to get the title put into your name.

Families are full of wonderful people but sometimes, especially when theres something of value to argue abut, things can get weird and unpleasant in a hurry.

Bill Harris 08-09-2010 02:13 AM

Agree with 'Ok and DDog, too. This is business and tactfully get the title in your hands.

Unless the muffs are rusted out, I'd run them until I found out all what other parts it needs (you'll spend a small fortune just replacing rubber parts). The /6 mufflers work/look fine on my /5.

Hucky has a lot of obscure parts for /5's.

First off, check the speedo cable boot and change the tranny oil. A bad boot there can dribble water into the tranny on an outside-stored bike.

backdrifter 01-30-2011 04:58 PM

Well, I said this would probably be a slow build in the first post, didn't I? Almost six months since the last post, yeah I would say that counts as slow!

Between a move to a new house and cleaning and painting the old house in an effort to sell it, I've had very little free time. The good news is that things are starting to slow down, and with a nice roomy three car garage in the new house, I've got plenty of room to play with the R60. It was a relatively warm weekend and seemed like the perfect time to jump back into the project.

I didn't post the update at the time, but I took the tank to a radiator shop a few months ago to have it cleaned and coated. It was fairly rusted, but it cleaned up well.

I spent today disassembling, cleaning and reinstalling the carbs. One of the carbs had been pouring gas everywhere every time I opened the petcock. I thought it was a stuck float and that I had fixed it today, but no such luck. I've done some reading since and it looks like it could be a problem with the floats themselves, or the float valves. Either way, the result was that I did NOT get it running today like I wanted. But, I got a lot done and it shouldn't take much more to get there.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I'll some in the the next day or so. More soon (not in another six months!). :D

fishkens 01-30-2011 05:24 PM

Keep up the good work!

Wirespokes 01-30-2011 05:43 PM

Don't forget to check the fuel line where it attaches to the carb! I've had it crack and leak down the side (where you can't see it) and drip off the bottom of the float bowl.

Zagando 01-30-2011 05:46 PM

Subscribed. :lurk This is going to be another fun thread to follow. Best of luck getting her in tip-top shape again.

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