ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Old's Cool > Airheads
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-30-2007, 02:45 PM   #1
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
World's First Superbike

In '79 I was working for Butler & Smith, the then BMW importer. I was sales manager for S.Cal. and a hardcore BMW fan--been a dealer and had seen the R90S Superbikes dominate the first year's AMA Superbike Championship ('76).
In '77 Butler & Smith sold the three team bikes, one of which ended up in Bakersfield at Johnny's BMW. He'd repainted the bike red (to look like the '77 R100S) and won the bike's second AMA National at Laconia -- the bike's first win was the very first AMA Superbike race, the '76 Daytona event. Anyway, by the time I discovered the now-tired old bike in the back of Johnny's shop, it didn't look much like it had when last I'd seen it at Riverside in '76. By '79 the Japanese fours had taken over American Superbike racing, the euro-twins handling advantage no longer able to stave off the Japanese horsepower advantage. I knew that if this piece of BMW racing history was broken out for another couple seasons of Battle of the Twins racing that nothing would remain for future enthusiasts to look at. Luckily, my wife understood my enthusiasm and she and my daughters bought it for me for Christmas '79 for the then-princely sum of $5000. This is what it looked like when I fetched it from Bakersfield. Johnny had sold off various pieces like the Koni monoshock, all of which I had to track down and reaquire before starting the restoration.
Attached Images
 

funhouse screwed with this post 07-01-2007 at 07:41 PM
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 02:50 PM   #2
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
Quote:
Originally Posted by funhouse
In '79 I was working for Butler & Smith, the then BMW importer. I was sales manager for S.Cal. and a hardcore BMW fan--been a dealer and had seen the R90S Superbikes dominate the first year's AMA Superbike Championship ('76).
In '77 Butler & Smith sold the three team bikes, one of which ended up in Bakersfield at Johnny's BMW. He'd repainted the bike red (to look like the '77 R100S) and won the bike's second AMA National at Laconia -- the bike's first win was the very first AMA Superbike race, the '76 Daytona event. Anyway, by the time I discovered the now-tired old bike in the back of Johnny's shop, it didn't look much like it had when last I'd seen it at Riverside in '76. By '79 the Japanese fours had taken over American Superbike racing, the euro-twins handling advantage no longer able to stave off the Japanese horsepower advantage. I knew that if this piece of BMW racing history was broken out for another couple seasons of Battle of the Twins racing that nothing would remain for future enthusiasts to look at. Luckily, my wife understood my enthusiasm and she and my daughters bought it for me for Christmas '79 for the then-princely sum of $5000. This is what it looked like when I fetched it from Bakersfield. Johnny had sold off various pieces like the Koni monoshock, all of which I had to track down and reaquire before starting the restoration.
The restoration took the better part of a year.
Attached Images
 

funhouse screwed with this post 07-01-2007 at 07:41 PM
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 02:53 PM   #3
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
Quote:
Originally Posted by funhouse
The restoration took the better part of a year.
Getting close
Attached Images
 
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 02:56 PM   #4
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
Finished and took the bike to a local motorcycle show in Ojai, California. Without the numbers on the bike, most viewers thought the 90S was a normal street bike. Luckily, the judges knew what they were looking at and my family, who supported the entire project, were rewarded with a cheezie silver plate!
Attached Images
 
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 03:04 PM   #5
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
A year's work and the battle was now to begin.....all my BMW buddies now started harping on me to go vintage racing, people at BMW meets told me I was a weenie for not riding the bike to the shows, etc.....little did they know that all I was doing was acting as care-taker until the bike could go home.....back to BMW.....this possibility was first mentioned by a BMW employee the day the K75 was intro'd in the US at a dealer show in San Diego....he told me to contact BMW if/when I ever sold the bike....I didn't want to let it go then, but filed the notion mentally.....as for riding the old dear, it had to be bumped, would not idle and got toasty hot when sitting still...shifted better than anything BMW ever built and was so noisy you couldn't hear......I rode it to Santa Paula from Ojai a few times but was never a good enough rider to push it....the team riders were never too enthusiastic about the handling so who was I to weigh in on the arguement?
Attached Images
 

funhouse screwed with this post 06-30-2007 at 04:30 PM
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 03:06 PM   #6
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
The two previous show pictures were 1981.....we moved to Santa Barbara from Ojai in '87 and by then was deeply into things BMW although I never broke down and made the jump to water cooling or OHC's.....
Attached Images
 
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 02:53 PM   #7
El Hombre
Banned
 
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Alta Coma, California
Oddometer: 1,536
I saw the article in Cycle World a couple of years ago about you and this bike. With the race poster on the wall.

You should get in touch with Ken Augustine up in Marin county. That was his bike to wrench on. He told me some interesting stories about what they did and how he would do it better today.

Bike's back in Munich, isn't it?

Where did you find a Michelin PZ-2 front tire?

El Hombre screwed with this post 06-30-2007 at 03:08 PM
El Hombre is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2007, 04:26 PM   #8
funhouse OP
Overdue
 
funhouse's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Santa Barbara
Oddometer: 3,044
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Hombre
I saw the article in Cycle World a couple of years ago about you and this bike. With the race poster on the wall.

You should get in touch with Ken Augustine up in Marin county. That was his bike to wrench on. He told me some interesting stories about what they did and how he would do it better today.

Bike's back in Munich, isn't it?

Where did you find a Michelin PZ-2 front tire?
I wrote the CW piece......and Michelin got tires and the needed stickers to me during the restoration-- and Ken's likely just as interested in talking about old BMW race bikes as I am.....building wooden boats is more interesting now......Bruce
Attached Images
 
funhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2007, 08:16 AM   #9
Bigger Al
Still a stupid tire guy
 
Bigger Al's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Auburn, CA
Oddometer: 7,760
Thanks for sharing this story, Funhouse. I'm a great admirer of what the American BMW race team was able to do with an anvil like the R90. The story in Cycle World left me wanting much more info on the bike and the way in which it "went home" to Germany, and this thread had made the light shine brighter.
__________________
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."

Steve McQueen




Bigger Al is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2007, 08:40 AM   #10
gweaver
Wandering between rooms
 
gweaver's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Oddometer: 1,470
I don't know anything about vintage racing or BMW bikes, but that was beautiful. Always a good thing when something with history is saved, restored and preserved for the future. Well done!

Side note- I've seen it from the other side of the fence- with far less history. My first bike was an 83 Interceptor 750. Ran in to cam chain problems (again) after I'd put 40K miles on it (bought it with 12K). I sold it to buy a ZX-9R, and didn't look back until I visited the Barber Museum. They had a restored Interceptor there, and I've been kicking myself ever since. Last I heard, the guy I sold it to rode it for a couple of years and got rid of it. No idea what happened to it. Wish I could track it down and restore it.

G
gweaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2007, 09:05 AM   #11
Jeffro115
Redemption.
 
Jeffro115's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Pittsburgh (Brookline)
Oddometer: 4,162
Cool tale
__________________
Danger is one thing. But danger plus extreme discomfort for long periods is quite another.
Jeffro115 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2012, 09:50 PM   #12
supershaft
because I can
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco Bay area
Oddometer: 8,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Hombre View Post
I saw the article in Cycle World a couple of years ago about you and this bike. With the race poster on the wall.

You should get in touch with Ken Augustine up in Marin county. That was his bike to wrench on. He told me some interesting stories about what they did and how he would do it better today.

Bike's back in Munich, isn't it?

Where did you find a Michelin PZ-2 front tire?
I haven't thought of Kenny Augustine in so long. I suspect I have gotten Augustine's and Axtell's name mixed up a few times telling stories. Is Augustine still porting heads? I hope so!!
supershaft is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2012, 09:47 PM   #13
Hawk Medicine
Coyote's Brother
 
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: NOR CAL
Oddometer: 3,303
Thanks!

That was a nice read!
__________________
Hawkdude

Hate rots the pocket that carries it.
Hawk Medicine is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014