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Old 08-08-2010, 02:50 PM   #1
backdrifter OP
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Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Belleville, IL
Oddometer: 1,364
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!
"We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

1973 BMW R60/5:

backdrifter screwed with this post 12-03-2012 at 07:43 PM
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:11 PM   #2
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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Glad you got it and it wasn't allowed to rot or ebay'ed by another family member. I'll follow the restoration.

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Old 08-08-2010, 03:35 PM   #3
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Location: Spokane WA
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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.
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:46 PM   #4
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Jackson's Bottom Oregon
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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!
Wanted: Dead, smashed, crashed or trashed gauges
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:04 PM   #5
backdrifter OP
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Good eye, cordless! 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!

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!
"We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

1973 BMW R60/5:
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #6
Don't buy from Brad
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Remember the Alamo!
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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.

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