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Old 06-24-2004, 01:15 PM   #1
Flash OP
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1978 BMW R100S Restoration

In 1976, as a member of the US Army, I was transferred to the Wildflecken Training Area (WTA) in West Germany. The WTA was about 100 kilometres east of Frankurt and on the East and West German border. The Rhon Mountains surround the area.



The Army said they wpuld pay to ship a personal vehicle, so I dropped off my 1975 Suzuki GT550 in Bayonne NJ for shipment to Europe. In November of 1976, I picked up my bike at the cold and snowy port of Brmerhaven in northern Germany. The bike spent the reast of the winter in the basement of the old barracks I lived in.



In the spring of 1977, I began to ride the area every chance I got. One evening, I passed a group of 7 or 8 riders going the other way. I did a quick U-turn and followed them to a beerfest in the next small town. When we stopped, I was surprised that most of them spoke some English and 2 of them were completely fluent. They were interested in talking to an American rider and I sure needed some local familiarization.



They called themselves the Liberty Angels Motorcycle Club and had about a dozen members. They met every Wednesday night at the Gasthof Heidi in Frankenhein a.d. Rhon. During the riding season, there was a motorcycle rally somewhere in Germany and these folks made almost every one.



Thet rode mostly Japanese bikes. CB750's, Z900's, Gold Wings, but they were fascinated with American bikes and culture. They wanted me to bring them Easyriders magazines. They loved the JC Whitney catalogs and had me order all sorts of "choper" stuff to bolt on there bikes.



That summer and fall, I rode almost 10.000 miles all over Europe with the Liberty Angels. Reavelling with a group of Germans allowed me to travel like a native. We went all over Germany, eastern France, Belgium and northern Italy to rallies. I got to see bikes I had only reas about. Laverda, Munch, Bimota. I had seen a few BMW'a in the U.S. but not like I did in Germany.



The BMW /7's were new in 1977 and those bikes blew me away. One of the Liberty Angels had an R100RS in that unique semi gloss Silver Blue color. I was amazed at how smooth and quiest it seemed and how effortlessly he could obtain serious speed on the Autobahn. The bike was also the roll-on king of the day. I decided that summer I had to have a BMW. To me, there was no finer bike to be had.



At the time, Butler and Smith was the US importer of BMW motorcycles. I wrote them a letter and received a reply indicating that European delivery was possible and that a discount was available to the US military. Included with their reply were brochures. There I saw the 1978 R100S in Red smoke metallic. Snowflake alloy wheels and a rear disc brake were new for the 1978 model year. I couldn't take my eyes off it. It was perfect.



I sold the GT550 and sent Butler and Smith a deposit with the understanding that delivery would take place in April of 1978. I went into full miser mode for 6 months and was able to come up with the balance. I wired it to B & S and recieved my "Paid In Full" confirmation in March. I arranged for 5 days leave and took the train to Munich during the second week in April to collect my BMW.



When I arrived at the Munich Delivery Center my paperwotk was checked and I was lead into a large garage area. My bike was there and even beter looking in person. The man doing the delivery was talking about the bike, but I was in the ether, I couldn't beleive it was mine.



On the trip home to Wildflecken that day, I was on the moon, I was petrified I would screw the bike up or crash. Fortunately the ride home was without mishap. I spent the first night reading the manual and playing with the bike. Til 4 AM.



I spent the rest of 1978 and 1979 travelling Europe with the Liberty Angels. The "S" always performed like a champ and never let me down. In the fall of 1979 my Army hitch was up and I returned stateside with the S.



I rode the bike until 1982, when I met my wife. I sold the BMW to buy her wedding ring, Even today, I'll put my ear up to the ring and tell her I'm lstening for the bike. Life went on, kids, mortgages and other bikes. But I never forgot the 78 R100S. I always told myself, "One day, I'll have another one."



One day came last year. The kids are on there own now, business is good and it was time. I began to look for a 1978 BMW R100S. This particular S appeared on eBay last July. It was in California and had sat in a barn for several years. I made a deal with the seller and shiped it to Florida.



The bike had definitely sat for some time. The paint was faded in a very distinct diagonal line across the tank, as if it had sat near a window for a long time in the same position. The amount of work required was well beyond my skills and it was my intention to go all out with this bike. I found a shop willing to do a complete "to the frame" restoration and shipped it to them last October. I told them, "co,pletely stock with only factory parts." As Chopperman said the other day, "Nice wallet."



The pictures here are the results of this project. The bike is stunning in person. 26 years later, it still knocks me out. I've put about 300 miles on it in the last week.and the memories are flooding back in waves. The S still moves out quickly, builds speed effortlessly and is comfortable. I'm really enjoying riding it,



I'd like to dedicate this bike to a group of Germans, who in the late 70's were the Liberty Angels. To Snufi, who rode his CX500 so hard you could hear the tires sizzle. To Richard Balling who died of cancer in 1982, but who rode pillion when the disease would no longer allow him to ride his own bike. To Angie, whose metalflake green Z900 with ape hangers, was like no other bike I've ever seen. And to Roland, whose dream was to own a Harley-Davidson and who died late one night riding near Bad Neustadt, shortly after buying his dream bike,



The S lives again, and in its exhaust note, I can hear rides taken over 25 years ago. And I can see the German backroads and a group of young riders crossing the countryside shortly after dawn.
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:52 PM   #2
zippy
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Thumb Nice bike

The colors are awesome. Need a picture of your two Rs together. Just being curious , is that Haps BMW ?
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Old 06-24-2004, 06:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by zippy da pinhead
The colors are awesome. Need a picture of your two Rs together. Just being curious , is that Haps BMW ?
Thanks zippy. No, it's not Hap's. The restoration was done in the midwest and most of the photos were taken there.
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:47 PM   #4
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Flash, nice restoration...and better yet, a really nice story of your friends.
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Old 06-24-2004, 09:21 PM   #5
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Cool2

Yeah, what Komet said. I found the story to be top notch. Thanks.



Oh, beautiful bike!
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Old 06-24-2004, 10:10 PM   #6
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Very nice. The shop did a great job. The pics made me smile.

I always wanted a Beemer when I was a young man, but could never swing it. Now, I have a '78 R100R w/ an S fairing along wilth an 03 GSAdv. The /7 not real pretty like yours, but it sounds great & runs great. I love to ride it. I can feel the road & enjoy the sounds of an era gone bye.

Good for you. I hope you two get a lot of miles together.
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Old 06-24-2004, 10:49 PM   #7
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Jesus thats a good looking motorcycle ...good read mate
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Old 06-25-2004, 02:10 AM   #8
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Beauty!
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Old 06-25-2004, 05:54 AM   #9
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Flash,
Gorgeous to say the least. When are you going for a semi-short ride on that thing? Maybe I will see you on those two-lane roads up by your way...
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Old 06-25-2004, 07:12 AM   #10
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Over the years I've met no less than three guys who swore that their R100S was the best bike they ever owned. All three regretted ever selling them. Nice bike!!! You're a lucky man.
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Old 06-25-2004, 07:31 AM   #11
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Gorgeous bike, it looks just like a dream fulfilled.

The story was touching, I am in the middle or resurrecting a couple of old airheads. I am saving your pics on my hard drive as inspiration.

I am saving the story too. I printed it and I am keeping with my motorcycle gear.

When one of the bikes is finished I am going to fold up your story and put it my tankbag.

When I am parked at the end of that good day I will pour a drink, take a look at the bike and the setting sun and remember the names of your fallen friends.



ride on.


dave
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Old 06-25-2004, 07:54 AM   #12
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Nice ride. Those were always beautiful bikes.

And the story to go with was very well done. Reminded me of when I got my first bike. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:03 AM   #13
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I hope someday to have a nice enough wallet to provide that type of care for my 92 K75s. It was my daily commuter for 4 years and the wear and tear shows but in my eye there is no more beautiful BMW.

People like the Liberty Angels can make a far away place feel like home and iI am glad you found each other. A "quick U-turn" was all it took - somehow I think there is a lesson for all of us in that statement.

Thanks for sharing and that is a wonderful machine.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:08 AM   #14
HarveyMushman
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Great story, Flash. Enjoy the bike.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:08 AM   #15
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Stunning, Flash. Beautiful bike and nice pics, but the story is fantastic. I loved it.
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