Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 10:34 AM ( 3635 views ) - BMW Cafe Racer - Posted by Administrator
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Cafe Racer: The Motorcycle: Featherbeds, clip-ons, rear-sets and the making of a ton-up boy
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(click images to view as wallpaper size)

1971 BMW short wheelbase r60/5 Cafe Racer with San Jose-built lowered front end, subframe and seat; dual front disk brakes and CC fork brace; 336 cam, aluminum flywheel, Mikuni 32mm VM carbs, and Luftmeister R100 2-into-1 exhaust. Magura clip-ons and a rare Hugon 1/4 fairing complete the package.

This r60 Cafe Racer is very, very quick, and best of all it can scare me happily at 45mph. It handles very well and does very well in traffic. The lowered front end is very trick- there are only about two inches of suspension travel remaining, of which I only use one most of the time. Yet it is never harsh and never bottoms out, even on railroad tracks. This front end was built for nationals racing, and it shows.

The Hugon fairing was hailed as the best fairing in the world especially by long distance riders, in part for its superb aerodynamics and in part for its rugged indestructability. Cut from solid Lexan Citroen windshields and hot shaped, Hugon fairings were actually tested and found to be bulletproof at short ranges. (Actually it is possible to break them, as a friend proved in Central America, but you should have seen what it did to the rest of the bike and rider.)

In use, the Hugon quarter fairing makes a tremendous difference in reducing wind and buffeting. Although full-sized fairings mounted on the handlebars like this are not recommended for SWB airheads, this one has been a positive improvement in stability, especially when buffeted by strong side winds. The full optical visibility is a big advantage to the clear fairing, plus it allows the cool front end hardware to be visible.

The pre-60's era front fender mounted license plate completes the vintage charm. I have to admit it gets me in trouble, though, because it attracts attention from people who always want to ask "what year is it?" I suppose because that's what you ask when you see an unknown old vehicle.

But if I tell the truth and say it's a '71, they're disappointed, maybe they were hoping it was from the 1920's. So I've taken to stretching the truth and saying "well, parts of it are from 1960...". The footpegs, maybe. But that seems to make people a lot happier, and those who continue the conversation at that point understand when I explain that most of it is a 70's period street racer.

The license number is a reference to prewar BMW racing- IIA was the city code for Munich. The first BMW works-built racing engines were marked on the block with WR50 to indicate 500cc racing engines. So I remember these traces of the golden age of prewar racing using 50's style license display on a 70's cafe racer.

Whatever, man. It's a hot rod, and it makes me happy.

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