1975 BMW R90/6 - Rocinante

I got some part$ for the steering damper in the mail so I finished up the clean up and got it put in place. When I took the damper apart I discovered that the base of the handle was broken, the urethane bushing was dried up and disintegrating, and the spring was gone.

The new part$ (along w/ the new throttle cable boot):


I was surprised that the bushing was a full 1/4" too long but once it was trimmed off it fit perfectly. The SS hardware set included a new screw for the top and bolts for the part below. Everything was disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and then assembled and looking like it should:


And the damper assembly shown from below:

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Fiddled w/ odds n ends today. (True story: I once met, many years ago, an old woman who told me that she and her late husband were both doctors; she was a psychiatrist and he was a proctologist. She said he always wanted to hang out a sign that said: Doctors Smith: Odds & Ends.)

Anyway... I hung the mufflers:



Started cleaning and shining the crash bar. It needs more attention before it's ready to hang but I'm glad I remembered it has to be installed before the exhaust pipes.


Cleaned up the speedo/tach and put on the new rubber top trim rings:


And finally... while I was rooting around in one of the "cleaned and ready to go back on" boxes I came across the front fork reflectors that I had cleaned up. I wasn't sure I was going to put them back on but they cleaned up so nice that I might as well. (Mrs Ridesolo saw them and asked if I had bought new ones. It was very gratifying to say that I had just cleaned 'em up.)


I gave a list of tires to the local cycle shop guy to try and find for me. After lots of research I've decided to put vintage size tires, 3.25x19 & 4.00x18 rather than metric size, 100/90-19 & 120/80-18 on it. They fit better and have an appropriate profile for the vintage machine. The IRC GS-11, Dunlop Vintage K70, and Michelin Road Classic have decent rubber compounds with a vintage tread pattern. I could also go with the Bridgestone Battlax BT46 or Metzler SportTec Klassik that have a modern tread pattern, but I'm leaning toward the vintage. I had planned to run the tires I've got for a while but the front isn't holding air so I'll just move up the tire buy a little. (The tires on the original spoke wheels have a great tread pattern and lots of tread, too, but they're so old I don't think I'd even put them on a wheel barrow!)

@Hurco550 was over for a while and we worked out plans for the handlebars and bar-end mirror mounts. Of course we spent a good amount of time just flapping our jaws, it's always good to spend time with a friend!
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The crash guard is about ready to mount up. I'll keep my eyes open for a more compact set in the future but these are pretty good for now:


I hadn't paid much attention to the Fiamm horns until today. The mounting for both the horns and the relay, as well as the wiring at the relay, and then from the relay to the horns was pretty awful. I'm sure I can come up w/ something cleaner, more weather proof, more reliable, and professional looking. Before I get to that, though I've got to get the things into presentable shape. So far, about halfway there:


The little chrome grill things are cleaning up well and I think I can put some fine screen on the inside of them to keep out the sticks, stones, and spider nests I've been cleaning out of them.
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I did some trial fit-up w/ the horns on the crash bar. First I added a mount to the crash bar:



Then I mounted the horns onto the mount:


Then stuck everything into place to make sure it's all gunna' fit:


The horns are now cleaned and have a fresh coat of black paint. I found some thick vinyl screen to put in behind the grills to keep out the dirt, stones, & bugs. Once the paint is dry I can put them back together and put together the wiring for it all. I had considered putting the relay into some kind of small experimenter's box to mount up under there but I've now decided to mount the relay to the frame under the tank below the front brake MC. There should be enough protection for it under there.

On another front, @Hurco550 contacted me last night to say he'd finished up the bar-end mounts for the mirrors I got. Folks, the guy is an artist and I'm fortunate to call him a friend. More on that once the bars are mounted up.
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I've been out working some every day but haven't taken many pix. I work until the cold is too much for the old feet. Anyway, I've had to put much more time into the stupid horns than I thought I would but at least they'll be on there securely and work reliably.

Mounted and wired:


Hanging in place:


And the relay mounted on the frame:


Earlier this week I busted out the little HF rock tumbler and threw in the clamps that hold on the carbs and snorkels. I'm using crushed walnut shell, some ceramic tumbling pieces, and a dollop of Simichrome in each load. Wow, I wish I'd done it earlier!


They came out so nice:


that I did more:


I threw in one of the packages of SS hardware to see how it came out. Last time I checked I didn't see much difference so I'll leave them tumbling all night. I suppose I ought to change out the crushed walnut shell for new, I haven't changed it out in a long time.
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Wow! I wish I had seen your tumbler trick earlier. I've got the same tumbler and used sand and other grit on nuts and bolts. Next time I'll use your formula.
Wow! I wish I had seen your tumbler trick earlier. I've got the same tumbler and used sand and other grit on nuts and bolts. Next time I'll use your formula.
I read about that when I was learning about cleaning .380 & 9mm brass for reloading. There was some discussion about whether or not using Simichrome was a good idea with the chance of it effecting the gunpowder burn. There didn't seem to be a complete determination either way so I never tried it. Those shell casings sometimes required 48 hrs or more w/ just walnut shell and they came out just OK. I bought some of the ceramic media at HF and it was larger than I expected so instead of using it alone I mixed it w/ the walnut shell. As I was loading up the tumbler I remembered the Simichrome and squeezed in a dollop. I was totally surprised to have those clamps looking great in just a few hours.
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In an effort to compare, I put the contents of one of the hardware sets into the tumbler. I checked them a few hours later and there wasn't much difference so I put them back in and let the thing run for at least another 48 hours. This is how they came out:


And here's a pix of a set, straight out of the bag, that hasn't been tumbled:


To my eye there MAY be a little more shine to them, but I really don't see enough difference to make it worth the trouble. I did read about using stainless tumbling media and I guess it's very effective but I haven't gotten any to try and don't know if there would be enough improvement between polished and unpolished to be worth the trouble. Amazon has it for less than $20 for 2 to 2.5 lbs.

When this project is done I may take all the OEM fasteners I've removed and throw them into the tumbler for a clean up. Might be somebody on here, Vintage BMW Owners, or eBay who'd want them.
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There is a need for the older hardware. Twenty years ago I purchased a large container of metric hardware from a local MC salvage (now long gone). I've used stuff from it for the past twenty years and still have a few pieces left. I just found a similar group on EBay for $20 and two of the bolts shown list for over $15.00 on the Honda sites.
There is a need for the older hardware. Twenty years ago I purchased a large container of metric hardware from a local MC salvage (now long gone). I've used stuff from it for the past twenty years and still have a few pieces left. I just found a similar group on EBay for $20 and two of the bolts shown list for over $15.00 on the Honda sites.
Ha! That reminds me of my brother's move. My oldest brother, mentioned by me here in the past as "the Mad Scientist," moved from northern Washington to central Oregon a few years back and went through the process of cutting way back on "stuff." He had bins of hardware ad infinitum and sent me a bunch. He used one of those USPS Flat Rate boxes and filled it w/ stuff he thought I could use, mostly metric. My buddy at the post office wasn't thrilled about the 68lb box he had to get to me.
Not much going on, I had a couple days when I couldn't get out to the shop. I got some time today, but only after taking an 11 month old battery from my truck back to Walmart. The poor thing wasn't low or being difficult, it was just flat out dead and wouldn't even take a charge. Added a few bux and got the higher amp hour AGM. Then tried to help a friend w/ his computer but I wasn't much help. I worked w/ Windows based computers for a long time but about five years ago I went to Apple and now for me Windows might as well be Chinese! Anyway...

I took the shocks off and using a vice and some appropriately sized sockets pushed out the old bushings and replaced them w/ new. The originals were in better shape than I expected, but I know I won't regret switching them out.


The weather seems to be turning in the right direction so I feel like I'm going to be able to get it going pretty soon.

Ordered new shoes for it yesterday. I ended up going w/ the Dunlop Vintage K70s. I'm hoping they're a good choice; they're made with a vintage tread pattern but use modern rubber compounds and manufacturing processes. I've never been disappointed w/ Dunlop tires in the past, hope that continues. There were a couple other brands that would have worked but they aren't tubeless so Dunfloppies get the nod.

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On the left, after ~18 hours in the rock tumbler. crushed walnut shell, ceramic media, and a dollop of Simichrome.

On the right, cleaned up after several runs in the ultrasonic cleaner.

I quit working yesterday after much time attempting to get the exhaust system mounted properly. I had to find a bolt w/ a thin head for the bottom left shock mount for clearance of the muffler. That helped but things still weren't falling into place correctly. I won't say that I gave up in frustration but I certainly wasn't thrilled. After getting cleaned up, a walk w/ Mrs Ridesolo and the dogs, a good meal, and sitting w/ my feet up I realized the error of my ways. This morning things went together properly, first try, and I moved on to other tasks.

I fitted up the heat shields on the exhaust pipes and as I suspected I'm not sure about the black paint. The chrome on them wasn't going to clean up well, hence the paint. If I decide It can't stay I may look into having them powder coated.

Anyway... The carbs and exhaust are back in place and ready to go:



One interesting discovery I made is that the damper cylinder for the steering bumps against the top of the crash bar. I am using a different crash bar than the one that came on it, but they are identical so I'm puzzled. Anyway, I believe I've come up w/ a couple different fixes so I guess that's the next agenda item.
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Still waiting for the tires to come in but I did get a bottle of fork oil and got the fork tubes filled and sealed. After that it was time to fit up the handlebars. I fit up the bar-ends, trimmed the new grips, and got everything into place. We may narrow the bars down by an inch or two in the future, but other than that I think they're pretty nice. I'm pretty happy w/ the mirrors I found but I had to experiment a little to get them where they'd work well and not interfere with my hands. I may try turning the mounts so they point down to see how that works.



I changed the mount for the steering damper to fix the problem mentioned above. Done! Then it was time to do a trial fit of the S fairing that came w/ the purchase. It's not too bad but will take some adjustments, surprisingly the mounting hardware that came with it is going to require modification.


I spent more time on the fairing today. Things are temporarily bolted up to check the fit before I get everything set final. I'm still waiting for the tires to come in so I've got time to fiddle around w/ little details. The last task before attempting to get it to start is to get the oil pan off, check for anything bad in there, and replace the gasket. That's got to wait for tires, at least the front one, because the oil pan won't come off w/ the center stand down.

The S fairing looks pretty good on there:

I'm happy with it and very fortunate to have it. I've priced it and the mounting hardware and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have spent that kind of money. Surprisingly the kit of mounting hardware costs more than the fairing main piece! The whole shebang; fairing, windshield, inside dash piece, and mounting hardware = just under $1000 from B2V!
I'll lead w/ a couple of quotes today. Mrs Ridesolo always says that her husband has more patience than anyone else she knows. All I can say is "Good thing!" And @Hurco550 always says that the last 10% of the build takes 90% of the time. Yep. Talk about doing and redoing and fiddling and refiddling and messing and messing... It ended up that I got a couple things done but it sure took lots of time and patience.

It started with the task of putting the front brake cable back on. I had a second cable that came in the box of extra bits and it was in better shape and slightly shorter so I got it all cleaned up and lubricated. Then discovered that both end fittings; handlebar end and the adjustable end at the MC were in questionable condition. Vigorous application of a wire brush and some time in the tumbler got then cleaned up and workable. Then I discovered that the adjuster will not fit into the housing because of the clamp holding the MC to the frame. Remove the MC, which includes taking off the line to the caliper, reattach the clamp so it interferes less, brake line back on, clamp tightened, adjuster turned in, cable attached at the MC, fight w/ the handlebar end and finally remove the lever to get the cable into place on that end. Then discover that getting the rubber boot in place requires loosening the clamp for the MC, again.


Then I decide that since I'm right there messing w/ the right side hand grip I might as well put on the throttle cables... sure. Again, there was an extra pair of cables that are a bit shorter so I got them lubed up and ready to go.


Each cable required a few different attempts at routing before the optimal route was determined, each time having to disconnect from the carb and reroute and reconnect and try again. I believe things are finally good... at least until something else comes up!

More fiddling w/ the fairing today. It's finally set so I can get it off w/ just a couple bolts. I had read through the OEM installation instructions on a PDF a while back and thought the instructions were a bit picky/fiddly. Now I understand why. Getting the thing set up right is... well, frankly, picky/fiddly.

The BMW attachment of the windscreen is w/ some little black plastic expandable clips but I like using the SS button heads w/ SS and rubber washers. I suppose BMW purists would turn thumbs down, but I like 'em.


This one doesn't look too bad for its age and I think I'll be able to buff it up a bit more but I'd eventually like to put a tinted windscreen on it.
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