BMW R75/5 Cafe’
In the early 70’s the Honda CB750 and the Mighty Z1 from Kawasaki were truly dominating the sportbike world (a term that really hadn’t been coined at the time).Triumph had the Trident;BSA the Rocket 3; Suzuki,the GT750. European bikes were there but not dominant. Enter the BMW R75/5.
THe R75/5 was relatively light at 463 lbs, finally came with 12volt electrics (those actually showed up a bit earlier but was now standard), had both electric and kick starter (the gentlemans kick starter, you actually stand next to the bike not straddling it, and simply push down the starter lever. Smooth, easy and very gentlemanly.
Most of my riding friends nowadays have Airhead BMW’s, I have one as well. And, most of them ride /5 BMW’s. They are reliable, classic looking, good handling and as compared to the CB750, which was what they (BMW) were after. The /5 series less sophisticated but in many respects more soulful than it’s Japanese counterpart.
I found this 1975 R75/5 semi Cafe on ebay and loved it instantly. My friend Bill Stermer of Rider Magazine, has one very similar to this one. THe Hannigan fairing is a beautiful design. It is amazing how much this fairing, racy as it may appear, makes a long ride more comfortable. Krauser bags because a /5 is designed for traveling,new shocks, Dyna electronic ignition (which I really need to put on my R90S…) rebuilt Bing carbs, a Corbin seat and new tires. This bike has only 27K miles…barely broken in by BMW standards.
For BMW, the R75/5 was truly a landmark motorcycle. Yeah, it was more expensive than it’s Japanese competitors but it had and still has, a feeling and sound that makes you feel like you are riding a motorcycle not a sewing machine on wheels. It may top out at 110 MPH, a few short of the CB750, but the feeling of those two big pistons pushing you along with a vibration that can’t be described until you feel it yourself, the clacking of the valves opening and closing, the distinctive exhaust note that only an Airhead BMW can give, truly magical.
This is a great motorcycle and a really good value…this is really a fly and buy motorcycle. Click on the pictures below for more info.