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Frickin laser beams

I spent most of Friday night playing around with a laser cutter. This is the best toy since the stick. Seriously.

Also, I am now the proud but slightly worried owner of this sidecar:



The price was very good, but it needs work. Fortunately all the parts that I'll need seem to be reasonably easy to come by. I think that I'll leave the boat looking ratty for now, it'll match the R50. The frame will need a lot of work though, and a new wheel.

Oh boy, I have another project. :P
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One year later...

One year after I bought the R50 it was once again in the driveway getting worked on:



I spent the day doing things like installing the carbs and electrics. Surprisingly the battery survived the long sleep with a full charge. I unwired it from the bike (previous owner had hard-wired it in) and cleaned up the connections a bit. While doing so the battery's fuse laid down it's life for the cause.

Click below for more pictures from yesterday. I'm so very pleased with how clean and shiny the engine is now.


There's still plenty to do, but I hope to try starting it in the next week or so. The only piece I don't have is a good rear brake shoe, so while I'll be able to start it I may not be able to ride it for a little while.
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A very long day...

...but at the end of it I once more own two motorcycles rather than one plus a pile of parts. It's even close not running yet but all the big pieces are together and I sat on it (and made vroom vroom noises) and rolled it out of the garage.

Pictures to follow.
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Brash consumerism

Saturday I met up with gordonmessmer, Morgan, cooncat and Grant at Ride West's parts and apparel swap. I didn't actually need any parts or apparel and had intended to just show up to hang out and eat BBQ brisket. Of course I ended up buying a bunch of stuff. The Haul:

  • 70's BMW manual by Clymer.

  • Busted up side case with a working locking mechanism to repair my case with a broken latch.

  • A pair of Craven Golden Arrow Panniers in remarkably good shape.

  • A Teknic 1 piece leather suit.

I wasn't sure about the Cravens until I talked to Kevin about them and he offered me a good deal on a rack that would attach them to the R50. They weren't my first choice mostly because I never thought that I'd be able to get a set so cheaply.

The suit was on the end of the rack where lots of people had been looking at it. It's labeled a '46 Euro' which I think confused people a bit. I'm a size 40, but it fits me great. It was a completely ridiculous deal. As far as I can tell it was something like 75% off retail price. I'm not sure what they cost originally since it's an old model and I can't find much info about it online. I have to say that I look pretty good in it.
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Epic Score!

I'm completely wiped out today due to getting paged late last night for a problem that took a while to clear up. I had intended on sleeping in but had promised a coworker that I'd give him a ride to work so that didn't work out.



In the long run however, it worked out very well. Being completely out of it I couldn't really focus on work so I ended up looking on craigslist for BMW stuff. Right at the top was a listing for 'BMW Carbs' for $75 so I had a look. They were listed as being for a '55 R50 so I dropped the seller an email and figured I might hear back. A few minutes later my phone rings and I get his address and head for Burien. Upon pulling into the driveway the guy looks a little familiar. Turns out I met him once at a VME meeting. Why do I remember him? Because he used to own my bike. Yes indeed, the carbs he had for sale were the carbs that were installed on my bike at the factory. Epic Score.

They are in remarkably good shape considering they were pulled and tossed onto a shelf 30 years ago. The only part missing is a slide return spring and the only non-rebuild part that needs help is one of the threaded rings that hold the top on. One odd thing is the red/white dust that came out when I opened things up. I'm not sure where that came from. The inside of the float bowls appears to have corroded a bit but is probably workable. Of course the floats are shot, one has even been patched with JB Weld.

Included with the carbs were an extra set of lever-tops for the carbs. This is extra great because I was on the look out of a set to replace the banged up set on the current carbs.


He also had a pair of bar end turn signals for $50 so I picked those up even though I'm not sure I want to use them. One is new and unused, the other used and in need of a lens. Since they are $90 each new I figured I couldn't really lose.

These are one of my favorite parts of the /2. I just love how they blend into the design so cleanly.
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Changing Gears...

Things didn't work out for me to get down to Olympia to crack open the transmission and deliver the vlave covers so I went ahead and shipped the covers and ordered the tools. They showed up on Wednesday and work a treat. gordonmessmer came over on Thursday and we pulled the transmission apart. All the gears look pretty darned good, including the kickstarter sector gear which frequently has bad wear on one end. I managed to knock out the seals but don't yet have the kickstart lever off. Once I get that done I'll take the casing to the local transmission shop for cleaning in their industrial wash.

Over the weekend I took a look at the rear brake shoes. I've got new brake compound for them so I drilled out the rivets and stripped off the old compound being careful to keep it went to prevent dust. Unfortunately what I found is really annoying. At some point in the past someone has replaced the brake compound but in doing so drilled out the holes that the rivets go through. Unfortunately this means that my rivets won't hold the new compound on. I've got a few options but I've not decided on which I want to use just yet. Ideally I'd get someone to weld up the holes so I could re-drill them to the right size.
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(no subject)

Friday was my birthday so I took the day off and had some fun. I decided to take a ride on my Rockster in my new Aerostich suit, visit some people and places and just generally do what I felt like. When I took off it was starting to rain a bit so I stopped in at Ride West to see if they had a rain fly for my tank bag (something I've put off buying.) They didn't have one in stock, but Omar had one that he'd snagged from the 'free' bin at the last parts swap and passed it along to me!

From there I headed down to Dauntless Motors which is out in the middle of farm country. I was given a full tour of the shop and got to see several sweet rigs. We discussed what I'm looking for and to my surprise that turns out to not be as pricey as I thought. Not cheap enough to do it now, but at least I have something to aim for.

After that I rode down to Brooks Motor Works where Kevin was pulling out the race bike to give it a spin. We didn't get it on the road but it did fire up after we poked and prodded it a bit. We then had a look at my cylinders.

I then rode north again stopping in at my parent's house for a while. My mom had made me cupcakes, so I ate 4 of them (what? they were small!) and then set them up with GMail and explained the use of the archive button. I had planned on going home via Vashon island and visiting a friend out there but unfortunately I ran short on time and had to jet home via I-5. I hadn't realized just how stiff my legs were until I stopped just off the freeway. Upon putting them down on the pavement (and circulation returning) I proceeded to yell inside my helmet. It was pretty therapeutic so I did it a few more times.

Julie and I then headed over to lisa and henry's for a party. It was awesome to see them again. After that we had a late night snack at Bilbao. I highly recommend the crispy potatoes.

It was a full day, but a good one.
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Where vintage engineering and modern material's science meet my checkbook...

I brought heads for the R50 to Kevin Brooks who went over what he could do for them. He's been doing some really interesting stuff with the engine on his "Bonita Rapide" 1955 R50. Most of the really interesting work has been done on the heads. He's lightened the valve train by 40% by replacing the valves with custom stainless steel valves with longer, thinner stems. The keepers are now made of titanium, and the springs have been lightened to suit. The results of this are less stress on the valve train and more room for air and fuel to get into the cylinder. It also looks so nice that it's a shame to cover it up. In theory I'll not only going have a more robust engine but I'll also have a bit more power too.

Next weekend I'll be heading down again. I'll be dropping off the valve covers for cleaning and I'll also be cracking open the transmission with Kevin's help. That's the last major component to be opened up. It really needs new seals and the bearings should be inspected.

In other news, the final drive is apparently on it's way back to me now. Things are really starting to come back together! Here's what's left to do:

  • new seals and bearings for the transmission
  • blast and paint the cylinders
  • re-line the rear brake shoes
  • bolt everything back together
  • profit? hah!