1970 R75/5, "5LA5H"

Acquired November 2004
Starting miles 65,284
Current miles 70,400

This bike is SO cool.

In September of 1969 BMW launched the /5 series, which were the first of the modern Airheads. The BMW world was in chaos because the pushrods were below the crankshaft for the first time. The R60/5 was the most popular, but the R75/5 was the most powerful and was the only one in the series to use the CV carburettor. Although the /5 looks like an antique, it is very similar to the Airheads produced in the 1990s and is a thoroughly viable everyday rider or tourer.

Production started in August and this particular one was made in November 1969. It has the typical large tank and short wheelbase from that year.

Condition at time of purchase was medium. It had been ridden less than 1000 miles in the previous six years. Carbs were gummed up badly, exhaust valve clearance was nonexistent, and the shifter return spring was broken. The transmission oil showed slivers of metal that were probably from overuse of the kickstart (the kicker shaft was also mushroomed where the cotter pin goes) and when the flange nut was removed, the drive flange came off by hand. The centerstand is worn and the sidestand is missing. There is some light rust on the frame. On the bright side, the tank lining looks great and the emblems are intact. All of the instruments and controls work, and the engine starts and runs very well (after a carb overhaul).

Early models like this one lacked fuses and a turn signal indicator on the instrument panel, and all /5 models had only a 140W alternator. 260W alternators from the early /6 series can be fitted, though. The original carbs (64/32/1 and /2) were already upgraded to the /9 and /10 carbs, which was basically a required upgrade for these early bikes. The mufflers were replaced with /6 mufflers, which is very common as the /5 mufflers are NLA.

It is an extremely pleasant motorcycle to ride. Very smooth above 3000 RPM, and very quiet. The speedometer seems to be very accurate and the sweet spot, on back roads, is between 70 and 75 MPH (it really feels like 50). Top speed is listed at about 105mph.

Slash 5

Also check out its stablemate, my race bike.