On the shortest day of the year, as the sun set in the middle of the afternoon, I found myself driving into the country to help Jeff the motorcycle Jedi lift the engine out of his BMW airhead cafe racer project.
Since it came out of the shed it had been hibernating in for over a decade, the old R90 has been stripped down to its bits and pieces. Jeff is going to get the frame powder coated which was why I was there to help get that big air cooled lump out.
A BMW R90 stripped down to its component parts emphasizes just what a simple and elegant machine this is. We were both able to easily lift the boxer engine out of the frame. I doubt it weighed much more than a hundred pounds. Even with all the pieces laid out on tables, the BMW seems to be made of less parts than you’d need to put together a working motorcycle, let alone a touring model.
So far the only new piece purchased is the cafe racer seat in the photo. Jeff intends to take a sawzall to the frame over the holiday break and then industrially clean all of the components before reassembling the cafe resurrected R90.
With the parts laid out it doesn’t look like there’s enough there to build a motorbike. The R90 is an elegantly simple machine.