The fellow that built the bike (he with the black beard in the 1st picture) made the conversion just for the sake of doing it. It is a VW engine that has some internal modifications. Many of the parts were purchased on eBay; the most recent being the Honda final drive. He bought the FD for $1 and paid around $70 in shipping. The other fellow in the picture is the rider of the rig behind the VW conversion. He's Kurt Schreiber from Wasilla and was up for the day visiting George Rahn in Fairbanks. Kurt and George have over 100 years of working on BMWs between them. Both still ride regularly even though they are well into their 70ÔÇÖs. It is fun to sit and listen over a cup of coffee while they debate things such as the merits of the kick starter of one Beemer compared to one on another vintage of Beemer. Wish we could capture all the knowledge they have amassed.
Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost
I can think of one thing right away; VW engines are everywhere.
Originally Posted by john1691
My wife used to be really into the VW thing, and the best thing about it was that parts were easy to find and cheap (new or used). She could even get a remanufactured engine delivered to her door for less than $700.
I understand the only thing the bike gains by swapping in one of these engines is weight.
However, the owner can ride anywhere in the western hemisphere without worrying about finding parts, or people familiar with the engine, if he needs them.
Thanks Kevin, for "the rest of the story".
True. But the ol' boxer motorcycle engines are not that much different. So, the engine would be familiar to a VW mechanic, which is how Matt Parkhouse got involved in BMW bikes; via VW's. Of course the parts availability is a separate issue.
Originally Posted by 108625
A thanks from me too Kevin. Great background!
Last edited by jamesdunn; 09-28-2009 at 12:31 AM.
Heartbeat of my R100GS
Fantastic what these guys did! I wish BMW Motorrad engineers/marketing had this kind of "ingenuity" and flexibility. Look how far Honda got with this idea...4-6-cyl boxer.
Hey, man! I think it's cool.
Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti
I guess he wins.. this round!
I first thought maybe a Subaru.
Looks like fun!
Say what you will, but that looks like one heavy duty motorcycle. Definitely an industrial strength sidecar tug.
I believe that the VW engine had much more hot rod potential than the airhead due to many aftermarket "hop up" parts being available and reasonably priced. The VW was something like 1200 to 1300 cc's vs 600 for the boxer indicating to me at least greater power could be found.
Most of the later VW engines were 40 hp (from about '65 or so). I saw a few of these conversions in the late 60's.
I like it! ...and as someone already said, hey, he's out there riding it. A lot!
Then again, to some "purists", I'm not riding a REAL BMW either
Heck, for that matter my wife's BMW came from the factory with an engine built by another maker in it.
If that is a VW engine wouldn't he have to have a cooling fan. Showing my ignorance here.
Rpbump USN RET CPO
The only ignorant question is the one that's never asked.
Originally Posted by secondroy
VW engines use the fan and shrouding to circulate cooling air around an engine that's stuck beneath and behind all that automotive body work. The shroud also works as a plenum to gather that warm air and used it for the so called "heater" and "defroster" (both of these functions work best in summer, and are useless in winter).
In a bike, the engine would get plenty of airflow around it without that help, just like an airhead, or any other air-cooled bike engine (except Buells).
Heres a project VMW for sale in the DFW area today...
Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:07 PM.
My uncle built one of those back in the early 70s. It was a pretty popular conversion at the time. The engine was almost a drop-in for the frame. Very little mod work had to be done to get it to fit...Only problem is that they had a tendency to backfire thru the carbs...made for a lot of fun at stoplights...