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Thread: Complete Restoration of BMW R75/5 into Cafe Racer

  1. #391

    Tail Light Mock-up with Rear Turn Signals

    Josh did some work on the tail light we are going to use and the rear turn signals, he chronicled this on his site:

    I have to say I really like the look, simple and clean. Would love to hear any input.


    PS: The brown cardboard box will not be included in the final build.
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    Last edited by balkowitsch; 02-13-2012 at 05:14 PM.

  2. #392
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    DeLand Florida

  3. #393

    I'd have to see that lamp mocked up on the bike but offhand, I'm not thrilled with it.

    In my way to thinking, since you've stripped off much of the "visual structure" of the machine, each and every piece thats left has to contribute more to the whole, supplying a sense of motion to the bike and forcing the eye to follow it's lines.

    If that lamp does it for you, go ahead. Me? I'd either keep looking or consider frenching a lamp into the seat hump. Now that would be cool! Come to think of it, I once saw a cafe seat hammered out by Evan Wilcox, that included a custom frenched-in tail light. It was beautiful!

    As an aside...

    If you intend to actually ride your bike, you might well consider converting those turn signals and the stop lamp to LEDs. I wouldn't trust anyone behind me to see that 40s/50s era stuff, no matter how kool it looks and you probably shouldn't either. All of my rear lighting has been either entirely converted or beefed up with LED lights and the bikes far more visible to cage drivers AND other riders.

    What are you going to use for a horn?
    Last edited by mymindsok; 02-15-2012 at 07:55 AM.

  4. #394
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Piedmont area of NC.
    Got to go with Mindsock on this one.
    A frenched in tail light would be much cooler than something that looks like a dagmar hanging off the back end.

    also , having been rear ended by a drunk make me prefer a lot of light on the rear.

    what you have is not by any stretch of the imagination poorly executed. i just like more light than less and damn the cafe' look

  5. #395
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    SW, MO
    Doesn't really do it for me either.

    IBA #44567 Pres. Springfield BMW Roadriders
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
    -Albert Eienstein

  6. #396


    Thanks guys for all the comments. The light in the cowl has been done a million times and looks too modern for my taste. What I love about this look is that it is unique and we are incorporating a light from another application into the bike, keeping with the Cafe mentality. I understand your concerns about safety and the turn signals are LED lights, but really if I was so worried about these issues that are out of my control, I would not drive a bike in the first place or let alone my Porsche because I have to tell you, it gives me no more safety tham a bike in many regards, it will crush like a tin can at any speed, I have looked at the James Dean crash photograph a million times, but I still get behind the wheel of my unsafe vehicle because it is about the love of the machine and if fate is going to have a hand in something, then I cannot control that outcome. The fact is that I could be killed in the Hummer that I drive to work every day or a drunk driver could run me over on one of my jogs. I will take the safety classes, wear a helmet, gloves and a jacket and do what I can to be safe. I have 3 children and a beautiful wife at home and I know how important I am to them, but I have to be honest, it is not going to stop me from taking a 30 minute cruise every week on my bike on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. I have worked too hard to be able to enjoy some of these finer "Guy" things in life, because remember, I would never in a million years believed I would be so fortunate to discuss and pull off such projects as these, I am truly blessed.

    I truly appreciate all of the comments and take them all to heart and very much appreciate you guys taking the time out of your day.


    PS: I think I will win you guys over with the final product, in fact I am sure of it.
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  7. #397
    John. jstrube's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Atwater, CA
    Shane, I like the light, very interesting & the oldness of it is killer. My brother used a very dim "guide" light on his Triumph bobber, it looked killer & gave off way less light that you will have. The places & the way you ride a bike like this is way different than more mainstream bikes, so you can get away with this I think. If you want more rear brake conspicuity, you could always take a very thin strip of LEDs, black even, wrap them around the bum-stop & use them as secondary brake lights. Put them on a hidden switch, when you feel you want them, flip the switch, when at a show, leave them off. Might be an idea...

  8. #398


    Thanks again for all of the suggestions and comments. I have no doubt the light is perfect for our project and we will have to wait to see after assembly. I have some more pictures to share in regards to handlebars this morning.


  9. #399

    Handlebars and Seat & Subframe

    Josh made some modification to the controls to get them to work with our new handlebars. He also had some holes welded shut on the subframe for the seat. He is mocking up the fiberglass seat pan and then it will be sent off to Autos International for our custom leather seat with heavy white stiching. Much work being done now, very excited to give updates so quickly. Josh is making the final push to get everything to powder coating. He also did a little tech note on the bars, click below:

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  10. #400


    Another shot of the seat pan from the side.
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  11. #401

    Josh Now a Member

    I am happy and proud to say that Josh Withers my builder is now a BMW Motorcycle Owners of America member. Welcome aboard Josh. This will be cool because now he can also post his comments and viewpoints to the thread as well.

    Look for more comprehensive updates to the thread now that Josh is going to join the party.


  12. #402
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Pismo Beach, CA
    I understand your concerns about safety and the turn signals are LED lights, but really if I was so worried about these issues that are out of my control, I would not drive a bike in the first place
    A few of those nit-picky little details, which are within your control ... and could be cited as infractions.

    Spacing: the "visible edge" of tail lights on motorcycles shall be no closer than 15" apart: (all the way at the bottom of the page; Table IV).

    Angle of visibility: Federal regulations require turn signals to be visible outboard from between 0?? - 45?? relative to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle; and inboard of 20??; e.g. the left turn signal must be visible from the right side of the motorcycle.

    See: III. Discussion and Analysis, 1. Issue Regarding Harmonization of FMVSS No. 108 With ECE Regulation
    No. 53 (ECE R53) for Vehicles With Less Than 4 Wheels

    Specifically for motorcycles, prior to the compliance date specified by the August 2004 final rule, turn signals lamps are required to be visible through a horizontal angle starting at 0 degrees inboard (directly in front of the lamp) and continuing to 45 degrees outboard.

    The final rule added a vertical component to the field of visibility and increased the horizontal angle to 45 degrees inboard and 45 degrees (area option) or 80 degrees (intensity option) outboard depending on the choice of visibility options. MIC's petition for reconsideration requested that, for motorcycles, the inboard horizontal angle match the requirements in ECE R53, which is 20 degrees inboard.

    Note: MIC = Motorcycle Industry Council
    But to hell with "the law", it looks like you intend to locate the turn signal(s) where it precludes anyone on the right side of you, for example, from seeing your left turn signal, and vice-versa. Probably not a good thing.

    I've always ridden by old motorcyclist's golden rule of "ride like you are invisible"; but I don't think I'd care to tempt fate any more than necessary. With the single exception of the State of Indiana, "the Law" doesn't even require turn signals if a motorcycle was manufactured after 1973 (1956 in the Hoosier State), so if they're not visible, and doing any good, why even put them on?

    Just my $.02
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

  13. #403

    Cite Away

    I am ready to pay any fines the great State of North Dakota cares to hand out. We may forget the turn signals and go old school and just use my arms to signal turning, not sure yet, but regardless, the bike will be back on the road where it belongs and it will be in better condition than I found it.


  14. #404

    1927 BMW R42 with No Lights, What a Deathtrap!

    I bet this guy is really worried about the light angle on this bike, oh, that is right, this bike does not have lights or turn signals for that matter. 85 years, still on the road and from the looks of it never in any sort of major accident. Against all odds to survive this long without modern day safety equipment. Fact is there are tens of thousands of vintage bikes on the road that do not have modern safety equipment or indicators. Always two ends of the spectrum, my bike just happens to fall right in the middle of both extremes. We have another option, I could have sidebags installed on the bike and fill them with road flares, and as I drive down the road I can drop them behind me as I go down the road to make sure everyone knows I am in front of them? Hope you can appreciate my sense of humor.

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  15. #405

    Other End of the Spectrum

    I think it is only fair that both sides of the story are shared, here is a bike with a Christmas tree mounted on the back of the bike with reflectors and some sort of beacon system. The problem with this look is that you could actually have airplanes accidently land in your adjacent lane thinking your bike is a runway, another risk factor to think about.

    Thanks again for humoring my this afternoon,
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