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From the Owner
The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle

Scott Mercer’s 1978 BMW R100RS

1978 bmw

Rider: Scott Mercer, Beaver, Pennsylvania
Age: 57
Occupation: Marriage and family services
Current rides: 1976 BMW R90S, 1978 BMW R100RS, 2007 Kawasaki ZX-14

Scott's story: "As the owner of a 1976 BMW R90S, I had the privilege of attending a wonderful 40th anniversary celebration of the model in 2014 in eastern Pennsylvania. It was so successful that immediately a plan was hatched by the event organizers to hold another 40th anniversary event for the R100RS in three years' time. The man responsible for the design, Hans Muth, was at the R90S celebration and enjoyed it so much he committed to attending the next one in 2017. At the time I didn't own an RS, but upon my return home I set about remedying that situation. I reached out to the gang on the R90S Worldnet and expressed an interest in obtaining a 50,000-mile or less R100RS and asked if anyone out there knew where I could find one. I had my answer in less than a day. It seems there was this fellow who had a low-mileage RS for sale. He saw my plea and responded.

"Over the next several weeks a flurry of emails ensued. The bike was last registered in the late 1980s and hadn't been run in over 25 years. He had the original title in hand. It was started the previous year and ran acceptably before being winterized, but would need a thorough sorting. I was intrigued and asked for a little more information and a few pictures.

"What I got back had my jaw on the floor in a heartbeat: A 1978 R100RS Motorsport with only 17,566 original miles. I couldn't believe it was a Motorsport as only 200 of them were 'officially' imported into the United States as a limited edition model. I asked him if it was a repaint and he assured me it was original. I asked for the VIN number, and it fit in the Motorsport/ R100RS production series in 1978. The pictures were gorgeous.

"His asking price was less than the bike originally sold for! I wondered if this was too good to be true. Let's just say my timing is typically never so fortunate. I quickly attempted due diligence, but felt compelled to act and was told by other knowledgeable owners that, for the price, I needed to act quickly. Within the week I made an appointment to see it, deposit money in hand, unbeknownst to the owner. It was as described and photographed. Needless to say it is now taking up residence next to my 1976 R90S.

"Once in my possession I promptly took it to a BMW master mechanic and he performed the necessary maintenance and refurbishing to make her first-class roadworthy. I took her to the BMWMOA National Rally in 2016, where she took third place in the people's popular choice awards. I also took the Motorsport to the 40th anniversary R100RS rally in eastern Pennsylvania last summer. What a privilege for me to be a steward of such a fine piece of machinery! It is a treasure that will no doubt outlast me."

Bob Andren’s Green BMW R75/5

green bmw

Your featured metallic green BMW R75/5 followed by Mike Taint's letter and photo of his bike stirred my interest. I finished restoring my own R75/5 in the same color a couple of years ago (see picture) and my buddy in Las Vegas, Dave Kosinski, has restored one also. So they may not be as rare as you might think. Perfect for that St. Patrick's Day ride.

— Bob Andren/via email

More Green BMWs from the Past

green bmws

I don't know where my friend Ken Week's green BMW R75/5 is now, but he rode it until '77 or '78; it was the first BMW I ever rode. That's me on the left 42 years ago before I quit my job and rode from Salem, Oregon, to Key West, Florida, largely at Ken's urging. I bought my bike, an R60, from Reid, the guy in stripes who had to have an R90S, which he put a Windjammer on.

Ken and Reid were known for long day excursions, often 500-plus miles, on these bikes. I hope all the green /5's come out of the woodwork now.

— Ben Beckley/Sisters, Oregon

Lloyd Gloekler’s 1968 Moto Guzzi V7

moto guzzi

Great article on Paul Harrison's 1967 Moto Guzzi V7 (November/December 2017). The V7 has truly defined Moto Guzzi in the half century following the V7's introduction, and a tip of the hat to Paul for rescuing his from the trash bin of history within the crazy time frame he set for himself. The V7/V700 was produced for a very short time, replaced in 1969 with the heavier and bulkier 750cc Ambassador. It is nice to see another one of the early 700s on the road. I had the pleasure of showing my 1968 V7 (serial number 1526) at the Motorcycle Classics show during the 2016 Bonneville Grand Prix and can attest to the great ride these early V's afford. They are smooth, with a great rumble and an authoritative, not quick, but steady push from that big torque engine.

Lloyd "Michael" Gloekler/via email

Mike Taint’s Green BMW R75/5

green bmw

In a local bookstore here in Ohio, I saw this interesting-looking magazine called Motorcycle Classics, so I picked up a copy. Imagine my surprise when I saw the editor has the exact same bike as mine — the only other one I've ever even heard of!

Mike Taint/via email

That makes two of us, Mike, because I'd never seen another one either. BMW called the color simply Metallic Green, and apparently it wasn't very popular in the U.S. Glad you found us! — Ed.

Steve Anthes’ 1982 Honda Ascot

honda

Rider: Steve Anthes, Malo, Washington
Age: 68
Occupation: Retired media producer
Current rides: 1982 Honda FT500 Ascot, 1984 Honda Gold Wing GL1200 Standard, 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750

Steve's story: "I'm retired, with a lot of time on my hands and cautious not to drive the wife nuts, so every year I find a project bike on Craigslist and make it my winter project. After seven projects, I thought I was done with this phase of late-life crisis, so after finishing refurbishing and selling a 1971 Bultaco Matador, I started looking for a bike ready to ride. I was thinking of a Kawasaki KLR650, but changed my mind when I saw the headline of an ad for a '1982 Honda Ascot in mint condition.'

bultaco

"A couple of pictures from 10 feet out looked good to me, and the ad said 'in showroom condition.' Excited, I called the seller, who told me he wasn't into motorcycles and the Ascot had sat for 12 years in his garage. We all know how emotions and motorcycles make for irrational decisions, but I couldn't resist an '82 Ascot with 2,000 miles on the clock. I told the seller I wanted the bike, but I live six hours away. He had other lookers and if I wanted the bike I had to pay him up front. So I did something I've never done when buying a bike... a few clicks of the mouse on PayPal and the bike was mine.

"When I arrived at the seller's, the bike was parked in his driveway. I jumped out of my truck and checked out the bike... that I now owned. The plastic seat cowl was cracked down the middle. 'Hey, that's not mint' I said. 'Oh... didn't I tell you about that?' The tank had some chips, the back brake was locked on and the engine would only idle and died when I gave it throttle. That's not mint! But, I kept thinking: an '82 Ascot with 2,000 miles... you'll never find another. So I loaded her up and headed home.

"Once up on the rack I could see the bike had never been cleaned and was put away wet and dirty. The chain barely flexed and was caked with waxy chain lube. I split the chain, cleaned it and the sprockets and got to work on the brakes. The pistons in both calipers were frozen. I've done many brake rebuilds, but this was the worst. It took me days and copious amounts of liquid wrench, compressed air and yanking with pliers to free the last piston. I had to buy one new piston along with new seals and pads. I flushed the tank and sent the carb off for a complete rebuild to Mike Nixon at the Motorcycle Project. New gas and a rebuilt carb and the thumper was thumping.

"A week after I bought the Ascot I went under the knife for back surgery. This winter I'll strip the bike down to the frame and engine and go through the whole bike doing my three R's: repairing, replacing and refurbishing. Yes, emotions got the best of me buying this Ascot, but I don't regret it. Only made for two years, it's a classic vintage bike and I look forward to not hiding her, but riding her."

Jim Bottomley’s Honda NT650 Hawk

honda hawk

I loved the recent issue of Motorcycle Classics (January/February 2018). That nice Honda NT650 Hawk reminded me of one of my favorite rides. I turned my Hawk into a track bike and rode three dozen track days with it, although as I progressed I encountered persistent cooling problems, even with a Ninja radiator. After blowing it up twice, I sold it and moved to a Suzuki GSX-R600, which had stunning performance but lacked the Hawk's soul.

Jim Bottomley/via email