1972 BMW R75/5

We reached out to James Crowe of Crowe Customs based out of Portland, now BC, Canada. He built a beautiful and capable R80/7 adventure rig named the “Camper Special” that had a later model Suzuki DR650 conversion front end with a lot of other custom handmade parts that are amazing. He gave us direction on doing the same.

So, we followed suit on our R75/5 with the same swap - front end, upper and lower triple. We decided to use the stock DR650 front hub laced to a 19” DID polished rim. Originally we tried using the 21” to mimic the G/S but it looked like chopper because of the length of the forks. To balance out the beefy front end, we built a new sub frame in 1" tubing versus the thinner stock tubing and we ensured the alignment was right to bolt up to the stock mounts. We worked with Chris Coffey on the fabrication - all the fitting, bending, and welding - to ensure we had a sound rear end. Modifications were made to the left shock mount on the swing arm to line up with the new symmetrical sub frame. To get traction on the ground, we had Works Suspension build custom dual-rated billet rear shocks sprung for long distance with a passenger and any potential payload.

To stop this rig we had some challenges. We wanted to keep the aesthetics of the stock /5 forward controls, which are designed for a drum brake up front. Originally the plan was to use a /6 under-the-tank master cylinder, but that didn't happen because we had a /5 tank and there's no cut out for it in the tunnel. So we ended up 'snugly' mounting an R1 Yamaha rear master cylinder where the voltage regulator used to be mounted and did some custom cabling. Even when they were brand new, the charging system on these bikes was not the best, so we decided to upgrade to a Motorrad Elektrik charging system with a Shorai battery. This also helped power the PIAA 530 fog lamp and USB charger.

Chuck wanted a unique seat. Selvage denim and raw leather were the options we considered because we love how these materials fade and take shape over time to tell a story. We decided on the veg tanned leather and it’s just getting better and better with age. We had Kings Upholstery help us execute our design and Chris Coffey also helped out with our custom stainless exhaust work, aluminum skid plate, and battery box.

A lot of research and love went into this one. It was our first for a lot of things and we learned so much. Hope to have many more to come!

Photos by Emilia Paré, @emiliapare