1972 BMW R75/5 Custom by Atlas Motorworks
“We wanted to have some dual-purpose characteristics on this build but I didn’t know how far we could take an old airhead, so I started looking to the GS series, pulling elements and parts that I could convert over. I really caught a lot heat from purists saying things like, ‘you’re chopping up a perfectly good /5?’ or 'you’re going to take G/S parts and put them on a /5? Why not just buy a G/S?’ All this purist talk had me jumping down the rabbit hole, digging up as much information as I could on the progression of the platform and how the heavy airhead went off-road to Dakar. I got to work after reading about Herbert Schek and the ISDT - paying homage to Schek’s prototype by keeping in mind some of the technologies available in that era.
“The journey of finding this bike was a bit of an adventure. The owner, Chuck Shirock and I had been scouring craigslist for a good donor for the project. We knew that we wanted a BMW airhead, since it was becoming the latest thing to build in the vintage custom world. I was really into the Japanese scene at the time and didn’t really know what I was looking at. So we reached out to close friend of ours Billy Nichols. He has always been a wealth of knowledge in the European market from Triumph’s to BMW’s. We got him on the hunt and after a couple of months of looking high and low, state to state, we finally settled on a R75/5 out of South Carolina. I decided to make a road trip of the 450 miles from Nashville to Cayce, SC and I figured I could make a 'test ride’ pit stop on some of the greatest roads the southeast has to offer - Cherohala Skyway, Tail of the Dragon just to name the big ones. It was a slow drive due to a storm front that followed me majority of the way and it was still raining when I finally arrived at the seller’s door. You always have this idea in your head of what or how this person will look like that you are buying a bike from, and I always wonder what kind of stories they might have. Marty Alexander was definitely one of the most adventurous guys I’ve met. He’s ridden from Los Angeles to Argentina, back to Los Angeles to Portland to Alaska and then Continental Divide - on a Sportster - with wife - on knobbies! It was really awesome to hear adventures of where his bikes have taken him. The next day, inspired by all this off-the-beaten-path talk, I planned to ride some beautiful back roads of the smokies. Passing Asheville, NC I was thinking of what I should do. All the famous roads were south of me and I was a little short on time. So I decided to phone a friend that used to live in the area. Yve Assad recommended a highway, 209, that she lived on growing up, nicknamed 'The Rattler.’ Located just outside of Hot Springs, NC, it twists and turns all the way to Lake Junaluska, NC. Traveling thru the Pisgah National forest and over the Great Smokey Mountains. Some of the most attention demanding but beautiful riding you will ever experience. There are over 234 twists, turns and curves from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs and another 30 from Hot Springs down to the Bobarosa Saloon - perfect place to test out this piece of German engineering. After getting back, we went over line items of basic maintenance to do and Chuck rode the bike for several months before we started chopping her up.”
-Art Arcinas @nashdash
Photos by Emilia Pare, Yve Assad, Art Arcinas & Various Internet Sources
For more photos and build details, visit: http://www.atlasmoto.com/bikes/#/1972bmwr75/5/