Thanksgiving break was a very productive few days this year. While rummaging around in my parts looking for an armrest for the 914, I came across a grabrail still in plastic, but with no identifying info or markings. I had previously looked at one on ebay that was in the phillipines and decided against it. I took it out to the garage and it lined up perfectly with the bolts on the back of the Denfeld. I'm not sure what the actual application is or why I have it, but it is now mounted to the R50 for those rare occasions when a passenger is aboard.....
1965 BMW R50/2
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While at the MOA rally, I picked up a headlight protector ring from Matthew Parkhouse who is a longtime contributor to the BMW Owner's News. It made the journey back in one piece, and I finally got around to installing it on the bike. Unlike the tail light protector, this was a five minute job. Since I had to loosen the headlight nacelle anyway, I took the opportunity to solder some wires from a previous owner's repair that were being held together with electrical tape. Although it might have worked well for the next decade, I feel much better now.
The horn button on the R50 is well used and so when the horn failed to work, it was the natural suspect. However, in the process of elimination, I removed the horn and discovered that it produced no noise. Opening it up, the diaphram seemed fine and the adjustment screw worked, but neither helped to produce any sound when manipulated. Applying 12V rather than 6V did not awaken anything either. Resigned to getting a new horn, I tried a few bike shops and then ordered one online from Hucky's . When it arrived I discovered that it had more modern blade terminals rather than the post terminals of the original, so I had to convert the wiring ends to suit. However, once all done, the horn now bleats as it should. On a 45 year old bike with 27HP and cable operated drum brakes, the horn is a significant safety device !!
When you are working with twenty-six (26) horsepower, you really need to minimize any loss of power. In the case of the R50, the bike was louder than it should be with the new mufflers. It turns out that it was losing exhaust right where the exhaust headers met the cylinders. I had a pair of gaskets, but did not have the exhaust collar tool. This is maddening, because you really can't use another tool without defacing the collar. I have seen a few of these where someone took a hammer and chisel to the collar and created an ugly mess and an unusable collar. I ordered a tool and patiently waited to tackle the job. The gaskets were thin, and the collar on one side was not on all the way. No wonder it was a little loud. Armed with the right tool, it took five minutes to tighten things up and get back some of the missing 26 ponies....
The R50 is the perfect mount for a slow Sunday ride through the countryside. Mine arrived without the ability to cary a passenger. After rummaging around in books and on the web, I managed to find versions of a passenger seat that affixed to the fender rack. A Perfect solution since most of the time, the bike would be ridden solo. I sourced a rack and then set out to find a "breadloaf" seat. These things seem to be pretty rare, and pricey as well. I didn't want to spend much coin on a seldom used solution, so more web searching was in order. I found a replica out of the Philippines, and a converted scooter version no longer made. I opted for the scooter version, and may go for the real thing down the road if I can find one used. It looks ok to me, and it does the trick for a temporary ride with a light passenger ;-)
On the R50, your tail light sticks out the rear of the bike and invites two kinds of damage: (a) You back up into something, (b) You clip the tail light with something you are carrying or backing out in a garage tight on space, or (c) You flip up the fender to change a tire and dent the tail light housing on the rack or whatever is up on top. So a tail light guard is not just some way to add chrome and satisfy your inner v-twin cruiser, it is actually functional.
The application should be simple right ? No. The two side mounts replace the fender brace rivets, so they need to be drilled out. Carefully. Then you need to find out where the top of the guard mounts to the fender and afix it accordingly. My guard was not brand new, so it took a lot of persuading and measuring to get it just right.
While there is no doubt that the almost straight pipe mufflers on the bike made more sound than the sewing machine noises of the stock arrangement, they just did not look or sound right to me. Despite the paltry horsepower of this bike, it could make a more obnoxious noise than fit my taste. After searching around for a while and putting a wanted ad out there, the only responses were from folks who (a) had rusty pair that still had some life but looked bad, or (b) were looking for a pair themselves, or (c) had no pipes, but provided some good information on where to purchase. I ended up purchasing a crossover pipe and the mufflers from Hucky's, who I have purchased a few things from over the years.
The pipes looked great and really now show up the header pipes, which looked fine before ;-). Getting the crossover pipe off was an adventure. The torch came out to heat things up and a little penetrant was left to soak in. Even so, the old crossover eventually went into the vice and gave up its rusty figure for the cause. They new crossover and mufflers went on without issue, and once started, the bike now sounds beautiful if a lot more quiet. One surprise is how much exhaust escapes around the joint between header pipe and exhaust pipe. I will remove and reinstall them to apply some high temp gasket.