The Crossroads

December 23, 2015  •  2 Comments

The Life and Times of Leiser Blitz, a 1977 BMW R100RS          (Part#2)

(previous  Part#1)  Resurrecting Forty


- The Crossroads -

  • Last month (Dec 2014) or so was spent tearing the bike down.  There have been no "real" surprises so far.  Found most bearings in transmission to be quite worn, the final drive splines are about 50% gone.  Right side exhaust was hard to remove, everything pertaining to the right side of the motor has been a bit more difficult than the left.


  • Keep "original" or "restore"?  Or something in between?  As we continue to disassemble and remove components from the bike, it's clear the frame is in need of paint here and there.  Contemplating " rattle-canning" it where needed. So, as soon as parts of the frame get painted, the bike is no longer original - the value diminishes. I am not concerned about the bikes' "value", I will never re-coup what we have put into this project financially and equally important, how much time we invested into this (esp. RJ). More than likely this bike will not ever be for sale (I have not even ridden it, no idea I will even like it).  Still, we are building this bike for "me", not for future resale, so even though keeping it mostly stock (or easily reversible), it will not be 100% original, and I am absolutely OK with that. So, frame, sub-frame, center stand, battery box, are being shipped off to Gettysburg to get powder coated.  Missing from the image are the stock and '81 swingarm we will use on the build.

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- The Build Continues -

So while items are being powder coated, we began working on various other components and tore down the motor. Our friend Dan King re-built the forks for us, and helped us quite a bit with the initial engine part inspection, clean-up, "light" cylinder wall honing, piston ring replacement, etc.

  • Inspected timing chain (original, no masterlink), well within spec, looks fantastic, rubber on timing chain tensioner is barely worn
  • Inspected and found 2 cracks on frame near rider footpegs.  Welded to reinforce frame section
  • Rebuilt front forks (Dan King) - 2 hole setup for stiffer dampening with BMW spec oil grade - new fork seals
  • Powder coated frame, sub-frame, center stand, swingarm and modified battery box
  • Remachined final drive gear by Randy Long (worn about 50%)
  • Honed cylinders to remove light surface rust (esp. right cylinder)
  • Cleaned pistons, replaced piston rings
  • Head Work by Randy Long, replaced valve guides, bead blasted heads
  • New rocker arm shims
  • Reinstalled motor core into frame
  • installed front forks (with lower steering yoke)
  • Installed Centerstand with additional bracing (looks so cool)
  • Installed Diode Board with mounting improvement (hopefully eliminating getting into Starter compartment)
  • Installed Starter, modified breather valve cover
  • Reinstalled fork lock
  • Welded and strengthened fairing brace, vinyl protection applied between brace and steering head  
  • Cleaned, sanded, fixed, and painted new "old (1977)" replacement side covers, new 1000cc decals applied
  • Repainted rear fender
  • Re-installed driveshaft (new bearings) into 1981 swingarm
  • Installed 1981 swingarm (a bit beefier)
  • Kinda cool: Previous Owner bought the bike at Miller's Cycle Shop, Palmerton PA, according to a decal on one of the sidecovers.  Since I am freshening up the covers, I called R&D (formerly Miller's) Cycle Shop, spoke with Dave, he will send me a couple of decals which very much look like the Miller decals ....  How cool ....  Look them up, or call Dave @ 610-826-2319
  • Diode Board mounting improvement (hopefully eliminating getting into Starter compartment)
  • Cleaned, repainted Briel Oil Cooler, oil pickup (modified with aluminum bushing), oil pan (new gaskets where necessary)
  • Re-installed subframe
  • New wheel bearings, grease - cleaned orig. spoke pinstripe wheels, mounted both after getting inner tubes and new tires.  
  • Switched stock black grab rail with chromed version (just because I wanted to)


  • Here is a picture of a re-furbished final drive that Lew had shipped off to be re-machined.  I will probably have to do the same ($180 incl. shipping)

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  • Below pictures of the original side covers, I will probably moth ball these originals and then freshen up some new ones. Would be cool to somehow duplicate these decals - food for thought


  • So I get on the Intertubes and search for "Miller's Cycle Shop, Palmerton PA" and sure as heck, R & D Power Sports pops up, they even retained the same phone number.  So I called them.  Give my Spiel that I am restoring a bike which has a decal of Miller's Cycle Shop, and if there was anyway that they still might have some old ones laying around.  The person I spoke with replies: "I don't think we have any old ones laying around, but ours are almost identical in color and size."  I politely asked if he would mail me a couple of them (I offered to pay which was declined), and about a week later I had a couple of very similar decals in my mailbox.  How cool!  I will have to visit this shop sometime.


  • Later I also sourced the AMA Theft Reward Decal ($200) in just about pristine condition ... so I had to get that as well.

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  • Plenty of vices hard at work!


  • This bin of BMW random nuts, washers and bolts came in so handy on so many occasions, thank you Lew for providing that invaluable resource.

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  • Yeah, I think that gear got a few nibbles on it.

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  • Ok I'm sorry, but THAT is just disgusting ...  what in the heck is this?


  • Great shot here (sadly terribly out of focus) but still clearly shows the worn splines on the Final Drive. So after 61k miles, appear to be about 50% gone. Previous owner was known to ride pretty hard, 80k is probably as far as these can be safely pushed. (IMHO). I will have this shipped out and re-furbished, like Lew did with his in the pictures above.


  • For New Years we stopped wrenching early, had a good dinner and just hung out with cigars and a few cold beers. 

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  • And so 2015 arrives ... This year should be huge, planning on having this bike ready for the 41st annual Finger Lakes BMW rally where the previous owner will get to see "his" bike again.  We are having so much fun meeting up for these weekend builds.  RJ and Lew are often meeting up when I can't be there due to work or other conflicts. We have developed a cool dynamic, one of three brothers working together.  RJ being the oldest constantly having to keep Lew and I in check, as we are constantly goofing off, messing with each other all in good fun of course.


  • Found these side covers on eBay, date stamped as '76, so perfect vintage!  I will spruce these up a bit.


  • Moving on to take a look at the heart of this beast ....  the bike was parked since 1981, so we have no idea on it's running condition. 

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  • Nothing too surprising really, four years and 61000 hard miles will leave a mark somewhere!

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  • Stock heavy duty flywheel!  RJ and I had about a 2 second discussion of going with the lightened flywheel - 'Yeah. we're not doing that!" -LOL-  

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  • In conjunction with tearing down the motor, a good friend and airhead enthusiast Dan King re-built the forks for us.  

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  • Dan also helped us with some of the initial engine parts inspection, carbon build-up removal, "light" honing of the cylinder walls (rust removal), installation of new piston rings, etc.

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  • Gotta tend to the side covers a bit, as often with purchasing from eBay, items look a bit better than what you'd expected them to. It is what it is, certainly fixable. Used the Dremel tool to widen the cracks a bit, then used Marine Epoxy to fill it back in. 

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  • Low cost rattle can paint booth.  Lew was not pleased about my use of non-BMW approved paint. We joked around about this quite a bit, he always made sure to point out that he would NEVER have done it, had it been his bike.  I think it's hilarious and actually turned out looking nice.  

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  • Time to reassemble the swingarm.  RJ will also make his own tools to make life easier as it pertains to working on airheads.

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  • Upon RJ's recommendation we purchased a serviceable beefier swingarm (1981), had it (and the original) powdercoated with the remainder of parts we had shipped off.  

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  • Yummy, pepperoni left over from New Years neatly tucked away among the other bags of parts.  Time to begin putting some of the motor back together and set it into the frame.  RJ used anti-seize on just about every bolt and gasket on this bike.  I mean he used it religiously, not one bolt didn't get a bit of "Schmutz" on it.

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  • While RJ worked on the bike, Lew and I were often goofing off.  Yes, Lew licked my timing chain!

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  • We often referred to the various technical reference manuals for torque and misc other specs.  Rarely did we refer to it for "How does THIS go back together"? Lew and RJ are equally talented in that regard, they know these machines in and out!  What a resource to have!

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  • So: Whom do you know in the airhead riding community that has eaten a slice of day old pepperoni off of the timing chain bearing pulley?


  • Liberally applying Schmutz!




  • RJ diligently cleaned every square millimeter of this transmission!  It has gone through his sink and bathtub!

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Continue on to Part#3 - The Assembly



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I liked your post regarding journey. It was so nice to read. I loved this post, In total I could say this is a good share.
Looks great. Thanks for sharing all the fun.. Having the group makes a project like this go by so much faster. It's amazing..

Maybe post a few pictures of the completed bike up . Thanks for sharing the journey..
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