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Bike Profile - Posted 3rd December-ish 2010

BMW K75RT Part 3
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Steve MacGregor transforms his ex-Police BMW 750 into a civilian model and takes it for an MoT...

When bought, my ex-police BMW K75 came with a single seat, giant top box and tiny panniers. The plan was always to return it to civilian spec with a dual seat and a set of BMW panniers.

Before starting a job like this, I like to get all the bits together so my first step was to browse eBay. I was quickly able to find a seat cowl (in blue but complete with rack) and a dual seat (in grey) at very reasonable prices. Most K stuff is interchangeable between the K100 and K75 and there does seem to be a good supply of second-hand stuff available.

Panniers were more difficult to find. There were a number of BMW 'city' panniers available, but these are rather narrow and I really wanted the full size 'touring' panniers. When touring panniers did come up for sale they tended to attract frenzied bidding, probably a testament to the continuing popularity of these bikes. However, I did have in the shed an old pair of Krauser panniers from an R100, so I decided to start work in the hope that these could later be modified to fit.

That'd do for me. RM. Dual seat and cowl test fitted

First step was to remove the police equipment. This was straightforward though many of the fasteners used had corroded to the point that they had to be cut or drilled. This was in contrast to the original BMW fasteners which seemed to have resisted the elements well. To my delight it quickly became obvious that the police equipment used the original mounting points - nothing had been cut or permanently altered.

So fitting the dual seat and seat cowl couldn't have been easier - they fixed straight on to the original mounting points. Even reconnecting the dreaded electrics was simply a case of plugging in one multi-block connector. Joy! And the bike looked so much better without acres of ironmongery and plastic on the back.

Hmmmm... Perhaps you're right after all... Cowl painted, new badges added

I then removed and repainted the seat cowl and added new badges. I rubbed the cowl back to plastic before spraying, starting with a coat of plastic primer. I also did the same with the sidepanels and front mudguard. At the same time I removed the fairing (not as difficult as I had thought), repaired the various cracks with fibreglass and repainted it. One thing that struck me during this work was the weight and solidity of the plastics. I don't know if this is common to all modern BMWs, but the plastic components on this bike seem much thicker, heavier and stronger than Japanese equivalents. I also spent some time replacing rusty fasteners and on one or two other small jobs like de-rusting and painting the exhaust heatshield and battery box.

Once all this was complete, I considered what to do with the seat. Although it had seemed black in the photograph on eBay, when it arrived it was pale grey. This looked odd with the white bodywork and I decided to paint it. Past experience with painting vinyl seats has not been good. Generally paints and dyes crack or fade or both. After rooting around on the Net I found a product called VHT spray vinyl dye, which I bought from Frost. It's an American product and the can is plastered with dire warnings about the terrible things that will happen to you if you inadvertently breathe the stuff. So it must be good. I haven't used it before but I have to say that I'm very pleased with the result. The finish is even and nicely glossy and so far hasn't faded or cracked at all.

Please hold your breath when looking at this photo... Seat painted

Finally, the panniers. The police panniers had been mounted on mild steel frames. These looked much too fragile to support the weight of large panniers, so I decided to go with proper BMW K pannier mounts. I found a set without difficulty on eBay and fitted them. (To my surprise, they were plastic, which is apparently normal for this bike.) However it was immediately obvious that the Krauser panniers weren't going to fit on the K mounts, so I went back to e-bay. Fortunately winter was now upon us, interest in motorcycle stuff had waned and I was able to find a pair of BMW touring panniers at a very good price. These were fitted, along with a top box of more reasonable proportions and the job was done.

Looking good. Looking ready for a ride... Seat and cowl fitted and painted. Panniers fitted. Flaky paint and cracked fairing gone.

Overall, returning the bike to civilian spec was much easier than I had expected. All the original mounting points were intact, and the parts I bought on eBay fixed straight on. This was assisted by the fact that there were very few changes to the K75 during its production life, so most bodywork will fit on most bikes. I was also able to sell on the police stuff on e-bay and recoup most of what I had spent. I love it when a plan comes together!

Finally, I gave the bike a service. Nothing complicated provided that you remember to order the special tool required to remove the oil filter and have the twelve inch, double jointed thumbs required to replace the air filter. Actually, I'm kidding about the thumbs. It's easier just to remove the engine to get the new air filter in position. I also took the bike for an MOT at this point. After a short time the tester returned, looking rather grumpy. 'Typical old BMW' he muttered darkly, 'Bloody nothing wrong with it. Put me out of business!' That'll be a pass then.

Ready for a ride? Ah... Now if it would just stop snowing…
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And that's it, ready to ride off into the sunset. Except that now the fuel injection is sorted, I'm aware of a niggly misfire just off idle. But that can't be too difficult to fix, can it?


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