Reviving a Classic BMW Motorcycle – Part 3

I introduced my 1975 BMW R60 motorcycle barn find in my first article, Reviving a Classic BMW Motorcycle – Part 1. In Reviving a Classic BMW Motorcycle – Part 2, I cleaned and installed the exhaust system and replaced the gas lines.

With the fuel system completed and silencers mounted, the next step was to focus on the electrical and mechanical items. First, I cleaned the battery cables and installed a new battery. The starter relay, which feeds power to the entire electrical system, was missing. I searched the internet and found the relay for a reasonable price at Euro MotoElectrics.

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The relay has eight connections for wires and there isn’t a clear diagram available to show the proper layout. I was able to identify where the majority of wires connected and figured out the rest. With this in place, the motorcycle should at least now turn over.

I turned on the ignition and pushed the starter button and only heard a click. Something was wrong. After playing with some of the starter relay connections I realized the problem had to be elsewhere. I removed the starter motor cover and discovered a starter wire was disconnected. After reconnecting, I hit the starter button and the motor started to turn.

New battery installed.

Next, I looked at the ignition system. Older BMW motorcycles have points for ignition. This is older technology and not as reliable as modern electronic ignition systems. I decided to modernize this one function of the bike so I wouldn’t have to adjust the points on the side of the road should there be a problem. I ordered a popular electronic ignition from Dynatek for $150.

Electronic Ignition installed on the front of the engine.

The installation is relatively straight forward. I removed the points and wires, installed the electronic ignition and wired it to the ignition coils, ground and mounted the unit on the frame. After installing the new ignition, I removed the old spark plugs that had been in the engine for over 30 years. I purchased new plugs and set them to a specified gap and installed.

Removing the spark plugs.

The lubricating systems had been sitting idle for decades with old oil. I drained the oil in the engine, transmission and rear drive then replaced the engine filter and put fresh oil in all the systems.

With the fuel and electric systems now complete the bike is ready to run. I installed the fuel tank with some gas and connected the gas lines. With the ignition on, I pushed the start button and BAM! The BMW fired off and started running.

With some slight adjustments to the ignition timing and carburetors the bike will be running perfectly for years to come…


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