Another week, another build from our friends at Hookie, and trust us this one is the best yet!
Introduced in 1969, the 745cc R75/5 was the biggest motorcycle in BMW’s new line of /5 models. Often considered more evolutionary than revolutionary, the new /5s were actually both! While they retained BMW’s traditional boxer engine configuration (so named because the pistons of the horizontally opposed twin appear to “box” each other as the crankshaft spins) and shaft final drive; the /5's were significantly improved over their earlier brother. But enough chat... how does it ride?
If you’re new to the R75/5 riding experience, you’re in for a treat! Unlike some bikes of their era, they require very little to get moving. Beyond the odd ignition key (it’s more of a nail with ridges than a key), starting an R75/5 is fuss free. While it took a few minutes to warm to a smooth idle, our bike would pull away cleanly after a half minute or so, choke off. Moving off is drama free, thanks to a relatively light clutch with a nice, linear feed. Our bike shifted quietly into first. While this action is typically accompanied by a loud “plonk” on most /5's, the other three gears live up to expectations, each shift requiring a firm lift on the lever that’s rewarded with a solid thunk of engagement.
It’s clear when shifting through the gears and getting up to speed that this is a bike that prefers a leisurely pace. The drive shaft exerts considerable effect on the suspension, the bike lifting with each burst of acceleration, then dropping between shifts. Keeping the engine on boil and rushing the shifts helps a little, but the bike feels much happier if you let it work through its gyrations, gently rolling the throttle off and on. It quickly becomes very familiar — and quite soothing!
(All images c/o Hookie Co & David Ohl)