I often hear about the motorcycle “I should have never sold” and the sad stories of love lost and years of regret. So when Weston Boege of Counter Balance Cycles sent me the story of a BMW, purchased and loved, then sold and yearned after until it finally made its way back home, I knew it was a story worth sharing. What made the story even better was to then learn that the 1975 BMW R60/5 was passed down a generation within a family before Weston was given the opportunity to give it a new lease on life. Here’s how it played out…
The BMW, which belongs to a friend of Weston, was originally introduced into the family by his ‘Uncle Lou’ and what better way to start this story than with Lou’s history with the bike…
“I found it in an ad in the Philly Inquirer. The owner was a custom furniture builder who ran the Kizer Neimon gallery. His name was Bruce Kizer and at the time he had a warehouse full of old BMWs. We drove there to pick it up in 1993 and I went on to ride the bike to work for 7 years. In a moment of weakness, I sold the bike to the owner of a local auto restoration garage. He had been pressuring me to sell it to him and I buckled, but I stipulated that I be given first right if he ever resold. In the 5 or 6 years following, I rode my other bikes until I eventually placed an ad of my own in the paper to sell two of the bikes. The Norton sold first, then the Harley. It had been over half a decade and I was still regretting selling the Beemer a lot. Then, no more than a week later, Sandy the auto restorer called and asked if I wished to buy my old BMW back. My response? Hell yes! I shipped the BMW back home again in 2006. I was a happy man until I eventually sold/gave it to my nephew and miss it once again, but it’s in a good home and it’s still in the family.”
When the bike came to Weston its new owner wanted to keep some of the bikes stock components to retain its classic feel. He aimed to pay homage to old and new Euro bike design especially with the color scheme and wanted tasteful changes that weren’t irreversible. So the build took place over one of New England’s long winters. “I started by removing the seat and fender.” says Weston. “A rear hoop was added to the bolt on subframe and a new cafe racer style rear cowl added.”
For the cowl the owner wasn’t interested in having any plastic or fiberglass on the bike, so Weston put together cardboard templates before cut each piece from steel. Using the hammers and “crude tools” in his workshop he rolled the plate into shape and even cut, welded and meticulously smoothed out a recess to house the BMW emblem. “I’m really proud of how it turned out. It tested everything I’ve learned about this craft, from my design and fabrication skills to my welding and paint abilities.”
In keeping with the old/new Euro theme Weston formulated a two-tone paint scheme of Audi Nimbus Grey, a modern interpretation of the classic German grey, and antique white for the pinstriping. The paint was then applied to the bikes frame, rear cowl, headlight bucket and new tank before reattaching the original chrome side panels and badges. The custom made seat was finished in red BMW leather with the help of his recently appointed shop assistant (and girlfriend) Lisa and the bulky stock indicators were swapped out for bullet style units. Next, a set of stainless steel 304 reverse megaphone mufflers were fit to the stock header pipes along with pod filters being mounted to the carbs. For a less aggressive Cafe Racer riding position clubman bars were attached to the original handlebar mounts and a set of bar end mirrors finish them off.
An industrial designer by trade Weston grew up riding dirt bikes and BMX. Around 10 years ago his finances enabled him to purchase his first motorcycle project and soon afterward he was designing and fabricating parts for friends. Counter Balance Cycles formed organically during this time and he now plans to make it his full-time job, building a few bikes a year and producing parts in between. If he keeps creating bikes as good looking as this, we’re pretty confident he’ll soon be achieving that goal.