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  • Gareth Owens

MOT prep Day 1: Hans 1984 BMW R65



The first day of doing some real work on Hans. The aim is to get him up and running and through an MOT, nothing more. However, this is the first time we will have looked at him in earnest, had a prod round and got a feel for what he will need to 'just' get through his MOT. 


We know he was still MOT'd when the previous owner bought him, so he did run less than 2 years ago. That's the 'good' news.


The main engine oil looks good, so we check the gearbox oil and the bevel drive oil. Looks like one of the previous project owners had taken the cafe racer theme a little too far as cappuccino poured out of the gearbox, so both oils drained and topped up with fresh.


The next job was to fix the newly refurbished battery cage. Due to the fenders (that we want to keep), we soon realise that the cage won't fit the right way round. A reverse method, using the original holes at the back and a new bolt at the bottom luckily works out. It won't win any beauty prizes, but it will do for now and hopefully in a rebuild we can find a smaller battery that we can hide more easily.

Battery in, we were keen to see if it actually works. The previous owner had told us there was life in it, but on the trickle charger overnight, it still was showing as 'bulk-charging'. The satisfaction of seeing the lights come on was huge and quite emotional - Hans is alive!


With the excitement of the battery working, we decide to try and fire him up as the last task of the day. Matt, the mechanic at OMC, decides that this is best done outside - then any rubbish that comes out the back of the bike can be outside rather than in the garage.


So after testing the engine compression we rig a Heath Robinson pipe and cups contraption to pour petrol into Hans and wait for the big moment. 

The good news is that the starter motor works, the engine turns over, but the bad news is that it doesn't fire up. The worst news is that the carbs are full of gunk. Another job to add to the list.


So our real last task of the day ends up being cleaning the carburettors. One each for Gareth & I and one can of carb cleaner each. The Haynes Manual pays for itself as we dismantle first one and then the other and fortunately remember how to put them back together. The manual covers a wide span of years and models of the R series airheads and though the pictures aren't as clear as later guides, we do get there.


A tough note to end on, but some real positives - the battery works, the starter motor works and the carbs are clean.


Looks like the newly cleaned tank will need to sit it out for a little while longer. Maybe we'll fire the bike up next weekend?