From the Owner
The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle

Peter Brunner’s 1953 BMW R25/3

Rider: Peter Brunner, Ashland, Oregon
Pushing 74, riding since 1964
1953 BMW R25/3, 1971 BMW R75/5, 2005 BMW R1200GS

BMW R25/3 

Peter Brunner's BMW heaven: An R25/3, R75/5 and an R1200GS. Photo by Peter Brunner

Peter’s story: “In 2013 I was looking for a winter project and found this 1953 R25/3, which had been stored in a garage since 1993. The bike was originally brought to the U.S. by a G.I. in 1976, then sold to the previous owner in 1992, who started a serious restoration soon after. I have a stack of parts receipts from the early 1990s, including receipts for an engine and transmission rebuild by my local BMW dealer. I started on my ‘winter project’ in the fall of 2013, but soon became sidetracked selling my house, then buying a house built in 1904 that needed a substantial remodel. As part of that project I built my 900-square-foot dream garage with a rental apartment above. When I was done with that I went back to the BMW in 2015 and finished it in 2016. Along the way there were the usual dead ends and hiccups, including discovering that the transmission would only engage one gear. Hansen’s BMW in Medford, Oregon, had done the rebuild in 1994, and they fixed the transmission for free when I brought it to them — how’s that for a 20 year warranty!

BMW R25/3

Peter's 1953 BMW R25/3 before restoration. Photo by Peter Brunner

BMW R25/3

Peter's 1953 BMW R25/3 after restoration. Too cool. Photo by Peter Brunner

“The new high-gloss black paint and hand striping looks great, particularly on the ‘elephant ear’ front fender. Mechanically it is stock, except for a PowerDynamo 12-volt conversion, and it puts out 13 horsepower. The bike starts on the first kick (when done right) and plonks along comfortably at 55-60mph in top. A friend challenged me to a race on his riding mower, and I easily beat him. BMW claimed a top speed of 74mph with the rider crouched, but I don’t think I’ll try that. This model was the everyman’s daily transportation in the Fifties, and with over 47,000 units produced it is BMW’s highest-selling model ever. Many were used with a Steib LS200 sidecar, which is the next item I’m looking for. It’ll make grocery shopping easier.” MC

Malcom Gruver's 1970 BSA Thunderbolt

Rider: Malcom Gruver, Wichita, Kansas
Age: 75. Malcom’s been riding since he was 14
Occupation: Retired
Rides: 1970 BSA Thunderbolt

BSA Thunderbolt 

Another BSA saved: Malcom Gruver's 1970 Thunderbolt as found. Photo by Malcom Gruver

Malcom’s story: “Four years ago, after unloading at a power plant in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I pulled out of the loading dock, looked across the street, and saw a half-covered bike under a tarp by a garage. It was a 1970 BSA Thunderbolt. I contacted the owner, made a deal on price, loaded the bike that was missing the tank, seat, bars, one wheel, and three milk cases of parts into the trailer and headed back to Wichita, Kansas. Over the next three years I located parts, had the frame powder coated and started the restoration process. The engine and transmission rebuild and restoration were done by Barnyard Restoration in Baldwin City, Kansas, the chrome and paint by ACC Co. in Haysville, Kansas, the pinstripe work was done by Signworks in Park City, Kansas, the polishing by Choc Taw in Clearwater, Kansas, and I got all my parts from Klempf’s British Parts. I saved approximately 14 pounds using a 2-into-1 exhaust and a dry-cell battery. This has been a joy for me, as I have been riding since I was 14 years old, almost 61 years ago.”

BSA Thunderbolt 

Another BSA saved: Malcom Gruver's 1970 Thunderbolt today. Wow. Photo by Malcom Gruver.

Mike Common's Custom Honda CBX

Mike Common and his custom Honda CBX

Mike Common’s custom Honda CBX. Photos courtesy Mike Common.

My long-serving Yamaha SR500 tossed me into a ditch a few years back. Part of my laundry list of injuries was a severe concussion. The neurologist I was seeing recommended that I start doing mechanics again (I work for a Toyota dealer) as soon as possible to develop my motor skills.

I had secretly been scouring adverts online for CBXs and managed to track one to an owner 1-1/2 hours from my place. My buddy, Gordie, drove us out for a look. Owing to my injuries, I couldn’t try the bike, but the accommodating owner did a few passes on it in front of us for our gratification. A deal was duly struck, and a month after leaving the hospital the “X” sat in front of my tiny garage.

I savaged my Visa card with online purchases and in short order, boxes were hurriedly whisked into the tiny garage away from the ever-vigilant(ish) gaze of my wife.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 suspension was grafted on, as was a Ducati Monster saddle. The rear subframe? Don't tell my wife, but SOMEHOW her lawn chair went missing! Headlights? $10 backup lights (modded for HIDs) for tractor-trailers. Save your cash where you can, right? To wit, the upper mount for the rear shock is a modded foot from a car jack. Fit up quite well, actually. The rear suspension/chain alignment/wiring/carb and motor work kept me up more than a few nights. I had to constantly remind myself that I was doing this for fun.

It got punched out to 1150cc as well. There was nothing for it, cylinder #1 was too corroded to save. I HAD to do it! That's my story, and I’m sticking to it :-) For a while there it seemed most times I looked at it, it cost me money.

I tacked everything into place and trusted the final welding to a good, certified friend. I painted it beside my house. The kid’s old swing set made an excellent place to hang the frame and mags while spraying.

Was it worth it? More than I can say! Funny, when they were first on the market, I had nothing but loathing for CBXs. Too expensive, too complicated, too heavy, too much! Now I can’t stop singing their praises. I've been lucky enough to have owned a bunch of bikes, but none ever drew the attention of folks or were as much pure fun to ride as this one. I kick myself for having waited so long to, finally, get one.

It’s not that I wanted to build the bike, the doctor ordered me to do it.

Good news, the prescription worked. The only side effect is a BIG dumb smile I can’t get off my face.

Mike Common's custom Honda CBX

Have a classic motorcycle you'd like to have featured on our social media, website and possibly in a future issue of Motorcycle Classics? Email information and photos of your bike to

Kara Lackie's 1978 BMW R100/7

Kara Lackie's 1978 BMW R100/7

Kara Lackie's 1978 BMW R100/7. Photo courtesy Cory Blundon.

This is my girlfriends Kara’s (@karakabangpow) 1978 R100/7 she named Zerhilde. This picture was taken the second it rolled into the driveway. She knew what bike she wanted, found a great example of it online and we went and got it. I hopped on a plane to Halifax, bought it from an awesome owner, then rode it back almost exactly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in three days to Fogo Island, Newfoundland, in late October. Rain, hail and snow almost the entire way. Totally worth it! You’ve never met anyone so proud of her bike.

Saw your tweet and wanted to share her super cool bike with you. It’s not a showroom bike, but it’s a great daily rider and a survivor. All props to the original owner who took such awesome care of it.


Have a classic motorcycle you'd like to have featured on our social media, website and possibly in a future issue of Motorcycle Classics? Email information and photos of your bike to

Chris Hudson's 1986 Yamaha FZ600

1986 Yamaha FZ600

Chris Hudson's 1986 Yamaha FZ600. Photos courtesy Chris Hudson.

Back in Scotland, around ’87-ish I spent 2,000 hard-earned quid on an FZ600. Ten days into owning it I was doing 115mph up and down the M90. It had me thinking: this isn't going to end well. In a rare counterintuitive moment I decided that racing other bikes round and round in the same direction would be safer, sold it and spent the proceeds on a ratty LC350 with Microns, Scott leathers, red and white Alpinestars boots and went to the track. Umpteen visits to Knockhill did not a Mackenzie make me but that’s another story. Truth is, the FZ left a big space in my heart. Thankfully 25 years later eBay threw this up on my screen and I got it for the exactly the same price except in dollars and from Bakersfield, California, not Dundee, Scotland.

It ran and looked a little rough but a carb rebuild, fluid replacement, new screen, stickers, rev counter and some selective powdercoating (the original pipe and subframe) later, it’s no pride of the ball but from 12 feet away she’s still got the looks to find me in the garage for no reason other than to sit and stare.

1986 Yamaha FZ600

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Riding Through Arches National Park on a 1978 Ducati Darmah 900

Craig Light

Reader Craig Light with his Ducati in Arches National Park. Photo courtesy Craig Light

I saw the article on Arches National Park in the November/December 2015 issue of Motorcycle Classics, and I wanted to send a picture from my road trip this summer. I passed through there on my 1978 Ducati Darmah 900 on the homeward leg of a 6,000-mile trip from Georgia to the Pacific Coast Highway. We stopped at Arches after finishing “The Loneliest Road” (US 50 in Nevada), and on our way to Pike’s Peak in Colorado. We saw lots of amazing scenery that looks nothing like Georgia. It was a fantastic trip that was all the more rewarding for doing it with a vintage bike. The bike ran great the whole time, too, except for the Lucas starter solenoid, which got fried after a couple days in the rain. No surprise there I guess! Good thing it has a kickstarter, too. Thanks for publishing a great magazine and keep up the good work! MC

Ted Clough's 1966 Ducati Monza Turned Super Sport Replica

1966 Ducati Monza

 Ted Clough's Ducati before the restoration. Photo courtesy Ted Clough

Rider: Ted Clough, Atlanta, Georgia
Airline pilot
Current rides:
1966 Ducati Monza, 1973 Triumph Trident, 2004 Aprilia Tuono, 2005 MV Agusta F4 1000, 2011 Ducati Multistrada

Ted’s story: “I’ve been riding off and on since college in the 1970s. I started out riding dirt bikes — doesn’t everyone? I had some Triumphs while in the Navy in the 1970s and the 1980s. I took a break until the mid-1990s, but since then I’ve had lots of Italian bikes, as well as a couple of dual-sports. I now live just north of Atlanta, Georgia. I’m really lucky to have truly great riding roads within minutes, and Road Atlanta and Barber both close enough to do local track days!

“Here’s my latest little project. I found a sorry little 1966 Ducati Monza on Craigslist locally, and I just HAD to rescue it. It was hacked and painted a very 1970s purple, with a green metal flake tank and panels. Airtech makes a fiberglass body kit to make these singles into a 750 Super Sport replica, so I bought one. After completely stripping the old bike, with much cleaning, wire brushing, polishing and the addition of numerous bits and pieces sourced off the web, I was able to put together a pretty cool special. I had a local guy do the paint and it turned out great. I took it to the track last week and it ran great. I just need some better shocks, as I am 6 feet tall and weigh 215 pounds, so I pretty much overwhelmed the rear shocks to the point I was dragging the pipe. Keep those issues coming, and thanks for keeping your mag going. It is a great source of inspiration and a treasure trove of info for those of us still fiddling with old bikes.”

Thanks for sharing your lovely little Ducati, Ted! — Ed.

1966 Ducati Monza

The crusty Monza becomes a Super Sport replica. Photo courtesy Ted Clough