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Taking It Slow: Kingston Custom’s BMW R75/5 Bobber

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
Today’s motorcycles are loaded with a level of tech that would have been incomprehensible thirty years ago. And it’s had a knock-on effect on the custom scene: old bikes rebuilt with new suspension, brakes and electronics have become commonplace.

Dirk Oehlerking knows all about the technical side. Operating as Kingston Custom in Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr region, he’s done everything from customize a brand new Triumph Thruxton R, to turbocharging an old airhead.

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
But Dirk’s a staunch believer in the old school. So he also regularly builds classy, lo-fi BMW bobbers in what he calls his signature BMW Kingston style. This 1974 BMW R75/5 is his latest, and it’s an absolute gem.

“Riding classic bikes is pure motorcycling, as it should be,” says Dirk. “These are real motorcycles, as we remember them: robust technology, bad brakes, a bad chassis, and if the tour succeeds you are the king! Your butt is on fire, your gait is anything but lithe, but you’re a champion with that incredible feeling in your chest!”

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
“Classic motorcycles make you feel special because they are something special. They have style, charisma and an edgy character.”

“There is a need for values that counter the demands for perfectionism in everyday life. Everything has to work, run smoothly, be efficient and optimized—where can I slow down and live my individuality?”

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
Even though Dirk’s given this bobber bucket loads of retro charm and authenticity, he hasn’t skimped on quality one bit. The R75/5 was subjected to a full tear down of both the chassis and engine, before being rebuilt. The motor was blasted clean and left unpainted, and even managed to hang onto its air box.

The R75/5 originally came from the factory with a drum brake up front—but Dirk swapped the whole front wheel out for a far more attractive 18” Grimeca duplex unit. The stock BMW rear wheel’s still in the mix though, and both are wrapped in Metzeler ME77 tires.

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
As for the frame, Dirk ditched the entire subframe and built new shock mounts and a new seat support. He kept the stock swing arm, but hooked it up to the frame via rear shocks of his own design.

Resting up top is a new solo seat, wrapped in vintage leather. Just in front of it is a svelte new tank, the origin of which Dirk is keeping a secret. And at the back, you’ll find a stylish rear fender, held up by hand-made brackets with hidden fasteners.

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
The BMW’s passenger peg brackets were drilled and re-purposed to hold Tarozzi rear-sets. They also have a pair of Hattech silencers hanging off them—made by the German exhaust manufacturer to Dirk’s design.

A couple of truly interesting details reveal themselves upon closer inspection. The tail light’s encased in a repurposed exhaust flange, and the custom-made side stand ends in a section stolen from a ring spanner.

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
All the wiring’s been trimmed down and neatened up too, and the battery’s been relocated to a hand-made box hiding behind the transmission. There’s an off-the-shelf 5½-inch Bates-style headlight up front, and a tiny MMB analog speedo hiding in the fuel tank’s deep neck.

LSL grips, Hella bar-end turn signals and a single mirror finish off the cockpit. The ignition’s been relocated to the side of the air box, and there’s even a spare spark plug jammed into the steering nut…just in case.

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
It’s a neat build, for sure, but it’s that paint job that really pushes it over the top. Dirk exercised maximum restraint, wrapping both the bodywork and frame in a warm grey. That same hue’s repeated on the headlight and shocks, with a basic white pinstripe on the tank and rear fender adding just the right amount of contrast.

“Working with these classics,” explains Dirk, “giving them new life, changing their lineage, bringing things together that were never meant for each other, is an incredible challenge and deep satisfaction.”

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom
With about 50 horses on offer from the 745 cc motor—and only four gears in the box—this R75/5 is not likely to break any land speed records or rack up speeding fines. “The engine chugs with a steady beat,” says Dirk. “As it increases in speed, it makes your hands tremble and also your heart, putting a childish grin on your face.”

Sounds very analog. And the perfect antidote to the manic pace of modern life.

Kingston Custom | Facebook | Images by Kayadaek

BMW R75/5 bobber by Kingston Custom