Chang Jiang 750 M1

Chang Jiang 750 M1, a Chinese copy of the BMW R71
A reader from Sydney snapped this picture yesterday, and it got us stumped. At first glance it appears to be a 95-point restored 1938 BMW R71 sidevalve. But on closer inspection it’s not German. We reckon it’s a Chang Jiang 750 M1, and goodness knows what this Chinese bike is doing in Australia. The CJ750 is based on a 1956 Russian copy of BMW’s R71, called the IMZ M-72. The Russians then sold the tooling for these bikes to the Chinese, and in 1961 the CJ750 appeared. Virtually all CJ750s have sidecars, and there’s a small but thriving underground industry keeping them alive. In the USA, a Colorado company called Long River (the literal translation of ‘Chang Jiang’) specialises in restoring and recreating the CJ750, and their fascinating website is well worth a visit. If you’ve been tempted by the retro, militaristic appeal of a Ural, it’s worth checking out the equally authentic CJ750. [Thanks to Jonathan Zwartz.]