Shane Balkowitsch’s 1971 BMW R75 Cafe Restoration Project

Shane Balkowitsch knew a thing or two about restoring old Germans to new glory. He’d recently restored a 1965 Porsche 356, and decided that he wanted a bike as a companion piece to the car. He’d been watching Cafe Racer on Velocity and fell in love with the modded style. The medical supply distributor from North Dakota had a vision, and now he needed a way to fulfill it. First, he chose the brand.

“Why a BMW? It only made sense to do another German vehicle, they’re both air-cooled and with similar opposing cylinder set-ups,” explains Shane. With the model in mind, Shane then needed a partner in crime. A search through magazines and the internet brought him to Josh Withers’ restored 1973 BMW Cafe Racer. Josh had designed and built the bike himself, turning a ’73 BMW R60/5 into a cafe racer with a ’79 R100 engine. Shane thought it was the perfect model for what he wanted – a foundation that he could then expand on. Shane was based out of North Dakota, and Josh was in Southern California, but the distance didn’t matter to Shane. He called Josh, and two strangers were suddenly on the path to restoration.

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