Last night I slept in my own bed, after being up for about 27 hours straight. I could rant on about how awful air travel has become, but I'll spare you that. I would advise you to avoid JFK if possible, however. And I note that BMW's longtime seat engineer must have a new job working for Delta. Hopefully this is good news for future BMW models.
Alas, my magneto didn't catch up with me in Germany. The renowned Deutsches Post decided that it should relax for three days in Mannheim on its way to me in Karlsruhe, in spite of the Express shipment surtax. So now it will spend probably weeks getting to me through both the Deutsches Post and the USPS.
I also have a spare set of pistons coming. I spent a nice afternoon chatting with Axel Gännsle at his shop in Pasing, a suburb of Munich.
I am also waiting for a new kickstart lever from Josef Heft. The last weekend before I flew out to Germany, I rode the R52 over to the vintage breakfast in Redwood City. I stopped for gas on my way out of Santa Cruz, and the kickstarter was there. But later I noticed that it was missing. I did some hunting but to no effect.
Living without a kickstarter isn't life or death. The bike starts easily enough with a bump in 2nd gear, and when it's warm, I can actually start the bike in 2nd while just paddle walking it. There are some advantages to a 5:1 compression ratio engine! But it's annoying to have to do that to work on the engine.
Kickstart levers are surprisingly hard to come by. None of my usual sources had one or really knew where to find one. I did spend a fabulous time at the home of Torston Tausch, who had about a dozen 20s and 30s BMWs — mostly the sport OHV models! — in various states of renovation and motors and gearboxes piled up like cordwood! He makes significant numbers of his own parts and then does small batches of them for the aftermarket. If you want a rennsport dual leading shoe front brake for your Stecktank model BMW, for example, Torsten has them, and they are beautiful.
Unfortunately, Torsten doesn't have any kickstarters right now, either. He plans on making some up in a few weeks. But I kept looking because I didn't get an assurance of an availability date.
Fortunately, Fred Jakobs, chief archivist at BMW, did some hunting around for me. He talked with Sebastian Gutsch, who has worked in the archives also and is deeply into building an RS255 Königswelle Rennsport machine and vintage racing, made the connection to Josef Heft. I hope to have it in a couple weeks.
I hope to tear into the forks this week. I acquired a replacement roller bearing set for the steering head, to replace the existing loose ball bearings I expect to find in there. I also want to inspect the bushings in the trailing link suspension and replace them if needed. This is the last area of the bike that I haven't been through.