Text by Chris Hunter
During the austere and oppressive reign of General Franco—a remarkable 36 years from 1939 to 1975—foreign motorcycles were a rarity in Spain. So this BMW R75/5 must be a novelty on Iberian roads. It’s owned by Juan Ramón Ortega, a Madrileño with a longstanding passion for BMWs. He bought this 1972 model six years ago: “It’s one of three R75/5s that I found in Belgium and brought back in a small truck with some friends. Then we left the bikes gathering dust … the crisis came.” Two years ago, Ortega wheeled out his bike and started work. He cut down the rear subframe, fitted a Harley-Davidson rear fender and a Ford stoplight, and got out the paint gun. He also fitted a new hand made seat, Renthal bars and Firestone vintage-style tires. Racing-style number plates from England provided the finishing touch. But this custom is no bar-hopper: Ortega has just finished a huge motorcycle tour of Spain and Portugal, and it’s his daily driver too. For such a practical bike, it’s remarkably beautiful.