Off road trip in Spain with Zündapp KS 750 and BMW R75
The bikes in action
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every year in june
This year we had an equal number of four BMW R75’s and four Zündapp KS750’s for the first time. And another two BMW R75’s from Spain joined us for three days. We could therefore make a direct comparison which bike type could achieve more. To tell you at once there was only an advantage for the Zündapp KS 750 crossing rivers because the magneto is better protected against splashing water. Both bikes showed the same reliability at slopes, mud holes and long passes over periods of hours. The consumption of petrol is approx. 8 to 9 litres for off road and 6 to 7 on the street. The consumption of oil is approx. the same for the KS750 and the R75 and we needed about 1,0 to 1,5 litres per 1000 km. All occurring damages could be repaired during the trip. Only once was it necessary to drive with one bike to Lloret to borrow a spare part from our friend Andreu. It was a cylinderhead for Gerhard’s BMW R75.
every year we met with our transport cars at our friend’s place Andreu in
Lloret de Mar. We noticed that Gerhard did not have a protection plate
underneath the engine of his BMW R75. This would not have been good driving off
road. When I told him to take the one that was lying under a lemon tree in
Andreu’s garden he thought it was a joke. Only after several request did he
have a look and found an original engine protection plate. Andreu has his own
sort of system to store BMW spare parts.
agreed that no overhauling would take place during our trip. Everybody had to
make sure that he kept an eye on the driver behind following him. It helps to
keep the group together and nobody got lost.
we started from the coast to the Pyrenees around midday there was a light
drizzle. After driving one hour on country roads we reached our starting point
in the mountains near Sant Hilari. The first stage contained unsurfaced forest
roads but with some nice slopes. After a two hours drive in the drizzle we
reached our first day’s stage, a restaurant in the mountains that can only be
reached with off road vehicles. José from Madrid was joining Tadeuz in his Zündapp
sidecar. He got the order to bargain a good price for a complete menu. On this
occasion we realised that we could do this better ourselves with the landlady.
She was Catalan and they do not like the people from Madrid. During further
discussions with Catalans during the next few days José had to play the fool
which he did very well. While we spent our time in the cosy mountain restaurant
the rain became heavier and heavier. Once the rain had stopped we continued
driving to our first camping site high above a barrage dam. The rain had stopped
and from the next day on there was only sunshine.
was leading with his Yamaha and the video camera and looked for the first
interesting filming places. A long steep slope with loose ground was to be the
first proof. All who tried made it. Gerhard who did it for the first time had
put his blockage on and lost his manoeuvrability right in the middle of the
slope. The bike was crossways and got back into line after some manoeuvring, the
blockage came off and he made it uphill. About lunchtime we reached the
remarkable village Rupit. It’s lanes are so narrow that we could just pass
them with our bikes between the houses to get to the parking ground in front of
the church. After an opulent lunch we started again. Tadeusz had no ignition
spark but he found the reason immediately. The short-circuit cable on the dynamo
was loose. Now we drive to the canyon. The river, which flows through Rupit,
falls after about 1 km over a waterfall over 100 m deep into a basin of a valley.
We drive downhill to the river along a wounded steep lane.
one hour’s drive we reach the course of the river where we had to cross. As I
arrived at the river first I was allowed or better still I had to get over first
The water is quite deep and the river is about 10 m wide. If I drive with
too much speed I could hit a stone and damage my bike quite a bit or the water
will come up right to the magneto and put it out of order. Water could also get
into the engine via my air filter. Then I have water damage as you cannot
compress water. There are many possibilities. Another one is to cross the river
without problems. I drive as my experience tells me. Not with too much power and
not too many revolutions so that the engine only dies when it gets water in it
but will not suffer water compression and be damaged. I succeeded. The water is
quite deep is high above my cylinders but my KS makes it to reach the other bank
and comes only to an end then. I can get off the bike and start it again. It
starts reluctantly and I drive further up. The first bike is on the other side.
Norbert with his KS 750 is the next and does it the same way. The first BMW R75
follows and gets stuck with a stammering engine in the middle of the river.
Norbert pulls Wolfgang’s BMW R75 with his KS 750 out of the river. Bernhard
and Gerhard with their BMW R75’s get also stuck and have to be pulled out.
Thomas tries to take it with more power but realises in time that the engine has
sucked in water and gets off the gas. No damage to the engine but water is in
the cylinders. So he has to take out the spark plugs, kick ten times and the
water presses through the spark plug openings out of the cylinder. Charly and
Tadeusz with their KS 750’s cross the river without problems. For the last
ones it is always easier. They know now where it is flat or where
handicaps are hidden in the river. It took us about two hours and a lot of work
to cross the river. But we had a lot of fun as well.
the next 10 km we have a stony area with a lot of mud to cross. The muddy water
goes up to and over the cylinders but the crossings are short and we take them
with a lot of power without problems. Then we have to cross the river again. It
is not deep here but the crossing has many thick stones. After my KS and
Thomas’s R75 could only pass with a lot of difficulties we decided to
construct a road. We throw little stones between the big ones so that the other
bikes can cross much easier. Behind the river is a very nice terrace where we
put up our tents for the second night.
next day is a warm day and we drive further through the canyon without problems.
And we change to another off road area crossing a country road. We fill our
tanks and have a break at a supermarket and get a supply of the most necessary
for the next days: bread, cheese and wine.
along a long dusty gravel road we head for the next mountain restaurant. It is
very nice to drive on the gravel road. On the gravel you can drive the bikes
drifting through the curves. Norbert with his KS 750 hits a road hole with his
sidecar just before a narrow bridge. The sidecar comes up and slams the bike to
one side so that Norbert touches the stony balustrade of the bridge with his
left cylinder. Both valve covers are slightly broken. We pulled the KS 750 the
last 750 m to the restaurant and repaired the damage in teamwork. Norbert
screwed, Charlie found the right tongs to fix the bolts, Thomas found like magic
in his inexhaustible remedy store in the sidecar the right aluminium dye to seal
the valve covers. And I had replacement valve cover in my fund to replace the
totally broken one. After another lunch the Ks 750 was running well again and
Norbert was more careful when taking bends near bridges.
through the little village of Oix we reached a valley with a river which we used
as a bath. As the weather was very warm we only slept in our sleeping bags.
following day gave us some technical understanding. Thomas, our pedant,
inspected the oil in the transmission of his BMW . He showed me a brown slush as
liquid as water. Yes it was water mixed with transmission oil. Everybody became
hectic about their bikes and controlled the oil. Two other BMW drivers –
Gerhard and Wolfgang - found the same slush in their transmissions. The water
must have come in when the bikes were stuck in the river. We changed the oil and
continued our drive over a very steep and stony pass. Once in a while somebody
got stuck but after a good hour we had reach the top of pass and had a break.
his BMW Gerhard realised that his engine was only running on one cylinder. We
quickly found out that the right hand cylinder did not have any compression. We
took the valve covers off to adjust the play in the valves. One valve was stuck.
So we had to take off the head and then we could see the mess. A valve seat was
loose and set crossways. No chance to repair it here on the mountain. We could
only take our tow rope out and Wolfgang towed Gerhard in the direction of
Andreu’s mountain hut.
others took a shirt cut over the next mountain. This way was shorter but it took
four hours more to drive it. We passed Alps where cattle and horses were fooling
around with their young ones. At night we all met again in Andreu’s hut. He
and his friend Pascal had brought their BMW R75’s along. Andreu had bought a
goat for a barbecue and we had a real good time. Gerhard’s
hope came back when Andreu assured him that he had a right hand cylinder
head in his garage and he would get it tomorrow.
next day started with a quiet excursion and an opulent lunch. The same evening
Gerhard went with Andreu to Lloret de Mar. He took George’s Yamaha and five
hours later he came back a little bit sad but with two rotten cylinder heads.
With these cylinder heads he did not see a possibility to get his BMW R75
running again. He was wrong. Out of three desolate cylinder heads we made one
that functioned. The next morning at 6 o’clock our unbelieving Gerhard was
putting his engine together. A step on the kick starter and the engine was
running and Gerhard all of sudden looked as if he had never doubted it.
we started a several hour drive we controlled his engine again. We had already
recognised that the valve seat had fallen out of the engine because of
overheating. But the reason why we found only now. His exhaust pipe was
tarnished blue and the engine was hot again. The exhaust was not correctly
produced and the exhaust fumes accumulated so much that the engine overheated. In a
restaurant the landlord gave us an angle grinder and Gerhard put two deep cuts
from underneath into the collector so that the pressure could escape. The
exhaust pipe was a little bit louder but the engine had no further problems.
several hours we drove on a pass road up to 2400 m height. It was very cool
uphill and we had to drive through the fog for more than an hour until we
reached the other side and all of a sudden we came out of the clouds into the
next two days we crossed some more passes and got lost for several hours in a
forestry area so we had to grope in the dark for a few hours at night.
lost a pedal and Wolfgang had to change the wheel of his sidecar right at the
middle of the mountain. We all agreed that it was a wonderful and an eventful
trip just as we had dreamt of. Good weather, only small technical problems, an
outstanding and ambitious off road area and for me the most important a very
harmonic and comradely group that stood always together so that they had a lot
of fun together.
of you who would like to travel with us may ask about the costs for such a trip.
Down to Spain everybody has to calculate his own costs. For example I drive with
one trailer and two bikes on it and four persons. This costs much less than one
person driving in one car with a trailer. From Lloret de Mar we have a common
cash-box. Once a day we went out for a very good meal in a restaurant. Bread,
wine and petrol for the bikes was paid for as well. For the eight-day-trip
everyone has paid
Euro 350,00 into the cash-box. Spain is
expensive once you
have left the coast.
year we will do the trip again and I am already looking forward to it.