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Monday, March 23, 2015

Jim Kavalec 1952 BMW R51/3

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Jim Kavalec for the first time the other day. I have always seen him in passing on these brilliant vintage BMW's you rarely see ridden now a days at different local events in the area. He even brings his dog in a trusty sidecar to some, it's a really cool sight to see.  I've always kicked myself for not just going up to him and saying hi. When I learned Jesse invited him to Fuel I got extremely excited. Not only was Jim gracious enough to offer putting in this beautiful all orginal 1952 BMW in Fuel Cleveland but he brought it out to The Gasbox compound the other day, to allow me to take a few photos for this feature and share some history on the bike. Jim is one of the nicest dudes you will ever meet, like minded fellow with the love and passion for these old Beemers. You could just hear the excitement in his voice every time he spoke about the little details on this R51/3. You don't want to miss this bike on May 9th, it's a rare one for sure, with some really amazing history.

-Mikey Revolt

My names Jim Kavalec, I grew up in a west side suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio and I was introduced to motorcycles by my older brother. The first bike I ever rode on was a Suzuki TS90 that was my brothers, he taught me how to ride and I was hooked. My passion for skateboarding and music led me to Huntington Beach, California for a while when I was younger so I bounced back and forth for about 5-6 yrs. I didn’t really have a car so when I officially came back home I packed up everything I could and took a train home. I immediately bought my brothers CB750 for $500.00 and used that for transportation, my real first bike I ever owned. Now I currently have several bikes, mostly old BMW's in my possession.

This bike was purchased locally on a "too good to be true" craigslist ad. To the best of my knowledge I am the 2nd person to be named ever on the title. The bike was brought back from Germany by its previous "caretaker". I was told by his daughter in law, that the guy who owned it used the bike to get around Ft. Carson. The bike had no license plate brackets and Ft. Carson stickers (no holes from previous license plate) on the front and back, therefore I believe it was never plated. She told me the bike was rebuilt so her father in law was able to see it run before he died. When I was loading up the bike I found documentation supporting a rebuild by a very well known old BMW mechanic. I also discovered an original tool kit, with old spark plugs, with the original tools in the gas tank compartment. The bike didn't run when I got it, so I had to put in a little TLC, cleaned the carbs, did a tune up, and added a new wiring harness. The paint is all original and I haven't done any real changes to the bike. I purchased it with 28,519 original kilometers and the bike currently has 33,361 kilometers. Some of my mileage was put on a week long southern California skateboarding escapade.
One never really owns anything and life is always changing, so I consider myself the current "caretaker". I enjoy traveling by motorcycle and hope to do a lot more in the near future.


Numbers Matching
Numbers Matching Casings

To quote my favorite two wheeled stuntman Scott Town - "Live Life Every Day!"

Original Title
Original Title paper work
How Jim found the original tool kit in the gas tank, when he purchased the bike.

Make sure to come see this all original BMW R51/3 in person on May 9th!

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