Darryl.Richman's picture

I am in Germany collecting parts and getting work done for the R52. In particular, I rode through Bavaria today and stopped in at a shop in the tiny hamlet of Orthofen, where Uli Döderlein performs his black magic on magnetos. I have a spare Bosch D2A magneto/dynamo (generator) of the type needed for the R52, which was dead about 4 years ago, when I last visited Uli. I bought a bunch of likely parts then -- but clearly, not all of them -- and just in the last few months I tried to reassemble them into a working mag/dyno.

I was half successful. The generator does seem to put out power, although I don't have a jig in which to spin the mag/dyno fast enough to see that all is working exactly as needed. But I couldn't raise a spark from the magneto side of things. That might be because I didn't buy a new mag coil. Or because I didn't buy a new condenser. Or because the permanent magnets are dead (but I think this last item is not likely because the generator also depends upon them).

As I could feel the deadline approaching, I decided to throw the thing into a box and then into my luggage. I'm sure the card that was in my bag when I arrived in Germany, with greetings from the TSA, was due to a 10lb. chunk of steel with a bunch of wires sticking out of it...

I am not the only one who relies on Uli. He mentioned that he was finishing up work on magnetos for two other Cannonball entrants: Chris Knoop (#16 and riding a 1925 JAP) of Australia and the only German entrant this time, Andreas Kaindl (#33 with a 1924 Henderson DeLuxe) of Bavaria. Turns out that Andi lives about 15 minutes away and Uli was fairly insistant that we go over and visit.

The visit turned into a very pleasant couple of hours. Andi is a third generation metzger, which the Germans always translate as butcher, but seems to me to be closer to sausage maker. Andi is, at heart, an Indian fan, but more than that, he likes original condition bikes, not restorations. And the Henderson he found is very original. The previous weekend he had test ridden the Henderson over 800 miles on three consecutive days to prove its road worthiness. (He rode it to -- naturally -- an Indian rally in northern Germany.) Anyway, he had just received some bead locks for his clincher style wheels and so the bike partially disassembled again as he worked on that.

So we had to stop looking at the Henderson and admire his Indians. A Chief here, a Four there; I am truly not appreciative enough of these beautiful bikes. He also showed me his BMW R52, which he had recently acquired along with a Sunbeam S-8.

We chatted over coffee and some of the family recipe leberkäse with mustard and soft pretzels. Uli took a fair amount of abuse for his taste for French motorcycles such as the Terroir and Rene Gillet models he had showed me in his shop earlier. (He also has a correct 1974 R90S and an early Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans as well as a beautiful Falcone sport, one the "bacon slicer" models, so he isn't exclusively into French machines.)

Eventually Uli realized he had some magnetos to attend to, so we made our excuses. I look forward to seeing Andi again in September, and also to seeing Uli's handy work on Chris Knoop's bike too!

Need magneto work done? I highly recommend Uli Döderlein at Bayrische Magnet Zünder (BMZ). Find details at http://www.magnetos.de.

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