Otus | 1977 BMW R100/7

Otus | My 1977 BMW R100/7 motorcycle
tore up plenty, but he’ll ride true

Otus is my 1977 BMW R100/7 motorcycle. The venerable BMW 247 air-cooled boxer engine powers Otus. Otus came into my life on April 12, 2003 and has been my #1 motorcycle ever since. A good friend had decided to stop riding but wanted his motorcycle to go to a good home. Because he couldn’t find a good home, he settled for me as his motorcycle’s new owner. Out of the gate the motorcycle needed a new battery, new points and plugs, fresh gasoline, and a name. With 4 of the 5 needs addressed I began riding Otus as much as possible. I also pretty quickly figured out that I was going to have be ready to do some work on this 26 year old machine. Since that fateful April my friend’s motorcycle has been transformed into my motorcycle and along the way he was given the name Otus.

Why Otus?

Many years ago a dear friend of mine owned land in south east Kansas. We spent countless weekends hanging out, grilling, eating turnips (he loved them, I tolerated them, and lots of butter, salt, and pepper can make just about anything taste OK), shooting guns, hunting, drinking beer, and just being manly men. A creek ran through his property – Owl Creek – so he referred to his property as “Owl Creek.” Some of the best memories of my adult life are because of my time spent at Owl Creek and it wasn’t Owl Creek in name only. There were as many owls as there were deer, turkey, bobcat, buzzards, raccoons, and opossum. I still remember sitting on the porch in the evening drinking beer, listening to the turkey go to roost, the deer sparring, and the owls calling. Owl Creek was the inspiration for my fascination with owls and the reason my motorcycle is named Otus. Otus is a genus of owls – specifically the Scops owl. The primary reason I chose the name Otus was because it fit on a personalized license plate! Thank you Damon for all the great times, great memories, and friendship. I miss you, and not only during hunting season.

Otus’ Role

Otus is my #1 motorcycle. He is powerful enough to get me there and back, as reliable as my maintenance allows him to be, and when he is well and properly sorted he is an absolute joy to ride. Otus is over 40 years old. He’s taken me so many places and has only let me down because I wasn’t proactive with his care. He’s suffered breakdowns due to his age and mileage and he also survived a fairly brutal accident at my hands. In spite of all this, and after spending countless hours with him in the garage, he runs better today than the day I brought him home. Otus will always have a special place in my heart, and in my garage.

Through my time spent in the garage, Otus has been transformed from someone else’s motorcycle – simply a collection of parts assembled as described in a service manual – to my trusted travel companion and the heart and soul of my two wheeled adventures. I am constantly modifying and tinkering with Otus. The time spent repairing, modifying, and tinkering feeds my soul and simultaneously keeps my beloved companion on the road. And the time spent feeding my soul through repairs, modifications, and tinkering further feeds my soul as well as Otus’ as this time allows us to go, do, and see. When Otus is well and properly sorted there isn’t a better motorcycle, and when I feed my soul in the garage, Otus remains well and properly sorted.

Otus Is A He

While many motorcycle riders refer to their motorcycle as a “she” Otus is most definitely a he. I have no proof of his gender but it was clear to me from the start that this motorcycle is a he. This could be due to his rugged good looks but I think it has more to do with the overall vibe of this classic airhead.

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