About Changs, BMWs and a Harley

About Changs, BMWs and a Harley
ER Classics Desktop 2022

When I had bought my Chang Jiang 750 cc OHV project I went to look up what I had actually bought. And about two years ago I found that on the internet… Mine and the ex of friend Ben van Helden who sometimes has just as crumbly, but usually a better taste than I do. My Chang turned out to be a MiS or M1M. And in China a whole bunch of this shameless and heartless BMW clone have been made.  

We are now a year or two further and the internet has caught up with my purchase

There is now more than some Chinese information about the OHV to be found. In the meantime, the building up of the box project is well underway. The biggest step was to install a Dnepr front fork instead of the Chinese swing arm. The Chang was purchased as an open ended project. But one thing was certain: There would be no sidecar. And with a rocking arm front fork such a thing drives drunk. At least that's my experience with Urals and Dneprs. It all fits and was once made that way in China.

All a pot of wet

The similarity between Dneprs, Urals and Changs is that the parts are often interchangeable because they all came from the same cooking pot once. And what doesn't fit out of that nest, the Chinese have simply copied from the BMW R75/5 plus a dash of Dnepr genes. Although: replacing the defective, totally worn, cardan clock of the Chang with a Ural still on the shelf, didn't work. The HoH holes in the rear fork were a thick millimeter further apart in the vertical plane than on the standard Russian version. It was possible to juggle the interior and so the Chang clock was 'refurbished', where fiddling with the loose needles in the cardan clock is always challenging. And so you are one step closer to the test assembly because one of the three cardan shafts from the Chang deal turned out to have the correct spring. Oh, yes: the brand new brake shoes over there at the back turn out to have just a line more diameter than the diameter of the brake drum can swallow.

You can make it as expensive as you want

In a world where a close acquaintance could proudly explain to me by means of receipts and invoices that his BMW R69S had cost him €27.500 plus a little from barn find to showroom condition, I love to fool around in the margins. First, I can't free up $27.500 for a motorcycle. Second, I would just buy at least three motorcycles for that amount.

But hey: to each his own

I was offered a very nice Suzuki Intruder for € 500. I passed on that tip. And then there's an abandoned HD Ironhead project. Whoever bought that thing about twenty years ago after a tip from me has not done anything about it all this time and the Sportster is now outside. Under a sail. Let such a thing be worth € 2.000?

I could buy ten motorcycles for my imaginary €27.500 instead of a perfect BMW R69S. But yeah, I don't have that money. But I have my Dnepr/Ural bastard and my Chang project plus a 124cc to get cigars. I am very happy with that. But if I can have that Sportster for $2.000?

By the way, I have no idea when I'll finish that Chang...
And how much would it be worth?

About Changs, BMWs and a Harley
About Changs, BMWs and a Harley


Give a reaction
  1. Speaking of costs. I own a Starflite GT50, 50cc motorcycle. The tank should actually be chromed. Now it has been neatly sprayed in its entirety. But a little more original is nice too. Good, but ask what the chrome and spraying would cost. About 700 euros. I'm a little freaked out there, just because a few whiners bran that it's not quite original. So what!!
    I like it that way.

  2. Messing around with that 'clone muck' is not only fun, but with the report it gives a wonderful insight into what someone can expect if he/she/x were to purchase such a Chinese counterpart of a Bavarian boxer to restore it. I'll bet a Haynes keybook won't have answers to the problems of tinkering with such a Chang. A healthy portion of common sense, spurred on by a cigar and a single malt, will certainly do better business there 👍🏼

  3. Every time you add a new story to it, the value in fascination rises, Dolf. And if you record this story somewhat paid, that's also revenue. The notion of bringing a motorcycle to dead-original showroom condition is to make one of the many by now, all of them exactly the same. Indeed, such a bill is more remarkable than another shiny – and still ugly – 69S. You achieve that shit-hole with a lot less flaps for this Chinese (chapeau!) and you describe the process with sometimes astonishing tenderness, a feeling I suspect most status hunters don't have. Continue like this!

    • michael. In the Netherlands, someone who can afford his cigars from writing is already doing well. The real revenue model lies in one's own surprise and satisfaction. Because mild surprise is the cork that you have to keep afloat in this strange world. I go on like this. Because I wouldn't know how else to do it!

  4. To put it in money terms, a Chang is worth nothing, will never be worth anything but the fun of turning a box project into something that will one day drive is priceless.

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