Jim Bryant in Beijing  Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4  Griffin    
This CJ bobber is powered by a 1000cc Beemer engine. It belongs to Mike Dentino. You can bet it just flies down the highway.
"I drove out east a few weeks ago, picked up some motors, an old BMW, and the very first BMW/CJ I built (in 2000). The owner has owned it since about 2005 and rode it for maybe 6 or 7 years. He then bought a 1951 BMW R67 frame to match the R67 motor that was in the CJ I sold him. Now the frame and motor are matched up, I ended up buying back the bike. I planned to put another Beemer into it and keep it, but somebody saw it and made me an offer if I finish it. Looks like it's off to Texas with a new owner."
"Here's some pictures of the bike right after I built it, and how it looks today along with the motor which is now in the frame it was built for. Oh yeah, the motor is a 1951 (I think) R67/2."
"Here's our latest bike built. BMW powered of course, but with our Elephant Ear front fender, R75 style loop handle, disc brake, tank shifter, etc."
Below: "Here are three bikes either ready to ship, almost ready to ship... or just in for some new details."
"The first bike, Christer's is a flattie which we don't do too many of."
"The second bike is Zhao's 1969 Ural that came back for some painted WWII emblems."
"And the third bike is, well... Phil's P51 tribute bike. Look at the top clamp. The small button on the right is the starter button and the lamp to the left is the charging light."
"The turn signals, when we get them will be small lights encased in 50mm cartridges. The exhaust mufflers are supposed to look like the cannons on a P51 with the cooling shields."
"The front is a real BMW Earles fork modified to fit a Chang frame. Speaking of the frame, the frame on this bike was drilled so all the wiring could run inside the frame. The trunk lid has a remote release."
"Those are real rivets on the gas tank panel. And the taillights are from a '59 Caddy. It still needs some work to finish her off, such as the turn signals, the front fender bracket, the shifter linkage and a few other details."
"We've been buying up as many military bikes as we can find for the past seven years now. Funny, we used to buy them for RMB 3000-4000 and you could drive them to the shop. Over the years the condition of the bikes has come way down and of course the price has gone way up. These bikes were each bought for considerably higher prices and none of them are driveable. But usually when you buy an old crock the tub has mostly rotted away so most bikes require either a lot of re-welding of the tub or complete replacement of it."
"This tub with the embossed sides is an old tub and doesn't need any rust repair. I don't remember ever seeing an embossed tub before. I thought you might find it interesting. (I did.)"
"This bike belongs to Buddy Williams way up in Yellow Knife, Canada. He did the conversion himself, with a conversion kit supplied by us."
"We've never used the R65 motor (none of the parts are compatible with other BMW motors) for a conversion before but this is what Buddy had. I think he did a great job. He says it's still not finished (are they ever?) but he reports it runs great."
"Here's a bike we just finished up a guy in the UK. Just about threw the options book at it with the BMW motor, Hella LED tail lights and sidecar marker light, M5 wheels, front disc brake, tank shifter, large leather saddlebags, jerry can, Brooklands style windscreen, seatbelt in the sidecar, and red leather upholstery. Things you can't see are a harness to keep his dog planted in the sidecar."
"This is Ulli's bike. He bought it second hand and we rebuilt the motor and tranny first, then added a Wixom fairing for the winter. And the latest addition is a seat I bought on eBay, a bench seat from a 1954 BMW."
"In 1954, BMW was still using the plunger frame so I thought it might fit. The cover was in bad shape so we recovered it in leather to Ulli's spec. When I tore the seat apart, there was a date stamp on it - my birthdate June 19, 1954. I thought that was kinda cool. Not bad for a 57 year old seat!"
"The owner of this OHV was freezing so we installed an old Wixom fairing I had laying around. Painted it to match the bike and it almost looks natural. Makes a huge difference in winter riding."
"We're back to building BMW powered bikes again. This one is powered by an R80 motor. It's Ferrari Gun Metal Grey which has been pretty popular this year. I think this is the 4th or 5th one we've done."
"Check out the vintage taillights, and the sidecar fender marker light is from an early 1960s VW Beetle."
Jim doesn't do many Changs with stock engines, but when he does, he doesn't fool around.  
"Here's Mark and Paul Corkery riding their CJs on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We rebuilt these bikes in 2006 if I remember correctly."
"Here's another bike that is not a BMW powered one. The owner brought it in for a complete rebuild, paint, polish, chrome, wheels, etc..."
"Easy Rider (Chinese version)... We didn't build the bike (I swear!) but we did build this seat for it."
Here's Jimbo's latest BMW -powered Chang.
"Here's another bike we just finished. This one is BMW R90/6 powered (900cc) and is heading for Denver."
"It has another air brush job on the tank. (The customer's wife's name is Kerri.) I've gotta fix my camera again, the date keeps changing by itself."
"We're building a bike for a customer in TN. Military style with a BMW motor. If all goes to plan he'll ride with me out to Xinjiang later this year. The frame is powder coated and we matched the paint color to it. The motor, transmission, and rear drive are also powder coated in aluminum."
"We're (re-) building a Chang Jiang trike. BMW powered, of course. And this is the paint."
"We'll start pulling this bike apart and stripping it down to bare metal for a rebuild and BMW motor. This is the raw material we start with. I'm trying to get Sabine in for a fast motion video of a build."
Here's a different kind of conversion. Richard Zuber lives in Germany. He has an old R67 plunger frame BMW. He wanted more power so he installed a newer airhead motor. The common denominator is that like Chang Jiangs, his transmission is not compatible with the newer airhead motors.
So, we modified a Chang gearbox the same we do for Chang conversions, and now he's riding around Germany on the world's fastest R67. I'm hoping he will move his coil to another location so he can fit a small 12V battery behind the transmission so he doesn't have to carry his battery around on the rear rack.
Jim sent a whole bunch of pictures taken at last weekend's biker bash in Beijing. They had every kind of bike you can imagine, even choppers which must be a rare sight in PRC. For the sake of server space, I'm only posting the CJ images.    
These are additional images from last week's ride.
"We went exploring yesterday. mainly to see where a certain dirt road ends up just past that "Guan Men" Village. Turns out the road leads to nowhere. But it was 25-30km of nice smooth dirt roads leading to the top of a mountain. On the way back, Alexei's clutch cable broke, so I took over riding his bike in the traffic jam and this is why in the picture he's riding my bike. The pictures were taken by a passenger, Todd B., who is a writer for China Daily. He will be doing a feature on our riding club."
"Here is our latest Panhead seat for a CJ (or a BMW /2). The leather is over 2mm thick and with denser foam. I think it's even more comfortable than our previous versions. It's more expensive, but I think for a long distance rider it's worth it."    
"Thankfully our child labor laws (and OSHA) are not as rigidly enforced as in other countries. So here is our new transmission mechanic, Eric Bryant. He looks 18 doesn't he?"
"Here's some pictures from Todd, a customer of ours. He bought our first toaster tanked bike. (Actually, it was his idea.) He just moved from Houston to Colorado. I think he'll need the power for that altitude. Pretty country."
Here's Jimbo's latest BMW-powered Chang.
"We just got in a new batch of BDMC patches, but this time much smaller, like about 4" in diameter. And we're making another patch with the Great Wall in the background to commemorate our many rides out there."
"Here are two bikes we just completed. One is kind of a "plain Jane" all black, no pinstripes, but with an R75/5 motor. The owner plans to ride it to France (which is why there's two spare tires). The other bike is a cream colored BMW (1000 cc) powered bike. The owner is a local Beijinger. It flies."
"A fellow from Australia bought this bike in Vietnam years ago. He's asking me what is it. My guess is a Chang Jiang with some BMW parts (headlight bucket, speedo, gas tank, handlebar controls). What do you think?" [It sure looks like one to me...]
"Looks like Phil is going to have some company. We're shipping two bikes to Australia soon. The same customer bought two bikes, a BMW powered BRG bike and a military spec flattie."
"I got a call from John Jacovich yesterday reminding me today is a holiday and we should go for a ride. He suggested out to the west of Beijing in the Fragrant Hills. Plus it was forecast for thunderstorms all day but it was hazy and not a trace of rain. "
"I took a customer's BMW powered rebuild for its maiden voyage. John, Paul Corkery, his brother Mark who is visiting from the States with his son Mark, all headed out for the ride this morning. We put over 200km in the mountains and hardly any traffic once we cleared downtown Beijing!"
"I'm finally realizing that I can't take decent pics if I'm riding, but here's a few pics from yesterday's ride anyway."
"Check out the exhaust system on the CJ at the gas station. Looks like it could lift the front wheel just standing there!"
"With a forecast of 97 degree temps, high humidity and no rain, we headed to the mountains to meet Jimmy Purvis at "Cafe Jimmy", a small courtyard house in the woods about a mile the Great Wall. The couple that owns the house rent it out as a bed and breakfast. It's rough but the location is excellent."
"Met up with Jimmy and went down the moutain for a BBQ fish lunch. Then the clouds opened up on us. "
"The owner of the fish restaurant moved all the tables out of the way so we could fit 10 CJs (and one Harley) under cover. A wet but nice ride."
"The weather here this May has been just about perfect riding weather. In the high 70s to low 80s every day, no humidity, no mosquitoes (yet), and clear skies (pretty rare in Beijing)."
"Yesterday we rode north above Fengning, about 300km round trip. There were eight bikes including a couple of flatheads, some OHVs, my R69S and a Harley... and this Harley came back under its own power!"
"We passed over three mountains on the way up north and three more on the route back to Beijing. About seven hours of riding. Just a great ride."
"This is an M5 motor. Notice the location of the points."
"It's run off the cam while the alternator rotor is run off the crank, similar to BMWs."
"I just got these pics in from Zhang Wei Jia who joined the ride last Sunday."
"Today we went for a long ride out to Shi Du. Turns out there are ten "Du" and we rode through all of them. The scenery is outstanding. The ride was a bit over 250km round trip and we only had 3 bikes today; one CJ M1M, my R69S and a (ahem) Harley. Guess which bike came back in the back of a truck! If this keeps up we're going to have to exclude Harleys from our rides ;-) Spent about 2-3 hours off road passing through the mountains. Way above the tree line. Just incredible scenery!"
"It's nice to be back out riding again after a long winter. We took a short ride up to the mountains to the fish ponds and ate sturgeon this time. I think I'll stick to the trout next time. One of the bikes that came with us was a water cooled CJ750, but unlike most of the watercoolers around Beijing, this one was done right."
"The frame was cut and extended under the gas tank by 10cm. The tank itself was lengthened and widened."
"Really clean work. On the way back to Beijing I took the highway, running late for a meeting."
"The watercooler stayed right with me at 140km/h for about the 20 minutes of highway travel. And he had a passenger in the sidecar. I was impressed."
"But not so that I'd ever give up on my beloved BMW airhead powered CJs! The owner figures he's getting about 40HP at the flywheel. He upped the compression ratio to 8:1."
"This bike went under the hammer at Daytona this year. It sold for US $17,000 which seems low for what appears to be an original R75. The picturesare good for re-enacters to make their CJs look genuine."
"Just got back from Hailaer. Saw a couple of interesting CJ750 race bikes."
"I'm told there were over 70 made/converted for various competitions throughout China."
"Got our first snowfall of the year in Beijing (Shunyi) and here's how we deal with snow removal out here in the sticks."
" Happy New Year!"
"We seem to be riding later and later in the year. Here's a couple pics of today's ride. Only four bikes showed, three of which were BMW powered! "
"(Two CJs with BMW motors and one ex-police bike R80.) Weather turned out just about perfect for a (fast) ride. Probably the last ride 'till spring though."
"On a cold and blustery day we had I think 12 bikes ride on up to Huairo for a fish lunch. Our special guest was Robin Fields, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. We were delayed a bit when the lone Harley with us decided not to go any further, but the rest of the bikes (including a couple of Japanese bikes) all made it up and back without trouble."
"In the picture you can see Fred Mursch with his newly built flattie (British Racing Green), an army style bike with a 12V flattie, Ken Chan's 1964 M1, our #705 shop bike, my R69S and way in the back, Don Thomas' newly rebuilt oldie with OHV power. I'm looking forward to a story in the Times."
"I hate to think of it, but the riding season is almost over and we're getting ready for winter."
"These charcoal bricks are used cooking and also for heating."
"By January we're counting down the bricks until spring."
A couple more images from the Huairo & Miyun ride
"On what looked to be a rainy Sunday we had 8 bikes head out to Huairo and Miyun for what could be one of the last weekend rides of the year."
"Fortunately for us, once we got over the mountains the cloud cover cleared and it was a perfect sunny day."
"We started out on what we call "The Alpine Run" through the mountains of Huairo, then split east (?) to the road through the gorges of Miyun. Got back just after dark."
"CJ Wonderland's new location [in Beijing]."
"Here are a few pics of our annual pilgrimage to the Imperial Hunting Grounds which span the border between Hebei and Inner Mongolia. This year (the eighth) was the warmest weather we've had for this ride. In years past there's even been snow on the ground. This year was in the 60s and just beautiful. If this is Global Warming, I'm all for it!"
"We got a bit of a late start from our normal starting point but by 11:00 AM we were headed north. We rode into Huairo and then took Route 111 all the way to Weichang."
"Traffic was a mess until we got north of Huairo. We stopped at one of the BBQ fish ponds for lunch and then continued north. Unfortunately, because of the late start, we rode the last hour after dark arriving in Weichang around 7:30 PM."
"Our fellow riders were, Ed Williams with his brand new 1000cc Beemer Chang, Chris Newman riding my original bike #323 OHV powered CJ, Nick May riding one of our shop bikes, and my trusty R69S."
"My wife—who just got her drivers license after a long 12 weeks of driver education—drove our Isuzu (Liu Feng) and carried part of the time my son Eric, videographer Joanna, Jiao's little sister Hannah, our dog Baozi, and a felled Ed when he suffered a bout of food poisoning."
"But for most of the ride everyone was either riding in or driving one of the bikes. We left the hotel early Tuesday morning and headed up north to Inner Mongolia and the grasslands. We have stopped by Moon Lake every year since 1998 and it has grown into a tourist trap."
"Time to find a new spot. I'll try to show pictures of Moon lake past and present. (The first picture is from 2002.) I think you can see the lake covered with ice."
"But we made it back to the hotel in Weichang just before dusk and had another beautiful (weather-wise) day's ride back to Beijing."
"The ride up to Sunday River was perfect and I met Mike Lyden at the rally. I missed Chris Jordan who was there as well. While I was in NH I was able to ride up to the Western Maine European Motorcycle Rider's meet (or something like that). "
"And David Purcivel opened up his private collection of over 100 old BMW motorcycles at his home. Among his great collection is a 1938 R71 in original condition."
"You really think you're looking at a CJ at first glance but then in the details you see the differences. But a beautiful bike and a really fantastic collection."
"Another rare bike (and he has four I think) is an overhead cam BMW motorcycle. Enjoy!"
"We went for a ride yesterday with no destination planned, just out exploring roads we've never ridden before. Came upon a really nice and up close section of the Great Wall. Got a group picture at a tunnel entrance before heading home. We stopped to visit a family Jimmy Purvis has adopted as his home away from home. At the top of a small mountain, the matriarch is 98 years old. Those pics will hopefully follow."
"We picked up—yes—another 1961 Chang."
"This one had the correct Type I motor and transmission."
"Maybe even the speedometer?"
"Anyway, soon it will be powder coated, painted and sporting a BMW motor.
"We had about the perfect weekend for riding for the 2nd Annual Batang Charity Ride to benefit the Batang Orphanage organized by Jeff (the chef) Powell. Around 22 bikes showe up, mostly CJs plus a Harley or two, Yamaha Cruisers, a scooter and my R69S. On Saturday we went up to the mountains of Huairo, had a great lunch of freshly caught trout. That evening we rode back to our hotel which was right on the shore of the Yanqi reservoir. Enjoyed a great BBQ Saturday night followed by an auction of donated items to benefit the orphanage. Sunday we rode to Miyun, lit off some fireworks and hand grenades followed by ar good meal and then the ride back to Beijing. 17 CJs made it home under their own power. A really memorable ride!"
Jim made a stop at Chang Jiang Unlimited's world headquarters in Bath, New York while riding his newly acquired Beemer from California to his old stomping grounds in New Hampshire, roughly 3100 miles. Jim's no stranger to long rides as you well know. In Jim's book, this is probably just a quick little jaunt.
I must say it was quite a pleasure getting to meet Jim face to face. He's one of many CJ people I've gotten to know via the Internet and through mutual acquaintances, so well in fact that it seemed to me as if we were old high school buddies or something. Since the grey CJ is still down we hopped on the black one and rode into town for some food and bike talk.
Jim drove the bike on the return ride and let me tell you, riding in the sidecar gives you a whole new perspective, that's for sure. With Jim at the controls I wasn't in the least bit nervous about being a passenger, not with the miles he has ridden. Once we got back to CJU's main building we did a little maintenance on the Beemer before Jim hit the road.
We decided that he must come back and spend some serious time riding around our county and meet my brother in law Tom who has many interests in common with Jim (as well as a vintage Beemer.) By then the grey bike will be up and running again so there will plenty of sidecar machines for us to ride.
Jim attended the Vintage BMW Club's meet in New Hampshire last weekend. After two years of communicating with a couple of the guys we all know from the CJE and Dnepr message boards, Jim finally got to meet them. Here's Chris Jordan and Mike Lydon. Mike rides a Beemer-powered Dnepr, aka a Neval.
Here's Chris, his son, Silas, age 12, Jim and his son Jimmy. Chris rescued a fire-damaged CJ from eBay a couple years ago. (Click here to see more pictures from the Jordans.)
"We had some kind of a record ride yesterday with 34 CJs showing up."
Check out the exhaust system on this SV!
"Here is the present state of my R75/5-powered Chang. The body work has been done and now I'm doing the top end. I bought these wheels which I like more than the (previous) stamped hub wheels."
"Also I think with the straight and shorter spokes there will be less breakage. And the slightly wider brakes shoes certainly won't hurt."
"I know my garage is a mess...."