Mark Fisher
Mark lives in Minneapolis and is, as he puts it, a disgruntled aircraft mechanic.
He's into motorcycles, military vehicles, classic cars and border collies. Mark has owned over 20 vehicles and 15 bikes. He currently owns the CJ, an army jeep, an army truck and a Saab. Mark bought his machine from Jim Bryant who you all know. It's powered by a BMW OHV engine!
 
"Here's pics from the vintage MC show today in St Paul, MN. One of the best sidecar rigs I've run across—a heavily modified 90/6 with earles forks, 15" wheels, custom sidecar frame, 1955 Steib sidecar body, MG sidecar wheel, Heinrich tank, etc..."
"There was even a Condor with the worst paint job I've ever seen. I thought it was heavily corroded at first, but most of the depressions are fisheyes in the paint!"
"A 60/2 with an off road exhaust. Somebody in PRC should make one of these for a CJ. With the stock high front fender a CJ is already halfway to the ISDT look."
 
"Also my CJ of course, loaded up with booty. Among other things I came home with two Pirelli 4.00-19 tires for $10 each. I also got in trouble for riding too fast through the fairgrounds. Speeding on a CJ! I'm now officially a hooligan..."
 
Here's more stuff- an R67/3, my CJ parked next to an old Indian with a sidecar, and the CJ loaded up with booty right before my brush with the law. Also a /2 with an interesting gas tank paint scheme.
 
"These are some pics from Restoration Werks. I help out with the BMWs when I can. That's a Laverda with a /5 behind it in the shop and a nice /2 next to my CJ    
   
 
"Finally got the CJ out today for the first ride. I'm trying it solo for a bit, I've been working on bunch of stuff and the sidecar gets in the way. I cleaned and inspected my front forks, which cured a stiction issue and installed a new coil, re-sealed the gas tank. etc... Just normal CJ stuff."
"You can see how hard I've been pushing the bike by the amount of rust, wear, and oil - and this is AFTER washing the thing."
"The 90/6 motor really turns this bike into a rocket (relatively speaking...). Without the sidecar the only thing holding me back is the gearing. I wind the engine out somewhere over 70 MPH. It's very stable on the freeway, more like a cruiser than a sportbike and with the bars moved forward it's a comfortable ride."
 
For dedicated, hardcore riders like Mark, weather is not an issue. If you can stay dry and warm you'll be able to enjoy your bike year round.
 
"Here's some pics of the bike ready for winter—with a windscreen for both bike and sidecar and as much cover as I can get. I prefer riding without a windscreen but at 4:30 in the morning and 30 degrees the protection is appreciated, even if all that drag knocks 10 miles off my top speed. The tires are about to be changed, that's why I have extras strapped to the spare. I've gone through two back tires this summer, mainly because of the high speed commuting I've been doing and also because of a little excessive toe-in that I need to correct. The bike is outside Stephen Pate's restoration building and in the pic of all the boxes is a 1954 Vincent that just arrived for a full restoration. I'm holding a set of vincent "girdrolic" forks in the first picture."  
 
 
"Here's a couple more pics—the windscreen is mounted on the bike using a pair of CJ mirror mounts, the middle fender braces from my old lowered fender, a couple trailer hitch brackets from Fleet Farm and some screw adjusters scrounged from work. The front mounts (trailer hitch "u" brackets) rest on the headlight bolts (from an old Honda) and the braces are attatched to the handlebars with the screw adjusters. The entire thing comes off in about 10 seconds. I originally had it mounted in front of the key but it works better a bit aft of the ignition. The windscreen is the generic cruiser/Harley style bought off eBay. The sidecar windscreen is from an old Luftmeister fairing I had lying around and a set of Steib TR500 windscreen mounts (somewhat modified). I am the king of the scroungers."  
 
 
"After spending five hours blasting around the Twin Cities on the CJ with my fiancee yesterday I couldn't get my back comfortable."
"Later in the day we swung by a buddy's house (Stephen Pate, runs a cycle restoration business - www.restorationwerks.com) and tried out a /2 with Stoye sidecar."
"The bars are farther forward and just a bit lower, much more comfortable on my back. Today I spent the afternoon modifying the bar mounts, basically turned them around and used the clamping holes and some spacers to mount the bars on the triple tree just forward of the steering damper."
"It's a small change, but really eases the stress on my back. (I'm 6'.)"
 
"Here's my latest adventure. I've been commuting with the CJ about 40 miles a day at 60-65 MPH. The transmission with the modified bellhousing and stock final drive that Jim Bryant sent me have been working well—everything meshes together better without the adapter plate between the transmission and engine. The only thing I had to get rid of was the stock air cleaner—with the transmission moved forward 5mm it hits the dual coils on the back of the engine. I was going to relocate the coil but decided the classic R71 with no air cleaner look is better.

On the way to a bike meet in August my clutch cable lost an end at the handlebar. I still had about 20 miles to go so I just faked it and cruised the back way without releasing the clutch. I only stalled once at a left hand arrow and managed to get going again with a four step run-and-gun when the light changed. It's surprising how fast you can get a heavy sidecar rig pushed through an intersection when you have to... I found a Honda cable that works fine with the sheath cut back about 2" at the transmission adjusting bracket. The part number is 17910-VA5-000. I have no idea what it's from but it's been on the bike for a couple months and is actually easier to pull than the stock cable. It's thinner than the Chinese version but Honda quality should make up for that. Anyway, it's a good emergency option or good replacement. I'm too lazy to order one from China.

Last month while I was on a speed run home (having just seen The World's Fastest Indian the night before, I was playing Bonneville Racer) and probably going WAY too fast! (I bought a bicycle speedo to accurately measure speed. It uses a rare-earth magnet on the front rim and works great. Also computes mileage, distance, average speed and tells me how many calories I've burned based on age and weight. According to the readout I've burned so many calories I should weigh about 5 lbs.) Anyway, I was blasting through a construction zone when some debris either broke one of my fender mounting brackets or became wedged under the back end of the fender. Next thing I know the fender has caught the front wheel, ripped off forward and over, and is dragging under the engine block hanging on by one bracket and probably shooting sparks out for several feet behind me. Aside from knocking the headlight up a bit I didn't feel a thing. The bike tracked straight and I pulled over with no problems. I unbolted the one remaining brace, threw the remains in the sidecar and continued on home.

The only serious damage was a broken mounting bracket on the fork, but that's an excuse for me to try out my MIG welder. I fabbed up a quickie replacement using one of my spare goldwing front fenders (for some reason I have three of them) and ordered that blue fender from Red October. It's from an old Ural, probably an M66 and has more of a valence to the sides than the CJ fender. Should look pretty good when I get it painted and mounted. It must have looked awfully pretty for the commuters behind me—sparks shooting out everywhere. Reminds me of the time I did a complete 360 on an icy freeway in Michigan while driving my 24-foot long 1973 Pontiac hearse (long gone now). That's another one where I wish someone had been behind me with a video camera..."

 
 
 
"My buddies in the SKUNK ('sidecars up north') club had our rally in Cameron, WI last weekend. (Click here to visit their board.) Here's a bunch of pics. My my bike and the /2 with Ural sidecar both have 900cc BMW motor conversions, a lot of fun to ride them around and compare. Note the replica Steib fender with chrome handle on the Ural sidecar. Wouldn't that look good on a CJ? I trailered the CJ beacuse I had just put the new final drive and transmission in. I hadn't given them a shakedown cruise. I also had a dog and my girlfriend and a bunch of parts for the guys at the rally."

Click here and go to the "bikes" section for more pictures. And check out this link as well.

 
 
 
Mark is in the process of reworking this front fender slightly to better match the profile of the front wheel. He has removed the mudguard as well. By the way, click here to check out the Goldwing that Mark is turning into a CJ!
 
CJ gearboxes need modifying to mate to a BMW engine. In this photo the gearbox on the right has been tweaked.
In this photo you can see the adapter ring. The modified gearbox came from Jim.
 
This gearbox has had the holes for the mounting studs relocated to mate with the Beemer engine. It wouldn't take much finishing work to make this look completely stock.
 
This is a great comparison. On the right is a Soviet M75/K750 gearbox.
On the left is a CJ750 gearbox. The Russian foot shifter is especially interesting.
 
"This last weekend I made a buddy get his Dnepr out of the garage for the first time this year and go for a ride. That's Steve B. from the Dneprheads group in these pictures." [Nice looking bikes—both of them!]"
 
If there's one thing this bike has plenty of it's load capacity! Feast your eyes on the ammo boxes!
Yes, it's a full-dress CJ. (Well, actually BMW/CJ.)
But this is pretty cool. Mark stenciled this most excellent frame tag logo on each one. I'll bet it took hours to make the stencil. And look at the size of that box! This bike can carry more than my wife's car!
 
Mark models "proper riding attire" amidst some of his toys. Mark is actually more safety conscious than it appears. He always wears a helmet with full face protection.
One of these things is not like the other. This is why Mark selected a Chang as his brand of bike. It kinda makes those Harleys look a little passe.
 
Before we talk about the bike, feast your eyes on Mark's '64 Bonneville wagon. Is that a cool car or what?
Mark's dresser has VW Beetle taillights, double spare tire carrier, police spotlight, sidecar windshield, 60mm mortar ammo cans (still not painted ), Triumph front brake, aftermarket British mufflers, BMW motor and wiring harness, Russian license plate holder, toolbox gas tank, Phoenix (or rooster) seats, inverted rear fender brace and lowered front fender. Wow.
 
Mark added this sidecar windshield he made from an e-Bay purchase. That's an old sidecar cover which "sure beats paying $160 for a Ural one..."
This bike is becoming a full dresser!
 
Mark got together with some other riders last weekend.
Three Beemers, a Ural, a Honda and Mark's Chang turned out.
Kids love sidecar bikes!
 
This bike has come a long way over the last year or two. Look at the ammo boxes!
Mark built the double spare wheel carrier using C-clamp jack screw.
Whoa!
This is an old police car spotlightd.
Notice anything out of the ordinary here? It's a Beemer OHV engine!
 
Boys will be boys—check out those toys!
A shot of the bike before the ammo boxes were installed. You can see the Triumph front hub very clearly in this picture.
Ammo box in place on the sidecar.
The boxes and mounts are home-made. They'll be painted to match the bike and at least one will get a CJ750 star emblem. Neat!
 
Mark is always making improvements on his bike and one place where the CJ750 could really use some is the front brake! This is the assembly from a Triumph that Mark installed on his bike.
Viola! It looks pretty good and does the job much better than the original equipment.
It even looks like a factory installation. Good job!
 
How do you like the matched vintage VW Beetle taillights?
Mark looks pretty satisfied in this picture.
Working on the right side of a sidecar machine can be a pain sometimes.
This is a coooool bike!
 
Mark's been busy getting the sidecar attached and lined up properly. Take a look at the lighting, especially by the axle.
Handsome sidecar profile...
...and the traditional 3/4 view.
Great bike!
 
Check out the mirror Mark mounted on the handlebars. Pretty nice isn't it? It's a bicycle mirror made by a company called Third Eye and it only cost about $15!
You can see it pretty good in this picture. The fuel tank graphics are neat!
The ammo can is for 60mm shells. Mark will make mounts for the bike and sidecar. It will look pretty good after it's painted black. These cans cost $10 apiece instead of $135!
You could carry a lot of beer in there and still have plenty of room for ice.
 
If you're thinking about doing a BMW engine conversion on your CJ, here's a template that will assist in mating the BMW engine to the CJ gearbox, courtesy of Mark and Jim Bryant.
Wow! Wow! Wow!
I mean, WOW!
It took some time but it was well worth the wait. What a coooool bike!
Inside the headlamp...
The rubber u-joint...
...and air tube for the carb...
...and the mating of the engine and gearbox. Good job!
 
It's time once again to look in on Mark's project to see how things are going. Looks like the frame is ready for the drivetrain and sidecar.
Here's the bucket. Check out the lighting mods Mark did. Nice job!
That's right. It's a BMW 90/6 motor. It's mated to the stock CJ gearbox. Mark encountered a couple minor hitches that are now sorted.
Mark is de-rating the output of this engine somewhat as it may be a bit much for the CJ gearbox and final drive.
And one last view from the top. What a bike this will be!
 
Mark encountered this CJ at a sidecar rally in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The owner apparently sells them and claims to have sold over 400!
Obviously the guy didn't know who he was talking to. He made some other remarks that pretty much trashed his credibilty!
Here's a detail shot of the engine.
 
Mark just finished the painting and graphics on his toolbox gas tank. What do you think?
Rome wasn't built in a day, and this will be a terrific bike.
Rather sporty looking, isn't it?
The stern...
...and the starboard side. Nice work!
 
Mark's experimenting with Scott Snaden's Mother's Arms logo. Looks like it will go on his gast tank toolbox lid.
 
Working on ideas for a paint scheme for his gas tank using paper mock-ups. Good idea!
Recognize that handsome CJ750 star emblem?
Classic H-D style.
And last but not least... Mark says his girlfriend's enthusiasm isn't quite as strong as his. I can relate to that.
We're still wondering how that bracket's going to end up!
 
Mark just keeps plugging away at his CJ. Today was an especially good day as his parts order from Gerald Gardebled arrived! In this image the rear fender bracket wasn't bolted into place. (No, that's not a wheelie bar!)
Among other things, Mark got this toolbox-top gas tank with rubber leg guards.
He's still fine tuning his ideas for the tail end. Here we see the stock CJ support bracket installed upside down. That VW taillight is now black.
Center stands are easy... until the engine and gearbox are installed.
It's really coming along!
 
Mark is making excellent progress building the CJ he got from Jim Bryant. Let's see how he's doing with the taillights and fender brace.
Remember, these components will be painted black. The brace is from a Honda and the taillight is from a vintage VW Beetle.
Again, with the lamp illuminated.
Here he has inverted the brace.
This looks like a very happy CJ to me.
 
Hey, nice T-shirt!
He's experimenting with using a vintage VW taillight. It looks like it was made for a bike. Mark plans to paint the housing black. I think it'll look pretty good.
The enlarged image shows six views of his headlight which uses a BMW /5 ignition switch and circuit board. This is going to be a nice bike!
 
Let's see how he*s coming along with the bike he got from Jim Bryant. Hey, not bad!
Mark used a BMW /5 wiring harness which really sped things up. If you've ever bult a CJ, you know exactly what I mean.
I can tell right now this going to be a great looking bike when Mark gets done with it. By the way, a Honda CB550 petcock fits a CJ gas tank.
Check out the turn signals! They're made from NAPA trailer lights.
Another view. Mark found that NAPA 6204-2rs wheel bearings interchange with Changs. They're only $5!
Interesting rear turn signal installation, again using NAPA fixtures. Looks pretty good! Mark's debating whether to use a Model A or vintage VW bug taillight.
Another view.
Lowered front fender, but there's more. Mark cut off the splash guard, trimmed the fender and then reversed the whole thing.
Look pretty nice doesn't it?
A Phoenix seat like the ones Gerald has for sale.
Mark's stable and—in the lower left hand corner— his faithful assistant.
 
Mark is from Minneapolis. He swapped a BMW 90/6 with a Velorex hack for Jim Bryant's last CJ in the US. Here's how it looks at the moment. We'll certainly be looking forward to seeing how she turns out!