Thomas Koehle in Austria
Thomas made a recent trip to Normandy with his Desert Tan SV sidecar.
 
Hi,

Long time no news from me...

I moved back to Europe from China at the end 2013, and started working in Austria. I took four of my Changs with me and finished one last project before I left Beijing. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time here in Europe to continue any kind of Chang business.

Below are some pics of the bikes I have in Germany now.

As for the silver chopper, this bike was finished in 2013. Back then I worked with Jim Bryant to get a first "springer Chang" on the road which was Jim's white and green BMW-powered CJ bobber.

With what we learned during this project, I built the silver chopper.

I got the front end via Jim, and raked the frame to get a stretched look. The silver paint job is actually the second layer of paint because the initial colours were red with orange. It looked awesome to me, but my Shanghai pal, who is now the owner of the bike, wasn't that happy with it.

Finally, we made some more mods like the battery tray, the ribbed fender and tank.
Check out the small air filters and exhaust. As you might recognise, I used the Chinese truck tires being used by a lot of shops since 2013. I didn't have enough time for a proper break in before leaving China, but the test drive was pretty smooth. Hope you like the pics. I'll send some pics of my last sidecar project next. Best regards from Austria, Thomas.
 
"Here's a report about my El Diablo rig in a Spanish magazine"
 
Below: "This bike is meant to stay with me and ain't for sale. I think it's obvious it should represent an R75 Beemer. Of course it ain't a 100% copy - too many differences in the two versions, but with those 16-inch tyres and all the other military stuff like the tool-boxes and badges, it is pretty near (at least for someone who is not into the different types)".

"As usual, most of the extras like rims, spokes, taillights, etc. are imported. With this bike I want to take part in reenactment events once I'm back in Europe".

"Since I just signed in for another year in BJ, it will be some time until the first reenactment gig. Actually, I do not want to ride around in a military vehicle even if it is just a repro. Therefore, I have some special gimmicks for this rig still in the works which might be finished in a couple of weeks."

"For now enjoy the pics of the mil-version. I'll keep ya updated."

"As usual, if someone is interested in such a bike they can email me at
4444design@googlemail.com."
"I'm considering selling my silver "El Diablo" rig - wanna create something new together with Jim Bryant and need some space in my garage."
 
"Here's a report about my El Diablo rig in the May 2012 issue of The Horse magazine. A friend of mine sent in some pics which, of course, made me proud!"
 
"Just finished my latest buildup a couple of days ago. Took approx. eight months but is ready now."
So far, the following mods have been done:

- ribbed tank and tail fender (tank is modified imported after market tank - tail fender is handmade.)
- handmade custom seat
- relocated handmade battery box
- imported FORD A taillight on left side
- imported 16 inch whitewall on the tail
- imported 19 inch AVON Speedmaster on the frontwheel
- imported custom risers
- relocated exhaust both to right side
- imported gas gauge on right side of tank
- imported speedometer on left side of tank
- imported handgrips
- imported frontlight
- fully chromed front end
- MIKUNI Carbs
"It runs pretty smooth but I need to get used to the sitting position. When setting up the concept for the "El Diablo" Chang I was inspired by the classic British and American choppers/bobbers of the 60s & 70s."
 
"Today another solo was finished which will be sent to my friend in France. My friend is a collector of WWII military vehicles and already owns a CJ with sidecar in Wehrmacht outfit."
"He also wanted a solo and decided to paint it in US Army OD to represent a Wehrmacht Beemer liberated by GIs. The bike was built up by Mr. Zhang of Zhang's Motor Works."
 
"Pics from the Chongli Dragon Week Bike Festival. I organized a group of about 10 riders. Gathered with Jim Bryant at the location and the evening was pretty fine - having some beer and motobike talk. Hope the whole thing will be organized once more next year!"
 
"I'm aiming towards that "old school" look I like with the old hardtail Harleys when getting bobbed. To give my ride that "old school" appearence, I decided to shift from the previous setup with those radial tyres to the more vintage looking Avon MK II rubbers which are used on a lot of choppers/bobbers."  
"Another reason to shift was the look of Darren's bike here on "CJU" who also equips his Chang with the Avons."  
"So, I brought the set from Germany and got to Jimbo for the change. You can see the results in the pics. I'm really happy with the look right now (have been before also, but hit the vintage theme even more right now)."  
"I have some more mods in planning together with Jim,but for now they are still "confidential". BTW, I got a set of Bill Taylor's CJ 750 patches. They look really great, and I got them within less than one week."  
 
"Finally, Eric's bobber is ready. The project took almost six months to get finalized coz it took pretty long to get all parts here to China. Everone is pretty satisfied with the results."  
 
 
"Another step on the bike for Eric:The fat tyres are on, position of seat is fixed, just some smaller details still open to be finalized. Maybe another week or so until we are ready to dismantle the whole thing and start sandblasting, painting and after that assembly.

For me it is always interesting and also fun to see how everything comes together.

Start for my project bike "No. 4" is done. The tyres already arrived at my home back in Europe and will be picked up next week. This time I will work on the bike together with Jim Bryant. He is a real nice and experienced guy and we want to start with exchanging ideas and experiences and maybe work on some projects. His workshop is the cleanest and best equipped I ever saw around Beijing - a proper place to get clean and perfect bikes built."

 
 
 
"Here are the latest pictures with both my black and red bobbers on the same spot."
"The red one will be picked up by its new owner by end of this week."
Below: "I have a new project running together with my pal Eric. He is a Chang enthusiast already running a pearl white sidecar here around in Biejing as his daily ride. Tough guy because in winter, it gets cold here in BJ. He saw one of my bikes and we met for some discussion what modifications might be possible on a Chang. I gave him some input and based on that he designed HIS Chang handing me over a professionally done sketch. Some more discussions, then we decided to start with the realization of the project. These are pics of the progress. First is Eric's sketch, then some of the parts I imported from Europe or US. We found a straight frame in good condition as his bike's backbone, and then did mock-ups. I still had some spare tanks in the stash so it was Eric's choice for whatever tank he wanted on his ride. Both tanks are imported. My favorite was the grey one which was also Eric's. For the correct seat position we needed to play around a bit with the location of the seat. At least the ride should fit Eric perfectly, and after some fiddling, finally we found the proper location. I gave Eric the hint with the rubbersleeves rather than the metal tubes usually used to cover the fork springs. It was Eric's idea to drop the upper tubes on the forks where usually the brackets for the headlight are located. See also the fender with the extended sides (not like mine on the black bobber, but with smoothened sides.) Again Eric's design. Still some adjustments to do, but first I need to get the fat wheels on the bike to check for the proper position of the fender for the final setup. I asked Eric for his permission to show his sketch on the web, so here we go. I will keep you updated about the progress."
 
"This is Lao Zhang's latest creation. (He works together with Jackie.)"
         
"I found a source for cool looking vintage tyres here in China in size 4.00 x 19. Just for testing I temporarily mounted one of them on the red/black bobber. They look identical to the vintage FIRESTONE tires, but ain't that expensive. If someone in China is interested in a set, they should send me an email."  
 
 
"A Chang in WH outfit which I saw last weekend when in Bastogne for the annual celebrations of the fight between the 101st Airborne with the Wehrmacht in Belgium."
 
"The latest set of wheels which will be sent abroad to a guy who wants to outfit his Chang with fat ones!"
 
"I was at Jimbo's for the start of the Mad Dogs charity run, but didn't join the ride. These pics where shot by Kirk, one of my pals here in China."
 
"Here's a pic of my last short ride around BJ with two of my pals - weather was fine and we decided on short notice to go for a quick ride."
 
"Dropped the seat about 2" - looked wrong somehow so I wanted a lower look. Seems I will finally skip the springs and directly screw the seat to the frame. We'll see...   Smaller tank in the works! Will keep you updated."
 
This OHV solo belongs to Thomas's freind, Mike. Study the pictures and you'll see some interesting details, particularly the driveshaft cover.
 
"Just back from Germany and got some new custom parts to upgrade the red "Retro-Chang". (This is a "before" picture.) Now I run with the fat rubber layout and some other mods like custom-seat, new taillight, shorter tailfender, new paintjob..."
"Some more mods to come - (position of seat, fender, etc.)"
 
"Find attached the latest set of pics from my "Boxer Bobber". Since today I'm riding "fat" also on the front after bringing another 16 inch rim + tailor-made spokes-set from Germany and after receiving the 2nd tire from the US I did it today! The fender had to go but BJ usually is a dry area with low rainfall during the year so driving without fender won't be a problem. Also the tailormade framebag is attached to the ride and comes out nicely."
"I will get another one of those bags in a couple of weeks. If someone is interested to get one just let me know."
 
"Today's ride around BJ. With a bit of "trial and error" back and forth, it works! There are some tricks behind to get there, but with the know-how, it can be made."
"If anyone is interested tin a set of spokes, rim, tyre complete with assembly, get in touch with me at rotxxyyzz@gmail.com"
 
"The fatty on my bike! Just squeezed the wheel in without air pressure to see how it fits! Of course, the prop-shaft is in the way and with the wider tyre, also not enough space under the fender... so I need to consider how to mod the fender and respoke the thing out of center to pass the propshaft. Anyway, so far I'm happy with the result and was worth the hassle to bring all the stuff here to China! Next update will hopefully follow within a week..."  
 
 
"The latest pics of the red ride which where taken yesterday. Currently weather in BJ is not as good as it usually should be in May... I try to do short trips anyway."
"The 16 inch wheel I finally managed to get together. The rim is a 16x3 Harley Davidson import from USA. The brakedrum is, of course, Chang Jiang. The vintage tyre is imported from USA, spokes custom made in Germany."
"I'll try to squeeze the big fat rubber into my black solo next weekend, and will keep you updated whether it works with the propshaft or not! Also, if anyone's interested in a set of these fenders, just let me know. The e-mail address is rotxxyyzz@gmail.com"
 
The custom M1M solo with H-D style fenders, foot boards, headlamp, tombstone taillight, exhaust, etc. Thomas designed this bike and provided all the necessary parts to create it. The builder was Beijing Sidecar, working under Thomas's close supervision.
 
"Here are pics of my new toy, my second customized "Flattie", this time a red one. The black one is the one I owned since beginning of this year. Floorboards, front and taillight turn indicators, luggage rack, all imported from the US or Europe."    
   
 
"My "Old School-Bobber Chang" is still running fine and really fun to ride!"
"My friend's Chang just arrived in France! Resto was done by Zhang Ji Zhen. His craftmanship is good, highly recommended. I managed all small details, took care for the BMW-style taillights & overall layout."
 
"In autum 2008 I started to build up a 24hp flattie "solo" for my wife. Brought two suitcases from Germany full of custom-parts (Harley footboards, headlamp, taillamp, aso) and since last Friday the ride is finished..."
"Fenders are custom made according to my design!   I wanted her to look like an "old school bobber" and I think I got the look."
"Now I have to break her in."
 
"I live in Beijing, China but originally Im from Germany, see pics of my ride."