’75 BMW R90S
Writing about this motorcycle is way too easy. Why? Because I have one! I acquired mine about a year and a half ago and have loved every mile with it. The R90S is a fantastic motorcycle in every way. BMW built a wonderful tourer, the R90/6, then made it a bit sportier, a little faster and quite beautiful. The ‘S’ model is quite comfortable for long distances, right after I got mine I took off on a one week, 2000 mile trip and was comfortable every mile.
The R90S has plenty of power for one or two up touring, it will cruise all day long at speeds that in most states, will land you in jail or at least, with a much thinner wallet. The 898cc motor only put out 67 horsepower but those 67 ponies would gallop up to the bikes 124mph top speed with no effort at all. The 6+ gallon gas tank is good for a range of over 200 miles before needing a fillup. The R90S was very light for the day, just under 500 pounds fully gassed up and ready to go. The Delorto carbs can be a finicky but once you learn them, they are actually quite easy to maintain tune.
The R90S retains BMW’s reputation for reliability , relative ease of maintenance, long distance comfort and then throws in ‘sport’ just to make it interesting. To prove their point, BMW took the ‘S’ model racing and won the first AMA Superbike race at Daytona in 1976 ( got second place too ), then with Reg Pridmore riding, went on to win the Superbike Championship that same year.
Is there anything about the R90S that isn’t perfect? Sure, the clutch pull is a bit heavy as is the throttle, but these little things are so minor that after a short while living with an R90S you don’t even think about them, and…compared to a vintage Ducati (my old Darmah, lets say), the clutch feels silky smooth. The gas cap faces the wrong way, Hans and Frans had a one too many St Pauli Girls’ the day they designed that. And then there is my (and everyone who owns a BMW motorcycle of that generation), biggest gripe of all when it comes to my bike…the sidestand. Who’s brilliant idea was it to have the damn thing automatically retract the second you start to stand the bike up??!! I mean you move 1/16th of an inch off the stand and you better be sure you are balanced, and, if it’s facing the slightest bit downhill your bike will be rolling down that hill without you. Ok, enough griping about the centerstand. Just order up a Brown centerstand from any number of BMW dealers and problem solved.
Can you improve the perfect motorcycle? Yes, and quite easily. First, leave the motor alone, the handling is where you can make the most difference in your R90S. From San Jose BMW you can get a much better, stronger upper triple clamp and a fork brace, you will be amazed at what those two simple things can do for this motorcycle. A set of Koni shocks on the rear and there you have it, Bavarian perfection.
So, now that I have sung the praises of this motorcycle to the heavens and have you ready to trade in your first-born male child for one, where can you get one? Tis easy my friend…ebay! I found this 1975 model today and it looks great. It has been recently serviced, a number of parts have been replaced; bearings, seals and the like. Some new brakes are on there as well new mufflers. All in all, just the things you need to simply buy the bike…the ‘buy it now’ price is really quite reasonable by the way, fly out to pick it up and ride it home…make sure you take the long way home, you’ll be glad you did. Click on the pics below for more pictures and additional information about this fantastic motorcycle. Do you think I’ve gone a bit over the top here? Me neither.