A bit of history and some stories about vintage bikes for sale

Posts tagged “vintage BMW motorcycles

1972 BMW R60/5


I once had a friend who was so into BMW that I think he applied for German citizenship!? But he ended up simply restoring them and riding old Beemers all over the Western US. He even convinced me to buy one and in all honesty I loved it. I sold it a few years later after about 50,000 miles and every now and then I wish still had it.screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-12-49-pm

The bike I found on ebay today is an R60/5 model, nice bike. Here comes todays history lesson…at one time BMW was considering getting out of the motorcycle business but in 1964 the decision came to stay. They (BMW) hired a man from Porsche to design the next generation motorcycles.  In 1970 the /5 series replaced the /2 with a number of improvements and changes.  The Boxer engine remained with some changes but the rest of the bike was virtually all new. More horsepower, lighter weight and… here are the BIGGIES (insert drum roll here) a 12 volt electrical system and an electric starter!!! They did keep the kick starter for the traditionalist and I think, just in case the new electric starter dscreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-08-54-pmecided not participate that day.

Even with all the improvements it wasn’t perfect. Yes it had a higher cruising speed but getting there took more work. For one, just getting the bike rolling took some effort because of a heavy clutch and a tall first gear. The power came on at a little over 4000 rpm where as the /2 model got into it’s power between 2 and 3000 rpm, which considering BMW was still using a 4 speed you were working the gear shift lever a lot. The brakes were described as adequate. Now remember, this showed up when the Japanese had advanced to disc brakes so by comparison, yeah the BMW brakes were just adequate. The bike handled a lot better than it’s predesesor with more cornering clearance due to lifting the cylinders.The R60/5 was , and is, a very capable touring bike, it’s quite comfy even two up and has the power to get the two of you down the road.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-04-23-pmSo, Back to the one I found on ebay this morning. A very clean R60/5. The seller it has 21K miles but also says the speedo/odo doesn’t work so the mileage could be in question. It has some mechanical work done and the seller says it runs smooth. The R60/5 is in beautiful unrestored condition and the starting price is not unreasonable.

If your’e looking for classic BMW I think bike is well working at. Click on the link below for more info and more pictures. Oh and by the way, the classic ‘Toaster’ tank came out in ’72. It is very cool.

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screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-52-46-am1972 BMW R60/5</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1972+BMW+R60%2F5&item=131940490340&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1974 BMW R90S

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 5.26.41 PMA few years ago I bought a 1976 R90S that had been sitting in a garage under a blanket, a piece of carpet and a few boxes for 17 years.It had only 15,000 miles on it. I got it for a song. It needed the standard stuff…all the fluids changed, new tires, clean the carbs, go through the wiring, new battery flush the brake system and get the mouse nest out of the air box.
After all that it was time for a shakedown run, a couple hundred miles ought to do it…as long as I had my AAA card. Well, the ride went perfect and I was in love with my BMW. It did everything I asked of it and with no muss or fuss. The next week the missus and I headed off to tour Utah and again, all was well.Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 8.02.08 AM
Over the few years that I had the R90 I had put about 70,000 miles on it with almost no issues. Easy maintenance, comfortable for two up riding, with a couple of suspension mods it handled pretty great, but then one night an evil spirit (Tanqueray Martinis and my friend (?) Erik) convinced me to sell it and buy an Adventure bike.
Well, word got out that I had sold the BMW and instantly I got an email from a good friend telling me that I needed to seek the help of a mental health professional. First I sold a Ducati Darmah, then my R90S all to buy a Buell Ulysses? They were right, I did need help. Do I regret selling my R90S? yes. Do I like my Buell? Yes. Do I love it ? No. I’d really rather have my R90S back…or something similar. Ah well. Hindsight is always 20/20.
The R90S showed up on these shores in 1974, at that time is was basically a bored out R75 with a few suspension upgrades, different carbs, a higher compression ratio and very cool bodywork including one of the most beautiful paint jobs and a nice tight little bikini fairing up front.
BMW really wanted to upgrade or modernize its image and the S model was the ideal platform and the best place to showcase that…the racetrack. Enter Reg Pridmore. Canadian racer Reg Pridmore took the Butler and Smith (the US distributors of BMW at the time) to the first ever AMA Superbike Championship in 1976. Fuddy Duddy BMW was now a very serious racer…The R90S is not your fathers BMW.There is a vast amount of good racing history about the R90S in that period and reading it makes me wish I had mine back.Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 5.28.31 PM
The photo above is three BMW’s leading a race. These bikes and even the street version are no slouches.
I found an especially nice S model today on ebay that is truly a fly /buy and ride/ Well, maybe the ride part might be a bit sketchy…only because of the weather across the country. Hey wait, you’re a good rider…some snow, a tornado or two and golf ball size hail won’t stop you. Will it?
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Honestly, this is a bike ready to ride. A lot of new parts, some nice additions (the Ohlins shocks and the Corbin seat) The price at this time seems reasonable, but we’ll see. It is a fabulous motorcycle. If you were ever looking for the perfect vintage sport touring bike, the R90S is without question the best you will ever find.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and more info

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Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 7.53.23 AM1974 BMW R90S

1976 BMW R90S

Picture 8Well, the time has come to sell my R90S. I love this bike but I think that somebody may love it a bit more.
I bought the bike a few years ago from my son’s father in law. It had been sitting for seventeen years under some boxes of vintage radios, a piece of old carpet and a couple of blankets and I wanted it. We struck a deal and I brought it home.

A good tune up, new tires and off I went to see my friend Bill Stermer (who wrote the book on airhead BMW’s and is a writer for Rider Magazine). We rode our favorite road and at the end of the ride he gave the bike the ‘two thumbs up’ and I was happy. Since that time, my wife and I have traveled California and the Southwest US on the BMW and it has never let us down. It is a great motorcycle. But, like most of us motorcyclists, we always lust for something else…new, old, or just different from what we have now. That is where I am at now.

So, here’s the deal. The bike is a 1976 R90S with 36,572 miles on the clock. It has a 1977 R100RS fairing, makes for very comfortable riding. I put new shocks on it from Bobs BMW on it about 10k miles ago and replaced the fork springs. The carbs were rebuilt and full tune up done about 2K miles ago. All the fluids have just been changed (engine oil and filter,trans,drive shaft and differential,front brake fluid). New throttle and clutch cables.

I put a ‘Brown’s’ sidestand on it because the stock BMW sidestand is a nightmare. The bike has the full complete BMW tool kit plus more tools and ignition parts, a spare throttle cable and a genuine BMW tank cover. Factory BMW saddle bags (Krauser) and the small luggage rack in place of the simple grab handle, the chrome grab handle comes with it too. I have a set of fork boots that I didn’t install that go with the bike.

What the bike needs is a new rear tire and the fairing needs a paint job, and the windscreen is cracked…that’s all.

It’s a great bike, runs perfectly and can be yours for $6000. R90S models with twice the mileage sell for more, this is a good deal. I will deliver within 100 miles of zip code 93015 for an additional $100. If you want the bike shipped I can help your shipper but all arrangements are up to you.
If you have any questions or would like more pictures just send me an e-mail paul@themotoworld.com

This R90 has been a great friend and now it needs to be a great friend to someone else.

1954 Victoria Bergmeister

It’s sad to see some motorcycles that were beautifully built only last a couple of years and then away they go. This Victoria V35 Bergmeister is a perfect example.

Victoria Motorcycles started out like many company’s making motorcycles by making bicycles. Victoria’s two wheelers started in 1886 and became motorized in 1901. Originally, Victoria built the frames but sourced engines from other manufacturers, FN and Horex as examples. Victoria motorcycles were very popular through the 1920’s and 30’s with good successes in racing, particularly in the mountain races and hillclimbs. In 1926 A Victoria motorcycle set the world speed record at 165KPH.Because of the racing victory’s in the mountains, 1933 brought a new model, the Bergmeister, which means ‘Mountain Champion’.

Along came World War Two. Production shifted to smaller motorcycles built for the military. In 1945, the Victoria factory was bombed by the allied forces and almost nothing was left. But at war’s end, they started rebuilding. Again, it was with small motorcycles and larger bikes with engines again sourced from the likes of BMW, Horex and Columbus.

In 1951 the top German designer, Richard Kuchen, came to Victoria and started with a fresh sheet of paper and designed a new Bergmeister.
This new model featured a very compact V-Twin design of 350cc. The intent was to fit it between the BMW and Horex singles of the time and, the larger Boxer Twins of Zundapp and BMW. The motorcycle was so sturdy and strong that it was well suited for sidecar use. It had 21 horsepower, good for its time and size.

The thing that really stands out about this motorcycle is the engine. When you look closely at it, you don’t see any intake runners, carburetor, air cleaner or battery…they’re all inside. The motor really looks like something out of a Flash Gordon Saturday matinée episode. I really like it. The running gear consists of a four speed chain driven transmission and a shaft final drive. All built to last. Typically German.

But there was a fly in the ointment. The design and prototype process started in 1951 but the bike didn’t make it to market until 1954 and when it did it was already behind the curve of what was being built by other German motorcycle makers and because of its long development time and cost, it was too expensive for ‘just a 350’. The V35 Bergmeister only lasted from 1954-1956, in 1958 Victoria merged with DKW and by the early 1960’s Victoria was no more.

So, in my early morning perusal of ebay, I come across this very nice example of a Victoria V35 Bergmeister. These bikes are very rare, some say only about 450 are left in the world at this time and parts for this machine are even rarer. The one I found here isn’t a runner but it was when it was put away and it’s all there except the mufflers. Has new ‘old’ tyres, the original service book, and seat. It does need some love but the owner says it kicks over strong with good compression, clicks through all the gears like it should and generally looks very good. It has been repainted (frame and body work) but the color is just a little bit off I think, not bad just a little off. I like this bike a lot, it’s got a really clean look, slim and compact and love that engine. So, if you’re looking for something very unusual that really won’t take all that much to restore, or at least get running this could be something that belongs in your garage. And when you’re riding it and someone asks what kind of Moto Guzzi is it, you can just smile and say “it’s not…it’s a Bergmeister” and ride away watching in your mirror them scratching their heads and wondering what a Bermeister is. Click on the pic below for more info and pictures. Hurry up because right now it’s still at a pretty good price.

1954 Victoria Bergmeister

BMW R75/5 Cafe’

In the early 70’s the Honda CB750 and the Mighty Z1 from Kawasaki were truly dominating the sportbike world (a term that really hadn’t been coined at the time).Triumph had the Trident;BSA the Rocket 3; Suzuki,the GT750. European bikes were there but not dominant. Enter the BMW R75/5.

THe R75/5 was relatively light at 463 lbs, finally came with 12volt electrics (those actually showed up a bit earlier but was now standard), had both electric and kick starter (the gentlemans kick starter, you actually stand next to the bike not straddling it, and simply push down the starter lever. Smooth, easy and very gentlemanly.

Most of my riding friends nowadays have Airhead BMW’s, I have one as well. And, most of them ride /5 BMW’s. They are reliable, classic looking, good handling and as compared to the CB750, which was what they (BMW) were after. The /5 series less sophisticated but in many respects more soulful than it’s Japanese counterpart.

I found this 1975 R75/5 semi Cafe on ebay and loved it instantly. My friend Bill Stermer of Rider Magazine, has one very similar to this one. THe Hannigan fairing is a beautiful design. It is amazing how much this fairing, racy as it may appear, makes a long ride more comfortable. Krauser bags because a /5 is designed for traveling,new shocks, Dyna electronic ignition (which I really need to put on my R90S…) rebuilt Bing carbs, a Corbin seat and new tires. This bike has only 27K miles…barely broken in by BMW standards.

For BMW, the R75/5 was truly a landmark motorcycle. Yeah, it was more expensive than it’s Japanese competitors but it had and still has, a feeling and sound that makes you feel like you are riding a motorcycle not a sewing machine on wheels. It may top out at 110 MPH, a few short of the CB750, but the feeling of those two big pistons pushing you along with a vibration that can’t be described until you feel it yourself, the clacking of the valves opening and closing, the distinctive exhaust note that only an Airhead BMW can give, truly magical.

There are a couple of great websites that can help you if you decide to become an Airhead.
www.bobsbmw.com the best source for airhead parts

This is a great motorcycle and a really good value…this is really a fly and buy motorcycle. Click on the pictures below for more info.

BMW R75/5

’77 Honda Gold Wing

The first time I saw and rode a Gold Wing I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico working for the local newspaper. The dealer, Las Cruces was a small down and had only one Honda dealer, was having a big coming out party for the new Honda and I was there to write a story about it. Honda was touting the bike as a tourer but at the same time…maybe sporty? They, Honda, weren’t really sure where the ‘Wing’ would really land.

It was kind of lined up against the BMW R90/6 and, at the same time, Kawasaki’s King Kong…The Mighty Z1. The Gold Wing was BIG…somewhere around 100 pounds bigger than the Z1 but, still had pretty respectable performance numbers in comparison tests. Comparing it to the BMW was a lot easier. Give it a big smooth comfortable ride that could easily eat up hundreds of miles a day and have you wanting to keep going and be late for dinner. Honda was also looking at the Harley Davidson Electra Glide, the touring bike of choice at the time here in the states.

When I was at the Gold Wing debut, the Honda rep started the bike then balanced a quarter on its edge, on the engine, to prove how smooth the engine was. We were all pretty impressed. Maybe not as much as watching David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear, but nonetheless, impressed. The bike was quiet, thanks to a boatload of engineering…and liquid cooling, but still had a distinctive sound and feel. I didn’t care about the quarter balancing act, I just wanted to ride the bike…I was there to do a job. Well that, and I just love riding new motorcycles.

The Honda rep was a little reluctant to turn me loose on his new bike, especially after he saw my cafe’d out Kawasaki 750 sitting the parking lot, but, after a bit of convincing him (lying to him…) that I would treat his new toy carefully (he actually fell for it…), we arranged a ride the next morning. The clincher was when I promised to buy him breakfast.

My first ride on the GL1000 was quite an eye opener. The bike had gobs of power all over the place but was eerily quiet and way too smooth for a guy used to British twins and a raucous two stroke triple. But I really liked it. The roads around Las Cruces aren’t what you would call over challenging or even entertaining but, we made the best of them long enough that I had to call the newspaper and make up some story that would keep them from sending out the search party or worse…firing me. For a 600 plus pound motorcycle, the new Gold Wing was surprisingly agile and fun to ride. The sales rep was a riding the dealers own CB750 that had been tweaked a bit and still had a hard time keeping up with me, not because I was a better rider ( I was…but thats beside the point…kind of) but the Gold Wing really worked well and was easy to push around the roads of Southern New Mexico. We did get home in time for dinner.

First generation Gold Wings are great motorcycles in so many ways. The obvious is as a tourer, hauling around a sidecar is easy for a GL1000 and a few brave souls have turned their big Honda into Cafe’ Wings…my favorite. I found this really nice GL1000 on ebay and looks to be a great deal for someone looking for a classic bike that can almost anything. This Gold Wing has only 20,000 miles, barely broken in for this bike, the owner put in a new clutch, timing belts, water pump, hoses, rebuilt the carbs…I would imagine just because it has sat for a long time. This is a great classic that can be the platform for so much…a great naked tourer or find a Vetter Windjammer on ebay and travel across the country, get a cool sidecar from my friends at Sidestrider and take the dog for a ride. This is a good bike for a good price. There is only one thing I’m not sure I like about this particular bike, the owner replaced the cool aluminum spoked wheels with later model Comstar mags, which isn’t a bad thing, I just like the original wheels better. Click on the pics below for more info about this nice Gold Wing.

’77 Honda Gold Wing

’66 BSA Lightning 650 Cafe Racer

In reality, a proper Cafe Racer is British. They created the genre’ and still do it better than most of us. Classic singles like the 441 Victor, the Norton International, Matchless G50’s. And of course the Bonneville, Commando and Lightning. I have even seen Cafe Racer Scooters!!

I found a very nice ’66 BSA A65 Lightning on ebay this morning sporting a somewhat conservative Cafe’ style but nonetheless, holding true to the spirit. I spent a couple of years on an A65 and I loved it, but as those of you who do read this regularly know that I traded it for ultimate speed (at the time…a Kawasaki H2. I don’t regret the trade, I just wish I still had both of those motorcycles.

I had modified my BSA in the Cafe style; clubman bars, bobbed rear fender, beefed up engine and some suspension work. It was a great bike. Since that time I have built Cafe Racers out of Honda 350’s, Ducati 900’s and that Kawasaki H2 many years ago. Like my friend Erik says…”I love Cafe Racers”

This one here is a nice bike, it has been rebuilt with some smart upgrades like a Boyer electronic ignition and better carburetors…and if you have ever spent time with British motorcycles of this era, you know that better electrics and fuel delivery make all the difference in the world. This A65 is one of those bikes that fall into the category of ‘ride it, don’t hide it’. I have sat on display for years but really…ride it, you’ll have a great time. However, this isn’t going to go cheap and, at the same time, I think it will probably sell for a fair price considering what it is and the work done. I like it. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures. And…check out the sweet exhaust on this sled..very cool, I’ll bet it sounds wonderful.

’66 BSA Lightning 650 Cafe Racer

’76 BMW R90/6

The best of the vintage sport tourers. Stone reliable, comfortable, plenty fast enough, sort of sporty handling…actually excellent for its time, and quite good looking, in a Teutonic sort of way. The R90 was the natural outgrowth of the legendary R75 and was a needed upgrade for BMW. The Honda CB750 was faster and stopped better, thanks to the front disc brake, than the R75 and…Kawasaki had just upped the ante big time with the King Kong of them all…the mighty Z1.

The reviews of the R90 were glowing. Cycle World put it this way, “the BMW R90/6 is so exciting, it’s difficult to find a point at which to begin describing it.” Cycle Guide magazine said this, ” a powerful motorcycle designed to compete in the performance conscience market of 1974.” Lets think about performance for just a moment. The Z1 put out a very strong 82 HP, Kawasaki’s H2 750 was rated at 74HP and Honda’s CB750 67 ponies. BMW showed up at the party with…maybe 59? Not what you would call threatening. But, horsepower isn’t everything, there’s this little thing called torque and that is where the boys in Munich beat everybody. The R90 had pulling power all over the place. Yeah the Japanese had the top end and the rush of speed but it was the BMW that would get you from corner to corner quickly with no drama.

I found a nice 1976 R90/6 on ebay today, not too many miles and looks to be in good condition overall. What I really like about this motorcycle is the Hannigan Sport Touring fairing. These fairings have a very distinctive look and feel to them. My friend Bill Stermer, author and journalist ( he wrote the definitive book on these bikes and is a contributing editor to Rider magazine ) has one on his R90 and just loves it. I have ridden the bike and understand why. This bike has the stock BMW saddle bags which are very nice, but I do recommend that you also add a safety strap to the bags as they are known to, at the worst time, pop open and leave your stuff spread across the landscape. I do have one big question about the bike though, it has a new front wheel, why? Was the bike crashed? did it hit a big pothole on the road? if there was some damage, how are the forks? But, maybe it got a new front wheel just because the old one was corroded and looking a bit ugly? Anyway, that is the only question I would ask, otherwise this looks to be a great bike at a good price that will last anyone years and years. Plus, that Hannigan fairing is so cool. The more I look at this bike, I wonder if it might a better bike for me than my R90 with RS fairing? Hmmm. Click on the pics below for more info. And, if you call now, you get a free tank bag!! Don’t wait.

’76 BMW R90/6

’84 BMW R100

Touring simplified. Take one stone reliable motorcycle, add a pair of saddlebags and hit the road. Life doesn’t really get much better.

Most all of us, at one time or another, have gone the simplified touring route. My first tour was on a little Honda 350 with a small duffle bag strapped to the seat crammed with some basic camping essentials and a clean pair of skivvies. It was a great trip that started me on a life of moto-touring.

Since those days I have travelled a lot of miles without the aid of every electro-gizmo on the planet, air assisted suspension and a cup holder attached to the handlebar or fairing big enough to park a VW behind. I did finally buy a tank bag and a pair of soft saddlebags that have graced a number of motorcycles and, still do touring duty.

Most of my traveling friends, for years, have all ridden bikes equipped with hard saddlebags. I was a bit envious at times but, at the same time, I liked my old throw over bags. Until…I learned the true value of hard saddlebags.

After that I had to have hard bags…attached to a good “vintage’ touring bike. Hence I bought my BMW, with…the stock BMW hard bags/ beer coolers. So, I found on ebay this really nice R100 BMW ready to go anywhere. Naked touring. You could throw on a small fairing or windscreen for a little more comfort, but you know what, this is great just as it is. Only 30,000 miles, just serviced, new tires, brakes and fork fluid, it’s ready to go. This another of those bikes I call a ‘ buy, fly and ride ‘…buy it, fly to wherever it is, and ride it home. There is one other nice feature about this bike, the dual plug heads. The dual plug conversion has a number of benefits that make riding your BMW more enjoyable and will help the motor last a bit longer. Adding the dual plug set up allows you to use regular fuel instead of premium (saves you $$$ in the long run), the bike starts easier and quicker (especially in cold weather), it can up the performance (if you add hi-comp pistons and some other ignition mods),it looks cool and, it increases the value of the bike.

If you’re looking for a bike that is a great platform for any kind of riding…touring, cafe racing, attaching a sidecar, whatever… this ’84 BMW R100 is a really great bike and a good value. Click on the pics below for more info.

’84 BMW R100

’72 BMW R60/5

This is a nice ride. And, it’s no average R60/5. If it was just your regular old, everyday R60 it would be a really great all around motorbike. Cruise all over town, throw it around on some nice twisty canyon roads or strap on some saddlebags and head off into the sunset. The 600cc motor has plenty of power for solo riding and does surprisingly well with two on board. The /5 series BMW’s are renowned for reliability, smooth riding good handling. A few slight modifications and the little 600 becomes a terror in the canyons. Ok, so the blue one here has a bit more than a few slight mods, but you get the idea.

I found this really sweet BMW R60 on ebay today and, for what I believe to be a very reasonable price considering all that has been done. The bike has been sitting up in a loft in downtown Los Angeles for the past couple of years since it was built. It’s not a simple re-build, it’s been built. The owner apparently wasn’t satisfied with the little puny 600’s power and couldn’t afford a 750 so he took the motor to the gym. After time with a personal trainer / mechanic, it came home a strong healthy 800 with a 5 speed transmission. Some fresh paint, new shoes and a few other goodies…and the bike just sits???!!! How in the world can someone build a bike then park it in a loft? Well, his work is going to look and ride great on a road near you. This is really one sweet ride. You need to get yourself one of those cool vintage style Davida helmets, some goggles, a proper leather jacket and cruise Sunset Boulevard up into the Hollywood Hills, park at some beautiful overlook and check out how beautiful L.A is at night…Ok, that’s just my idea of a great Saturday night on a classic bike. Click on the pics below for more info about this really nice Vintage BMW. It’s a good deal. And one more thing…you’re going to have to do the break-in miles, it is a fresh build. Oh too bad for you….

’72 BMW R60/5