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

Posts tagged “vintage BMW motorcycles

’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.

’75 BMW R90s

’67 BMW R27

The BMW R27 is a really cool motorcycle. Yeah it’s good looking in a classic sense but it also, In typical BMW fashion, is way over built. It’s as much a 250cc two wheeled tank as it is an easy to ride, fun traveler. The R27 had the first rubber mounted single cylinder engine for BMW, which helped smooth out the ride. Another interesting feature of the motor is the layout. Most engines have their crankshafts running across the motor, the R27 runs the crank lengthwise which eliminates the need for some bevel gears and also keeps the motor more level with the driveshaft for again, smoother running. This little 250 was made for traveling. Cycle World magazine in 1964 claimed the R27 was ,” the smoothest of all the 250’s we have tried “

The chassis of the R27 is a welded tubular set up strong enough to do sidecar duty, and the brakes were very adequate for the bike and the times. The front suspension is handled by an Earles fork, a different approach to the ‘leading link’ style front ends. The benefit to the Earles fork was that under braking there was no front end dive so braking was smoother and the motorcycle stayed under control better. Over the years many manufacturers have tried just as many methods to control front end dive and none worked as good as the Earles fork. The down side to the Earles suspension was weight, this kiss of death. But it sure helped the bike ride great.

The R27 was made by BMW from 1960 through 1966, so why is this one a ’67? Because often times dealers dated the title the year the bike was sold, not when they were made. Though the R27 was a very good motorcycle, it was competing against the Honda’s and Yamaha’s of the day that were lighter, faster and less expensive. The BMW put out 18 HP while the Japanese counterparts were putting out 22-24 hp. The R27 sold for $850 when new, $200-300 more than the others. The American public went for lighter faster and truthfully, more modern styling. Today an R27 is a much more sought after and valued motorbike than the Honda’s and Yamaha’s of the time.

Today on ebay is a very nice 1967 R27. It has not been restored, it’s just in beautiful original condition. The clock shows 26,000 miles so a good going through in the not too distant future might a worthwhile investment and lucky for you, parts and services are still available rather readily. The motorbike is pictured with the solo seats (also known as the ‘swinging saddles’) but the also correct bench seat comes with the bike. The owner has taken a lot of good pictures and has given a very good description of the bike for you…not all that common. Click on the pics for more of everything about this really nice BMW.

’67 BMW R27

’72 BMW Cafe Racer

When people build Cafe Racers one of three things happen. The bike is way over done, the bike is way under done or it’s done just right. This bike I found on ebay today is the Goldilocks version, it’s just right. Take the basic BMW chassis, slide a newer bigger motor in, do a couple of nice upgrades (check out the sweet upper triple clamp), add the requisite cafe styling and go ride it.

The owner of this BMW upgraded the ’72 with a ’78 R90/6 motor for a little more oomph, changed the old Bing CV carbs for some nice Mikuni’s, which really help the motor…look good too. Looking at the back end view, the exhaust looks wide open, which, is probably going to be a bit loud…you might want to think about getting some different mufflers ( even though these do look right) or learn to roll off the throttle near your neighbors or the closest police car. The custom tail section and seat work nicely on this BMW. And, check out the cool bar end blinkers, I like ’em.

This is a great way to have a clean Cafe Racer that looks like a comfy ride, it’s going to be reliable, (as in it hasn’t been over built), and it won’t break the bank to get it under your fanny. Nice bike. Click on the pics for a lot more pictures showing the details of this BMW. If I ever get tired of traveling on my R90s a nice Cafe treatment like this would be perfect.

’72 BMW Cafe Racer

’73 BMW R75/5 Cafe

I’ve got BMW on the brain of late. I’m getting mine ready for a road trip, there have been a couple of very cool BMW’s at our local bike night and I spent the Fourth of July watching fireworks with some of my BMW riding friends. Maybe that’s why we had bratwurst and sauerkraut on the BBQ??

So, I just couldn’t help myself when I found this nice /5 on ebay this morning. The owner describes it as a cafe racer but in the truest sense of the term, it’s not…close, but not quite pure cafe. I would describe this as more of a classic Euro style GT. It hasn’t been stripped down…instead of clipons it’s got nice, low, but comfy handlebars, full fenders and the really cool original toaster tank. It does have a very cool cafe style Corbin seat, which after riding with one on a couple of different motorcycles, I can attest to their comfort. The non stock mufflers have a bit of a Dunstall look to them and in my auditory imagination probably sound wonderful.

The motorcycle has just shy of 55,000 miles on it which, by BMW standards, is just barely broken in. Yeah, it’s wearing it’s age, a nick here, a scratch there and maybe a little dent somewhere…but just like me, aging very gracefully???!! The owner gives it a 7 out 10 score. Here at home I only get a 5 out of 10…maybe I need a cool Cafe seat. Wait that’s the problem, my seat has spent to much time in the cafe. Click on the pics for more pictures and details. And, by the way, this bike is a good deal.

’73 BMW R75/5 Cafe