Tagged: Boxer

Teutonic Trackday Terror: 1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer for Sale

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer L Front

BMW’s boxer twins have long been associated with old men, heated grips, and hard luggage. But there have been racing Beemers as long as there have been Beemers and the quirky, shaft-drive “air-head” bikes are durable and can be extremely quick when properly prepared. This particular R-Series bike includes a veritable who’s-who of German race and top-shelf performance parts, with Silent Hektik twin-plug points-less electronic ignition [they also do Guzzis!], a Werner Fallert deep oil sump, restoration work by Hinrich Hinck, and uprated Lockheed brakes to replace the reportedly unimpressive stock front stoppers.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer R Rear

The original listing also mentions Gus Kuhn, whose name is proudly displayed on the side of the bare-metal tank. Gus Kuhn was a British racer, tuner, and dealer during the 1950s and 1960s. Although he died in 1966, Gus Kuhn Motors successfully raced Nortons and BMWs, eventually becoming one of the top BMW dealers in the world. It’s not clear from the listing if this is an actual Gus Kuhn machine or one simply intended as a tribute.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer for Sale

Gus Kuhn Endurance, Marzocchi Lockheed GP Kroeber, Silent Hektik ignition, short piston engine overhauled

We have bought this Endurance Racer in Great Britain. Together with our friend Hinrich Hinck we decided to restore this very nice classic racer. We wanted to get as possible a high degree of originality. But we also wanted to build a very good racing machine and together with the experienced Hinrich Hinck we have done it.

The result: engine overhauled by BMW engine specialist Israel with short piston, Fallert oil pan,  Lockheed GP brakes, Marzocchi front fork, 18 inch rim, Kröber rev counter, aluminium fuel tank, Silent Hektik ignition, double spark,

Now it is ready to race for classic events.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer Engine Detail

Please note that the bike currently resides in Germany but, since it’s in no way road-legal, at least there’s no question as to whether or not it can be registered here in the US. There’s plenty of time left on the listing, with six days still to go, and bidding has not hit the reserve. At just over $3,000 that’s no surprise. Given the components, preparation, and that gorgeous bare-aluminum tank, this should be worth double that figure, assuming the right eclectic buyer can be found.


1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer L Side

1975 BMW R90S for Sale

1975 BMW R90S R Rear

Earlier this week, we featured a very nice R100/7 with a bit of café style that made it look like the earlier R90S, racier sibling of the more conservative “Slashy” bikes. My new term for the R60/2, R75/5, etc bikes. Just made it up: feel free to use it.

The wonderful thing about old BMW’s is that their handling and competence is all out of proportion to the on-paper specs and unlikelyness of the powertrain combo. You’d expect them to be pretty slow and clunky, but, as Pirelli likes to tell us: “power is nothing without control.”

1975 BMW R90S L Front

Japanese bikes of the period routinely blew their European opposition into the weeds in terms of outright power, yet somehow folks kept buying and riding the European marques so often featured on this page. Probably because they lived long enough to buy new ones and all those young hotheads on their Kawasaki H1’s died at the first serious corner they came to.

And considering how uncomfortable and uncompromising the Latin racers of the period were, it’s hard to imagine you could have speed, handling, and comfort in one package: introduced in 1974, the R90S placed first and second at the very first AMA Superbike race ever held.

1975 BMW R90S Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1975 BMW R90S for Sale 

Over $ 25,000 dollar today’s money spent by its NASA Engineer owner. The major improvements include Re-engineered engine, Harden boars & pistons, and the compression is 175 PSI (instead of usual 130 PSI), Dual plugs heads with BOSCH Blue H1 performance ignition coils, DYNA electronic pointless ignition system, PRIDMORE Lighten flight wheel, PRIMORE inlet manifolds on the original DELORTO Cabs, ALPHA BET black chromed free flow 2 in to 1 muffler, BMW Oil cooler & Deep Pan, Porsche designed CPM Magnesium “6” spokes wheels with rear wheel air cooler, enforced swing arm, BMW kick start and new Odyssey Gel Battery, Front fork legs have double braced San Jose fork braces, PRIMORE Springs in the forks and top off with SAN JOSE Triple clamp. San Jose enforced supported swing arm and RENO chromed ride off stand, KRAUSA Engine wrap crush bar, Metzler tires, expensive stainless braded front brake lines. Original tool kit, keys and owner manual are included.

The seller has helpfully included a video: BMW R90S walk-around, start up, and ride away.

1975 BMW R90S R Engine

Always happy to embrace unusual solutions, BMW mounted the R90S’ front brake master cylinder below the fuel tank and connected it to the lever via a short cable, preventing damage in the event of a crash.

It’s no garage queen, but this seems like a pretty nice example of a very collectable Bavarian bike, the choice of an intellectual rebel with a cause. I’d ditch those ridiculous “CYCLONE” stickers as soon as I could, but otherwise, this looks to be the perfect classic useable classic, combining “sport” and “touring” in equal measures.


1975 BMW R90S L Tank


1978 BMW R100RS for Sale

1978 BMW R100RS R Front

The Germans have such a singular way of blending practical and sporting elements into their cars: the BMW’s 3-series sedan is historically so practical, but full of quality engineering and responsive rear-wheel-drive handling. The VW GTI is a box on wheels, but truly one of the most iconic real-world sporting cars of all time.  Even Porsche’s 911 can be considered relatively practical, when compared to cars from Ferrari or Lamborghini. German motorcycles are built along the same, very conservative lines: I love how these are so upright and dorky, efficient, practical, aber sehr sportlich. 

Although you can’t hide that monstrous engine behind a bulbous fairing: it seems to stick out everywhere, bulging like an overstuffed wurst.

1978 BMW R100RS L Rear

The R100RS was BMW’s flagship sport-touring model at the time. Introduced in 1977, it made 70hp and had a top speed of 108mph, which could be achieved in relative comfort, thanks to the wind-tunnel-designed wrap-around fairing that made the machine an unruffled, all-weather device designed to cover big distances at high speed.  Handling was extremely stable, rather than nimble, as befits its intended mission.

The original ad is straight and to-the-point, written so efficiently as to leave out things like lowercase letters. Luckily for you, I had a few moments to translate the original listing into something that is a bit easier to read. From the original eBay listing 1978 BMW R100RS for Sale

This is a beautifully restored R100RS with 67,000km/ approx 41,000 miles

  • European bike headlight on/off switch
  • Longer front fender
  • Powdercoated wheels
  • Upgraded forks with new seals
  • Resr [reservoir?] shocks [they appear to be Ohlins]
  • New brakes with stainless brake lines
  • All fluids changed
  • Carbs cleaned and balanced
  • New Odessey battery and electronic ignition
  • Cafe reverse cone mufflers sound great
  • Runs great looks great, everything works as it should
  • Rear bag mounts shown but not included

1978 BMW R100RS L Rear Wheel

In spite of the relatively minimal information, the ad does include a video of the bike.  I love videos! And those mufflers sound pretty great.

I have to admit: dorky as these are, there’s something so cool about them, that practical sportiness that infuses German cars and bikes. And some of these 70’s BMW’s are still really cheap. The earlier “toaster tank” models are getting pricey but, if you’re not scared off by the mileage these accumulate, they’re pretty darn affordable, and very practical as far as classics go. Find a set of those vintage, briefcase-y hard bags, pack up the missus, and head out on the highway, looking for adventure, or whatever comes your way.

Look, I’ve seen Easy Rider a few times, and hardtails look like a pretty terrible choice if you plan to ride across the country…


1978 BMW R Rear

1973 BMW R75/5

I will admit that the motorcycles that started me on this journey is the BMW R75/5. Many people have that one motorcycle that catches there eye, makes them stop and look, and this snowballs into the obsession that we are all afflicted with. We don’t know what it is about that “One” motorcycle, but it will always be the known as the epicenter for us. This 1973 BMW R75/5 offered up on eBay now attracted me, and more so then other bikes.

From the seller

Up for auction we have a vintage 1973 BMW R75/5 cafe racer.  We are a BMW motorsports dealership & we have had this R75/5 on display among other brand new BMW motorcycles on our showroom floor.  This motorcycle get a lot of looks and positive comments here at our dealership.  Our BMW authorized service department has checked out & serviced this R75/5, so it starts, runs, and shifts through all of the gears just fine.  This motorcycle has Clubman handlebars, Corbin seat, center stand, original & aftermarket side kickstands, and left side Napoleon Bar End Mirror.  The right side exhaust pipe does have a ding & also has some visible rust, but otherwise this R75/5 is in great condition.

If you look close at the pictures you can see that there has been a time in its 40 years on the planet, it has spent some time sitting. The aluminum has that “patina”, the chrome has lost its shine, and the frame has the layer of stuff that collects on things at rest. There are shiny bits, the “toaster tank” is very nice, the seat is in good repair. It appears that someone has found it and started on the road to restoration.

The seller quotes the manual

BMW R75/5 Specifications:
Start of Production 1969
End of Production 1973
Numbers Produced 38,370


Motor Type Four-stroke two cylinder horizontally
opposed “Boxer” engine, air cooled
Bore x Stroke 82 x 70.6 mm (3.22 x 2.77 in)
Displacement 745 cc
Max Power 50 hp (36.8 KW) at 6,200 rpm
Max Torque 60 Nm / 44 ft lb at 5,000 rpm
Compression Ratio 9.0 : 1

Valves Per Cylinder 2
Valve Control OHV, using push rod and rocker arm
Carburation System 2 constant depression carburettors, Bing
64/32/4-3 or 64/32/9-10
Engine Lubricating System Wet sump

In 1968 BMW added telescopic forks to the /2 model line, replacing some of the Earles Forks that are iconic to the 1955-1969 BMW. This was foreshadowing the next incarnation, the Slash 5 bikes which came out in 1970.  But there was a problem that occurred; The new line of motorcycles would put the rider and bike into a “tank slapping” wobble. If you look closely at the drive shaft on this bike,  you can see a weld about one inch from the rear drive unit. This is where the drive shaft was lengthens to increase the wheel base in an attempt to cure this mysterious wobble.  So when you see R75/5 listed as a LWB or SWB, it indicates if it is a long or short wheel base, dividing bikes 1972 and before, or 1973 and later.

The first motorcycle that I owned was the next newest generation BMW from this R75/5. I planned on replacing the one I owned with the /5 but somehow I ended up going older, and older. I always say that the R75/5 will some day come to my garage, and I think this one is in the right shape. Not too nice, and not found leaning up against the building out back. BB



1983 BMW R65LS

For Sale: 1983 BMW R65LS

When BMW released the R65LS, it was really a remarkable styling excercise. Based on the staid (and slow) R65 series, the LS model added twin disc brakes up front, a sharp bikini fairing, model specific seat and tail section, painted snowflake wheels and model specific matte black exhaust. The rest of the bike was pure R65. Although no faster than the base model, the R65LS looked the part for a sport bike, and came with a substantially higher MSRP.

The bike was styled by Hans Muth, best known for his work with the fully faired BMW R100RS and the sharp-edged Suzuki Katana. There is a little of that Katana in the front fairing, but the look is still unique. BMW claimed that the fairing reduced front end lift by 30% – but journalists of the time wonderened aloud if front end lift was ever a problem for the little R65. Too much power was never an issue, although this boxer – like all the airhead boxers before it – did its best work on the open road.

With “sportier” (read: narrower) handlebars, the heavy R65LS takes a bit of effort to turn in. Chassis is what you would expect from BMW – reasonably comfortable but far from knife-edge handling. Suspension travel is adequate, but there can be a handful of shaft drive effect (the rear of the bike will rise under throttle and drop when the gas is chopped) if the rider is not careful. If you can put up with the odd way a BMW leans when you blip the throttle at a stoplight and you don’t mind the throbbing boxer twin on the highway, maybe this is the BMW for you.

From the seller:
1983 BMW R65LS

Engine runs great, bike rides great

New Odyssey battery ($115)

43029 miles

Tires in ok condition, some cracking but not bad

Marzocchi rear adjustable shocks

4 in tear in seat, covered with tape so it doesn’t get larger

Tool kit missing

Everything operational

The R65LS was a limited model run; in two years it would be gone. It was not the major seller that BMW had hoped, and thus it remains a unique and somewhat rare model. When properly serviced, an R65LS will make a suitable mount for in-town commuting through multi-day sport touring – as long as the “sport” part is not taken GSX-R seriously. The motors are very reliable and extremely robust – the mileage on this example is no cause for worry.

The side panels on a stock R65LS are not color coded, so these have been painted. Also, the new battery is a nice addition but I doubt it fits properly in the space provided. The R65LS takes a very specific battery size; use of a non-standard size will work, but precludes the use of the under-the-seat storage tray. Besides those nits and the obious seat tear, this bike appears to be in reasonable condition for its age. The upgraded rear shocks are a nice addition over the stock units.

For your chance to own this unique piece of (relatively recent) BMW history, click the link and jump over to the auction. For the price, it will be hard to find a better way into the world of BMW – and you can do it with a limited number, unique ride at that! Good luck to both the seller and the buyer!


First year BMW R100RS

Update: The seller has contacted us to let us know that his bike is back on eBay. Links updated. -dc

Designed by BMW’s first stylist Hans Muth it’s hard to believe that there was only a 3 year deference between the R90S and the R100RS. The RS fairing is something that would cover the rider from head to toe, a change from the iconic bikini fairing. With wind tunnel testing, the angles and sharp edges of the fairing block the rider from the wind and create down force while giving a drag coefficient of .571 compared to the .627 with no fairing at all ( A modern Hyabusa appears to have a .467 drag coefficient). This combined with the 980cc engine producing 70hp@7250 rpm would push the bike and rider to an estimated top speed of 108mph.

Some of the first year bikes were stamped “CFO” and came with 38mm carb/exhaust and  were destined to go to the stricter emission states of California, Florida and Oregon. Because the 40mm intake/exhaust heads were offered for limited years, they are coveted by BMW riders looking for more power.

From the seller:

This is a very nice 1977 first year matching numbers BMW R100RS. 1977 was the first year of the R100RS and this is one of the first 200 manufactured. As such, it came with 40mm carbs and 40mm high performance exhaust (later production had the lower performance 38mm exhaust). It also has the original fairing tag that was only on the first 200 units (very rare to find this in unblemished condition). The bike is a true collectable piece of BMW history. The bike has a little over 51,000 actual miles. I’ve owned it for about a year and put a grand total of about 1500 miles on it since I’ve had it. The bike is a very nice example, but is NOT perfect, so let the pics speak for themselves. I just have too many toys, so this one’s got to go.

I did a tune up (new points, plugs, condenser, air filter) and an oil and filter change when I got the bike so it is new throughout for all intents and purposes. The bike starts easily, idles nicely and runs very well. I put a new Yusa battery in it a few months ago and keep it on a battery tender. Rocker covers are nice, but do have a few minor scratches (see pics). Clutch works fine and transmission shifts nicely. Exhaust is OEM BMW and in very nice condition. I installed an NOS set of BMW 40mm mufflers on the bike when I got it (rare as hens teeth – a used set just sold on eBay for about $350!).

The bodywork is quite nice but does have a few scratches here and there, but no cracks or structural issues that I can see. I have tried to take pics of the significant blems. The paint is generally in very nice condition. The windshield is original OEM BMW but is cloudy and should probably be replaced. Ignition, fork and neck locks all match and work, but I only have the one original folding key (getting copies made should be no sweat). The gas cap seals well and does not leak, but it does rattle a bit (common issue on 70’s and 80’s era airheads). Seat is OEM in OK condition and has one minor tear about ¾” long at the very front under where it folds under the seat pan. You cannot see it unless the seat is up, but know it’s there. The cover is beginning to show its age a bit and has lost some gloss (see pics), but should service well for a while more. There is some rust on the seat pan, but it looks like the pan was cleaned up and repainted before I got it.

Wheels are period Lesters in outstanding condition – the nicest I’ve seen in a long time. Tires are nice nearly new Conti Blitz’s (4.00×18 rear and 3.25×19 front) that the previous owner installed just before I bought the bike. They have plenty of miles left! Brake lines are very nice braided stainless steel with black covers. Calipers still have original blue color. The OEM front fender brace was replaced with a period San Jose fork brace to help firm up the front end. Rear shocks are like new period Konis.

What you see in the pics is what you get. The bike does not come with bags, but I have a set of NOS Krausers with mounts (period correct) that I will offer the buyer at the end of the auction for an additional $600 if interested. I also have a very nice ¾ seat/cowl that matches the bike that I will offer to the buyer at the end of the auction for $500 if interested. They are not available separately.

Overall this is a great example of the first year of a new design, and understandable that the R100RS became the motorcycle in the Return of the Saint TV series, a cool bike to get the ladies, and for what ever else the Saint must have done.