3 replies [Last post]
jbx's picture
Joined: 01/08/2016
Posts: 1

Hello newbie here and i would kindly like to ask my first set of dumb questions..Currently im looking at 1970 r50 ,1971 r60 ,and some 1970s r90s even a couple 1977-78 r100s.3-5k range.Like the 70s era..Besides mileage and well maintained bikes any issues besides obviously more HP to look at when buying one?any year of these known for any issues?any size difference besides engine?seat height etc?Thanks much..

schrader7032's picture
VBMWMO #7032
San Antonio, TX
Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 6698
I'd suggest reading

I'd suggest reading everything on this page:


The R50/5 will be down on power...BMW moved on from this model early on. R60/5 is better but requires special attention to tuning and timing to ensure that the bike doesn't ping. These had 4-speed transmissions...5 speeds are really better. The R90S models are going to cost a bit more generally. The later the model, the better all the way around.

Get a bike that you can work on, you feel comfortable with, and suits your style. It's a wide open field.


Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

pokie's picture
Joined: 02/08/2015
Posts: 116
Good one for a newbie

In my opinion only,.....

If you are interested in buying an older BMW motorcycle, I suggest you get one that is an all around good one for a newbie. My choice would be an R75. Doesn't really matter what slash it is (/5, /6, /7), they were all quite good. Why I choose the R75 is it's the best for all around power, needs less attention and is quite smooth. If, in the day, you bought an R75, broke it in properly (lots of debate here), it would keep up with an R90 just fine. If you get a /5 (my personal favorite), you will have drum brakes front and rear. The drum brakes are VERY good but often misunderstood, the later ones had a disc up front. My absolute favorite years of R75s are 1971, 73, 75, 76 and 77.

The /5 series had a four speed transmission, the later had a five speed. Everybody seems to think the more speeds you have, the better. Well, don't be fooled. The four speed had a great kick start, the five speed had (when available) a mediocre one at best. The early five speed had some weaknesses that can be read about on several different forums. Two of my reasons I prefer the /5 series. I have owned at lest one of each, I only own and ride a /5 now.

Zeno Lee
Zeno Lee's picture
VBMWMO #7637
Joined: 10/26/2009
Posts: 87
My next airhead will be a /5 or possibly an R80ST

I have a '76 R90/6

Overall I love this bike but here are some things that I don't like about it.

Front brakes. The master cylinder under the tank configuration reduces the braking power of your grip.

Instrument cluster. The speedo is inaccurate around 10-15 mph. I cannot believe my /2 speedos are more accurate. Also I have had constant problems on mine and now have 2 sets of instrument clusters, one of which is being rebuilt at the moment.

I've had terrible luck with aftermarket electronic ignition systems. I have reverted back to points. Perhaps the latter BMW provided ones are better?

My local vintage motorcycle club have had several converts over to the R80ST. They're hard to find but it seems 4 people in our scene have gotten them. I'm a bit curious about them now and will consider it the next time I get a new bike.


'62 R69S
'65 R50/2
'76 R90/6

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