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Daves79x
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Another bike-in-a-box followed me home yesterday. A 1955 R69, serial number 089, built April 20, 1955. It was a complete, low mile (35,000) bike that had been found sitting for years. The PO took it completely apart to restore, but lost interest. However, he did have the crank rebuilt by Chris Chambers, the cylinders bored 1st-over by Bore Tech, and the heads rebuilt by some well-known firm, can't remember now who. The bike had retained all of it's very early unique parts and they are all in good shape. Wheels are excellent, early single-cross hubs. The 2-lens Eber tail light is in especially great condition. The small headlight ears are perfect, having never cracked. Almost all the original hardware is there, some of the black phosphate parts still look very good. That's where I'll need help - figuring just what parts were black phosphate and what were cad.

Likely won't find an original set of early mufflers either. Other bummer is the frame tag went missing, but the PO is in the process of cleaning out his early BMW stuff and it may turn up. I guess a repo will have to do in the meantime. Good title though.

Looking forward to getting into it. Sorry the I-Phone photos got rotated, can't retake them.

Dave

  • r694.jpg
  • r693.jpg
  • r691.jpg
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The Plunger
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Lucky buck, That will be a

Lucky buck,

That will be a neat project, I sure liked my '56 R69. As to fasteners, the erzatsteile(replacement parts manual)lists every nut, washer and bolt and every type of finish, usually by abreviation, i.e.: cad=cadmium plate, phosph= Mangenese phosphate coated, Atr=atramentiert(zinc phosphate), verchr= chrome plated and when no abreviation is used it is unfinished. Example: M8 x 35 DIN 931 phosph is a 8mm x 35mm hex head bolt with manganese phosphate coating. You can do all the ATR and phosphate coatings at home on a hot plate or stove. The gun suppliers stock kits for this. The ATR fasteners you'll find are for sheet metal attachment and are used to blend in to the black paint. Phosphate coated fasteners are generally used where a lubrication is desired or for corrosion resistance, Cad is generally used on the aluminum assemblies for corrosion resistance and to blend into aluminum. Chrome is obviously for the few shiny parts. I'm in the middle of assembling an R67/2 and at first wanted to go the original finish route but in the end elected to use bead blasted stainless fasteners in place of cadmium and unfinished hardware as Cad does not last long. For the ATR bolts and nuts I elected to use stainless hardware painted black. The phosphate stuff I did do by using standard hardware coated at home. Bear in mind, you cannot phosphate or ATR stainless steel, it won't stick.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.
Brian

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Brian
'52 R67/2

The Plunger
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Sorry, hit send twice

Sorry, hit send twice

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Brian
'52 R67/2

schrader7032
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Very nice, Dave. Work was

Very nice, Dave. Work was done by very good people. I wonder if the heads were done by Leo Goff at Memphis Motor Works. Vech seems to like them. Interesting on the build date. In my registry of VINs, I have that the very first one, 652001, was built towards the end of April 1955. I don't know where I got that bit of info. I would imagine that during that time, that very first week, a lot of bikes were being built.

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

Daves79x
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Thanks Brian

Brian, thanks for the info. I wonder if the parts list you cite is specific to each model year? As you know, hardware changed somewhat gradually through 1957 to more standard spec (mostly cad). It is very hard to tell much from any early photos I've seen. I will check out the parts listing and see if it squares with what I have been able to determine so far. I do have access to a very good cad plater that worked very well for my '59 R50.

Dave

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Daves79x
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Never Knew

I never knew there were so much black hardware on the early bikes - far more than cad plated. The old parts book has been very helpful. Two thinks have me still puzzled (I'm sure far more to come) - what was the finish on the early front shock mount bolts (nuts are black)? and what was the finish on the rear brake lever that bolts to the rear of the pedal? The adjusting bolt and nut are black, so I assume the lever is black also?

My front shock bolts and washers are chrome plated, but had black nuts. The parts book does not specify a finish on the bolts, and I know they were not unfinished. Any tips appreciated!

Dave

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The Plunger
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Dave, You'll see that many

Dave,

You'll see that many of the "special" bolts do not show finish, why I don't know. As was on my '56 R69, the brake levers front and rear should be black phosphate which will eventually look like this! On my current build I'm rubbing grease onto the phosphate hardware to help preserve the finish. I've also heard guys dip them in wax! I just need to remember to wipe a fresh coat on once and awhile. The alternative would be to paint them satin or gloss black but the concours judge and nit pickers will get 'ya. I assume the shock bolts you're referring to are the top ones so I'd go with chrome or polished ss.

Brian

  • 1956_bmw_r69_041.jpg
  • 1956_bmw_r69_043.jpg
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'52 R67/2

Daves79x
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Thanks Brian

Yes, it seems the manganese phosphate likes to absorb oil and should likely be done from time-to-time. I'm going to play around with some hardware to see what works before doing any amount of it. But unbelievably, some of the black hardware is still in very usable shape. I'll post some pics of it.

Thanks again

Dave

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Rubone
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Nice find. My '55 R69 is

Nice find. My '55 R69 is #257. It also had the two lens Eber, early wheels, small headlight ears, early headlight bucket, air cleaner, etc. It was a bit rough when found but was cheap enough to counteract that issue.

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Daves79x
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Number

Believe it or not, #187 resides not 5 miles from me also. He has over 200,000 miles on the bike - crank out once and bored twice. A lot of the original early stuff has been changed on his over the years though.

Dave

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wa1nca
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Another Great Find

Nice
1st year of the r69
Good luck
Please post pics as you progress

Tommy

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Tommy Byrnes
54 R51/3 55 R50 64 R27 68 R69US 68 Sears Allstate 250 (Puch)

kfelt
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Just curious, were the VIN's

Just curious, were the VIN's in order? Reason I ask is the last 3 digits on my '56 R69 is 215. Other members '55 is higher.

schrader7032
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VINs

kfelt wrote:

Just curious, were the VIN's in order? Reason I ask is the last 3 digits on my '56 R69 is 215. Other members '55 is higher.

In a general sense, yes, but there are likely many examples where they are not in order. The model year is pretty fuzzy and typically assigned by the original owner when it was first registered. It's unclear how they did things back in the 1950s, but in the 1970s and usually today, bikes built from September of, say 1977, to August 1978 are model year 1978. Not totally sure they did that back in the 1960s and 1950s, but one would think so, at least I do.

So, if someone took a bike built in November 1955, they might decide to register it as a '55 model, the same as the calendar year. But IMO, a November 1955 bike is a '56 model. That could explain the situation you mention.

Also, it seems clear that even BMW reported build dates don't necessarily reflect a sequential ordering of VIN numbers. If you type your VIN into the boxes on the left side of the screen, you'll find your model as well as a PDF file at the bottom of the page. In those PDF files, I've been keeping model years, VINs, and build dates as provided by owners. Assuming there are no mistakes by BMW, the owners, and me, it's clear that sometimes bikes with earlier VINs were built after another VIN. Could be something to do with how the factory gave out the VINs to be stamped on cases. Hard to say...

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

Daves79x
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Have You

Have you inquired as to the build date of your bike? It is likely right in the late summer/early Fall months of '55, right in the fuzzy area Kurt references. I'm glad mine was built in April of '55. No question about the year it really is. I've asked several folks and no one seems to know if BMW ever declared a model year cutoff date.

Dave

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schrader7032
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Model Years

Daves79x wrote:

I've asked several folks and no one seems to know if BMW ever declared a model year cutoff date.

Dave -

I agree with you as I've never really heard either. I'm just projecting backward the cutoff dates that were used in the '70s and onward.

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

The Plunger
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I believe it had a lot to do

I believe it had a lot to do with the German vacation schedule. Many industries simply closed shop in late summer for a month or so as everyone went on holiday. Production then picked up again in September, probably as the new model year. Also, being in Munich, Oktoberfest probably cut into production for a couple of weeks as well. Party It also has to be remembered that BMW did not produce all models concurrently. The production line would be devoted to produce models in batches during the year based upon incoming orders. I recall asking BMW Archives what serial numbers of R69S were produced on May 1, 1963 (my BD) and I was told R69S were not being produced at that time but the R50 was. It would be great if the archives would just publish the production data for all to see, it would sure expedite queries.
So, I suspect the model year begins in autumn and continues to summer and it is very difficult to extrapolate when a specific model and serial number was produced based simply on the known build date of another serial number, as even within a small range of numbers, it could mean weeks or months apart in build dates.

Brian

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Brian
'52 R67/2

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