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767
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Hi guys, I just joined up, and I have couple of questions. I'm looking at possibly buying a vintage BMW. I have eyes on two bikes, a '52 R67/2, or a '55 R50. Both bikes are in fantastic shape, and run very good. They are not project bikes in need of major mechanical work or restoration.

My question is, how useable are bikes from this era? I don't want to buy a museum piece to look at. I will look for a sidecar, either a period one, or a new retro sidecar. I'm more than a basic mechanic, but not highly skilled, and not trained. I don't want a daily rider, but I'd like to take my kids or the dog for rides in the sidecar. And being a bike nut, having a vintage BMW just sounds like fun. Plus, they are old enough to do a decent job of holding their value.

Should I look for newer, or am I on the right track?

Scott
'15 Ducati Multistrada
'12 BMW R1200 GS
Vintage?????

miller6997
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VBMWMO #6997
Joined: 10/27/2006
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They're very durable

If it's in good mechanical condition, a vintage BMW is very dependable and predictable. Mine is a '67, not as old as the two you mention, but I don't hesitate to take it anywhere I want to go. One caveat: They are definitely NOT suited to modern urban congestion or crowded freeways. I live in Southern California and avoid the freeways as much as possible. I've made many trips from Los Angeles to Death Valley, Utah and Arizona, Northern California, and so on.

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Jon Miller
'67 R69S
'13 F800GT

stagewex
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Joined: 10/26/2014
Posts: 461
I've put a bit more than 4000

I've put a bit more than 4000 miles on my r60/2 in the last 3 years. Probably would be more but I have 3 other motorcycles that I use for different things. Very few hiccups after I got to know her and work out items that needed addressing. She hadn't been ridden in a long time prior and that's not a good thing for these beasts.
At one time I was using her as almost a daily rider but started feeling guilty about that so picked up a newer K bike.
She performs just like it's 1969 (she is a 1969) and probably was a bit ahead of her time for back then. Routine maintenance is no different than any Honda, Yamaha, etc. You just have to make sure you do it.
Some of the conversations here on wrenching are well beyond my expertise and the restorations work and research is pretty cool.
But I mostly ride mine rather than wrench. They were superior products back then and should still be now without all the modern bells-and-whistles.

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mike wex/stagewex
1969 BMW r60/2, US Model, 1995 BMW K75, 2006 Yamaha TW200, 2007 Ural Patrol

MikeL46
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Joined: 01/01/2016
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I'm not sure either bike is

I'm not sure either bike is really suitable for a sidecar. To do it properly you will have to invest in sidecar gearing and maybe a sidecar transmission - and you will still be quite underpowered. A later airhead engine/trans will make the sidecar powered rig more enjoyable, more reliable and easier/cheaper to maintain over the long haul.

My wife and I did a 12,000 mile trip on our /2 conversion rig without problems.

Mike

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67 R50/2 w/R100 engine/trans and Ural Sidecar
69 R60/2 76 R90S 78 R100RS
70 Triumph w/Spirit Eagle Sidecar

The Plunger
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Joined: 09/03/2012
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R67/2

The R67/2 is just the ticket for a sidecar setup, just have to make sure the final drive has 35/8 gears. (32/9 is solo gearing). You'll also need stiffer springs and mounts and of, course, the sidecar and it's mounting hardware. It could get very expensive converting one over. If you're dead set on a sidecar rig, I'd find one that's got it all done. I'd also stay away from the 50 class as anything under the 599cc motor is underpowered.

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Brian
'52 R67/2, '53 R51/3

767
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Thanks, and a follow up

Thanks, all these posts, just the advice I need. I've seen R50's with sidecars, but that doesn't mean it works well. As for the 67/2, is there an easy way to know the gearing? Or a frame modification that gives it away? I can ask, but I don't know if I'll get a correct answer. The current owner may not know.

The crazed biker that I am, I think either bike will be fun. But, I think I'll always have a sidecar in the back of my mind.

Scott

Daves79x
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VBMWMO #9030
Joined: 08/09/2015
Posts: 279
The R67

The R67 will only have half-hub brakes, but more power for a sidecar. Brakes, needless to say, are a big deal in modern traffic. The R50 has the potential to have excellent brakes if they are set up properly. It will power a sidecar, at 50-ish mph. And the Earles forks are better suited for sidecar work. The '55 R50 should already have the sidecar transmission. The early Earles fork bikes had that transmission. Very low first gear. Check for lack of an 'S' stamped near the speedo drive. If it's not there, then it's a sidecar trans. It also may have an 11/35 differential, which with the trans, should work with a chair. The '55 is also a first-year model with (originally) a lot of cool early parts and hardware finishes. If it's original, or restored to original, it might be a good find.

Dave

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Dave

808Airhead
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Joined: 08/05/2009
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The later R67/2 has full

The later R67/2 has full brakes and was sold as a "sidecar bike",even along side early Earls fork models when they were first released. I have the R67/2 and R60/2 which were both sold as sidecar bikes,and I have to say that they are OK with modern traffic as solo bikes,but I cannot imagine riding one with a sidecar and flowing with traffic well. If you live in a really country setting,with nice back roads,slow traffic,etc. that would be more realistic for sidecar use. Have fun and good luck!

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Thomas M.
R69s - R60/2 - R67/2 - R51/3

oldnslo
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Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 13
I think you have to be

I think you have to be realistic about modern traffic flow and these old bikes. I rode my original 1968 R50US cross country in 1972, with an Avonaire full fairing, dualseat and home made panniers, and had no problems with traffic flow-even though posted speed limits were usually 70, the congestion and average traffic flow was much less than now. With my "new" R50US (bought as a rolling basket case in 1990), I'll use it on the freeway but generally for 60-80 miles or so at its comfortable cruising speed of 60mph, with cars whizzing by me constantly at far higher speeds-not really an enjoyable experience. It has a solo seat, I wouldn't dream of riding two up and can't imagine pulling a hack (not that the US model would be suitable for that anyway, of course).But on twisty back roads, of which we have an abundance in the Bay Area, it's just the best.
If I wanted a sidecar BMW-esque experience, I would get a Ural, especially one of the newer ones with more modern fitment like Brembo brakes (although still somewhat underpowered). The other issue is driving a hack, which is an utterly different kettle of fish and requires a lot of seat time to develop safe reflexes.

Adam

767
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You brought up a new point,

You brought up a new point, both of the bikes in question are german models, not U.S. Did they have major differences? I have no plans to ride in any amount of traffic. Back roads only, no highways.

If I only wanted a sidecar experience, I would consider a Ural, but the vintage thing has some appeal. I thought I could check two boxes at once.

Scott

stagewex
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Joined: 10/26/2014
Posts: 461
Adding a sidecar to one of

Adding a sidecar to one of these antiques will be fine as long as it is done proper. And you have the correct gearbox for it. Cant be just because you have the sidecar lugs on the side of the frame.
If you have the $$$ an already completed one will save you time but they can be spendy.
There is going to be cost either way. I agree, just get a Ural. I own a 2WD model and it's been a blast. Extremely similar to my /2.
10 years of smiles. And believe me... having "REVERSE" on any sidecar rig is an incredible asset.

You can get in rather inexpensively used... 2006 thru 2013 are sweet used years.
They did a major efi (and other) upgrade in 2014. Like BMW in the early 90's there are growing pains with EFI and some of the other upgrades. Go hang out on the Soviet Steeds website. Usually a good deal to two comes up every month on their classifieds where you can view and talk about owner history. Don't buy from a dealer of blindly from fleabay. Good bunch over there on SS.

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mike wex/stagewex
1969 BMW r60/2, US Model, 1995 BMW K75, 2006 Yamaha TW200, 2007 Ural Patrol

oldnslo
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Joined: 10/27/2006
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german models, not U.S.

The designation R50US (or R60US, R69US) just means that the bike has the telescopic fork front end subsequently used on the /5 bikes from 1970-on, not the Earles fork. I believe these bikes were available only for 2 years, '68 and '69.The frames have no sidecar mounting lugs and they are not suitable for sidecar conversion. All are still German made. Having ridden both, I think the US telescopic bikes are better handling and actually better looking with a cleaner front end (no flame storm please!)

Adam

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