I saw these reach a peak several years ago at which point I think this bike would’ve brought more than the current asking but it seems the model is currently languishing behind as other models jump in value. So perhaps it’s time to grab one while the getting is good.
Are there any things I should be especially concerned with? Any reasons not to get a first year example? The bike in question has been recently serviced by a veteran specialist and has a clean bill of health. Original paint and all original equipment. Clean title etc. The bike is too far away from me to just go have a look unfortunately but I do intend to conclude the deal in person should I decide to buy.
Any tips, suggestions, words of encouragement or discouragement are welcome. I’m still awaiting high resolution photos but will add those to this post when I receive them.
Thanks and perhaps I’ll be joining your ranks this summer.
88' R100RS - 06' K12R
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2
The first year had the kick start which is cool but because of the weaker internals, (I can't remember the exact details of what was weaker, sorry). It is not advisable to use it unless it is really needed. With the robust BMW charging system and electric start, it is very rare to have to use a kick starter.
To find an example in such good condition with so few miles, I personally think the asking price is reasonable. Good luck, and if you get it I hope you have a great time riding it. They are a gorgeous example of BMW's best. St.
Ended up with a 75 Daytona Orange that fit the bill for $11.5K in December of 2019. Bought sight unseen--but did get a bit of history from the owner-- before buying on consignment from Morton's BMW in VA.
I knew it would need some repairs and happily dove in replacing RMS, rebuilding forks, master cylinder and steering head components, among other things.
One never knows what will need attention after putting some miles on the bike. The more you know about maintenance history and what parts have recently been replaced, the better. A clean bill of health is a nice phrase but is rather vacuous in reality.
I believe I've seen the bike for sale you've mentioned and it appears to be well represented in the photos.
I'd ask about the following:
Gauges working correctly? Odometers are not always a true tale of actual miles, especially on a bike of this age. It not wrong to be skeptical of a odo reading on a super low mile bike.
Original rear main seal?
When were the push rod seals last replaced?
Steering head bearings?
Fork seals and components? Lower bushings on these deteriorate and turn to mush if not looked after.
Carbs maintenance history?
Be informed as you can on all this so you are prepared for what lies ahead. Maybe nothing for a while or something may sneak up on you. If you are handy with the wrenches, you might enjoy working on the bike and making the needed repairs. If not, and I don't want assume anything, it can get pricey relying on someone else to do the work, which you already know.
Either way if it's an original first year silver smoke you are after, I believe you are looking at a very nice example.
Good luck and please keep us posted.
I too have a 74 R90S. Mine was a low mileage bike - 21,000 Miles when I bought it, which had me do some research on the 74 frontend. As the mileage is so low on the one you're looking at you may want to confirm a few things.
The instruments on the 74 "should" have the silver band around them. Also, the 74s had thick hashmarks on the instruments. The 75/76 had thin hashmarks. On the bottom of the speedo there will be a "W" ratio number. It should be "W-1.112". If it's different, it could mean it's been replaced. On the 74 bikini fairing, there should also be the mystery holes on the bottom.
All these things "should" be there, but as we know BMW put different stuff on different bikes as parts were used up or last years parts were left over. Some of these things will depend on the manufacturing date i.e. a late 74 could have some 75 items on it.
As was mentioned about the solid front discs, the two drawbacks I've found is there's next to no braking in the rain, and it seems very difficult to get the solid discs to not squeal. As was mentioned, I too prefer the /5 switch gear. I find it's simple and seems to make sense to me.
From a riding standpoint, I've had a lot of different BMWs. From a 1928 R62 to a 2006 R1200GS and numerous others in between. That said, the R90S is one of the most enjoyable bikes I've ridden. It's the bike I go to when I'm planning anything outside of the city. It has the power and speed for any highway and handles the twisties really well if properly setup.
Keep us posted on the purchase. If it does happen, there are a few upgrades (reversible of course) you may want to consider.
Stoney Peak BMW Service
Victoria, BC. Canada
BMW Classic and Vintage Motorcycle Service and Restoration
I just received a batch of photos and a cold start video. If this were a 60’s bike, I’d be scrutinizing every detail with an educated eye, but as I’ve only seen 1 or 2 of these in person, I’m at least partially relying in the wisdom of the group to point out anything I’ve missed. I’m not sure how many photos I can add to an individual post so I’ll make a few posts and include as many photos as I can.
88' R100RS - 06' K12R