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Vintage purchase advice please

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Gary T
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2022 7:39 pm

Vintage purchase advice please

Post by Gary T »

Hello to all, new member here but not new to motorcycling or vintage BMW's. I'm an older rider looking for another vintage bike...probably my final purchase, something for summer Sundays and a few hundred miles a season. In spite of the resurgent popularity of vintage BMW's and the astronomical prices that they now command, I want another one. I realize that I'll be spending well in excess of $10k, and have been searching all the sites that matter. What I want to know is how important is it to know service history? After reading Duane Ausherman's caveats about 1960's /2's I start to overthink any potential purchase. I'm pretty hands on for minor mechanical repairs and upkeep, but major services like slinger service or rebuilds are way beyond my abilities. Many bikes look good, start and run well but the last thing I want is another major expense right off the bat for unforeseen or undisclosed problems. Not many bikes come up for sale in my area (Massachusetts) so in person viewing is difficult. An R50/2 would be my first choice as I will not be doing any major highway riding and the nimbleness fits my riding style. Any advice would be appreciated...good experiences and bad.

R68
Posts: 503
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:22 pm

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by R68 »

Buy the very best you can find and afford.
Avoid "basket cases", anything not running, anything abused or modified.
Don't pay for accessories: saddlebags, big tanks, fairings, big seats.
Do pay for original owners manual, toolkit.
An R50/2 or R60/2 is a fine motorcycle, don't think you need to have an R69S.
Try to find a bike that's original paint. Avoid poorly refinished repaints, and the unusual colors that typically are repaints.
Try to find a bike with lower mileage, but if rebuilt, verify who did the work. I no case should you buy a bike that's been rebuilt with at least a few hundred miles on the working odometer.
Avoid a bike with blue headers: running lean, or run hard.
Lots of disagreements here, but I'd avoid a bike with a USA front end.
Others will soon chime in with more and sensible advice?

Ken Krumm
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2022 10:18 pm

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by Ken Krumm »

I would make sure the bike is mechanically sound. A bike that just needs a lot of hands on; cleaning, polishing, etc. I would avoid any bike that needs high dollar parts. The correct Bing carbs, new or used are outrageously expensive. A set can cost you as much at $3000. Ensure the motor, trans and rear drive are mechanically sound. All expensive to fix. The bike that appeared to be a great price can quickly turn into a money pit. Check over the maintenance records and mechanical ability of the current owner. Many BMW dealers can't or won't service them. The mechanics can't fix anything that doesn't plug into a computer. A good sign the bike was properly maintained is the present owner has used repair manuals and special tools. Is the current owner capable of providing the required maintenance for the bike? When they change oil, do they have an interval of pulling the oil pan to check the screen for metal filings. Does the bike include special tools and repair manuals?

808Airhead
Posts: 1137
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:06 pm

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by 808Airhead »

Unless you have DOCUMENTATION FOR ALL THE REBUILD/RESTORATION WORK...........be ready to "rebuild the whole goddam thing". That's been my experience with 4 machines. :lol:
Thomas M.
R69s - R60/2 - R67/2 - R51/3

Gary T
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2022 7:39 pm

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by Gary T »

Documentation is the difficult part...I'm willing to pay the price for it...but still tough to come by.

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jwonder
Posts: 636
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:50 pm
Location: Long Island, New York
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Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by jwonder »

Gary, If you are just going to ride it I would not be too worried about all the correctness issues that R68 mentions. I agree with him by the way because I am an avid collector and rabid about correctness, but there are many great riders out there that you will enjoy for thousands of miles.

Other than my vintage motorcycles I have a 2018
R 1200 GS and I need to tell your that I love riding my vintage bikes far more. If I am going long distance, or need heated gear (without charging a battery) I use the 1200, but for anything else I am on a vintage bike. Each one has its own personality and soul.

My suggestion is a post 1960 /2 due to the upgrades they received. Also it’s much smoother and nicer to ride than a plunger on bumpy roads. 500 or 600 cc does not matter in my opinion for an enjoyable rider.

My feeling of bring a trailer is mixed because they are being priced quite high right now and limiting the amount of people who can afford them. Post here in the forum and see if anyone wants to part with something.

Please ask if you need any more help in making a decision.
James Wonder
Vice President, Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners
Long Island, New York

xackley
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by xackley »

For me, If it sounds right, looks right, ride it for a mile or 2 and you will know if it is yours.
I would never pay premium bucks for a motorcycle without a test ride

As to major problems, you can never know if and when. I have ridden mine since 1978 with no major work, without a problem I couldn't fix with a screw driver and adjustable wrench.

If you are not set on and old bmw I would highly recommend a Guzzi V7II or III. Safer less expensive bet with a ton of personality. I say that as my v7 may have overtaken my R69 as my all time favorite ride:)
Don
1958 R69, 1972 R75/5, 1980 XS650, 1982 GL1100, 2003 guzzi ev, 2017 guzzi V7!!!
All on the road, going no where in particular in the Finger Lakes of New York

808Airhead
Posts: 1137
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:06 pm

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by 808Airhead »

One thing I wanted to mention for your consideration.....is there a proficient BMW vintage mechanic nearby? *IF* you experience a major issue, you will, at the very least, have to remove the part yourself and ship it off to repair OR you can do what some of us have done, and end up buying the specialty tools and becoming pseudo-professional BMW mechanics :lol: It is quite a commitment just to ride a old, average performing vintage motorcycle....so buy the best you can and if you change your mind later about ownership, you won't be head over heels with tools and parts you needed to purchase to have the "vintage BMW experience" (well I guess that applies to any marque :lol: ) Good luck!!
Thomas M.
R69s - R60/2 - R67/2 - R51/3

germancarguy
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon May 09, 2022 9:28 am

Re: Vintage purchase advice please

Post by germancarguy »

I am from Massachusetts as well and recommend contacting Ande at Barrington Motor Works in Barrington NH. Its best to email him at ande.barringtonmotorworks@gmail.com. He is a premier specialist shop focused on vintage BMW's and could help you find what you are looking for. https://www.barringtonmotorworks.com

Good Luck
Paul
1965 R69s project
2013 R1200GS

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