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R 4

cwf
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 5:52 am

R 4

Post by cwf »

Apparently there were five series of R 4s in the '30s. I've had a good look on Google, perhaps Sheldons EMU was the best but none were really definitive. Many photos were of restored bikes and you can't tell how original they are.

Does anyone have a list of changes, with photos?

Thanks, Charlie.

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schrader7032
Posts: 8285
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: R 4

Post by schrader7032 »

Vech started a thread on the MOA forum 10 years ago with his Series 1. I think you can view the thread as a guest:

https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.ph ... 4-Series-1
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2
Fast. Neat. Average. Friendly. Good. Good.

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vechorik1373
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am

Re: R 4

Post by vechorik1373 »

Yes, I posted all of the build comments and photos, back 10 years ago, when I was building the the R4.

And, yes, it is a series 1. Only the series 1 R4 and the series 1 R2 had a two tone gas tank. The top was painted in the BMW emblem blue, so it matches the frame emblems.

Here it is today, living with all my other BMW's.
Yes, the shape of the front license plate is correct, as per the original drawings. The only thing not stock is the rear view mirror, and it is now equipped with a brake light, which is never on it originally.
The book in the bag, on the seat, is a copy of the original title book. I have the original in the safe.
Back then, unlike today, the title/ownership book, was filled out in pen and ink, (and yes this is THE title book for THIS bike) and rubber ink stamped by the German government official. When the bike was sold, to a different individual, the new owners name, address, and occupation and date of purchase, was written in the book, and then it was stamped again by the government. The last entry in the book as 1954, stamped by a Republic of West Germany official.
Since the book on the seat is a copy, I took the liberty of filling out my name, address and occupation, and the witness signature is "George S Patton" :lol: And it is stamped with a WWII rubber German government stamp, that I happen to have. 8-)

Since it is a copy, no harm done, just some fun!

R4series1.jpg
Vech
Technical Adviser, Former owner, Bench Mark Works
662 312 2838 cell 9 am to 4pm CST PLEASE!

cwf
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 5:52 am

Re: R 4

Post by cwf »

Thanks for that but I think I have to join the BMWOA to open the photos.

Thanks Vech for your description of the Series 1. I'm reassembling an R 35. I was attracted to it because it was used as a despatch rider's bike and was described as a 'tough, reliable lump'. I was a despatch rider for 30 years and want to know how it feels to ride a bike like this, rigid, hand-change, over rough roads now.

I have a 1939 Hillman Minx drophead coupe, which has taken the family to the Pyrenees and to Scandinavia. Primitive suspension, steering and crossply tyres gives a good idea of driving 60 years ago and how much things have improved since. This photo, from the BMW archives, shows exactly what I'm hoping for, although my 68 year-old body may object.

The R 35 is such an obvious development, in a slow, incremental, BMW way from the earlier singles and has plenty of developmental quirks of its own but the R 4 had plenty of change and I would like to try and work out how it went. The 1932 R 4s, for instance only had a front fork damper from July '32.

Charlie
Attachments
DSCF0814.JPG

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vechorik1373
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am

Re: R 4

Post by vechorik1373 »

Charlie,

I can safely say, that even on a patched asphalt back road, it will "beat the shit out of you" at any moderate or high speed. ;)

I never ran mine off the road, but I can imagine what it would be like. (painful at our age) One thing I learned years ago, with the hard tail BMW's (or any brand of hard tail rear end) is don't inflate the tire to what you would on a modern bike with rear suspension. The air in the tire IS the suspension. I have had my R12 and R17 R52, and R4 skip the back wheel off the ground on rough potholed pavement, and it is NOT a comfortable, confidence building experience. If you happen to be leaned over in a corner, and get the back wheel to skip off the pavement, you WILL crash. Be careful in corners!
Vech
Technical Adviser, Former owner, Bench Mark Works
662 312 2838 cell 9 am to 4pm CST PLEASE!

cwf
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 5:52 am

Re: R 4

Post by cwf »

OK Vech, thanks for the warning. A 3.25x19 tyre is not much suspension but I'll try 25psi then 20.

I've ridden plenty of rough, old bikes over rough, old roads but 'past performance is no guarantee of future success'. At least the footpegs are good and strong but no horizontal cylinders to take the shock. An early R 4 off-road rider preferred the older footboards because the bike fell only halfway.

Still, in the 30's, R 4s and R 35s were all they had. They had no experience of suspension or fat tyres, so they just got on with it, particularly in a war situation. Look what these guys are up to.

Charlie.
Attachments
WW2 j.jpg
326. 1936 Zundapp.JPG

Dover Rider
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:52 pm
Location: Port Townsend WA

Re: R 4

Post by Dover Rider »

Recent swap meet in Tenino WA .Careful what you wish for....
Attachments
R4 (4).jpg
R4 (3).jpg
R4 (2).jpg

cwf
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 5:52 am

Re: R 4

Post by cwf »

Did you buy it? At least it looks fairly complete, my R 35 was/is far from complete and I've spent months waiting for parts.

The headlight mounted by a single point underneath, does that make it an early series?

The left side of the crankcase looks a bit different.

Charlie.

Dover Rider
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:52 pm
Location: Port Townsend WA

Re: R 4

Post by Dover Rider »

I didn't buy it. It was actually being transported to another guy and not for sale. I was told it was a 1937 so the archive info says that it was the last year for the R4. That is all I know. The guy who has it is a CNC machinist . Way more project than I would ever attempt. Kudos to Vech for all the bikes he has done. I cant even imagine where to start.

strichzwei
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:37 am

Re: R 4

Post by strichzwei »

My '35 R4 series 4 as shown at the 2019 "handbuilt show".

Obviously early in its life it received a new front end (R25/3?), either for performance reasons or maybe a crash (although no crash damage evident anywhere). But, it does retain the very rare original series 4 headlight with "Walzentacho" speedometer! The previous owner said it ran when he got it 25+ years ago. Everything shifts, rolls and turns - just patiently waiting in line for attention........hopefully before its centennial ;)



R4 BMW.jpg

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