BMW or Chinese Knockoff

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CPADGETT
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:56 pm

BMW or Chinese Knockoff

Post by CPADGETT »

Let's get this out in the open, I'm a Harley guy. Ok now that everyone knows heres my dilemma, I have a 80-90some customer who asked me to get his 1941 R12 running so he could sell it. The story he told me about the Russian invasion into East Berlin made sense from my little knowledge of history of the BMW's. He stated that he had always wanted one of these and in 1993 there was an add in a magazine advertising that some had been found and they were for sale in Detroit MI so he made the trip and bought one. I ran the numbers on this website and came up with nothing so I'm thinking that he got took by some scammer. When he got the title in Kansas it says it's a 1941 BMW but that doesn't mean a thing if it's a copy. I tried to add a couple of pictures to see if you guys can help us identify this but says file to large. I can email direct if needed.
Thanks for your help

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schrader7032
Posts: 7137
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am

Re: BMW or Chinese Knockoff

Post by schrader7032 »

Welcome to the forum! If you can reduce the size of the images, then they could be uploaded. Windows operating system has a Paint app that can do that for you.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

CPADGETT
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:56 pm

Re: BMW or Chinese Knockoff

Post by CPADGETT »

They're on my phone, remember I'm a Harley guy so this technology is above my pay grade, Bring me your Harley in a box and I can put it together, lol

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schrader7032
Posts: 7137
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am

Re: BMW or Chinese Knockoff

Post by schrader7032 »

Can you email them to yourself, choosing an option to reduce the quality of the images? Then download the images from your email message to your computer and upload them.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

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Darryl.Richman
Posts: 2085
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:00 am

Re: BMW or Chinese Knockoff

Post by Darryl.Richman »

It's unlikely to be a copy. If your customer had an R71, then you would be right to be worried about a copy.

With an R12, BMW made a ton of them, but they were for the war effort (there are prewar civilian bikes, but they're a small minority). The bikes went through the meat grinder of the war on the losing side, and then any of them that were still good enough to be made usable were patched up over and over in the east bloc so that some farmer could have transportation to the market.

One problem are forged numbers, to try to make a mish mash of parts look like a single bike. I wouldn't worry about it if your customer isn't worried. Some forgeries are totally obvious, but there are a few that are well done. Basically, if the numbers match, I would simply presume that one or the other is a forgery. If the frame and motor numbers don't come up in the tool here, there's also the possibility that the bike was renumbered after the war in some country besides Germany to get it registered for the road.

The really big problem is a bike with a huge number of deep, difficult/expensive to fix problems. The frame is strong and twists rather than breaking, so there are a lot of bikes with bad frames, wheels that point in different directions, and are likely to ruin driveshaft rubbers and the splines in the front of the final drive because they don't line up. The crankshaft is a pressed together unit, but a lot of these have been "fixed" by welding the parts together. The forks, which are the first production oil damped forks have a weird design that depends on some small leather seals inside. People take these apart, find it difficult to deal with, lose parts, and then try to fit something else.
--Darryl Richman

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