Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Jeff Wu, vintage BMW uber-enthusiast, hosted the first annual Vintage BMW Picnic at Baker beach in San Francisco, on a typically foggy August day; quite a few interesting machines turned up.

The organizer brought his Barn Find postwar 'Spezial', but in the back of a truck... this is a bike which never was, but should have been, as all the components fit naturally together into a compelling whole.
The running gear is standard prewar BMW R51/71, with teles up front and plungers at the back, 'elephant ear' mudguards, etc, while the engine is a 750cc ohv from the R75 military sidecar hauler, using an early R5 gearbox mated to the back (a direct fit, and you can tell the earliest R5 'box from the lack of an air cleaner casting).
I've seen several of these specials using the 750cc engine, and apparently they were popular in the immediate postwar years in Germany for unlimited-class roadracing. With hot cams and a little attention to the ports, the engine can be made to really go. This engine uses a Noris magneto rather than the points/coil setup of the standard roadsters; the 'pancake' Bosch generator can be seen at the front of the motor, with the cylindrical voltage regulator looking for all the world like a spraypaint cap.
[Note also the period sidestand, attached to the footrest - an idea originated by Harold Karslake for Brough Superior.]

Representing the home country were Peter and son David (out for the first time on his own bike - he lives near Vienna). Peter says, 'My Dad Hans was a German WWII soldier on a bike driving generals on the front. Many stories and some pictures available' - and yes we'd love to hear the story and see the photos! Peter's machine is an R60/2 with Schorsh Meier dualseat... which was my own first 'big' bike.

Darryl brought along his 1928 R52 500cc sidevalver, which he showed at the Legends this year. It's so nice to see show-quality motorcycles being ridden. I applaud the Legends as well for no points deductions for 'evidence of use' (ie stone chips in paint, blued pipes, etc), so those wanting to ride their motorcycles have an equal chance of winning in competition.

A nice pair of Earles fork'd sidecar hacks showed up, both using Steib S500 chairs, the make of choice when using a 60's BMW. They're very comfortable to ride in as well, using thick rubber bands to suspend the body. The green machine has a large capacity Hoske tank; some of these extra-large tanks go all the way to the cylinders, and are much in demand amongst the Beemophiliacs.

An odd couple, indeed; a polar white R69S with solo saddle, paired with a ca '74 Triumph T140 Bonneville with disc front brake. The Triumph is streets faster, but I know which one I'd rather hop on and ride across the country...

And finally, the ultimate accessory for your BMW; a Bavarian cycle pup!

1 comment:

KG said...

A note on the Akipp side stand on the R75 spzial. They had a serious flaw in that the rider's foot could knock it lose while at speed. That will wake you up!