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Meridius
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Hello,

I’ve been on the hunt for an early single (r35 or r25) for awhile now and have come across a local 1952 R25/2 for sale. The seller could only send pics via snail mail so I’m going to drive up this weekend to have a look.

I’m a vintage car guy but have no prior motorcycle experience whatsoever. This will be my first bike.

What are some key things I should be looking for? The bike hasn’t been run since the 80’s so I won’t be able to start it while I’m there. It is supposedly all original and un-molested. Should engine and chassis be numbered to match?

If it is in need of parts are they relatively easy to source?

Any help or advice is much appreciated!

schrader7032
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VBMWMO #7032
San Antonio, TX
Joined: 10/27/2006
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Good luck on your search for

Good luck on your search for an R25/2!! I got mine a number of years ago. Yes, the engine and frame number should match. Engine is stamped below the jug on the right side; the frame is stamped across the top part of the rear plunger support structure just forward of the top of the shock on the right side. I specifically wanted a '52 model so sent my VIN off to BMW to confirm.

Without starting it, you're just going to have to look at the exterior bits. Probably will have to be a gut call as to condition and price. Note that top speed on the R25/2 is probably mid 50s mph...essentially a moving road block. The transmission is a bit of a pain as there is really no overlap in speed between first and second. I have found I have to double clutch, or shift from 1st to neutral, then from neutral to 2nd to avoid grinding the gears, but I'll be pretty slow in speed to pour on the throttle in second...I have to coax it up to get into the gear a bit more.

The plunger suspension is somewhat crude...it's hydraulic, but can be a bit rough over bumps. As for electrics, it's different than the other twin cylinders of the era. It's a battery-coil ignition, so the coil and battery are required. For the magneto ignitions of the 50s and 60s, a battery was not needed to run the bike.

As for parts, Vech at Benchmark Works has been very helpful...he'll have just about anything you need.

When you get pictures, post them and we'll take a look.

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Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

Meridius
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Hi Kurt, That’s really great

Hi Kurt,

That’s really great insight. I had no idea the shifting on R25/2’s was that nuanced.

For a bike that has been sitting that long what do you think it would take to get it running? I’m told the engine turns over. Could it be as simple as new battery, fluids and tires? Or should I expect more for something that has been sitting for 40+ years?

Would you have a ball park idea as to value?

I will definitely post pics after I see it.

schrader7032
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VBMWMO #7032
San Antonio, TX
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Sure it's possible that a

Sure it's possible that a simple mechanical restoration can get the bike running. Everything depends on the mileage on it and what you can't see. Will the clutch need to be changed? What about wheel bearings? Has the steering stem bearings been changed from roller balls to a newer bearing set? What about the oil slingers?

Not sure if you know about slingers and engines of this time period. They do not have an oil filter. The crankshaft has two metal disks that are designed to feed oil to the main crank bearings. Oil is pushed onto the spinning slinger...an particulates in the oil are centrifuged out...if there is a great deal of build up in the channel of the slinger, it covers the opening that feeds oil to the bearings and starves them for oil. There is no way to inspect them...the crankshaft has to come out of the engine.

In my case, I did the mechanical restoration and rode the bike for a set number of miles, maybe 500 or 1000. Then I tore the engine down and had the slingers and engine overhauled. My engine had already been bored once over. The odometer said 15K kilometers, but I suspect that was at least 115K...who knows it could have been 215K.

Depending on the state of the bike now, I would think that the cost would be north of $5K. These things don't come up for sale much, so it's hard to get a handle on the going rate. Depending on how much work you can do, the cost for a deep mechanical restoration (clutch, slingers, bearings, head work) could come close to doubling the initial purchase price.

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Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

skyler.robbins
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Post pictures when you get a

Post pictures when you get a chance...

Meridius
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Thanks again Kurt, this is

Thanks again Kurt, this is all hugely valuable information. Do you know if Rhine West in San Antonio would be capable of an overhaul on an R25? Do you know anyone in San Antonio that can work on these bikes?

If I buy, my hope was to just get the bike running here in NY and then ship it down to San Antonio where I can take care of any more extensive work at a later date.

schrader7032
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San Antonio, TX
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There is no one in San

There is no one in San Antonio that has come up in my mind to be capable of serious engine work. You would have to visit the various places to get a sense of what they can do. I mostly work with Alamo BMW to get my parts for my /7...there is one mechanic that I've come to know that seems to be reasonably versed with Airheads...beyond that I'm not so sure.

When I had work done on my R25/2, I took things down as far as I could and then drove the engine strapped to the passenger seat to Vech's in Mississippi. 2-3 months later, I drove back to pick it up. On my R69S, I did the same thing and used a mechanic in the St. Louis area...I have free room and board there so it work out for me.

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Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

Meridius
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Just saw the bike—I’ll upload

Just saw the bike—I’ll upload photos when I can get WiFi access.

It looked like an unrestored/neglected bike that had been sitting for 40+ years in a dusty basement. Paint wasn’t great (dull, scuffed), interior of the fuel tank was solid rust. All of the rubber and wiring was cracking. Still had original made in Germany Dunlop tires on it. It was definitely a time capsule. Matching numbers. The seller wouldn’t budge on $5500

Do unrestored bikes like this bring a premium or is that price outrageous? I’ve seen fully restored R25/2’s sell recently for 7k.

Meridius
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Ok here are the photos.

Ok here are the photos. Lighting wasn't great but tried to get a few.

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Twocams
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I would pass. Your going to

I would pass. Your going to have another 2 grand in the engine when time comes. Its only worth about $8,000 in good condition. Then there's the tires and rubber parts, paint if need, wheels and spokes? I would keep my eyes open for a twin. Unless you just need a single cylinder. Just my .02 worth.

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Twocams
69 R69S
92 R100RT
2004 Aprilia Atlantic 500cc single cylinder Scooter

johnpst
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PASS UNLESS...

Aloha,

Depends on what you want. I'm reading you want a fun rideable restoration project that will return your investment.

Jay Leno gave some great advice on this topic. If you think you're going to make money on vintage vehicles, you're wrong. If you love them, you'll eventually make some money while buying, trading, and restoring them.

Everyone's given the same pricing data I would.

Riding will be fun while you are dialing it in and working out the quirks. If you like attention, you'll like that part of it too. After that, it's just going to be hot in the summer, slow and low powered, and you'll have to put in a reservation a week in advance to slow it down but, look really cool doing it.

Love it? Work the guy until he let's it go or kicks you out. Want to make money off it, this is not the right price.

Remember what I said about slowing down, power and attention earlier? All three will come into play in traffic. Folks want to look at you're bike, wave, give thumbs up, and take pictures. You can't speed up, slow down, or maneuver away from them. They cannot steer while taking pictures. See the conundrum?

Good luck. We're all root'n for ya.

John

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John
55 - R50, 06-R1200RT, 96-M900, 10-TU250x

Meridius
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Hi John, I’m not looking to

Hi John,

I’m not looking to make money on this. I just don’t want to overpay for a bike that’s going to then turn into a money pit to get it operating properly.

I realize they are slow and impractical bikes by modern standards but it’s what I’ve always wanted. Either an R35 or R25. I just want something I can occasionally ride around the neighborhood on.

My ideal scenario would be a bike that has already been gone through mechanically. Having said that, these are so difficult to find in any condition I don’t want to pass up on on an interesting example if priced reasonably.

miller6997
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Maybe

I agree that the price is too high and that you will have to invest a lot of hours and dollars to make it trustworthy for ordinary use. Nothing unusual about that! On the other hand, it looks remarkably intact and it doesn't seem to have suffered any catastrophic damage. For some owners, the original patina would be a very positive feature. It looks old and tired but it does not look crappy. Let it continue to look that way! If you concentrate just on the mechanics and live with the signs of age and use, your out-of-pockets expenses could be manageable. You said you have really wanted this very bike, so I would suggest you set a firm limit for yourself and continue to hammer on the seller to bend his price a bit.

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Daves79x
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If You

If you can live with the patina, it'll cost you 2-4K at least to do the mechanicals and make it reliable and safe to ride. If you're not really stretched and really want this model, not a big deal. Practically speaking, not a money-making investment, but if it's what you want....

That said, it'd look a whole lot more appetizing at about $3500-4000.

Dave

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schrader7032
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VBMWMO #7032
San Antonio, TX
Joined: 10/27/2006
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Did you get a good look at

Did you get a good look at the right side? You must have seen some of it to see the serial number. What was the number and how firm are you knowing it is a '52 model? The headlight bucket looks different than mine. Mine doesn't have the lights on either side of the key and mine is in kilometers. I suppose this bike could be a US delivery and that was required but I wasn't aware of many singles being delivered to the US. It might be a rare instance of a bike purchase in the US or maybe a service man bought it and had it configured for the US. Did you get a chance to see the title?

An R35 is going to be even harder to find and more costly. There's a whole history of where R35s were built and there could be some strange parts on those bikes if they were built in East Germany or Russia.

If you're after a single cylinder bike, the later model R27 would be a better choice as they're more available, cheaper, and the engine/chassis design had progressed to the point where they are more of a road-going bike.

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Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

Meridius
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Thanks for the input guys.

Thanks for the input guys. Really appreciate it. Kurt, I also thought the headlamp was odd—not sure what’s going on there either. The chassis number is 253640.

I really didn’t get a good look at much else—it was in a very tight space. The seller’s asking price was $6700... as soon as I saw the condition it wasn’t long before I started talking to him about the price. He said he’d do 5500 but not a dime lower. I said the most I could do considering the bike’s shape was $4500–which seemed fair to me. After hearing that, the seller essentially asked us politely to leave.

I live in NYC and have to keep cars and potential bike down in TX—not a convientient scenario for any project bike at the moment.

I’ve toyed with the idea of an R27. They look nice but aren’t as appealing to me... I haven’t ruled it out yet. The attraction for me to these bike is the pre-war deco look... and I have a thing for primitive and early.

I’m thinking at this point, I should keep searching for something mechanically sound.

schrader7032
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VBMWMO #7032
San Antonio, TX
Joined: 10/27/2006
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My R25/2 has number 258XXX

My R25/2 has number 258XXX and was built in June 1952, so the 253XXX number clearly would fall in the earlier part of 1952.

I suppose you could check back in a month or two and see if the bike was still available...it might be cheaper in the fall when headed to winter.

Good luck on the hunt!

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Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

bstratton
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My 2 cents

Numbers matching - complete bike - not molested (well maybe the head light bucket) but a little research would solve that mystery.

If you are handy and adventurous mechanically, you could get that bike running in your kitchen if you had to. A deep cleaning would make a big difference. None of this would cost a lot. Just work and some parts.

That said, I agree that you would end up on a slow bike with brakes to match. But it looks pretty original and collectors like that. They are hard to find, too.

My main concern is the rust in the tank. I am surprised by that. They are generally coated with a red paint that lasts very well. A new tank would really eat into the budget.

I'd be tempted..... Even at $5500

If you would need to hire someone to do this - Then maybe not.

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Bstratton
1971 R60/5
1965 R50/2
MA

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