I've been looking around for a while now for a /2 - I've found a few, but I'm still a little apprehensive about spending close to $9k on something I don't totally know the history of. I've seen enough sketchy bikes to make me jaded this past year...
I'm looking at a black R60/2 in particular, definitely a repaint, speedometer has been replaced very recently (within 100 miles), owner says he's got receipts for all the work done to it, but I haven't personally gone to see it. I know to check about the slingers, splines, all the general kind of stuff - any other particulars that you guys would recommend inspecting with a /2 of unknown total mileage?
There's also a R50/2 closer to me that a respected mechanic is selling, seems to be in more original cosmetic condition with a supposedly original 12k miles on the clock, which does make me feel a little better. However, I'm debating whether or not I really need that extra 4hp of the R60; this will be my first bike, and its main use is going to be weekend rides on country and mountain roads with the occasional interstate run. Two-up is a possibility, but wouldn't be a regular thing. Should I be concerned about the R50 not having enough oomph?
Thanks in advance...sure this won't be the end of my questions
RE: additional /2 questions -- the later the model the better...BMW made progressive changes along the way. The mid '60s had a problem with a poor alloy for the aluminum heads. They're called "butterheads" and have been know to change shape over time resulting in changing valve clearances and possible cracks at the spark plug hole and/or blowing out plug inserts. These heads had 0.5inches of threads for the spark plugs. BMW corrected the problem and came out with the long reach (0.75 inch of threads) or LK heads. You can see LK in the head mold just above the spark plug.
RE: R50/2 -- I think you'd be generally disappointed with the lower powered 500cc especially two-up and the Interstate traveling. The R69S has the oomph to get to speed pretty quickly and hold it's own at highway speeds. But that goes downhill with the R60/2 and more so with the R50/2.
I wouldn't call it a big deal, but it is something you would have to monitor. Also, if/when you could score a set of LK heads, that would eventually solve the problem.
I'd buy the best, low mileage well maintained and original BMW you can find and afford. I'd pay little attention to if it's an R50, R60, or R69S; the condition of the individual machine you find is paramount. A well set up R60 is likely a better performer than a clapped out/poorly restored R69S, and in any case their all slugmobiles by modern motorcycle standards. I'd avoid a "restored" bike unless documented to have been rebuilt by a known restorer. I'd avoid ANY restored bike with less than a thousand or so miles since restoration. I'd only buy a bike I could see and test ride. I'd avoid ANYTHING from e bay. I'd favor IBMWR Marketplace as a source. I'd avoid any pre-'55 bike unless your already experienced with swingarm twins. I'd avoid ANY pre war bike unless your a really experienced collector or looking for a living room display piece. If interested in two up riding or Interstate riding, I'd avoid any pre 1970 BMW. If interested in sidecars, I'd explore "conversions" with a more powerful motor than any swingarm twin. If you have little mechanical skill/interest, I'd avoid any pre-'70 bike. If interested in doing a restoration yourself, in the current market I'd pass on anything but an R50S or an R69, or after much consideration, possibly an R69S. I'd more-or-less forget you ever heard the terms "slingers" or "butterheads". I'd avoid overpriced bling items like Heinrich tanks, spot light mirrors, Rausch buckets, weird late '60's paint colors, and tachometers. I'd find the local expert in your area to inspect anything you might wish to buy, or contact the national level experts for an opinion before writing the check (Vechorik, Stafford, Rasmussen, Betjamann, and a few others depending on where you live). I'd hope you see this whole old BMW motorcycle thing as a hobby, and not a realistic way to make money.
I agree with most of the above. But also, remember to actually trust in your common sense & gutfeeling. Try to get someone that know BMW to come with as you try the bike. I didn't as I bought my first R60, I had only read & studied & tried to get a hang on things beforehand. Still it was a great affair in the end. I guess you want a rider & you will hear & feel if it's good, I'd say. BMW is reliable, when something goes wrong it goes WRONG.
Also, I have a limited experience with bikes apart from my old 60s Vespa machines.
But now I am the proud owner of two R60 '68 bikes (my wife is not so crazy over them but is tagging along on the rides). One with a sidecar, which works fine, even in 90 km/h (about 60 mph?)! The other one I tore apart in pieces & am putting together now. My point is, you learn as you go. Get all the books you can get on the bike of your choice plus read as much as you have time here on the forums. Thanks to all you guys with your great knowledge!
Cheers & good luck / Tobba in Sweden
I agree with R68. Don't get romantic. If you want to ride get into the 70's bikes. Simple, easy to fix and cost effective. The old bikes are becoming very special and expensive to own and fix.
In another 10 to 20 years there will be very few that really understand and will be able to work on them ( the hard stuff.. engine and tranny rebuilds) and it will get more expensive, both parts and labor. We are in the realm of collectors.
I have had my R50 since1997 when I paid $1450 for a non running dusty,light rusty, well used R50. I professionally had all the sheet metal repainted and I hand painted the frame, bead blasted the aluminum and had all the chrome re-done. New exhaust pipes and wire harness, and new coil, voltage regulator and battery all as close to stock as possible. Re-assembled it and it fired right up. I did all my own basic stuff.
I was lighter about 5.2k and it was 2009. Bike looked and ran good.. no complaints till the clutch started to slip. My oversite; by over filling the tranny and the oil passed to the clutch assembly via the actuator rod.. what the heck.. I have no idea when this engine was last serviced for slingers and over all I just knew it had some miles on it.. this puppy has been down the road and it has had fair maintenance..just a few spun bolts on the oil pan and the valve covers were somewhat worn due to rash..one center pin needed the helicoil fix.
So, I bit the bullet and pulled the engine and tranny.. sent the engine out to a professional on the west coast.
(If you want to know who you can pm me.)
Sent for slingers, and obvious head work... but the list was extensive. Back slinger was damaged on prior installation. It was reported by my expert that the service was done, but had a few errors in place. So, it was most likely a do it yourselfer or a nightshade shop that did not fully understand the nuances of an engine case at 275 degrees F. This is not work for the timid or for lightweights. I know what I can do and what I should not attempt. I sent the unit to a pro. (and am glad I did, my confidence level is high)
But, it goes on, the rear carrier bearing was in need of replacement, the bearings and con-rod journals were mucked up. new seals, new bearings, new slingers, rebuilt journals, head threads, valves, seats, guides, springs, rings, pushrod tubes, all on top of special tools and labor skills to reassemble with heat and presses.. I could see the $$$$$$$ flying by... but what is the alternative.
In my mind, I had budgeted $2500 to $3000.
So now it is done, basically a new engine and with shipping and handling from Alaska...(barge service and truck delivery both ways) I now will have 9K+ in a 1960, R50 (before /2 model), that I plan to keep for the rest of my life and ride only on sunny days at less then 50mph.
It has 18K on the 1962 clock?? Most likely it has less than 30K miles estimated.
We have thirty miles of paved road on the island that Ketchikan, anchors and the top speed limit is 50mph.
I'm looking forward to it with joy and have no unusual expectations. It will only get better and the values of a well kept earls machine will only go up as the numbers of good ones diminish annually.
The way I look at it is that I am just the caretaker for now.