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From the Owner
The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle

Jeff Dean’s 1966 BMW R60/2

classic bmw motorcycles 

Your column on the size of motorcycles struck both classical and modern chords with me. I have ridden big BMWs for many years. My first motorcycle, acquired in 1967, was a 1966 BMW R60/2 (see photo). Years ago I rode 833-pound K1200LTs all over the United States. I still have 2015 and 2017 BMW R1200RTs, which weigh in at about 630 pounds each. I also have three 1967 R60/2s, which tip the scale to 460 pounds. They are much lighter than my big modern BMWs and I love riding them locally. Recently I was impressed with the 2018 BMW G310GS, which weighs only 373 pounds wet, nearly 300 pounds less than my RTs and 460 pounds lighter than LTs. Indeed, it would take both an R60/2 AND a G310GS together to weigh as much as one LT. The G310GS has a little bit more horsepower than my R60/2s. And it has other benefits: electric starter, soft 7-inch suspension, tubeless tires, modern ABS brakes, 12-volt electrics and an MSRP of around $6,000. All good points. I ordered one. It has chain drive and a single-cylinder engine: I can adapt.

Jeff Dean/via email

Adrian Barb’s 1957 Simson Sport

1957 simpson sport

Rider: Adrian Barb, Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Adrian's story: "I am one of your magazine's subscribers and I have to say that I love it.

"A while ago, I stumbled on a rather unique motorcycle, at least for the U.S. It was offered on eBay as an old BMW, but I knew exactly what it was, as I used to have the same one back in Romania when I was in my teens.

"It was a 1957 AWO 425 Sport, also known as a Simson Sport. I was surprised to see it on this side of the Atlantic as it was produced in the DDR and offered only to countries in the Eastern Bloc. It is a BMW replica, I would say, which is why it resembles a BMW R25 single. It was produced for five years in a quantity of 124,000, according to Wikipedia.

"I was very lucky that the seller was based in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, just 15 miles away from where I live. I got the chance to go and see it before I bought it, and I was hooked because it was exactly like the one I had in Romania, including the color scheme.

"The bike was incomplete and with non-matching parts, but I won the bid and brought it home. It took me several years to get it in riding condition, but I was lucky because this bike has a 'cult' status in Germany. I found two companies in Germany who specialized in this motorcycle and with their help I got the bike where it is now.

"A few days ago, I got the chance to ride it for the first time and it felt great. I still need to do some adjustments but I am happy I was able to salvage this part of my youth."

1957 simson sport

Dann Spannraft’s 1966 Triumph TR6R


I just got my first issue from my new subscription. Your publication was suggested to me by a friend after I vented some displeasure about the recent changes to Cycle World. I subscribed to CW for more years than I care to discuss, probably in their first year. Congrats on capturing the essence of a great magazine. I thought you would like to see my 1966 TR6R. Before you ask, yes, that is a 2011 Triumph in back. — Dan Spannraft/via email

More Green BMWs from the Past

green bmws

I don't know where my friend Ken Week's green BMW R75/5 is now, but he rode it until '77 or '78; it was the first BMW I ever rode. That's me on the left 42 years ago before I quit my job and rode from Salem, Oregon, to Key West, Florida, largely at Ken's urging. I bought my bike, an R60, from Reid, the guy in stripes who had to have an R90S, which he put a Windjammer on.

Ken and Reid were known for long day excursions, often 500-plus miles, on these bikes. I hope all the green /5's come out of the woodwork now.

— Ben Beckley/Sisters, Oregon

Bob Andren’s Green BMW R75/5

green bmw

Your featured metallic green BMW R75/5 followed by Mike Taint's letter and photo of his bike stirred my interest. I finished restoring my own R75/5 in the same color a couple of years ago (see picture) and my buddy in Las Vegas, Dave Kosinski, has restored one also. So they may not be as rare as you might think. Perfect for that St. Patrick's Day ride.

— Bob Andren/via email

Scott Mercer’s 1978 BMW R100RS

1978 bmw

Rider: Scott Mercer, Beaver, Pennsylvania
Age: 57
Occupation: Marriage and family services
Current rides: 1976 BMW R90S, 1978 BMW R100RS, 2007 Kawasaki ZX-14

Scott's story: "As the owner of a 1976 BMW R90S, I had the privilege of attending a wonderful 40th anniversary celebration of the model in 2014 in eastern Pennsylvania. It was so successful that immediately a plan was hatched by the event organizers to hold another 40th anniversary event for the R100RS in three years' time. The man responsible for the design, Hans Muth, was at the R90S celebration and enjoyed it so much he committed to attending the next one in 2017. At the time I didn't own an RS, but upon my return home I set about remedying that situation. I reached out to the gang on the R90S Worldnet and expressed an interest in obtaining a 50,000-mile or less R100RS and asked if anyone out there knew where I could find one. I had my answer in less than a day. It seems there was this fellow who had a low-mileage RS for sale. He saw my plea and responded.

"Over the next several weeks a flurry of emails ensued. The bike was last registered in the late 1980s and hadn't been run in over 25 years. He had the original title in hand. It was started the previous year and ran acceptably before being winterized, but would need a thorough sorting. I was intrigued and asked for a little more information and a few pictures.

"What I got back had my jaw on the floor in a heartbeat: A 1978 R100RS Motorsport with only 17,566 original miles. I couldn't believe it was a Motorsport as only 200 of them were 'officially' imported into the United States as a limited edition model. I asked him if it was a repaint and he assured me it was original. I asked for the VIN number, and it fit in the Motorsport/ R100RS production series in 1978. The pictures were gorgeous.

"His asking price was less than the bike originally sold for! I wondered if this was too good to be true. Let's just say my timing is typically never so fortunate. I quickly attempted due diligence, but felt compelled to act and was told by other knowledgeable owners that, for the price, I needed to act quickly. Within the week I made an appointment to see it, deposit money in hand, unbeknownst to the owner. It was as described and photographed. Needless to say it is now taking up residence next to my 1976 R90S.

"Once in my possession I promptly took it to a BMW master mechanic and he performed the necessary maintenance and refurbishing to make her first-class roadworthy. I took her to the BMWMOA National Rally in 2016, where she took third place in the people's popular choice awards. I also took the Motorsport to the 40th anniversary R100RS rally in eastern Pennsylvania last summer. What a privilege for me to be a steward of such a fine piece of machinery! It is a treasure that will no doubt outlast me."

Jim Bottomley’s Honda NT650 Hawk

honda hawk

I loved the recent issue of Motorcycle Classics (January/February 2018). That nice Honda NT650 Hawk reminded me of one of my favorite rides. I turned my Hawk into a track bike and rode three dozen track days with it, although as I progressed I encountered persistent cooling problems, even with a Ninja radiator. After blowing it up twice, I sold it and moved to a Suzuki GSX-R600, which had stunning performance but lacked the Hawk's soul.

Jim Bottomley/via email