1965 BMW R69S (594cc boxer twin)
42 bhp, 400 lbs, 105 mph
Post WW2 BMW was in tatters, The motorcycle factory in Eisenbach was now in East Germany and so was lost to the Soviets along with all tooling and drawings. Hence in 1947, when BMW was allowed to re-start motorcycle manufacture, they began from scratch in their Munich factory. The first machine was the 250cc single R24, followed between 1950 and 1956 by the boxer twin 500/6000cc R51. The latter having plunger rear suspension, telescopic forks and an exposed drive shaft. In the 1950s BMW's survival was threatened and its future was only secured by reliance on a high proportion of car production, sale of the aero engine division and financial help from the Quandt family.
In 1955 the R69 was launched and in various guises was produced till 1969 - with in total 15,347 being made. Between 1955 and 1960 it was the 7.5:1 compression ratio and 34 bhp R69 and thereafter the 9,5:1 compression and 42 bhp R69S (of which 11,317 were made) and the R69US. The R69 and R69S were fitted with Earles forks (unique triangulated fork designed to resist side forces induced by sidecars), whereas the R69US had telescopic forks. All had enclosed drive shafts. The R69 family was also recognisable by all having two ribs on the valve covers versus the typical five for other boxer BMWs. The R69S proved to be a smooth, quiet, simple and reliable tourer which also has a real turn of speed - and indeed enjoyed some solo and sidecar racing success. It was popular in the US and this market demanded and got, for the first time, coloured bikes from BMW - with white, red, green and blue bikes being produced in addition to the traditional black. The R69S was succeeded by the /5 family which was also the first range produced in the new Berlin bike factory.
This bike is a 1965 European market R69S. It was acquired in Hamburg in 2012 and was completely restored by S.Meyer Gmbh in Hillesheim, Germany. It was imported to and registered in the UK in 2013. It is finished in Chamonix White (original was black) and is absolutely faithful to the original. It is a very different but enjoyable ride with quite some pace since being run-in.