Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 03 28

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 63 of 63

BMW R-2JtTeutonic si gle By John Waaser BMW singles were originally d esigned fo r courier use an d were never designed to be accepted by the .genera l public fo r touring use. Yet they had frames and running gear very simila'r to t he larger BMW twins - the 500cc R -50 and the 600cc R -60 and R -69. The best sidecar . machme of the lot was the R -60, bu~ all fea tu red th~ Earles fro nt .fo rks ~hlch co u ld be adjusted for tra il for sldec~ r use , and ~ he la ter m od~ls , even the single, ha d SIdeca r m ou nt mg I ~gs welded to th e fra me. By th e late fif ties . and ea rly si~t ies , .a m a rk e t had developed for lightweight solo mou nt s, eve n among people who co uld affo rd la rger ma ch in ery, Th u~ t her~ was . a de~ and for a lux u ry hg ht~elght , m whl ~h the BMW shafrie was the obvIOUS kmg. The R:27 , th e last of the bree? , was th e ultlmat.e a tte~ pt .to provide suc h a machme , . wit h ItS vibration dampin g .· A.nd it . ce~ta i n ly was a very pret.ty machin e , wit h ItS un dersrated classic good looks . Very few of the machin~s ever sold in th e Un it~d States were hke! y to see ~n y c,?uner duty . .But the lin e .was discontinued ~h en It got to th e pomt where producnon c~sts ,nea rly eq ua ll.e? th e cost of the twins . and competition from the Japanese produced lightweights at much low~r cost which didn:t leak oil , ha? electric starters , were virtually as qUIet, and much faster. While resea rching this article we ca m e across one former BMW single owner who simply couldn't understand th e "cli que" bei ng built around these mach ines of la te. He says they were never the bike , th e twins were , a nd he neve r kn ew any bo dy who bought one to ride it wh o didn 't lose h is enc ha nt ment a nd sell the thi ng aft er a sho rt wh ile. St ill. there is u ndeni ably a cliq ue . evolving around th e Be-Em singles, and wh ile there are plenty of them a round , prices vary from a co uple of hundred of bucks for a rat. to t he $3500 wh ich p resent owner M arlen e W ol fe wants fo r t h is machine . (Mos tly prices are in the mid -to -high th ree-figure bracket , and a machine in th e fou r -figure bracket is ei ther partiall y or full y restored, or a com plete rip off .) The R -25 introduced in 1950 was a ro u nd the iongest time , in its va'riou s guises, whi ch included th e slash two and three series . This model d iffered from th e preceeding R-24 in both front and rear suspension. It was also the first single with interchangeable wheels , though these were 19" wheels , and did not, have a full hub. The early ' R.25 machines had a 6.5 : I com pression ratio and 12 hp which was good for 95kph top speed : about a red hair under 60mph. The tank held twelve liters of gas. and the machine weighed some 140kg. The R-25 /2 had only minor rm p rovements , but the 13 model was almost different enough for a new designation . It had a new chassis, more travel front and rear , new brakes, 18" wheels , totallv new forks, a nd a new air in ta ke was 'said to have boosted the pow er, thoug h , with a 7.0 : I com p ression ratio power was still only l Sh p. The old handshift on the sid e of the transmission was eliminated . and top speed went up to 119 kph in spite of a weight boost to 150 kg . T he R -26 had the good looks ot th e ma chine pictured here . It had Earles fro nt forks , a swing -a rm rea r suspen sion , and a fu lly en closed drive shaft for the first tim e. T he ta nk , fenders , air filter a nd gea rbox were a ll new . It held fift een liters of pe trol , produced 15hp with its 7.5 : I compression ratio , weight 158kg , and went 128kph. T his was the cu rrent m od el whe n this wri ter became aware of the series, a nd is th e one I'd most like to own someday. . . The R·27 was a small im prove ment over the R-26, featuring a rubber-mounted engine for vib ra tion damping , an automa tic ca m cha in tensioner for furt her vib ration redu ct ion , and t he points wer e dri ven off the engine's ca ms haft , ra th er than off the crank sha ft as in previou s models. This allowed a longer dwell time , and elimi na ted the waste spark crankshaft mounted points. They succumbed to th e horsepower race, claiming 18hp from this engi ne , though top speed on ly went to 130kph, Weight went up ' too , to 162kg. The 68 x 68mm cylinder had a com p ression ratio of 8.2 : 1 and displaced 245cc. This machine also introduced a larger taillight. The subject of this article was purchased some years ago by Marlene (Continued to pag e 45) I 'I 15

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