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PART OF THE EUROCYCLE CLASSICS COLLECTION
A beautiful start to anyone's collection, this unrestored R60 could either be held as-is, or fully-restored to concours level.
Extremely low miles, this is an unrestored barn-find motorcycle.
It seems incredible now, but in the mid-1960s, BMW came close to abandoning motorcycle production completely. Motorcycles were suddenly becoming a losing proposition, so BMW decided to focus on developing its more profitable automobile business, a move that in time revived the company’s finances: It also meant that the BMW motorcycle range got somewhat neglected.
The then-contemporary BMW R60/2 was badly outclassed in power and handling by Italian, British and Japanese bikes. The sportier BMW R69S was available with lighter telescopic forks and a few more horses, but it was still pretty sluggish. Both bikes retained such anachronisms as a DC generator, 6-volt electrics and magneto ignition. If BMW was to continue building motorcycles, a radical change was needed. Fortunately, what the company came up became a classic BMW motorcycle - the BMW R60 /5.
In 1964, BMW made the decision to stay in the motorcycle business, and lured Hans-Günther von der Marwitz away from Porsche. It was his job to design the new bikes, which would be built at Spandau, near Berlin, instead of Munich. The Slash 5 series (R50/5, R60/5 and R75/5 of 500, 600 and 750cc) was announced for the 1970 season, and represented a revolution in BMW motorcycle design. Though the flat-twin BMW boxer engine layout remained, just about everything else was new.
In the engine, a new forged 1-piece crank with bolt-on flywheels replaced the old built-up, roller-bearing shaft, and used connecting rods borrowed from the 2.8-liter 6-cylinder car engine. The camshaft, formerly above the crankshaft and gear-driven, was moved below the crank and was now chain-driven. Iron-lined light alloy cylinder barrels replaced the previous cast iron types and were capped with redesigned cylinder heads fed by standard slide-type Bings on the R60 and R50 models. Other improvements included an alternator-powered 12-volt electrical system with an electric starter, though the kickstart was retained.
A much lighter tubular steel frame featured a large-diameter backbone and duplex tubes with the drive shaft built into the right side of the rear swingarm. Twin Boge rear spring/shock units were adjustable for preload with a simple hand lever. A Sachs telescopic fork of BMW design replaced the Earles fork at the front end. Light alloy wheel rims were attached to alloy hubs with a twin-leading-shoe, 7.3-inch drum front brake and similar sized single-leading-shoe drum rear.
In a bid to keep the bikes trim, BMW put considerable effort into weight reduction with extensive use of light alloy and a much lighter flywheel for the single-plate clutch. The overall effect was a machine that, at a little over 400 pounds dry, was much less bulky than the /2, had more power (46hp for the R60/5 versus just 32hp for the R60/2), handled extremely well and had better clearance thanks to the cylinders being farther away from the ground.
All in all, the R60/5 is an ideal useable classic. Decent power, predictable handling, excellent build quality and rock-solid dependability make it a bike you can ride regularly with confidence. Simple construction and excellent parts availability make /5s easy to keep on the road, and a large and enthusiastic community of BMW owners is always ready to help you keep your Teutonic steed running.