1961 BMW R69S

Mostly Original Paint, Mechanically superb, first year

1961 BMW R69S

Engine & Frame number: 656006

In the early 1950s BMW concentrated on refining what were essentially pre-war designs, but by 1955 was ready with a brace of new machines, the R50 and R69. Of 500cc and 600cc respectively, the newcomers inherited the up-dated flat-twin engine introduced on the R51/3 a few years previously but deployed this in all-new cycle parts, the most notable of which being the Earles-type leading-link front fork and swinging-arm rear suspension enclosing the drive-shaft in the right leg – developments first seen on the works racers. Invented in 1951 by Englishman Ernie Earles at his two-man Elms Metals workshop, Earles sought to “solve” a few problems of telescopic forks, notably the tendency to dive under braking and a lack of lateral stiffness when cornering hard. A luxury tourer capable of over 100mph, there was simply no other two-wheeler on the road which could compare to the R69. It cost as much as a small family car and sold to discerning enthusiasts to whom expense mattered not a jot when set against the excellence of BMW engineering.

The R50/69 were produced until the arrival of the slightly more powerful ‘S’ versions for 1961. The larger of these, the R69S, produced 42bhp and was good for a top speed of around 110mph. “Luxury roadster with superb high-speed performance yet docile traffic manners; magnificent steering, roadholding and brakes,” was Motor Cycle’s verdict.

The R69S on offer here, hails from the first year of manufacture, which didn’t receive the model badge on the rear fender. Mostly adorned in original paint, the bike shows incredibly well as a preservation class contender. However, the original cosmetics hide a perfect running machine, having just received a sympathetic restoration to all components by a local marque expert. To ready the bike for sale, it also just received a full service and fluid change. It is taut and refined and I have no doubt would offer trouble free motoring for quite some time.

Steeped in exotic and desirable options, the bike carries a large Heinrich touring tank, Schorsch Meier seat and very original Enduro bags with the delightful tail light treatment. It features Hella bar-end turn signals and runs on Weinmann aluminium rims shod with new Metzeler rubber.

The bike rides superbly. It starts easily and runs with good, responsive power. It shifts easily, brakes well and the suspension feels as it should. All electrical systems work perfectly.

This is a great opportunity to acquire a great running, rare and original R69S, the very pinnacle of the 1960s machines, before designs changed drastically for the 1970s.