Every month we take a look at the classic motorcycle market with a range of industry experts. This month, Paul Jayson from The Motorcycle Broker and our very own Scott Redmond look at BMWS at both ends of the price scale!
On the subject of Beemers… what’s pricey and what’s not!
Looking at BMW’S R90/6 and R100/7 I can’t help but get a weird feeling that they may go to insane money like Vincents have. Maybe because you can tune the hell out of low revving, push-rod, large capacity motors? I don’t know why, but I have this strange suspicion that these machines will become very expensive. Let’s be clear about which ones, I don’t mean an R100 from 1985: although I don’t believe you’ll pick those up for peanuts. I mean the R90/6 from 1974 to 1976 and the 1976 to 1979 R100/7 – the ones with the tiny handlebar fairing and the black or orange with the smoke silver paint job. The R90/6 produced 60bhp and had a wooden single front disc and a rear drum that would lock-up with little provocation. The R100/7 produced 65bhp and had two front brakes that were wooden, with a cable operation to the master cylinder mounted under the tank. The rear drum would also lock up if stamped on without consideration. This machine is fed by two giant Bing carburettors and is great for touring and surprisingly agile in corners for such a big lump: deceptively clever machines... The centre of gravity is very low, carrying the cylinders on the side of the motor. It also makes these machines very easy to work on. The dry clutch is a single plate car type item and ripping these motors to bits is a doddle. The R100/7 is comparatively light at around 470lb (213kg) compared to a Z900 at about 540lb (245kg). The picture of the orange and smoke silver R100/7, with its bikini fairing in matching colours and blue brake callipers on the front of all the different motorcycling magazines is indelibly etched on most motorcyclists’ memories. It got rave reviews and had an air of sophistication about it. Krauser made great panniers for the R and they immediately converted it to a long distance tourer, making it the Goldwing of its day. Remember that the Goldwing was still a naked flat four 1000cc lump and hadn’t grown panniers at this point in time. The R90/6 is a great looking predecessor that just looks, well, classic. These machines are full of curves and look like motorcycles. They are iconic, rare and ride brilliantly. They look like classic motorcycles and it’s tough to find them in great condition. They are easy to work on and the R100/7 easily converts from a scratcher of its day, to a mile munching tourer. In 1977 BMW brought out the R100/7 RS with a massive full fairing: these behemoths offered long distance touring capability in all weathers and were so popular that the police ordered them by the thousands, worldwide. But these early ones have a look that probably inspired the Martini Yamaha XS1100: an ugly beast of a motorcycle, but great to ride and yet bizarrely attractive and quite valuable. The R100RS has the fairing that the Martini Yam should have had. I don’t think the RS will be as valuable as an R90/6 or an R100/7, but I think they will command a premium. I really do believe that the prices of these machines will surprise and the day will come when they will command enormous premiums. Quite when that will happen and how, I do not know. They are great fun to own and ride and very easy to work on.
RIGHT: Ahhh that’ll be the R90 S.
BELOW: Bendswinging on an old Beemer: bliss!