VMOL’s ‘Bike of the Month’ has proven to be a popular feature, if your feedback is any indication. But like a lot of things it carries some equally popular misconceptions. One, it’s purely coincidence the last few ‘BOTM’s have been factory classics because the real intent of this bit of cyberspace is to showcase the various rare, legendary or unusual bikes from our readers, or whatever happens to cross our path. These include customs, restorations or the obscure. Your mission? Put down the wrenches long enough to pick up a camera and snap some photos of what you’d like to see here. Your 15-minutes of fame awaits...
Rediscovered while I was looking for something else, the photos of this heavily greased up R90S come from deep in my files. I’ll admit to not remembering exactly who sent them to me, but attached were some notes copied from a long discarded email. If memory serves, the bike was being made available in a eBay auction, so if you’re an owner past or present send in an update and we’ll forward the details along.
No doubt spawning the hyper-sports being produced today, the R90S was a radical departure for BMW. Produced for three seasons between 1974 and 1976, it evolved from the /6 line of airheads, bumped up in displacement to 900cc from the slash-five/750 redesign of 1970. Using a pair of comparatively large 90 mm pistons that swung in a 70.6 mm stroke, the ‘Type 247' flat twin showed BMW was playing for keeps in the large displacement market that was once the exclusive property of Harley Davidson and a host of long established English parallel twins and triples. Battling Honda and Kawasaki’s big inch multis (plus waiting on Suzuki and Yamaha’s eventual reaction) the engineers in Berlin opened the factory windows and allowed some fresh new ideas to circulate. The result was the Hans Muth designed R90S; shocking hip in its smoky charcoal paint, factory bikini fairing and twin Italian Dell’Orto carburetors. The R90S was a true Superbike of the era and in the eyes of many enthusiasts remains THE classic sporting BMW.
Dressed for the part in some of the best aftermarket livery available at the time, BMW’s of this specification preclude what the factory eventually produced with the sport-touring R100RS. Speaking of that, note that this one (which clearly is a first edition 1974 with its kick-start lever, alloy blinkers and other tell-tale features) apparently came with both the stock saddle and the highly desirable RS '3/4' seat.
Judging the descriptive content of the notes pinned to these photographs only earns them a modest grade as they do not mention the very rare, four-piece Avon Lynx fairing and Lester magnesium wheels. Yet the message, which obviously was written by the new owner sometime after the auction ended, clearly demonstrates this particular motorcycle was far more than a curbside showpiece. “The records I have show this R90S was originally purchased in September of 1974 and at present, shows over 313,000 miles. Over the past two years it has been undergoing a 100% restoration. I am retaining the modifications added over the years, which include a thirteen-gallon Heinrich tank, five quart Fallert magnesium oil sump, twin Cibie Super Oscar driving lamps, the stiffened San Jose BMW swing arm, top fork yoke and fork braces, plus the Krauser air foil mirrors and a four gauge dash." Nolan Woodbury