The 1950s was a strange era for BMW Motorcycles. Most of their manufacturing facilities were destroyed during the Second World War and this meant that during the late 1940s they had to start from scratch. As a result, many of the motorcycles from the 1950s were completely new models. During the 1950s, three of BMW’s main competitors went out of business, leaving BMW as one of the top European manufacturers of motorcycles. Their aim was to produce motorcycles that were significantly improved from their pre-war models. This meant that the motorcycles they produced during this decade were innovative in comparison tow hat BMW had originally produced. Here are the five top BMW motorcycle models of the 1950s.
1955 BMW R60
The BMW R60 was part of a new range of motorcycles that BMW introduced in 1955. It succeeded the R67/2. Other models in the range included the 600cc sport model R69, the 500cc touring model R50, and the 250cc touring model R26. BMW were aiming for each of the models in this range to have characteristics that were distinctly better than their predecessors. Some of the new features included enclosed drive shafts and Earles swing forks. It was a 600 cc two-cylinder four-stroke engine which produced 30 horsepower. This model had a 4-speed shaft-drive transmission and the motorcycle measured almost 84 inches in length.
1952 BMW R68
Between 1950 and 1956, BMW manufactured BMW boxer twins. This range of motorcycles all had front stands and bell-bottom front fenders, with the exception of the sporting BMW R68 which was introduced to the range in 1952. Despite these differences, the R68 did share many other features with the other motorcycles in the range. For example, it had plunger rear suspensions, chromed exposed drive shafts, and telescopic front forks. This motorcycle has a two-cylinder boxer, four-stroke 600 cc engine that produced 36 horsepower. It had a four-speed shaft drive transmission and weighed 445 pounds.
1950 BMW R51/3
The BMW R51/3 was the second post-war motorcycle produced by BMW and this model was launched in 1950. It was the successor to the very briefly manufactured BMW R51/2. This 500cc motorcycle was an updated, modernized, and improved version of its predecessor, which had used a pre-war design. Some of the key features of this motorcycle were the exposed drive shaft and the flat-twin engine. It produced 24 horsepower and had a top speed of 87 miles per hour. The motorcycle had a 4-speed cardan shaft drive transmission and its frame type was a steel single cradle. This model was produced for five years until production ended in 1955.
1952 BMW R67/2
This model was produced from 1952 until 1954, during that time 4,234 motorcycles were produced. Its predecessor was the R67 and the R67/2 was an updated and improved version of this motorcycle. It had telescopic suspension at both the front and rear of the bike and had a 4-speed foot shifting transmission. It also had an auxiliary manual lever on the gear block. This model boasted a four-stroke, two-cylinder 600cc engine that could produce 28 horsepower and had a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour. It was one of BMW’s models that was available with a sidecar. The weight of the motorcycle with the sidecar was 781 pounds.
1955 BMW R69
The BMW R69 is arguably the best motorcycle produced by BMW during the 1950s. The sporting BMW R69 was introduced as a replacement to the R68. It was part of a range of new motorcycles introduced by BMW, which included the R26, R50, and R60. The BMW R69 was produced from 1955 until 1960 before it was succeeded by the BMW R69S. This 600cc motorcycle has a longitudinally placed two-cylinder boxer sports engine. It could produce 35 horsepower and had a top speed of 96 miles per hour. The construction was a double cradle tube frame. Although it had the same power as its predecessor, the R68, BMW had made many improvements when they introduced the R69. For example, the cardan shaft was in a cardane tunnel containing an oil bath rather than in the open air. Similarly, the gearbox and engine were screwed instead of using thru axles in the frame. There were also some optional extras that customers could choose when buying this model. The addition of ‘cow eye’ electric indicators was one option and buyers could also opt for a duo seat.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker