This very special, almost all original example of BMW’s 500 cc workhorse from 1955 to 1969 and all-around enthusiasts’ airhead from the later /2 era of 1961 to 1969 is the finest example Bob’s BMW has had the privilege and opportunity to offer up to our customers with vintage interest over the past forty years, both in the immediate region, across the country and to a lesser degree around the world. Ever.
It is nicer than any of the R50 and R50/2’s Bob personally owns and are on display in the Vintage BMW Motorcycle Museum and he has a few really sweet examples. And before we dive into more of the backstory, we want to share some of the facts that make this a very special, very rare example.
Bob and the sales team keep a close eye on other offerings in the marketplace daily. Over the past two decades we have never seen another R50/2, R60/2 or R69S in such near perfect, mostly original cosmetic and mechanical condition, or as factory delivered complete, offered at any price. Not on eBay, not on Craig’s List, not with Mecum’s, not from Bonham’s, not on Bring a Trailer (BAT) and not in any other dealership or independent shops showroom. This is an exceptionally rare opportunity to own one of the very best examples that will ever be for sale in our opinion.
And while some excellent examples have been offered and sold on these and other venues as well as transferred between private individuals, we honestly feel that this machine stands far above the very best examples that have been shown or sold in the mid $20,000 to just below $30,000 range over the past few decades let alone the most recent one to two years. Every single one of those fine machines came with far fewer of the important original extras, big or small, that accompany this offering and are the very items most frequently missing from a bike of this age when one has the opportunity to purchase such an exquisite example.
This one is original right down to the correct year owner’s manual from 1967 as just one example and as you can see by the images of the front and back covers and two separate images of two pages each inside, this too is in superb condition. The average fine offering has somehow lost the entire tool kit, or at least some of the tools, the rags almost never show up, the tire repairs kits long ago vanished and getting keys to each lock happens in less that 20% of the situations. Good luck getting a bike, even into the 1970’s or 1980’s that still has a clean original owners’ manual, let alone a perfect one and from the correct year.
As for low miles, this R50/2 really does have just 7,491 documented original miles. Most auction companies will state “TMU” or total miles unknown for a variety of reasons, including to cover their behinds in case it’s wrong. But this example has true amazingly low miles and it’s documented in the titles since sold new. It also comes with its original complete tool kit, the original BMW embroidered shop rag, the original Victoria tube repair kit in the yellow, black, and red tin. It has original keys that fit the fork lock (changed some 30 years back), tool door lock, and both original BMW ignition keys. As you can see the tool kit has all 21 pieces included by the factory, right down to the feeler gauge for setting the points or spark plug gaps and the pouch is also in superb shape.
While no mirror is attached and the tiny, original, white plug is installed in the threaded mounting hole on the left side control, there is a nearly new and very correct original, Albert handlebar mirror included with this machine. It’s up to the next owner if they want to display it with that useful item or display it in a case with other included items. But that special and hard to find, near perfect example must take a second place to the ultra-rare, large mirror (there was a lower cost smaller one also available), Hella Spot Lamp Mirror that is installed and in perfect working order. It is attached to an original BMW supplied handlebar mounting bracket. For those unfamiliar with these exceptionally hard-to-locate period correct accessories, the on/off switch is the mirror itself which turns about 30 degrees.
This original, unrestored Hella example is flawless and by itself would easily bring $3,000 if not more if offered independently from the R50/2. Bob’s BMW has sold them in this range several times during the past decade and they get harder and harder to find all the time. One sold for over $4,500 about 3 years ago but did include the original box; it was true NOS. We found just one other example being offered currently, it had the small mirror along with assorted blemishes and some light chrome issues; the asking price was $2,295.
This machine also comes with the correct one-piece BMW crash or cylinder guards, the correct factory exhaust system, European handlebars (far fewer were produced with these than the wider USA bars with the cross brace, an original Denfeld riders’ solo seat, a Denfeld rear pillion or package rack and a more recently added (for the last owner) matching passenger pillion or solo seat with the large rubber grab handle. It even has the correct, original tire pump attached to the frame and has the optional factory supplied, stronger chromed steel rims.
All the hardware on this machine is original and period correct as best we could examine every bit of it closely. There are no reproduction stainless steel replacements and certainly no oddball bits from the local hardware store. And it is all in like new condition and despite maintenance provided over the decades you will be very hard pressed to find a single wrench mark on any bolt or nut or other special fastener. There is a secret to removing hardware and re-installing it without leaving a trace – few owners, let alone technicians ever go to this trouble but we can share, with the new owner, how this is possible.
We mention that because over the years, even with a machine as perfect as this one is, some hardware will be removed for service and that usually leaves a trace. In this machines case the bike was fully disassembled so that the frame, forks and rear swingarm could be professionally powder-coated to the highest level of perfection available so 25 years earlier. Perfectionist that the owner of most years was, the frame paint was showing some light aging that all other painted surfaces were not. It is so perfect that it took Bob a full hour to finally decide, and then query the seller as to if he had done this – a skills test among friends if you will. Even the VIN stamping in the frame is easily read unlike most similar work you’ll find.
While doing that he refreshed assorted gaskets and seals and rubber bits like pushrod tube rubbers, using original BMW replacements back when you could still get them from a BMW dealer so that everything is essentially exactly as it left the factory when new, but nothing is old, tired, or dried out and it did not drip a speck of oil on bob’s two test rides prior to that transaction taking place. It has not left even the tiniest drip on the showroom carpet since it was placed there about ten days before these words were written and posted either.
Perhaps needless to say but we will anyway, as you look over these images, you’ll see nothing but near flawless original paint, original chrome, perfect original hardware, a brilliantly polished original exhaust system and no extra holes in any fenders from a past accessory being installed. The aluminum shines to the exact level it should and did when BMW first built it. There is no over polishing on this bike anywhere. The gas cap is the rare, smooth top, small grip rings alloy style and the tank it seals up is as perfect inside as the day it was produced – no blemishes in the original red lining.
All alloy castings from the wheel hubs to the engine, transmission, final drive, and transmission are all perfect and have the exactly right brilliance without any indications they ever fell below perfect, let alone had to be thoroughly cleaned and brought back to this degree of perfection. The spokes and nipples are the best you’ve ever seen on an original cosmetic offering. There are no chips in the six fins on the valve covers. The cables are in excellent condition, correct for this machine and handlebars and routed correctly. The center and side stands are in perfect working order.
Clamps, screws, wiring – inside the headlight bucket, under the front electrical cover and in all exterior areas – is perfect. Every adjustor is flawless as are the often mistreated or bent rear shock adjustors. The hub caps are perfect and correct as they are original. The carbs match each other and the bike as they came from the factory; they’re spotless inside and every single time this bike was started up and ridden over the past 30 years, the tank was drained and dried as were the carbs. Only the original petcock or fuel value was replaced for the later BMW/Karcoma version which did not leak.
The inside of the tool compartment is like new. There is no rust, corrosion or pitting to be discovered on any surface. The original cast and polished handlebar risers are immaculate and shine brightly as do the other few bits of factory chrome like the front fender stay or brace, the headlight trim ring, the top fork yoke bolts, the ignition switch slider, and tail lamp trim ring is also like new. Both axles look like they recently came out f a NOS parts bag and the cylinder bars look like a new old stock accessory that was hidden on a shelf for years.
Bob acquired it from the third documented owner, a longtime friend and fellow collector, who had owned and cared for it for about 28 years. During almost three decades it saw the highest level of care, maintenance, light refreshing of seals, gaskets and rubber where required plus light, but regular use. It was lovingly shared at a small number of local motorcycle shows, always ridden there on secondary roads in good weather and the rest of the time, it was always kept in a carpeted basement with full temperature and humidity control; it was always intended to be a long-term investment.
This was the fourth incredible and highly original, low mile machine that exchanged hands between these two friends, enthusiasts, and collectors over two decades. The others were another beautiful, but not quite as perfect example of the R50/2, which was acquired and resold around the same time. Another was a stunningly perfect R60/2 with a Steib LS200 sidecar attached which came and went over a decade earlier. The last one from this small but wonderful collection, was a BMW single, also original and near flawless in every aspect – a beautiful R27 from the mid 1960’s.
Bob and the dealership often have a waiting list for very special machines of different vintages and discerning owners and quickly found the person whom he believed would be the next owner/caretaker/investor for several decades – another motorcycle and automobile collector and enthusiast in the greater Mid-Atlantic region so the machine never was listed or offered on our website.
Bob even delivered and installed this amazing R50/2 in that buyers’ business office (see image) after taking it out for two extended rides to demonstrate that everything was in excellent operational, safe, and roadworthy condition. At the buyers’ request and from Bob’s recommendation, the Bob’s service team professionally pickled the bike as well as installed two new tires and changed the fluids for what was anticipated to be a long-term display, as the new owner expected to keep it on display in his office for the next decade if not longer.
Alas, the pandemic and the past two years affected his business, and life to a high degree and Bob was offered the opportunity to reacquire the machine and find a new home for it. And now we have elected to present it on our website as opposed to going to that list or offering it up online with B.A.T. or another auction company. We want to find a fresh special buyer to acquire it, own it, enjoy it in the manner it deserves, hopefully share it at a few motorcycle shows now and then and should they wish to take it out for some spirited rides on occasion to keep adding a few miles and continue the tradition this rare example has experienced so far, we can assist or guide them in the simple process to get it back on the road and then place it back in a secure state of storage until the next ride is desired.
Perhaps the next owner will want to ide it more often and that is not only their decision, but this machine is solidly, ready and waiting, for more frequent use along with good care each time it is back in the garage or display space waiting to be fired up. And while we are offering this machine up as the very rare opportunity that it is, we are also not planning to undo the through professional pickling the prior owner paid for because we cannot anticipate the next owners plans for his or her enjoyment. Getting it prepared for regular use, if desired, can be completed at an additional fee.
Bob will attest, in writing (that’s essentially what’s taking place here too), that this bike started easily, idled perfectly, and ran through all the gears, handled as designed and stopped as best drum brake shoes from this era are capable of when we last acquired it, serviced it, and rode it just prior to selling it. All electrical items worked without issue including the rare Hella spot lamp mirror. There is no reason to believe that if it is properly stored again, without use, for another decade that with fresh fuel, a quick cleaning of the plugs (they were sprayed along with the top of the pistons) that it will not start right up and after checking tire pressure and oil levels be ready for an enjoyable ride.
Of note, the .2 miles showing on the tripmeter was manually logged by Bob and other members of the staff following the completion if the last ride. That short distance would have been accumulated by walking the bike into the showroom from the service department and detail bay where it waited for the scheduled delivery to the last owner by Bob, out of the trailer and down several hallways at delivery and office installation location, then back down those hallways, back into the trailer, back into the service department where we re-reviewed everything, in and out of the wash/detail bay and finally back onto the showroom floor where it is currently on display. It adds up but slowly.