Looking at a 1959 R50 tomorrow morning

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Twin headlight Ernie, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie Custom fabricated dual sport accessories

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    So I got a lead on a 1959 R50 and am looking at it tomorrow morning. Are there any quirks to this model I should be on the lookout for? I'll report back with some details.
    Thanks.
    2HE
    #1
  2. airheadPete

    airheadPete Wherever they send me. (Really, really quickly.)

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    Geez, an OLD /2... Not much I can tell you. When I bought my '65 R60/2 it was pretty much done by feel, for the bike as well as the guy selling it. Expect that you WILL have to do a teardown to clean the oil slingers. (Otherwise the engine is a grenade, just waiting to seize, do you feel lucky?...) I'm assuming it's been off the road a while? No history? If it's not complete, it can get really expensive, and be an endurance test. Call Vech in Sturgis, MS if a specific question pops into your head. (Crap, I can't recall the name of his shop right now; (it's in vendor links on ibmwr.org)) My bike was right at the limit when I tore it apart for the slingers.
    All that aside, she's a wonderful ride on back roads at a slower pace, (for today's world). Open face lid, wife along on her scooter, checking out the horse pastures... Takes you back to when you were a kid, just out to see what you could see. They're great bikes, good luck.
    #2
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie Custom fabricated dual sport accessories

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    Well, here's a picture. It has 94K and has not run in 10 years. It is currenlty stored in a nice garage. It has a dent in the tank and the tail light is missing. The current owner belives the previous owner tried to convert it to a 12 volt system and it has a huge ugly regulator bolted to the right side of the frame. I also noticed that is must have been setup with a sidecar at one time because the sidecar lugs are still on the frame. He wants $2400.00 for it.
    So, how big of a money pit am I looking at? Opinions? What is it worth in running condition? Restored condition?

    Thanks.
    2HE

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Cogswell

    Cogswell Spudly Adventurer

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    If that bike has clean paperwork, numbers match, and has not been bodged beyond repair I would buy it at that price.

    Mike
    #5
  6. Detroit Steve

    Detroit Steve Homely Adventurer

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    #6
  7. halflive

    halflive Been here awhile

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    Over here that price would be a bargain. It proves the seller is ignorant. Try to talk a few hundred off, but by it anyway.
    Yes, a sidecar was fitted, the swing arm is still mounted in the holes for short trail.
    #7
  8. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Didn't single cam /2's start with the '60 or '61 model year? I thought all the single cam fifties twins were /3's?
    #8
  9. isdt BMW

    isdt BMW willserv@aol.com

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    /3 twins stopped in 1954, this bike is not a /2, it is a R-50. the /2 started when an extra gusset was added to the frame in front of the swingarm. there are a few subtle differences between the first series and the /2 series. the twin cam motor stopped with the 1950 R-51/2. The bike looks clean and is well worth 2500. set the front fork in the solo position before riding without a sidecar. GET THE SLINGERS DONE, they are your oil filter. Get the books and talk to vintage BMW guys. good luck, they are great bikes.
    #9
  10. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I thought that the / number related to the engine? I believe the R51/3 engine was basically the same until some redesigns made it the /2? For instance, I have been told at service school and other places that the R69S engine really wasn't a /2 anymore after getting it's rear main bearing redesigned in '63 I believe? I know it's just semantics and engine design but . . . . Maybe they said it never was for the different heads?
    #10
  11. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie Custom fabricated dual sport accessories

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    Educate me on the slingers. How involved is that.

    2HE
    #11
  12. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    Complete engine tear-down.

    The bike looks clean. (is the front fender on backwards?) I wouldn't hesitate to buy that for $2400. Any less is just icing on the cake.

    From what I understand, all bikes up through 1969 (up to, but not including, the /5) had sidecar lugs on the frame, whether or not one was actually mounted.
    #12
  13. weeman

    weeman Adventurer

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    2HE,

    As previously mentioned an engine tear down at this point would be in you're best interest because of the lack of mechanical history. I just started the same evaluation with one that I bought this past summer and the biggest thing is doing the slingers hence the tear down. Having said that you might as well go through the engine and trans to make sure you have they are mechanically healthy to insure you'll have years of mostly trouble free riding. Budget about 2500. more or less for the engine rebuild and since the trans is less complicated than the later airheads your budget should be 600-700 for a rebuild depending where you take it. My recommendation would be to talk "Vech" at Bench Mark Works for further advice 662-465-6444.

    Steve
    1967 r50/2
    1995 r1100rsl
    #13
  14. spo123

    spo123 Man About Town

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    YOU should OWN this bike, by NOW! :deal
    #14
  15. weeman

    weeman Adventurer

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    I would highly agree! PULL THE TRIGGER, NOW!:wink:
    #15
  16. isdt BMW

    isdt BMW willserv@aol.com

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    From 1951 to 1969 the motors are basically the same, the R-69 became the 69-S with the rear floating bearing, differences are in the parts break downs, get the books. Many of us have quit using the floating bearing with no problems. many of the late US fork bikes have no sidecar mounts as the telefork was not for sidecar use. The rebuild book by Chris Bjetman (spelling?) is the best. Find it thru the vintage BMW sites. Total motor teardown is the only way to clean slingers. you did buy the bike already didn;t you? That is a bargain price. I agree, the front fender is mounted wrong.
    #16
  17. Ron Seida

    Ron Seida Adventman

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    Like others have mentioned, buy it... now, before someone else does! I have the identical bike sitting on my lift right now in the process of restoration.
    [​IMG]
    This R60 is the predecessor of the R60/2, which started production in 1960. There are a few notable differences between the bikes, like the aformantioned frame gusset. Check the centrestand mounts, as the earlier types were known to break. The battery tray is different, and so is the rubber strap. Good luck finding a replacement! The motor has a few differences also. I believe the con rods are of different design. The cam shaft gears are cut in the opposite direction and the metal gear is retained with a cir clip... something not found on the /2 motor. DO NOT attempt to pull off the gear and the camshaft bearing at the same time as the circlip is hidden in between them and you will damage the crankshaft... just ask me how i know :cry.:cry.
    The /2 is considered by some to be a superior bike, but yours is more rare, and in my opinion, more desirable! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions regarding your bike. This is a picture of my last restoration, a '66 R60/2.
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    Ya know, I was just thinking of asking about how much an engine rebuild (slinger service) and trans rebuild would be on a /2. $2500 is lower than what I was expecting.
    #18
  19. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I've always wanted one of these myself. I thought the slinger cleaning could be done in the driveway in a couple of hours. BTW it is one slinger per bike?
    #19
  20. weeman

    weeman Adventurer

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    The rebuild (slinger service) price doesn't include a fried crank that'd be 1k more if damaged. I thought of doing it myself for the first time but I don't possess the special tools and their a bit more complicated than later airheads. Besides, I'll know it was done right with guarantee it was and will free me up to work and pay for it.:rofl
    #20