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Disinfectant for sick baby toys

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The standard colors for these motorcycles was black with white pinstriping, though special colors could be ordered. Indeed, the motorcycles could be ordered in any color that was being used at the time for BMW cars. A special case was Dover white. BMW importer Butler Smith, sent BMW a can of that color paint, which was used on his 1942 Packard, and BMW duplicated it. He then ordered 50 motorcycles in that color.

Though BMW invented and first used oil-damped telescopic motorcycle front forks in the 1930s, it chose to use Earles forks on these models. The triangular front Earles fork (named after its designer, Englishman Ernest Earles) precluded any front-end dive during heavy front braking, which is common with telescopic front forks. It also worked well in sidecar duty. Though heavy and ponderous in turning, the Earles fork gave the old Beemer a steady and reassuring ride.

In 1968, BMW introduced telescopic forks on some of its slash-2 models, and they were continued into the 1969 model year. Modified, they became the front forks on the slash-5 models introduced for the 1970 model year. The photo of the red R60US to the right was taken at a BMW dealership in 1968 and shows a brand new motorcycle waiting for its first buyer. Earles fork and telescopic fork models both were manufactured for these two years and were available to customers.

During the 1960s, very few motorcycles were available with shaft final drive. BMW’s were the most common. The driveshaft rode in an enclosed oil bath within the right swingarm, unlike BMW’s previous models, and drove the rear wheel through an internally splined cup that meshes with a coupler crown gear keyed to the drive pinion. This meant that leaking seals could a problem for the owners. Because the clutch was dry, there were seals at the rear of the crankshaft, at both ends of the transmission, at the rear of the driveshaft, and at the front and rear of the rear drive unit: lots of seals to develop leaks.

The front brakes were double leading shoes, and the rear had a single leading shoe. By modern standards, they were not good brakes. Tires, front and rear, were interchangeable in 3.50″ by 18″ size.

The triangulated Earles front fork

Motorcycles sold in America had high handlebars with a cross brace. Those sold elsewhere came with low, Euro handlebars.

A variety of saddle styles were available for these motorcycles. Those delivered in the U. S. typically were supplied with a single “dual” or bench saddle, either the standard size or a wide version that came with chrome rear-quarter passenger handles. Alternatives available included a Denfeld (not “Denfield”) or Pagusa solo driver’s saddle, or individual driver and passenger saddles.

Earles fork

The Earles fork deserves special mention because of its association with this period in BMW motorcycle evolution. It was a variety of leading link fork where the pivot point was aft of the rear of the wheel this was the basis of the Earles’s patent. Designed by Englishman Ernest Earles, this triangulated fork actually caused the front end of a motorcycle to rise when braking hard the reverse of the action of a telescopic fork, which plunges downward in front when braking. It was designed to accommodate sidecars, though from 1955 to 1969, BMW used the fork even though most of its motorcycles were sold as solo bikes.

BMW motorcycles of the 1960s were noted as long-distance touring motorcycles. However, none came standard with fairings or luggage, these items were provided by aftermarket vendors.

Most common as a fairing then was the Wixom Ranger handlebar-mounted fairing made in Illinois, which was mounted on most of the BMW twins sold. A rare full fairing from England was made by Avon (see photo).

There were numerous manufacturers of saddle bags and top cases for BMW twins in the 1960s. Wixom’s were very popular, as were the beautifully made but boxy British Craven panniers (see external links below). Rounded Enduro [2] bags (see the external link below for an reproductions) were very popular as well. Butler and Smith, the American BMW motorcycle importer, offered leather saddlebags.

The Madison (WI) BMW club in 1970, with lots of Wixom fairings.

Butler and Smith offered several styles of luggage carriers for mounting behinds the passenger saddle. It also offered several styles of windshields, safety bars, a spotlight, and metric tool kits. motorcycles came standard with a narrow dual saddle, though wide dual saddles with chrome rear handles could be ordered. Solo saddles made by Pagusa or Denfeld for driver and passenger were also available. All motorcycles came with BMW’s famously complete tool kit.

Hella turn signals were strictly optional, and were mounted at the ends of the handlebars showing light both forward and back.

The standard fuel tank held 4½ gallons, though a commonly purchased option was a more bulbous 6½ gallon tank. Also available as options were sport tanks of 7.0 and 8.0 gallons capacities.

Admirers of classic BMW motorcycles are growing rapidly in number. As time marches on, that which BMW enthusiasts consider “classic” is amended, much as a trailer follows behind a car. “Slash-2″ variants from 1955-1969 have joined that exclusive club.

Opinions as to the treatment of classic motorcycle varies according to their condition and their owners’ tastes. First preference tends to be for preserving the original machine Oil Press if it is in reasonably good condition. Second preference is to do limited restoration, maintaining as much of the original fabric as possible. Third, when dealing with a machine in poor condition, is so-called frame-up restoration. In the latter case, the motorcycle is completely disassembled and each individual part is refurbished, and then the motorcycle is reassembled adhering as much as possible to the original design, but sometimes using modern replacement parts, such as stainless steel, or plating parts that were originally not plated. At the extreme end of restoration is the “concours” restoration, as seen in the photo to the right, in which only original parts are used and work is done with an obsession for originality in every minor detail. Unlike many other motorcycle brands, parts for classic BMWs, though expensive, are obtainable from sources in Germany and the United States.

Two American membership organizations, Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners and the Veteran BMW Motorcycle Club of America are dedicated to the preservation of oil refining equipment classic BMW motorcycles.

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