Chassis # 660849
Engine # 660849
A Highly Original Matching Numbers Example
One Of BMW Motorcycle's Most Iconic Post War Models
Arguably the most famous BMW sporting bike of the late twentieth century, the BMW R/69S was the evolution of nearly a half-century of BMW powertrain R&D. The R69S’s story starts in the 1920s when BMW head of design Max Friz sought to improve the performance and cooling of the brand’s small motorcycle engines. He recognized the advantages of a boxer-twin cylinder layout, which horizontally opposed the cylinders on either side of the motorcycle frame. Not only could this layout expose each cylinder to greater volumes of cool air, but it could also simplify installing a direct drive to the rear wheel. Friz’s stroke of genius launched the R32 in 1923, ushering in a boxer-twin platform that BMW continued to perfect for decades to come.
By 1960, BMW launched the boxer-twin R69S with 9.5:1 compression, a wide-diameter exhaust tip, and close gear ratios, helping it develop 42 horsepower at 7,000 RPM. It was this racy powertrain that made the R69S a star in motorsports communities.
In summer 1959, professional motorcycle racer John Penton rode an R69S from New York to Los Angeles in 52 hours 11 minutes, setting a new world record. BMW then entered a highly-modified R69S in the German Off-Road Championships and the International Six Days Trial, where it took first and third place, respectively. Even London-based motorcycle dealer MLG entered a modified R69S in a 24-hour race at the French Montlhéry circuit, where the R69S averaged 109 mph and returned 34 mpg throughout the competition.
The R69S platform continued to perform as a long-distance racer, helping it secure a reputation for durability and reliability that it maintains to this day. In the collector market, high mileage is no cause for alarm when considering an R69S, as its longevity is significantly better than other racing bikes of the era.
R69S #660849, currently offered from LBI Limited, is a mostly original example with factory-correct equipment and color scheme. The bike spent extensive time in museum storage in Pennsylvania before coming to LBI’s attention. While this example is believed to be mostly original and well-preserved, we have not been able to decipher for certain if it is indeed 100% original paint. The bike has a wonderful patina and retains its original 1960s character.
Today, R69S #0849 presents in strong running and riding condition with cosmetics to match. Recent service includes an oil change, rear differential service, a new rear driveshaft boot, a new carburetor, and a carburetor sync. It’s a well-sorted example of one of BMW’s most renowned racing motorcycles, conceived during an era when factory racers and civilian models were nearly one and the same. Owners could take the R69S screaming to 7,000 RPM on a Sunday before comfortably commuting with it on Monday morning, and many did just that. The R69S is a testament to the versatility of BMW’s boxer-twin platform, and collectors will enjoy this particular R69’s authenticity and mechanical integrity.
- Chassis Number 660849
- Year of manufacture 1966