BMW R60/2

1966 BMW R60/2

Why would anyone spend $6,000 for an untitled old BMW that they had only seen in photos, with a motor that blew smoke out the breather tube, a transmission that would not shift, a head and a cylinder that had to be thrown away, a crankshaft whose rear bearing was held on by knurling the seat and coating it with locktite, a mis-aligned rear swingarm with weak front springs in it, and a mis-shimmed final drive that was growling and self-destructing? And then have this motorcycle shipped across the country? Read how it can happen.


1966 R60/2 Complte restor, nothing missed. All new seals, headers, muffs, rubber pieces, rings, rims, tires, ss spokes, wiring harness, solo seat, new bearings in engine, frame, wheels. Matching #’s, Earls fork.

Concourse cond. John 714-XXX-XXXX, [email protected] (CA)

The price quoted on the phone was $6,000 for the completed bike. The deal seemed to have many advantages:

Seller said he was a restoration mechanic at a well-known BMW dealer.

Seller said he had been a Vintage Show judge at the 1998 Missoula Rally.

Seller said bike was going to be entered in the Del Mar Bike Show if completed in time.

Price was reasonable because seller got parts and service at dealer cost, and did not charge dealer labor rates.

Seller said the BMW dealer would act as escrow agent and shipping point.

Seller emailed over 30 somewhat fuzzy jpeg pictures showing condition of bike.


Atherton . Here’s all the questions I can think of. #17. General: Is there any thing that is not quite right. any weak point in he restoration?

Seller . (No specific response)

Atherton . Do you have any. bills and receipts for labor and parts for the restoration?

Seller . I have most receipts but as I get parts at cost I’m not sure the dealer would be happy with me disclosing their mark up.

Atherton . There is a really fine R69US that I rode near here with 8900 unrestored miles, for just a little more than your bike with its shipping and title costs. Although for the same money I would rather have a perfectly restored R60/2 than this R69US, I can switch bikes. If you can make the motor perfect and stay at $6000, I will buy yours.

If you are unsure about how good the motor will be, or want to take the opportunity to raise the price, let me know soon so I can go after the other bike before it is gone.

Seller . I can make the motor good and will not raise the price.

Atherton . Can you summarize the recent work that went on?

Seller . Heads were taken to a BMW mechanic from the old country. who replaced both exhaust guides and reworked the rest to his satisfaction. The crank that. (the dealer) and I rebuilt had come loose at one big end. We examined several other cranks and found one we felt was the best.

With only visual inspection the crank looked very good.

Atherton . What do you think the outlook is for the latest crankshaft is? Do you feel it is OK to do a lot of touring, or that the bike is better used as a show bike with limited riding?

Seller . The crank looked fantastic. I see no reason why long range touring could not be done.

Atherton . You have reassured me about the crankshaft. It’s a deal for $5,700 (no mufflers).


Appearance . Motor did not have the usual restored look. No beadblasting. Old valve cover gasket. Heavy dust inside the front cover. Old clutch cable with cracks in sheath.

Some bolts rusty or rounded off. Some studs set in JB Weld epoxy. Controls too stiff to use. Most significantly, the adjustment on one valve was used up and the vavle could not be adjusted further.

Atherton . Tomorrow I am taking the bike to (my mechanic) and will help him take the transmission and motor out. We’ll take them apart, examine and measure everything, and then decide what work and parts are needed.

Seller . What do you think you will find? It seems like a lot of unnecessary work. I wonder if (your mechanic) has a deep pocket customer.


Heads . One valve was so recessed that it could not be adjusted, and its rocker arm was modified for clearance by grinding. This was the initial tip-off that things were amiss inside. Valve seats were found to be deeply worn (recessed), and were re-ground deeper instead of replaced. The valves were old and had been lapped to a thin sharp edge.

One valve guide fell out of the head, and another could be pulled out by hand. Left head had a ring of peen marks around the exhaust valve’s seat to hold it in, and a crack in a fin.

Crankshaft . The crank webs bore the marks of the tool used to pull them apart, indicating that the crankshaft had been rebuilt in the past, which is a rare and difficult procedure. The rear bearing seat was gouged by movements (wandering) and removals of previous bearings, and was below the minimum diameter to hold a bearing properly. The seat had been roughed up and coated with Locktite to hold the latest bearing.

Front bearing seat was worn to a marginal diameter.

Gear Cover . The studs holding the generator cover had pulled out of the gear cover, and were stuck back in with JBWeld epoxy.

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