CHASSIS NO: 4994492
• Renowned as one of the finest motorcycles of its time
• Sophisticated features include shaft-type final drive
• Striking example of the last Munich-built BMW motorcycle line
590 cc air-cooled flat-twin engine, twin Bing carburetors, 35 HP at 6,800 RPM, four-speed manual gearbox, shaft drive, double-loop tubular steel frame, Earles front fork, rear trailing forks, front and rear drum brakes
In a clear demonstration of the value gained from careful evolution over revolution, Germany’s BMW commanded the medium-displacement motorcycle market of the 1950s and 1960s. Succeeding the R68 of 1951-55, the R69 continued with BMW’s renowned two-cylinder boxer-style engine and remains one of the finest and most collectible postwar motorcycles ever produced.
The R69’s distinctive four-stroke, OHV boxer twin-cylinder engine produced 35 horsepower at 6,800 engine revolutions, with fuel delivery via twin Bing carburetors, Bosch magneto ignition and a six-volt electrical system. Visually, the R69 boxer engine can be quickly identified by the two ribs found on each valve cover, in contrast to most other BMW models of the same year range, which had five-rib side covers. A four-speed, foot-shift gearbox with single-disc clutch sent the R69’s power to the rear wheel with a driveshaft. The T69 chassis was of double-loop tubular steel construction with patented Earles-type front forks and swing-arm rear suspension including twin hydraulic shock absorbers. Both front and rear tires were 18 inches tall and 8-inch drum brakes provided stopping power. Robustly constructed and weighing 450 pounds dry, the BMW R69 delivered strong performance, being capable of exceeding 105 miles per hour, yet was quite economical, achieving better than 50 miles per gallon.
The R69 was offered from 1955 to 1960, succeeded by the slightly faster and more-powerful R69S from 1960 to 1969. In addition to its commercial success, the R69 line is historic as the last line of BMW motorcycles produced in Munich, following BMW’s gradual shift of motorcycle production from Munich to Berlin beginning in 1966. All bike production had been entirely phased out of the Munich factory by the time the R69 models were phased out in 1969, making the R69 the last BMW motorcycle built at the original factory that opened back in 1923. According to renowned UK expert and author L.J.K. Setright’s book, “Bahnstormer: The Story of BMW Motorcycles,” just 2,819 examples of the original R69 were produced, including this very attractive early-production example from 1957, followed by 11,417 of the R69S. While capable of reaching about 100 miles per hour flat out – heady performance for the era, the R69 continues to enjoy strong collector and enthusiast demand in recognition of its uncanny combination of speed, comfort, silence and reliability. A true motorcycling icon by any standard, this rare first-generation 1957 BMW R69 is an essential part of any proper classic motorcycle collection.