Matching Numbers Road Bike: 1974 BMW R90/6

This awesome 1974 BMW R90/6 has been with the original owner since new and in storage since 1987. The seller is listing on behalf of that owner, and there’s a lot here to like. Frankly, it looks like the original owner just checked every option available when this bike was new! Find it here on craigslist in Palisades, New York, for $3,800 and sold as a matching numbers example. 

Luffmeister fairing. Krauser saddlebags. Awesome paint colors. There’s little here I don’t like, other than I’m not in a position to bring this one home. The R90 is a wicked cruising bike, and since I’m not a Honda Gold Wing kind of guy, this one checks a lot of boxes for me. The bike does need restoration, but the seller notes the engine is free with great compression.

Old road bikes with fairings just get me salivating – I don’t know why. Maybe because everything looks better with a period-correct spoiler or bodykit. The R90/6 may not have been the desirable “S” (Sport) model trim, but it still packed some innovative features. It utilized a front disc brake, which was a big improvement over previous designs. Power was around 60 b.h.p., and it could turn out a reliable 115 m.p.h.

My favorite feature of this bike are the awesome luggage equipment and aforementioned fairing. It just seems built for a road-trip, right now, and thanks to the R90/6’s larger engine, it was able to make a better attempt at keeping up with highway speeds. While the previous R bikes are dripping with vintage coolness, this R90/6 is one that maintains that appeal with a lot more user-friendliness. Jealous of whomever takes this home.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Nice bike, but I’d lose the fairing. The BMW sport fairing looks so much better. I had a fairing like this on my 1st GW, and it was a POS. It rattled, added weight to the front, cracked in half ( on the PA turnpike) and just looks corny. Don’t care much for BMW’s, but not that ignorant to know, this was the nicest one.

  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    Perfect platform for a vintage sidecar, and I’d loose that fairing too. But I would probably just replace it with a handlebar mounted windshield. I don’t think it would take much to clean this up and get it running again, but I’m with Howard on this one I’d much rather have my 1977 GW. with custom side car. Cheeper to fix easier to work on and better styling. JMHO.

  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    What does the /6 designation mean?

    • Howard A Member

      Apparently, the “6” was the series, R60/6,( 600cc),R75/6 ( 750cc) and R90/6 (900cc) which replaced the earlier/5 series.

      • Dick Johnson

        “R” is the series. The slash is the generation designator which on occasion, makes sense. Enunciate when you order parts followed up by a fax. Otherwise the boutique-lerships will send you who knows what for whatever they don’t-care-what-you-have.

        Ned’s cycle of Riverside, Ioweenia is a great source of guidance, parts, and info for this R-90. Ask for Jim.

  4. ccrvtt

    I have no idea what the market is for these bikes, but $3,800 sounds like a screaming bargain. Very desirable BMW. Great find.

  5. LAB3

    Seems a bit high for a non running bike, $2-2500 in my book. I’d lose the fairing and the luggage for the time being, they might fetch a good bit of money in of themselves. As was already mentioned, it more than likely wouldn’t take much to put it back on the road and an old style windshield would look perfect on it.

    • Jimbosidecar

      I probably wouldn’t even put a value that high. It’s been sitting for decades so every piece of rubber on the bike will need replacement. The transmission is a 5 speed kickstart. It might be OK but then again maybe that is why it was put into storage back in 1987. As to the fairing, I can’t even give them away. I usually end up taking them to the dump. At $1800 it’s a deal. Any higher, and you’d better just love the R90/6s because you will be upside down if you replace everything that needs replacing. I have 3. I love them, but I also know what it took to make them roadworthy again

      • LAB3

        My thinking on the add-ons comes from knowing the vintage bike market, collectors like “period correct” stuff but it’s gotta be PRISTINE. As to Vetter fairings, the mounts are where the money is. A well researched “this size fits this model” ad can fetch good results if you’re willing to do the homework.

  6. KawiVulc

    Agreed, would look better without the add-ons. Sell ’em off & pick up a cool vintage look helmet & leather jacket.

  7. Bob S

    It is too bad it is so far away, I would love that bike, and I don’t think it is over priced. One of my favourite motorcycles.
    Bob

  8. redwagon

    gone

  9. Wayne

    Other than the color, this is the twin to my old bike. (Vetter fairing and Krauser bags included) Mine was black. Yes, the “6” designated model/standard equipment changes. R90/5 would not have had the disc brake front brake. The /5 was the first year for the 5 speed gear box if I remember correctly. So the R90/6 was the first really, fully up to date bike. (IMHO) I still wish I had that bike, but I became tentative in traffic, so it was time to call off street bikes. I never went down, I think that age just caught up with me. When I first got the bike it had bias ply Continentals. Once the radial Meztlers were installed I could easily coroner dragging the cylinder heads. I could ride all day and never be uncomfortable. Which I couldn’t say about the Honda it replaced. The gear box was “clunkey” (normal) and the Bing carbs would leak gas on your shoe when maintenance was required. But dead reliable, comfortable and an easy handler.
    I sold mine for $3,900 about 28 years ago.

    • Dick Johnson

      Wayne, how could you easily “coroner” dragging the heads and still be alive? I miss the short swing arm Boomers because they wouldn’t try to “coroner” you as much as the long ones like my R80. Never quite sure where the front end is headed in the corners even with trail braking, which if over-cooked, will require the services of a coroner. My R75/5 was a better handling bike than my R100-RT.

      Still have a multi-make garage, so I don’t harbor any bias of whether my Harley FXRT-P(last of the shovels) is better, or my cousin’s Slug Wing is the end-all for touring. However, riding das Ving to me is like going to a goat yoga class… it ain’t too bad ’till somebody sees you…

      • Howard A Member

        We said that about riding a moped.( fun until someone sees you) I do agree, dragging the heads on a Beemer is what happens just before an upset,,,

  10. Wrong Way Member

    LOL, being from a Harley family and owner of a 49 pan there is nothing cool about this bike! Of course that’s my opinion! My 49 would make this thing look and sound like a mini bike! :-)

  11. Wrong Way Member

    My original post didn’t really mean that I don’t like other bikes! I looked at it and it looks like I am prejudice! I am, but I have to admit that I don’t know anything about these bikes! Sorry if I offended anyone!

    • Dick Johnson

      We motorcyclists are a pretty rude bunch. We love and defend our stuff. My prejudice is; if you can’t see daylight on the far side of the bike while looking at it, it’s a Winnebago.

    • Howard A Member

      I’m glad you cleared that up. I like ( to look at) old Harley’s too, but seriously, this bike will leave your Panhead in the dust in 2nd gear, and a few curves, we’ll see you at the next stop, a soda will be waiting for you,,,

      • Wrong Way Member

        However Howard my pan is worth probably 50 times over what this thing is! I guarantee you that! Besides that, if you have kept up with any of my posts you may also know that I will be 80 years old very soon! LOL. I can’t ride anymore it and my Mustangs are put away nice and secure for my grandson grandson’s future! My son takes me back out to the farm occasionally and we tinker around on everything! The pan is completely stock from the paint to the leather solo seat! Have a great day young man! :-)

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Wrong way it sounds to me like it’s Time for a sidecear on the HD a vintage matching one that way even if you can’t be holding onto the handle bars your son can and you could go with him in the hack. Its great that you still have your bike after all this time but think about it wouldn’t you want to get the wind in your face a few more times. As for the beemers I had a freind that had a r1000rt 1983 I think new out of the crate he let me ride it once, what a rocket ship for its time and a great handling bike too. Sorry wrong way not a fan of HD’s but I’m ok with others owning them. I always thought that they were a bit archaic. With there lumpy sounding engine that sounds like its coming apart every time you start it. I guess that how it goes when you have on crank throw for both pistons.

  12. Wayne

    Hey Wrong Way, just take one for a ride sometime. You will discover a whole new world.
    Better yet, go ride a current Boxer. The steering geometry is spooky at first. But after about 20 miles under your belt it gives a whole new meaning to the word response!

  13. Mike R in De

    Very nice BMW!! These weren’t all that quick off the line, but Were all day comfortable at Aoto-bin speeds. That looks like a knock off of a Vetter ; you get what you pay for with fairings also. I had a real Windjammer ss & lowers on a ’78 Suzuki GS1000 with no problems. I put added heavier fork springs, and I could Still hang the front wheel High! Wasn’t all day smooth like this BMW, but it wasn’t meant to be. Good luck to the new owner and seller.

  14. Dick Johnson

    We motorcyclists are a pretty rude bunch. We love and defend our stuff. My prejudice is; if you can’t see daylight on the far side of the bike while looking at it, it’s a Winnebago.

    • Howard A Member

      Nah, just the Harley riders are rude. Most people with anything but a Harley, usually welcome any 2 wheeler, be it a Guzzi or a Zundapp. Sorry, been on both sides,,,

      • Dick Johnson

        But… Howard…. when I’m on the FXRTP even the ‘harlie twinkie (twin cam) riders’-including my cousins- won’t give me a “down low” sign since they don’t recognize it. Of course the ’84 FXRTP is an ex-police bike. Maybe it was the Victory rain jacket I was wearing. Bought it for 3 bucks at a garage sale. Underneath that was my free BMW sweatshirt. I knew that I shooda’ worned my OSSA Jacket.

  15. Wrong Way Member

    Definitely get rid of the jacket! :-( LMAO! Sorry couldn’t stop myself!

    • Dick Johnson

      My old riding buddy was 91 when he was fatally injured by a new squid on a new FLHTCU. The week before, CJ was ticketed for riding at 91mph in a 55 zone.

      That was 80 years on the road for him.

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        If your going to go what better way than with the wind in your face. Up here in canada the Harley guys are just as friendly as anyone else on a bike. I’ve never had an issue with anyone on one maybe its that polite Canadian thing going on eh…! We get such a short season your just happy to get out. Here in Calgary thanks to chinooks we can go from 16″ of snow two weeks ago to all gone today with our bikes back out. Because of my sidecar I’ll ride until it hits minus 10 c. My Ural had heated handlebar grips so I could start in March and go until November. Not so with my GW.

  16. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey canadainmarkseh,

    Wow, that sure sounds cold up there. I used to live in Ohio, and some of those winters seemed to drag on forever. But Calgary sounds a lot colder. How do you keep your sanity when you can’t go outside for months at a time?

    Now I live in Tampa, and it’s the same thing in reverse. Come June, it’s 95F every day, and the humidity is around 100%, and that’s not much of an exaggeration. So, we barely go out because it’s just too damned hot.

    But, come November, the rains stop, the humidity goes away, and the sun shines and it’s 75F every day for six months. It ain’t perfect here, but come January and you’re walking around in your shorts and a tee-shirt, it’s pretty nice.

    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Come January here in Calgary we typical hit a stretch of -30c can last up to a month some times more. It is a very dry cold though. Then along comes a Chinook and in a matter of hour or so it can go from -30c to +10c and that can last from an hour to 2 weeks. The berometric pressure swings up and down with those temps and we have a lot of people that get migraine headaches from it. Most bikes just disappear through our winters stored away in garages my bike has its own build with wood floor up off the ground. Once it’s gone away I won’t see it gain until spring.

  17. Wrong Way Member

    Hey Canadainmar, I hope I got the handle correct! I enjoyed your post very much! I am actually busting my guts laughing! I have to give you a little history about myself then you will see the humor! I was in Vietnam in the 60s did 26 months total in the bush! I was with 1st Marines recon battalion! I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, why? Because they told me to! LOL, it’s wonderful to be young and dumb! Anyway I left my left leg outside Danang,and dammmit that hurt! :-) ! I came home during evac that was at the end of my second tour! I trucked over the road for 34 years and loved every minute of it! I am now going to be 80 years old on New Years eve! I have MS now I shake all the time and really couldn’t ride! I also farmed all these years also which I have turned over to my son! He and his wife keep a close eye on pop’s! They are scared I might quit breathing and they will miss the show! Lol, they just don’t know that now pop’s has so many medical problems that I pray to God every night to let me never wake up! Unfortunately for me he hasn’t answered that prayer yet! So all I can do when I wake up is thank God for another day of life to be able to visually see his miracles for another day! So hopefully you can see that now days I get enjoyment out of watching my son keep up all the maintenance and polishing of my or now our now classic Mustangs and especially that ol-bike of mine! So many memories to share and nobody to listen! That’s what happens when you get old LMAO! Sorry everyone for rambling on have a great evening!

    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Even though I’m not in your country I thank you for your service wrong way. I’m a bit of a history buff so I’m aware of what went on. Our adopted son who is now 14 years old is out of a government orphanage in Cambodia. He was born with out hands and had a partial left foot other leg is normal he is partly why I have a sidecar on my bike. In the summer he comes with me when I go out for a day ride. He leans his right arm with the partial hand and one finger on the edge of the car like he owns the whole world. We have a good time, sidecars are very versatile and are fun to drive in their own way they will keep you on your toes, but I like the challenge of them.

    • Dick Johnson

      “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.” — Yogi Berra.

      Share the memories… we’ll listen. I retired recently from a very long career in aviation. The frustration of trying to share stories, techniques, and procedures-all proven to keep us alive- fell on deaf ears, and ‘web knowledge.’ Too bad. The same mistakes from 100 years ago are still being practiced today… with the same results.

      Sooooo, “If you can’t save the whales, save your breath.” — Cheech Marin. My favorite trucker story: my rear tire had a slow leak and I had to stop every 20 miles to pump it back up. A long nose Pete driver kept flashing his lights at me for several miles. I pulled over and he tossed some tube sealer into the stem and aired up my tire….no charge. I gave him my spare set of points for his BSA for his effort.

      Where has that concern for others gone?

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