Nicely Restored: 1974 BMW R75/6

There is nothing quite like the feeling of freedom that you get when you throw your leg over a motorcycle and hit the open road. To do this is one of the most enjoyable and involving motoring experiences that you ever likely to have. Being lucky enough to experience this on a beautifully restored classic bike is even better. That is the opportunity awaiting some lucky person if they buy this 1974 BMW R75/6. It is located in Tupper Lake, New York, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner is asking $5,000 for this German classic.

There are plenty of people who think that a motorcycle is just a motorcycle and that they have changed little over the years. However, all you need to do is to place this beautiful blue classic next to a modern bike to get a sense of just how much they have evolved and changed. This BMW is an example of the sort of styling that an owner expected in the 1970s. There are no fairings or covers around the front of the bike, and the engine is exposed and clearly visible. Few bikes offer this sort of experience today, which is a real shame. The owner says that this is an older restoration and that it has been in storage for around 2-years. Looking the BMW over, it is pretty hard to find anything much to fault in its appearance and condition, with the paint, chrome, and alloy all looking extremely nice. The seat also appears to be wearing a new cover and is in excellent condition. The matching rear-mounted pannier is a great addition and offers some real versatility to the owner.

Powering the BMW is a 749cc horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder engine, producing 50hp. This power is fed through a 5-speed transmission, and from here the R75/6 becomes quite interesting. BMW chose to discard the idea of a chain in favor of a shaft-drive, with quite some success. Other manufacturers made similar attempts, but most never seemed to achieve the refinement that BMW did. I can well remember riding a Suzuki similarly equipped some years ago, and the rear end had a tendency to “crank” in left-hand corners, causing the whole rear of the bike to bounce up and down. That had an impact on rider confidence, and it was hard to find the limits simply because of the bike’s behavior. BMW spent a lot of time and money on research and development, and their bikes never seemed to experience these issues. After sitting for 2-years, the owner brought the BMW out of storage, fitted a new battery, and the bike fired right up. It may need a check before it hits the road again, but in the grand scheme of things, 2-years is not long for a bike to sit idle.

The BMW R75/6 is a great touring bike, and these are essentially mechanically bulletproof. This example has been nicely restored, and while we are heading into Winter, reducing these sorts of opportunities significantly, this would be a great way to experience some enjoyable cruising when the weather turns warm once again.


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  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Someone please grab your leathers and $5K and enjoy!

    Like 3
    • On and On On and On Member

      Mike, I just sold an original R75/5 for $4000 needed nothing. This bike is nice and worth the asking. They are great investments and fun riders. Most will make it to Dakar and back………all you need is gasoline.

      Like 3
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Dakar and back, Thanks Gregg, now I can hardly get to the bedroom, a case of pneumonia for me now. Take care bud.

        Like 1
  2. Alan

    But these really need crashbars so you don’t mangle the heads every time you drop it!

    Like 1
    • Terry R Melvin

      They’re easy to get..and one thing about these older “boxer” BMWs..they use a dry clutch like a car’s, not a wet (oil bath) type nearly all other motorcycles use.

  3. JP

    This is a great cruiser for the money!

  4. John

    The heads don’t get damaged if you lay it down unless you slide into a curb. A friend did that, and it wasn’t pretty. Otherwise you’ll just scratch or hole a valve cover.
    Crash bars are for wusses.

    Like 1
    • Terry R Melvin

      Here here now! They make a handy place to hang highway pegs too!

  5. Comet

    I’ve been knee deep collecting and rebuilding BMW “R” boxers for twenty plus years. Without question they are wonderful bikes, however NOT without their problems. The engines (all years) are high mileage wonders, often seen with 200,000 plus miles. Newer models however, are plagued with catastrophic final drive (I’ve rebuilt maaaannnny) and ABS failures, widespread charging system nightmares on earlier bikes. Trans, clutch, and starter failures are not uncommon across all model years. Often the kind of stuff that leaves you thumbing it back home. Parts costs are obscene and dealers are scarce. Allocate money (lots) for their care and feeding. They can drive me crazy, but I love them anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my hourly head punch.

    Like 4
  6. schooner

    Full Metal Bike and that blue has to be seen to be appreciated. I’m a Brit Bike guy but have great respect for /5 & /6 bikes.

    Like 1
  7. canadainmarkseh Member

    Nice bike it would be even nicer with a matching sidecar. BMW is not the only shaft drive success. Take for example the Honda goldwing or the Kawasaki concourse. I’m pretty sure those brands had some success with shaft drives too. I think I’ll stick with my 1977 Goldwing with custom sidecar. It only has 46000 miles on it but I live in Canada and it only gets seasonal use.

    Like 1
  8. TBAU Member

    More bikes please, Mr Barnfinds.

    Like 1
  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    My cousin has an unbelievable Beemer collection. I’d guess he has 20 of them all total. If you added his DNEPRs (?) and his Ducatis, and one Triumph, he’d have closer to 30 bikes. I’ve helped him work on them from time to time but I never threw my leg over one until last July. I rode the identical twin to this one. Not a powerhouse but a nice predictable ride. Of course it will take quite a bit of coaxing to get me to trade my desire for a Harley or English bikes to ride Beemers. But they’re good rides…

    Like 3
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      You’re right on target, geomechs. “Airheads” are wondrous all-day bikes, whether on the Interstate or if you’d rather enjoy pass-bagging..
      Power? Not if compared to today’s bikes, wherein my now 13 year old K1200GT “FOG” bike with 175HP (before mods) is totally outclassed, but as Colin Chapman (and Colin Powell) demonstrated to the world, power is all in how you use it most intelligently.
      I’ve a friend that clearly understood that after he came upon a grizzled old guy on an Earles-fork Beemer poking along the local twisty/windy truck route nearby (Nevada Highway 341 to Virginia City) while my young friend Bob came ripping down on his Hayabusa. The Beemer ride waved him on, and my friend attacked the corners only to find in shock and disbelief that the old guy was right behind him, casually riding a much better and faster line through each corner… Bob waved him by as his epiphany struck that if you know your own limitations and learned the best abilities of other riders you can improve your own abilities.. (SunTzu-“If you know yourself and know your opponent, you will be successful in all your battles; if you know yourself but not your opponent you will lose half your battles” and so on..)

      Like 2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        I’m sure there as a point I was trying to make but I forgot where I was going..

        Oh yeah, now I remember-Airheads are engineered to be a compromise between touring and handling-they do well with both IMHO.

        Like 2

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