Triple Numbers Matching: 1953 BMW R25/2

This 1953 BMW R25/2 is a rarely seen 250cc single cylinder version of its classic motorcycle, a design more frequently associated with the brand’s later twins. This example is a claimed Florida barn find that retains triple matching numbers status, meaning its frame, engine, and VIN plate numbers all match. The bike does not run nor does it turn over, and listed here on eBay at no reserve with its original keys still in the ignition.

The rarity is not about production numbers (they made a lot of singles), but more likely due to popularity. The single cylinder BMW motorcycles made 12 b.h.p., and top speed maxed out at 65 m.p.h. With the more powerful twins likely better suited for American roads, the single cylinder models seem to remain somewhat obscure. They were sold in the U.S., but total sales figures are not readily available.

This one, despite the limited information provided by the seller about its history, remains in very original condition. The headlight is a period Bosch glass unit, and the chrome surround is still embossed with the period Hella logo. The seller claims it was discovered sitting among a collection of other vintage motorcycles, and the overall cosmetic condition seems to indicate someone loved it at one time.

In Europe, these single cylinder models proved popular with police departments, couriers, and the Red Cross, likely due to their simplicity, thriftiness, and still-respectable performance despite the low output. Finding one in the U.S. that remains in such nice condition with triple numbers matching is a rarity, and I’m hopeful this one will be restored mechanically with a period sidecar attached.


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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    I’ve had two side car bikes now an 08 Ural with 40 hp it could barely get out of its own way. Now I have a 1977 gold wing with sidecar and 65 hp. Which is adequate. It will do 130 kph which is livable on the highway. This bike is just to small and underpowered for a sidecar. I’d restore it and just enjoy riding it from time to time.

    Like 5
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Looks like they knocked off a cylinder from a 500 Boxer engine and just stood it up. Actually I like the bike. I saw a feature on one over 50 years ago in Cycle Guide Magazine (?). The guy had taken the engine out and fit a Wankel. No, I don’t know what he was smoking and I really didn’t want to meet his dealer. The job was kind of ratty looking but it ran. Looking and this and remembering the one from a generation ago, I would much rather have this one…

    Like 2
    • Peter

      Yes it is one cylinder of the larger engine. Frame tubes are lighter than the twin frame. On this or the later single models the engine was fitted with rubber mounts to remove some of the vibration that the horizontal twin did not produce.

      Like 1
  3. ken tilly UK Member

    No way would this bike pull an empty sidecar, let alone with a passenger seated in it. As for the Triumph silencer, that’s a no, no on a BeeEm.

    Like 1
  4. pzak

    The seat mounting, exhaust , bars and rear tail light are wrong for this bike. The rear fender is bobbed,the tank dented, the rubber kneepads and gaiters are gone. the air filter is missing and the bike is seized. The controls are broken and the paint is awful. I am not quite sure this is in good original condition.That said I like the bike as I have one myself, but this is far from good or original condition.

    Like 6
  5. pzak

    It was designed to pull a sidecar. I have an BMW R27 with a sidecar and it pulls it just fine. The Steib LS200 would be the preferred chair and it is very light.People didn’t always think they needed massive high horsepower bikes to get around. Speeds much lower than today were considered just fine for pottering about. To tell the truth I think riding was probably more enjoyable back in the day.

    Like 13
    • On and On On and On Member

      Got to agree with you bigtime pzak, The only riding I do now is 30-50mph on 2 lane rural no traffic roads. I get to look around and enjoy the 2 wheel experience. My Zen.

      Like 9
      • pzak

        Spot on. I don’t know why riding became associated only with speed. Going fast can be fun for a bit but enjoying the scenery is my primary reason for riding. Sadly with today’s traffic and high speed roads it is getting harder to find a pleasant low speed ride, at least where I live. I plan on riding the Mid Atlantic BDR next spring. 1000 miles of dirt ,pavement and gravel back roads.Sounds like the perfect ride. Basically it will( hopefully) be like going
        back in time to a more peaceful riding era.

        Like 7
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I never was one to fall for a crotch rocket; I always preferred the nice easy cruise. Fifty years ago I rode a ’59 BSA 500 single (B33). I think it was rated at 29 hp and the bike weighed over 400 lbs. But it cruised nicely at 55-60 with no problems. Years later, I rode a Harley Big Twin and had no desire to go any faster. I remember missile jockeys telling me how they could cruise all day at 90. I asked them: “Tell me, what did you see at 90?”

        Like 3
    • Gerard

      Yep! Had and totally restored R25/2 and /3 and R26, wonderful rides through Europe with buddies on R27 or Royal Enfield. One with R25 and side totally nuts down alpine passes: you don’t need the PS to tempt fate!

      Like 1
  6. ken tilly UK Member

    @Geomechs. If you are doing anything but concentrating on the road ahead of you when doing more than 60 mph then you are an accident looking for a place to happen. I have had several accidents of my own making when doing +60 but none under 60. I now ride an ex American 1986/7 Honda Rebel 450cc on which I rarely go above 60 and mostly ride at 45-50, and I now get to see the wonderful countryside around me.

    Like 3
  7. Todd Cook

    Be a cool machine to own. Hard to find parts for no doubt. Let alone engine parts I suspect. Good for putting around the FL retirement community tho. *I wonder if it comes with a warranty?? We get it.

    • Peter

      There are a lot of BMW parts around, original and repro. Some come from India. Engine is all ball & roller bearing. Big end roller bearing is probably the only difficult part to find. Also, many of these cycles are broken up for parts as they are worth more in pieces.

  8. schooner

    @Geomechs – “Flashing lights behind me”. I’ll agree with all the above respondents. With a motley collection of BSA unit twins the bike that gets the most use on Sunday morning pottering about is my B44 single. This Beemer fits well if that kind of ride fits you.

    Like 1
  9. John

    The only way this would go 65 is off the side of a cliff.

    Like 2
  10. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Oct 20, 2019 , 9:04PM
    Winning bid:US $2,872.00
    [ 31 bids ]

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