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Thread: Describe Vintage!

  1. #1
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Describe Vintage!

    I've never owned pre70 beemers, but still have my R100/7'78 that I like to consider vintage now. Approaching 30 years old soon. Is there a magic marked year for such. I always thought the 25 year thing was it. How about the antique mark? I think different states have different rules applying to this. Is antique over 50? I've never heard in all my years, an exact defined version of either. Thanx.........My first was a 75/5,'72 Toaster, shorty, 4 speed. Wish I still had it.

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    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    I think the accepted break point is pre-70 for vintage, although some might break it down to "vintage" and "pre-war". There was a definite design change around the WWII point. I'm a member of the VBMWMO (Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners) which has the following forums - antique 1923-1945, vintage 1948-1969, classic 1970-... This might be a better breakdown. Darryl Richman can probably set us all straight...

    Kurt in S.A.

  3. #3
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Yes, the VBMWMO does recognize the categories that Kurt indicated. The club says anything that is 25 years old is vintage enough. That means that in 2008, the first K bikes will officially be vintage!

    There's also the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. They say that a bike has to be 35 years old to be vintage, and there's a bit of a tempest in a teapot going on in that club about all the Japanese bikes that are now or soon will be eligible.

    Different states all have different rules for the various antique/collectable/vintage plates that they might offer. Washington State offers Horseless Carriage plates for vehicles older than 50 years.

    In terms of BMW history, one might want to consider design generations rather than titles like "Antique" and "Classic". Because BMW production runs tend to be long, and changes in engine design don't necessarily match changes in frame and suspension.

    The VBMWMO's break at the end of WWII doesn't really match up with a particularly big change in BMW bikes. If it were up to me, I might choose 1937 as the break between Antique and Vintage. That is one of two points in BMW history where the company really changed just about everything. With the introduction of the R5, BMW went from the split case engines and a rivetted pressed steel frame to the first tunnel cast engines and a welded tube frame. And although BMW set a motorcycling first with their hydraulically damped telescopic forks on the R12 in 1935, they dramatically reworked the insides for the R5. The R5 also represents the first foot shift transmission for BMW. And the 1938 R51 brought the first rear suspension to a BMW.

    Polarbear, your /5 represented another such milestone. The change from the /2 bikes to the /5 models left little that was interchangable, save the "spike" and the rubber plug for the timing hole.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  4. #4
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi
    Polarbear, your /5 represented another such milestone. The change from the /2 bikes to the /5 models left little that was interchangable, save the "spike" and the rubber plug for the timing hole.
    Well, you *could* put the /5 motor into the /2 chassis, so at least the motor mount holes were the same.

    Great analysis, Darryl.

    Ian
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  5. #5
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian
    Well, you *could* put the /5 motor into the /2 chassis, so at least the motor mount holes were the same.

    Great analysis, Darryl.

    Ian
    Ian, I haven't actually measured it, but I believe that the motor mount spacing has been preserved from at least 1926 through 1995. The 1923-25 R32/R37 may or may not also have the same spacing. I've seen a split case motor and transmission mounted in a prewar plunger frame, and the spacing is the same from there through the end of the Airheads.

    The /5-on motors do fit into a /2 frame (with some minor fiddling), but the /2 transmission's bell housing has some ribs that must be ground down a bit to clear the clutch pressure plate.

    Alternatively, you can put in a /5-on transmission, too; but then you need an adapter plate to mate the output flange with the driveshaft.

    None of this is quite bolt-up, but it's surprising how little effort it takes.

    Well, I just got an R62 drivetrain, and I know where to get a /2 frame. Maybe I should make a real "vintage conversion"!
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

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    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Homework done!

    Boy, you guys are up on this...I guess my '78 is a classic still, so I'll keep waiting for my vintage status. I'm getting closer. I am the original owner and would not ever sell the R100'78. Thanks for history lesson. I knew a tad bit about the break from 60's to 70's /5's, but not much about much older cycles. I remember the first Honda's in the 60's, as I was coming of age to appreciate bikes. Born in '52 here. At 15, I had my drivers license in VA., my buddy had his learners permit(age 15 too) and a NEW Harley his Dad had bought him.Wow! No m/c license at the time needed. But, a learners permit holder required a licensed driver(ME) to accompany them. We rode that new Harley all over VA countryside. Good memories! Thanks again for BMW memory row. Randy13233

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