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Thread: 1974 or 1976 R90S

  1. #1
    Registered User zenduddhist's Avatar
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    1974 or 1976 R90S

    Looking for your opinions. I am looking to purchase an R90S. I usually like to buy the later year of a model because of improvements, upgrades, etc. But, the 1974 R90S seems to bring a higher price.

    I like to buy bikes that are in excellent condition. Some may consider me a collector, but I always ride all my bikes, usually at least once a week. However, when I buy, I also keep in mind that I will probably want to sell it one day. I am not an investor; my goal is not to make money, but if I do, that's great.

    So, having said the above, what year do you think is a better choice? The 1974 because it's first year and apparently is more desirable? Or the 1976 because it's the last year and has all of the improvements and upgrades?

    Thanks for the help!
    1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1972 Commando 750, 1974 Vespa Rally 200, 1974 Commando 850, 1975 Commando 850, 2010 Triumph T100 w/sidecar, 2011 BMW R1200RT, 2013 Honda CB1100

  2. #2
    Left Coast Rider
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    If my fading memory serves, the '76 had the newer switchgear. All else being equal, for that reason alone I'd go with a '76.

    But that's me. I imagine others will have differing opinions.

  3. #3
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    First year of anything is not necessarily such a great thing...it's been debated a number of times, but the '74 was the first year of the 5-speed and seems to have been problematic. First year disk brake, not drilled, so wasn't as good...not to say the single ATE was that good.

    If it was the first year of BMW, 1923, OK different story. First year of /5...different story. But the '74 was little more than a running change...some aspects of it were hold over from the '73 models.

    For me, later is better...that's why I sought out a '69 R69S...it's all in there!!
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    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  4. #4
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    First year of anything is not necessarily such a great thing...it's been debated a number of times, but the '74 was the first year of the 5-speed and seems to have been problematic. First year disk brake, not drilled, so wasn't as good...not to say the single ATE was that good.

    If it was the first year of BMW, 1923, OK different story. First year of /5...different story. But the '74 was little more than a running change...some aspects of it were hold over from the '73 models.

    For me, later is better...that's why I sought out a '69 R69S...it's all in there!!
    Plus one on this, being a previous owner of a 74 R90S.

  5. #5
    Registered User zenduddhist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toooldtocare View Post
    Plus one on this, being a previous owner of a 74 R90S.
    Can you elaborate a bit more?
    1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1972 Commando 750, 1974 Vespa Rally 200, 1974 Commando 850, 1975 Commando 850, 2010 Triumph T100 w/sidecar, 2011 BMW R1200RT, 2013 Honda CB1100

  6. #6
    advrider.com
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    If you have two beautiful examples in front of you, sure go for the later "better" one, but if you can only find the '74, don't be afraid.

  7. #7
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    Later ones have drilled rotors, better when wet. Also I think they beefed the frame a bit, and the transmission was upgraded if my memory is correct.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by toooldtocare View Post
    Later ones have drilled rotors, better when wet. Also I think they beefed the frame a bit, and the transmission was upgraded if my memory is correct.
    yeah, a bit more frame gusseting near the steering head. your memory is correct on all counts.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenduddhist View Post
    Can you elaborate a bit more?
    weak detent spring in transmission of '74s that likes to break around 30K. not a tough repair/fix, but if it snaps while riding you are pretty much stuck in that gear until you open the box up. most have likely been fixed already.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  10. #10
    palica
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    yeah, a bit more frame gusseting near the steering head. your memory is correct on all counts.
    IIRC, the 90S frames are identical in all years and are also identical to the /7.

    Differences between 74 and 75+ 90s are, on top of my head:

    - drilled front discs
    - upgraded gear box
    - new paint available (Smoke only in 74, Daytona or Smoke the following years).
    - switched (/5 on the 74, /6 the following years).
    - kick start standard on 74's, optionnal the following years.
    - Some engine parts: crank shaft, bearings, flywheel etc...
    - a lot of aesthetics details, such as mirrors, tacho/speedo, aluminum flashers etc...

    Beauty of BMW Flats is that most of the upgraded parts can be mounted on older engine version.

    That being said, an R90S is a fantastic bike and any year you can find will bring you miles of pleasure. Just pick the best bike you can find, and if colour is not a problem (Smoke only in 74), ride it and enjoy it.

  11. #11
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    A couple things to ponder

    The '76 R 90S and /7 do have extra frame gusseting, most notable is the extra frame tube under the steering head. Another perk or detraction is the gas tank of the '76 is shared by most of the /7's and later bikes and is still available new or can be found reasonably priced(sort of)at most Flea Markets.

    For someone who is going to buy one to ride I would think that the '76 would be a better choice and would still retain its collector value.

    The '74 on the other hand would be just as nice but due to its first year quirks and some year specific parts and paint work (tape pinstripe for some) you might be a little reluctant to get it out on the road as often and maybe never in less than perfect weather conditions.

    Is there any way you can swing both? That would be the best of both worlds, have a Smoke Silver and a Daytona Orange. I'm saving my ash tray money so I can pick up a '76 to do just that.

    Just my $.10 worth

  12. #12
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    I kick myself often for selling my 74 R90S. It was painted Chevy pickup red, but it ran and looked nice. My favorite one is the smoke gray though. Pure love when ever I see one. I have been looking for a nice one for awhile. Though I had one in my sights, but it got away from me.

  13. #13
    Registered User zorba75482's Avatar
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    I have a 74 R90S that I use regularly. To be honest the drilled discs are a must if it rains as the stock are lethal when well soaked. Other than that it's a great bike. Every time I ride it I am amazed that it's 38 years old and performs so well.
    BMWR1100GS 1999
    BMW R90S 1974
    Laverda 750 SF2 1974

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