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Make ModelBMW R 69
Engine: Air cooled, four stroke, two cylinder horizontally opposed Boxer, pushrod operated 2 valves per cylinder.
Bore x Stroke: 72 x 73 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Induction: 2x Bing Bing 1/26/9 – 1/26/10 carbs
Ignition / Starting: Magneto ignition / eclectic
Max Power: 42 hp @ 7000 rpm
Transmission / Drive: 4 Speed / shaft
Front Suspension: Telescopic fork
Rear Suspension: Long swing arm with suspension units and oil pressure shock absorbers
Front Brakes: Single 200mm drum
Rear Brakes: Single 200mm drum
Front Tire: : 3.5 S18
Rear Tire: : 4.00 S18
Wet-Weight: 200 kg
Fuel Capacity: 17 Litres
With such attributes, it was not surprising that the tester came to regard it as an ideal machine for putting up averages. On one memorable morning, when Press schedules were tight and time short, the R69 conveyed a staffman from mid-Sussex to the New Forest and back between breakfast-time and lunch, with an hour or so’s work thrown in! Over this tricky cross-country journey, measuring just over 90 miles on each stretch, the R69 responded nobly, doing what had to be done in the minimum time, but also with the maximum safety. Naturally, this required the best use to be made of the model’s ability to cruise well up the scale, and it was frequently held with the needle at around the 90 mph mark, with occasional downhill sprints bringing it near the 100 mph. Under such conditions, fuel consumption naturally rose, but normally an overall 70 mpg could be expected on give-and-take going.
No small contribution to the R69 appeal was made by its excellent brakes. That at the front was of two-leading-shoe design. When the test figures were being carried out, the first two stops were both made in the allegedly “can’t-be-done” distance of 26 feet, using the front brake alone! For fear of causing apoplexy amongst readers, attempts were thereupon discontinued. With both brakes in action, the best figure ever obtained in a Motor Cycling test (20 feet from a corrected 30 mph, the speedo was 10% fast) was obtained in the two first tries. No more were made.
On other points, too, the machine earned full marks. The lighting was first-rate; oil-tightness as near absolute as made no difference; the silencing effective; subsidiary design neat; mudguarding good. A hyper-critical tester might have complained that the dipswitch was a little too far from the left hand for comfort; that the otherwise neat toolbox, with Yale-type lock, concealed behind the left knee rest was the Devil’s own delight to repack and that no adjustment appeared to be provided for a gear pedal which, to be honest, didn’t in this case need readjustment anyway.
But beyond those minor points of detail design, nothing adverse could be said, and certainly they count for little compared with the overall excellence of the layout, handling, performance and finish of this “100 mph plus” scion of a long line of foreign aristocrats. For a price of nearly 500 pounds one expects a motorcycle of nearly Rolls-Royce quality. It is to its manufacturer’s credit that the BMW R69 provides it.
Source “Motor Cycling” magazine, April 19, 1956