Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bikes I have owned part V. BMW R80

Oh BMW, wherefore art though?

Now I look at pictures of this R80 I think maybe I should have held on to it. I can't remember now but I'm sure the money was needed at the time for something or other... I sold it to a young Italian guy in London, I really hope the bike has survived the cafe racer / new wave custom fad intact as it was a really good, genuine bike. I checked and it has not been on the road in ten years, maybe it went over to Italy with him.

Once was mine...

As a 1980 model this R80 was, in my mind, the best of the series. It's still got the classic looks that were lost with the later monoshocks but has decent Brembo brakes as opposed to the rather diabolical old ATE swinging caliper jobs. Though it hasn't got a fairing it is still a very useful daily rider bike and with 50hp is quick enough to cut it with modern traffic. In perspective those 50 horses are more than a new Royal Enfield Interceptor offers and nearly match an older model new Bonneville.

This particular example was low mileage and had been well looked after and pampered. It came to me with the high and wide RT touring handlebars which I swapped for a set of Velocette ones I had kicking around, in my mind the Velo bars suited the Beemer nicely. All round an excellent bike.

Velocette handlebars and optional instrument pods with clock
and voltmeter.

I've had a BMW in my garage pretty much continuously for the
last fifteen or so years. However, they come and go. Somehow
they seem to be the first to go when I need the money or space
but another one always comes back. 


  1. I sold my R80ST to a friend who rode it for a year or so and decided it was under-braked two-up with luggage. He bought an 1100GS as I recall. I often wish I had that old twin back, just as you do. It was fuel-inefficient and had a small tank, so it was a challenge in the western US, where fuel stops can be far between. Oh, and heated grips and high beam would sap the battery, even at highway speeds. It wasn't perfect, that R80, but it was lovable.

    1. Oh yes, I had forgotten the huge appetite for petrol - somewhere around 30mpg if I remember rightly. And the way those Bing carbs would regularly jam their floats and soak your boot until you gave them a gentle kick...