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1959 BMW R69

Monday, February 8, 2010 6:41 PM

When the ban on the production of motorcycles was lifted, BMW had to start from scratch. There were no plans, blueprints, or schematic drawings. Company
engineers had to use surviving prewar motorcycles to create new plans. The first postwar BMW motorcycle was produced in 1948. In 1949, BMW produced 9,200 units. By 1950 production surpassed 17,000 units.

In 1951, BMW introduced the first sporting motorcycle, the R68. It was a 594cc single cam engine with 7.5:1 compression ratio and venturi throat sizes of 26mm and larger valves. As the 1950's progressed, motorcycle sales plummeted. In 1957, three of BMW's major German competitors went out of business. In 1954, BMW produced 30,000 motorcycles. By 1957, that number was less than 5,500. However, by the late 50's, BMW exported 85% of its boxer twin powered motorcycles to the United States. At that time, Butler & Smith, Inc. was the exclusive U.S. importer of BMW.

On June 8, 1959, John Penton rode a BMW R69 from New York to Los Angeles in 53 hrs. 11 min. setting a record. The previous record of 77 hrs. 53 min. was set by Earl Robinson on a 45 cubic inch Harley-Davidson.

BM Riders Club, The BMW Club, BMF, BMWMOA, The Airheads and The Poverty Riders

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