In the 1970s, the arc of progress brought ever-larger engines to the realm of motorcycles. The 750cc BMW had once been considered a superbike, but now it was a middle-of-the-pack offering. BMW therefore went with the currents, enlarging the air-cooled, overhead-valve horizontally opposed twin from 745cc to 797cc to create the R80/7. This entailed a bore and stroke of 84.8 x 70.6 mm. With a 9.2:1 compression ratio and a pair of Bing constant-velocity carburetors, the R80/7 produced 50hp at 6,000 rpm. It would run all day at 7,200 rpm, and redline was 7,400 rpm. If the five-speed gearbox didn’t offer quick action, it was at least indestructible.
There was the usual shaft drive, and a perforated front disc brake and rear drum brought the 473-lb bike to a stop. The 6.3-gallon tank afforded a tremendous range. The 1978 R80/7 had a sporty, stepped seat with rear grab bar, and the 19-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels had alloy rims with wire spokes. Like both the larger and smaller bikes in BMW’s lineup, quality and durability were a given, as were comfort and quiet operation. The R80/7 was available in colors “which match the technical concept and sporty dynamic look,” according to catalog copy. In other words, Black Metallic, Blue Metallic, and Burnt Orange Metallic.