1976 BMW R90S

Traditional

2-cyl. 898cc/67hp

#1 Concours condition#1 Concours

#2 Excellent condition#2 Excellent

#3 Good condition#3 Good

#4 Fair condition#4 Fair

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Model overview

Model description

In 1976, BMW’s grand concept received the utmost authentication when Reg Pridmore rode a race-prepared R90S to the AMA Superbike title. While the racing bike benefited from myriad refinements, the production R90S also had received almost continuous improvements since its introduction. Perforated front brake rotors mimicked the racing parts, improving the response in all conditions. Revisions to the engine addressed crankcase breathing and lubrication questions, but otherwise the air-cooled, overhead-valve horizontally opposed 898cc twin carried on with bore and stroke of 90.0 x 70.6 mm and 9.5:1 compression ratio. The pair of 38mm Dell’Orto accelerator-pump carburetors helped produce an output of 67hp, allowing the R90S to run from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and top 120 mph.

The five-speed gearbox had to be operated deliberately, but everyone appreciated the extra gear as compared to the old /5 series. Of course shaft drive was cleverly integrated into the right-side of the rear swingarm. Journalist Roland Brown has noted that “if the elderly BMW feels a little wooden and unwieldy by modern standards, thanks partly to its narrow 19-inch front wheel, it’s worth remembering that the R90S was produced before the Japanese manufacturers had managed to make their big bikes handle at all.” The factory-standard bikini fairing, meanwhile, wasn’t quite the novelty it had been two years earlier, and the same can be said for the instrumentation that included an ammeter and clock (which could drain the battery). Appreciation for the 1976 BMW R90S continues. In 2015, Peter Egan wrote, “Everyone has personal favorites, but I would put the R90S in a very small group of the best-looking bikes ever built.”

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