As a predecessor of the legendary trend-setting BMW R32, the R60/2 proved itself more than worthy of continuing the line. This model, originally designed for use with a sidecar, quickly rose to popularity for any general-purpose motorcyclist in need of a great ride, be it on dirt or asphalt.
A Rocky Start
With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was no longer legally allowed to manufacture or raise a standing army, meaning that airplane manufacturers such as BMW were faced with a perilous future. Either they were to go out of business or to come up with a new production line.
With the guidance of their brilliant engineers and chief executives of the company, BMW shifted production to automobiles. In 1923, the first R-series (the R32) was produced. Come 1956, the R-series would be further improved with the addition of its newest relative: the R60/2.
The engine for the majority of these models took the shape of a 600cc shaft-drive, opposed twin engine boasting a total of 30 horsepower, a swinging arm suspension system with shock absorbers to protect against increases in strut and oil pressure, and a top speed of 90 miles per hour.
Plenty of Rs in the Series, but Only One R60/2
Multiple offshoots of the R60/2 were later put into production, including the famous R50, but there was only ever one generation of the R60/2 model units, produced from 1956 to 1969.
- BMW R60/2 (1956-1969)
The R60/2 sported one of the most common ignition systems of the ‘60s: magneto. The ignition system was connected to the engine through a series of mostly mechanical connections, though there were a few electronic components included in the majority of the models.
The frame comprised a twin-loop tubular steel construction with cosmetics being arranged in a fashion to give the motorcycle the appearance of a casual cruiser.
Most likely, this was an intentional marketing decision designed to give the bike a distinct look that would set it apart from superbikes, scooters, and even other motorcycles from a few major competitors of the time.
The R60/2 in the News
Back in 2017, Lego was considering creating a collector’s edition line of Lego products based on the design of classic BMW vehicles. This line would have included the R60/2; however, Lego decided to nix the project before it went into production.
Celebrities have been known to cruise around on motorcycles of various makes and models, but one of the most famous photos from the 1960s of the R60/2 in action was taken as Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was taking the bike for a ride.
There are plenty of places to discuss your love for various BMW motorcycles, superbikes, scooters, or other motor vehicles. One of the best places for enthusiasts of the R60/2 is the Facebook page titled R60/2 Conversions.
The BMW R60/2 – One of the Greatest General-Purpose Motorcycles
Designed with care and heralded for its versatility both on and off the road, the BMW R60/2, produced in the late 50’s and 60’s, is more than just another BMW ride. It’s one of the best motorcycles in the world for cruising, relaxing, and getting where you need to get in style.